Lords Of Metal
Kiuas is a relatively young Finish heavy metal band, who positively surprised most people with their first mini-album Winter In June. As a result of the release of this debut mini-album I had a talk with guitarist Mikko Salovaara and he reported the following to me concerning his band.
Can you tell me how and when the band got formed?
All of us except our vocalist Ilja have been playing many years together already in different bands and we got together with Ilja after an Iron Maiden gig actually, which was about four years ago. We started writing some songs and Kiuas was born some three years ago now. Then we did our first demo in 2002 and our second one Born Under The Northern Lights in 2003. During that period we also developed our current style of music.
What were the bands that you were in before and why did you decide to form a new band and change your musical direction?
Weve been in a few bands with the four of us already and they were all in a bit more progressive style of metal, call it more traditional heavy metal. I didnt really want to change the musical direction, but it more or less evolved naturally to the thing that were doing right now. Of course different musical outside influences and our progression as players contributed to this evolution.
Did you change your name to Kiuas as a result of this change in musical direction?
Well, all the other bands were not really serious and when we got together we decided that this band has got to be it. So its more to mark a fresh start for us all than the change of style that caused our name change.
What was your own musical background? What were the bands that you grown up with?
Well, more or less the old basic stuff like Guns n Roses and Metallica. When I started playing in 1991 when I was eleven years old Guns n Roses were really big, so they influenced me a lot. And also Pantera was one of my favourite bands for many years.
You released two demos. What do you think of them and how do you see your progression if you compare the two?
On the first one we didnt really have everything together while on the second one we had found our way and style. Also we matured a lot as players and weve been together for a longer period of time, so that all adds to the fact that I think the second one is a lot better than the first one. The songs on the second one are also much faster and more technical and show more influences for death and black metal. This was due to the fact that in between recording those two demos I started listening to more aggressive music from bands like The Crown, which at that time influenced me a lot to go into a more aggressive direction.
Did the second demo get you your record deal with your current label Rage Of Achilles?
Yes, we shopped around record labels for about six months and a few of them were interested like Rage Of Achilles and Limb Music. Limb Music was offering us a contract but at that time we had already signed with Rage Of Achilles.
How does the deal with Rage Of Achilles look like?
The mini-album is our first release and we have a contract for another one with an option for a third one.
Why did you decide to go for a mini-album first?
Well, Rage Of Achilles wanted to release our second demo as it is, but we thought it would be better if we re-recorded it because we were not too happy with the sound of the demo. Furthermore we added one new song, which is the title track.
Are you happy with the actual end result?
Well yeah, were quite pleased. There are still some minor technical faults, mainly on the production side since we were in a hurry. Im not too happy with the guitar sound still, but overall we think its pretty good for a first release.
The new song Winter In June sounds stylistically a bit different compared to the other songs, doesnt it?
Yes, it is a bit different. It is more straightforward, more traditional and simpler, but thats not how our next album is going to sound like. The new songs that we have for the new album, which we will start to record in about two weeks, are very diverse. We have simple songs and songs that are longer and more complex.
What did you do differently in the re-recording process of the three songs on the demo?
Not very much, because the song structure are still the same. We just spend a little more time to the recording process and did everything a bit more accurately this time.
Youre the main songwriter in the band, where do you get your inspiration from?
Many things, ranging from Finish folk music to general life. Finish folklore music is very important for me as a songwriter, while inspiration for the lyrical side comes from a lot of personal things happening in everyday life.
Are you going to re-use any of the older songs for your first full-length or are you just going to use new songs?
We will record one song from our first demo, two of the mini-album and probably five or six new songs. This will take probably three or four weeks.
The recording process will already start in two weeks. Where are you going to record the album?
We will start with the drums already somewhere next week and the recording will take place at the same studio that we recorded the EP (Studio Taako). We have a good relationship with the guy from that studio.
Who is going to produce the new album?
There have been some discussions going on internally about this subject. Mainly were going to do the production job ourselves as it looks now, but there will be some people coming to listen to also have an independent ear.
Do you already have a title for the album?
Yes, the final title will be The Spirit Of Ukko, who was the supreme god and god of thunder (ukkonen is Finnish for thunder).
Since youre going into the studio, you will not be heavily promoting this mini-album by gigging?
Well, here in Finland were gigging all the time, our next gig is coming Saturday. Weve been talking a little bit about touring outside of Finland but nothing concrete yet. Hopefully soon we will have things clarified.
Whats the next step for you as a band?
Mainly we want to evolve and progress as a band, since we feel that we still have a long way to go and many things to do. We are really happy with how the things went so far and we will see where this will bring us in the next five years.