Heart of Steel: Interviews

Burning Point Interview with 
Guitarist Jukka Kyro

Interview by Rick

Burning Point hail from Finland and play classic metal like few other bands on the scene today. I recently had the opportunity to speak to guitarist Jukka Kyro regarding Burning Point and his newly reformed band, National Napalm Syndicate. 

Though you guys have just released your second CD called FEEDING THE FLAMES, Burning Point is unfortunately not a household name in the metal world. Can you tell us a little bit about how Burning Point got together?

It all started as a project called Planet Caravan, I had some really heavy Sabbath style songs and I needed a great singer for the demo. I knew Pete from work and asked him to do it. He did the vocals and after that we started to write music together, then we found Jari and Tony. Burning Point was born! That's the really short version... One promo CD later we were in a studio recording "Salvation By Fire". We were in a way very lucky to get a good deal so fast.



The sound of Burning Point seems to be influenced greatly by some of the great acts in metal history like Judas Priest, Accept and Yngwie Malmsteen. What are the influences of the band and where do you see Burning Point fitting into the metal scene?

You just mentioned the influences we share as a band, maybe if you add Black Sabbath you have the bands everyone of us love and respect. But as individuals we all have different tastes in music, I'm more into harder stuff like death/thrash metal and hardcore and Pete is totally into melodic power metal and even some AOR! Tony is playing in Black Swan which is a black metal band and Jari is a huge death metal fan. I think that with our different music tastes we make a nice mix of old school and newer metal. I have always thought and hoped that we are a band that even a death metal guy can listen to!



I have heard many people refer to Burning Point 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 Burning Point?

Yeah, that's the tag we've been given and I can live with it as long as it means for example bands like Savatage, Metal Church and Primal Fear. I don't really see us as a "new wave power metal" band, most of the new bands all sound the same high pitched vocals and double bass drums and that's it. I believe that our older metal influences shine through more than for example Helloween influence, we are more into classic heavy metal like Dio. Usually we just describe ourselves as a Heavy Metal band, plain and simple.



Burning Point has just released their latest CD called FEEDING THE FLAMES. Can you talk a bit about the album? Where was the CD recorded and who did the production?

The album was recorded at the Neo Studio here in our home town Oulu, the producer was the same guy who did "Salvation By Fire" Kari "Kakke" Vähäkuopus. Kakke is like a member of Burning Point, he knows how to get the best performance out of us in the studio. This time we were more relaxed in the studio and I think you can hear that on the album. The sessions were divided into two, first basic tracks and later vocals and mixing. The album was mastered in Germany.



Fire seems to be a common thread that runs between your disc SALVATION BY FIRE and your latest FEEDING THE FLAMES. What is the fascination with fire and what if any is the deeper significance of fire to Burning Point?

This is the question I have to answer in every interview! We didn't plan anything, it just happened. Fire is a very good symbol for a change and rebirth, a very strong element! We use it in the lyrics as a metaphor. I usually tell people that we are not pyromaniacs and we're don't have any strange fixation with flames. No Beavis and Butthead habits. We will have fire in the next album too, but after that, who knows, maybe it'll be time for ice and snow.



A favourite song of mine from FEEDING THE FLAMES is "I Am The Silent One". Do you have any favourite songs from the CD and why?

The favourite track changes almost every day, at the moment I like "Veil Of Secrecy" it has that epic feel and cool heavy riffs, it's a very good song to play live. Of course "Into The Fire" is a favourite as a thrash/speed metal man I need the fast stuff!


Was the instrumental track 'Malmikivi' a tribute to Yngwie J. Malmsteen?

Yes it is, it's Pete's baby, he is the biggest Yngwie fan I've ever met and "Malmikivi" is something he wanted to do to honour Malmsteen. And I think it is a good prelude to "Resurrection Machine" on the album, they go hand in hand very well.



The lyrics on the CD are not the typical dragons and demons lyrics of many of today's bands. Who writes the lyrics and how is a typical Burning Point song written? Do you bring a song to the band already finished or is it a collaborative effort?

We usually write the lyrics together with Pete, one of us has a good line or a chorus or something, and we start to work on it together. We always try to write something with a real meaning in it, that dragon stuff is not our cup of tea. If you have grown up here in northern Finland, dragons and swords are not the first thing that comes into your mind when you're writing lyrics , beside those fuckers would freeze to death over here... We do have some occult stuff and fantasy elements, but if you read the lyrics the real story is about this fucked up world and stupid people. Well, there's two ways we write songs, the first one is that Pete has the whole thing ready and we just arrange it together or me and Pete write together at our rehearsal studio, I bring my bits and pieces and we go from there.



How do you and Pete spilt up the guitar duties and solos? Do you only play what you write or are there certain songs that fit on or another's style better?

Most of the solos are Pete's, usually the wahwah solos are mine or the more traditional stuff. I'm more a Tony Iommi guy and Pete is the fast shred guy... It has never been my ambition to be a solo guitarist, I've always liked to play rhythm guitar, but if the song needs solos from both of us the of course I'll do it. We have a lot of double guitar melodies and solos, so there's no escaping from solo playing.



Have you started writing any new songs for the next CD? Can we expect more of the same great straight forward metal on the next Burning point CD?

Yes we have, we have seven new songs written and we're going to demo the songs next month. The new stuff is a bit faster and of course heavier! I'm sure that if you liked "Feeding..." you won't be disappointed, we have taken our music to the next level with the new stuff!



You played at the Sweden Rock festival recently. How was the show and how did the fans receive you? Do you think that the festival made any new fans for Burning Point?

