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It's almost two and a half years since we had an interview with Tony, SONATA ARCTICA's leader. During this period the band toured over the world, album "Unia" went gold, moreover SONATA ARCTICA visited Russia for the first time. Now it's less than one month to release of new album “The Days of Grays”, so we could talk to Henrik, the band's keyboardist..

Hello, Henrik! How are you? How is the weather in Kemi?

Hi, Marina! Everything’s good. The weather is quite nice and really better than it was couple of days before – raining and really cold. How are you?

Also everything is okay eventhough we haven’t got really summer this year. Let’s start our conversation and my first question is about your new album of course. Tell me how is it?

Well… we’re realizing a new album after a big break. It was a good chance for us to relax and then, after some time we started returned to the studio, started to write new songs..

Great! And now you’re starting a promo-tour with another band Dragonforce. So, what do you expect from it?

Well, this tour is very important for us. Actually, Dragonforce is a good band and they play on bigger venues than we usually play. So let’s see what happen then. And we are very exciting!

And can you compare this new album with some others? May be you changed something in sound or whatever?

Yes, if we do compare it with the other albums will see a lot of new sound… Comparing to deep and complex “Unia” we left some things, also we used our experience from earlier works, but also we used new standards, mixing new sound with previous ones. We used a lot of orchestra sound in this album. So, it does gonna be something new with something old as well.

And couple of words about your last single – why did you decide to ask your fans to create the cover of “The last Amazing Grays”?

No, it was our idea. First we had an idea to ask our fans to make us a cover of the album, but than we decided to make a single and the other staff… so we decided that it would be right to let our fans designing the cover. And also it is a very good opportunity for them to become a part of history of Sonata Arctica. There were a lot of our fans taking part in this small competition and it was great to receive so many different covers and it was really hard for us to choose the only one cover.

I see you enjoyed choosing the covers and but the way, all covers of your albums is very typical and well-known Sonatas’. How do you create your covers?

Well, first we have an idea of the cover. We tells them to our designer, some variants, ect. Of course we’re not designing it from the beginning to the end. But during our designer’s working he showing projects for us and we’re telling him any suggestions..

Ok, and very typical question, what do expect from the realizing of your new album?

Well… it’s always difficult to say what do we expect from it… we hope that people will like it. Now, everything is ready and… sees what happened. It’s very interesting what will people say; hope, they’ll like it!.. Yes, it’s the most important thing for us.

Are you going to show any surprises to your fans who’ll come to see your promo-tour?

Of course we always have something new for our fans and It’s gonna be some things this time… will play some old songs which we didn’t play for a very long time, also we have a new stage and something else…

And may be you have a place in the world where you want to start you new tour and where you want to finish it?

I.. I don’t care where will the tour begin, I mean it WILL start somewhere, but it would be nice if, of course it was really nice ending the last tour in Russia, but I’ll be very enthusiastic to end it in Finland and if I can choose a city – at home, in Kemi.

Do you think your album “The Days of Grays” will repeat the success of “Unia” one? Do you hope to have a one-more-golden-Sonata in your discography?

Ha-ha.. of course I want to have another golden CD in my collection. And of course we hope when we making a new album that as many people will like it as possible. And of course we’re doing.. doing best of we can and will see how far we can go with them, and I really hope that people will like it even more than “Unia”, but see what happens.

And do you hope to find some new fans with “The Days of Grays”? And how should your fan look like?

Yes, of course I always hope to find new fans.. Honestly I don’t care about how our fan should look like I don’t care if he old or young or girls or boys… it’s really doesn’t matter. Of course when we plays shows it’s better to look at girls (laughing), but anybody who loves our music are welcome to our shows.And for us it’s really doesn’t matter… some band you know are really doesn’t like teenagers to listening to them, so we don’t care! I don’t care if you 5 years old or if you’re 50 years old. If you like our music then.. it’s great!

And do you have you favorite song from “The Days of Grays”? May be we should pay more attention to one or another song?

I think.. you should pay attention to a song which.. belongs to you, but for me personally I like “Deathaura” because of pass.. a lot of different emotions and it has a lot of interesting things going on, so… right now it’s probably my favorite on the album and then it’s “The Truth Is Out There”.

And how difficult it was for you to record “The Days Of Grays”?

Ohhh, not really problems we had, just it was 6 weeks we need to work really hard.. And first it was a lot of stuff to learn and than we arranged it.. so we worked really hard for this weeks but I mean.. it’s the way it should be if you want to come up.

Okay, and apart from the album, what do you personally prefer – touring or studio?

If I had to choose I choose touring. Of course for me as I have a family it is important to be at home, but I really like to tour, because I like the shows, I like to see people, enjoying… and also that nights we’re playing we have a lot of energy, and doing as good as we can and people appreciate it… so, playing live is the thing that I enjoy the most.

Okay, but for example, if you have some kind of 15 – 20 venues on tour and you’re moving from city-to city, see a huge numb of different faces, hear a terrible quantity of (mostly the same) questions… don’t you get tired of this?

Not actually, because from one way it’s really interesting to see that no matter where you go, people are… something the same. No, of course they’ve got different color of hair or skin, speaking different languages, but a lot of people are the same emotionally. Of course sometimes you get bored and bored and you’re homesick, but I’ll tell you the worst in touring – when you’re touring three weeks in a bus or taking a plane, or waiting for this plane or going with a train.. so travelling is the worst part.

And is it funny touring with “Sonata Arctica”? Do you have good parties?

Yeah, we used to have really much. And now it’s not so bad.. we like to have few drinks after the show.. sometimes may be not even a few (ha-ha), but it is not that hard on the last tour, but of course when you play a show almost every day you can’t have a party every night, but every couple of days we have something after the show. But for example Tony doesn’t have a party if we have a show the next day because he need a lot of energy. And for example me, Elias and Marko we can have a party because we’re not loosing that much, but of course we need to have a rest as well. And for Tommy as he playing drums and it takes physically a lot, he’s also careful. I mean – that is our jobs and we can’t give it up only because we had a lot of party last night…

And as last, are you going to come with “Days of Grays” here in Russia?

Yeah, we are coming to Russia, and of course it took us 10 years to come to Russia – this is a shame! And we enjoyed visiting your country with the last tour and we’ll return at a point next year. Actually I know when we’re coming there, but I cannot say it, but we’re coming there pretty soon. It’s going to be a couple of shows.

Ok, thank you very much, Henrik for such an interesting conversation. Have a good luck in your promo tour and hope to see you in Moscow very soon!

I’m looking to come back soon; we had a really good time in Russia. Thank you all and see you very soon at our shows. Thank you, Marina! See you soon. Take care!

Выражаем благодарность Алексею Кузовлеву и лейблу Irond за организацию этого интервью

Marina Klochkova

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