About Me

Interview with Sonata Arctica

“…I have a right to be heard
To be seen, to be loved, to be free
To be everything I need
To be me, to be safe, to believe
In something…”
This passage is from “I Have A Right”, which was originally released on the 2012’s album: “Stones Grow Her Name”, via Nuclear Blast. This time, like many more songs, it has a new format: an acoustic format. And where can you hear it? “Acoustic Adventures – Volume Two, was released on the 30th September, via Atomic Fire Records and is the second part of the saga. “Volume One” was already released on January 21st. Metal Imperium had the privilege to chat with Pasi Kauppinen, the bassist. With an open smile, he talked about the recording, the tours... and a new album!
Pasi brings many good memories from Portugal and wishes to come back! Promoters: It’s up to you now!

M.I. - Pasi! Kiitos and what a great honor it is to talk with you about this new adventure. Hope all is great with you!

Nice to talk with you! 

M.I. - “Acoustic Adventures – Volume Two was released on the 30th September, via Atomic Fire Records. It’s the continuation of the first saga: “Acoustic Adventures – Volume One”! How did you choose the songs for this album, since you have ten studio albums?

We had a lot to do to choose the songs! Actually, we were touring in acoustic form, before the albums. We kind of knew which songs would work live, at least. How the acoustic arrangements would work for certain songs. But when it was time to go to the studio and start recording the albums, we wanted to have what people want to hear from us! What songs worked at the live situation, as well. We wanted to record those songs but, of course, we wanted to have some other songs as well, that people maybe don’t expect to hear, like “For The Sake Of Revenge” and songs like that! 
And yeah! It was a long period to choose the songs, but we ended up recording 25 songs and it’s “Volume One” and “Two” (laughs). Maybe we have to do “Volume Three” and “Four” as well, so we can put all the songs we want in acoustic formats. Or “Five” or “Six” (laughs).

M.I. - Your songs are very beautiful and are like a fairy tale. Very suitable in this acoustic version. How did you adapt the musics this time, in this format? Was it a difficult adventure?

For some songs, it was kind of natural. We just started jamming and playing together the songs and the arrangements came really easy. I think Tony writes really, really catchy melodies. So, basically all the songs can turn into acoustic and eclectic format, because the melodies are so powerful. So, it’s easy to play the songs and to make the arrangements. You just need to know what way you want to go with the song! That’s what happened! We just took one song, that we wanted to arrange and we started to work with it!
But I think everything went really good! So, not too hard (laughs)!

M.I. - The instruments are amazing, especially the bass. For the music experts, could you mention the basses you used to give quality to the music?

I use Warwick basses! I’ve been using Warwick basses, since 1995! It’s been a long path together with the Warwick basses! I had maybe 3 or 4 different basses in the studio. They’re not the same basses I use on electric solos. I use Warwick basses on louder solos, as well. On those albums, for the acoustic format, I used Warwick Bass Alien acoustic bass and I had the Streamer Bass, which is wooden body. It is a really warm sounding bass! Then I had a Semi acoustic Hollowbody Bass, Star bass. Then I had a Fretless bass as well. So, there were 4 different basses for the album! It depended which song we had and which kind of style we wanted to use for the songs! So, I picked the basses for that particular song! I think, at least on half or more of them, I used 2 different basses. So, the intro is with a different bass and the main song is with another one (laughs)!

M.I. - We can also hear some cello. Can you tell us who plays it? Do you have any special guest musicians?

Actually, it’s a not a cello. It’s a contrabass and it’s played by Matti Tegelman, who is our producer´s brother. He’s a contrabass player! Mikko, our producer, told us that there’s a couple of songs that could be played at contrabass. I think we used it on 3 songs, multiplayed, to play it on the songs. He did a really good job!
We recorded two albums two years ago, but I think Matti Tegelman is the only guest on the album!

M.I. - Was it a “long time dream” to record an album like this? Who had this idea?

Like I said before, we had acoustic tours before we recorded the albums. Basically, when I joined the band, they had acoustic parts on the shows. During the electric shows, they had a couple of songs that they played with acoustic guitars and performed during the show. When I joined the band, we had a couple of accoustic shows, that we did for the Luxembourg radio program, stuff like that. We needed to perform the songs without electric instruments. We took the accoustic instruments and went to the radio, started to play. We thought: “Wow! That sounds good! We should take back the acoustic thing for the shows!”. And we did a couple of those shows! Then we thought: “Hey! That could work! We can maybe perform every night the whole show with acoustic arrangements!”. Then we started to work on that! We did an acoustic touring, in Finland, in Europe. During those tours, we were thinking that at some point we needed to record the album for the acoustic forms. But then, the pandemic started! Of course we didn’t have time, because we were rerecording electrical albums, then we were on tour. But when the pandemic started, we thought: “Now maybe it’s the time to go into the studio and record the albums!”. 

M.I. - You have revived some songs such as “I Have A Right” and “Victoria’s Secret”. How important are these songs for you? “Victoria’s Secret” was originally released in 2003, on “Winterheart’s Guild” and it’s released for a second time in an acoustic shape. What changes did you make in it?

All the songs are really important for me and for the band (laughs)! “I Have A Right” has been a major song since it was released, because of the words and the meaning that the song is telling about! It’s a big song, with an important message. Luckily, the song is very powerful and people really like that! So, we have been playing that a lot on live shows! 
We played it a lot on electric shows as well, but I think it has been a long time since we played it. When we started to do this acoustic thing, years back, on the tour, Elias just came to the rehearsals and started to play it. He just told us that he made some arrangements for one guitar, for the “Victoria’s Secret”. He started to play it and it was such a beautiful version of the song, that we were mind blown immediately! That became part of acoustic shows every night and that was the obvious song to record, when we hit the studio. 

