"You need the time to get excited about new stuff"
Suiciderock:The band was found in the 90`s, than it took a while till your debutalbum “Battle Metal” was released in 2004. Why did it take so long from putting the band together to its first release?
Mathias: Yeah, that`s correct, we started with the band in 1997 or something like that. We didn`t have any big plan what should happen to that project back than. There was Jussi and me, we were in that late teenagers age and we didn`t really have that much to do, so we agreed to form a band. We didn`t really feel any need for a rush, we did everything on ourselves and in our own slow pace. We recorded our first demo in the year 2000 but in Finland you have to do military service and that also counted for us. The first demo actually brought us a deal with Century Media but I had to spent my time in the army the whole year of 2002 so it didn´t really help us further. Our band was on ice for that period of time but luckily we got back to what we love after the military service was over. Than we could release our first album which is actually a collection of all the material we`ve written during the time.
Suiciderock: That means you didn`t have sort of a master plan what`s going to happen to this band when you started out?
Mathias: Of course, you always have that dream that you could play big festivals one day and that you are able to make a living out of it. When we started out it was important that we have a rehearsal room, a place were you could drink and play during the long and cold winters here in Finland.
Suiciderock: Are there any bands you want to see yourself today?
Mathias: To be honest, we don`t have that much time to see any of them today. We have a very tight schedule. Tomorrow we will be playing in Austria at the Novarock festival. We will be playing very early there. Than the Novarock will be followed by the Download festival, in, take a shower and leave to the next place. But I kind of like that old school metal line up this festival has this year. We would be cool to hang out and to check out some other bands. Sometimes you get to play festivals and there are only playing some really death metal bands, which is not really my cup of tea than it doesn`t matter that much for me. But tonight it would have been really cool to stay and watch some performances.
Suiciderock: The Download festival is a really big thing…
Mathias: Yes, but again it`s the same problem. We are in to play the show and than we head on. We have played there before and it was pretty surreal. At this time we were opening the main stage even before noon. It was real surreal to be in the same dressing room area where also bands like Mötley Crew or Marilyn Manson had their places. That was cool.
Suiciderock: Let`s keep the festival theme. You have been playing a lot of big festivals in the past. Not only here in Finland, but also in Germany, Belgium, Japan... What was your most exciting festival experience?
Mathias: Luckily it`s not always such a big rush. Sometimes we can hang out and chill a bit. That`s right, we have done lots of festivals. Of course, its great to play on the mainstages at festival like for example the Download but than again sometimes the atmosphere in a tent for instance might be a lot better. I like to play big festivals and small club shows. It keeps it interesting otherwise I think it would be boring if you always play those big places.
Suiciderock: Is it difficult for you if you are playing at a festival were so many bands are performing, people have so many different styles they like, is it easy for you to fit in as a band at all the different festivals you play?
Mathias: I think we manage pretty well. What I like when it comes to our band is that we can play all different kind of festivals. We could play at a death metal festival as well as at a powermetal festival and so we could perform at a very mainstream festival like Novarock or Download. Tonight there might be a little older, more into heavy metal crowd and tomorrow in Austria we might play infront of a little younger, more alternative crowd. We will also perform at the Hellfest in France which again is specialist in Metal again. I think we can get it working no matter were we play. It doesn`t really make a big difference to us. We mostly win the crowd over. I think not every band could do the same. I think we kind of fall in between everything so nicely.
Suiciderock: You are always putting on a special make up for your stage show. Can you tell us the story behind this?
Mathias: This came up years again when we started to play our first gigs. We wanted to have something special, so we started up with putting real dirt into our face. But during our time on tour everybody of the band put on a little bit more. At the end of the tour we ended up totally covered. It developed like that and it wasn`t really planned it just happened.
Suiciderock: But you didn`t use make up when you started?
Mathias: I think we had some sort of make up. We always had the vision to present us with that special outfits and everything but our trade mark, the red and black make up which we wear during our stage performance nowadays wasn`t really there at the first shows. I remember when we played some shows were we had the imagination to put some dirt into our faces and we tried out real dirt.
Suiciderock: Did that work out than?
Mathias: No, it didn`t really work out. We are much better and more confortable that way now.
Suiciderock: Isn`t it difficult to do this procedure almost every day? I assume it takes quite long till you get ready to enter the stage?
Mathias: We can do it pretty fast. It is not about the make up but it takes its time to put on our outfits. We usually try to take about an hour before the show. Every one knows that we are not used to do interviews until right before we have to enter the stage. It`s our way of preparing for the show. One hour before the show starts we got to the dressing room, put on our make up and outfits and so everybody had time for himself or to discuss something that is going to happen during the show or whatever.
Suiciderock: “Stand up and Fight” is your 3rd studio release. Can you tell us a bit about the album itself? There is a pretty interesting concept behind the whole record.
Mathias: Well, the album came out in February. So it is in the stores for about four month now. The critics have been really good so far. It was quite a big piece of work. We started working on the album in 2009 and almost the whole year 2010 was dedicated to the studio. March to September was almost spent at the studio. But if you start something you can`t really stop in the middle. We wanted to push the standards a little bit further. We had to change things around a bit to get forward. It was a bit frustrating at times as there were so many things that had to be remembered. I was also working as producer of the album, than we had to write the songs, we have been involved in every part of the entire record. It is stress full but it payed off in the end. Let`s see how the next record will go than.
Suiciderock: You`ve been quite busy to tour the album. The year is only half over and you have already done a 3 month American tour followed by a 1 month tour trough Germany, Austria and Switzerland. How many weeks have you been home this year?
Mathias: Actually we were ment to be in Spain in May but it got delayed until November so we accidently got two weeks off before starting the festival season. That was kind of nice but we were also unprepared for that. I think we had a month off now between our last shows and now. We had to prepare a lot for the festivals. Now Hannu, our bass player is back for the festivals. We needed to focus a bit more to bring that stuff which we have developed during the tour to Hannu. There are bands who do that crazy tours with about 30 shows in a row. You will be dead after that. We take it relatively easy, we do like 6 shows in a row and than an off day. We always make sure that we have some extra days to recover. When we came from the US tour for example we spent 2 days in London to adapt to the European time before we went on playing the European festivals. I think the people who are playing in this band like touring otherwise it would be very bad.
Suiciderock: I read that you tried to write on new material while beeing on the road but this didn`t work out somehow. What do you think makes it so difficult for you to come up with something on the road?
Mathias: It wasn`t really for the lyrics. There are so many bands who push out an album every year and than it sounds almost the same as the previous one so we really wanted to take our time to produce something new. You need the time to get excited about new stuff. We had this 8 week tour in America and we decided to built this kind of little studio in the back of our tourbus…
Suiciderock: Did that studio thing pay off?
Mathias: In reality I spent maybe 10 hours in that so called studio. You have a lot of extra time on tour but touring somehow becomes sort of this struggle to survive. You get into a certain mode, you start thinking where you can get food, the next shower and things like that so your head is not really free to write new material while beeing on the road. It`s very hard to concentrate on something else. That makes you feel like wasting your time sometimes but at the end you are there for the show so that`s kind of the name of the game.
Suiciderock: Your future plans for the rest of the year?
Mathias: Hm, well this year is pretty much about touring, touring, touring. We already have some touring plans for next year. Of course, than we have to start thinking about something new regarding an album. But it is good to go to the studio after such a long time on the road.