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STALKERs Fresh Act – August 2007

The Finnish band MoonMadness - Otto Hallamaa (lead git), Turkka Vuorinen (keys), Heidi Bergbacka (voc), Antto Nikolai (dr) and Juha Leppäharju (b) – exists since 2004, released two singles so far (“Thunder” 2006, "Stroke of Midnight" 2007) and gained a reputation as live act, e. g. warming up for Sonata Arctica. High time that STALKER checks them out! Heidi, Otto and Turkka faced the challenge to answer our questions.

Who are you? Please introduce all band members with all their characteristics, spleens etc.
Turkka: It´s too risky to say anything about the others (big laugh)...

Is the Metal scene in Tampere much different to Helsinki?
Heidi: No, I don´t think that it´s that different. In Helsinki there is lot more different places that you can go to play, but no, I don´t think that there is any major differences.
Otto: I´m not that familiar with the Helsinki scene… maybe it´s bit more loose and relaxed over here in Tampere.

What kind of music - in your definition - do you play?
Turkka: “Melodic hardrock with female vocals” is the basic answer and someone else can explain why we are not just a basic melodic hardrock band with female vocals...
Heidi: In my definition we play happy, catchy music. We like to have fun playing and have lots of energy in our music. That goes to both live and forthcoming album…
Otto: I´m quoting Ronnie James Dio from his recent interview here…”life metal”.

Who are your musical idols, what are your most important musical influences?
Heidi: I really don´t have one or two idols or influences. Inspiration comes from everywhere and everything. Of course as a female artist I look up to strong female voices. But recently I have been introduced to many male artists and different bands that really hits me… for example Dream Theater, Dio, Rainbow… Wow, what more can you say..?
Otto: Depends on my mood and day… generally everything from 16th century onwards that has melody, power, attitude and simplicity…
Turkka: As I was younger I listened a lot Iron Maiden, Bon Jovi, Stratovarius, Dream Theater and so on. Nowadays I mainly listen to soundtracks and try also to familiarize my self with various music styles.

In the concert review (with Tacere) I compared your sound (keyboard, guitar) with Rainbow and Deep Purple, would you agree?
Heidi: As I told you, I have been getting to know these two bands for awhile now and yes I could agree that there is some similarities in our sound. Although I think that it doesn´t go to every song. I think that we have our own sound because of the people that are in the band. Influences come from so many places. It´s amazing how we can take a piece from here and there (and by that I mean from 70´s to 2007) and combine it to a great music which sounds like something old… something new... you know…
Turkka: Yes. Those bands have been in creating a certain genre of rock and in our music you can hear the influence of their music.

Who do you want to reach, or what do you want to achieve with your music?
Heidi: Everyone of course! We want to show people how fun music can be, even though you take it seriously. We want to show what hard work can do. I personally would like to someday make a living from this thing…
Otto: Those people who enjoy life and want to share the experience with us and our music. Hopefully we achieve a chance to do so…
Turkka: We are making music because we like to do it. We make it for ourselves and of course it´s a nice thing if other people finds it as enjoyable listening 

How did it all begin?
Otto: Juha and I started to look for something “new” around Millennium. At that point I wasn´t completely sure what that “new” would be. After seeing Turkka playing for the first time we knew immediately that he was our guy. We didn´t want to hurry so it took few years before the vocalist Satu was found. Some year later the first drummer Ari joined himself in MoonMadness and then things got very busy almost overnight. In fact Satu and Ari met for the first time in our first photo shoot. Then after couple of false starts and stop and go´s, Antto and Heidi joined in 2006.

Who writes the music /lyrics, or are all in the band responsible?
Otto: The material we are working on currently in the studio is basically written in collaboration by Turkka, our former singer Satu and me. The whole band does the arrangements together.

What do you do if you are not in the band (studying, working)?
Heidi: Working my ass off in an international clothing company as a Visual Merchandiser.
Otto: I´m in the business…
Turkka: I´m a captain of a ship... it´s not a joke... besides that I´m studying digital sound and commercial music in university of applied sciences and also running an audiovisual production company with my school mate.

