The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world







Classical music really was the start of Rock N Roll.  Don’t believe me???  Well ,then you need to check out Apocalyptica.  These cello-playing rockers made their splash covering Metallica.  It doesn’t get much more rock than that.  I was lucky enough to get a few minutes out of Mikko Siren’s busy tour schedule during their stop in Flint, MI.


Toddstar: Ok, well thank you very much Mikko for taking time out for the Rockpit.


Mikko Siren: Thank you for having us.


Toddstar: Let’s jump into it. How is the tour going so far?


Mikko Siren: Tour is going good.  We had quite a long break, like from the end of last year - some 3 ½ months off - so there was plenty of time for other things and just be home, relax and stuff like that.  Then we started maybe two weeks ago we did eight shows in Europe - started from Slovenia & Poland, Hungary & so on.  Then maybe five days ago to Florida, started off there.  I think this is the fifth show now in the States.  We’re going to be here in total four weeks or less.  But it’s going really good.  We’re really happy & excited to be back.


Toddstar: That’s great.  We’re glad to have you back.  It’s only been five days in the states, but you did start off with some days in Europe.  So far what have been some high points of this stretch of the tour so far?


Mikko Siren: Well, um…what?


Toddstar: a high point?


Mikko Siren: Ah, high point.  It’s all a high point.  There’s no low point.  The only low point was flying because I’m not the biggest fan of flying.  Otherwise, it’s been all good.  It’s great.  It’s also really exciting for us because we feel it’s kinda new.  We get to go places we haven’t been before, we get to meet people we haven’t met before so it’s really exciting.  It keeps us also in a good…
Toddstar: First time in Flint.





Mikko Siren: Yes, first time in Flint. Place (The Machine Shop - seems to be a really cool, we’ve heard it’s sorta like a classic rock club.  It seems to be perfect.  Hoping to be a good night.


Toddstar: Good. We’re looking forward to it.  The album has been out for a while. It came out in Europe first, came out in the states a couple weeks later.  How are the new songs being received?
Mikko Siren: I think they’ve been received good & we were maybe a bit worried because some of the material on the new album is kinda artistic, with long structures, especially the instrumental music is like progressive, really long songs & of course we don’t expect that the people who come to the shows, that they would all have heard all the songs.  We start off already with two new songs so we were a bit skeptical on how it would work out but so far its worked out great.  We have got really good light at shows.  We have a good  light designer so I think it’s really theatrical and something different people maybe don’t always see when they go to rock concerts so we try to do something maybe a bit differently.


Toddstar: Cool.  Do you find that you’re maybe getting people near the end of the show that are a little more excited, a little more into you then they were walking in?  Do you think you’re winning people over?


Mikko Siren: I hope so, yeah, hard to say but I totally hope it’s like that.  My feeling is that the response has been great from the audience & we have really enjoyed it.


Toddstar: You guys did the stretch of touring last year and now you’re on this leg of the tour.  Are you guys recording any of these shows?  Thinking about a live CD, maybe capturing the feeling live?


Mikko Siren: We’ve talked about doing a live DVD, like in the fall but nothing has been settled.  We’re doing some concert hall shows in Finland.  We’re doing some bigger festivals in Europe, some might be - or then we might just record a collection of different things from different places and then do stuff like a tour diary kinda thing DVD.  I don’t think a live CD will come out, but a live DVD, I certainly hope it will come out.


Toddstar: Great, well you guys get some great vocalists on the songs that aren’t instrumentals.  I know you like all the vocalists, but who’s been the most pleasant to work with?  I’ve read in interviews where you’ve really enjoyed working with Lacey (Mosley of Flyleaf).


Mikko Siren: Lacey is very, yeah.


Toddstar: I mean is there one that stood out?  Not just from the new album but throughout the career of the band so far?


