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Friday 31 March 2017

The Spotlight: Interview With Sonata Arctica

Before their mighty show at the Tramshed I managed to grab an interview with Henrik Klingenberg (keys) and Pasi Kauppinen (bass) of headliners Sonata Arctica.

MoM: So this is your first gig in Cardiff since 2011, you played the Millennium Music Hall before which is now a trendy chain sports bar thing, the last few UK shows you've done are one off London dates. Do you prefer those or do you like proper tours?

Henrik: I prefer to tour a whole country and see different places, usually we don't have a chance to do that. 2011 that was the last and first time we were able to do that (a proper tour).

MoM: Well we prefer that, as not everyone lives near London so seeing you on our doorstep is great for us, how's it going so far, you've been going for a while now? Anyone annoying anyone yet?

Henrik: We've been doing this for a few weeks, not annoying each other too much as we are all used to each other now, it comes with age now we all give each other enough space.

MoM: Do you prefer European or UK audiences? Have you noticed a difference?

Pasi: I think everywhere is different, you are bit more involved than France, maybe that's a better understanding

Henrik: I feel the differences are from city to city rather than country to country

MoM: We've asked this a few times and many European bands say that we are a bit more reserved than European fans, have you found that?

Pasi: It depends we come from Finland, where people are really reserved, unless it's Friday or Saturday

Henrik: Alcohol helps

All: Laugh

Henrik: Whatever happens out there is whatever happens, some crowds are different people enjoy in different ways personally I like to go to a show and enjoy the music

MoM: Yeah me too

Henrik: But you pay for a ticket and enjoy it in your own way so there's not really a different

MoM: Going to the new album, you've got political songs and a lot of focus on the environment, was that a conscious effort or not?

Henrik: Well the lyrics are from Tony so we really don't control that much, Fairytale is really a funny song, like satire so we agreed to do it because of that. As a band our purpose is bring people together not divide them. But we decided not to deal with politics as we all have different views so we don't need one opinion for the while band as we are not about politics. The environment is one thing we all agree on so that was much easier, I think if you're a political band and you all agree then that's fine to deal with politics but not if you are all on different wavelengths.

MoM: You've moved away from your earlier hard power metal roots to a more symphonic/cinematic sound. Do you prefer this or would you rather play the older style?

Henrik: When we make an album we see what demos Tony brings and see what comes out, as a band we are happy with, which can be confusing for fans. Personally I prefer to play faster live as it's more fun, I think we have done our fair share great ballads too but I like the faster.

MoM: With the anniversary of you're debut Ecliptica did you expect maybe a bit of that to influence your last album, was it fun playing the older stuff live again?

Henrik: I thought, because I wish there could have been more influence because of that but you play what comes

MoM: What were your influences?

Pasi: I listen to a lot of stuff, a wide range of music from Slayer to pop music, but none of it has really influenced this band, but I like a lot of different kinds of music

Henrik: I grew up with Deep Purple, Bon Jovi, AC/DC, then Pantera and if you want more offbeat then Frank Zappa, not all of it

MoM: Nobody likes all of it, don't worry

Henrik: Then recent stuff I listen to Lana Del Rey a lot more stuff, but it influences your style than the band style

MoM: What's the plan for the rest of the year?

Henrik: We have tour until South America, then a break then festivals, touring throughout the year until middle of next year until we wind down for the next album

MoM: Finally as we are Welsh our last question is what is your favourite sheep

*Cue much debating from both amid gasps about how many sheep there are*

Henrik: I'd say North Ronaldsay, it's the horns

Pasi: Hampshire Down

Henrik seemed very impressed by the sheep, taking pictures of them after the interview

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