Heart of Steel: Interviews

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?

Me, 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 WILL remember.

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 the release.



If you could choose any band to tour with who would it be and why?

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 after that:-)!!!!



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 world.



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!!

All rights reserved and contents ©2004 Metal-Rules.com
Keeping the Metal Faith Since 1995!