KIUAS: That's where the rock'n'roll magic (and mayhem) happens! Finnish metal scene is rich and from time to time brings new surprises to the world. I got to know to one of this surprises KIUAS - just by chance one guitarist of Scartown band sent me link and said: Look, here's really great band! He was right. Several Russian webzines gave KIUAS the highest marks for second album. Strange, but I haven't found any interview and decided to bridge this gap. Here's interview with Mikko, Kiuas guitarist and mastermind.
So, the first question is quite common: what's the meaning of the band-name? And do you have any conception?
Mikko: It's finnish for "sauna stove". The sauna is very important in finnish culture, it has been that since the pagan times. The heat aspect also describes the bands style well.
The second question is also rather common ? How do you name your music style? I've heard different opinions. You combine different elements of different styles in your songs. Do you do it advisedly or is it just spontaneously?
Mikko: It comes very naturally. I like combining a lot of styles, while trying to maintain a balance within the song so that it doesn't become too confusing for the listener. We've been called a mix of power and melodic death metal, with an addition of a certain symphonic and epic feel.
You have two full-length albums. Are they the same style or are there any differences between these releases? What do you plan to do further?
Mikko: On the second record we've taken the music a bit further stylistically. I think the sonar landscape is a bit wider, with more levels and textures, this can be heard especially with the use of keyboards. In the future we'll always try to explore new directions, so that each record presents something we haven't done before, while still maintaining the Kiuas sound.
Great to see that you have a Jethro Tull cover as Japan bonus song. You listen not only metal music?
Mikko: We listen to a lot of different music, as you can hear from our music. Besides metal, I personally like blues, jazz, fusion, and classical music, for example. Jethro tull has been one of my favourite bands for a long time, and "Hunting girl" (the cover song) has a sort of "pre-heavy metal" feel to it, so it fit perfectly for us.
You played at Sauna Open Air Festival, what open air festivals would you want to play at?
Mikko: Well, all of them of course! There seem to be more and more great festivals, but let's say we could start with Wacken, Dynamo, and of course our Helsinki's own Tuska.
You were in Japan. Can you share your impressions with us? Was it very different from playing in your native Finland?
Mikko: Oh, yes! It was an amazing trip. Everyone is really polite, and they really come and listen to the bands, instead of coming to the club to just drink. Also the schedules are very exact, everything goes just as planned.
Let's turn to the concerts. Unfortunately, Russian audience has never seen you alive. Do you have some special image? Maybe special dresses? You have good reputation as live act. Do you have any special show?
Mikko: We respect the raw style of our heroes, bands like Pantera, Metallica and Megadeth. That raw style without too much extra sutff on stage is what we try to do as well. It's a bit trendy nowadays to dress up,, and then some of those bands just stand on stage thinking their costumes will do the trick. In my opinion it doesn't work that way. When you see Kiuas live, you can see us moving and running around, sweating like hell and still playing our asses off. We can be much more entertaining than some of these bands who dress up and think they've got a cool show.
Can you introduce us each musician of the band? With some definitions about each one :)
Mikko: Markku (drums) - the doctor of the band, very good at organizing stuff, he handles the business side of the band; Atte (keyboards) - a wonder child of all technical stuff, a virtuoso not only with keyboards but with the RUBIK CUBE as well, he has also designed our website and works as the webmaster; Teemu (bass) - Check out his beard! an easy going guy with an amazing stage presence; Ilja (vocals) - a truly talented singer and a real rock vocalist, with a rock personality and attitude; Mikko (guitars) that's me! - hard to say anything about myself really,...I write the music and lyrics mostly, and outside of Kiuas my life is dedicated to music as well, with studying and teaching.
Do you earn money by making music?
Mikko: Well, with Kiuas we don't earn enough yet to make a living, that's a bit further away. But I, for example give guitar lessons and play a lot of cover gigs and stuff, from which I earn enough to get by, while studying at the same time. The other guys either have a day-job or study too.
And what do you study? (and your band-mates also)
Mikko: I study music at a polytechnic institute, Teemu studies social studies also at a polytechnic, Atte studies computer science, Ilja studies journalism, and our busy drummer is already a qualified M.D.
Your most unloved question in interview :)
Mikko: Hahaha! There isn't really one! But I hate it when journalists say that our lyrics are about fantasy, because they are not! They obviously haven't done their home work and read the lyrics and thought about the ideas behind them.
Do you know any Russian bands?
Mikko: Aargh, I should know, but I don't remember their names! I know a few Estonian bands though, if that's close enough, since we've played there. It would be cool to come to Russia to also see and meet some Russian bands and check out the metal scene over there.
Finland nowadays is a kind of metal capital of the world. Especially after Lordi won Eurovision. What do you think about that? Don't you think that now you and other metal bands have much more opportunities?
Mikko: Well yes, let's just hope that it lasts. BUT, I must remind everyone that Lordi for example is very mainstream. Their success has made radio-friendly heavy/hard rock more popular, but I'm not sure it has helped actual real metal bands so much. Metal has been quite popular in Finland already before Lordi, thanks to many quality metal bands we have here.
What do you like more - work in studio or concerts? Definitely there's quite big difference between them, so what is closer to you?
Mikko: Performing live, of course! No question about that. Of course there's a lot of extra stuff involved with gigs, but it's worth it. Not that I wouldn't like studio work as well. But to me it's more like the recording process is the groundwork, then when the record is out, the real climax happens when we play to people who have bought the record and know each song perfectly. That's where the rock'n'roll magic (and mayhem) happens!