Trash and Riot
Interview with Mikko Salovaara & Teemu Tuominen / Kiuas
New Years Eve is a spezial event around the world. Helsinki's most known event at the last day of the year is maybe Helldone Festival. Besides there were a lot of other great shows going and one of them was made for the Metalheads with Moonsorrow, Kiuas and Korpiklaani. Everywhere in the city one heard pieces of different languages and so I wasn't surprised about the language mix in the long queue in front of Nosturi. I am not sure if it was sold out and there where still people coming in when I already left again after Kiuas' show at 23.45h. But it was really packed, the audiences enjoyed the shows shouting and with raised hands all over as well as especially in the moshpit in front of stage (speaking of Korpiklaani first and afterwards Kiuas as I didn't see Moonsorrow anymore).
Whilst Korpiklaani's show I met Mikko Salovaara (guitar) and Teemu Tuominen (bass) from Kiuas in the long corridors of Nosturi and asked them a couple of questions.
finnbands: Your band's name is maybe not that common for people outside of Finland. Can you explain the meaning of the word "kiuas" for not Finnish speaking persons, please? And maybe the history of the name? Teemu: Oh god. *laughs* Well, kiuas means the sauna oven, the stove of sauna. But actually it has an earlier meaning that comes from the word hiidenkiuas which means like ... I don't know how to explain this. Mikko: Ah, sort of old... Teemu: A bit like mound maybe. Mikko: Like the burial mound maybe.
finnbands: And do you go to sauna? Mikko: *smiles* Of course! finnbands: So there you got the inspiration for the name, kind of? Mikko: Well, it's kind of humoristic of course. But sauna in general is so much part of Finnish culture that it fits. And maybe in the beginning we felt that it's better to let the people know that we are not a that serious band. But still it has the serious sides as well.
finnbands: In November you released your latest album "The New Dark Age" again as bonus CD. Is there any special reason for this or was it just... Mikko: I think it was almost sold out, the first pressing. So... this one has two covers, Testament and White Snake covers and it's very nice. finnbands: Ok, actually I haven't listen to the bonus version, only to the original one. So you'd say it's worth to buy it again? Mikko: Yes! And also the Japan bonus track which was on the single.
finnbands: And why did you decide to put the bonus tracks on the CD and not just re-press the original verison? Teemu: Actually when we went to the UK tour the record company guy there proposed that we could make an EP to promote the tour more. So he actually asked for songs that would be for the British audience. But of course songs that we like. And Testament is one of the bands that Mikko has listened to all his life and so is White Snake also. And there is a good guitarist on Testament which was a great inspiration I think. Mikko: And some guy at White Snake called Steve something - I cannot remember. *grins*
finnbands: Is there any special meaning for you in chart positions? Your single "Of sacrifice, loss and reward" went to number 1. Mikko: Well, it's good for a short while. People better remember that. But still to promote, yes. The single was released before the album so it got a pretty good attention for the album. So in that sence, yeah. But it's not like we are very proud of being on the charts or something. It's not that important. Because I think in bands, especially metal bands that are anyway more focused on building a long career. They want to continue this and don't want a short - ah, how should I say? Teemu: Yeah, they want a career and not the short success. finnbands: Yeah, not the "one hit wonder" and nothing else. Mikko: Yeah, exactely. Teemu: Yeah, we don't wanna be a one hit wonder.
finnbands: I think your music is kind of special, there are elements of power metal but it's not that typical power metal and there are some darker elements. Did this just happen whilst the songwriting process or did you mean to write different music? Mikko: Ähm, it's a decission in some parts. Because we don't want to - and especially on the last record we have been getting more and more away from the power metal brand. And this is a concious decission actually. That's the direction what we take. finnbands: To make you something special? Mikko: .... But I think it's really natural in the band. From the beginning in the band everyone liked different genres of metal and different genres of all music. So power metal is... I think if you ask our favorite bands - if every guy in the band would list like ten or twenty bands you are not gonna see many power metal bands in there.
finnbands: So what are your favorite bands? *laughs* Mikko: *laughs* Teemu: Well, that's a long list. Strapping Young Lad, ...., Lamb of God, The Horn Dead. So there is a lot of different bands. Opeth from Sweden. Mikko: So it's like... Teemu: Every band is different. Very different. And there is a lot music outside of metal also. It's not just... I think a good song is a good song no matter what genre of music it is.
