An Interview with Guitar Player and Vocalist Pete Ahonen
Interviewed by Madman and Rick
Ghost Machinery is one of the many great new bands to find a home on Sound Riot Records. It is no surprise that they are also one of the shining new lights on the metal scene. Pete Ahonen (Burning Point) has put together a new unit that is set to take the metal world by storm.
You have a new band Ghost Machinery and a new album called HAUNTING REMAINS. Can you tell us a little bit about the album. Where you recorded it? Who produced it etc?
We recorded it in the Tonebox Studios here in our hometown, Oulu. We produced the album on our selfs because we knew exactly what we wanted the Ghost Machinery to sound like. It was mastered by Markus Teske in Bazement studios in Germany. Their previous works include great names such as, Symphony X, Vanden Plas, Metalium. The cover artwork was done by amazing artist, Mattias Noren who had work before with, Evergrey, Kotipelto, Derek Sherinian etc. Another great artist and a musician, Chrille Andersson, designed the booklet and he have been working with bands like, Morifade, Axenstar, Supreme Majesty etc. I have to say that we are more than pleased with the outcome : )
Was it easy to find a record label for this material? Was Limb Music (Burning Point’s current label) interested at all?
It was pretty easy, fortunately. There were few labels that showed interest towards us but in the end we decided to work with Sound Riot guys. They ( Limb Music ) liked the material but they stated that it wasn`t in their best interest to release cd with a Burning Point singer singing in it? Well, you win some and you lose some : )
Sound Riot Records seems to be signing quite a number of great bands lately. Where do you guys fit in on their roster and what do they offer you that some of the other labels didn’t?
I hope that we are on the top of the food chain, heh! I think that they are sincerely interested about the band and about our music. More like friendship and not a business relationship, of course that too but not only
Are you viewing Ghost Machinery as more of a project or a band? I know the band was originally started as a vehicle to get out some of your own material, but with some of those songs being reworked and some newer material being rewritten, do you see Ghost Machinery going beyond this first release?
This started as a project but has definitively developed into to a Band. I wrote almost 80 % of the Burning Point songs so the reason I started a new band was not the fact that I didn`t get my songs on the album. I just wanted to record a few songs that other guys in the band ( Burning Point ) weren`t interested. And you know, one thing let to another and here we are with our debut album in stores all over the world! We are here to stay, make no mistake about that : )
What is the significance, if any, of the name Ghost Machinery?
No, not really It just sounded kind of cool : )
I have heard Ghost Machinery referred to as a “power metal” band. It is a tag that I don’t think totally fits the sound of the band. How do you feel about being called a power metal band and how personally would you describe the sound of Ghost Machinery?
I don`t consider us as a power metal band. I think that the best words to describe our music is , melodic heavy metal band. Of course there are tracks on the album that you can call power metal but , there is so much more than thatI heard that someone said that it`s like a trip through metal from the 80`s to the new millenium : )
Listening back on the album, do you think most of the older songs that are on HAUNTING REMAINS met your original vision of them? Would you say you succeeded in reproducing what had been in your head for so long?
Oh man, the songs are much, much better now : )
Which songs on the album were ones that had been sitting around for a while waiting to be used? How satisfying is it to look back on these recordings today, knowing that these songs have finally been recorded and released for people to hear?
Dreamworld, Darkest Hour, In Your ( evil ) Dreams, Down In Flames and Temples of Gold. I can`t describe how happy I am that these songs finally been released : ) I think that those songs definitively deserved to be released on the album as well as the other tracks.
You mention on your website that the song “Temples of Gold” was originally offered to Burning Point, and was rejected and you then offered the song to a friend for his band. I wanted to know if youd thought of writing for other bands prior to offering that song to someone else? Is it something you’ve thought of doing since or would be interested in?
I haven`t thought about that to be honest but, why notI really don`t know what is going on in my head right now because it seems that everytime I pick up my guitar there is a song coming, scary : ) And because of that I have another metal “project” on the way I have 3 songs ready for that and the new Ghost Machinery and the new Burning Point albums are written too, just waiting to be recordedIt is going to be a busy spring and summer but I love it : )
Compared to other bands currently playing a similar style your lyrics are based on something more tangible and realistic, while having a darker outlook. Is this something that comes easy for you? Would writing anything else just be forced? Would you say the lyrics are a good reflection of yourself and your own views on life?
Well, I have to admit that I live too much “under pressure” and I have a tendency to take stress for everything : ) I really hate that side of me and I am trying to learn everyday. Of course this comes to show only if you know me on a personal level, otherwise I`m very happy dude : ) I just try to tell my stories with very simplistic way because I`m a simple guy
What is the songwriting process for Ghost Machinery? Do you bring in the songs already finished or do you work on them with the rest of the band? How do Jussi and Tapsa fit into the songwriting process?
Yes,, I write the verse, chorus etc at home and bring it to the rehearsals. There we start to arrange the song to it`s final form and I have to say that without Jussi and Tapsa the songs would not sound so fucking great! Both of them are very big part of the process.
With the success of metal in your native Finland and the success of some metal bands in getting their albums on the charts did you approach this album with the idea that it could be a commercial success and maybe hit the charts or did you not worry about that at all?
