Interview with Tony Kakko of Sonata Artica
Päivitetty: 20. touko 2020
Tonny Kaako, the singer of Sonata Artica, in this 2010 interview talks about the Finnish music market, the scene, and the band's plans at that time. This is the transcript of a video conversation that happened in the Finnish Metal Expo.
Maila: Finland is the fad of the moment regarding its metal scene, and people dream about becoming members of a Finnish band. What do you have to say to these people? Is Finland really this paradise they imagine?
Tony: Well, no... We just have these people who play metal a lot; it is part of the mainstream, which is not common in most of the countries in the world. Even our president listens to this kind of music (Tarja Halonen at that time), you know, it's a big thing here, of course, part of our mentality. I think in the last 10 years, it became even more spread out in many directions. Well, you have to be a Finn to get to understand that kind of thing. Of course, this Finland thing we have going on here makes it seems like a paradise. I don't know if it is, I don't know how lasting it is actually, 'cause it hasn't been like this all the time. Metal is no more this evil thing; it doesn't reflect your rebellion against anything anymore; it's a mainstream thing.
Maila: So, what does metal reflect nowadays?
Tony: Good taste! (laughs)
Maila: And do you think it's easier to be a musician here in Finland, since it's a country that gives so much attention to culture?
Tony: I'm not sure if the government is providing enough help for bands and music yet. It's getting better, I think, but in some other countries like Sweden, for example, I heard they are supporting this kind of music industry. Because this is an industry, it brings income to the country, and we all pay taxes and high taxes here in Finland, so it should be considered as a worthy thing to support. They give support to companies, and some of them have no meaning; they don't get anywhere. And there are still some bands with the potential to sell like hundreds of thousands of albums and become something really substantial, but they are not getting anything. And of course, it works kind of backward 'cause the bands who" are nothing" but have the potential are not getting any money. Still, once you make it, you'll be something and get support from everywhere, you know, getting free instruments, endorsements, it's kind of hard. You have something to warn, here is not a paradise to start a band.
Maila: Then what do you have to say for those who are searching for the metal dream?
Tony: The truth is out there, keep seeking. I think sometimes the journey is actually better than to get there, you know, the hunt is better than the catch. Keep hunting!
Maila: Talking about Sonata Artica, what can you tell us about your plans for 2010?
Tony: Well, we started this year with a few shows in Finland, took the whole March off, a deserved vacation cause we hadn't done it for a long time. Then in April, North American tour, and then it starts to be summertime. The summer festivals are coming, and later this year we are shooting a live DVD, our second one.
Maila: How does your process of music-making go with the band?
Tony: Ah, well, I wrote all songs for the band, except for two, so it's kind of my thing. I sit in front of my keyboard or just start playing my guitar, and songs only come eventually. I record down or write down ideas. At a certain point when the tour begins, and I know when it will end, I have some kind of schedule. It's when I know I should start writing songs seriously, getting ideas together, adding something. It's like going uphill, you get steeper and steeper because of the recordings. And I still sometimes writing songs while we are recording, like this time, Tomy, it was his last day of drums recording, and I gave him one more song to record. So that's how it works for us. Ah, and never demos or anything like this.
Maila: For those who are reading this interview but don't know Sonata Artica yet. Which song would you suggest to them to startup?
Tony: I'd go with something from the latest album. Maybe" The Last Amazing Grays," this one would be easier...
Maila: And why the latest album and not another one since you have so much recorded?
Tony: I know, but it might give the wrong idea of the band if you start, for example, with the first songs of the first album, 'cause we're not that band anymore. So," The Last Amazing Grays" from "The Days of Grays" album would be a good starting point. And then if you are interested in something more complex, maybe" Juliet" or" Deathaura," something from the latest anyway.
Maila: What's your favorite album from your career?
Tony: Unia, which is a one of a kind album since it's totally different from everything else. I was totally loose when at that time, you know, not every people really appreciated that but some did, and we gained a lot of new fans with that album. Some people said that we should absolutely continue with this kind of style, but then there were some other fans refusing it, saying this is bad...
Maila: Well, but it happens...
Tony: Yes, it happens no matter what you do. If you write exactly the same kind of album as you did earlier, they will say this is the same album, that you are repeating yourself. I'd instead renew the band, the music, and what I do now and then. Keep things fresh for myself cause that's what it means. I want to continue writing songs until I drop dead one day, and the only way to do it is always finding something new every time I do something.
Maila: Can you leave a message for those who are reading this interview?
Tony: Well, thank you! And check out Sonata Artica's music and videos from Youtube, our website and come to see us live, that's much better, so much fun!