Ex-FRETERNIA members return in new band
An interview with lead guitarist Patrik von Porat
and vocalist Pasi Humppi
Interviewed by EvilG
For FRETERNIA fans waiting to hear news about what some of the band members are now doing there is good news. That good news comes in the form of the new band CROMONIC. This Swedish band consits of: Patrik von Porat – Lead guitars, Tomas W?ppling – Rhythm guitars, Bo Pettersson – Bass, Pasi Humppi – Vocals, and Ronny Milianowicz – drums. All except for Ronny (current drummer for Dionysus) were at one time or another in Freternia. However, don’t let this fool you, this new band is not planning on being Freternia part 2, but plans to stand on their own with their own style and sound. I spoke with both Patrick and Pasi recently about their new band, Freternia, other bands they are involved in, etc. Enjoy!
I first have to ask the obvious burning question
?.why can?t this band be called FRETERNIA since you have 4 Freternia members and the only non alumni-Freternian is your drummer??? Do you want to distance yourselves from the old band?s style and sound?
Freternia is a finished chapter in my life. Bo left Freternia when they were a demo band and I left short after the recording of “Warchants & Fairytales“. Cromonic is a band started by me and Bo and the sound is definitely not the same as Freternia. The choice of Tomas and Pasi became natural since they are good musicians with experience and great ideas. Of course, Pasi?s voice will remind you of Freternia but the music is not the same.
You were a member of Freternia from 1998-2000 and left the band after the album WARCHANTS & FAIRYTALES. Why did you leave the band before the glorious A NIGHTMARE STORY?
I had many things going on in my life back then. I came to a point where I realized that I had not enough energy to focus on Freternia. So I decided that it would be best for the band if I left.
Were you responsible for anything on the last Freternia album (A NIGHTMARE STORY)?
I had no contact with Freternia after the split so I was not involved at all on that album. I was asked though to play the solos on the album but unfortunately at that point I didn?t have the time.
Would you call your guitar style more neo-classically based? Did this style fit with the Freternia feel, and if not, do you think that had something to do with you leaving the band?
Yes I would. I grew up listening to Yngwie Malmsteen and I think that affected my style a lot. But I?ve also listened a lot to guitarists like Steve Morse, Eric Johnson, John Petrucci, Michael Romeo and Steve Vai. I don?t try to sound like someone else in my playing but I definitely think that I?ve got some neoclassical influences. I think my style blended well with the Freternia songs though and is not the reason why I left the band.
Briefly, tell us what you did since leaving Freternia and now starting this band, Cromonic.
Right after leaving Freternia I had a break from the music for about 4 months where I didn’t play guitar at all. I had to keep distance from the music for a while. Then one day I picked up the guitar and started to write a couple of songs in my home studio. In autumn 2004 I had several discussions with Bo and that was the beginning of a project which now has grown to a band.
What lead style can we expect on the Cromonic demo/album?will there be lots of shredding?
Many years have passed since the recording of “W&F“ and I was very young at that time. I am sure you will recognize my playing but I have grown a lot as a musician since then. You can definitely expect some serious shredding!
Speaking of an album?.do you have any rough idea on when a full-length might be out? Could it be in 2005, or does that depend on landing a recording contract? If you don?t will you self-release something anyway?
We have the idea of recording a full-length album this winter. We have almost all material finished for it so that?s our ambition, but as you mentioned it depends a bit on how things turn out with the recording contract.
How long have you been playing guitar, and for the guitar-heads out there can you please tell us a bit about the gear you use??
I started playing electrical guitar when I was about 10 years old and I’m turning 26 now, so 16 years. I’ve been using a lot of different guitars since I started but my favourite guitars through the years must be Ibanez Jem-555 and Fender YJM Stratocaster, unfortunately I?ve sold them both. Now I use a Washburn RS-980 which is a great guitar but I’m on the lookout for a new guitar. When I was rehearsing with Freternia I used a Hughes & Kettner Vortex amp, now I use a Line6 Pod XT Pro. I think the Pod XT is an amazing product that?s very convenient to have around for recording in the middle of the night without having your wife yelling at you. I use Jim Dunlop Tortex H3 picks and Elixir strings which I think has awesome tone and durability. By the way, I run a section at the Cromonic forum where I post presets for Pod XT, if you?re a Line6 user you might want to check that out.
When you write a solo, do you tab it out and practice it, or do you come up with stuff in more of an improvisational style?
I always improvise until I get something that I really like, then I?ll record it. But I never write stuff down, I think you get a better, more natural “flow“ this way.
