Interview with Ville Nummenpää (guitar) and Sakke Vaittinen (drums) of Skyward by Rhoutna and Silence
Hi, first of all, how are you doing?
Doing fine, thanks. We had slight difficulties with the line-up, but things are clearing up. Our bass player left the band, but fortunately Mikko from Pain Confessor will help us out at the following shows. And we have a new guy coming to an audition soon.
As you are a pretty new band in the scene could you briefly tell us something about your backgrounds and describe your music to someone who hasn't heard about Skyward yet?
The band is pretty new, but the players are well experienced. Most of us have a long history from different bands and projects from the last 15 years or so. This band is all about keeping up the old traditions of heavy metal, but we try to add a modern approach to it. Some of our material is very up-tempo, but we don't want to label ourselves as power metal. Or label it anything specific. The album contains a wide variety of songs, with different moods and feelings, but the melody is always there.
Already after recording one demo you have been approached by some labels. What kind of feeling was this for you and what made you decide to sign with Thundering Records in June 2005 eventually?
It was a real thrill to be approached by a couple of labels, but in the end we decided to finance the album ourselves. Just to get things rolling. The next step was to find a suitable label to release it, and Thundering gave us a good offer. They promised us good support, promotion and a proper distribution.We are happy with Thundering at the moment.
How is the support you get from the label? Is it easy working with them?
So far everything has gone as planned. We have met in person, so there is a mutual trust between us. We also had a chance to make suitable changes in the contract, so that both, the band and the label, were satisfied.
Unlike most other bands you recorded your debut album without being signed to a label, back in the summer of 2004. What kind of feeling was it, not being sure when and if your album was going to be released?
We never lost faith. The interest from some labels gave us confidence that we will get a deal. We had some feedback from a couple of big labels as well, but in the end they didn't have anything solid to offer. Thundering did.
Did you have any expectations on the album when you where recording it last year? If so, in how far are you satisfied with the final result now?
We just tried to do the best we can and we are still happy with the result. Some songs actually improved a lot in the studio. It was a hectic and exhausting experience, but in the end very rewarding. It didn't make things easier that Sanna was 6 months pregnant at the time. And it was 40 degrees in the singing booth. Most of the recordings were done in our summer vacations, but the finishing touches were done whenever we found the time. Time was against us and we went over budget, but it was worth it.
How would you describe the album in a few words maybe to some of our readers that might be interested in it?
Energetic, catchy, fresh and full of killer melodies. Check it out.
The cover of the album contains a beautiful swan. Was there a particular reason to use this on your cover, as it was already on the “Guardian” demo as well?
The idea came from an artist called Ville Pynnönen. He is mainly a comic book artist, but he designed our demo cover. The album cover was done by his friend Ville Salonen. We wanted to use the swan theme again, but in a different way. The theme will be used again on our gigs, T-shirts etc. The swan is our "Eddie".
You already played the Nummirock festival this June, without even having your debut album released. How did it feel to play among the bigger bands (Sonata Arctica, Sentenced, Freedom Call etc.)?
Well, we didn't get to play the main stages this time, but hopefully next year. Overall a good gig. We made some good connections and got to see the other bands for free.
Antti Röksä (guitarist of the band) told me that you have been said to be ripping-off Nightwish. Of course I don't think so, as I explained in my review of the album. What's your opinion on this? Do you see any influences at all or is it just simple labelling by people?
Just because we have a woman in the band doesn't mean we are ripping off other bands. We don´t have a lot in common with that band. Except that we come from Finland. And we have a drummer. And a bassplayer. Oh, and we use electric guitars. If someone would say we are ripping off Iron Maiden, then you're closer to the truth.
As our site is dedicated to Finnish metal, how do you see the Finnish metal scene at the moment? How hard do you think it is for a beginning band to reach a record deal?
We have the best bands. Metal music becomes a major factor in the Finnish music business, and it seems to be growing all the time. There are upsides and downsides to it. There are so many bands and the standards are high. You have to really stand out to get recognized these days. But then again, the eyes of the world are on Finland now. It says a lot that you guys have dedicated your website to Finnish metal only.
What advice could you give to a new band that wants to split itself from the masses?
The usual. Work hard and don't lose your faith. And don't listen to other people's advices. Including this one.
How do you see the future for Skyward at the moment? Are there already any plans for the next months?
We try to play as many gigs as possible before christmas. We are also working on new material and the songs for the next album are planned to be demoed next spring. A lot depends on the success of the debut album. We are also negotiating with a couple of booking agencies. Hopefully we reach an agreement so that we could play the big festivals next summer. And generally tour as much as possible. That's the best part of the whole thing.
Is there anything else left unmentioned you would like to say to our readers?
Vaya con Diablo!
Thanks for the interview and good luck in the future!
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