Interview with Pekka of Brother Firetribe
Metal-Rules.com: Hello Pekka! This is Hellias Papadopoulos from Metal-Rules.com, I am very happy and glad for this interview and greetings from Greece! First of all, how are you doing? And where are you checking in from today?
Pekka: Hey Hellias, thanks for the opportunity, appreciate it! It´s all good here in sunny Helsinki. Yes, sunny, believe it or not!
Metal-Rules.com: To start off, let’s take a look on new upcoming album, DIAMOND IN THE FIREPIT. Can you tell us the new things on this record in compare with the previous ones?
Pekka: I don´t think there are any dramatic changes, to be honest. It´s still very much Brother Firetribe and everything that comes with it, and we like it that way. We wrote and recorded this one just as we did the previous ones. It´s hard to teach new tricks to an old dog! We´d like to think that there has been some natural development in the songwriting department but that´s up for you guys to decide!
Metal-Rules.com: How did you wrote that album? Can you tell me something funny from the recording sessions?
Pekka: As always, me and Tomppa wrote the blueprints for the songs and everybody threw in their own instrumental parts, that´s how the songs find their eventual shapes. All in all, the sessions were littered with all around kidding and laughing as they tend to be with this band. Making a mistake would mean that the laughter and mocking would just not stop. “Edge Of Forever” has a sort of monastery choir on it and we just could´t nail the lowest note. People were throwing shapes and making funny faces while trying to hit that note but for no effect. We had to call outside help for that but man we had fun trying!
Metal-Rules.com: DIAMOND album is released after 6 years! Don’t you think that it’s too much for an album? Why did you put it so back?
Pekka: It´s ridiculous, I know. Sorry bout that! I don´t know, time just flew by and everybody were busy with whatever they were doing. We didn´t mean our break to take that long. Me and Tomppa wrote songs during the break but really slowly as we had no schedule. After finishing the sixth song we kind of woke up and decided to really start working on an album. And naturally that´s when things got REALLY slow!
Metal-Rules.com: When writing, are you primarily concerned with song structure? Riffs? Overall feel? You give your message through the music? You give music through your message? Or Music is the message?
Pekka: We´re always after the catchiest possible hook in every part of the song. The aim is to have a bridge that could easily pass as a great chorus and then come up with a chorus that really nails it hook-wise. We don´t have any ideology, we´re not out there to change the world. We aim to entertain so in that sense the music is the message here.
Metal-Rules.com: Brother Firetribe are based in Finland and play AOR. What’s/are the thing/things that put you apart from the rest bands of that genre and make you unique?
Pekka: Finland is obviously known for its high quality metal which is absolutely brilliant. We do tend to stick out like a sore thumb in that field but I think it´s only a good thing. We´ve never claimed to be reinventing the wheel, we just hope to come up with really good songs, no matter where people place us genre-wise. Music is not a competition, we just try make the best with what we´ve got and have fun, that´s it.
Metal-Rules.com: After the new album release, where would you like to venture with the band?
Pekka: Anywhere, man. We aim to tour as much as possible after the summer. Our time is limited after all as Nightwish takes off again pretty soon.
Metal-Rules.com: What’s the meaning of Brother Firetribe?
Pekka: There used to be a Finnish tennis player named Veli Paloheimo. Brother Firetribe is a straight translation of that name. A friend ours came up with that while being drunk out of his mind and we picked it up.
Metal-Rules.com: What’s the main musical influences on you and the band?
Pekka: We all have our own influences but I guess we all grew up listening to stuff from Van Halen to AC/DC. Personally I grew up listening to all the big name AOR bands of the past. Plus a copious amount of more obscure AOR bands too.
Metal-Rules.com: One of the last trends in music business is iTunes. More and more metal bands sell albums through this way. What’s your opinion on that?
Pekka: As long as the income reaches the artists and bands too, it´s fine. As a music fan and consumer myself, nothing beats a physical LP.
