BLOCK BUSTER – Jaakko Metsäpelto; Helsinki, 2019

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Image by Pekka Keränen

While Block Buster has been around for a few years now, they’re getting a fresh new start on Friday September 13th, 2019, when their debut album, Losing Gravity, will be released. Already known for opening for bands like Bon Jovi, these young guys from Kuopio are joining the ranks of other young Finns who want to bring a rock revival to their home country. We were able to send a few questions over to drummer Jaakko Metsäpelto to talk about their live experiences, their unique sound, and their debut album release.

 

Hi, and thanks for taking the time to do this! First of all, for anyone out there who doesn’t know you guys, tell us a bit about yourselves – how did you meet and create a band… the usual basics.
Aarni and I are brothers, so we obviously met quite a long time ago, haha! While in junior high, about 10 years ago, we both liked the same kind of music and as really passionate fans of all these classic rock bands, the idea to form a band of our own came up quite soon. Aarni had already picked up the guitar a few years prior to that, so it was natural for me to choose drums so he would have someone to play with. Our lead guitarist, Elias, was one of the very few like-minded musicians in our school, or even in our hometown for that matter, so we asked him to join our band very early on as well. We had another bass player back then until Joonas came into the picture around 2013.

Your name, Block Buster, mostly associates with blockbusters, or successful movies. What association do you guys have to the phrase, and why did you chose it for a band name?
Actually, our band was named after a bomb that was used during the WWII, but that’s where the whole term “blockbuster” comes from I think, which is associated with movies. No problem with that though, we are all movie fans. But to answer your question, there’s no particular reason why we decided to call our band Block Buster, we came up with the name when we were 15 and it just stuck basically.

Do you consider yourselves a theatrical band in any way?
Having a good live show is very important to us. Even though we don’t have any costumes and it’s just four dudes rocking out, we are not ashamed to say that we plan things here and there so it’s not 100% spontaneous all the time. We are definitely not a theatrical band like KISS but we still treat our shows as shows.

We’ve only been able to find 3 songs from you guys on Spotify, yet you’ve opened for huge bands like Bonjovi, Gojira, and Children of Bodom – how did you guys manage to achieve such huge status so quickly?
Right now there are only 3 songs available, which are the singles off our first full length album that is coming out later this week [on Friday]. In reality, we self-released quite a few singles and EPs during the early days, like so many other bands. It was the band’s and the label’s wish to start fresh, so to speak, and wipe the old material off the internet, because the new album, Losing Gravity, is our first official release. So when we have been able to get these cool slots with these big bands over the years, we actually had some EPs etc to “sell the band” with.

During those shows, did you get to hang out with Jon Bon Jovi (or the Gojira or Bodom guys)? If so, do you have any cool behind-the-scenes stories?
All those gigs that we are talking about here have only been just one-off shows, not tours, so unfortunately we have not managed to actually meet too many rockstars yet, and therefore I don’t have that many exciting or interesting stories to tell you.

What about crazy Spinal Tap moments from live sows? Were there any really epic moments, or massive disasters?
One time, at a relatively big outdoor festival, the PA went down and the blackout lasted for about 20 minutes, which feels like forever when you are on stage in front of a crowd. Fortunately the guitar amps were still functioning so we just swapped instruments with each other and started improvising to keep the crowd entertained while the festival crew was fixing the problem. It was a nightmarish but a massively fun incident at the same time.

Moving on to the music itself, do you guys start with the music and add lyrics, or is it vice versa?
There’s no formula when it comes to songwriting, could be either way, but usually the music comes first.

Do you have any themes or messages that you try to share and spread to the world through your music, or are you more in it for the fun of playing and the music itself?
Most of our lyrics are pretty self-explanatory. Sometimes there are double meanings, which we enjoy having, but we are not a band with a message. To me, personally, the music is more important and I like writing music more than I like writing lyrics. Many songwriters might disagree with me, but unless the lyrics are utterly shit, a good song is usually more or less a good song despite the lyrics, whereas good lyrics do not necessarily make a good song. What’s important is how the lyrics “flow” while singing them. Of course you need to try and succeed in both fields.

Your upcoming album, Losing Gravity, is coming out this Friday! This is the first full album – what is the general feeling in the band right now?
We are all very excited!

Will the current singles be on this album, or will it be all new material?
The current singles that are available on Spotify etc, will be on the album as well. All the songs on Losing Gravity were written during the past 2 years or so, so it’s all new material, even for those who have been following the band and coming to the shows for many years already.

So far, from the material you’ve released, I think it’s safe to say we can expect some good vocals, strong grooves, and high energy on your upcoming album. What do you guys think we can expect from the first album?
You can expect all those things you mentioned, plus it’s going to be quite diverse musically. Probably not in the Queen kind-of-sense, but none of the songs sound the same and you can hear influences from many decades, from the 70s to this day.

Rock n’ Roll’s having a pretty big revival in Finland these days. Are there any modern rock bands from Finland that you’re really into?
We are friends with many bands in the current Finnish rock scene, so we check them out whenever someone puts out new material. There’s lots of pretty cool stuff out there!

What do you think the biggest struggle for you as a band has been so far? Do you think that’s different from what other bands went through say, 20-30 years ago?
It’s hard to name any specific struggles, except the most classic one of them all: getting signed to a label. I would imagine the struggles that bands are facing now are more or less the same as 20-30 years ago, except now you have even more stuff you need to pay attention to, mainly the digital marketing and maintaining your band’s online presence.

Just to finish things off, if you could tour with any band right now (living), who would you love to tour with?
There are tons of awesome bands out there that we would love to tour with. Let’s say Royal Blood.

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