M.I. - Mikko Tegelman has been the producer since the first album, at Studio57, in Finland and Janne Pitkänen was responsible for the cover. How was it for him and you to make this records? 

Mikko Tegelman is our front of vows life mixing engineer. He’s also, of course, a studio recording engineer and producer, but he’s our front of houselife mixing guy. He knows what that band can be on stage and he knows how we can sound, how we should sound. So, for a couple of albums, he’s been in the studio and produced them. He also always gives good advice, knows what we can do in a different way and knows how we can sound, in the studio and in the live situation! Yes! He’s a good part of our sound in the studio and live as well! Janne Pitkänen has been doing all the Sonata Arctica’s covers. So, a long history we have and he always does a great job for the graphics!

M.I. - Do you think of making a part three of this saga? What songs will you bring this time?

(Laughs) We’ve been talking about that! We need to do “Volume Three” “Four”, “Five” and “Six”, because we have so many, so many songs, from where to pick. We don’t know yet, when it can or will happen, but I’m sure that we really want to do it, but I don’t know yet when and of course, what songs could be included. I think and I hope that we will have a new electric album as well, before we are going to record a new acoustic album. We even have ten more new songs from where to choose, for the next acoustic album (laughs)! So, I don’t know yet!

M.I. - “Acoustic Adventures MMXXII” is the name of the Finnish tour, whereas the European tour: “Acoustic Adventures MMXXII” will have a special guest, Eleine. A Swedish Symphonic Metal band. Care to tell more about those tours, please? What surprises do you have for the fans? Do these tours will have any diferences and will Madeleine, the singer from Eleine, sing a duet with you?

Actually, the European tour should have been one year ago! So, it was planned on October/November 2021, to the European part! “Volume One” was released, was planned to be then, a year ago. But the pandemic mixed everything and we needed to push it one year later, postponed the tour for one year later! Then, we had planned the Finnish tour! Already been in February and the “Volume Two”, was planned to be released then! But of course, when the Europen leg was postponed for one year, we also postpned the album release and the “Volume One” had to be out, when the Finnish tour was planned to be in February. But that was also postponed, because of the pandemic! So, now the whole tour is going to start now, on the same day, when the “Volume Two” will be out! We released the “Volume One” already in February, but now when the tour starts, we will release the second part of the album saga (laughs)! 
Actually, we don’t know yet! The Finnish leg is going to be without Eleine! So, it’s just us, here in Finland! Then we will meet them in Sweden, when we start the European leg and we don’t have any plans, at least yet! If someone is joining us on stage, we don’t know yet! The tour is going to be long! So… 

M.I. - Next year, it’s your 25th anniversary and what better way than to make a “25th Anniversary Tour”. A tour in Latin America that will visit several cities of Brazil and Mexico. What do you have prepared for that tour and do you intend to extend it?

Actually, the band was found in 1996! The first album came out in 1999! So, next year will be 25 years from the release of “Ecliptica”! But, also the band is 26 years old (laughs)! Actually, we had the “25th Anniversary Tour” already, but of course, it was mostly cancelled, because of the pandemic. But we have been playing now. Last year and this year, we have been kind of performing the “25th Anniversary Tour” and having the songs from the whole of our career! When “Ecliptica” was 15 years old, we played it from the beginning to the end, on tour! But I don’t think that we are going to do it now again! We don’t have plans yet! I think we will have a new album and we will tour with that!
Yes! That was the first tour that was cancelled, when the pandemic started, in 2020. It has been postponed 4 times! So, it’s been so frustrating to wait, to go there and to see all the people there rock in Latin America! I really, really hope, that it can be done and it will happen, next spring! But, yeah! It’s in March!
I really hope that it happens! I really can’t wait to go there! It’s always so fun to play in Latin America! The audience is so wild, loud and it’s a pleasure to play there! Yeah! I really wait for it, but I don’t know yet how we will prepare it and what we will bring: which songs and more! I really can’t wait to get there! 

M.I. - You’ve come several occasions to Portugal, such as Vagos Open Air 2013 and Lisboa ao Vivo, 2017. What do you remember of those gigs? Do you intend to come back?

We’ve been in Portugal a couple of times, since I’ve been in the band! I started touring, with Sonata, in 2014! I think we’ve been a couple of times in Portugal after that! Yeah! The Lisbon show, I have lots of good memories and I really liked the city, as well, because me and Tony at least, and of course lots of our touring party, is going to see the city. We went up to the hill, where’s that castle in Lisbon. It’s a really nice place! What are those things that you eat with coffee? Pastry? 

M.I. -  Pastel de Belém!

(Laughs) Oh, yeah! That’s really good! Everytime I come to Portugal, I go there! 
Yeah, yeah, yeah! I think we don’t have dates for this tour yet, but I’m sure at some point, we will definitely go there. It always depends on our booking agents, how the routing will be and what venues or promoters are willing to have us there! So, we definitely will go back there!

M.I. - Pasi! Kiitos and what a great honor it was once again to talk with you! Good luck with the new album! Would you like to leave any final words for the readers of Metal Imperium and the fans of Sonata Artica?

Thank you! It was nice to talk with you and of course I’m really waiting for the album release and I hope that many people will hear the album and like it! I’m waiting for the tour a lot, it’s great to be back on the road, hope to see as many of you and your readers on the tour, when we are there!
So, I’m really waiting for the tour!

Listen to Sonata Arctica, on Spotify

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Raquel Miranda