Paavo Lötjönen of the Finnish rock cello quartet APOCALYPTICA recently answered the top four questions submitted by the band's fans. The question-and-answer session follows below.
Q: If you had to describe APOCALYPTICA with just one song, which one would that be and why?
Paavo Lötjönen: You asked me for a song, that would be the best example of APOCALYPTICA and this means of course we are talking about APOCALYPTICA nowadays. And I would say, that the best example of how we are at the moment is the song called "At The Gates Of Manala". There is a very progressive, hard metal beginning of the song and it adds up to symphonic, classical moments in the end. So, I would say "At The Gates Of Manala" is APOCALYPTICA now.
Q: If you had to perform a classical concert in an "APOCALYPTICA style," what music and which musicians would you choose?
Paavo Lötjönen: I don't actually understand what a classical concert in an "APOCALYPTICA style" is. Does it mean that they should headbang? Or that they should play with distortion and amplification? Uhm. It's a difficult question. I would love to see Rostropowitsch and maybe Pablo Casals play some APOCALYPTICA music together. Maybe "Fight Fire With Fire" (grins).
Q: You have spent most of your lives with a cello by your side. What's your relationship with it?
Paavo Lötjönen: Yeah, I have spent a lot of time with a cello — I started to play cello when I was six years old. The relationship has been long lasting and there were really exciting times, but, of course, it's sort of a hate-love relationship. Especially in the days learning how to play the cello. There are a lot of challenges in learning new things — of course, sometimes you really hate your instrument and in other moments you really love it. As an instrument, as the piece itself: the APOCALYPTICA cello is totally different than my good cello at home. I would say the APOCALYPTICA cello is a piece of wood — I punish it. But I love the cello at home.
Q: What were your inspirations for "7th Symphony"? Musically, emotionally, mentally etc.
Paavo Lötjönen: This inspiration thing (smiles). You know, music basically comes from the everyday life and from inside our heads. But of course we can find more inspirations. You know, there was the ice age in Finland, thousands of years ago and it fine-tuned all the hard rocks there in the Finnish archipelago and there's, you know, the elements. Three strong elements — with the water and the rocks and the wind and then, of course, there's also flashes and… Basically Finnish nature is really rough and hard and there's a long winter with endless nights and that makes our music heavy. And our drummer is mostly inspired by nature (winks and laughs). So, yeah, this inspiration thing is like a… there you can tell a lot of different stories and continuous bullshit (laughs).
"7th Symphony" was released on August 24. The majority of the album was produced by Joe Barresi (TOOL, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, BAD RELIGION), with two other songs produced by Howard Benson (MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE, MOTÖRHEAD, PAPA ROACH).
Just like on their previous album, "Worlds Collide", APOCALYPTICA has employed guest vocalists for several tracks on the record. APOCALYPTICA member Eicca Toppinen told The Pulse of Radio that it's always a challenge to fit the band's music around each individual singer's style. "You know, there's certain challenges, but we also, we always want to see how the vocals fit in that, "he said. "(But) after that, we work on the arrangements and see what else with the cellos we can create around the vocals. But I think with everybody — we've been so lucky to work with some great people, so it's always pretty easy."
APOCALYPTICA traveled to Los Angeles in early June to shoot a music video for "End Of Me", the first single from "7th Symphony". The song features BUSH singer Gavin Rossdale on vocals, with Rossdale also making an appearance in the video.
Other guest artists on "7th Symphony" include SHINEDOWN frontman Brent Smith, FLYLEAF singer Lacey Mosley, vocalist Joseph Duplantier of French metal act GOJIRA and drummer Dave Lombardo from SLAYER.
"7th Symphony" track listing:
01. At the Gates of Manala
02. End of Me
03. Not Strong Enough
06. Broken Pieces
07. On the Rooftop With Quasimodo
08. Bring Them To Light
10. Rage of Poseidon
A seven-minute EPK (Electronic Press Kit) for "7th Symphony" can be viewed below.