Bass player Pasi Kauppinen – Silent Voices
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Emil Westerdahl at Inner Wound Recordings for setting up the interview, and to Inner Wound Recordings for the promo pictures of the band.
From Finland comes Silent Voices, a band that plays excellent melodic metal and who released their fourth album REVEAL THE CHANGE at the end of last year. I really loved the album and when I realized that Henrik Klingenberg (Sonata Arctica) also was a part of this band I decided to check them out. I got in touch with Pasi Kauppinen (also a member of Sonata Arctica) and we had a long talk about the new album, the influences and the many guest appearances the band has featured. A few of the guests are Mats Levén, Mike Vescera and Mike DiMeo. Of course came Sonata Arctica up in the conversation…enjoy!
The brand new album is called REVEAL THE CHANGE and is great. How long did it take to write and record the album?
Thanks! We started to write the material sometime during 2007-2008 when our former record label asked when we go to studio and start to record the album. It took about half a year of period to write the album. We had couple of riffs and melodies from the Building Up The Apathy writing sessions which didn’t end up to the songs that time.
Who is the main songwriter in the band? What are the lyrics about?
Usually Timo or I have some riff or melody which we take to the rehearsals and we start to jam the idea until it developed to the song. The song structure always finish without lyrics at first and we’ll write the lyrics to the music afterwards. Earlier Michael always wrote all the lyrics but after he left the band we started to write ourselves. We kind of just decided who writes the lyrics on which song. We asked also our friend to write lyrics to two songs on the album. Lyrics are stories from life but not any true stories (as I know). We don’t write about dragons or warriors.
What has the band been up to in between the release of the last album BUILDING UP THE APATHY from 2006 and today?
When Michael left the band during Building Up The Apathy touring we felt that we wanted to have a break. About in one year we didn’t do anything with the band and slowly started again to write when the records company asked about the next album. We didn’t want to have an audition for the new frontman that time. So we just started to write and record music with our own relaxed schedule. Recordings took place during 2008-2011
You put out the song “Reveal The Change” on youtube, what did the fans think of the teaser?
Even thought we had almost seven years break after releasing music it was amazing to find out that old fans were still there. The feedback has been great. Thank you Silent Voices fans!
Silent Voices – Reveal the Change [album teaser]
The album clocks in at 45 minutes and contains 7 songs (one instrumental) which make the album quite short. Was it your meaning to make a shorter album or was it something that just happened?
Silent Voices albums have always been about 45-60 mins. I myself like “too short” albums more than over length albums. When you want to press play again when the album is over it’s good. Sometimes even thought the music is pure greatness but album is too long you can’t concentrate it through. But when we had wrote these songs on this album we thought that here it is. It doesn’t need any more.
Were there any songs that you wrote that didn’t made it on to the final edition of the disc?
No, actually we wrote some music but never finished the songs and didn’t start to record any more than what’s in the album. So we have something where to start the next one.
The songs “The Fear on Emptiness” and “Through My Prison” are longs song and clocks in at 9 and 12 minutes. What are the songs about?
Those both are the album “epics”, The Fear starts and actually is the first written song for the album. It’s quite pop-ish song vocally with cool heavy riffs and of the solo section clocks couple of minutes. Timo and Henrik have unison part and then guitar and keyboard solos. Through My Prison Walls is the album ending song which is as a composition pure classic Silent Voices with all the progressive metal elements. Mike DiMeo is amazing on vocals!
A few well-known names like Mats Levén, Mike Vescera, Mike DiMeo and makes guest appearances on the album. How did they all end up on your album? Did you know all of the guys from earlier?
When we recorded the album we didn’t have the vocalist in the band. And as I said we didn’t want to have auditions. We four started the band in 1995 and we wanted to continue as we originally started. So we just recorded all the music without vocals and then asked our friend Teemu to sing all the demo vocals. We just asked them to sing their songs guided by Teemu’s demo vocals and that’s basically how it happened. All of the vocalists were true professionals. Amazing singing!
Which of the guys was the first one on board?
Teemu sang his song first at the studio during the basic tracks recordings.
Was it easy to get Tony Kakko to sing on this album?
Henrik asked Tony to sing one song to the album and he was the last one because the lyrics were written last. But when he got the music and lyrics it took couple of hours him to finish the track. He is great!
How much sings Koskela on the new album?
Teemu sings The Fear Of Emptiness fully and he also did all the demo vocals for the other vocalists.
