Finnish band Block Buster release their debut album “Losing Gravity” through Frontiers Music on 13th September. Frontiers are promoting Block Buster as part of their ‘New Breed’ roster, however I didn’t really know much about the band, so I arranged to get some questions answered by e-mail. The band line-up features brothers Aarni and Jaako Metsäpelto on lead vocals / guitar and drums respectively as well as lead guitarist Elias Salo and bass player Joonas Arppe. Elias answered a few questions about the band’s history and their new album.

 


 

 

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NI ROCKS – Hi, thanks for taking some time to answer a few questions for Rock Radio NI. The band releases its debut full-length album through Frontiers on 13th September, but you’ve actually been around for about ten years and have released a few EPs over that period. When and how did the band get together originally?

ELIAS - We all went to the same school while in junior high. We got together by accident as Jaakko and Aarni heard me playing AC/DC riffs during recess and they asked me to join the band they had just formed. This was around Christmas 2008. Our bass player Joonas joined us in 2013 but he was our friend way before that and was involved with the band as a photographer before joining.


NI ROCKS – The band actually opened for Bon Jovi at the Helsinki Olympic Stadium back in 2011, before you had even released the first EP. How did that opportunity arise and what age were you then?

ELIAS - We won this competition run by a now long gone Finnish web music service called ‘’Hitlantis‘’ and we were picked as winners by Jon Bon Jovi himself. Or at least that’s how the story goes. We all were 16-17 years old at the time so it was of course a huge thing back then.


NI ROCKS – Frontiers Music includes the band on their ‘New Breed’ roster. When did you sign with Frontiers and how was that association come about?

ELIAS - We signed with Frontiers in late 2018. We had recorded the album before that and when they heard it, they contacted us and wanted to sign us.


NI ROCKS – Where was the new album “Losing Gravity” recorded and who did you work with in terms of production, mixing etc?

ELIAS - It was recorded here in Finland at iStudio and Finnvox studios in July 2018 and as with previous EP’s, our good friend, Johnny Jonas produced, recorded and mixed the record. The album was mastered by Svante Forsbäck who has worked with bands like Rammstein so we had a great team.


NI ROCKS – A video was released for the track “Move” back in June. What can you tell us about that track?

ELIAS - It was one of the last songs written for the album and it is maybe the most “tongue in cheek” type of song we have ever made. I think it turned out great! The song represents us really well as a band as it has a catchy chorus, great groove and killer guitar riffs all over it!


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NI ROCKS – Your first release, I think, was the seven track EP “Feel The Heat” back in 2012. Where was that recorded and musically how would you compare it to the new album?

ELIAS - It was definitely more or less a demo in terms of production, as it was recorded in our rehearsal room on a super low budget. Musically it is way more straight forward hard rock than ‘’Losing Gravity‘’, and our early influences, bands like AC/DC and Airbourne, are more prominent.


NI ROCKS – The band’s line-up has been unchanged throughout all the recordings over the past seven years. How important has that been in terms of the band’s development?

ELIAS - I think it has played a big part in the overall sound and groove of the band. We all know each other strengths as musicians so it helps in song-writing and there’s this solid rhythmic foundation that makes us a very fool-proof live band.


NI ROCKS – Finland has a great reputation internationally for producing some fantastic rock and metal bands, but as a new band starting out there how hard is it to get established on the local scene?

ELIAS - I think it is harder now than it was a few years ago as there isn’t as many venues or small festivals for new bands, or as much as there used to be. But at the same time Finland is a very small country so if you’re good enough and you know how to promote yourself on social media etc. you will get noticed eventually.


NI ROCKS – A five track EP called “Hammered & Smashed” was released in 2013 and that was followed by a three track EP called “Ain’t On the Chain” in 2015. Were those both self-released and were you starting to expand the fan-base beyond Finland by that stage?

ELIAS - Yes, both were self-released and especially with ‘’Ain’t On the Chain‘’ our reputation grew and we got chances to play bigger festivals and cities we hadn’t played in before.


NI ROCKS - There’s a video for the track “To Hell And Back” from the “Hammered & Smashed” EP. What can you tell us about that track and the video?

ELIAS - It was the first video ever made so it was a great experience for four young guys and the song itself is a great example of what Block Buster was like in 2013.


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NI ROCKS – When did writing for the eleven tracks on the new album commence and are they all new tracks or have some been around for a while?

ELIAS - All the songs on ‘Losing Gravity’ were written between 2017-2018 so they’re all relatively new. Some of them were finished just a week before hitting the studio, actually.


NI ROCKS – Was there a track that took longer to get finished the way that you wanted it to be or which changed totally from first conception to final recording?

ELIAS -The title track ‘’Losing Gravity’! It was originally written in early 2017 and the chorus is the only part that remained unchanged. Original version was more of a generic hard rock song and it wasn’t a song we would have wanted to have on the record. The idea for this Tom Petty/Oasis style approach came from our producer Johnny and we made the new arrangement very fast and it felt right immediately. It is my personal favourite from the album and if you ask me, it also has one of the best solos on the record!


NI ROCKS – The album “Losing Gravity” is released on 13th September. What plans does the band have to get out and tour in support of the new album?

ELIAS - We try to tour the record as much as possible in Europe first and hopefully in USA and Asia after that!


NI ROCKS – The press material for the band and the album refers to the music being a mix of AC/DC, Motörhead, Extreme, Bon Jovi, The Rolling Stones, Airbourne and The Darkness! What bands were actually influencing you when the band formed and have those influences developed over the past ten years?

ELIAS - AC/DC was the biggest influence for sure but we also listened to bands like Led Zeppelin, The Doors and Black Sabbath. All those big 70’s classic rock bands. Our list of influences has become a lot more diverse since forming the band and we all listen to all kinds of music from top of the charts pop to underground synthwave nowadays. You can definitely hear influences from many different genres on the record.


NI ROCKS – What was the first band that you went to see perform live and what was the last concert that you went to?

ELIAS - I think my first big concert was AC/DC in Helsinki in 2009 and the last one was Metallica in Hämeenlinna two months ago. I don’t go to see bands playing live that much here in Kuopio but I try to catch all the big acts that come to play in Finland.


NI ROCKS – If we were to look at your Spotify playlist or whatever, what would be the last five bands that would appear on it?

ELIAS - If artists count, Prince, Biffy Clyro, John Mayer, The Police and Van Halen but the list changes all the time.


NI ROCKS – Thanks for taking some time to answer a few questions for Rock Radio NI. I’ll finish by asking you about the track “Out In the City”, which a video was released for a few weeks ago. What can you tell us about that track?

ELIAS - It is a great opening track for the album as it introduces the theme of the record right away with it’s big guitars and sing-a-long chorus! It also has this cool cyberpunk feel to it and the pulsing rhythm guitar is kind of like what they commonly use in the bass parts in modern synthwave so that’s cool too!

 

NI ROCKS – Thanks, best of luck with the new album.


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