Interview by Jack Merry
We were lucky enough to have a chat with Miika Kokko and Tomi Mäenpää of Finnish heavy metal band SATAN’S FALL about their brand new debut album ‘Final Day,’ the ongoing global pandemic, what TV they’ve been enjoying, and everything else in-between!
Hey guys! Thank you for your time, please state your names and positions within the band.
Miika Kokko – Vocals
Tomi Mäenpää – Guitar
Could you tell me a little bit about how SATAN’S FALL came to be?
Tomi: First of all, thanks for the interview. SATAN’S FALL was founded by me and our former guitarist Kride in early 2015. We just started hanging out with the guitars and beers at the rehearsal place, giving the first songs some degree of shape. Shortly thereafter, Kride asked his other bandmate Tommi (ex-drummer) to play with us, and we found our current bassist Joni and former singer Markus through an online ad. However, we never had the idea that this would become any recording or touring band.
Miika: Yeah thanks for the interview and also for the glowing review from your site. As Tomi told you about the early days of SATAN’S FALL, I joined the band later through an online ad. I was looking for a new music project after my previous band dissolved and gladly found this one.
When did you first start getting into music and know you wanted to join a band?
Tomi: I would think for myself it started at the age of 8 or 9. I was listening to W.A.S.P., IRON MAIDEN, and KISS at the time, and there was something fascinating about the live shows of those bands that certainly led to a desire to play music myself.
Miika: Ever since I was a kid I played around with some broom as a guitar, but more seriously I started to think about being in a band when I was a teen. I listened to lots of rock music, AC/DC, GUNS N’ ROSES, HANOI ROCKS and of course metal bands like W.A.S.P., JUDAS PRIEST, METALLICA, SLAYER, etc. I started to play guitar, but I wanted to be a vocalist a whole lot more since it seemed more fun, so I kinda left the guitar and pursued vocals for a number of projects.
Is there a concept behind the album? If so, what inspired the band to choose that theme?
Miika: There wasn’t really and intent to make a concept album, I write lyrics based on what I hear from emotions that songs bring me. Riffs can tell a story and I try to find it. After writing all the songs on the album and we had only Final Day left to record I looked back on the lyrical content on the album and I think it is kind of an apocalyptic scene… So basically the songs themselves chose the theme and I just put it to words.
How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it?
Tomi: Timeless heavy metal with awesome choruses, striking beats, magical solos, and fierce riffs.
Who does your artwork? Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with, be it an artist/photographer or producer?
Tomi: The artist behind the cover art is Anu Bring. She is a Finnish artist who has also painted the covers of our demo, EP, and single. I don’t know anyone that we would like to work with. It seems to work well this way too.
Miika: The artwork from Anu is great, and unless someone can prove that they could top that, I think that Anu represents us really well with her paintings. Of course, there are many artists that I would like to collaborate with, but when it comes to recording and producing an album I think we did a great job by ourselves. The record sounds like something I would (and do) listen to myself.
What is the procedure for producing a SATAN’S FALL album? Do you have a set way of doing things?
Tomi: I can’t say if we had any special way to work on the album. But we did learn a couple of things from the making of this first record.
Miika: Ask us after a couple more albums and we might have an answer to that!
Do you have a favourite track from the album?
Tomi: Yes. My favorite is the title track “Final Day.” It has a very great atmosphere from the beginning to the more epic rides at the end of the song. And Miika’s great lyrics.
Miika: My favorites change every week but I think I am also the proudest of the title track.
Where do you draw your influences from when it comes to producing new music/lyrics?
Tomi: Honestly, I don’t have any clue.
Miika: As I’ve said before I draw most inspiration to what the song is about from the song itself. I listen to what the guys have recorded and start from there. Usually, I get few lines for a song just from humming and improvising over a song. It builds up from there. Then of course writing lyrics, I try to get a feel that this is something worth saying.
What is your favourite part of the entire writing and recording process?