How would you like to describe what kind of music Silent Voices play?
It’s melodic heavy metal with lots of solos and melodies. Some people would file it under progressive metal Are there any plans on shooting videos to any of the songs? We have been talking about shooting the video. Hopefully we’ll do it in the near future.
Where does the title REVEAL THE CHANGE come from?
When all the music was ready we needed the album name. For the band this is quite a new beginning so it quite describes that.
What do you think of the cover art-work? Do you think it reflects the essence of your music?
Timo has made all the artwork. Actually it reflects totally. When he started to image the cover we had discussions about what there could be. We went the track list through and thought how we want to image every song. So the booklet has a picture for every song and on the front cover there are pieces from the song pictures. Also the landscape shows the change from left to right so there we are revealing the change.
Do you think that your older fans are going to like REVEAL THE CHANGE?
Definitely, musically it’s true Silent Voices, how we started the whole thing and hopefully you can see how we have grow as songwriters.
Do you think that the band have developed musicwise since the release of the first album and this latest one? If so in what way?
Hopefully, but I think that compositions are nowadays much more stronger and whole than before. But the style of music what we play haven’t changed.
In retrospect are you happy with the outcome of the album?
I’m really happy what we have done with those songs. It’s the best Silent Voices album so far.
Many bands and artists think that their latest album is their best one, do you think likewise of REVEAL THE CHANGE?
Yes I do!
Studio and production
How come you wanted to record the album in Studio 57 in Finland?
I’m the owner of Studio57 so that was quite easy decision to choose.
Who produced/mixed the album?
I was the recording and mixing engineer at Studio57, it’s produced by Silent Voices and Timo and I mixed it together.
Where did Levén, Vescera, DiMeo and Kakko record their parts?
They chose their studios them selves, some used their home studios and some rent the studio where to record their parts.
Ted Jensen mastered the album in Sterling studio in New York, how come you wanted to work with him?
When we thought about the mastering we ended up to Ted because he is real pro and has been mastering lots of our all time favorite albums. That was good decision, he totally brought the album alive!
If I understood things right, the band formed in 1995 but it took a while to find a singer?
Yes, Michael Henneken joined the band in 1998.
Who are the band leaders and the engine in the band?
We are all the leaders and make the decisions together but I think the engine is I and Timo, we usually keep the motor running.
I read that the band is influenced by Dream Theater and Rush is that correct? Besides that does the band member have any common artist or band they look up to and are inspired off?
We have been also digging Symphony X and Yes among others. Also many of has been into Yngwie’s music and Deep Purple, Slayer, Testament etc as well.
Were you all friends before you joined the band or did you became friends because of the band?
Timo and I are brothers so we have known each other always. Jukka-Pekka was Timo’s school mate and we started to play together that way. We met Henrik at the local music school and he kind of completed the group and we started Silent Voices when he came in.
The last one to join the band was singer Henneken when did he join forces with you?
Henrik was the first vocalist for couple of years but we felt that we need a frontman so we found Michael from the add of music magazine after couple of vocal auditions. As soon as he came long you started to release demos and EP’s and in 2002 came the debut album CHAPTERS OF TRAGEDY.
How was the feeling of releasing a debut album and what did media and critics think of the release?
When we got the record deal we started to record CoT quite fast. It was master deal so we had to record it really fast with small budget and production is not top notch on the album. Many things could have done different way afterwards thinking but it describes what the band was that time and there is really good feeling on the album.
Did the band do any live shows during the first years as active?
We did some shows in Finland when the album came out but weren’t touring.
In 2004 INFERNAL came out and it was followed up in 2006 with BUILDING UP THE APATHY. How did the media respond to those albums?
Infernal was a real success in media. Everyone liked it’s fast and heavy songs. It’s not the basic Silent Voices style of album but more heavy metal album. I really like that but we went back to more progressive style on Building Up The Apathy. It got also good reviews.
Does the band care about what critics have to say about your work?
Of course I like when get good reviews but you can’t please everyone so if someone doesn’t like our album and gives bad reviews I just think that our music is not his/her cup of tea.
Do you think that the band has gained more and more fans with the release of each album?
Yeah, I think. Earlier there wasn’t Facebook and that kind of places where to reach audience like nowadays but of course there are lots more bands now than before who gets the audience from social media.
Henneken left the band in 2004; was the drop out expected or was it a surprise?
