Interview with Nino Laurenne of THUNDERSTONE
Interviewed by Rick
Out of Finland comes yet another great new band which
will soon be at the top of the metal pile along with other great Finnish
exports like Stratovarius and Children of Bodom. Thunderstone play
melodic power metal and are set to take the metal world by storm.
Thunderstone are a relatively new band to the readers of Metal-Rules.com
Can you first tell us a little bit about the band and its members?
Thunderstone was formed in early 2000 by me. It started as a project,
but after the second demo I thought that damn this works fine, so I
wanted to give this a try as a "real" band. The line-up hasn't
change much since we recorded our first demo, actually Kari Tornack is
the only new member after that.
How would you describe the music that Thunderstone creates?
The best words to describe our music are catchy, very melodic and
simple heavy metal.
You have released a 5 song demo. One song of which, "Me,
My Enemy" is available in the Metal-Rules.com sound archive and has
proven to be very popular. Can you tell us a little bit about the songs
on this CD and the reasons for only a 5 song EP?
My enemy: This one is the first fast song I wrote for this band.
Nice tom play live.
World's cry: A mid-tempo song with influences from the 80's. It's a
story about our world, how we treat it and still forget the fact that it
Let the demons free: A very fast one with very fast solos. Lyrics
urge you to do anything you want with your life, it's never too late to
let your demons free:-)
Voice in a dream: Personally I like this song very much because it's
very melodic but still heavy. If you listen to the lyrics, you'll find
something common with your life...or maybe not.
Spread my wings: Be scared, very scared Scorpions! Every person I've
played this song to, keeps on whistling the chorus afterwards.
I think five songs is a maximum for a demo, truthfully, there wasn't
more songs at the time we started to record this demo.
The production is excellent for a demo. You produced this CD
yourself. Why did you choose to produce yourself and where did you gain
the skills to be able to do this?
It's only a demo, so there was no need to ask someone else to produce
it because I know how this band should sound. So it was a very natural
decision for me to produce it by myself. I will also produce our
full-length because the situation hasn't changed since we recorded those
demo versions. Of course I will listen to all guys from the band 'cos
after all, we are a band. About skills, I think you don't need any
specific skills to produce music but if you mean that I recorded our
demo, the answer is; I've been recording several bands in my studio
during the last couple of years, so that's why I was able to do it.
Can you tell me a little bit about the creative process for
Thunderstone and basically how you guys write the songs and put the
lyrics together? Is it done in a band situation or do you work on stuff
alone and bring it to the band as a finished product?
All the songs on the demo are written by me, from the beginning to
the end. But there will be a couple of songs on the album, where there's
going to be more than one writer. Mostly when I compose, I write lyrics
at the same time, and when I have an almost complete song, I record it
into the computer. Usually Pasi will sing some demo vocals, and after
that, it's very easy to hear if there's a need to fix something in the
song. Then we'll play it together and arrange it as a band.
Do you have a favourite song on the disc? Why?
"Spread my wings" is my personal favourite, maybe because
that's the song where this all begun and I've always wanted to write the
biggest ballad in the world, so I think I'm almost there with this
song:-) On the other hand, I just love to play "Let the demons
free" because it's very aggressive, fast and quite traditional
power metal with very fast solos.
As I said the song in our archive has been greatly received.
Has there been any interest in the band from the record labels?
Ok Rick, I think this is the right time to reveal that we will sign
with Nuclear Blast and we will enter a studio called Sonic Pump Studios
the first week of January. On the 22nd of February we will start mixing
with Mikko Karmila (Stratovarius, Edguy, etc etc) at the legendary
Finnvox Studios. Our debut album will be released in September. So the
answer to your question is...yes, there has been "some"
interest from the labels:-) and I can tell you that there were several
labels before NB interested about us.
What are your expectations for the future of Thunderstone?
My personal expectations are quite humble, gold albums, big venues,
and stuff like that! To be honest, no expectations, I mean of course I
want to sell millions of albums and of course I want to play in front of
thousands of people, but in the end of the day, I think if we will make
an album we are happy with and have a chance for touring, that's all for
now. Of course expectations will get bigger the longer we'll go but
let's see what will happen.
I know that you were debating changing your name before you
released this demo. Can you tell me a bit about the name Thunderstone
and why you had thought of changing it?