We played in the morning, so there wasn't as many people checking us out that could have been, but the ones that were there seemed to enjoy our set. There were some metalheads who even knew our lyrics and sang along, I was really impressed by that. We're not that known in Sweden yet, but I believe that we made some new new fans over there!


Are there any plans to tour in the future?

We will play here in Finland and there's some special plans for the next year, maybe we will get the chance to tour Europe and maybe even visit the States...



You just recorded a 4-song demo with National Napalm Syndicate. Since you guys have been broken up since 1991 can you tell us a little bit about how and why you got back together and who is in the band now?

I have been in touch with Markku ( the NNS guitar player) all this time and we have played together from time to time. Now maybe a year ago we just started to write new material and everything seemed to work like in the good old days! There wasn't any big plans to do a re-union or anything like that, it just felt right! After that I contacted the other original National Napalm Syndicate guys and asked what they thought about this, they didn't have any problems with our plans and we put a new NNS together. First I asked Jari from Burning Point as the drummer and soon after that came Tero / Catamenia (Bass) and Altti / ex. Eternal Tears Of Sorrow / For My Pain (vocals). Now we have two more guys in the band, Aki / Grinister and Pete / Burning Point giving some extra edge on the vocal department. We have remixed and redone some vocals on the 4-song demo. Now it sounds like it was supposed to!! A thrash metal orchestra!



Do you have trouble finding time to be in both Burning Point and the newly reformed National Napalm Syndicate? Will National Napalm Syndicate be a full time band or will you only work with NNS when you have time away from Burning Point?

NNS is a on going project, when I have some free time we write riffs and songs and we try to rehearse as much as possible. I see NNS as a concept. We have big plans for the National Napalm Syndicate future, maybe even some live shows... But my main job is Burning Point, NNS is a thing we do to stay sane.


And I have mention that beside NNS/Burning Point duties Pete has a solo band called Ghost Machinery, he's got songs written for a whole album and it sounds great!



Will there be a full length NNS CD in the future?

If we get a good offer from some cool label of course! We have the songs ready and this newly fixed line-up totally kills. I'll have to send you a copy of the new demo!



Now that you have reformed do you think that you will reissue the first National Napalm Syndicate CD?

I wish, but I don't see that happening, EMI has the masters stashed somewhere and I'm 100% sure they won't do a thing. I once tried to contact them about the matter but they didn't co-operate...it's a shame because with the new technology we could fix the sound quality of the album. In the old days albums were usually ruined at the pressing plant...at least here in Finland.



So what have you been doing between the breakup in 91 of National Napalm Syndicate and the start up of Burning Point?

I played in a hardcore punk band called "Amazing Tails" , we toured a lot and made few EPs and two albums. It was fast stuff just like I liked! After that I had some projects but nothing serious.



Burning Point and National Napalm Syndicate are very different bands sound wise. Do you see any connections between the 2 in philosophy etc other than the fact that you are the guitar player in both groups?

There's the same element in the guitar playing, speed/thrash riffs and attitude. Maybe there is some same lyrical themes and ideas but otherwise these two bands are totally different machines.



How do you think the metal scene in general and the metal scene in Finland in particular has changed since you first started playing with NNS in the mid 80s?

Everything has changed, when I started we could only dream about record deals. The studios didn't know how to record thrash/speed metal and the magazines didn't want to know about it. There were a lot of bands and there was a scene but it was extremely hard to get your music out. Things changed after Stone released their first album, I think after that the Finnish metal scene really took of. Nowadays world is so much smaller because of e-mails and internet, it's easy to get contacts all over the world. And the attitudes were shit when NNS started, we were treated like antichrists in our home town, you know, long hair and black clothing, Satan!!



The Finnish Metal Scene seems to be alive and very vibrant with many great new bands. What do you think of some of the great new bands from Finland?

I like most of the bands, it's feels good to see so many Finnish bands making in the Europe and all over the world. At the moment my favourites are Perfect Chaos and Wounds, two very good hard bands, you should check them out!



You, Pete and Jope have signed an endorsement deal with Amfisound guitar factory. How did that deal come about and how do you think it will help Burning Point?

---The Amfisound guys are from our hometown Oulu and we heard they are making top grade instruments, everything is hand made. We tried out some of their guitars and were blown away! The guys are cool and they know what a metal musician needs. After that we started talking about a endorsement deal and they were interested, now we have the best possible instruments for our music and a backing from a cool guitar factory! If you want more information here


Burning Point has an excellent website. How do you think the internet has changed the way that bands get the music to the people today compared to 10 or 15 years ago and do you think the internet has helped Burning Point get its music out to the people?

 I know that internet has helped us a lot, all the webzines etc, fans can download rare stuff from our site and see what's happening with the band. 10 years ago it took hard work to get your band known, nowadays you can show your stuff to the whole world through your website. Internet has helped us a lot.



Downloading music has become a major issue for bands and record labels. How do you feel about the issue of downloading mp3s?

This is a interesting issue. At the same time we get a lot of free promotion and people get to know us. But the sales we lose because of file sharing could affect our possibilities to make another album. Bands like us need the sales...



Kind of bit off topic but since you guys seem to be influenced a bit by Priest, what do you think of Rob Halford rejoining Judas Priest? Do you think they can release a great album?

We always knew this would happen! I thought Ripper was a great singer and the vocals on the next Iced Earth sound great, but he wasn't THE Priest singer! I believe there's the follow up to Painkiller on the works, the return!!! Now we only need Burning Point supporting Judas Priest on the next world tour!!!



That's about it for now Jukka. Is there anything else you would like to say to the readers of Metal-Rules.com?

---First of all thank you very much for the exposure and cool reviews! Go and check out our music, we will do everything possible to get to tour Europe and maybe even Japan and the States next year! Stay Heavy!


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