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This should have been a nice chat with Elenium´s Johannes Salo (keys) and Tuomo Räisänen (bass) to reflect on the release of their new CD “Caught In A Wheel”... Shortly after the album release, however, both guitarplayers Tommi Leinonen and Kasperi Heikkinen decided to leave Elenium ”due to the lack of motivation towards the band”, as news have it on the band homepage (www.eleniumband.com). Bad timing, as the band from Helsinki/Vantaa is already booking shows for autumn/winter 07 and will be on a Finland tour with Kalmah in December...
Isn´t it discouraging to lose two guitarists, when a new album has just come out and gigs are to be played soon? Tuomo: Sure it’s a bit frustrating, but it`s just something you have to live with. It can also be seen as a new opportunity to grow as a band. That`s how we feel at the moment. We are feeling hungrier than ever.
Please introduce the remaining band members with all their characteristics, spleens
etc., and what requirements, potential new members should have Tuomo: We have known each other for ages so we are like brothers. It may take some character for the new guys to settle into the group and into our way of working. Basically we`re just a bunch of fun loving weirdos that happen to love music and Metal too. To be yourself is all that you can do, as they sing in the radio. That`s my advice to the potential new members as well.
How would you define the music you play? Johannes: Groovy, melodic, progressive, rhythmic, heavy, atmospheric…. Ele-Metal Tuomo: Open minded metal
Who do you want to reach, or what do you want to achieve with your music? Johannes: The musical goal is non-stop progress, an endless chase of the ultimate song. Tuomo: Music lovers around the globe. I`ve always been interested in bands that have the talent and courage to do something a bit differently and end up sounding original. In my youth there were for example Edge of Sanity and Arcturus that managed to break some boundaries and they were a huge boost of inspiration for me.
How did it all begin? Johannes: J (vocals), Okko (ex.guitarist) and I took the first steps in autumn 1995. Okko had created some riffs and all of us were really on fire! In our first rehearsals I played the drums. Soon when we found a real drummer I moved to play keys, which were more familiar to me. Tuomo (bass) and Daavid (ex.2nd guitar) joined us a few weeks later.
What are your most important musical influences? Johannes: Two bands from my youth and my growth area. Borealms (R.I.P) played melodic and atmospheric stuff and Amorphis. Both showed how brilliantly keys can be mixed to metal music and I got some major inspiration of their music. Today the most important musical influence is Elenium. Tuomo: Good music in general.
Who writes the music /lyrics, or are all in the band responsible? Johannes: Tommi (ex guitar), Tuomo and I have composed all the music. J takes care of the lyrics. Tuomo wrote also some text to our first album (For Giving – For Getting). Tuomo: In the end it`s always a group effort `cause the songs evolve a lot during the training process.
Why did it take such a long time to have the second record out? Johannes: Exactly! It has been about 2 years when we recorded it. People are asking about the recordings now and I’m starting to forget things from the sessions. Well, the reason why it took so long time is that there was no proper deal until Kampas contacted us. Tuomo: It`s a commercial suicide, although it`s a really entertaining one. We`ve also had some minor setbacks along the way, like 2 bankrupt labels. Better late than never.
What do you do if you are not in the band? Johannes: Working. Tuomo: Nothing.
Which slogan for Elenium would be the best, to be put on a t-shirt or boxer shorts? Johannes: Bringing bad karma since 1995
Would you sell your soul to the devil to become famous? Johannes: We sold our souls already, but the devil ripped us off.
What is your dream, where does your motivation come from? Johannes: We feel that we can offer something fresh not only to metal music, but also to the music field in general. Tuomo: Elenium is our common dream, and although we`ve had some setbacks and other shit, the good things make it worth the pain. I`ve met so many incredibly nice people along our way, I must consider myself to be rather lucky.
What will you do if you don´t get to have a career in music business? Johannes: I really don’t know? Maybe I’ll do something with music. Tuomo: Hmmm…perhaps a career in music business?
What was the most exciting/the most disappointing moment in your band history (except losing two guitarists just recently...)? Johannes: In year 2004 we were ready to hit the studio to record our follow up to “For Giving – For Getting”. Then we got the news that our label Rage of Achilles is going bankrupted. All of the contracts were cancelled. Tuomo: The most exciting moment was when Johannes called me in 2003 and said RoA are offering a deal to us. It was a dream come through. But as mentioned before, we are feeling hungrier than ever and I believe the most exciting moments are still ahead.
What was the most absurd thing that happened to you, or what was your worst gig? Johannes: Two weeks before “For Giving – For Getting” recordings in 2003 big part of our equipment were drowned in a sewer accident in our rehearsal place. That was quite absurd. Tuomo: Our equipment literally drowned into shit.
What do you think is cool/totally sucks about being a musician? Tuomo: It sucks to be totally broke all the time. Hangovers are also getting worse day by day. Otherwise it just rules.
Which band would you enjoy touring with? Johannes: It would be cool to tour with our friends Omnium Gatherum, but now that our vocalist J has joined their team, the idea has experienced some inflation. In Flames would be great! Tuomo: Gojira would do the trick for me.
What do you plan in the near future? Johannes: We`re going to start heavy training sessions as soon as possible. We have a bunch of new guitarist candidates to test during the summer. We’ll hit the stages in autumn/winter this year. Tuomo: New material, new album, new everything.
Thanks for the interview, and – guitarists, how about applying for the vacancies right now?