Interview of Janne Kivilahti (in English)
I was able to interview Janne Kivilahti, the bass player of Sonata Arctica at 22nd January:

Interviewer: First of all I congratulate you because of the GREAT album, which was in TOP20 at its best at Finnish official charts. A year ago you were just an unknown band in the middle of nowhere and now you are going to common European tour with Stratovarius and Rhapsody. How could all this happen in just a year? How did you actually do it?

Janne: Actually all we did was just a demo and an album, I'll give credits from everything else to our record company. We were chosen to the tour just because of our single. One reason can also be that Stratovarius wanted domestic band as a warm up.

I: As far as I know you didn't send your demo to Spinefarm, it just went there to some unknown route. What were you thinking when Spinefarm contacted you?

J: That's correct, Spinefarm got the demo tape from an outsider. When Spinefarm contacted us we didn't actually believe that we could be THIS good. We knew we would have some possibilities, but we were thinking just "Oh, we made only a demo, that's nothing special."

I: What kind of contract do you now have with Spinefarm?

J: Three years, three albums.

I: So you're doing a new album this year?

J: Yes, this year or at the beginning of next year.

I: What have people and the media thought about Ecliptica?

J: Mainly the comments have been very positive, but there's been a couple of voices saying our lyrics are just like from some "teenage series".

I: Are you now famous persons or celebrities in your home town?

J: Umm... No, we aren't.

I: Did the TV-commercial affect the sales numbers of Ecliptica? How many copies of the album and single have already been sold in Finland and worldwide?

J: Well, the TV-commercial has had something to do with the sales numbers, though people in for example northern Finland aren't able to watch Nelonen (a Finnish TV-channel which has been showing the commercial). Anyway, the TV-commercial has been on air on good watching times so it might have affected at least a bit. Over 3000 singles and 8000 albums have already been sold in Finland already. The album will be released in the Europe in the beginning of next week.

I: Are you now wishing to have a gold disc?

J: That could be possible for the single, because the limit is only 5000 copies.

I: Do you listen to Ecliptica or for example Stratovarius' albums yourself?

J: After releasing the album I listened to some songs from it, but when I also have to play those songs... I like listening something else, even some different style of music. I listen for example ...(thinks)... In Flames or Dream Theater.

I: All right. You're soon going to conquer the whole of Europe with Stratovarius and Rhapsody. What do you think right now, are you excited?

J: No, it's hard to think of that kind of things right now. We still have quite many domestic gigs left. Maybe we'll feel more excited later.

I: You have some 40 gigs in less than 50 days during the tour. Are those gigs going to be different from Finnish ones? Are you worried about the hard work that world class stars are doing? Almost a gig in a day might be very hard to a "new" band like you. Are you afraid of failing?

J: I guess the gigs will be almost the same as the domestic ones, maybe we have a bit more compact set. Everything has been at least tolerable during our gigs, so we have nothing to worry about.

I: Who got the idea that you could be a fine warm up band for Stratovarius? How many seconds did you think before answering?

J: The manager of Stratovarius contacted Spinefarm and suggested this thing. Jani and Tony were just finishing the mixing of Ecliptica in Helsinki and they were just meeting Ewo Rytkönen. Ewo mentioned about forthcoming warm up gigs. The guys naturally asked who the main artists would be and the names Stratovarius and Rhapsody were then mentioned with the words "common European tour". I guess it took some 5 to 10 minutes until they truly realized what was going on.

I: You are all fans of Stratovarius. What do you think about the third band which tours with you, Rhapsody? Could mr. Luca Turilli (the guitar player of Rhapsody) be a "challenger" for Timo Tolkki?

J: I guess we don't like so much "the sword and the dragon" stylish music. Both the guitar players are nearly as good.

I: What does Sonata Arctica do after the tour? Are you going to rest for a while or are you already planning gigs for the forthcoming summer?

J: We'll probably play at one or two festivals, but me and Tommy are going to do our military service starting from the July 2000.

I: Nummirock and Tuska Metal Fest are the most "metallic" festivals in Finland, in 1999 there were for example HammerFall, Stratovarius, Nightwish, Children of Bodom etc. in Nummirock. Is it possible to see Sonata Arctica at Nummirock and/or Tuska?

J: We can't play at Tuska Metal Fest because of the military service for me and Tommy. The names Nummirock and Provinssirock are now on the table, they're the best choices for now. Nothing has been confirmed yet, though.

I: And now the last question. Have there been lots of people already asking your signatures?

J: There were already people asking for signatures in the soundcheck of our first gig, that was quite amazing. In Kemi (the home town of Sonata Arctica) everyone treats us just like normal persons, they might maybe think "Hmm, where have I seen this guy before...", nothing else.

I: Ok, thanks for the interview!

© Ossi Jääskeläinen, 2000
by Kalle Karikoski (C) 1999