2015, Features, Interviews — January 27, 2015 at 7:30 am

Eicca Toppinen of Apocalyptica

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“…we’ve been doing festivals all over the world but not in Australia. You know the first trip we did last time there in 2012 for the club shows we were blown away by the fans and the way the people reacted at the shows and really excited and curious to see what happens on the big festival.”

From Bio: Since their inception in 1993, APOCALYPTICA have been mining classical form and structure, ever coming up with unpredictable new musical projects. Twenty-one years into an inimitable global career exceeding well over 1000 live concerts, performed in over 50 countries, they are still reinventing themselves – creating massive attention in media as well as the charts on all continents.

We caught up with Eicca of Apocalyptica to fill us in about their upcoming Soundwave appearance, their forthcoming album ‘Shadowmaker’ and having one singer…

Nice to talk to you again, Eicca, now of course you’re headed back to Australia, this time for the Soundwave, how pumped are you to be heading down to be a part of this massive festival?
We’re super excited for that, we’ve been doing festivals all over the world but not in Australia. You know the first trip we did last time there in 2012 for the club shows we were blown away by the fans and the way the people reacted at the shows and really excited and curious to see what happens on the big festival.

Playing festivals before, how if in any way do you treat preparation for a festival set differently to one of your smaller headlining shows?
Of course the festival set needs to say, I won’t say entertaining, but you need to have a certain pace to keep up, in a club show it’s so different as people are there to see Apocalyptica, they come to the show to see Apocalytpica but at a festival there are tonnes of people that have never heard about Apocalyptica, so you need to take that a little into consideration where you plan set lists, to get the audience you need to keep them until the end of the set, so it’s a little bit of a different feel behind building up a festival set and a club set.

Is there anyone that you’re excited to be sharing the tour with?
Actually it’s a long time ago I checked the billing, but Slipknot are there and I’m a little bit bummed that Faith No More are not on the same day that we are because I saw them like five years ago in a festival in Finland and it was a really, really fantastic show. So those are the main, but Lamb of God is on the billing, but there’s a load bands and I’m very curious, and it’s cool to have the same bands over four days and it’s good to have different schedules promo wise and stuff like that. Many times on the festivals there are many bands you’d love to see but many times you’re doing something and have to miss them, so I’m expecting to see a lot of bands on that tour.

After witnessing your show here in Sydney in 2012 and being blown away, what memories do you have of that debut tour down here?
It was exotic in way and it felt like home at the same time, this was my personal first trip to Australia and I really liked the country really loved the cities, I usually don’t like cities very much, but the Australian cities I really fell in love with and the crowds were really passionate, they really show off and if they go for it, they really go for it and that’s exactly what happened on that tour and I’m really excited to see the festival crowd. In twenty years in the business I’ve always heard great stories about Australian festivals and all the times you had the Big Day Out and now Soundwave, people are telling good stories about it.

Your new album ‘Shadowmaker’ is due this April, can you tell us a bit about what people can expect from this forthcoming album?
The concept is once again it’s different *laughs* we usually change our concept on every album and compared to previous albums we sort of had the same concept but had some guest vocalists, this time the biggest difference is that we have one singer, Franky Perez is doing all the vocal tracks, I think there will be eight vocal tracks out of twelve tracks on this record, and it makes the album more solid and it sounds more like a band album than the previous ones. I think it’s an album full of attitude that was kind of our main approach that everything we should be very characteristic, everything should be recorded to make sense and really needed to talk to us as therefore it could talk to other people, but I think what can I say, I think it’s a great record and I know everybody always says ‘I think this is the best record we’ve done’ but I think is maybe more a characteristic record since ‘Cult’ which was in 2000, I think this relates more and is an album with no compromise.

You mentioned on this album that you’ve got Franky Perez taking on all vocal duties, what was the idea behind doing that for this album, was it to make it more of a band aspect for you?
Yeah it was always great to do the featuring stuff, but at the same time we were losing a lot of grip of the whole thing because making a record and having so many people involved with the process and especially having too many managers and too many record labels involved *laughs* that they’d always make the production very messy and we never knew in studio which songs are going to happen, it might be that we have four guests on the record but are maybe talking with seven different guests, and then it was about scheduling and company politics and all that bullshit and I said after the last record that I didn’t want to make the next record like this as it’s not comfortable, I want to make a record that we as the band, as Apocalyptica, it’s our fucking record and nobody tells us what to do*laughs* which is what they do, and our only consolation was to find a singer. The other thing with that is we felt that we were touring with a different singer who was not on any album, and I felt that it was not connecting together you know? The things are not connecting well enough and everybody knew that of course the guest vocalists are not going to tour with us and sing one song, so who is going to be on stage? Apocalyptica has always been a difficult concept to explain to people, they play cellos, they play metal, then they have this, and then this with this singer and it’s been all around kind of thing and now I feel it’s more a band and solid unit kind of thing and that’s exactly in my opinion what you can hear from the album, it was very different to have Franky, but now we had the chance and had weeks in the studio in pre-production and arranging the songs with the vocalist and it really brought the songs into a new level.

