TK: Tony here, hiya! Busy, thanks for asking. Been a beautiful day. Lots of yard work, car maintenance and now watching football. France vs England at the moment.
In my opinion, your new album Stones Grow Her Name is the greatest album in your modern history (from the Unia album) till now. What are yours and the other’s members of Sonata feelings regarding to this album?
TK: Modern history! I like that! 🙂 Yeah, this one’s a step towards the early day. Even before ”Ecliptica” in fact. Every one loves this album for many different reasons.
The songs are fairly easy when it comes to song structures. Little slower tempos allow the songs to breathe and live more. This album also brings at least nine new live songs to our set list, which is something that has not happened since ”Ecliptica”, I think.
More traditional Sonata Arctica
I see that there are less progressive moments and that there is more traditional style of Sonata Arctica on this album. Was that the intention?
TK: Kind of yes. We started out as a rock band, then turned into a melodic metal band and now the circle is in its way closing. This album anyhow is more of a melodic heavy rock album than metal album.
We all grew tired of having 10 different parts bound into one song. we did it for two albums and I figured it’s enough. Time to do something new and different again. Sometimes going back towards the starting point is the way to create something new.
Could you tell some few words about lyrics and the main idea?
TK: The songs draw inspiration mostly from the life on this planet. Pretty down to earth material. Something people can relate to, depending of course on their personal capacity to handle the subject.
A twelve year old should not necessarily even understand all lyrics, at least in the original meaning. I’m anyway starting to have problems seeing the mindscape of a twelve year old at this age. So it works both ways.
But in time, we will all be 37 years old. And then maybe understand some things in a different way. Although ”I Have A Right” is about children and their rights, it does not mean it’s a song for kids perse. Human relationships, love, hate, nature and the ever increasing stupidity of the human animal. Those are the things ”Stones Grow Her Name” are made of.
Also you turn to make experiments, which we coludn’t hear from you before. For example the mix of your traditional speed metal and country music in song Cinderblox. Who brought this idea?
TK: Well, i would not describe our music as speed metal, at least by the terms I have understood it
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_metal), but that’s besides the point, haha… 🙂
Cinderblox came to be when I started playing around with this banjo sound I found from my synthesizer. I wrote a riff which then quickly got to be a full song. Everyone seemed to love the song and wanted to have it on the album, so then it was just the matter of finding someone to play the real banjo. This song seems to be a live hit too. Great fun to do live!
Could we wait to hear something similar in future?
TK: Well, we’ve done it already, so I’m not really sure if there’s much point going there again and again. But then again… I do love bluegrass a great deal. Something equally odd will anyway be on the future albums as well, I’m pretty sure of that.
What will be a tour to promote this album like? (which countries, support etc…)
TK: Oh, it’s gonna be another world tour again. I think The Days of Grays visited more than 30 countries. We’ll start with summer festivals.
Headline tours come starting later this year. Details can be found from our website when available. I hope we get to play in some new countries again. The European tour starts from Poland, which will be the first time there.
Do you plan some shows in Slovakia? (Your last gig at „Rock pod Kameňom“ festival in Snina was great)
TK: Seems like the first euro leg will not arrive to Slovakia, but there will be more dates next year. I hope we make it there then. And thank you! I remember the audience was great! 😉
How does typical day of member of Sonata look, when you don’t make music?
TK: For me it’s an early wake-up, around 7am. Breakfast companied by few hours of office work.
There’s always a pile of important mails to answer. Then parachute jumping, cliff diving and other activities. I wish. Just normal every day things around the house and yard. Maybe play a game of PES2010 in some point. Maybe watch a movie, if there’s time. Then back to sleep. My normal weekday is like regular working mans sunday, I suppose.
What are your (all the members) interests expect music?
TK: I could not answer for the other guys, but I enjoy outdoors. There’s always something to do out there. Chopping fire wood f.ex. Photography, movies, games. Anything you can do at home, pretty much.
Can you compare life in Finland to another countries? What are the main differences?
TK: I think we have less people per square kilometer. The nature has also remained fairly clean. The air is much fresher than in many larger countries. I would not life to live in any other country. Unless the climate was exactly the same what we have here. Long winters. 🙂
Tony, your voice gets often stressed at your gigs. How do you care of it?
TK:Yeah, that’s what you get when you try to do something you are not naturally equipped to do. I voice is not built to sing the way I do on the first few albums. Those songs are just hideous to sing live. Live and learn, I suppose.
I do sports and try to sleep as much as possible. I don’t drink too much alcohol but a lot of water. It is the same thing as with any profession, where your own body functions as your instrument. It does get strained.
Other members of Sonata Arctica
Do you keep in concact with your former member Jani Liimatainen? How is his career?
TK: I just met Jani few weeks back for the first time in five years. It was good seeing a brother. Lately he’s been playing acoustic duo gigs together with Timo Kotipelto. Sounds great and Jani seems to be enjoying himself as well. Other than that I’m not sure what kind of things he’s been up to lately. Studying, I think.
I’ve never heard any mention of him since the album Gather the Faithful from his project/band Cain’s Offering.
TK: Yeah, I’, not really sure what happened to that project.
And what about another ex-members (Janne Kivilahti, Mikko Härkin)?
TK: Janne lives in Kemi. I see him every now and then. I don’t think he plays anymore. Mikko…have not seen him in a loooong time. He got into some religious charade making us look bad with his talks, so I think it’s best to keep the distance in the future too. He’s been in some projects that I’ve heard of.
Have you ever thought about recording of your solo album?
TK: Yes! I’m always working on it, but it seems this other band always steals my material, haha! I’m sure I’ll get it done before 2020.
You are almoust only creator of music and lyrics of Sonata. Have you ever thought about participation of other members to making lyrics and composing music?
TK: Yeah, others have written two songs, I’ve written the rest, so it’s safe to say almost. 🙂
I’ve asked them to bring their material forward ever since we started this band back in 1996. Not too many songs from them so far. Maybe they are happy with what I do. Don’t know. Can’t exactly force them.
Do you have any unfulfilled dream in music?
TK: Many. It would be great to sell ten million copies of one album some day. That’s one dream. Would be a nice memory to have when you’re old. ”Yes, we were just about the biggest band on this planet once!” The solo album is another dream. Writing movie scores would be third.
Ok thanks for interview. I wish all the best to you and another members of Sonata. I would like to ask you for some message for visitors of my web.
TK: It was my pleasure! 🙂 Hope to see you on tour somewhere! Slovakia hopefully next year. In the meanwhile, check out ”Stones Grow Her Name”. If you like it, send me an e-mail. If you don’t like it, you can e-mail Henrik instead, haha! Keep of rocking!
Tony’s photo: Kadellar, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikipedia
Thank you for help with the article: Lesný troll (one of the last few trolls alive 🙂 )