Finnish prog metal masters SONATA ARCTICA has a new album out called Stones Grow Her Name. Henrik “Hennka” Klingenberg checked in with Metal Army about the new album, their twenty plus year career, their new music video and other influences.
MAA: What is the concept behind Stones Grow Her Name?
HK: There’s really not any big picture-type of concept, but we went in with the notion and general idea that we would make a simpler, more accessible and rocking album suitable for the stage. We also decided to drop most of the symphonic elements that were pretty dominant on the last album.
MAA: The band is almost twenty years old now. Do you feel any pressure to keep topping your previous efforts?
HK: Not really, I think the main thing is that as long as you feel like you’re working on your best album every time you hit the studio, then at least you’re on the right path. Naturally we do make an effort to top ourselves every time and become a better band, but I think that if you force it too much, then it might backfire so we’ll just keep on working our asses off and hope for the best.
MAA: Beyond the obvious, what is the song “Shitload of Money” really about?
HK: It’s really more of a warning. You should not sell things that you can’t buy back, like your privacy or honesty or stuff like that. The song wants to make you think about the true value of things, in my opinion.
MAA: Please discuss the inspiration behind the “I Have A Right” video?
HK: Originally, we saw this thing on YouTube where a girl was telling a story by drawing in the sand and we thought that would be a great way to do a music video but since we didn’t have access (= money) to do that, we went with another artist and instead of sand painting, it was done as regular painting-style storytelling (if such a thing exists). Naturally, the story pretty much follows the lyrics and emphasizes the story in the song.
MAA: Much more than Power Metal, I hear lots of Progressive Rock influences in the band. Any favorites?
HK: I think I’m the most prog-dude in the band. RUSH is one of my all-time, most important bands and of course I’ve listened to a lot of KING CRIMSON, YES, even FRANK ZAPPA, some of the earlier GENESIS, and what have you.
MAA: Does the artwork on the cover of the album tie into the story as well?
HK: It ties a little bit into the story of the two “Wildfire” songs I think, where the main point is that we should be concerned about how we treat our planet or Mother Nature will have her revenge and humanity will come to an end. Come to think of it, the world wouldn’t necessarily be such a bad place without all the shit we people do, so our planet might well be better off without us. I’m not volunteering to leave, though.
MAA: Any chance the band will ever record another covers EP?
HK: Of course there’s always a chance, but personally I prefer to do originals. I know some of the guys like to do covers more than others, but we’ll see. We always do one or two cover songs when we record an album, so eventually there will be enough to put together a covers EP.
MAA: Is there an instrument or a type of voice the band would like to try to incorporate into the music that you haven’t had a chance to yet?
HK: Yeah, I think there are a lot of stuff we haven’t tried yet, but I don’t want to give anything away so you’ll have to wait until the next album to see what we come up with. Personally speaking, as long as it sounds good, we will use it no matter if it’s a pig squealing or a grand piano being thrown down the stairs.
MAA: What kind of touring schedule does the band have planned for supporting the release?
HK: We’re doing festivals in Europe during the summer and then club shows in Finland and the rest of Europe during this fall. In 2013, we’ll hit North & South America, Japan, and what have you. It will be a long world tour once again. I’m really looking forward to it and luckily the shows will start really soon!!! Cheers!!!
(Special Thanks to Hennka, SONATA ARCTICA and Nuclear Blast).
by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes