Amberian Dawn is a Finnish metal band that honed their trademark sound with expert precision, making highly polished albums of symphonic metal that are sure to be heralded as future classics by fans of the genre. They've brought more songs to the Rock Band Network than any other band, and have become a fan favorite. That's why we've chosen them as the Rock Band Network Artist of the Month for July 2011.
HMXLachesis (Associate Producer Carolyn VanEseltine) interviewed Amberian Dawn a year ago as their popularity first started skyrocketing on the RBN. As we celebrate Amberian Dawn as the July 2011 Artist of the Month, she follows up one year later in the interview below with guitarist & keyboardist Tuomas Seppälä & vocalist Heidi Parviainen.
Carolyn VanEseltine: Right now, Amberian Dawn has more tracks on the Rock Band Network than any other band, and we've heard that your entire catalogue will be coming to Rock Band. What convinced you to make this commitment to Rock Band as a music platform?
Tuomas Seppälä: From the very first steps we made on RBN, it was quite clear that the music of AD is suitable for Rock Band. It seems like the Rock Band players enjoy the technical challenges we give to them and also the music itself seems to be liked among RB players. At first we put two songs on RBN and because of the great response, we [were] convinced about the whole concept of RBN and decided to put the whole arsenal of AD's music available on RBN. It's also awesome that we can reach a lot of people on RBN and those people wouldn't necessarily have heard about AD without this game concept. We got RockGamer Studios as our partner and so far our co-operation has been very enjoyable.
CV: How would you describe your music to someone who hasn't heard it yet?
TS: The music of AD is melodic metal which is very easy to approach and easy to listen to despite the fact you're not necessarily a fan of heavy metal. That's because our music is melodic and catchy and at the same time it also offers a lot of skillful playing and a lot of interesting instrumental elements on it. So far on all AD's line-ups it's always been important that the players are best of their scenes, because playing AD music takes a lot of skills.
CV: The last time we spoke, you were mixing your third album. Now that new album, End of Eden, just came out this past May. How does the sound of the new album differ from your previous albums, The Clouds of Northland Thunder and River of Tuoni?
TS: End Of Eden album is somehow darker and heavier than those two previous albums of ours. Also the production of that newest album is a bit "bigger." This evolution is still going on, because right now we're recording our fourth album already, and it's going to be most massive and most symphonic AD album so far.
CV: If you could feature any musician in the whole world as a guest artist in a future Amberian Dawn song, who would you choose?
TS: We've been quite active with guest musicians and singers so far and I'm sure I'm going to use guesting musicians or singers in the future too. If I would have to choose just one person, whom I would like to perform on AD's album, the answer it's quite clear. It's guitarist Ritchie Blackmore [of Deep Purple and Rainbow]. I've always been a huge fan of his work and I've also taken a lot of influences from his music.
CV: Going back to the River of Tuoni album for a moment... the lyrics to "Passing Bells" are gorgeous and haunting, but they're also very open to interpretation. What is actually going on in this song?
Heidi Parviainen: It is a story of a woman who is sentenced to death and waits for her execution in a dungeon. While she waits for it she can hear the church bells like passing bells echoing in the castle where she stays as a prisoner. And when she walks her path to the guillotine she hears the fierce drumming. Her mind is calm before her death since her conscience is clear. "Passing Bells" is a historical story of an innocent victim who died for something she did not do.
CV: You'll be touring Europe this fall with the 2011 "Out of the Dark" Festival tour. We know you'll give an incredible show everywhere you stop, but are there any cities or venues you're particularly looking forward to?
TS: Well, so far we've been quite lucky because almost all the venues, on which we have been playing in Europe, have been great. Of course we have some favorite venues, like legendary Z7 in Switzerland. But the most important thing is always the audience and a devoted and crazy crowd is the thing that makes the show enjoyable for us too. On this next tour of ours, we're going to visit some new venues in Germany and it's always very exciting to perform in a place where you haven't been ever before.
CV:When you're on the road, what's in your tour survival kit?
TS: Well, you can't take so much personal things with you to the night liner bus and you can take only the very most important personal things with you. On the road you're quite completely in the hands and in the care of the tour crew. We like to drink a lot of beer during those long bus rides and have some interesting conversations with other band members and with tour crew. Usually there are two different bands sharing the same tour bus and usually they are from some different country too, so there are usually a lot of topics for conversation. So, there's probably no specific "survival kits," instead we're having a lot of support from the tour crew and from the venues in which we are playing and we're getting all the necessary things and services that way.
CV:Do you have any plans to tour in the USA?
TS: AD would love to tour USA. At this point it's probably still not possible, because we haven't released any CDs in the US yet. So far we have only digital releases there. If our success on RBN would grow some more, I would believe that our label in US, Universal Music (Spinefarm Records is part of Universal today) would have the courage to release our albums there in CD format also. Touring in general is quite expensive and you must have some kind of confidence, that you're getting enough audience in to the shows, so that way you can cover all the tour expenses. We're also interested to perform on festivals and different kind of happenings in US and we have a management company (Twisted Talent Concerts) which is our contact person, if promoters there have some interest on us.
CV: What's next for Amberian Dawn - back to the studio, or more touring, or a break?
TS: We're recording a new album right now and it takes a lot of time during this summer. After that we're touring Europe again with 15 shows in 9 different countries. We're aiming to January 2012 with the release of this new album. This album is going to be best of our albums so far, and we're going to have some very interesting persons making guest appearances on it. I can't tell those names yet, sorry.
CV: When you're not writing, touring, recording, or performing, what takes up your time?
TS: Personally, I write and play music almost all the time and because I compose all the music for AD, it takes a lot of time. And taking care of different kind of business and activities related to AD takes a lot of my time. Besides music I like sports and I used to run and do some cycling for example. Almost all of our band members are full time musicians and many of us also plays in other bands too. As far as I know, none of us is having any trouble to spend their leisure time.
CV: Any last words for your fans in the Rock Band community?
TS: I want to thank all of you RBN players, who have been supporting us. I'm convinced that Rock Band is going to be more and more important for us. I've been planning to compose a couple of songs that would be released only on Rock Band. Those songs would probably be extremely challenging and difficult to play. I hope that you've enjoyed the music of AD. More albums and songs will be released in the future. I hope to see you some day on our gigs too, so keep on checking our websites so you'll get more info about the band and our shows for example.