The Stars Were Aligned The Right Way
“Actually, you’re extremely quick now that I think of it. You started over only a couple of months back but now you already have a network to distribute, you have an idea of the terms you will trade, you’re nearly done with the album. Everything is falling very quickly into place.” NIKLAS: “Yeah and we have some more shows coming. I mean, I don’t know it feels like stars were aligned the right way“ ANTTONI: “Yeah, yeah. This is the perfect way.” NIKLAS: “There haven’t really been set-backs yet.”
“Is this ok with you? I mean if I compare it to like 25 years back everything took a lot more time perhaps by that had more time to mature. But now a wiff and it is done. Is there pressure from it or is it your opportunity to be able to be so quick?” ANTTONI: “Anything is ours and nothing is ours, actually! Because the way the HIM fans, and the Amorphis fans took us from the ‘gecko’ – that’s what we’re basically talking of now we could still be in a situation where we have our own band.com page and that would be it. But we’re talking about prospects because so many people have shown interest towards this band.” NIKLAS: “Yeah, I didn’t expect that when we launched our sites and stuff that it would be so fast. And that’s what kind of blew us off the chart, too and now we really have to provide them with material.” ANTTONI: “Which is nice, which keeps us working.” NIKLAS: “It started a bit before I was thinking. I thought when we have recorded then we start with this. But the crowd funding came kind of out there, and so we had to do something.”
I tell them a bit of my experience with the loyalty of the Amorphis. NIKLAS: “Yeah! I mean the HIM fans that is a new thing for me, too. But I mean there seems to be about it.” – “It must have been more or less the same, I think.” NIKLAS: “I don’t know. Probably. Because I don’t know. They have more their more into these fan clubs and stuff because maybe when they got into HIM they were younger as I think. But I mean they dropped dead with HIM but Amorphis is still there. Probably there more Amorphis fans checking Amorphis. But HIM fans were kind of left with nothing.”
I point out that everything coming from former Amorphis members apparently still is very interesting to Amorphis fans. NIKLAS: “Yeah, yeah. And I hope they check it out.” I am confident: “They will do.” NIKLAS: “Should do”, he says very carefully. “Should not be too disappointed even if it’s not the same kind of music but there is still something familiar, maybe.” He laughs shortly.
I ask about the label strategy again and what comes otherwise next – the natural stuff. “Yeah, when we got the album mixed and stuff then we’re gonna check with a few labels, see what they say and from June, I think, July we start playing live and by the end of the year or maybe next year we play a lot.”
Anttoni in Lala Land
And what about touring? NIKLAS: “Yeah, we cannot really negotiate anything with anyone before we have the album. So that has to wait until this is done and then we can start talking of that.” ANTTONI: “It’s like looking at a strawberry not ripe enough to be stripped of.” NIKLAS: “But the single is coming out very soon so. At least, we get one song out soon.” ANTTONI: “I’m not waiting for anything but you guys told me that you want to do the whole shit bang: album-tour-recording-album-tour rotation and I was like ‘Alright. Sure.” NIKLAS: “Yeah. That’s what we have to do.” ANTTONI laughs at his dream coming true: “Yeah but for me that’s like Lala Land. That’s like, ‘what I get to do music and get to do music?!” NIKLAS: “Yeah but I hope that we can keep it and we don’t just do it because like you have to do it. You have to have an idea before you start doing it. So every album must have something. You know it can’t just be like we do the songs like we already did.” I frown at Niklas: “Yeah but then it was not something that forces itself out of you but you forcing it to come out.” – “Yeah. But now we have like in the band, everybody can write songs.” ANTTONI: “And we haven’t even touched the surface.” NIKLAS: “So I think it won’t be a problem to produce more music, and I think that next time it likely being more even, like everybody has a little bit of a clue of what we are playing. But it’s a wide range. So I think people come with bolder ideas.” ANTTONI: “Yeah. I need to try stop myself not going in there what we can actually do music-wise. Because this was h i s own ideas on h i s h e a r t -disc. That was it. And we did that. And they were like, ‘have you got more now?’ They were like, ‘that’s not enough.’ Than Gas was like, ‘I got a couple’ and Linde was like, ‘I have one’ and I was like, ‘I need to make one’. And now it was like ‘Is that enough?’ – ‘Yeah, if we use everything.’ So we are still in becoming a band in that sense that we haven’t really.” NIKLAS: “Actually, we had one left over.” ANTTONI: “Yeah but we haven’t – we will never be in the situation again where somebody just comes like in Flat Earth this is my take on a new song. We will never be in this situation again because we will be writing collectively from now on basically.” NIKLAS: “Well no, that depends.” ANTTONI adds: “In a sense”, while NIKLAS explains further on: “I think every idea comes from somewhere.” ANTTONI: Of course. NIKLAS: “But anyway we were blessed and fortunate. But we had the chance to even to this. And we did a demo of almost every song.” ANTTONI: “With Linde being on tour with HIM all the time. We knew that Linde has let’s say 200 of riff ideas. We couldn’t even have that. Because we didn’t even have the time to actually explore what he has. And this band taking off like hopefully it does, we will have that opportunity of seeing what we have.” NIKLAS: “But then that’s the potential, it’s just getting better because now we just scratch the surface.” ANTTONI: “Exactly”.
