SONATA ARCTICA (04/02/14)
Par Chante Basma le 10 février 2014
Rédaction : Chante Basma / Crédit photos : DR
Seven weeks to go and the new Sonata Arctica will be released ! Tony Kakko gives us some details about "Pariah's Child", their eighth album.
Hello how are you?
Tony Kakko (vocals) : Getting better. Been down with high fever for few days, but I think it's subsiding already. It's been going through the whole band.
So your new album "Pariah's Child" will be released on the 28th March. In which musical atmosphere are we going in this time?
T : The best way I can put it is. Imagine us continuing from where "Reckoning Night" left us in the same direction we were then, instead of taking the "Unia" -path. That's about it. Without forgetting everything we've learned the last 7 - 8 years.
After "Stones Grow Her Name", how did you think about the guidelines of the next record? What's Sonata Arctica's process?
T : After the album I was pretty sure we're going to stay on that path, but in live environment the whole album, apart from few songs and naturally the slow ballad-ish songs, it just seemed very slow. So at least I came to understand why some of the old school Sonata fans were whining about. (laughs) So yeah, it was partly realizing that and wanting to do something about it, and partly it was the upcoming 15th anniversary with tour and all. We had to start checking the old stuff, what we want to play and that also gave me a chance to reflect to it with somehow refreshed, new ears and see what exactly the people like about us back in the day. I had lost that. It was good to have it back. So from those starting points the whole thing started, more or less.
For this record, you preferred to record it as a band (everybody in the same room etc.). What did it bring to the vibe of the album? Why did you work like that on this album and not on the previous one for example?
T : When everybody can at least try to have an affect to everyone’s work. That's the big deal for me at least, as a songwriter and the one with the clearest picture of what the end product should sound like. Suppose that's producing. Anyways, it was extremely refreshing. 24/5 in the studio and weekends at home resting. This album was not by no means recorded "live", all instruments at the same time, but in the same studio with everyone present when everything was done. There's a slight difference there. (laughs) Anyhow it brought the band vibe back in. Mick Fleetwood has said it: "You can make music at your home all alone today and be successful, but you will be a happier human being when you make music together with the other people". I still write alone, but recording together is something I don't want to give up anymore. It gives you so much! We just slipped away from all that slowly when everyone started to have good enough recording equipment at home. It just made things seemingly easier and definitely more cost efficient. But at the same time you lose something valuable.
A word about "Cloud Factory", which is one of our favorite songs on the album. What was the idea around this track?
T : I wrote this track it must have been 2009 or so. Anyway it's a story about a factory which in questionably good way traps a generation after generation of young people to work their whole life in the same factory that produces seemingly just clouds, steam, hot air, any of the vanity items we all have at home and could very well live happily without. I played the demo to the guys originally while rehearsing for "SGHN", but then pulled it off despite the guys really wanted to have it on the album. That song and one or two others. They just did not hit the right spot in my mind at that time. But now I was ready to get back to it. The album called for something like this. Catchy as hell, I've been told. An earworm. That's not a bad thing. I think that's a safe pick for a life show as well.
And what about "X Marks The Spot"? Is it a kind of story with this narrator?
T : "X Marks The Spot" and the Preacher character there is a caricature of a spiritual or mental leader who charms his followers to brainlessly do whatever pops in his mind. I rewrote this song I think twice while we were rehearsing until I was finally happy with it. We all were. And Jaakko's voice acting was like. 10.000 fresh cherries on the top. Still after month of recording it and hearing it at least a hundred times it still cracks me up. Probably will upset someone, but that is a good moment to look into a mirror then and think one minute.
Which elements from the new record will seduce, one more time, your audience?
T : I think this album really has something from each album. I've said this on about other albums as well, like "Stones." but in retrospective that was just bullshit. So if you've ever musically liked anything about Sonata Arctica, you're probably going to find it from this album. Old logo means metal.
So you're facing someone and your mission is to introduce him your new record, which 3 tracks will you suggest him to listen?
T : Oh, tough one! "The Wolves Die Young", "Take One Breath" and "Larger Than Life". Ask me again tomorrow and I might change "Take One Breath" to some other song. The first and last are keepers. :)
If you had to define "Pariah's Child" in 3 words.
T : Back on tracks.
Can you understand that fans reviews are always different between one album and another one? For example this new one and "Stones Grow Her Name".
T : Of course. When you put a catalogue of music with wide variety of styles, when you take people on an adventure, you're bound to displease people who liked the previous stuff while you start to please those who disliked the old stuff. Change is scary. But first and foremost I write music that pleases me. Nothing is quite as important. Suppose I've underlined that with some of the earlier albums. Sometimes it feels like I'm just a channel this music uses to get out. I'm sure lot of songwriters feel the same way.
What did you listen to lately?
T : Lately almost only my own music for the reason that I had to memorize lot of songs we have not played in a while or never. Last summer I found Led Zeppelin. Before that Devin Townsend Project. I cannot call myself a very active music listener. On the radio I mostly listen talk shows.
What's your opinion on those younger bands that are, mostly, playing extreme stuff? Vintage/classic metal isn't in danger?
T : There's an extreme stuff for every generation. Jazz used to be the most dangerous shit around. After that something we learned to know as Rock and Roll. Both of those styles and many more are still there. Here. I don't see any style being in danger, per se. Extreme, if anything, is even more marginal thing than metal itself, when you look at the big scheme of things. Young men need to rumble and find new ways to cause the same shit storm their older peers caused with slightly different kind of a rumble. Music, it has to evolve and go somewhere with every generation. The circles just tend to close in some point of your life and you start to listen to those bands the bands you love have listened to. And then you go even deeper and check the bands THOSE bands have listened to. And then you know where YOU really come from; why you rumble the way you do, how do you own your ability to do what you do. We all have bands we've listened to. Those bands live forever. Classics have their value.
Social Medias are everywhere now, is it a great tool to keep in touch with your fans?
T : I've been told so many times, yes. I choose to let other bands members take care of that side.
What are your next plans?
T : Pretty much touring at least until the end of the year. And in some point we're going to take a moment to record one special thing to be released later this year. We will tell everyone more about that at later time. Now we're concentrating on "Pariah's Child". It deserves all our attention and more.
Are there any collaboration/project you want to accomplish in your career that you haven't done yet?
T : It would be cool to get something done together with Tuomas Holopainen, composer wise. I've never really composed anything together with anyone. If anyone, Tuomas is a person I'd like to give a go with. A weekend with two bottles of good whisky, two keyboards, guitar and love for beautiful music.
Finally, and as a tradition, we are RockUrLife, so basically: what rocks your life?
T : My family. It is family O’clock in My Land. Family and music!
Website : sonataarctica.info