lunes, 27 de noviembre de 2017

Interview with ACHIOTE

by Vpower

The Band: Achiote
Country: Finland
Answers by: Tuomas (organs & synthesizers); Janne (vocals & guitar)

ACHIOTE is a Finnish band that have released their second album “Loneliness of Endless Days”, a good load of rock and heavy tunes that takes their music to a new level comparing to their former album, with many hours behind it the quality and elegance just flows.

Hello guys and welcome to our site to talk about Achiote and your new album “Loneliness of Endless Days”

Tuomas: Thank you! We're delighted to have this opportunity.
Janne: Thank you! And hello!

First, we would like to know more details about your story as a band…

Tuomas: Achiote was officially founded around 2012 when we released our first single. It was a long-term project that waited for the right time. Timo and Janne put it together and after that Jussi and Anu joined in. So back then the band was still a quartet. In 2014 our first album 'Deimos' was released and also I joined the band which added more keyboards to the mixture. Unfortunately some time after that Anu had to leave the band due to her health issues. Teemu replaced her as our new bass player somewhat like a year ago.

Janne: It was 2002 or 2003, when Timo and I met. We were working few months at the same place and we found out that we were listening to same kind of music. So we started to play songs from Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam, a Perfect Circle etc. with acoustic guitars just for fun and sometimes played our own song ideas too. After few years we jammed first time with Jussi, our drummer. Timo knew Jussi from high school times and at some point Timo asked him to check our demo tapes and jam with us. But yes, it took almost ten years to make this project a real band.

Well cooked, that is the most important. “Loneliness of Endless Days” is your second album, right?

Tuomas: That's right.
Something especially different in this album regarding your debut?

Tuomas: Well, it has been built in a different manner. And of course when members change, it changes the way to do things. When I came along with 'Deimos', the album was pretty much done. I just did few things there and it actually went to mix the week after I was in the studio recording. With this album I've been working with the material since scratch. Still the main composing has been done by Timo and Janne, but we've worked the arrangements and stuff quite a lot.

Janne: I think the biggest difference is the keyboards. Tuomas has a big role in every song and made a great job with this second album from the very beginning.

When we made our first album 'Deimos', we made it with time without hurry.
But now we had some kind of schedule. We knew deadlines and the day when the  record was going to be released. So in the end of last year we were in a hurry, recording in three studios at the same time. Blood, sweat and tears, but we made it and released the album right on time.

 How long have your worked on it?

Tuomas: I think the whole process took a little less than two years. That covers the time from when we started working with the material up until it was recorded, mixed and mastered. So it is a long process. We've also had quite a lot difficulties which also made the whole process last even a bit longer.

Janne: Yes, We had twelve songs written and ready to record in may 2016 and the drum recordings started in July at V.R. Studio. All the other instruments we recorded during the fall and last notes were sung in january 2017, just before mixing. We finished eleven songs. Ten songs came to this album and we left one song to be released later.
I think the composing and elaboration of “Loneliness of Endless Days” has been surrounded by kind of personal problems, right? How has it all affected your sound?

Tuomas: Yeah, it's been a quite tough period for few of our members. You can hear it in the material as well. The whole album is quite dark. There is yet a dash of hope in it but I think the main message is sadness and grief. But working with the music has been therapeutic and it is a good channel to get the anger and frustrations out of your system.

So we love music so much! Was there any stage in the process where you almost gave up the recording?

Tuomas: Haha, kinda almost but not really! We're not the guys who quit. The recording was also hectic since we ended up with really tight schedule. But doing this line of work, you have to get used to it. The days can be really long and you still have to outcome yourself and be creative. It is always a learning process as well. No matter how albums you make, every time you learn something new. And every time you notice some things that should be done differently next time.

Janne: No...We all love doing this thing. I'm sure we all had bad days, but this record session was also like a good therapy, just like Tuomas said. There was a good way get rid of negative energy and create art and music with these not so good feelings.
What are the lyrics about in “Loneliness of Endless Days”?

Janne: Main themes with the lyrics are loneliness, sorrow, frustration. And what kind of side effects these feelings cause. There's lyrics about disappointments in life and relationships, curiosity for afterlife, fear of death, losing hope... The scenery with the lyrics is very dark, but I think there's beam of light hiding behind the corner.
What idea or message does the cover artwork try to transmit?

