Pekka Kiviaho, guitarist for Persuader
Interviewed by EvilG in Sept. 2000
If you checked out the CD reviews for August 2000, you’ll know that I was VERY impressed with Persuader. So much so, that I hunted down guitarist Pekka and got the scoop on the band. If there is one new up and coming band from Sweden to keep your eyes on then this is THE band. Fans of heavy power metal will not regret checking this band out!
For starters can you give me some background on the band – how you got together and what backgrounds each member comes from?
It started with me and a friend (solo guitar). We recorded a couple of songs on my computer just for fun. Then we thought that it was time to form a band. We called to Jens (Vocals and later also guitar) and Efraim (Drums) and asked if they were interested in playing in a metal band. They said hell yeah! Fredrik joined up about six months later. A couple of weeks after Fredrik joined us he got the honor to kick out the solo guitarist because he sucked! haha..
We had all played in different constellations before but none of them were that serious. I played bass in a death metal act called Auberon. They are just about to release their second album on Black Mark.
The band is based out of Ume?, Sweden…can you give readers a sense of what it’s like there in terms of being in a band in that city? Is there a thriving metal scene?
There are lots of good bands like: Meshuggah, Naglfar, Nocturnal rites, Amsvartner, Auberon, Bewitched, Hollow etc. But unfortunately there are almost no gigs. The only possibility for a smaller band is to open for a big band. People are too lazy to appear at smaller gigs.
For both your promo CD and now your full-length you have chosen to use paintings for the album covers. Why paintings, and why a woman on the cover of both CD’s (not that it hurts hehe).
First of all we like good looking babes! haha…
The demo cover was a hasty decision, we needed a picture fast. We talked with LNP about the cover for “The Hunter” and they wanted us to use a painting. We called up a friend who studies art at university level, and he got the job. The thing with the babes is just a coincidence. At least it’s not that common with girl warriors…
You released a split CD with a band called Freternia – can you tell me what you did that?
LNP thought that it would be a good way to promote us before the full-length release. The split CD contains demo versions of Cursed and Escape. It might be nice for collectors or people who haven’t heard “Visions and dreams”.
Your CD is out on Sweden’s Loud N’ Proud records. How did you get signed to them and what has being on the label meant for the band?
Martin, the big boss of LNP found a great review with us on the net. He gave me a call and said that they were interested in listening to the demo. About three weeks later he called again and said that they would like to sign us. I phoned to all the guys in the band and then we went out to celebrate the contract with loads of beer. haha..
The deal has meant a great deal for us. We are more serious when we write songs and rehearse more often.
Do you hope to get picked up by a larger label someday?
I dunno. The good thing with bigger labels is that we could probably do a lot more gigs and tours. The great thing with a smaller label is that we are one of their top bands. Bigger labels don’t usually do that much promotion work for new small bands.
I know many have said this but your vocalist (Jens Karlsson) sounds eerily like Hansi from Blind Guardian. Is this because Hansi is his main influence, or is it just the way his voice happens to sound?
Jens voice is best suited for the whiskeysoaked style. I’ve heard some older recordings with Jens before we started the band and he sounded the same way as he doe’s today. I don’t think that he had ever heard Blind Guardian back then. Although it’s just good for the band that Jens can be compared with a great singer as Hansi.
What is “The Hunter” about and does the album cover art relate to the theme?
All the songs are about choices, what you are and what you can become. The path on the cover symbolizes just that, which way to go in life. You can either become The Hunter or the hunted.
What are your favorite songs on the CD and why?
Hmm… It differs from day to day, I like ‘em all.
I know you’ve been playing guitar since you were 11!! What or who inspired you to start playing at that early age?
Well, as you probably know, I like babes… haha.. But that wasn’t the reason I started so early. My dad bought me a guitar from “Hobbex”, a totally shitty postorder catalogue. I learned to play some simple songs on my own, and the rest is history. By the way, I slaughtered the first guitar when I got pissed at my sister.
Did you practice for hours a day in the beginning?
Nope, I’ve never practiced much at all. When I play guitar I usually compose new riffs and stuff.
Who continues to amaze and inspire you musically?
Nice looking babes and Beer!! haha..
The thing that inspires me most is when I hear a totally ass kicking band for the first time. When I was about 13-14 years old I heard Metallica “Master of puppets” for the first time. They just blew me away totally. The older I get the harder it is to feel that kick. The last time I felt it was when I heard Darkane “Rusty angel”. Totally awesome!!
I read on your website that you play an Ibanez RG770 (I do as well hehe)….so is it the off the shelf version of the guitar or have you made any modifications?
It’s a off the shelf version. I’m really happy with the way it sounds so I don’t have any plans to do anything with it. I used to play with an Epiphone flying-V earlier. It’s a good reminder of how good the RG is. I play with the flying-V if I bust a string or something at a gig.
Does Jens play any of the leads on the CD or is that all you?
I play about 90% of the lead parts. Jens plays lead on some parts when he doesn’t sing.
Can you tell me about some of the bigger bands you’ve played with and what that was like?
Our first real gig was when we opened for Nocturnal Rites here in Ume?. We all know each other pretty well cause Ume? isn’t that big. We usually hang out at the same pubs an drink lot’s of beer.
Another great band we played with is Meshuggah. There were about 400 people in the audience and the gig went really well. Meshuggah were totally awesome.
Will there be a European tour for The Hunter? If so, what bands or countries will be involved?
We are going to do a promo gig in Paris. The tickets are free. It will be held at club Dunois 23rd of September. There has been some talking about a tour in France but nothing has been decided yet.
What band(s) would you like to tour with?
One of my all time favorite bands is Iced Earth, so it would be great to tour with them. I would also like to tour with Strapping Young Lad cause they kick serious ass!!
When not working on Persuader, what do you do?
I work as a brick layer at a local construction company, persuading the old dudes at work to listen to metal. On my free time I usually hang out with Efraim and feel sorry for ourselves because we don’t have any girlfriends.. haha!
What CD’s have been spinning in your CD player lately?
The Haunted, Meshuggah (all albums), Nocturnal Rites (Afterlife), Ayreon (Flight of the Migrator), Tad morose (Reflections), Darkane (Rusty Angel).
Any final words or news items that I can pass along to readers?
Check out our new album! Bang that head that’s not banging!! Drink beer! Beware the hunter!!
Thanks for your time.
Visit The Persuader’s official webpage www.persuader.nu