THE DEMO CORNER
Peter: The last six months have been very eventful for Sonata Arctica, with a live album (Live in Finland) and now a new studio album in Stones Grow Her Name. How are you feeling with the whirlwind of activity?
Henrik Klingenberg: Really great! I'm not comfortable with just laying around on the couch doing nothing, and although I like spending time with my family, I have to make music to keep myself sane, so I'm truly happy that we have a lot of work.
Peter: Speaking of Stones Grow Her Name, what are some of the recording and production aspects of the album?
Henrik: We did what we've been doing with the past few albums, and that is rehearsing and arranging together as a band for about six weeks before recording our parts in different studios all over Finland, so production-wise, no big changes here. We also produced this album ourselves despite talking about trying out some outside producer. The main difference, I think, was that Tony [Kakko], our songwriter, had most of the songs ready by the end of the last World Tour so it was much easier to get a grip of the songs as a band and thus, the arrangements were even more of a band effort than before.
Peter: What was Sonata Arctica aiming for in terms of sound and how does it fit in with the other albums in the band discography?
Henrik: We always try to do what's right for the song and, of course, get a general soundscape that pleases us at the moment. In this case, it was going for a more rock sound with louder guitars than before. There are still a lot of keyboards and vocals that soften the overall sound, but the basics are more rock this time. We also dropped most of the symphonic stuff we had on the last album, as these songs didn't need them.
Peter: The cover art for Stones Grow Her Name is one of the more exceptional pieces that have graced a Sonata Arctica album. Who did the cover art and how does it fit with the album’s purpose?
Henrik: It was the same guy as before, Toxicangel. He worked with Tony over Skype and after they came up with the initial image, we all had a look and made comments. Some weeks later, it was done. As I think this album is more positive than the last one, it seemed appropriate to have something less dark in color on the cover. However, now when I look at it, the cover seems quite tragic in its overall feel.
Peter: The last two tracks on the album are a part of the “Wildfire” concept that began with the song of the same name from the Reckoning Night album. What is the story behind it and why wait almost eight years to complete the story?
Henrik: It wasn't originally meant to be anything more than the first song, but the story was left a bit open and the arsonist-dude in the first one makes a comeback (the whole thing now, all three parts, is about 20 minutes long with a lot happening so check it out for the full storyline… I don't want to spoil anything). There was initially a melody-line in the first part that was pretty much buried behind all kinds of other things that went on, and as Tony noodled with the melody and wrote a song around it, it was only natural to connect the first two lyrically as well. The third part was a completely different song that was later connected via the story to the first two.
Peter: With the new album comes a video for the first single in “I Have a Right.” What was it like shooting the video and what was the story behind the video?
Henrik: It was really easy, and probably, for our part, the easiest video we've ever made. We actually shot the playing parts for three videos at the same time. We rented an abandoned school here in Kemi, our hometown (in north Finland) and had different set-ups there. It took us just two days to do our part. Our director later added the other stuff at his studio in Helsinki. We talked a lot about the concept and our original idea was to use this sandscaping artist to tell the story, but when it fell through we found an artist who did the same thing by drawing. It was a thrill to see the first cut of the video since we'd only talked about general ideas of how we wanted the inserts to be. Luckily, we were pretty much on the same page and the end result is really amazing.
Peter: What touring plans are in the works in support of the album and will there be something for North America?
Henrik: At the moment, it's going to be festivals in Europe during the summer with club shows in Europe to follow during the fall. In the beginning of 2013, there's Asia and South America among others, so the earliest we'll be in North America is just before the summer of 2013 or in the fall of the same year. At the moment, everything is being mapped out, so don't shoot me if I'm completely off with my estimates. Nevertheless, rest assured we will do a North American Tour with this album. How could we not?
Peter: Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Henrik: Since we can't be everywhere at the same time, you guys will have to wait a bit but keep your spirits up and we hope to see you as soon as possible. Cheers and thanks a lot!!!
Sonata Arctica's Henrik Klingenberg
June 1, 2012
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Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Genre: Classic / Power Metal
Tony Kakko: Vocals & Keyboards
Elias Viljanen: Guitars
Henrik Klingenberg: Keyboards
Marko Paasikoski: Bass
Tommy Portimo: Drums
Songs of Silence - Live (2002)
Winterheart's Guild (2003)
Reckoning Night (2004)
For the Sake of Revenge (2006)
The Days of Grays (2009)
Stones Grow Her Name (2012)