Sonata Arctica talk to eGigs

Henrik Klingenberg and Pasi Kauppinen talk power metal on Wednesday 6 May 2015

Before Finnish power metal icons Sonata Arctica's sold out London show, eGigs manages to grab a speedy 10 minutes with keyboard player Henrik Klingenberg and bassist Pasi Kauppinen to reflect on revisiting the beloved power metal classic 'Ecliptica' for its re-recording last year straight after the recording of new album 'Pariah's Child'.

How are you two doing?

Henrik Klingenberg: Alright.

How has the tour been so far?

HK: This is the second day so [laughs].

How was last night?

KH: It was okay. We performed 'Ecliptica' for the first time s we had a little bit of nervousness.

Pasi Kauppinen: We were a little bit nervous. It's almost like the same thing when you have a break up for a few weeks and then you go on tour again. The first one or two shows are a little bit shaky, or that's how you feel about it. I doubt they noticed. Tonight is going to be better.

How did the fans react to hearing all of 'Ecliptica' live?

KH: They seemed to enjoy it a lot.

Were you performing the revisited version of the songs that you released last year or the originals?

HK: It's something in the middle, some of the songs we have the live versions that we've been playing for years. It's a combination but I would say it's pretty close to how the album should sound.

How was revisiting the album when you were recording it again?

HK: It was fine. We had just finished 'Pariah's Child' and we mixed it up and had maybe two weeks and Tony [Kakko, vocalist] came back with the other songs so we kept going.

When you re-recorded the album, were you concerned that some fans might not like it and think you were destroying a classic?

PK: Yeah, we knew that. Maybe some will like it.

How did people react to it?

HK: I think it doesn't matter what you put out; some people will like it and some won't and so I don't think when you make music, you cannot think like that. So we have to make sure we do stuff that we're happy with and then just put it out and wish for luck.

It's not like there's anything dramatically different from the original so people won't complain too much anyway.

HK: It was more like a tribute with the new line up because only Tony and Tomi [Portimo, drummer] were on the original one.

PK: They have been playing those songs live maybe 800 or 900 times so it's a little bit more routine.

How were your experiences being part of this album?

HK: I think it was a really simple project because I recorded all of my stuff at home so whenever we were not on the road, I played a few songs and it went by really quickly. I knew most of the songs already because I've played them live many times so I just hit the record button.

Did you have any thoughts on the slight amendments?

HK: We tried not to change too much.

PK: Yeah, but I just put a little bit there in little places, little bits. I did my version.

HK: The same with the solos and stuff like that, you change a little bit.

PK: I wanted to put my own stamp on it.

HK: We didn't want to do anything too drastic and of course, we didn't have the time to rearrange the whole album. We didn't want to as well because then it would be totally different. I would say it's a great tribute album.

What did you think of 'Ecliptica' before you joined Sonata Arctica?

HK: I didn't hear it before I joined the band [laughs]! I heard 'Silence'. I played in a band called Requiem and we supported Sonata Arctica in 2002 and then in the fall, I joined the band and then of course, I listened to 'Ecliptica'. I think the original one is…they were young – let's put it that way.

PK: It's good rock and punk attitude.

Yes, more raw in spirit. Now you're songs are more thought-out and you have more to them.

HK: Well, you get older. You learn something or maybe not.

There's a book about Sonata Arctica coming out soon. Why did you decide to work on a book now?

HK: We didn't [laughs]. A friend of ours – the guy who originally came up with the name Sonata Arctica – also wrote a book about Nightwish so he and the publisher contacted us and he wanted to do it. So we said okay. He came out when we were rehearsing for 'Pariah's Child' and we talked a lot with him and he wrote the book.

Tony Kakko has written a short story called 'The Key' for the book. What can you tell me about this?

HK: I don't want to spoil anything. It's a short story, a bit of fantasy. I think the idea was good but maybe it should have been a bit longer.

The other Tony-related project is Karmaflo, the rock opera video game. How did Tony become involved with it?

HK: I have no idea.

MK: Me neither!

HK: I asked him: “What the fuck is this?” and he said: “It's a game and I'm one of the playable characters.” We were like: “Okay.” I have to check it out at some point.

How would you say your last album 'Pariah's Child'compares with other Sonata Arctica material?

HK: Well, it was the first album with Pasi of course and it was the first time since 2004 that we actually went into one studio and made the album. Before, we tracked the guitars at one studio, we did the drums somewhere else and keyboard…whatever. We all went to Pasi's studio and we stayed there together.

PK: There was of course this ball game – I play this one, you play that.

HK: It's so much faster than sending emails and downloading files then talking back and forth. We set it up in the way that Pasi was working in the control room, in the main studio I had my computer set up, Elias had his computer set up so there was always something happening. I think it was really effective and it was a lot of fun. We started in the morning and worked every day as long as we wanted.

PK: And we all lived in the studio as well.

HK: It was basically something on almost 24/7. What I wanted to do when we scheduled this was to make sure we all had breaks in between so we always arrived on Monday and went home on Friday but during the week, we were all there all the time.

So it was a lot more concentrated. Do you think you can hear that on the record?

HK: I think so, yeah.

PK: Yeah.

HK: I also think it was really important to go home for a few days, not think about it at all and then come back. It was really quick and effective and also a really nice way to work because there is this constant dialogue between the guys. I think we'll do that for the future as well.

You had the convenience of Pasi's studio this time but why didn't you record like this before?

HK: Before we just rehearsed for a month with the songs and then we tracked them in different studios. One guy would say: “I would really like to record here,” and another would go there.

PK: “It's close to my home.”

HK: “I have all my stuff there so I can do everything there. Why would I pay money to go somewhere else? It makes no sense.” So that's why we did it but this time round we really wanted to make a band album as opposed to individuals. I think this kind of method works for us.

What are Sonata Arctica's future plans after this tour?

HK: We're going to have a break actually. I've been in the band for thirteen years and this is actually the first time we've had a break. We're going to take four months off and then we go into the studio at the beginning of next year. We're going to play with Nightwish in the States in the middle of the studio sessions and then we go back into the studio and we're out next year with some summer festivals and a world tour.

Will the album be out before the end of next year?

HK: Yeah, we're hoping the album will be out at the beginning of Fall. We're probably going to try and get one or two singles out but we'll see.

Do you have any ideas for the album, any riffs or themes?

HK: I think Tony has a bunch. He always has and then what we usually do is listen to his demos together and talk about which is a good song to start working on and then we take it from there.

Sounds good. Those are the end of the questions. Do you have any final words for the readers of eGigs?

HK: No [laughs]! I mean, I'd like to thank our fans for selling out this venue tonight. It's great to be back.

Thank you very much for the interview.

HK: No worries.

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article by: Elena Francis

published: 06/05/2015 17:07

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