When I started this thing I thought that I will make songs that will
stick to people's minds, do they want it or not. So I knew that I will
need some cliche elements, catchy choruses with big choirs,
modulations:-), a lot of tracks in a studio and stuff like that. We
recorded a couple of songs and after they were mixed I thought, hmm
maybe I should send these songs to labels. So we needed a name, and I
thought what would be the most cliche and "powermetalliest"
name in the world? And then it hit me: Thunderstone!!!! So time went by
and every time someone asked me about our band's name, I was like:
"It's just a joke name and we will change it". So a couple of
months ago, when we started to get more and more interest from all
around the world, we thought that now it's time to rethink that name
thing. We tried very hard but everytime someone came up with a new name
idea, it was shot down by saying: "That's stupid, that's too cliche".
Ironic, isn't it, here we are with the name Thunderstone, and I have to
say that today it doesn't sound stupid at all, actually I think it's the
greatest name to describe our music and I'm very proud of it!
I see that Janne Wirman from Children of Bodom provides
keyboards on some of the songs on the disc. Can you tell me how Janne
became involved with Thunderstone?
As you know, Thunderstone started as a project, so at the time I was
recording the first songs, I thought that I'd need a very fast
keyboardplayer (hehe, of course), I knew Janne, I asked him and he said
yes, so that's it, nothing else, just a friends favour to another.
Do you have any plans to tour in support of this release?
Not yet, but I think Nuclear Blast will come up with something after
If you could choose any band to tour with who would it be and
Definitely with Stratovarius, mainly because both Timo's and Jari are
my good friends, so it would be just great to tour with them. Of course
I would like to tour with someone very big, but I think we have a
realistic chance to tour with Stratovarius, so that's my answer.
People always have a fascination with comparing bands. What
current metal bands do people compare you with and what ones do you
think are accurate?
Stratovarius and Sonata Arctica, but only because of our fast songs.
If there wasn't those fast ones, there wouldn't be any comparing to
them. I think so, because you just can't avoid comparison to
Stratovarius if you play fast songs with doublebass drumming and very
melodic singing. I remember when Stratovarius started and everyone
compared them to Helloween, not anymore!
Can you tell the readers about your influences. What bands have
influenced both you in your guitar playing and the band as a whole?
I think there are no specific bands which would have influenced my
playing, but maybe you can hear several influences in our music, because
after all, I 've listened to heavy metal since -83 and there are lots of
bands I've listened during these years, so it's inevitable that you will
hear many influences.
What kind of bands are you listening to right now? Are there
any new bands that impress you?
To be honest, when you record bands in a studio, you don't want to
listen to anything at home, believe me. The truth is, the last time I
saw Pantera on stage, nothing, I mean nothing, has impressed me at all
This is something I have not asked in many of my interviews in
the past but what are some of your favourite albums because they are not
always the same as a bands influences?
I have one album above all, and that's Queensryche's Operation
Mindcrime! And to mention a few of my favourites: Pantera: Vulgar
display of power, Dio: Holy diver, Dream Theatre: Images and words and
old Metallica albums (the band died after the Black album)
The editorial this month on Metal-Rules.com was concerning the
importance of a local metal scene in helping to develop the whole genre
of metal. Do you feel that every city needs a scene or is it enough that
metal has a a number of these scenes, but not necessarily in every city?
My opinion is that these days the metal scene is so wide with all its
genres, so every city doesn't need its own scene.
Tying in with that to a small degree. What impact do you think
the internet has had on metal in general and specifically on
Thunderstone’’s ability to get your music heard.
I think the internet has opened a lot of doors for unknown metal
bands and for the whole genre, because nowadays you're just one
"click" away from hearing metal music, I mean it doesn't take
much to download a sample and form an opinion as to whether it's good or
not. And for us it's been great to receive e-mails from all around the
Finland seems to gaining quite a reputation for turning out
great metal bands. Stratovarius, Children of Bodom, Nightwish and now
Thunderstone. Is the Finnish metal scene strong? And are there any other
good bands that we haven't heard of yet?
Yes, I think the Finnish metal scene is stronger than ever, even
though my personal opinion is that people aren't that tolerant anymore.
I mean today there is so many genres in the metal scene and the metal
people isn't as consistent as it used to be ten years ago. The point is,
if you like black metal, you HATE power metal and if you like progressive
metal, you HATE death metal etc etc, and I don't like that. About new
bands, like I told you I record a lot of bands in my studio, so I know
that there is some "bubbling under" going on in Finland.
Is there anything else that you would like to say to the
readers of Metal-Rules.com?
First I want to thank you, Rick, for supporting us and for this
interview! And to all the readers, buy our debut and come to see us on
tour, stay heavy and let your demons free!
Thanks for taking the time to do this Nino!!