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Finland, so much is in this sound… almost everything in Russia with great quality is importing from Suomi-land: cellulars, wood and paints, books about Panu Pontev, finally vodka and stratovarius. One after other, more than 10 years already (from the time, when AMORPHIS drew with markers the borders of their light green country), musical efforts of different level of "weight", speed, originality and skills. Some are just for one day, others stay in players for months. Our current heroes, OLYMPOS MONS, now has only released through Limb Music Productions their debut album, "Conquistador" - strong melodic power metal, with interesting ideas. Unfortunately, the first planned phone interview failed, I had to contact band via e-mail. But it gave other advantage - two "olymposians" answered my questions: vocalist Ian Highhill and guitarist Jari Sundstrom. The conversation is short but informative though.

Hitryakoff: OLYMPOS MONS is a new formation on European power metal scene. Please tell what goals you pursued at the start and how maybe they changed after releasing your debut album...

Ian E.Highhill: Well our goal was to get a record deal and to get to play live before bigger audiences. Our goals haven't changed much from that except that the first part is now achieved.

Jari Sundstrom: Yeah, plus making millions and billions and zillions of dollars....Hahahahaha!

H.: The creative core of the band is Sundstrom/Highhill tandem. Could we expect any contributions from other band members on future releases?

Ian: No OLYMPOS MONS is a Highhill / Sundstrom project.

H.: I know that the founding members of OLYMPOS MONS aren't novices on the metal scene. What bands did you play in before starting OLYMPOS MONS?

Ian: There's been so many bands, but my last band was a DEEP PURPLE tribute band.

Jari: I've played in so many different bands that i've lost count of it. Last band was a coverband performing various kinds of music...

H.: There are a lot of bands erupted from Finland last years. In absolutely various branches of metal music. What to melodic metal, you have such bands as STRATOVARIUS, ALTARIA, Timo Kotipelto's self-named solo project. Why did you decide to work in that style?

IanIan: This is what comes out when we start writing together with Jari, we really can't do that much about it.

Jari: Yeah, we're very sorry...:)

H.: Olympos Mons is the hugest volcano in the known Universe. If we consider that there was life on Mars millions of years ago, maybe that volcano was the cause of its devastation. Does it mean that you have an agressive approach to other bands, a will to dominate above all by any means?

Ian: No we don't have an aggressive approach to anyone, but about the will to dominate well that's another story......

Jari: For gods sakes, not by any means, where did You get an impression like that....and if there's ever been life on planet Mars, I am convinced it?s devastation had nothing to do with any volcano but the foolishness, creed and arrogance of it's inhabitants....just look where we are heading...

H.: "Conquistador" is the self-produced record. If you ask me, self-production usually results in significant loss of objectivity. But maybe there is an other side of a medal also? Could you point the main advantage of self-producing, as you see it? If you had a chance to invite somebody to produce your record, who would it be?

Ian: We have a very clear vision about how our music should sound like, so there?s really no need for a third party. But if Martin Birch would volunteer maybe we would consider it.

Jari: You couldn't put it any better, mate...

H.: I read there were some problems during the record session of "Conquistador" which compelled you to change the recording studio. Could you tell about that? Are you okay with final production?

Ian: We're very pleased with the final result, and we don't really want to comment the problems with that studio any further.

H.: There is a person (conquistador) wearing the astronaut's helmet on the front cover of your album. Does it mean that a lyrical part of "Conquistador" implies any sci-fi tones?

Ian: I think the concept in the song Conquistador is more historical than scifi. What comes to the lyrics, well, they are some kind of fantasy poems I guess, based on both real life and fiction.

Jari: The idea for the coverart was to somehow combine this conquistador theme with the origins of the band name...

H.: I know that you have a female president in Finland and henceforth, a better insight of what woman in the head of parliament is. Does the song "Cleopatra" connected to that some way? What do you think, if women dominated in governments around the world, what would it change for?