Create a slogan for your band!
Otto: “Close enough for Rock´n Roll”, one of our most used studio phrases would probably go as a slogan…

Would you sell your soul to the devil to become famous?
Heidi: Absolutely not. I think that if the prize doesn´t come because of the hard work, you cannot cherish it right...
Otto: Well… I never asked to be famous, I asked to be successful…
Turkka: If our goal would be becoming famous I think that there would be some better ways to make it.

What would you pick if you had to choose between sex, drugs and Rock?n?Roll?
Heidi: Drugs absolutely not… so it would be difficult to choose between those other two… hmm… I´ll take Rock´n´Roll. Although I would prefer Sex´n´Roll ;)
Otto: I´d pass on drugs…

What is your dream, where does your motivation come from?
Heidi: My dream is to become a person who can help other people by making music… mentally and physically…
Otto: I can´t really point out exactly but I´ve had this kind of driving force to do this almost as long as I can remember.
Turkka: Being able to create your own music and having a chance to record and to perform it for other people. Motivation is hard to describe... trying to make music that makes you feel something... sometimes happy sometimes sad.

What will you do if you don?t get to have a career in music business?
Heidi: Ride my motorcycle… after a hard day in the same store where I work now...
Otto: I´m not sure if the words “career” and “music business” can fit in the same sentence…
Turkka: I think that whatever I´ll be doing for living is somehow involved with the music business.

What was the most exciting/the most disappointing moment in your band history? 
Heidi: As far as I can remember I have had only exciting moments... well, there was this one live-thing, but I think that it was more educational than disappointing moment... at least I would like to think of it like that...
Turkka: Playing in front of sold out Pakkahuone venue at Tampere, Finland was pretty exciting.

What was the most absurd thing that happened to you?
Heidi: When a straight woman comes to tell you that you´re hot... after a live show…
Otto: Honestly I believe that the list of happenings that are not absurd would be much shorter…

What happened during your best/your worst live show?
Heidi: In a good show I´ll get sweaty… in my worst show... (so far) my microphone was disconnected in the middle of the song by myself… of course this was the show that had many many other not so pleasant things.
Turkka: When we played in Turku, Finland and our intro CD got "broken record syndrome"

If you really got hit by moon madness, what would (each one of you) do?

Heidi: I would probably go out to run… but I am so good at sleeping, so I really don´t have to worry about that… although I have been hit by some kind of madness since I am in the band…
Turkka: Usually full moon keeps me awake, but if I would really get mad... well, that´s another story ;)
Otto: As said, when you´re in, you are already struck by it…

Which song are you most proud of, and why?

Otto: Maybe “Victims of the Moon” because it blends different musical influences and rocks although played in quite unusual time signature for this kind of music. I´d probably pick up different one every other day…
Turkka: Hard one... hmm... well, I like “On the Edge of Madness” a lot, so I would pick that one.

What do you think is cool/totally sucks about being a musician?
Heidi: COOL: You get to meet other musicians. And learn from them...
SUCKS: That at this point you have to have a job to make music and eat everyday... at least I do…
Otto: The coolest is the feeling when the band plays live really tightly as unit and gets the response and vibe from the audience. And what sucks… well, travelling can get bit tedious at times...

Would you participate in Eurovision or Idols contest?
Heidi: NO!
Otto: I really can´t see that happening.

Which band would you enjoy touring with?
Otto: Thinking about bands I´ve seen lately I´d say Heaven & Hell.

What do you plan in the near future?
Heidi: I think that it is going to be pretty much around the forthcoming album...
Otto: Continue working on our forthcoming debut album.
Turkka: Getting the debut album done and after that making good gigs.

Band website: www.moonmadness.org

Author: Klaudia Weber, transl. Kathleen Gransalke, photos: MoonMadness
Date: 2007-07-31

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English Deutsch Fresh Acts: MoonMadness<br>STALKERs Fresh Act – August 2007 - STALKER MAGAZINE inside out of rock´n´roll