I think that if you start looking at charts or even start writing the songs in a way that are they going to be a “hit” songs you’re way out of line. I have never wrote a song thinking that is it going to be a hit. What comes, comes straight from my heart : )
How did you choose “Out in the Fields” as the choice for a cover song? How did you come to have Ville Laihala of Sentenced guest on the track?
Well, we did a version of this song with Burning Point ( in Salvation by Fire sessions) but I wasn`t happy with that at the time and we decided to drop it off from the album.
I just thought that it would be cool to try it now with Ville doing the Lynott part. I have known him for years and we`ve been talking about that it would be cool to try some music stuff together and now it finally happened and it was great working with him , he`s very cool guy too : )
Were there any other cover songs that you contemplated recording for the CD yet ultimately rejected?
There were few but I`m not revealing them because we might record some of them on the new album : )
Where did the chorus for “Down in Flames” come from, or more specifically the keyboard line for it? It reminds me of a band like Europe and it fits well with the rest of the song.
Well, I actually wrote that song ( or the chorus) back in 87- 88 but I changed the verses and made new c- part etc to this new version. So now you probably understand why it sounds so 80`s, heh heh By the way, the original title was, Into The Fire!!??
With a song like “Blinded Eyes”, what came first? Was it the main melody or was it the riffs? I always find it interesting when the vocals aren’t following the guitars. How do most songs usually begin for you?
I believe that the guitar melody came firstThere`s no any particular way how the song begins, it could be a vocal melody or guitar riff etc
Do you have any plans to tour behind this release? Play any of the summer festivals: Wacken, Sweden Rock, Bang Your Head etc?
We have couple of shows in April and we are doing a little tour here in Finland early summer. I have contacted few of the festivals but nothing has been confirmed, I believe that because we don`t have any “big” record label behind us it`s very hard to get to play on those festivals but we`re trying our best : ) Of course if there is someone who reads this interview and could help us in that matter, just contact us!
If you could choose one band to tour with right now who would it be and why?
It should be in the genre as we are, I thinkMaybe some of these “new” bands, At Vance, Nocturnal Rites, Dream Evil etc. Those bands for example play just the kind of metal I love : )
How about coming over to North America? What are your thoughts on the North American metal scene and do you think that Ghost Machinery will ever come across the Atlantic for any shows?
It would be very, very cool to play there. I have received a quite few fan e-mails from over there. Maybe this is a question I should ask you : ) I am not too familiar with that scene nowadays so I really don`t know what is going onMy cousin is living in New York so maybe I have to visit her and check out the metal scene in there : )
What is the status of Burning Point? Is the band finished or are you guys just taking some time off? When I interviewed Jukka a year and a half ago he said that there were 7 songs already written for a new Burning Point CD. What happened to those songs?
We have been keeping a low profile just because of one “cocksucker” here tried to shoot us down and made our lives a living hell for a year! It seemed that whatever we did he was lurking in the corners and watered our plans etc. We are never doing any business or anything with Mastervox records or media or whatever he calls it!! He is an asshole!! Huh, sorry about that, it still gets my blood flowing, heh heh Okay, back to your question : ) We have 12 new Burning Point tracks ready and waiting to be recorded. We`re not 100% sure who`ll release the album, it is under a negotiations. I believe that new album will be called, “Burned Down The Enemy” and we have definitively jumped to the next level in songwriting and playing etc It is going to be a killer album!!
How was it working with Mattias Norin for the artwork? Was there a lot of exchanging of ideas for the cover concept or was he just given free reign to come up with whatever he wanted?
He is a very, very cool guy and amazing artist! We are very happy that he did our album cover : ) We gave him few “tips” that what we wanted but basically it was his idea. And of course Chrille Andersson, who did the whole layout of the cd did a amazing job too! He also plays guitar in Supreme Majesty, great band too!
From all reports you are a big Yngwie Malmsteen fan. Who else has been a big influence on your musical career and how do you think these influences show up in your songwriting?
Yeah Yngwie Rules!!! I listen so much different metal bands ( and a little Flamenco music occasionally..) that it is very difficult to pin point where exactly I get my influences. I just listened the U.D.O`s THUNDERBALL cd and I really loved the song, Trainride in Russia. I have always loved those Russian melody lines, they have combined a power and kind of sadness in those melodies. Maybe I will do some Russian melodies too on the next albums : )
How about new bands? Are there any new bands that you like?
, the world is full of great new bands! As I mentioned earlier, At Vance, Nocturnal Rites, Dream Evil, Edguy, Kamelot, Masterplan etc I think that in my case the list would be endless : )
What are your plans for Ghost Machinery? What do you see in the future for yourself and for the band?
More interviews, tour, a new album etc. Of course I have great ambitions but at the same time I`m very humble and down to earth kind of guy so I take one day at the time but I`m gazing to the distance too : ) We are prepared to work hard for this band and for the Burning Point too, we are not taking anything for granted.
Is there anything else you would like to say to the readers of Metal-Rules.com?
If you are in to the “European” style of melodic heavy metal you should check out our debut album, HAUNTING REMAINS!!!
And make sure to visit our website too, www.ghostmachinery.com STAY METAL!!!!
Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions!
Thank you for this interview, it was pleasure to do : )
2 Reviews of HAUNTING REMAINS
Ghost Machinery Official Website
Sound Riot Records Official Website