Avoid Everything We Don’t Like
“Yeah but then it seems like a naturally growing together” NIKLAS: “Yeah, that’s true.” – “Everybody chips something in and then it only grows into something only with the input from the others.” NIKLAS: “Yeah, I mean, we wouldn’t sound the same if some other people were doing them. And I think that is the way it has to be also. I would hate to be in a situation where I have to be the music dictator.” ANTTONI: “But that’s the normal. That’s the norm.” NIKLAS: “But I wouldn’t like it.” ANTTONI: “Yeah, nobody likes it but right, but this is special. I am not talking about myself. I am talking about looking at this from a bird-eye view.” NIKLAS: “I mean what we were talking about, where Gas and Linde have long experience, we try to avoid everything we don’t like.” ANTTONI: “Yeah exactly. No bullshit and everybody can contribute. And this band is a very good example. They needed to reform Rage Against the Machine with the singer. And they went with Chris Cornell. And all of a sudden they were making music as a band and Chris was making music. So they started making music together. So they started giving each other ideas. And normally, I’m not saying normally but not all the time bands have that synergy that everybody is contributing. It’s very much somebody doing something of this and telling to do it like this. And this is when you lose the club. That’s when you don’t be a part of a club.” NIKLAS hmmms agreeing. “That’s becoming a job. It’s becoming a necessity to get by. But like this, like Gas put it so right, giving us the songs that he had. He told me – we discussed this in a phone call – he told me that he didn’t supposed to give us those songs. He thought that he would gonna use them on other projects. But then he realized that maybe my voice and our approach would be most suitable for those songs.” – “Wow, that’s good.” ANTTONI: “And at first he was like ‘Anttoni, äh. Sing it like this. No, just sing it like this.’ I just did. All the way. I just did whatever he was asking for. But then somewhere along the process the lost that edge of taking too much control of his own songs. And he was like ‘I can trust these guys.’ They will do what is best to fit the song.’ And that is …” NIKLAS: “ you know the problem is you know like take it seriously and I don’t know somebody brings me their song I try to make it better. I’m not just trying to learn how to play it. I try to make it better. And you have to give people the opportunity to do that if you want it better.” ANTTONI could hardly keep his excitement to himself and commented a couple of times loudly. “Exactly!”
Mistaken for a Gentlemen’s Club
“But then of course, you need some time to grow into working together, to develop faith into the way of doing things together and how the others do things.” ANTTONI immediately points out: “But you have to be very smart to do that!” NIKLAS: “Yeah and we’re actually still in the beginning of that. So far I mean we couldn’t really do it because not everybody could be present when we were writing all the time. But anyway.” ANTTONI: “But to have that chance like from Linde to have that one song that he contributed for the record, he wrote it when he was, I think, 14.” NIKLAS: “13, I think. It is the oldest song.” They’re getting very excited here again. ANTTONI: “Well, that’s like d e c a d e s!” NIKLAS: “Yeah well, that’s like a song has to be able to take the test of time.” ANTTONI: „Absolutely. But listen to me! He didn’t have a melody for that song. So he just gave it to me like: ‘This is something I’ve been sitting on for 30 years.’ And I am like ‘Sure?!’ Two days later we were like, I was cooking for you, and we were trying to get a name of the band and I was like ‘Can I sing this?’ Like putting on from the stereo something, and can I just sing on top of that instrumental? I have an idea how this song would go. And I just did it and he was just like ‘Wow! That’s it’ And I was like ‘You’re kidding me!!!” This last sentence is hard to understand as Anttoni is so overexcited telling this episode he apparently has yet not processed. [Yes, good stuff needs processing as well in my experience!] He is entirely filled with happiness. “Kidding and killing me at the same time. How? You know when you have that, when you can meet another person there, it’s – you can do the sniffing and getting to know him or her better along the way. You just know it’s …” There is a pause. I wait a moment, look at Anttoni and say: “I think I got the point!” And he replies nodding: “I think you got the point.” – “Definitely” – “Giving me that and giving me the freedom to do whatever I wish on that end, being happy with the outcome, yeah, it’s like”, ANTTONI’s voice changes remarkably drifting a bit into his thoughts, “more than just a bit. That’s a … “ – “That’s a big compliment”, I fill in. “Welcome in that men’s club” NIKLAS says quietly from the background. ANTTONI: “For me and I try to make it as much of a compliment to Linde. And he”, looking at Niklas, “is just laughing all the time like ‘those kids just make me …” NIKLAS: “This makes me just happy.” ANTTONI: “…playing emotions.” – “It makes me happy”, NIKLAS repeats. And this scene it could not be more idyllic (well perhaps it meets not exactly the most classical definition of the term but who cares?). “And I try to hug him like ‘Come on! Be a part of the club.’ I mean the emotion club, that’s like.” ANTTONI attempts to hug NIKLAS but stops just before touching him who dryly comments: “And I thought it was a gentlemen’s club, but now I realize the gentlemen’s club is across the street.” Do I need to mention that I lost in trying to remain seriously. Full fail. NIKLAS: “It’s a bit different. Well, we are not in the gentlemen’s club.” ANTTONI: “Wrong door, man! Wrong door.” NIKLAS: “It’s a cricket club.” ANTTONI: “Swedish cricket club. But I mean, that’s the medium. That’s how deep the medium can be. I can’t make this fucking up, you know. I wanna have a song that I would give in 20 years to someone who’s”, ANTTONI lowers his voice, “‘you wanna do a melody and lyrics on this song that I’ve been keeping to myself in 30 years?’ – You can’t have that as a kid. Nobody has that. And I was just dummy enough not to even think about it. I just went for there and did what I felt like, ‘Well, that song rocks like, let’s do it like this.’ And when I gave it to Linde and actually realized that ‘oh fuck! This is h i s song that’s he been savoring so many years’ that I should be concerned what if he doesn’t like your something. So that kind of stuff just elevates people. Make the whole thing more precious and beautiful.”
