Interview with Tony Kakko

Albums of Purgatory: Thank you for letting us interview you.
Tony Kakko: Hey no sweat. ; )

AoP: First of all, what inspired you to form Sonata Arctica?
TK: We just started this band to have fun, really. Of course all the new bands, I think, have a dream of getting a recording deal and touring the world and being famous, but that was really not realistic to think youīd make it from the point we started. What can I say, "SHIT happens!" HAHA!

AoP: Where did the name Tricky Beans come from?
TK: It was the name of one rock song I wrote and when we then had our first show coming up and we didnīt have name, we took that one thinking weīd change it later...but it took as few years to get that done. It would have been stupid changing the name after the nice debut gig we had. But TB really wasnīt a name for real recording metal act...so we finally got the name thing fixed.

AoP: How would you describe the "Tricky Beans" sound?
TK: aaaaa....demo. Hahhaaa! It was constantly changing.

AoP: Who were your influences?
TK: Well, my personal favourite bands we and are Queen, Midnight Oil and so on, until I suddenly for a reason I donīt know started liking Stratovarius. Go figure. "Visions" hit me totally, I fell in love with their music and after that we started covering them and finally writing songs of that fashion. The other guys have their own thing, more progressive like Dream Theater and Symphony X which I donīt really care that much, but when we mix all those influences it makes a nice soup.

AoP: What switched your attentions to Metal?
TK: Damn, I think I ruined this question back there. It was Stratovarius. =)

AoP: What does Sonata Arctica mean?
TK: An arctic sonata. For me it doesnīt really mean that much, but I think it gives kind of good picture of what we are and where we come from. We live near northern polarcircle in finnish Lapland, so Arctica part is right there.
Then this Sonata thing...hmm, I think we actually donīt have these classical influences this name here would make you think. We are more like influenced by bands that have taken influeces from classical music. We donīt have all these classical music things for example Stratos and Yngwie has. Atleast they are not as strong as.

AoP: After releasing Ecliptica, you were asked to perform two tribute tracks. How did that feel?
TK: It was very nice. We felt flattered and naturally it was a good way of making our name known for new people. We only did two of all the tributes we were asked to do. And those two were done, because the timing was very good We happened to be in studio recording "Successor"-ep, so we figured it might be good shot to take part of these 2 things. Helloween and Scorpions-tributes.

AoP: Deciding on a separate keyboard player must have been a big decision on your part?
TK: Actually it was a huge relief! I was sooooo happy to get away from the pile of keyboards and start consentrating on singing and interacting with the audience. It was quite lame when I was stuck, couldnīt even clap my hands together and get the audience going. But of course it was a big decision for the band. Easy too. We took a big step then.

AoP: What were the best bands to work or perform with so far?
TK: Stratovarius and Rhapsody. That was our first big tour and Stratovarius people treated us so well that I will never forget that. We also learned a lesson how to treat your warm-up acts, when we hopefully get that far some day. Iīm sure if I want to get better feeling for a tour, weīll have to tour again with Stratovarius. That would be a dream. =)

AoP: I have to ask, what was it like opening for Alice Cooper?
TK: Short. =D haha. We only played for 20mins on 2 shows, our mixer didnīt get to touch really anything on the table...but hey, we got to warm Alice Cooper and Dio! That was really a great experience. Aliceīs show was great. The best Iīve seen. And Ronnie James Dio was really cool person. Liked him.

AoP: What is you favourite place to play?
TK: I like big halls with lots of air, or outdoors, although sometimes small clubs can give you a feeling you canīt get on these huge venues. But when the audience is as big as 3000 and they are in to your music, that totally kicks ass!

AoP: Do you have a favourite song at the moment?
TK: I really donīt have one. I like many songs on Angraīs Rebirth.

AoP: Whats your favourite Sonata Arctica song?
TK: Hmm...today itīs a new song we recorded a while ago called "Dream Thieves". Itīs so different and rough and it just rocks. I have no idea when we release it though. Itīs not going to end up on our next album though.

AoP: Do you have any funny stories from the road you can share with us?
TK: Aaaargggh nooooo! =) It was funny when we were totally pissfaced, really drunk, in Neerpelt Belgium last fall, and we got to sing "backing vocals" for Hammerfallīs "Hammerfall". We just run there on the stage and screamed Hammerfaaaaaaall, everytime Joachim told us. That was really funny. Atleast for us...

AoP: What are you up to now?
TK: Resting before we go to play few shows in Brazil and Chile. After that we visit Moscow in May and play few festivals during the summer. Then we start working on the next studio album. Ah, we release also this live album this summer.

AoP: And finally, what does the future hold for Sonata Arctica?
TK: I hope something great! =) My focus is already on the next album. I canīt wait to get these few shows done.

AoP: Thank you for giving us some of your time and good luck. I hope everything else you do in the future is as quality as "Ecliptica" & "Silence".
TK: No sweat! My pleasure. I hope that too! =) ...it will be. No worries.