Tell me about the “Rebirth 2005“ promo CD single. What will be on it, will it be released or made available to buy from your website, who has written the material etc?
Rebirth will contain 3 tracks. All music and lyrics by me, since this was written before Pasi, Tomas and Ronny joined the band. But we’ve got some new material from Tomas that will appear on the full-length album. We’re planning to release one whole song on the website and clips from the other 2. If people like what they hear they’ll be able to buy a copy of it from our website.
“rebirth“ is fitting since to some this might be seen as a rebirth of Freternia?.is that how you even want this to be viewed?
I was in fact reflection on the past when I came up with that title. But more like some kind of rebirth to me as a musician rather than bringing life to something that has been dead for such a long time, so it has nothing to do with Freternia.
How did you get drummer Ronny Milianowicz involved in this band?
I actually met him on a musicians-community on the internet. We started talking and I told him about Cromonic and that we were looking for a talented drummer. I sent him some songs and asked him if he was interested. He liked the music and said yes. Ronny has lots of experience and I think this will lift the songs even more.
Most recently, Tomas W
?ppling, has joined the band?how did you get him involved in the project?and for that matter, you might as well tell me the whole story on how the other members came on board hahaha?.
As I said before, me and Bo started talking about Cromonic. We got some songs together but we needed a singer. We talked to some singers that we thought would fit the music. We thought Pasi
?s voice would work perfect on the songs so we asked him if he was interested, showed him some material and he said yes. Still it felt like something was missing. I got the idea of contacting Tomas W?ppling since he’s a very talented music writer. We met a couple of times, talked it through, exchanged ideas and we all thought that Tomas had a lot to offer Cromonic.
The band name Freternia was original. From what I’ve been told, the name is based upon the guitar frets which represents the guitar based music the band played. With your new band, Cromonic, it seems you’ve kept the idea of using a musical term in the band’s name. Does part of the band’s name come from the musical term “Cromatic”?
Yes you’re correct about the guitar fret theory man. You’re also correct about the “Cromatic”. That thought crossed my mind when I came up with the name.
What are your ultimate goals for this band? Are you looking to make this a career, or is playing and writing music for creation
?s sake enough to keep you happy?
First of all, I
?m doing this because music is one of the things that make my life worth living. I have a lot of ideas in my head that I must get out. And if people likes it, that?s just a big bonus.
If there is anything else happening with the band or anything I skipped over that you
?d like to let people know about, please let me know!
I think you covered the most of it. I would like to thank my wife Eveliina von Porat who
?s always been there for me. And to all you metal maniacs out there, be sure to check out our upcoming promotion cd!
Thanks for your time Patrick..and PS: when will we see a full band photo on your website as opposed to your mugshot everywhere?! hahaha!!!
(laughs) We’re trying to get everyone together for a photo session, it was a difficult task to accomplish since Bo is a vampire, and as you all know they are up all night hunting for blood and they sleep all day. Tomas has been busy digging for gold in his personal mine that is located in his backyard and Pasi is stuck in a bottle of Koskenkorva and will be out in a couple of weeks. So the only one available for the moment is me. No seriously, we
?re planning a photo session within the next couple of weeks. Thank you EvilG and Metal-Rules for this interview.
Live picture by Ludvig Isacsson
Freternia were an amazing band that really caught my ear. I was pretty pissed when I heard the band was ending. Can you tell me what happened from your perspective?
It was a combination of many different factors. It was time to move on and search other ways to make music. I am very proud with what we did and I will always remember the years with the band. Many great memories!
FRETERNIA 2003 Line-up.
L-R: Martin Tilander (drums), Pasi Humppi (vocals), Tomas W?ppling (guitar),
Peter Wiberg (bass), Tommie Johansson (keyboards)
Right after Freternia fell apart, I looked up your other band, Ironware. It’s not quite Freternia, but it has similarities for sure…especially with your distinct voice. Tell me how you get involved in Ironware.
Well I formed Ironware along with guitarist Niklas M?ller way before I joined Freternia. The guys in the band are my best friends from my hometown. We never really searched for a record deal in the beginning but instead we played lots of live gigs all over Sweden. Later on the dream of an album took place and we recorded some promo songs. Limb was interested and here we are.
How did the Ironware release do for the band considering that the band is still an unknown entity to most. Is a new Ironware album in the works or any touring?
We got very good reviews all over Europe but the selling rates could of course be better. As we all know, the market is overfilled with our kind of music and it is very hard to make the big break. But to be honest that doesn?t bother me that much. If I was looking for fame and fortune I would be a member in backstreet boys hahaha.
Is Ironware now a full time band, or do you expect that Cromonic might take more of your time?