Ian: I think it's a positive thing with women as presidents. Cleopatra is not connected to that, it's a song about cleopatras slave/servant who both hates her and love her at the same time.

Jari: If women would run this world it's future would probably look more humane...

H.: Listening to your music, I have found that some passages and lead melodies sound as if they were originally composed on keyboards. Do you keep an artificial balance between guitar melodies and synth melodies or does it happen unexpectedly while you are writing songs?

Jari: Well, we just write what ever pops into our heads, some of it with guitar and some with keyboard, but a significant amount of our material is also written with only the plain mouse of the computer...

H.: What do you think about using the symphonic element in metal music nowadays? Is it still actual? Who is your favourite classic composer? What do you know about russian music?

Jari: Actual ? In my opinion anything that sounds good in music is actual . My absolute favorite classical composers are Bach and Vivaldi since i?m very fond of baroque music...so that makes me a baRocker....Hahahah. What I've understood the Russian music and culture in general has a very long history and high standard...

Ian: Mine is Carl orff and Edvard Grieg

H.: Did anybody of band members have musical classes?

Ian: I haven't!

Jari: Nope. (I don't know about Mikko or Vili...)

H.: A question to Jari Sundstrom: Sometimes guitarists primarily occupied in melodic metal stuff, try themselves in the opposite genres. Take, for example, Andy LaRocque of KING DIAMOND, who participated on DEATH's "Individual Thought Patterns" album. Could you be interested in collaboration with any brutal band? If yes, maybe you could name a certain brutal band you would like to work with?

Jari: Sure, ANNIHILATOR. Been fond of Jeffs music already for 15 years... Perhaps it?s not so brutal you?re after but for me the vocals are very important and for me this Death you mentioned is already pass the edge of my taste...

H.: Are you planning to film a video? What kind of musical videos do you prefer to watch - the concert videos or the screenplay ones? If you had decided to score a soundtrack to a motion picture, what kind of movie would it be?

Ian: All this is in such an early stage so we don't know of any possible videos yet. I like both kind of videos concert videos and screenplay. If O.M. would be in a soundtrack well, it would most certainly be a scifi / fantasy movie with an erotic flavour!

JariJari: I'd be eager to participate in a funny animal cartoon...:)

H.: Imagine, that you have decided to use female vocals on the next OLYMPOS MONS longplay. Would you invite Tarja Turunen of NIGHTWISH, Monserrat Cabaliet or Russian girls from TATU?

Ian: I think We would take Tarja to dinner M.Cabaliet to sing for us and the TATUs to dance for us on the table!

Jari: That would be fun...

H.: A question to Ian E. Highhill: As I understand, your second name "Highhill" is an alias. And the analogy between "Highhill" and "Olympos Mons" is also apparent. If after years of successive career with OM you would have to go to form another band, would you drop this alias for the new one?

Ian: Ian Eric Highhill is my real name it?s just translated to English and no, I will never change it.

H.: From the record diaries on your website I have learned that your favourite drink is beer. Don't you want to make a song about beer, just like guys from TANKARD do? Let's imagine that your girlfriend is fond of beer and hence she is getting fatter. Would you restrain her drinking beer or is that okay for you?

Ian: Well, Beer it's not that romantic is it..but who knows. and what comes to the lady getting fatter, well I think women are beautiful with curves I?m not very found of those anorectic model types!!!

Jari: It ain't over until the fat lady sings...:)

H.: If you had a chance to correct a geopolitical map of Europe, what changes would you make? How do you think, would unification of all Europe bring good or bad to European metal scene or music in general?

Ian: I'm an musician all I want is to play music and have peace in the world!!

Jari: I think the unification of Europe is good for music and what comes to the geopolitics, i have nothing to state in public...

H.: Maybe there is something you ever wanted to say, but noone asked you about...

Ian: To our neighbour Metal heads in Russia and Ukraine: buy our record and join us on a magical, mystical ride to the rainforests of Mars!!!

Jari: Yes, buy it or Santa won't bring you any presents on Christmas Eve....:))

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