MUSICIAN: BEN VARON (Guitars)
GENRE: POWER METAL
Last October I caught up with Ben Varon, guitarist of Amoral as they were in the USA promoting their latest album 'Beneath'. The band originally started off as a Technical Death Metal band but shifted to Power Metal thus along with the changing of bandmembers and the acquisition of Ari Koivunen of whom was the winner of 'Idols 2007'; the Finnish version of the UK's song contest 'Pop Idol'. 'Beneath' became the band's fifth album overall and their tenth release since their birth in 1997.
Check out the interview and support the band :)
BAND: SONATA ARCTICA
MUSICIAN: HENRIK KLINGENBERG
GENRE: POWER / PROG METAL
SONATA ARCTICA INTERVIEW WITH HENRIK KLINGENBERG (Vocals / Keyboard)
I spoke to Henrik Klingenberg of Finnish Power / Prog Metallers Sonata Arctica, to catch up on goings on and some past topics, read and enjoy:
1. How did you guys form and could you explain how the band name cameabout?
Well, I wasn't there but I guess it's pretty much the same with every band, you want to play, find some guys and start hammering it out. No idea about the original name either, sorry. I think the story can be found in our bio on our homepage or something...
2. In Finland is there any encouragement for people to learn an instrument whatever the instrument is?
No I wouldn't say there's any special enouragement to get into music or sports or anything else for that matter. Of course if you want to do something in particular there is usually some help available.
3. Would you consider your music to be part of the genre 'Winter Metal' along with Wintersun?
Hmm, that's a bit confusing, no I don't consider us Winter Metal, I didn't even know there was a genre called that.
4. Your currently working on your seventh album, what details can you give? I.e. album title, release date?
The name is still a secret but the album will be released in April-May 2012. I don't want to try to describe the music too much but it's once again something new for us as a band.
5. Out of all the cover songs you have done, which is your most and least favourite, why is this?
We did a cover of Roy Orbison, you got it with one of my other bands, Silent Voices, like 10years ago and that was pretty horrible. The best cover would probably be the Gary Moore one we did with SA, called 'Out In The Fields'....that song is so good, even we couldn't mess it up and I got to learn Gary Moores guitar solo note for note which was fun.
6. Sonata Artica is now 15 years old, quite an achievement isn't it? What is your highlights (both best and worst) of the band's existence?
Probably the worst time was during the recording of Unia when all these issues with Jani started to unfold, it was a very disturbing time in the history of the band. Whenever we're on tour or recording , those are the highlights for me. There's so much other things we have to do, like business stuff etc. so when we finally get to actually focus on the music, that's the best part and the only reason to keep on doing this.
7. Tony Kakko, what is the best advice can you give to those wishing to sing in the Power Metal style of vocals?
Sorry, can't help you there....actually to be able to sing well, one really important thing is to take good care of your body because that's your instrument, meaning, no smoking (unless you're David Coverdale or Lemmy) and take it easy with the booze. Any sport will also help.
8. Tommy, Elias, Marko, Henrik, what advice can you give to musicians wishing to improve their skills on bass, guitar, keyboard / keytar and drums?
There's a lot of stuff online to help you out with your playing skill no matter what your instrument is, however nothing can beat a good teacher, so find someone who plays the way you want to play and ask them to teach you....and of course practise your ass off.....and while doing this remember that it's supposed to be fun, if it's not fun when you're starting out, I'll tell you, it won't be fun later on either.
9. Out of all of the releases, which is your favourite and why and what song of all time in Sonata Arctica is your favourite?
This changes every day and it's impossible to answer while we're working on a new album because of course that's your favourite (if it isn't then maybe we should rewrite some stuff, right?)...of the previous ones I really like Reckoning Night since it was my first album with the band and the recording experience was really interesting. 'Don't Say A Word' is probably our best song, somehow we found a balance with that one.
10. Have you ever considered recording a cover for a Christmas song?
Personally speaking no, I don't know if Tony ever thought about it....but I hope we don't do that, rather write our own christmas song.
11. Do you plan to tour the UK sometime in 2012, if not what festivals are you looking to play at in Europe?
We'll be touring all over Europe in the fall so I'm sure we'll hit UK at some point if not already during the festival season. I have no idea about the festivals yet, I think a couple of ones are online now on our site but apart from that I have no clue.
12. As Metal is very popular in Finland, would you consider it a major export, before and after Lordi's famous Eurovision win?
Metal is probably the most exported music style from Finland but there's no way to compete when compared to other branches of exports (outside of the music industry).... I don't think the Eurovision thing had too much to do with this, after all metal people don't need to watch that kind of TV crap to find out about new music.
I guess Lordi got new fans but for other bands it didn't make make that much of an impact, and why should it?
13. Over the 15 years, how has the band's sound changed and what differences can you notably hear?
We've become more progressive to some extent and more mature I guess, I think the sound has changed on every album, sometimes more and sometimes less. What the changes are, is something everyone has to figure out themselves, if I tell you how my keyboard sounds changed from album to album that's not gonna be really helpful now is it? We will continue to change and explore new things with every album, I think that's the only way to do it for us, and I'm sure you all will hear the difference when the new album comes out; or not, who knows?
14. What can we expect from Sonata Arctica in 2012 and in the future?
We just released our 2nd DVD 'Live in Finland' which basically tells the story of the 'Days of Grays world tour', and right now we're in the studio recording our next album. It will be out in spring and then it's time to tour for 1 and a half to 2 years again. Right now that's all we have planned...so if we make it alive through this cycle we'll be back in the studio after that making more music, let's cross our fingers :)
Cheers, beers & thanks,