Finnish progressive metal band Simulacrum released their second album, Sky Divided, at the end of August 2015. Musicalypse had a chat with the band about the making of their new concept album and more before they hit the stage at On the Rocks in Helsinki on September 17th, 2015.
Well, to start with, how’s it going?
Christian: It’s going fine! We had our first record release show in Oulu two weeks ago and we had a blast! Now we are looking forward to rocking Helsinki. This is one of our record release shows. We’re just going to the stage, so we’re pretty anxious.
Good to hear! Could you introduce yourselves? What are your roles in the band?
Olli: I play bass and Chapman stick. And my name is Olli.
Christian: My name is Christian and I play the keyboards and I have also composed most of the material on both of our albums.
First of all, could you tell us how you came together? What’s the story behind the band?
Olli: I think we were 15 or 16 years old and one of my friends… I actually started playing when I was 14 and one of my classmates knew Christian, who was looking for a bassist, so he introduced me to Christian.
Christian: We were all teens at the time and we were all listening to Dream Theater and the most technical metal that was around at that time.
Olli: Really ambitious young guys.
Christian: Yeah. I used to be in a music high school and I met some of the other guys in the band through school. We have been together since 2000, so a pretty long time.
So 15 years – teenage rascals.
Christian: Yeah, there were a few changes in the lineup here and there, but it’s mostly the same guys – me, Olli, my brother, Nicholas, on guitar, and Niklas on vocals.
Could you tell us about your biggest influences, musically?
Olli: As Christian mentioned, Dream Theater is the first. There is a lot of 70s prog metal… well not metal, but progressive music like Emerson, Lake & Palmer. What else?
Christian: Yes, Genesis, Gentle Giant, Colosseum, then some more metal bands – Symphony X, Spiral Architect, then more of the fusion stuff. Planet X… Andromeda was one of my favorite bands from Sweden. If you haven’t ever checked them out, check them out now!
Last month your new album, Sky Divided, came out. How did it go, composing and recording it? What was the process like?
Christian: The last album we did, The Master and the Simulacrum, was a bunch of songs I had composed in the timespan of 10 years. It was very relieving to get them out. Then after that we had a clean slate and I started composing new material and we made this concept album. We have done everything ourselves. We recorded it, I have mixed it and mastered it, and then I have also produced our three music videos.
You basically do everything by yourself?
Christian: Yeah, and sometimes I go nuts with it. It’s very stressful.
I can imagine.
Christian: That’s why it took like 3½ years to get this album out, but we are very happy with how it sounds.
And tonight you’re going to play the whole album, am I right?
How did you decide to play the whole album in one go?
Olli: I think it was obvious. We always wanted to play a bigger concert live, so I think it works.
It’ll only be material from the new album then? Nothing older?
Christian: Everything from the new album, nothing from the old album, and then if we have shows in the spring, we will mix in a few old songs, but now we are really enthusiastic on playing this new stuff.
What’s up next then? You’re going to do some gigs… have you already started to think about the new album after this new album?
Olli: Yeah, a lot of gigs and composing, maybe mixing up some other composers. Like, I could do something more. Also, another guitarist, Pete, he has written one song on this new album.
Christian: I’m also hoping the guys will have some more input in the next album.
Olli: I think we need to shorten the timespan. Three years is too long.
If the first one took 10 years, maybe the next one will take 1 year…
Olli: [laughter] 1½ maybe?
Christian: I think 2 years is realistic.
Well, thank you for coming out for the interview and have a good show!
Text: Essi Nummi | Ed: Amy Wiseman