-- Amberian Dawn gets shredded --

Stijn Daneels
On February 11, 2017 I went to the Verlichte Geest in Roeselare to spend time with Amberian Dawn and Diabulus in Musica. Both bands were on the second gig of their European tour to celebrate their 10th anniversaries!

I sat together with Amberian Dawn's Tuomas and Capri in their tour bus to talk about the band's first ten years, how Tuomas deals with the occasional writer's block, his vision on making music and how he and Capri keep themselves in good shape. On to fame & gloria!

BMS: Hello, Tuomas and Capri! First off, congratulations on Amberian Dawn's 10th anniversary!
Capri: Thank you!
Tuomas: Thanks! It was ten incredible years of writing and recording music and touring across Europe! I look forward to spending another ten incredible years with my band and writing new, exciting material. But like every other music writer I sometimes suffer from writer's block.
BMS: How do you cope with writer's block?
Tuomas: It depends on the situation. Either I take my guitar or keyboard and play whatever comes up in my mind or I allow myself a week of complete rest from my instruments. You know, ideas can come to you at anytime. I can't tell you how many times music starts to form inside my head while I'm listening to the radio in my car or when I'm jogging through the forest.
BMS: The only music I hear playing in my head when jogging are songs from the Rocky series! Eye of the Tiger! If only the Rocky steps would appear just before I finish my workouts. And how do you deal with writer's block, Capri?
Capri: Usually I have little to no trouble writing lyrics to Tuomas's songs. I'm a huge movie fan, and when I hear his music I start thinking about a particular movie and my lyrics are based on such movies. And in case I can't immediately think about some suitable lines for the new material, I simply watch some more movies and then I write down all the lines I may be able to use for write my lyrics.

Picture taken from Amberian Dawn's official website. From left to right: Emil Pohjalainen (guitar), Jukka Hoffren (bass), Capri (vocals), Tuomas Seppälä (keyboards) and Joonas Pykälä-Aho (drums).
BMS: So you like movies, what kind of movies? My personal preferences are action, horror, sci-fi and other spectacle movies.
Capri: I mainly go for historically inspired films and TV-series. Movies like Gladiator, Ben-Hur and 300. And for TV-series I dig Game of Thrones and Vikings a lot!
Tuomas: I like comedies, horror and sci-fi movies. But neither Capri nor myself like dramas. We want our movies to be action-packed and high-paced. We don't want to fall asleep when watching a film.
BMS: Ha, me neither! So, this isn't the first time you've played in Belgium. Do you like my country?
Tuomas: We certainly enjoy spending time here in Belgium. You're very enthusiastic about our music and you're professional and friendly.
BMS: And Belgian winters probably aren't as cold as Finnish winters, right?
Tuomas: Last week the temperature in Finland was as low as -20°C. So yeah, it can be pretty chilling out there.
BMS: This is Amberian Dawn's first headlining tour, are you ready for action?
Capri: Fuck yeah! For me, this is my second tour with Amberian Dawn (the first AD tour I did was with Delain and the Gentle Storm). But this time, things feel much grander. Since we're now the headlining act, we've got much more freedom and resources to make our shows reach their full potential.
Tuomas: I only hope we won't be suffering from technical issues. It's frustrating when you try to put up a good show but only to get hampered by malfunctioning equipment or a lack of audio feedback.
BMS: I understand. As you said earlier you've toured all across Europe. How do you personally cope with all those grueling touring schedules?
Tuomas: Touring is physically and mentally demanding, but I love to go see the world. I'd say we also were a bit lucky to have the chance to go on tour with so many popular, talented bands! We've learned a lot during those trips and now we're finally able to setup a tour of our own.

Capri: Personally I love touring as well, especially when I wake up in the bus while everyone else is still sleeping. Then I go into full Ethan Hunt infiltrating CIA vault mode (minus the rappel) and quietly sneak towards the front of the bus to have a breakfast chat with the driver.
BMS: It's been two years since you released Innuendo, your latest album. Since you've got the habit of producing an album every two years, I'd guess we're going to see some new Amberian Dawn material soon, right?
Tuomas: That's right. We're planning to release a new album somewhere around September or October this year. Currently all material is fully written and we'll probably be hitting the studio in April. So it won't take much longer for our fans to enjoy some fresh songs!
BMS: And can you tell me about what that new Amberian Dawn stuff will be like?
Tuomas: I'd say 75% of these new songs will be fast and heavy a bit similar to the tracks from the Circus Black album while the other 25% will be more pop music oriented. As always there will be some experimentation involved in that new material. It's fun to try out new things.

