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Sonata Arctica Interview mit Tony Kakko im C-Club Berlin 17.4.2014

Tony Kakko - Sonata Arctica

Because we had technical problems at the beginning, we couldn't ask Tony Kakko all of our questions. So here it is. We made the best of it! 

Lisa: You are currently touring with Trick Or Treat? Tony: Yea Lisa: How is that going?

Tony: Um, so far so good. It’s been fun. We don’t know the guys that well yet since it hasn’t been very long, but they are a fun band. It’s been fun!

Lisa: Which concert have you liked best so far? Tony: On this tour? Lisa: Yes.

Tony: Um, hard to say. Yesterday was pretty ok. Well, in Holland we usually have great shows. Those are always fun and there are a lot of great fans and we have been doing very well there for a long time. It’s so much fun. I liked Holland and we also had this festival in Belgium and it was fun although the audience, and I think as it was a festival they had harder type of bands there, and I think the audience there were more leaning towards that kind of stuff. That’s kind of fun and weird experience to be there. But yea it was fun.

Lisa: When was the last time you guys played in Berlin? Tony: In Berlin? It was not too long ago. The previous tour even. I remember because I went walking on the Tempelhof.

Lisa: Do you still remember what bands you played with?

Tony: It must have been Battlebeast.

Lisa: Cool! So let’s talk about the new album, Pariah’s Child. We really love it! You guys received excellent critiques from all over Europe.

Tony: It seems like it and it’s a nice thing of course.

Lisa: Yea. Can you feel the quality of an album before it gets released?

Tony: Oh yea! Everyone was really excited and happy with the album, which is not always the case you know. Sometimes the album, afterwards when you are done with it and it is out of your hands already, like its 3 months before it is actually released. So you come up with alternative ways of doing some of the stuff you know. You come up with slightly better melody lines and whatever and you are not really happy with it when the album comes out but it’s good because the normal listener doesn’t necessarily know the difference because it’s in your own head. There might be tiny clicks and clacks and sounds and stuff that you would want to change. But it’s only that short period of time, like half a year before and after the release. And then when you listen to the album like 1 year after release or later, you can’t even tell what the problem was, and why you didn’t really like it or what was wrong with it. Because you have forgotten and you are just too close and you see too many details. It’s disturbing but you can just get a little bit of distance and then you see the whole picture and then say, “Oh it’s really good!” But the whole band was really happy about the whole album. The recording process was a lot of fun. It was the first time since Reckoning Night since we were all in the same studio recording together. After that the internet and computer technology took over and everyone has their computers and they can record it at home. Like I would record it and produce albums at home. So now we were all in the studio and we got this awesome vibe to this whole album which is great. And that is one of the reasons I think everyone is really pleased with the album. Because we had to interact and have a say in it. For example, for me when I hear and see Elias play his guitars and parts and I would say, “Oh could you try something like that?” and toss around ideas. Mick Fleetwood said it once, “You can make great music alone at home and can be just as successful, but you would be a happier human being when you make music with other people.”

Lisa: So you are working together on your ideas and melodies?

Tony: No I’m a dictator when it comes to my music. Haha You know I just tell it how it goes but it’s the arrangements and stuff like that and what to play is what we do together.

Lisa: The song “Cloud Factory” holds a really nice melody. Do you work on it together or is it usually the idea of just one individual?

Tony: That’s me. I write that. I’ve never really been good at co-writing with anyone. I have tried it once and it didn’t work. I would love to do that with Tuomas from Nightwish, it would be great to try to do something with him, but never mind. Other than that I find it really difficult. I am pretty stubborn. When I come up with an idea and it takes a lot of work to get my head turned into another direction. The songs are mostly my ideas. Sometimes even my demos have a lot of material that actually ends up in the final version of the songs. We just replace my computer drums and guitars with real instruments. Like one great example is the song “The Day” from the album “Stones Grow Her Name” is pretty darn close to what the demo sounds like.