Janne: I made few paintings and drawings inspired by lyrics of this album. And this painting was the one which felt right immediately.  Actually the name of that painting is 'Ocean Blue', like one of the songs in this album. Listen to the lyrics and you find out what's it about.
The lyrical atmosphere and theme is very similar in songs 'Ocean Blue' and 'Loneliness of Endless Days'. So that's another reason why it was very good choice for cover of this album.

You sound very natural both in the rock songs as in the heavy ones, you consider yourself more a rock or a heavy band?

Tuomas: That's a good question! We label ourself as a metal band. But I think that we get mostly influenced by rock music. We're something in between. I think if you dig deeper you can come up with a million categories.

Janne: Heavy, rock, metal, prog and something more!

The work on guitars is really stylish, how do you get it? It’s more like an industrial process or more kind of a jam session?

Tuomas: Thank you. I recorded all the guitar sessions so I'd say that our work depended on what we were doing. With this album we worked every song individually. So whenever we changed the song, we changed the settings of the amps etc to fit the mood of that particular song. It's actually quite a lot of work but I think it pays off. The riffs and rhytms were pretty much done beforehand so we just played them to be as accurate and tight as possible. With leads and solos we jammed really much. Timo had preliminary ides for almost each of his solos but I think we re-made almost all of them. We turned everything really loud, added some fuzz and delay and played it through a few times. We tried to keep it fresh and aggressive. Not to overdo it too much.

Tuomas Riihimäki deserves also a mention on the keys, it really furnishes your sound and creates great atmospheres

Janne: Yeah, I agree. Tuomas really took our sound to the next level with his keys.

Tuomas: Well thank you. Atmosphering is one of the things I pursueded in doing the whole thing. I think the keys got a quite visible role with this which I'm of course pleased with. That's also one of the key differences compared to 'Deimos'. And it is good to keep the band developing. You don't want to make the same album twice but get some different aspects and stuff on the next one.

Well that is something I really appreciate, although some people prefer the same broth everyday hahaha. The voices give your album a especial touch. Is Janne Salminiemi responsible for all that work?

Janne: We have many good singers in our band. Jussi is singing lots of harmonies, backing vocals and some great leads too. Also our former bass player Anu is singing beautiful harmonies in this record. It was very nice that Anu could sing in our second album and bring more depth and colours to our vocal sound. And now, when we play these songs live, our bassist Teemu is singing backing vocals too. He is very good singer and has a great vocal range and I'm sure he'll be singing a lot more on our future recordings.

How can the fan get your album?

Janne: You can download our albums from iTunes, Amazon.
Albums are also available on Spotify and other streaming services.
And if you want cd, you find it from recordshopx.com (worldwide shipping).
Go check 'em out!

What bands have influenced your music?

Janne: I guess we all have our own favourite bands... But if I had to name few, I'd say Black Sabbath, Soundgarden, Anathema, Ghost, Mastodon, Riverside.

Tuomas: Yeah, there's plenty. My keyboards get lot of influences from bands like Pink Floyd, The Doors, Muse etc. I also have some melodic death metal background so that might also pop out from time to time.

Big names, high quality. How do you see the music business nowadays?

Tuomas: I think contemporary people always see the business in a bad way. Right now we're in a situation that bands are not that hot and solo artists, EDM, dj's and stuff like that are the mainstream. But that's how it's always been that the waves change from time to time. I think bands will rise again. Regardless of the music business we do what we do and try not think about it too much.

Have you presented your album in any gig already?

Janne: Yes we have made couple of gigs here in Finland. We had record releasing gig in our band's home town Turku. We also played a show in Helsinki and one show abroad in Tallinn, Estonia. And some more gigs are coming during the spring and summer. It was really great to get on the stage with these new songs and play them live.

If you were able to choose a band to share stage what it would be?

Janne: Right now I'd say Ghost.

Being a band from Finland, what space is there for an approach as yours?

Janne: It's true that in our country there's hundreds of good rock and metal bands, but I think there's not too many bands like Achiote.

Good answer! Are you more oriented to the Finnish market or the international arena?

Janne: With this kind of music, definitely international area.

Tuomas: I agree with Janne. The Finnish market at moment favors bands and artists who sing in Finnish. Fortunately there's always the underground scene. And as I said above, I believe that the situation will change again in the near future.

Thank you guys for your time and hopefully we will see you some day on a gig, if you wish to add something…

Janne: Yeah, we hope we'll see someday. Chears and Big Thanks to You MetalBrothers.

Tuomas: Thank you Metal Brothers! Stay true and check out our new album!

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