Friday, January 24, 2014

SA:Getting our shit together, the rehersals 21.1.-24.1.2014

So, we have almost 30 songs to rehearse for the upcoming tour. Since we don’t have too much off-time this spring, we gonna have to whip all the new songs for the album tour into shape at these rehersals in addition to getting the 15th anniversary set together. I think Pasi has the hardest work since none of the songs are too familiar to him, for the rest of us it’s a lot easier. I managed to program all my sounds last week, so no there are just minor tweaks that I’ll do on the spot. I just hope we all can get these tunes into our memory-banks before the tour starts….in fact we don’t have much of a choice, this MUST work out fine.Don’t worry, we’ll get it:

Tuesday 21.1.2014
Oh holy crap what a mess. We spent the whole day cleaning up our rehersal place and setting up the gear. So no music today, but we’re ready for tomorrow ;-)

Wednesday 22.1.2014
Spent the day playing through all the tracks on the list, since every song was a first for Pasi we had to play through all the basic stuff as well…after that we spent more time on the stuff that we haven’t played in a while and the stuff that we’ve never played before. A good long day in the cold rehersal place.

Thursday 23.1.2014
In the morning we scribbled down the set for the 15th anniversary show, what a fucking ride it will be,
this is gonna be great ! Played through a couple of songs first and then the band (excluding mr.T) run
through the entire set….and it worked ;-) After that it was time to call it a day. Tomorrow is the last day of rehersals, I guess we’re getting pretty fast at getting our shit together.

Friday 24.1.2014
Started the morning with computer stuff, making intros and outros and sorting out stuff. Then it was time to run through the news songs that we’ll put in the set on the European Tour. We still need to work at those during soundchecks but at least we got through them. One last run through the complete set, working out endings and transitions and then we spent a couple of hours packing our stuff for the tour and cleaning up the rehersal space, since we won’t need it before the end of the world tour we’re giving it up now.R.I.P cold warehouse.

…and we’re done. I’m gonna go through the stuff once more on Monday just to be sure that I’ll remember it all, we still have one more rehersal with the full production before the shows start…
on Wednesday our break from the touring circuit will be over…after just over 5 months of doing other stuff. It’s gonna be great to be back, can’t wait….


Saturday, January 18, 2014

SA:Listening party in Helsinki 16-18.1.2014

The first chance to play your new music to ”outsiders” is always a bit nerve-tickling. In order to
play our album for selected reporters, we got on the train on Thursday evening (around 22:39 +
a few minutes delay, to be exact). We, meaning Tony, Tommy & I. On Friday morning we woke up just before the train arrived in Helsinki at 0900. Upon arrival we checked into our hotel and went out for breakfast. Tony had an interview lined up later on so me & Tommy went to our managements office to hang out. A bit later Pasi joined us as well, and in the afternoon we got hungry so we went to Dennis and got some excellent food. I had a massive plate of pasta in front of me and just stuffed myself with that, actually I’m starting to get hungry again just writing about it = it was goooood.

Just before 1600 we got picked up at our hotel and headed towards the legendary Finnvox studios.The event featured two albums, first we all listened to Tuomas Holopainen’s new album,
and after a short break we listened to our album as well. Drinks, pizza, great music, good people….
..despite being a bit nervous about the response of our new music, everything went really well and we had a good time together. At least I had ;-) It was a real pleasure to be able to listen to Tuomas album as well, and I’d say it could fit very well as a soundtrack somewhere….a beautiful journey indeed. Gonna pick that album up when it’s released….and no, it’s not by any means heavy metal or anything, it’s closer to NW minus the band and in most cases the vocals as well. Anyway, since I’m not a music critic, you can check it out by yourself, buy it if you like it….get something else if you don’t.

During the listening party, Tony was presented with a platinum album for the Raskasta Joulua thing.
Essentially, it’s a bunch of heavy dudes doing Christmas songs the heavy way… case you didn’t 

Having listened to both albums it was time to head out to town, and Bar Bäkkäri as always.I think more or less everybody went there and had some additional drinks to round up the night. In my case
I figured it was time to head to bed when I’m hanging out with an un-named label excecutive at his room drinking some christmasy-flavoured jäger and smoking cigarettes in a non-smoking hotel. Which of course brings us to the fact that I overslept and missed my train by around 15 minutes. No harm done though since I only had to pay a couple of euros to change my ticket to the next train (from which I’m writing btw) and the impact of my failure to wake up in the morning is that I’ll get home a couple of hours later than was planned…..and so everyone survives and we can prepare for the rehersals next week.

For the 15th anniversary shows we’re bringing back some old stuff…old ”hits” if you will, that we haven’t played in a while…and some stuff that we’ve never performed on stage, ever. As said we start rehearsing next week and in just a tad over a week we’ll be on stage in Helsinki. Hopefully we get our shit together by then.



Wednesday, January 15, 2014

WB:First single & video released

So, another band OMG. Well, just to give you a bit of an insight. At some point a year or two ago
Mr.Vapola the mainman from Winterborn asked me to play keyboards on their 3rd album, which I was happy to do. They found themselves in a situation where their previous keyboard player Jukka Hänninen had left the band. Needless to say, since Kokkola (where they/we hail from) is a small town and we’re all know each other from before. 

