Interview date

10 Juin 2010




Interview Mikko Siren (by phoner)

"7th Symphony" will be release in summer. Do you think it's a good period to release an album?

I really don't know what a good time is to release an album. (Laughs) But we have to do it like this because the album was finished, we worked and everything was ready, was done. Then we had to think when we had to release the album. Finally, it was really logical for us to release it at this period.

"7th Symphony", seventh album, I guess it has a link!

Obviously it’s in this context. (Laughs) And also for this name, I think we thought about it and we felt that the album is a real album, it's not a collection of songs without connection. It was a real important process when we were writing this album, to make an album that told a story, so when you put it on, you just listen to the songs and you go through different kind of emotions, feelings. And in the end, it's like a package, so it's the structure of the album.

And we often talk about the number seven as a sacred or cycled one. Did you thought about it when you wrote this album, as it was the album that it will be the end of something or you're not superstitious?

I don't think. I'm the less superstitious person in the world. I'm sceptic about everything like that. When we wrote the album, the albums' title wasn't ready, when everything was recorded; of course we started to think about that. Of course, the idea was already to call this album like we did years ago, have "symphony" in the name. But the number seven, to me, doesn't really have any significance.

On the cover, there are the same wings than on "World Collide". Is it a way to say it's the logical continuation to this album?

Yeah. We had had this sort of idea, about having a skull, and wings, and cello in the picture. And we wanted to use the same scene and we are really happy with this albums' artwork, it's beautiful. We will use also the same things in our videos. There's gonna be three videos from this album. And we have this idea to do it like cycle, and all the video are going to be connected together. And we are going to use the same creature which is on the album cover on the three videos. I think our music is so cinematic and it's also important for us to play on the show path of what we are doing. And the album artwork, and the video for the first single are great, and it's supporting our music very well.

Your producers are Joe Baressi and Howard Benson Why have you called them?

When we were thinking of this album, we had few options on people we wanted to work with. Joe Baressi was one of them. We really want to have a guy who had a real perspective of metal music and we want to have a metal producer. We wanted to have a guy with a real musical background. And there are so many bands that he produced, so it was a really cool option so, he was also able to make different kind sounds of guitars with cellos and things like that. He is really familiar to this and we were expecting a lot from him on that point. It's a great choice and when he comes to the band, he really doubted. We had two vocals track that he produced, and we had decide, how to make the best out of it, especially for the vocals. The vocals might be really delicate to take care. When you are singing in a studio, it's so intimate, there are only two people: the guy who records, and the one who is singing, and sometimes, the singers can really deliver the best of them with someone they always work with. So, as they all work with Howard, we thought that we will totally have the best out of the songs, if we do it with Howard because they are familiar to him. It was a great experience, his studio is close to Joes' one, and Joe already work in Howards' place. But, they are different kind of person.

How did the band get in touch with the guests who are on this album?

They are different stories about these singers. But for example, with Garvin, the band already played with him in 1998 or 1999, when the band did this remake version of Bushs' songs, so he came back. When we had this song, "The End of Me", we had to think who was gonna be the singer, and someone, I don't remember who, talk about Rossdale, and it was really obvious 'cause he was like another member of the band, he's part of the family. So we asked him, and he was really happy to do it. I think it's really a cool song in that sense. And Brent, from Shinedown, we met him few years ago, we make festival together. And it was a good thing to see him in live, how good he sings. And for this song, we wanted a real strong singer and I think Brent is one of the best singers in the world in that kind of music. And he really appreciated what we were doing, so he was great and he was really in connection with us.

You asked five guests, it seems that on each album, you ask more and more people to join you. Why?

I think it's the same number of guests that we have last time. But I think that the reason that we are having guest, is a exceptional situation: you can work with people who are the best in their singing. It's really a great experience, because working with this people, in every collaboration, they give so much, so we grow as musicians, and as a band. And we don't ask somebody to join us just for the fun, if we ask, it's because we need him or her for it. And this time, we make songs that we feel really need guests, and totally different kind of people who are involved like Joe from Gojira and Lacey Sturm from Flyleaf who are totally different person and the songs are different. So we felt that some songs can be even better if we get these people.

And how will you play the parts of Dave Lombardo in live?

How I will replace him? There is no way! (Laughs) He has already been involve in an album, so there's nothing new in that case, and he is always doing one song with us on every album. And this time, we just had different ideas, and we thought that we had to try. We try, we set-up two drums in the same room, I played with Dave, and it was great. He was actually one of the composers this time; we thought that this time, we haven't a song ready when he came in the studio. There was no one else than me and him, we had some ideas about what to do and we started to play drums and so the whole songs' structure has been created by me and Dave. He is full of joy, he likes to play drums. When we were in the studio, we created incredible rhythms. We are a band which has the chance to play with anyone we want. It was really impressing.

The songs without guests are softer excepting "The Gates of Manala" and "Rage of Poseidon", which are more metal. How do you explain that?