Lady Doro of Warlock and the Chicks in White
As if all this wasn’t odd enough already – and I mean this in the very best of senses – it is time to come to an end and thereby naturally for what I intended to be my only odd question. And this time I ask my interviewees to imagine they were to go and attend the Vienna Opera Ball, this big, big annual event to introduce the young ladies to the society. Traditionally there are a lot of visitors to more observe than attend the event from the opera house’s balconies. The society requests naturally to come pairwise. So whom would Niklas and Anttoni ask to join them. ANTTONI: “The lady from the street”, he says in the most natural tone ever, “asking for money”. NIKLAS hums thinking meanwhile. ANTTONI: “Definitely that would be my choice.” NIKLAS: “That is very tough, I mean. I have to be down there dancing! But then I can choose anyone down there.” – “Yes and no”, I explain, “because before that you need company to be allowed in in the first place.” NIKLAS: “But if you want to have all access you have to like Queen Elizabeth or so?” ANTTONI is laughing out loudly. “Yeah, exactly”, I say encouraging. ANTTONI: “And the way I would say it is, who would benefit the most? Well, a homeless person would benefit the most of it. Well, radically speaking I would go with the homeless.” NIKLAS: “But I don’t think that wasn’t enough so you can get in yourself. You are the homeless person!” – “Jesus!” ANTTONI swears. “Man, yeah?!” – “And so you need a kind of escort service. But somebody famous. Who the fuck …? No, but then.” ANTTONI comments for me: “He is actually kind of coming up with an answer.” – “Yeah, I am thinking about, but I am …” – “I feel it coming”, ANTTONI says in rising excitement and NIKLAS points out “but, that would sound gay ‘cause …” “It would ‘cause it wouldn’t be a she!” But NIKLAS is still hesitating. So ANTTONI takes his chance: “I feel it, Tom Cruise is coming.” NIKLAS: “No, no, no! But I was thinking of this guy from Germany.” ANTTONI: “Brad?” NIKLAS: “… because you have to speak German because otherwise they don’t let you in in Vienna.” Brilliant, I think. ANTTONI: “Good point.” NIKLAS swears once more which seems to fuel his imagination. “Maybe, maybe, Doro!” ANTTONI: “Maybe resurrect somebody from the dead?” ANTTONI suggests before he notices the reply, “Doro???” – “Doro from Warlock! Or nowadays just Doro!” After a sip from his glass: “She is a lady! She can probably walk me in, and then I can dance with the chicks in white!” ANTTONI: “Princess Lea, Maria? Good!” But NIKLAS has an even better idea: “Otherwise I will go with the Fantastischen Vier!” No need to say but yes, ANTTONI IS laughing. Loud. Heavily. Me, too! Fighting tears, I try to speak: “That’s amazing. Both. No, all three!” So sorry you can’t hear the weird sound with that ANTTONI is trying to end his laughing. Well, he fails anyway and screams into his palms covering his face. “I think, Fantastischen Vier would in the end be the best because, then there is four of them and when you’re bored with one there are still …” – “But you won’t get bored with them!” I say and NIKLAS returns on it: “No, no. And then it would get big, fucking hilarious.” ANTTONI: “And I would be there with the homeless lady!” NIKLAS illustrating a vivid image of the situation: “No think about it, if we then go dancing there would be five of us. We’re the Fantastischen Fünf!” – “Fünf – with you and me. Eins, zwei. Sieben“, ANTTONI concludes. I look at him: „You are the privileged one because you can watch all this with your girl from some distance and have all the fun watching the guys!” NIKLAS: “Yeah, me and the Fantastischen Vier dancing with the girls in white!” ANTTONI: “That would be so fantastic watching them struggle.” NIKLAS: “I bet they weren’t in white for long when me and Fantastischen Vier come.” ANTTONI still failing to fight his laughing: “Forget about white! Oh man! … Oh no… Alright.”
It takes a moment to dry my tears. Actually it’s really late and I still have no photo for the post. Well, see yourselves … And yes, I can’t wait to see them on stage!
Very personal: Thank you Niklas & Anttoni!
Photos (title) Flat Earth; (1) Flat Earth; (2) Ms Cesar Little