Lisa: You have got a lot of fans who really like the album “Silence”, I am one of them. Comparing it to today, what did you do differently? Or rather, how does Pariah’s Child differ from Silence?

Tony: We have released quite a few albums and have grown older and wiser and gained a lot of experience in the field of recording and making music. So of course you should be able to hear a difference between of something that kids did and what grown-ups do. Haha So I think that is the main difference. We were just like really eager children back in the day. The first album is like a punk rock show, it was just straight forward and that’s it. Silence was really the first album that I put a little bit of thought into what we are doing and you know its way more deep than “Ecliptica” was. And of course you know if we were to record “Silence” again, it would be quite a bit different. We did a lot of things in a really bad way. Like me as a singer, I didn’t really pay any attention to things that should mean a lot to me like the register which I am singing in the album. Some of the songs I went incredibly high and there was no point. It was stupid. There is no way I would do those live because I could barely do those things in the studio. When not getting any rest then you are standing on stage for 90 minutes and trying to do all that stuff while jumping around on stage. That doesn’t happen. That kind of stuff you learn your own way of doing things and your own natural range and comfort areas and at least try to stay there more than you would. I know some artists and song writers who ask the singer “What is the highest note you can make?” Then every song goes way up there. I was pretty much the same with myself. I’ve learned away from that. And I think it would be more serene and mellow. I think it’s somehow pointless to compare the second album and the eighth album in that sense. It’s a different world, we are different people, and it was a long time ago. I was a child still at the time.

Lisa:  Everyone have to grow up I think.

Tony: Yea of course, eventually. When you have kids of your own, eventually you have to grow up.

Lisa: The important question for me, who had the idea for the song “The Wolves Die Young”?

Tony: That was me! It came about last summer when our label in Japan first started to request us then and kindly push us in the direction of remaking “Ecliptica”, the first album. And we were like “That is such a great idea”. Then we decided that “Yea! You guys have been there for us!” That label in Japan has been with us the whole career. So as kind of a gift, we decided ok and to go there and redo the album. It’s going to be released hopefully early next year. And the other thing that happened is the 15th Anniversary tour that we did in South America and Latin America and Finland as well. This meant that we had to go through all of the old songs again and choose which to play on this anniversary thing. I had to force myself to go through and listen to all the old songs which some pf them I haven’t heard in 10 years and I thought it would be a pain in the ass but I actually liked it. It just made me smile again. Something has happened like I grew up or grew out of that music and going back to it now, it felt really good and for the hell of it I had to give it a go and write something in the style of the album “Winterheart’s Guild”. I think the song “The Wolves Die Young” would fit that album pretty well stylistically and of course the result was “The Wolves Die Young”. The whole band liked it a lot. We were starting to rehearse at the time for the album and it certainly pushed the entire album in a different direction eventually. I had a lot more ballads and slow stuff with darker moods. The whole tempo of the album was supposed to be slower somehow. Although it was originally supposed to be faster but it was leaning towards this more dark direction again, but “The Wolves Die Young” changed it all and I rearranged some of the songs and wrote all new songs like “Running Lights” for example which kind of raises the beat tempo of the album quite a bit as well. It’s the old school sound of the album. It really had a big impact on the whole album, that song. I think it deserves not only to be the first track on the album but also the first single released. It’s like a hit song!!

Dirk: Speaking of music, what’s currently on your playlist? What music are you listening to?

Tony: The latest album I bought is actually from “Bigelf”. This band from L.A. They have weird and funky music. Really dark, metal, and heavy. They sound like something straight out of the ‘70s. Like slightly progressive and Mike Portney is actually playing the drums on that album for anyone who likes drumming. Other than that, the one band I have been following for 2 or 3 years now is (?). He is just the king of the hill. I just love that man. He is a fantastic artist, so talented and I wish I had anywhere near as much talent as he does. He is just amazing.

Dirk: Well thank you so much!

Tony: Oh of course! Not a problem.

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