Sonata Arctica
Interview with: Tony Kakko, Sonata Arctica's vocalist.

One of Finland's, and Europe's best relatively new power metal bands, Sonata Arctica have filled the gap created by Stradovarious's demise, I had the pleasure of speaking to the band's vocalist, Tony, one of the nicest people I spoke too, about the release of their new single, and the upcoming new album:

A: Hi Tony, your new single "Don’t Say A Word" reached No. 1 in the Finnish charts, what can you tell us about the song, and were you surprised by it's immediate success?

T: Well, the previous single we released reached No. 2 In Finland's charts, and this one jumped straight to number one, we guessed that might happen, but we're pleased and excited about it in any case…

A: Are there any other metal songs in the Finnish charts now?

T: (Asks someone in Finnish…) Yea, the new COB single just reached number one, instead of us…heh heh, but in any case, its becoming a metallic chart!

A: Do you feel that your rising success affects the band in other ways?

T: Yea, definitely, we have some a lot of shows planned as of now, much more then last year's 29, usually its in front of a lot of people, we're still a bit struggling in Germany, but we also do very well in France, for instance.

Sonata Arctica - picture by Toni Härkönen

A: When does the new tour begin?

T: In October, we have a huge show in Hamburg, with Nightwish, something like 12,000 people, it’s a bit hard to comprehend, since the biggest show we did as of now was in front of 3,000 or such,

A: What is the reason for your success, and metal in general, in Finland?

T: I think it has to do with those that opened the door for us, Stradovarius did it first, and then Sentenced, and COB,

A: And Stone…

T: Yea, they were the first, but they never reached the level of success the other bands did,

A: How did you start out with Sonata, I understand you didn’t start off as a metal fan?

T: That's right, my first band was a more Finnish Dance band, traditional Finnish music, we used to play weddings and stuff, back in 96' Sonata still did a kind of rock-pop music, until we found our own style, most of the stuff we played at first has been used and appears on our later records, but more metallic, and better sounding, of course,

A: What can you tell us about the new single?

T: There are two versions to the new single, they also contain a cover version we did of a Depeche Mode song called World In My Eyes…

A: That's off the Violator album?

T: Yea, That's right, its pretty similar to the original song, we didn’t want to give it the standard Sonata treatment, since it wouldn’t have fitted it, we also did a cover song for a band called Vanishing Point,

A: That's a relatively young Australian Band,

T: That's right; they are good friends of us,

A: It's a strange choice for a cover song,

T: Yea, we toured with them, and they are good friends, so we wanted to make them more known to the people here in Europe, they actually called me and said thanks, but I think they're a great band, and it was a pleasure to cover the track.

A: What about the new song itself, is it typical Sonata?

T: Not really, its more dark and progressive then our old material, and our new keyboardist put in this Hammond style keyboards, its something he does really well, and we made it put them in almost all of the record…
Mostly the new album isn’t as fast as the previous ones, we kind of took things at a lower tempo, but still , there are plenty of fast songs on the album, just not as fast as some of the ones we used to do,

A: Your keyboardist is rather new with the band,

T: Yea, our former keyboardist left just prior to the new album, our current one used to tour with us, but we didn’t really know how good he was until he went in the studio with us,

A: How was the writing process done?

T: I was much easier then our last album, I really worked hard on that one, I also half produced it, and wrote, and played, so this time it was much easier, our new keyboardist is very talented, and he also studied music a lot, so he can contribute quite a lot.

A: You seem to have a fascination with the Wolf theme, can you elaborate?

T: I just like wolves, that's why in very records there's a wolf song, starting with the first album's Full Moon,

A: You also have a song about a girl in each album, are these about a certain girl?

T: No, they are all just imaginary songs, I'm actually more then 8 years with the same girlfriend, so its not about all these girl that I met or something…

A: Your success in Finland has been phenomenal, but what about other places, such as the States, or Japan?

T: We never did a show in the USA for some reason, we were supposed to go with Nightwish before, but there were some problems, so they took a band named Lullacry instead, hopefully this time we'll get a chance to go with them, about Japan, Japan is one of my favorite countries to do shows in, they really like us there, and the thing is, there was a huge serge of metal bands reaching Japan after us, that the Japanese regarded as copy cats! Because we were there first! So there's also a lot of loyalty there for us.

A: You did a lot of cover songs, did you think about releasing an album that contains them all?

T: That's actually a good idea, I never taught of that, I guess we do have a lot of cover songs; we just like to do them.

A: So when can we expect the new album?

T: It'll be released by the 15th of October.

A: Well. Thanks for talking to me, and good luck!

Alon Miasnikov
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