finnbands: As you said you have been touring UK in September and November you were in Germany and Spain and some other countries. Mikko: Yeah, ten countries all together. finnbands: Are you planing to tour outside of Finland more often now? Mikko: Yeah, hopefully. Or probably not. I think we are gonna write and release the next album before we do a bigger tour. So let's see what happens next year. We have some festivals that have been almost confirmed but not a tour like this anymore. Teemu: Yeah, maybe it is like a week or two weeks but not that long. finnbands: Yeah, it was like six weeks in a row? Teemu: Four weeks. Mikko: Four weeks, one month. finnbands: And that was exhausting? Mikko: Yeah! But still it was pretty ok. There was not too much.
finnbands: And what was your best experiance on stage during the tour with the audience - are there differences in the audiences compared to Finland maybe? Mikko: Ähm, yes. *laughs* I don't wanna talk about the places that weren't so good but our last gig in Zlin, because it was a big festival with about 3,000 people so it was really great in Czech Republic. And Paris.. Teemu: Switzerland was good. Mikko: Switzerland was great and Paris and... In every country there was like a very good crowd. Teemu: Yeah, and the difference between Finnish crowd and European crowd seems to be that Finnish crowd comes only, well not only but mainly to see the main acts and not pretty much about the support acts. But in Europe there was at least a decent crowd always for the supports. Sometimes even for the whole show. And I liked that very much because I fucking hate it in Finland to play here a support gig because there is like 10 people there - maybe sometimes. Mikko: Or are there when we start. Teemu: But still.
finnbands: Just before I came here we talked about people wearing band shirts of the band they are going to see. What do you think when you are on stage and there are people in the crowd wearing Kiuas shirts? Is this great or is it more like "I know the name of my band"? *grins* Mikko & Teemu: *laugh* Mikko: Ah, what's that band? That sounds familiar! No, we hate it when people wear our shirts! *laughs* Teemu: Don't buy our shirts! No no no no no! Mikko: No, I mean it's the easiest way that someone has come to see you play. So it's ... Probably the people that wear them to shows - I am not sure if they actually know how much it means to us. Because especially still when we came back from the tour we had no idea if we had our supporters on the gigs and we.... So at every show there were at least some of the people in our shirts and some of the people were singing our lyrics. That was really good. It's enough if there is one person who is there to see our band and then we gonna give all that we can.
finnbands: A lot of bands have live DVD's. Are you maybe planning to do a DVD as well? Teemu: Well, we had tons of videos and tons of live gigs but we don't have that much of high definition stuff. It's taken by one camera or maybe two cameras so not really DVD worthy. But there is a lot of material what could be on a DVD some day. But I think at least... Mikko: Not before the next studio album. Teemu: And we are in no rush to do anything. Mikko: Because at the moment we wanna wait until we have the right place and the right ... it doesn't ... it's not the time yet I think. Teemu: Yeah! Mikko: We have... We are playing good gigs all the time but we are waiting for the best stage and the best all of that... Teemu: Yeah, you wanna do a live DVD when you are big enough, when you have really good support and you can play really big halls. Not in a small club. Well, a big club yeah, but... Mikko: Because - this is no offence to some live DVDs that I've seen but - for some reason some bands feel that they have to put something out and it doesn't look like enough - if you know what I mean. Like the place is too small and the crowd is like ... The crowd should sound like 10,000 people but then it sounds like 100 people.
finnbands: It's New Years Eve today and tomorrow we will have 2009. So what are your plans for 2009? What are you going to do next year? Mikko: A lot of things. If we don't talk about our civil lifes which is also a lot but with the band... finnbands: Yeah sure, I mean with the band. Mikko: I think we are gonna start the recording of the next album towards next winter. So maybe a little less then a year from here we already have to be in the studio. Teemu: I think in summer we are trying to do a lot of festivals. But more small festivals. We had over 70 gigs this year so we are a bit exhausted from the gigs. So we don't do gigs unless they are really good gigs. But some festivals in Finland and abroad maybe and ... who knows? Mikko: Yeah and then after summer we already have to take a break from gigging and have to start the work on the new material. finnbands: So really maybe we can expect the next album in the end of 2009 already, or 2010? Mikko: Äh, 2009 / 2010, yeah. Winter, spring, summer.
finnbands: So as I am done with my questions the last word is up to you. Mikko: *says something in Finnish* Happy new year to you in case you are going to buy every Kiuas CD that there is unless you already have all! *laughs*