Thu, 16 Sep 2010 15:09:23
Finnish symphonic metal band Apocalyptica feature three conservatory trained cellists and a drummer. They are certainly doing something different in hard rock, incorporating cellos and other classical instruments into their ensemble and featuring different vocalists. On their latest, 7th Symphony, the band has recruited Bush singer Gavin Rossdale for "End of Me," while cameos from Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo, Flyleaf singer Lacey Mosely, Gojira's Joe Duplantier and Shinedown's Brent Smith to work with them. ARTISTdirect's Amy Sciarretto spoke to cellist Perttu Kivilaakso about the band's renewed vigor to work with one another, those old Metallica questions, since their debut was 1996's critically adored Apocalyptica Plays Metalica by Four Cellos and how they feel about getting such major artists to work with them!
Do you think Apocalyptica is still considered the band who started off offering symphonic renditions/covers of Metallica, even though that was so long ago?
It doesn't matter so much. Our band has many different sides. We began as a cover band and we still play Metallica songs in the live show. It is important for us, since it began from there. Of course, we have instrumental and classical stuff. We have many different sides and there is something for everyone.
Over the years, you have worked with an array of artists, like Slipknot/Stone Sour singer Corey Taylor, Slayer's Dave Lombardo and Bush's Gavin Rossadale. How do you choose which artists you want to work with?
We are a representation of something and people want to work with us. It is cool to meet with people and vocalists and talk of the possibility of working together and when we approach a song after, they generally love our attitude and what we do. It's really cool, to have people we admire like what we do and they have the same feeling towards our group. It is [about] trying to make great music together and bring musical ideas together. We do cool stuff together. It's a wonderful possibility to have this and it opens up a whole world. It is a new world for us, and of course, we get a lot of influence from different vocalists. There are different voices on the record, like different storytellers and characters bringing in their own opinion.
What was your approach with 7th Symphony? How do you keep yourself and fans excited about what you are doing combining classical music with hard rock. That's not to suggest it's a novelty, but there are so many places you have already gone, so how do you find the places you can go?
We always want to make an album that would not get boring after a couple of songs. Therefore, we want to have the feeling of a bigger picture and you follow a musical path that doesn't let you go after it ends. We have a symphonic feeling when we are doing this. We wanted to capture the same young energy that we had ten years ago when we did our third album and that revolutionary attitude of making music, but with a 2010 sound, since we have been learning all these years and all the tours we do, too. We always need to break our own rules and borders and find new ways of using the cello and I think that 7th Symphony is a good combination of everything we have done and it is a strong album but a really fresh approach. I think it is the studio album that finally has the energy of our live performance.
Ah, youthful energy – that's something we all wish we could bottle forever as we get older. How exactly did you get it back?
It mostly came from the way we worked. We had structure and idea for the songs, but they were not finished songs. We wanted to go into the studio and experience and try different things. We played as a group, at the same time, performing in the studio to make it possible to feel and hear the excitement that comes from playing live. The second teenage revolutionary attitude! We wanted to do instrumental songs, something that never existed earlier, so we were free in writing the songs and a couple instrumental songs are symphonic by themselves. They are long songs with a lot of different structural elements.
Did you drink Red Bull, to get fired up!
Ha. There were a lot of energy drinks.
What is your favorite thing about touring?
At the beginning of tour, it's a big hassle, since there are lots of new songs to learn. We rehearse them of course, make live versions and it's a lot of hassle. I want to tour in the States since it is going smoothly here and all the circumstances are cool. The audience in USA is powerful and you have the feeling people are concentrating. They come for the music, not to drink and have a party while the band is playing.
Now that 7th Symphony is in the books, so to speak, how do you feel looking back at it?
I think we are happy and satisfied. We feel fresh for ourselves, that we are able, after all these years, to find the new passion for the group. It is a new attitude of creating music together. It is seen in the live show, that we enjoy playing more than ever. We are also enjoying the company of each other more than ever, so it's a really good year and there will be a lot more touring in the States.