Metal-Rules.com: Your debut album is called FALSE METAL. It was re-released some years after under a new title, BREAK OUT. Why is that? And what do you mean by ‘false metal’? Has it to do with Manowar’s point of view?
Pekka: I still have no idea why someone wanted to change the title! All I know is that didn´t come from the band, we just said “yeah whatever”, when someone from the record company brought that up. False Metal was a tongue in cheek title, heavily inspired by Manowar´s immortal slogan “death to false metal”. We thought our kind of stuff was exactly what they meant by that. Maybe the record company got scared of Manowar, I don´t know!
Metal-Rules.com: I think everybody has some other active projects, right? Why don’t you all concentrate on Brother Firetribe?
Pekka: Brother Firetribe is always our main focus whenever we have a chance to get together but we can´t unfortunately make a living out of this band at this point.
Metal-Rules.com: Have you ever consider that Brother Firetribe feed off of Nightwish popularity?
Pekka: It would be pretty fucking stupid to try to deny that our connection with Nightwish hasn´t helped in getting attention since the very beginning. It´s been an advantage to get noticed but I´d like to think people started thinking about us as our own thing really soon after the first album came out which is really cool.
Metal-Rules.com: Why did you choose Annete Olzon for guest vocals in “Heart Full of Fire”? (I do like this song so much!!!!)
Pekka: She was just supposed to help us with the background vocals with that album initially. I had already recorded the lead vocals for the whole song when we started thinking that it would make a great duet. Thankfully she agreed to do it and the result speaks for itself. She did a great job.
Metal-Rules.com: What do you think of today’s music industry in general? Do you believe that illegal downloading harms album sales or you accept the fact that the real fans will go anyway to get the new CD or vinyl regardless of the ‘free’ illegal way?
Pekka: I think the music industry woke up 10 years too late to downloading. Shit´s already hit the fan big time unfortunately. There´s a whole generation of kids out there who think it´s ok to get their entertainment for free. And not just kids. The whole album format is pretty much dead and gone. The mystique of old is dead and gone because everything is right there at the touch of a button. Or a click of the mouse. But that´s how it is, there´s no going back and you just go with the flow and hope there´s a change for the better from an artist´s point of view.
Metal-Rules.com: Heavy metal changes throughout the decades. Heavy and Thrash metal dominated the 80’s, there was Death, Black and Power metal in 90’s, and Metalcore and Nu Metal in the 00’s. 2010 was the beginning of the new decade. What do you see for the future?
Pekka: I stopped following metal when Metal Hammer started praising about grunge bands so I really can´t predict the future of metal…but these things go in cycles and circles. People always look back and take influences from what was going on back in the day and blend it with something new so who knows what´s around the corner. As long as there´s substance over style, it can´t be half bad!
Metal-Rules.com: Could you respond to the following terms in just one word or sentence:
Alice Cooper: An icon and still relevant.
Glam rock: The 70´s ruled in that field.
Politics: I´m a news junkie.
Favorite TV series: BBC´s Sherlock.
Football: Ice hockey.
Favorite metal band: Slayer
Spending all you pocket in Strip show: Once.
Metal-Rules.com: What are the things you would have changed from day one till now?
Pekka: I wouldn´t change anything. I´d probably only make the same mistakes again! No regrets, only learning points and experiences that make me who I am, in good and bad.
Metal-Rules.com: Metal-Rules.com: Do you know any Greek heavy metal acts? Are there any Greek metal bands that you really like or want to share the stage? Firewind, Gus G. Rotting Christ, Firewind, Suicidal Angels to name a few.
Pekka: Unfortunately I´m not that familiar with Greek heavy metal, to be honest. Of course i know Gus G. and his Firewind, he´s a great guitarist doing a great job with Ozzy. I remember Taxi, weren´t they from Greece? I think they were more on the AOR side of metal.
Metal-Rules.com: Pekka, Thank you for your time and this interview. I wish you and the rest guys of Brotherhood all the best!!!
Pekka: Thank you Hellias, this was fun! And all the very best to Greece, hope to see you soon!