Some trivia: Pasi (Kauppinen) is playing bass in Winterborn (I also work with him in Sonata,Silent Voices, Mental Care Foundation & Klingenberg Syndrome). Antti Hokkala one of the guitarists in the band as well as Lauri Bexar the drummer both play in Mental Care Foundation. Teemu Koskela the singer now sings in Silent Voices as well. So you can see, it can be a bit confusing but that’s how it is when there’s lots of music coming out and you’re too lazy to get to know new people ;-)

In addition, Winterborn opened for Sonata on our European Tour some years back.

Anyways, here is the first single of the album along with the video. Appeareantly there will be more in April….and no it’s not me playing the piano in the video, Pasi filled in since I was not available at the time….shhh…it’s a secret.



Friday, January 10, 2014

SA:Mastering in Helsinki 7.1. & 8.1.2014 & Videoshoot in Lahti 9.1.2014

Monday 6.1.
Took a cab from home, picked up Tony and headed for the train just after 10 in the evening. We opted to fly down to Helsinki but since there was no morningflight out of Kemi on the 7th we had to take the nightrain. In the evening as me & Tommy were having our nightcap we met a 80+ year old doctor dude and chatted with him for some time, interesting conversation indeed.I spent the last waking hours by listening through the new Amoral album.Gonna give it another spin at some point.

Tuesday 7.1.
Woke up around 0800, there was somekinda fire-alarm-whatever going off in the train, no idea what was the deal so I just continued sleeping. As soon as we arrived it was time for a morning ”drink” and then a bit of waiting for Elias & Pasi to show up. When the whole bunch was present we stuffed ourselves into a cab and headed to Chartmakers to start working with Svante on the mastering. For those of you who’re into this stuff, we had the band mix and the vocals separately so that we could do more finetuning at the mastering as opposed to just providing the whole mix with everything in it. Being that there’s always some waiting involved with the mastering, we managed to go through a bunch of promo-pics and deleting stuff that we don’t want to use, didn’t finish going through all the pics though but at least we got started. After spending the whole day at the mastering we had a dinner at the hotel. Masi made an appeareance and Elias & I headed out with him for a few beers.

Wednesday 8.1.
The mastering was finished and radio edits done for a couple of tracks, the rest of the day was spent in a meeting with our manager, trying to sort out as many things as possible, since we don’t go to Helsinki that often. Had a nice dinner at a place called Colorado before calling it a night and getting rested for the videoshoot tomorrow.

btw, this has been sort of a theme song on this trip, enjoy:

Thursday 9.1.
Left the hotel just after breakfast and headed for Lahti and the Sibeliustalo there to shoot the band
part for our first video with this album. This was a surprisingly quick operation and while waiting for everything to be setup we did some video-interview-thing about the album, continued selection promopics and at times…also just waited :-) When everything was done we still had time to hit a pizza place before our train leaved towards the north. A reporter friend of ours also dropped in during the day and there might be some news here: at some point.

In the train I started to read the Ministry book which was give to the band by our manager, but only got through around 50 pages or so before falling to sleep.At around 0900 we were in Kemi, Tony dropped me off at home and this trip was done.

Next up in SA-land is the listening party for the new album next Friday (17.1.)



Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A little something about my keyboards, where/when/why:

Just to stop some speculation that might or might not be true, here are some facts about what I 
currently use.


with Sonata Arctica I still use my custom rack built by our tech genius Tero. The sound engine is the Korg M3, I have two different wireless midi systems (CME and MIDIjet pro) as well as a midi merge box by ESI (if I remember the name right), for the lead sound, I’m back with Boss pedals, A Blues Driver, Noise Suppressor and Digital Delay is the chain for that. I just got an Alesis Vortex that I will be using to control this rig. All my synth sounds live are from this combo. In addition to that I have a piano, usually rented (my own is a Korg SV-1 which I prefer when possible).

With Silent Voices I use my Korg Karma with no additional effects or stuff. This is mainly because of
logistical reasons. My M3 rig is usually somewhere with SA and with the Karma I can do the stuff that needs to be done with SV and it’s not too heavy to haul around on trains and whatnot.

In the Studio:

For the latest SA album I used the following synths: Korg: M3, SV-1 & Karma, Roland Fantom XR and the Hammond C-3. In addition to that there are some keys played by Tony, mostly using software synths….I guess ;-)

In addition to these I also make use of some stuff in my homestudio, namely Korg Triton Rack, Kurzweil K2000R, Kawai Phm, Roland JV2080. Personally I have found that the best all around synth for ”this kind of music” is the M3, At the moment the Korg Kronos would probably be a big step up from that but since there’s no module version of that, it’s not too convenient for my needs at the moment.

For those of you who ask for suggestions about what to buy, I’d rather not say anything since I don’t know your specific need and everyone likes different stuff and features anyway so it becomes kind of a moot point anyway.If you can do what needs to be done and you like how your instrument sounds and performs, your set ;-)

Enough of that…if you need to know more, post your question in the comment section and I’ll do my best to try to answer…