Tomi: Probably when they are over!
Miika: Tomi said it. It’s fun to listen to the finished product but everything else is a grueling vortex of self-criticism.
What is the music scene like currently where you are based in Finland?
Tomi: I don’t follow the music scene in Finland or anywhere that much anymore.
Miika: Same as everywhere else, lots of bullshit. At least on the mainstream. Then also it seems that almost every band is on a mission to make music appealing to the masses and American market or something like that. So in the end everything sounds the same. I haven’t encountered many new bands in Finland that I would want to listen to during my free time.
Do you think image is important when being in a band?
Miika: Lemmy said that you shouldn’t wear shorts on stage. That is the only advice worth listening to about band image.
Are you guys looking to tour once Covid-19 has settled down, and if so, what are you most looking forward to?
Tomi: Of course. That’s the fuck here. We’ll have a record and we won’t be able to tour because of the corona. We can’t wait to get to Europe again to play at festivals and clubs. It’s always awesome there. Our latest gig in Dijon, France at the Rising Festival was over a year ago. Remember that festival name – and visit there when gigs are possible again.
Miika: Playing these new songs live out there. Shitty time to release a record, then again maybe we have a second one out by the time this bullshit is over?
Is there anyone or anywhere you would like to play and haven’t yet?
Tomi: Well of course it would be great to experience festivals like Hellfest, Wacken, 70 000 Tons of Metal cruise, etc. Or do a proper tour in America – both south and north.
Do you think it’s important for a band to be signed to a label to be recognised in today’s society?
Tomi: Definitely no. Bands can handle many things without record companies, but in our case, for example, we don’t have enough time to handle the kind of things that a record company does. Like distribution. Of course, we also benefit from having a record company pay for our studios and other expenses.
What are your views on bands who give away their music free on social media? Do you think this is a good beneficial marketing idea, or should fans be paying to purchase tracks?
Tomi: Of course, people nowadays have to be allowed to listen to music for free – but it is still up to the listener to support the bands they like by being their albums and merchandise. Sometimes it’s a little annoying when listeners think they support bands with Spotify’s €10 monthly fee, instead of buying a record or shirt directly from the band.
Let’s play Desert Island Discs. If you were stranded on a desert island with only a record player, and could only have three records, which three albums would you most want with you?
Tomi: Probably IRON MAIDEN’S Somewhere in Time, 90’s Eurodance compilation, and EDDIE MURPHY’S Party All the Time.
Miika: Crimson Idol, Bat out of Hell, and Best of Modern Talking.
What genres of music do you like to listen to personally? Any new bands that have caught your attention recently?
Tomi: I listen to all kinds of music from metal to Eurodance and 80’s pop music. Well, I like SWEDISH ENFORCER a lot, but I can’t say it’s a new band.
Miika: I am also fluid about what I listen to. Newer bands for me are probably ones that have started playing during this millennium. So from those, one of my favorites is MACHINAE SUPREMACY.
Were you given any advice from other bands before starting out?
Tomi: Nope. We have little connection with other bands.
Miika: “Don’t do it!” haha, no but seriously I have not heard any advice from anyone. Perhaps there isn’t any good advice out there?
What do you like to do outside of music? Any hobbies?
Tomi: I enjoy cycling and going to the gym. And video games, I like them very much.
Miika: I box and play video games
Have there been any TV shows on Netflix/Prime etc that you have been enjoying lately? Any recommendations for our readers?
Tomi: Yeah, on Netflix I liked Disenchantment and on HBO Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Miika: Just watched Queen’s Gambit which was excellent. Also watching Oz again. That one’s a classic.
Thank you for your time, is there anything you’d like to say to our readers?
Tomi: Remember to check our album on the 11th of December and meanwhile the ‘Juggernaut’ music video. Thanks a lot!
Miika: Take the heat and hold the line. And pick up our album in December, you won’t regret it!