About Me

Interview with Amberian Dawn

Formed in 2006, the Finnish band Amberian Dawn is already well-known in the metal universe, releasing an album every year or two years, they start this year of 2020 with the release of a new album “Looking For You” and some news. 

M.I. - So, you have a new album coming out by the end of this month, are you excited for its release?

Yes, of course, it’s always great when you’re releasing new music. The process is quite long, it’s several months, several singles on the way, before the actual release, so it takes some time, also interviews, etc, so it’s a nice process.

M.I. - The cover of the new album looks more futuristic than the other ones, can we expect something different?

Yeah, it’s different, musically. I think it’s more kind of pop metal, not so much symphonic metal, so there’s a big distance there. But there’s still this one song, on the album, which is a more traditional 80´s song, the symphonic song, on which there’s Fabio Lione doing the guest part. So, there’s one song which is really traditional symphonic metal and the rest of the album is more pop metal, kind of, yeah, there’s this term: ABBA metal, being used lately, so, I guess it’s ABBA metal.

M.I. - How have you decided the title of the new album? Was it a hard choice?

It’s usually a hard choice but not this time. For some reason, it was easy to choose the title track, because it just felt right. Ok, it does not necessarily have to be any track, you know, it can be something different, the album title. For example, Metallica has the “Black Album”, so it’s not supposed to be necessarily based on some song. But, this time, I felt that “Looking for You” was also a good one for an album title, so it just happened.

M.I. - Which was your biggest inspiration during the writing process of the new album?

Oh, I think that the songwriting process was the same as usual, so there are no big changes there. It’s hard to describe the creative process to other people, but, usually, I just start to improvise with key guitar or keyboards. You know, just improvising, fooling around and trying to find something and when I get the first idea, it can be anything, it can be a chord change, it can be a short melody or something, I just keep on working, take the first idea further, so it’s kind of real work, it’s not so exciting as many people think. You know, composing music takes work and sometimes it might be even boring, if you don’t come up with any good ideas and you are spending hours and hours and you don’t get any kind of good songs it might get boring. So, I guess it’s more than many people think and I also had a long writer’s block after releasing the previous album, which lasted maybe six or seven months. After releasing the album, I didn’t have any ideas for new songs, I tried to make some new stuff but I didn’t get anything good enough, you know, because for me it has to be perfect all the time, I don’t want to make average music. So, there was a big break, a creative break there and I needed something else to chase, so I just made a decision that I didn’t want to try anymore with the old style… I needed to make something new, so I tried this new style and felt it was easy to start working with it.

M.I. - Which song, from this new album, is your favourite?

Hum, there are a lot of favourite songs and usually it also changes. Today it might be this song and tomorrow some other song. So, at the moment, I like “Two Blades”, for example, but maybe one week ago I might have preferred the symphonic song, so it changes all the time.

M.I. - With already three singles released out to the public, how has your fans feedback been?

As far as I know, it seems that people are liking the new style. There’s a lot of good feedback there. But, of course, there’s also some negative feedback, it’s always like that. When you’re making something different, there’s always going to be some people that are not liking the new style. But, to me, it seems the major part of our audience are really liking the new style, so I think we are doing something right here.

M.I. - One of the released songs is an ABBA cover. Why did you choose this song in particular and not any other less known?

For me, the song has to feel right, you know, you have to feel that this is the right song to make a cover. For me, I can’t just decide I want to make this one or this one, I need to feel inside that it feels right with the song and, for some reason, this “Lay All Your Love on Me” just felt right. I can’t describe why, but when I made demos of the song at my home studio, it was really easy to naturally make this song work. I have tried some other songs too and it just didn’t work, for some reason I didn’t feel it. I don’t know why it was that way, maybe it was something to do with our old style, because Amberian Dawn has this old style and to make this ABBA song is closer to it, you know, it’s close enough, so it was easy to make it work as our song.

M.I. - What kind of feedback are you receiving for this cover?

Good feedback. Seems like people are really liking the version. I have also got comments on which people are suggesting to make a whole album of just ABBA covers. So, it’s in fact an interesting idea of making a whole album of just cover songs and I think it’s a real possibility in the future. I think it’s all about what happens after the release, what’s the feedback for the album and how I feel about the whole thing. Do I have the motivation to do more songs? Because you also have to be motivated, you have to feel good about making music. So, if I don’t have the inspiration to make new stuff, there’s always this possibility to make more cover songs and even a whole album with just cover songs.