(Laughs). It"s pretty hard to explain. The two songs that you mentioned, they are harsh, and to me they are progressive. And they are like old-school Apocalypticas' songs. When we made the album, we referred a lot of time to what we have done before, to have this kind of same really dark atmosphere that were on album "Cult". For the ones you mentioned, I think they are like soul mates, they are like progressive songs which are totally going to our expecting direction. All of us, we wanted the present Apocalyptica. And back to "Beautiful", when we recorded this song, it was beautiful, like totally strip down, no distortions, just a beautiful song and they are this couple of track, which are different kind of songs. I think "2010" is really a harsh song, Dave Lombardo play on it. Maybe guests are just not shy boys.

As you talk about "2010", why a title that can mean everything, but also anything?

Yeah. We all are ok to not explain those titles, especially that one. I's great that everybody will see it in different ways. And I have this theory that some person can see something in it, but another one can see something totally different and create something like a question and the answer will be have a meaning for everybody. I think it's a cool thing about making this kind of titles.

Even if there are no lyrics on some songs; I guess all of them have subjects that exist through the music. Can you tell us what the subjects on this album are?

I think, in general, it's about what everyone knows, difficulties, and to live with love and then loosing it. And also, we want always to expend some deep emotions like in metal songs. We wanted a song to be really deep. We really want to take people in emotions, and we're not afraid to do songs like this one which is dark. We want to talk about things which are hard, and difficult for people to go through. That's the main thing on the album.

Even if you're not in the band since the beginning, according to you, what have change the most in Apocalyptica music from they began to compose to this new album?

When the band started in 1997, nobody thought that it will be really a band. It was just to have fun. It's just about excitement, and all the time, the main thing is about not restraining ourselves. We are able to change if we feel that we need it. Quite often, people fear that a band is like it used to be, and only use cello and do covers. Now we play drums, I think it's a unique situation. Instead of always doing the same thing, you’d rather to go forward, and to find solution to renew your creativity and so you do something different than you have done before. I think that we are doing this all the time, now. Now, it's a real band, there's something that nobody imagine at the beginning.

And do you think Apocalyptica will do, one day, another cover songs' album or it's really over, and you will play one cover song sometimes on album?

Actually, there are no rules. If we want to do cover, we're gonna do it. On the last album, we had a cover, and we really worked a lot on this cover song. On this one, there is no one, but I'm sure, that when it come up, when we will find a good angle to do it, we're gonna do it. I think we are so much more interested in making our own music, it's not the main thing we like to do. If there is a song we feel, like we did with David Bowies' "Heroes", on "Helden", even if it's the same song, it's totally different. For this one, we felt that we could do something really unique and special on this song. But there is no more passion to do only covers. On live shows we have come full around, we had played like short clips with only cover. Of course, on live show, you can do it, but an album with just covers, I don’t think so.

When people describe your music as symphonic metal, doesn't it speak to you or you really don't think that you are doing this kind of music?

I'm so bad in classifying music, to say if it's metal or more like rock music. If somebody likes to give us this kind of name, I can't say something; I'm really bad on it. There are classical and slow lines, and there are also metal elements so I think classic metal can describe our music very well.

Some of your songs have been chosen for video games and music film. Is it something that the band is proud of?

Yeah, for sure. We worked a lot with different kind of people and artists. They used our music in so many different things. It's really great if somebody get inspiration of our music. And we find an interest into their art. But if they use our art like a movie director, I think it's a really great compliment for us.

The band have sold something like four millions albums and entered in many top ten in Europe. Does it have an impact on your view of your music?

I would be wrong saying that it hasn't got any effect, even for me, who join the band lately and join a band which was already successful. (Laughs) There is one thing to say about that situation. It's that we worked a lot and with so many different people who are super good in what they are doing, they are really great artists, and we had worked so hard, and we are honest in the staff we are doing so, they are a lot of people who are involved in our projects. And suddenly, people who are your idols like also the things that you are doing. And that, that's something really amazing!

What did you thought when Apocalyptica ask you to be their new drummer?

First, when they called me I said: it must be a wrong number. Because I don’t consider myself like a metal drummer even if I can do this kind of stuffs. And the guys are good in convincing people (laughs) and they also said that they were not looking for a traditional metal drummer. And I went to rehearsal, they were really open to my ideas, they were fine with my approach. But the first thing I thought was, it's a wrong number, I can't do this! It must be a joke!

Is there a song on this new album that you are really looking forward to play in live?

There are few, some of them are really suitable for shows' situation, for people to have fun, and some of them are really moody. But I'm sure they will be all great, but I would say "The Gates of Manala" and "Rage of Poseidon", 'cause they are interesting and really progressive, they have different rhythms.

Finally, what can you say to end this interview to make people more impatient about this new album?

I just can ask people to listen to our album and I'm quite positive on the fact that people will be glad with this new Apocalyptica. They will listen to thrash metal to more classical music. And I think it really tells the story about what Apocalyptica really is now.