Henneken left in 2006 after couple of shows when Building Up The Apathy was released. He went to France to promote the album for one week and we had plans to go on tour overseas. The was already booked a warm up show for Adagio in Paris but when it was canceled in unknown reason Michael told us that he is leaving. It was a surprise.
Was it hard to find a new singer? How did you find new singer Koskela?
I have been playing with Teemu in Winterborn since 2008 so we get known from there. When we made couple of shows last Summer in UK and Czech Republic we asked Teemu to sing them and after that we decided to ask Teemu on board as a full time member.
Did you try out many singers before you decided to go with Koskela?
Not any other.
Where does the band name Silent Voices come from? Does the name have any special meaning to the members?
When we recorded our first demo in 1995 and played our first show we needed to name the group and we ended up to the name that describes the progressive end of our music somehow. People get known
Is Silent Voices a band or a project?
Band. Henrik and I are busy with Sonata Arctica but we try to do Silent Voices always when have time. But it’s definitely a band.
Label and management
How did you end up working with Frequency Records?
They (Low Frequency Records) got our demo and offered a deal. We did three world wide released albums with them and were very happy with them. They always supported us.
Was the band without a contract for a long time after that?
Actually Low Frequency Records pushed us to write Reveal The Change and put us in the studio for recordings. We just were so slow with our work that when we finished the album the label had quit existing.
How come you chose to ink a deal with Swedish label Inner Wound Records? Are you happy with the work that the label has put into the band and the album so far?
Our management, Real Media Music, negotiated the deal. We had negotiations with several labels and ended up to Inner Wound because it felt the best for us and everything has worked really fine. IWR is working with promotion agency Connecting Music how do you think that co-operation works for you?
Everything has worked really good and promotion has been really good for the album.
You co-operate with the management/booking agency Real Media Music, are you satisfied with their work?
Yes, definitely. They have done really good work for us!
Is the album released world wide?
Reveal The Change was released in Europe on November 2013 and in USA on December 2013.
Is it possible to download the album legally anywhere?
You can download the album from iTunes and Amazon if not CD user anymore.
Past, present and future
Both you and keyboardist Klingenberg are a part of Sonata Arctica. Are there any problems with being part of two bands? I mean when it comes to touring and such?
Of course it goes by Sonata Arctica schedule, but we will do as many Silent Voices tours as we can between Sonata tours.
How was it to get the offer to join Sonata Arctica?
It felt really good. It was great honor that they asked me to join the band.
Silent Voices did two live shows in England and the Czech Republic last year how was that?
It was amazing to see that there was people who came to watch us and the feedback was really great!
Do you think it’s important to be active on social forums on the internet?
Yes it is. It’s really good tool to communicate with fans. But it’s hard to get new fans find you in social media because there are so many bands. New fans can easily find us for example on Facebook but I think they will heard about us from other fans that have found us. I don’t think many people find totally new bands randomly from social media. You always need someone to tell you good word about the band like: “hey, check them out, they are cool”.
According to your website, the main focus for the band is to come out and play live in 2014. Do you have any festival shows or single shows booked so far?
Couple of shows are already planned. We get dates soon and inform you on our webpage so keep checking the site.
How are you going to do live when you have all these guest singers on the album?
Teemu Koskela is now our full-time member and our lead vocalist so you’ll hear him on live.
All of the members are active in other bands and is it because of that sometimes hard to focus on Silent Voices?
When we were on the break before starting to write Reveal The Change we focused on other bands but when we got back on track it’s not hard to focus. Of course you have to check schedules and keep things wise when to do what.
Is there any interest for the band in North America or Asia?
All our earlier albums were released in Japan and all of the albums also in North America and yes there have been interest. Now there has been some plans to research if there would be possibilities also to go on tour in USA.
Where in the world do you have your biggest fanbase?
It’s quite everywhere, I think the biggest is however in Europe.
What would you like to say to the ones who haven’t discovered Silent Voices yet?
If you like progressive and melodic metal, check our albums. You’ll like them.
Could you give the readers three reasons why they should buy REVEAL THE CHANGE?
Good progressive metal!
Do you have any words of wisdom to share with the fans and readers?
If you like our music, spread the word and let others also know about us. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Keep checking our website for updates and tours. Hope to see you soon.
Well that was all for me and metal-rules for now. I really wish you and the band all the best in the future!
Thank you! It was nice to talk with you. All the best!
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