Hi! This is my third interview with you guys, after Maribor (Slovenia) and MetalCamp (Slovenia) so, welcome to Croatian Metal And Rock Site, again.
Your new album, "Stones Grow Her Name", will be released on May 18th (in Europe) and on May 22nd (in North America) via Nuclear Blast. Tell us 4 facts about the album that we didn't have a chance to hear...
1.It's the first time we have some banjos on an album.
2.It will also have the heaviest Sonata song to date: Somewhere close to you.
3.There will be some drawings inside the cover.
4.The first 9 songs could all have been chosen as singles ;-)
If you were talking to a person who has never heard of Sonata Arctica before, what would you tell him/her- Why is this album the one that he/she should buy and listen to and why does it represent Sonata Arctica the best?
I would probably not say much, just put on the album. If it wasn't available I'd say that Sonata Arctica is melodic rock with metal influences. The new album represents the current state of the band, as before we took with us all the stuff we've learned on the past albums and added some new experiments. This new album is quite straight-forward in my opinion.
You used orchestrations on "The Days Of Grays". Can we expect to hear them on this album as well?
There are some short orchestral stuff on the "Wildfire 2" (or was it 3) song but not on the rest of the album. So in that aspect this album is a lot different from "The Days Of Grays", also the guitars are a lot louder on this one.
What is your favorite song from the new album and why?
It seems to change every day, but right now I really like "Shitload of Money" because it's straightforward 80's heavy rock with a couple of solos. Rock'N'Roll !!!
Many fans accuse you of softening the sound of Sonata Arctica since "Unia". They say that new songs can't match your classics such as "Wolf And Raven", "Cage" and "Don't Say A Word".
We have to make music that we're happy about and at the moment we're not too much into this fast-powermetal thing anymore. I think we as a band are on a fantastic journey and we started out from one place and nobody knows where we'll end up. This new album is amongst the heaviest and most rocking that we've made, so I really don't buy the opinion that our sound is softer these days. On the other hand, I completely understand that some of the fans would like us to still make albums in the same style as we started out with, however this was over 10 years ago and as change is inevitable (in everything) we choose to embrace it and see where it leads us.
Few words about the cover for "Stones Grow Her Name"...
I think it looks a bit weird, don't you? Seriously, this more artistic cover somehow connects with the music on the album, and the brighter colors reflect a more positive attitude than for example "The Days Of Grays", in which both the cover and the music was quite dark and moody.
The last video you made, "Flag In The Ground", was filmed in Poland. Have you made any plans about shooting a video for the new album? If you have, in which country will it be filmed and which people are you going to cooperate with this time?
We're working with a guy called Tuukka Temonen, he will make the first 3 videos. We've already filmed all the playing parts for all three videos and we're currently waiting to see what he will come up with; what kind of other stuff will be filmed etc. The first video will be out pretty soon. Ohh, and we filmed our parts in our hometown Kemi, we rented an abandoned school for 3 days made a huge filming setup there.
Your most viewed video on YouTube at the moment is "Paid In Full", with over 10 million views. Do you hope to beat that record with the new video?
Of course we hope so, I think records are made to be broken. So, we'll keep our fingers crossed and see what happens.
You made a live DVD, your album is soon to be out. It seems that you also worked a lot on promoting your band in the last year. Does all of this mean that you will go on a more extensive tour?- Will you perform on big European festivals this summer and will Croatian fans finally have the chance to see you in their country?
As always we like to work our assess off. :-) The last world tour was over a 180 shows in almost 40 countries, so I don't think this tour will be too much longer. We'll start out with the festivals in Finland and Europe and later this fall we do club shows in both Finland and Europe, next year we'll do the Americas and Asia and so on....as we're still just planning the tours (or to be more exact our agent and manager are putting these things together) I don't have a clue yet as if we're to play Croatia or not. I hope we will and keep my fingers crossed that we can get there ASAP!!!
Talking about tours; what is the most unpleasant thing that happened to you meeting fans and groupies?
I don't know, some people are a bit aggressive and weird but mostly everything has been really great, at least nobody has puked on me so far. :-) So, meeting fans has never really been an issue, most people are very nice and just want a picture, autograph or to chat for a while which of course is totally cool !!
Ok, and what is the most beautiful thing a fan has ever done for you?
A lot of people have done really nice things for us, like remembering birthdays or telling us compelling stories and so on, I think it would be wrong to just pick one thing and put it above everything else.
If you had a chance to go back in the past and change anything in your professional life, what would it be?
I don't really believe in changing things, I'm more of a trying very hard (and failing) to learn from my mistakes. However when I joined the band my stage-clothes were maybe a bit too "out there" so if I had to change something I would probably have dressed a bit differently back in 2003.
The member you best get along with in Sonata Arctica is...
It seems like we're getting along better every year (I don't know how that's even possible)...but the guys I spend the most time with are Marko and Elias, we've got similar drinking and sleeping patterns so...
In 10 years you see yourself...
I hope we're still doing this, with the same guys and the same band. Somehow I see that being the case in 10 years...Or at least, I wish for things to be that way.
If you caught a golden fish and had 3 wishes; what would you wish for?
Eternal life on earth (I want to see how the story of humanity ends), an elimination of the current monetary system, and a fish tank for the goldfish. :-P
What makes you happy?
Small things: good food, friends, my family, making music....there are a thousand things to be happy about in this world.
What is the most embarrassing thing you ever did?
I'm too embarrassed to tell..... Sorry...
What did you want to become when you were a kid?
I wanted to be a professional soldier at some point. Luckily, music saved me from that...
How does your typical day off look like?
Waking up in the morning, dragging yourself to the hotel, continuing to sleep there until late afternoon. Order something to eat or drink to the room and maybe around 4-5pm at the earliest I'm well enough to take a shower and go out for a walk to check out where the hell we are. In the evening we usually have dinner all together with the crew-guys as well. After that it's usually time to get our stuff back in the bus and drive to the next show.
What are you most proud of?
My kids of course. :-)
Thanks a lot for your time. Best wishes for your professional and personal life. I hope that we will have a chance to make a video interview soon.
Thank you very much and hope to see you somewhere on the road !!!