- How are you?
Tony Kakko: Good thanks. I shouldn't complain. Composing songs all summer.
- Your live album as sold over 10.000 copies in Japan, are you surprised?
TK: Well, yes and no. I was expecting 10K to be sold all in all, less than that would have been a disappointment. But it was a surprise it reached those numbers in two days only.
- Seems like the Japanse audience have really welcomed your music. Since both your debut and also Silence has sold very well.
TK: Yes, they seem to like it very mych! I just canno complain. It is fun to be 'quite big in Japan"…hehe.
- Do you and Tuomas (Holopainen, keyboards, Nightwish) have some plans? A while ago I read something like that. Or is it too early to be curious about that, hah?
TK: Our aim is to sometime do something, but our schedules don't fit at all so we'll see when that can happen. Tuomas perhaps would have time next year, but we are on tour then. Perkele. But is something that we want to do.
- It is no secret that you have been on some of the Nightwish recordings. You have lent your voice to backing vocals, done a few duets with Tarja (Turunen, vocals, Nightwish). What are your feelings about those projects, and that live DVD you appeared on?
TK: They have been really fun, great experiences. It's not everyday you get the opportunity to show your face on a DVD. All the people in Nightiwsh are great, so when they call I am there.
- Have any other bands asked you to do backing vocals, or duets? Or perhaps foreign projects (comparing what Tarja did with the Argentinian Beto Vazquez' Infinity project)
TK: I have been asked to do some stuff, but I haven't had time or interest to do such things. Any Vazqueses haven't asked me to do anything. Yet. But I am not caring to much about that. It's nice when you can concentrate on your own stuff. All those requests come when you are most busy.
- What about a possible DVD from Sonata Arctica? I guess that ain't too much to ask for since Nightwish and Stratovarius and several other bands have done that. Even though Children of Bodom didn't go through with their plans yet.
TK: Yes, if and when we will release something like this it WON'T be a live DVD like Nightwish did. Just photages from the past and perhaps some new fun stuff as well. But as for now it isn't anything we have thought seriously about.
> So it's more like the Stratovarius/HammerFall DVDs rather than a live DVD. Well good enough for me, but anything will do, hah.
- So what else? I have heard you aren't much of a metal fan, will there be some solo stuff coming?
TK: At some point it most certainly will. You gotta empty your head from the non-sonata-stuff at some point, but for now Sonata comes first. We'll see after our fourth album. Certainly not before that anyway. Though our aim is to release two albums next year (or at least within a year), but it is something our contract decides. At least we will record album number four next year. It's a kind of a concept album, but I am not sure whether you can call it our fourth album. It will be that much different. It is something that will take time from my solo-plans anyway.
- Wow, that sounds interesting, but also logical. May I ask for more information?
TK: Somewhere I have said we would like to make a full length "The End of This Chapter" and the fourth album will be exactly that. It will be a dark album without any furious dubble bass drumming.
- The new single is as far as I know done, but when will it be released? I can hardly wait, and I think others would like to see it out too. Tell us something about the songs.
TK: I cannot say anything yet. Actually I had already forgotten the whole thing. I am not in a hurry to release it anyway. It will be released when they think it is good enough. It was one of those 'extemporee' things. Tico Tico studios had two months cancelled for recordings and we decided to book it to sava Ahti with this single.
- So…nothing to do but wait, I guess it will be released as time goes by. Can you tell us anything about the songs more in detail? :)
TK: They are quite different…
- And the new album, when? Is the deal with Spinefarm coming to an end?
TK: We will enter the studio this fall, the album will be done before Christmas. In January we start with the fourth album, while the third album will be released in the spring of 2003. Yeah, the deal is soon ending. We'll have to start discussing about it at some point. It depends on the fourth album, the concept album.
- So you will do two albums in a row, but the fourth will be released later than the third, right? So you will once again record at the Tico Tico studios and then hand it over to Mikko Karmila? Then a tour?
TK: Logically yes =) At this point it seems like we will do it from the beginning to the end at Tico. So we can get some different sounds into it. In the summer of 2003 our aim is to do serious touring.
- The live album will hit the market in July I think. Why does it have to come out so much later here than in Japan? I heard the cover art is different too?
TK: This time the difference between the release dates is unusually big. They want to sell the album over there for a while before the cheap imports hit the market. For me it's perfectly ok. Economically it is important for them. We thought about doing a different cover art for the European version just because it was released so much later. The cover art on the European version is done with a more serious touch. The Japanese version got a lot of attention because of it's Pokemon typish cover arts. It's much different from the Euro-version, perkele!
- When you will hit the road in Europe for the next time, will you be the headline or is it ok to be the supporting act once again. Do you dream of any band to have as a supporting act, or the be a supporting act for?
TK: Yeah, that is planned, but at this point I cannot tell you anything about that. ;) It would be fun to tour with the Strato-guys once again, if we had to choose one of the realistic options.
-The sideproject, called Altaria, where did it all begin?
JL: Well, Altaria's second 'primus motor', named Marko Pukkila, who I have learnt to know through Sonata asked me to join his project to play the guitar. I said ok and here we are.
- There is time and energy for both bands?
JL: I am kind of a workaholic. It's fun to work with music and the more you're involved with it the more you learn. I can work for seven days a week without feeling anything. But the people at home try to calm me down since I am always going somewhere.
- How would you compare the styles of the bands?
JL: Well. Sonata is more "modern" dubblebass thudnering with beautiful melodies. Altaria is more in the vein of 80s heavy rock. Sonata's songs are technically more complex than Altaria's. The fun of Altaria comes quite much from the simplicity.
- Do you have other projects in mind?
JL: For sure. There's a lot of ideas, but I gotta wait and see what is possible to do for real. During the summer I will do some gigs in Kemi with a couple of friends of mine. Well do covers, mostly Satriani, Steve Vai and other guitar rock. I have started to write my own stuff as well. But they are really different so I must wait to see how to make them work. I have done the basics with the computer, but I like to work with real musicians. Well, future will show us…
>It will, and don't feel any pressure although we are anxiously waiting! ;)
- How did you feel before you re-joined the band, since you had left the band by yourself. Did you feel bad when the band suddenly had a record out, went on tour and quickly got a lot of success?
MP: I didn't feel bad, but I was disappointed for all the work I had put into the band for years. I left the band because there were so few gigs and the band had been standing still for so long and nothing seemed to happen. But I was happy for my friends, though I would have liked to be on tour with then - the decision was already taken.
- How did you feel when you were back in the band and they already were well-known? How does it feel to be a part of it now and in the future? Was it hard to become a bass player?
MP: When Tony called me, I thought about it for a few days and decided that an opportunity like this doesn't come your way very often. It didn't feel strange to come back since the guys are the same as when I played in the band before, this time there was just more work to be done. We have shared so many good moments when we have been on tour, so it cannot get much better. So, just keep on rocking!
- A few years ago when you played your first gigs at the Tavastia Club, and maybe elswhere. Did you have any problems to come in since you were underaged to actually come in to these places? Even though you played the drums in the band, at least I have heard so.
TP: I cannot remember any major problems with that. But a few times you had to explain you were actually playing for the band when they asked for your ID.
- A final cliché for our readers to end this interview.
Tony Kakko: Eat porridge every morning and your stomach will be happy all day. See you on tour!!! CROSS YOUR HEAD!
Thanks to the guys, and see you on tour, yes.
Interview Made by Henri Halminem