Pictures and collage made by Bianca Lootens.
BMS: And that's one of the things I like most about Amberian Dawn, your work ethic. You don't limit yourself to one certain style neither do you let other people decide how your music should be like. But tell me, Tuomas, do you actually listen to a lot of music yourself?
Tuomas: I don't listen to music that often anymore. Usually I listen to music while driving my car and either the radio is tuned to a great Finnish rock and metal station called Radio Rock (yeah, really original) or a classical music channel or a station that plays 80s music. In fact, I don't like listening to music that sounds similar to the music I write. It's more inspiring to listen to different genres all together.

Capri: I don't listen to a lot of music myself either. As I said before, movies are my main cup of tea.
BMS: Tuomas, I read in an interview that you are interested in writing a video game soundtrack!
Tuomas: That's right. And another dream of mine is to one day write the music for a musical! However, I'd first need to find someone who has experience with musicals so that my tunes go perfectly together with the theatrics.
BMS: Interesting. Personally I'd think that some Amberian Dawn's songs would fit very well in a musical as well as for historically inspired action RPG.
BMS: What other things do the two of you have in life aside from Amberian Dawn?
Tuomas: I like to do sports like jogging through the woods. Finland has beautiful, naturally reserved forests, you should really visit it when you've got the chance, it's almost like entering a different world. Overall, I'm a person who likes to do outside activities. Unlike some other people, I hate working out indoors.

Capri: Are you talking to me? Anyway, like Tuomas I also enjoy running, however I prefer doing it indoors on a treadmill. Simply because I have the habit to run up till the point my legs nearly collapse and my lungs nearly explode. When that moment comes, I can just turn off the treadmill and rest. However, if I were to be jogging outside I'd have to call a cab as soon as I'm at the end of my strength. Aside from music, movies and running, I also have an appetite for gardening and taking my dog out for a walk.
BMS: I was particularly impressed by the music videos of Magic Forest and Fame & Gloria. There were almost like mini-movies.
Tuomas: Both videos were directed by Markku Kirves. In fact, we originally wanted to record the Fame & Gloria video on a real pirate ship however practical and financial limitations turned the ship into a CGI image. Still, we're very pleased with the end result.
BMS: And so do I. The ship still looked pretty real to me. So congratulations on part of your computer animator for his work. Now, do you have any plans to go on tour outside of Europe?
Tuomas: We're actively looking to organize a tour outside of Europe, however, we're just one of many bands who want to tour the world. I'd say a South-American tour will be most likely at the moment since we've got many fans out there.
BMS: I've got one final important question for you. Since you've accumulated a large fanbase, have toured Europe multiple times and are now doing your first headlining tour, I'd consider you a successful band. What advice would you give to up-and-coming bands?
Tuomas: For me, the main ingredient of a successful music act is to stand 110% behind the music your present. True creativity is genuinely expressing yourself through the art you create.
Capri: I completely agree with Tuomas. Don't let other people decide how your music should sound like. It's your work, and it's up to you to decide where you want to go with it!

Tuomas: And another thing I'd like to say is that the music industry probably isn't the right place if you want to become rich and famous. The artists you see on TV are just a really small fraction of the thousands upon thousands of music acts on the market. Sure, it's not a bad thing to get inspired by your heroes, but don't think the money and crowds will instantly appear as soon as you start a band. The most important reason you want to be in a band is to have fun. To have fun writing and playing music, to have fun on stage and to have fun going out and meeting new people.
BMS: All right, is there anything else you wish to tell me before I ask Mike for a picture?
Tuomas: It was a pleasure to get shredded by you!
Capri: Same for me, enjoy our show tonight!

Picture of me and the band taken by Mike De Coene.
Amberian Dawn - Fame & Gloria