Eicca Toppinen, the primary composer of the Finnish cello-rockers APOCALYPTICA, was recently interviewed by Terrë on the band's official MySpace page. The interview follows here in its entirety:
Q: Do you have any shows lined up for this year or are you concentrating solely on the album and making no other plans until it is finished?
Eicca: Actually, it looks there will be no shows before album release which will be somewhere around September-October, only exception will be a showcase in Japan in May. But after album release our plan is to tour basically whole world in two years. So there will be some weeks for shows end of this year.
Q: Please explain something about the recording process. What do you work on first? What stage of recording are you at when you decide to work on drums? A lot of bands work with drums first, so does your experience as classical musicians enable you to do it a different way? When you record, do you all work together and record together or put separate tracks down one by one?
Eicca: This time we are working completely new way. Album will be produced by Jacob Hellner (RAMMSTEIN, CLAWFINGER, etc). We've been working on rehearsal room much more than never before. We still have two more weeks left for writing, after that we'll change into "rehearse mode" fulltime and start drum recordings in March. So the plan has been that the record is done in rehearsal room as far as possible, including drums. Of course, final studio sessions will still bring a lot more but when you work the best out at every stage, hopefully the result will be super... To make sure that drums are solid part of the music, it's important to record them first as final drums gives lot for cello recordings. On "Reflections" drums were played last, which maybe made sometimes a feeling that they didn't fit 100% together with cellos. We consider drums at least as important as all cellos, sometimes they are even more important. We record almost all stuff by track-by-track.
Q: What is it like to have Mikko involved in the writing process? Has the band dynamic changed because of it? Does he make contributions to anything except the drums?
Eicca: It's great to Mikko on board and I think he is putting one of the biggest effort in whole process. He takes equal part on thinking about cello arrangements in the rehearsal room as others. I personally arrange songs already quite far, but there [are] always things to talk about. Mikko has also written a few great songs and he is taking big responsibility on songs by others as well. So he is pure gold... And I must say that band dynamic has changed a lot in positive way.
Q: Can you give us any clues to who you want to guest on the album? If you can't say names, can you mention gender and nationality?
Eicca: One American metal/rock singer has been recorded already (male, and it sounds great). There might be some more American singers, pretty famous from rock or metal genre. We are focused on getting one female voice as well. We have had 7-10 singers we've been in touch. Our target is to get 3-4 vocal tracks to the album. Don't know yet who in the final end. Hopefully we'll know soon...
Q: When do you think the album will be out?
Eicca: I hope September-October.
Q: Do you have any idea how the new album will sound, compared to your last album? Is it harder? Darker? Softer? About the same?
Eicca: We have more than 30 songs with wide range. It will take still 2-3 weeks to decide final style and structure for the album. At least then the feeling everybody has is that new songs are much better than last time. I hope album will be more dynamic, not to include any songs to fill the space without serious meaning. I have the feeling that mood is stronger and deeper on new songs. Also sound-wise we want create more variating sound picture, using more effects etc... These are just feeling at this stage and it's impossible to say anything final.
Q: How many songs has Perttu written this time around?
Eicca: He has got two-three really good songs so far, but seems to be in writing mood still, so let's see... Paavo and Mikko have brought both 2-3 good ones. I've wrote 7-9 potential songs and everybody is still working hard for last weeks of writing. So it is very interesting working process this time, nobody knows yet where we are gonna end up...
Q: Do you write several songs and choose the best to go on the album or do you always have in mind how many tracks you have to put down and write to order?
Eicca: I think that out of 35 songs we'll record 13-15. Album will have then something between 10 and 15 songs. There will be some great songs out from the album, maybe released later on single b-sides. And we have no clue about order. Normally we decide order when all songs are mixed.
Q: Will Paavo be writing anything for this album?
Eicca: As I said, he has written stuff but as with every other song, nobody knows yet whom songs are going to be on the album For us it is not important who wrote a song, we just pick songs which are best for album structure.
Q: Do you have any working album titles yet or is that something that you decide after it is recorded?
Eicca: There's been no working title. We have to decide later when artwork will be done. To be honest, we are quite bad on finding good titles even for songs.... That's why on this album there will be no songtitle ending [with] "-ion."