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Embassy of Silence
STALKERs Fresh Act July 2010
After Nightwish many bands from Finland tried to follow in their footsteps, many of them failed. But Embassy of Silence seems to be on the right path to international stages with their melodic Metal/Rock music and a powerful female voice. They just produced and released their debut record “Euphorialight”, which should be available also near you, thanks to a recently landed distribution deal – the timing couldn´t be better to introduce the band, therefore we talked to Tero Kalliomäki, lead guitars, and singer Ines Lukkanen.
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Who are you? Please introduce all band members
Ines: Our band consists of six weirdos; I´m Ines Lukkanen and do the oralizing (hehe), Tero Kalliomäki plays lead guitar and does our compositions, Samu Lahtinen plays bass, Harri Koskela humps the keyboard, and we also have Jaakko Hauru behind the drums and Jarno Suodenjoki tormenting the other guitar.
What kind of music do you play?
Ines: Our style of music is melodic rock/metal that weighs heavily on acoustic guitars and beautiful atmosphere, and also has a progressive vibe to it.
Tero: Our music has evolved more and more into the direction of metal since the very beginning, as opposed to sticking to ballads, and that´s a bonus. The proper balance between both beautiful and harder atmospheres just seems like our thing. Hints of progressiveness keep the listener awake and the songs interesting and the "yeah, in one ear and out the other" -effect is avoided.
How did it all begin? Is there a story behind the band name?
Ines: Everything began in the spring of 2007 when I appeared as a guest vocalist on the album of Saattue, Tero´s other band. We got to talk about music, and he asked if I´d like to sing in his project, which ended up being more than just a project. We made songs together and slowly gathered the rest of the band around us, all passionate about the music we play. As to the name of the band, I wish I could say there was a thrilling tale of humour and adventure to the band name, but it was really just one of those "let´s run some suggestions up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes" -things. We needed a name and Embassy of Silence had a certain irony and majesty to it.
Tero: It had been my dream since the 90´s to start a band based on beauty, and one that wouldn´t follow the genre-boundaries so dogmatically. It was coincidence that I found a songstress with a wonderful voice - Ines, that is. I suppose the vocalist could have been a guy as well, and to be honest, it was a close call at one point, when I asked Jani Hytönen (vocalist of Jarno´s other band, Kiana) to start an Anathema-type of a project somewhere in 2000. At that time Jani backed out, as I guess he didn´t like the songs I had made, heh. Too bad in a way, he´s a great singer.
Ines: Well, boo-hoo, I´m really sorry for you! (laughs)
Who writes the music /lyrics, or are all in the band responsible?
Ines: The deal has been that Tero makes the skeleton of the songs, sends them to me, and I make lyrics on top of them, after which the modifying starts. In the future, however, we´ll be involving the rest of the band as well, so that the songs are arranged in collaboration. This should give our material even more variety than before.
Tero: What I especially love about the whole music circle is creating something new, and how the songs give amazing kicks once I hear the versions with vocals. Almost orgastic, heh! The difference is that the pleasure I get out of music lasts longer.
Ines: In the last interview it was all about cheese, and now it´s back to sexual references!
You just released your debut record „Euphorialight“, can you tell us something about the production of the record, where did you record it and so on?
Ines: Euphorialight comprises of 11 stories in the shape of songs, out of which 3 were selected from our old material, and the rest were composed solely for Euphorialight. The album, just as everything else we´ve released before it, was recorded at D-Studio´s in southern Finland, but this time we went all out, and it was mastered at Sweden´s cutting room. It was a whole different kind of process than making a 3- or 4-song EP, and this really has been a journey to remember.
Tero: For me the creative process in its entirety was an approximately 6-month "holiday" that I didn´t want to return from. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole time we were in studio, although it´s hard work, to be sure.
Could you tell us something about your musical background? Are you in more than one band?
Ines: I´m a one-band woman, as I like to concentrate on one lover at a time. Believe me, that´s enough. My musical backround is built on a long history of various kinds of bands and being influenced by a ton of music, as my parents were both music enthusiasts, and our record collection was pretty big.
Tero: I´ve worked with music every day for the past 15 years, and the most important bands before this have been/is ex-Yearning and the doom-band Saattue. My genuine love for music makes me arrange time for it, although at times I do wonder how the hell I manage. Jarno has the modern metal band Kiana, Harri has Dotma that plays symphonic melodic metal, and Samu is also playing in Saattue. At the moment it just feels like the most beloved thing in my life is EoS.
Ines, would you say that it is harder for a female fronted band to be successful in the metal/rock music business?