Obviously then he’s the touring vocalist?
Yeah he’s going to tour with the band for at least the next two years at least *laughs*

It was five years between albums with this new one coming, what took so long for a new one?
First of all with the last album we were touring for two years, that was the last tour for that album finished in 2012, it was Spring and in Australia *laughs* and I wanted to have a Sabbath year as I’ve been doing this for sixteen years with no breaks, maybe one month here and another month there but all the time song writing, pre-production, album or touring and I also felt that I needed a break before the new record but I also felt we had new markets and had to get an album out for them, and I was like I want to get a break, that the whole band gets time as I didn’t want to what bands do, they get in trouble with that, many bands make records because they think they have to, they are told that people will forget you if you don’t make a new record, or that you lose markets and you lose the fans but I was like ‘fuck you’ if we lose the fans then we deserve to lose the fans, so seeing as that we need a break and need the distance we thought after one year let’s get together and see how we feel and what we want to do and I think it was definitely the right choice for us, because the band was in great shape in Australia at the end of the tour, the atmosphere was great and we thought this is a great time to take a little time out because I saw that the day we don’t take a break would be the day we crash into the wall and hit the wall so that’s it. I think you can hear the excitement from the new record and that everyone was super excited to be working on it. Your brain is like a hard drive, it gets fragmented if you don’t clean it up and the only way to clean up your head is to have some off time *laughs* if you just continue to work and work and work you just run out of creativity in the process, so I think it’s very important to breathe time to time.

In the now over twenty years since the band formed, what’s the biggest thing you’ve learned from being in the band you didn’t expect?
Ooh I didn’t to expect to learn anything *laughs*, I didn’t have any expectations in the beginning, but I’ve learned that being in this band and being in really super stressful situations and touring around the world and seeing different cultures I think I learned to cool down now over whatever crisis happens and I know that I learned that everything can be solved and sorted out and usually there’s no reason to panic *laughs* and it’s very important to focus on the main things, especially in this kind of life, having a band and running a band there’s so much bullshit on the side and a billion things you can spend your time on, but you need to focus on the main thing you are god at which is making music. Most of the other things around other people can do, but you can easily collate yourself too much work because you want to do that and that and that and that and then you lose focus on making music and then you get fucked up. So that’s maybe one of the biggest things *laughs* it comes with everything, everyone should focus and make up their mind on what is the most important thing and where you are most valuable and then focus on that.

Lastly let’s look ahead to the future, finish this sentence for me. By the end of 2015, Apocolyptica will…
be alive and kicking harder than ever before. I think we’ve learned a lot of tools on how to keep going and how to avoid negative things accumulating, we know how to schedule our touring, we’ve learned how to handle our relations, it doesn’t have the usual things that bands hate each other after one year touring, we’ve been really good at that and that’s why I see the future is really bright because the band is really motivated and I’m sure we can keep our engine running.

Catch Apocalyptica as part of Soundwave 2015 at the following dates:

SATURDAY 21 FEBRUARY & SUNDAY 22 FEBRUARY, 2015
BONYTHON PARK, ADELAIDE & FLEMINGTON RACECOURSE, MELBOURNE

SATURDAY 28 FEBRUARY & SUNDAY 1 MARCH, 2015
OLYMPIC PARK, SYDNEY & BRISBANE SHOWGROUNDS, BRISBANE

Sidewave shows with Marilyn Manson and Deathstars.

WEDNESDAY 25 FEBRUARY
SYDNEY, THE ENMORE

FRIDAY 27 FEBRUARY
BRISBANE, THE TIVOLI (18+)

Tickets on sale Tue 27 Jan, 9am 

For tickets and more information head to

soundwavefestival.com / facebook.com/soundwavefestival / twitter.com/soundwavefest

 

Essential Information

From: Helsinki, Finland

Band members: Eicca Toppinen, Perttu Kivilaakso, Paavo Lotjonen, Mikko Siren, Franky Perez

Website: http://www.apocalyptica.com

Forthcoming release: Shadowmaker (April 2015)

 

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