This is a question almost impossible to answer. Both Ironware and Cromonic are fulltime bands. I also sing in a third band called Ablaze and I think it is possible to give 100% to all bands. Of course, if one of the bands suddenly starts to sell more than average the situation would change and I would have to reconsider.
There is always periods when my attention is needed more in a band and I always try to be there when needed and hopefully I can go on with.
What is next for Ironware? Will there be a new album for Limb? I noticed your website, www.ironware.nu, isn’t online anymore….
We are working on a new website and will launch it if limb chooses to make another release with us. We have 2 option albums in our contract and we have recorded a four song demo. So I guess it is up to limb to decide if he wants to make another release or not.
How did the band name “Ironware” come about? It’s kind of odd to have a band named after frying pans? hah!
Actually I and Niklas had a really hard time in finding a band name. So we looked in a dictionary just pointing at words in it. Suddenly the name Ironware came up and we said: Hey why not? It?s a true but funny story hahaha. We didn?t know it had anything to do with frying pans at the time. After all it is the music that matters most to me not the band name.
What was it that got you to join the new band, Cromonic? Was it simply the fact that 2 members were ex-Freternia?
I talked with Bo and asked him what he was up to. He told me about Cromonic and that they were missing a singer. Since I know both Bo and Patrik are great musicians and songwriters I told him I was interested in hearing their stuff. And here I am! haha…
What is your ex-Freternia and ex-Ironware bassist, Peter Wiberg, doing these days? Why did he leave Ironware?
Actually I don?t know what he is up to. He is a great musician and I am sure we will hear some music from him soon.
If you can bear just a few more Freternia questions, can you give us an update on what the following members are doing these days: Niclas Karlsson (guitars), Martin Tilander (drums)?
I?m not sure, but I think they are playing together in a band?but as I said?I am not sure. Too long since I spoke with them.
Last Freternia question…do you hold any hopes of the band reforming or has everyone moved on? OR maybe you view Cromonic as a reformation of Freternia under another name?
If I remember it right, we never terminated Freternia for all eternity. So it is possible for us to start the band again?and then again we might not. I guess that time will have to tell.
Cromonic a reformation of Freternia? Is an interesting question considering the fact that all Cromonic members are former members of Freternia. And it is easy to assume that Cromonic actually is Freternia just with another name. However, this is not our intention. In the end I guess it is up to the listener to decide. After all it is the same musicians and it would be very strange if not a certain amount of the “freterniasound“ would remain.
As mentioned earlier, you have a very distinct voice which seems to be quite rare in any musical genre. Is the sound of your voice something you’ve worked on a lot to differentiate your sound from the typical singers, or were you naturally blessed with this voice?
Well when I started to sing I used to have this clean and typical voice. But during my first studio sessions I noticed I had a hard time in singing this way. So I started to add some power to my voice?in the beginning it was just here and there. During the years I added more of it and after a while it became a way for me to sing.
Like with all singer I have practiced a lot and nothing is for free. It?s hard work but indeed worth it!
Photo by Thomas Karlsson
What singers have influenced you, or what singers do you wish you could be a little more like?
I have many influences. Singers like Toni Martin, Tom Englund, Kiske and Joey Tempest are all awesome in their own way. But I would not like to become more like them. I guess I am happy with the way Pasi Humppi Sings.
As far as I know, some songs were being worked on for the follow-up to A NIGHTWARE STORY. Will any of them be used in this band or are they uncompleted and lost?
This is a matter not yet discussed in the band. But yes it?s true we have a bunch of new Freternia material just collecting dust. If you ask me it would be a shame not to ever use the songs. But if we use them in cromonic or in another band in future I can?t tell.
How will you approach writing your vocal melodies and perhaps lyrics for Cromonic? Are you involved in the creation of the songs or do you just stick with the vocal parts?
The vocal melodies and lyrics for the songs we are about to record are already written by Patrik. In the future I will of course write vocal melodies and also lyrics. Regarding the music I leave it to the other guys.
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, all the best to you. If you have anything to add in here, please do so!
Thanks for doing this interview and good luck with the metal-rules (wich by the way is great). Feel free to check out the ablaze website at www.ablazeonline.com
Cromonic Website: www.cromonic.com/
Patrik von Porat – Guitars
(ex-Freternia, former name was Patrik Lund)
Bo Pettersson – Bass
(ex-Freternia member before the album Warchants & Fairytales)
Pasi Humppi – Lead Vocals
Tomas W?ppling ? Rhythm Guitars
Ronny Milianowicz – Drums
Interview: 2003 Freternia Interview