Australian Music Blog-Australian Music Magazine-Apocalyptica

Apocalyptica’s latest album, Shadowmaker came out earlier this year and they’re headed back to Australia to introduce fans to it personally. This wonderfully classical metal band is formed by Eicca Toppinen (cello), Paavo Lötjönen (cello), Perttu Kivilaakso (cello) and Mikko Sirén (drums) and their music is hauntingly beautiful and heavy.

Mikko caught up with TEO to chat about how he joined the band, working the stage and the concept behind Shadowmaker.

TEO: Apocalyptica formed in 1993 and you joined the band around 2005, were you a big fan of them before?
I knew of them (of course, everyone in Finland knew them), but I didn’t listen to metal music back then at all. When Eicca called and asked me to play with them, I just told him that he had the wrong number because I felt that I wouldn’t be the best guy to do it. But he was very persistent. My excuse was that I didn’t think I was a metal drummer but he said they weren’t looking for a metal drummer, they wanted someone who was versatile and had different styles. And that’s how it all started.

It must be really wonderful to play heavy metal in a classical way, and bring out the complexity of the music.
It is! And heavy metal has so many things that turn people off, it seems aggressive to people and they miss the actual core of the compositions. To be able to go deep into the composition and show how amazing a piece of music is, that is something that opens it up to people who otherwise wouldn’t listen to heavy metal.

Apocalyptica’s latest album, Shadowmaker came out last year, what’s the idea behind it?
Shadowmaker is on totally different levels; it’s a fight against darkness in a way. Shadowmaker is a concept first of all, and it was important that the name prompts a question—we don’t like to give people a straight answer.

It’s a sign of the times and it’s pretty dark, not speaking alone of terrorism or greediness or making profit for the sake of it. But also going into personal lives; I think in everyone’s life there is that one person who drags you down and creates a shadow on your life. Or maybe you are the shadowmaker in your life. And if there wasn’t a tiniest bit of light in their hearts they wouldn’t cast a shadow.

It was a big musical journey for us as well because for the first time we got one guy to be a singer for us, Franky Perez. Until now, we have always played with different featuring artists and we have done that for such a long time that we wanted to approach this album in a different way. So we decided to get one voice to represent us, it was a wonderful journey.

When you play live shows, how do Eicca, Pavvo and Perttu work the stage with cellos?
They do a lot! And they’re guys playing heavy metal with cellos, so of course there’s head banging and what not but you can’t imagine the amount of energy they reflect on stage until you see them. It’s just something that really blows people away, it’s exceptional. It’s raw energy and emotion.

You were here last year in Australia for Soundwave, and you’re headed back this month for a headline tour, what do you think of Australia?
Oh we’ve only been there twice, and from our country it’s a distant location. But whenever we have a chance, we always want to come over and visit. And it’s all about the people; the nature is wonderful, the weather is great and the food is stunning but just meeting the people—it really is like nowhere else in the world. And we had such a great experience at Soundwave, and to get to meet our fans over there and create those special evenings together with our audiences, it’s something we really look forward to.

What do you have planned for the rest of the year?
We like to keep active, we’ll keep touring around a little bit—we have one and a half weeks in Europe and then we go to Mexico for a week. But we are preparing next year’s tour—a concept tour—which will be a celebration of Apocalyptica’s first album, Plays Metallica By Four Cellos. We’ll be playing in concert halls, playing the album from start to finish and then we’ll play more Metallica. We are writing some more music too, but we’re not going into the studio before next year.

Grab tickets here to see the guys live!

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Australian Music Blog-Australian Music Magazine-Apocalyptica