In a recent interview with Australia's Heavy magazine, Paavo Lötjönen of Finnish cello rockers APOCALYPTICA spoke about the impact of their 1996 "Plays Metallica By Four Cellos" debut. Consisting solely of METALLICA covers, the album cast a spotlight on the group's classically trained abilities, setting the stage for them to release their own material in ensuing years. Since the 20th anniversary of "Plays Metallica By Four Cellos" in 2016, APOCALYPTICA has been playing the album in full at select live dates.
"It's been really fantastic," he said about playing "Plays Metallica By Four Cellos" (audio below). "If we are talking about music in common, if you listen to music you used to listen to 20 years ago, it's a weird thing somehow, it brings all the same feelings back. Like, you are feeling when we were 20 years younger. I would call music a time machine in that sense. The same happens for us when we play those songs. Somehow the same feelings come back to us when we felt like we were 25 years or 20 years old and touring with a shitty van around Europe playing venues. This time, all the venues are bigger and really portioned nice. There's lots of people, and it's not too hot and shitty on the stage. It's a lot of joy and fun to play those songs. The magic of METALLICA has not disappeared anywhere. It's still really strong and passionate music. It's a lot of fun to play. We have never played this well as we are playing at the moment. I'm happy to see we have learned something during these years."
Lötjönen also discussed APOCALYPTICA's longevity. Formed in Helsinki in 1993, its core members — Lötjönen, Eicca Toppinen and Perttu Kivilaakso — are graduates of Sibelius Academy in Finland, having started their career as nothing more than a METALLICA tribute band. Since then, APOCALYPTICA has teamed up with members of BUSH, GOJIRA, SOULFLY and RAMMSTEIN for its original compositions.
"I feel really blessed in that sense and really happy that we are here now," said Lötjönen. "Because when we started APOCALYPTICA, we didn't have any plans. We didn't have any aim for status or something like that. We just played for fun and it was a really spontaneous thing. Even with the second and third album, we were thinking 'Let's go baby steps. Like step-by-step and let's see what happens and what does it bring to us.' Of course, we have done a lot of hard work during the years. It's still giving us nice things. It's a lot of fun."
APOCALYPTICA recently signed a deal with Silver Lining Music. The band's new all-instrumental album was recorded over a three-month period at Sonic Pump studios in Helsinki and was mixed by Andrew Scheps (RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, LANA DEL REY, METALLICA, BLACK SABBATH). An early 2020 release is expected.