M.I. - How did you decide how the videoclip should be?

We decided together with our label Napalm Records, so we just think about all the options and we made the decision together. So, we agreed that those songs are good for singles. There are also other songs, it would be good to do, but you have to choose three… It would be nice to make all the singles, all the songs as singles, you know, but it just isn’t possible, you have to choose three songs and I think it was quite easy to choose, because now there are some differences between them, they are not that similar.

M.I. - In this new work, is there a link between all the songs?

Not really. I think that all are just separate songs, I don’t think there’s any link with lyrics either. I think they are just separate songs.

M.I. - Which songs have you played the most?

Well, I think “River of Tuoni”, “Valkyries” and recently our song “Fame & Gloria” are one of the major songs and “Magic Forest”, I think those are the most played on stage. It’s hard to choose songs for live shows, because there are so many songs to choose from and you have time to play maybe ten to fifteen songs, so you have to drop many good songs off the set list. That’s a shame, but what can you do? So, I know people always respond well to “River of Tuoni” and “Valkyries” so we can´t drop them off the set list and when you’re releasing a new album, you have to play maybe three or four new songs too. So, there are not so many songs to choose from anymore.

M.I. - What’s the funniest thing that ever happened when on stage?

Hum, the funniest? It depends of how you define fun. There’s been kind of accidents on stage, for example, when touring with Epica in 2009, our stage monitors went off and we didn´t hear ourselves playing anymore, so we had to stop playing in the middle of the song. I don’t know if it was fun or not, maybe fun for some people, because we might have looked stupid on stage, you know, because we didn’t know what was happening and we were looking at everyone and just stopped playing. So, kind of fun, anyway.

M.I. - Do you usually meet to do other things not related to Amberian Dawn?

Some of us meet quite often, because Joonas, Emil and I live in the same city, but Capri and Jukka are living in other cities so we don’t meet them often. But Emil, Joonas and I see each other maybe a couple of times a month, we usually have some beers or something.

M.I. - How do you prepare yourselves for a show?

Nothing special really. I just tend to change my clothes and that’s it. I don’t know, is there any kind of preparation? Not exactly. It’s usually quite boring at backstage, before the show, there’s nothing happening, there’s maybe some other bands playing and we have crew which is taking really good care of our stuff so we don’t have to go on stage to prepare our instruments or anything, we just need to wait backstage and it’s really quite boring.

M.I. - What will this year bring for Amberian Dawn?

Oh, let’s see. I hope that we are able to tour again at least here in Europe. It’s always difficult to play at festivals because there are so many other bands and there are more bands who want to play at the same festival. At the same time, there are those old bands, you know bigger bands, like Iron Maiden and Dream Theater, and they are automatically on the festival, so there are not so many slots left for smaller bands. But we are hoping to get some festival shows for the summer and I think we are going to tour in the fall, that’s our goal.

M.I. - And does that tour include a visit to Portugal or you don’t know yet?

It is possible. It’s also difficult… When you are touring Europe, you cannot have too much distance between places, you have to travel maybe 500km distance, at maximum, because we can’t drive two days straight, it’s impossible. For example, the bus Night Rider Bus is so expensive you can´t make too long trips. So usually, it’s hard to include countries like Spain and Portugal because they are so far away from the centre of Europe. But it is always possible, depending on our success there… if our album is selling well there, then we get greater offers from your promoters and it’s possible to get there. So, if you want us to play in Portugal, you just need to buy our albums, that’s as simple as that, because then promoters are interested in us and we are able to get there. That’s a fact, that’s life.

M.I. - How would you describe Amberian Dawn’s journey since the debut of “River of Tuoni”?

It’s been a long ride, about ten years or eleven years. It’s been fun. When I started the band back then, I was quite unexperienced, I wasn’t experienced in band playing and it was quite new to me. Also, most of the band members were newbies, unexperienced, so we all started from scratch. We didn’t have much background as playing musicians in bands, so it was new to us and we learned a lot all the way.

M.I. - Is there a message you would like to send to your fans?

Well, we are doing this for our fans, so I hope that you are checking out our new stuff and hopefully liking it. There’s also a lot of older stuff, maybe we have done eight or nine albums already, so there are a lot of songs to choose from and hopefully we’ll see you on tour. It’s always really fun on tour… besides hanging on the backstage before the show, that’s not so fun but, otherwise, it’s nice.

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Tatiana Andersen