Ines: I really can´t say. It might be a merit in some cases, and in others a minus. I would naively like to think that it doesn´t make a difference what the gender of the vocalist is, as long as the music kicks ass. I don´t define myself as a singer through what kind of genitalia I have, so it´d be pretty lame for other people to do so! Having said that, I think it´s a fairly recent phenomenon for women to be accepted as musicians in the small and patriarchal island of metal music - and in all honesty for many people it´s still not quite "alright" for chicks to have other roles in a band besides those of a vocalist or a keyboard-player. We need more heavy-riff shredding bitches, wild and crazy female drummers and so forth!
Ines, where have you learned to sing the way you sing, did you have lessons?
Ines: I´ve never taken actual singing lessons, but I have sung in choirs when I was younger. That was all the discipline and technique training I needed, and I´m still learning! That´s one of the best things in life, knowing you´re never quite "there" yet.
Ines, what are you doing to keep your voice in shape? Do you have some useful tips for singers?
Ines: Ehh...sing, I suppose? I don´t avoid cigarette smoke, wrap scarves around my neck or anything, I just do what I do. Should quit smoking, though, in all fairness, or I´ll end up sounding like Marianne Faithful. As for useful tips - don´t be such pussies about your vocal cords, they´re meant to be strained and stretched a bit despite singing from the diaphragm. And drinking hot water in the studio is not only good for the voice, but also nasty as hell.
What is your dream, where does your motivation come from?
Ines: Great question! My personal goal and dream is to actually be able to earn enough to get by just on the music we make. I don´t need riches or fame, I just wish there were less distractions from what´s really important in life.
Tero: Many dreams have already come true when it comes to music, and if I died at this very moment, I´d be a happy man. Of course new dreams pop up, and it´s great in this industry that there´s always something to improve on and new things to do, all of which will be left for the future generations should you succeed. No one remembers the pleasant cashier at the grocery store from the year ´62, but everyone remembers a weird singer named Elvis, even if they weren´t even born at that time!
What was the most exciting/the most disappointing moment in your band history?
Ines: The highlights have definitely revolved around Euphorialight and finding the right mixture of people for the orchestra. Getting signed, doing gigs, giving interviews and planning our tour has been hectic but fun. I can´t really think of any great disappointments, or even smaller ones worth mentioning. Every setback has been serving a greater purpose, in my opinion. Of course every time a band I had invested a lot of heartblood into split up, it was a major disappointment. But as I´ve said before, I´m fatalistic and zen in the sense that I think every setback is meant to happen so something better can take its place.
Tero: I´d say the most shining moment of my musical career was when I asked Ines to sing in my project, and she said yes. When I got home from the studio that evening, I began composing a few songs on acoustic guitar - one of which I recall being "Void", which is also featured on our new album. My worst disappointment was a gig in the 90´s in Lahti with the band Yearning. Every single one of us was so wasted we couldn´t even finish one song, and we were driven off the stage...The bass-player dropped the amplifier, the vocalist couldn´t get the clean-channel on and played something random, and I couldn´t get a sound out of my guitar...When I eventually did, we began playing some Impaled Nazarene song completely wrong. Then I just threw my instrument to the wall, breaking it. I did learn something from that gig; don´t break your guitar!
Which song are you most proud of, and why?
Ines: This never gets easier to answer, as I´m especially proud of several tracks on the album for quite different reasons. In the end it has to be a tie between "Absinthe Eyes, Opium Words", "I Ride Alone" and "Euphorialight", as all of these were challenging to get exactly right when it comes to the vocals, and I felt the most accomplished after getting these three on tape. They´re also my three absolute favorites on the record, as they sum up our way of composing and playing quite well.
Tero: I think the most successfully completed song is "Void". In it the lyrics and composition just make up an inseparable couple. Not to mention the drums and basslines. It´s been around for ages, and I´m still not tired of it, I don´t know exactly why. Just listen to it carefully.
Ines: Every time we´re asked this question, Tero answers something different than the time before. (grin)
What do you plan in the near future?
Ines: We´ve got lots of upcoming gigs, and we´re touring in August, but after that we´re going to start working on some new material! Yes, there´s going to be a second album, if it´s up to us.
Tero: Yeah, other than doing gigs, we´ll be recording demos of new songs - 8 rough versions are done already. And we´ll be giving interviews too, naturally.
Which band would you enjoy touring with?
Ines: The style of music isn´t that important, if we´d just get along with the people involved. The guys in Anathema seem nice...Vincent!! Daniel!! When are we going?
Would you like to say some last words to the readers?
Ines: Thanks for making it this far, we hope you´ll have a listen to our album in its entirety. Also - have a great summer!
Tero: I´d like to honour a recently deceased and talented musician friend of mine by quoting him:
"Ride to the silent shores and fly through the gardens of time
You will find your heaven
Your god had closed his eyes
Alone, free you are"
R.I.P. Juhani Palomäki (Yearning / Colosseum)
Thank you for the interview and all the best.
Author: Sandy Mahrer, photos E.o.S.
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