Mikko Siren: Lacey’s great.  Also this German singer called Nina Hagen who is a punk rocker back in the 70’s.  She’s one of a kind.  I think she’s something like 55, maybe now.  A strong, strong woman.  Really something I look up to and she’s one of a kind.  Its not – I spent one night talking to her where she explained that she became a river… what can you say?  Never happens in my life.  The way she sings really, really something, makes you listen to it even thou I don’t understand the lyrics in the German language but totally way she speaks & everything… its kinda tempting.  Of course, Corey (Taylor of Slipknot and Stone Sour).  Corey’s such a great vocalist.  It’s really impressive to work with him.  Adam (Gontier of Three Days Grace) is a great guy.  We’ve been lucky enough to have him performing us live situations as well.  He’s a nice guy & being so supportive towards us so were thankful for that as well so.  It’s a great thing when you meet people, it’s always a story behind the songs and the way you work and you learn so much when you work with such great people.





Toddstar: Moving forward thou do you have a dream list of vocalist that you would want to work with? I mean are there a couple –


Mikko Siren: It’s endless…of course.


Toddstar: If you had to pick a couple, who would you –


Mikko Siren: The music, of course, determines everything when it comes to the point that we start to make new music again.  The song determines what kind of singers we would approach.  Normally we try to approach people who we have met or know somehow because it might be kinda weird to approach somebody that you don’t know.  We’ve done it – we’ve asked Bjork & we’ve asked Tori Amos.  Their managements have just politely answered Fuck off.


Toddstar: (laughing)


Mikko Siren: But politely, please fuck off, please.  So but of course, I would be really interested in doing something like unexpected & something with a bit more twist to it, so to work with Willie Nelson or Neil Young or Bob Dylan – to get their incredible talent and maybe we could give in something of course.  May be out of our reach, but a wish list.


Toddstar: That’s what you call a dream list.  Well in reading a lot of interviews, most of the press I can find, you’re kinda the front man regarding giving interviews. You field a lot of the press.


Mikko Siren: Me?  I talk so much which I think is why the guys are maybe more holding back, but I’m not the front man in anyway.  I just talk.  I’m the stupid monkey (laughing).


Toddstar: I was going to say, you’re kinda the rookie.  You’ve been in the band for years but you’re still the rookie.


Mikko Siren: I am, yeah, totally.  The band is about cello & cello playing.  I don’t know shit about that thing, so –


Toddstar: I saw you playing one during sound check.


Mikko Siren: Yeah, it is what it is… playing three strings, fun to play (laughing).  Looks better than…


Toddstar: It’s cool.  Now let’s step back to something that isn’t Apocalyptica for a second - Megaphone.



Mikko Siren: Oh wow.  That’s something.


Toddstar: Talk to my about megaphone, just a little bit.  Is that whole thing done now, gone or is it just something that you are thinking  you might come back to?


Mikko Siren: I hope it’s not done.  We haven’t done anything in years; I think 3 years or so.  I meet the guys all the time.  We are friends, but there hasn’t been time to it.  When we were more active, it was great fun.  It was like about music, about friendship, about like fucking around & doing things that we just enjoyed a lot with all of our stage names & everything.  It was like just perfect.  My stage name was Lucy Fur - LUCIFER!!


Toddstar: That was your stage name?


Mikko Siren: Lucy Fur… how cool is that?  It was like this glam rock – lots of make-up, big hairs.  Fun, fun.


Toddstar: Some of the pictures I found were quite interesting.  I also found a quote which I thought was interesting from you and it is, “I like to think…I think it’s always interesting to pull out something really unexpected.”  What’s gonna be interesting tonight?  What are we not gonna expect?


Mikko Siren: Tonight?  (Laughing) Oh wow, you’re putting up some pressure for me.  You don’t expect Paavo to be naked (laughing).


Toddstar: You’re right, I don’t. (Laughing)


Mikko Siren: Funny, but it’s gonna happen.  No, I don’t know, but that’s exactly what I said about the singers that we would love to collaborate with.  That they could be… like every time you do songs, like when you try to express yourself, at least when I’m most touched when somebody does something, it comes out of the blue.  Somehow, something that I wasn’t prepared for and that sorta like takes the crap out of you.  I don’t know how to say it but that’s something like which I always try to, like improving myself that I could do the things, in a way that people are… that I can surprise people.  It doesn’t have to be the coolest trick or the craziest.  I feel it can be just some emotion which I can deliver or whatever.


Toddstar: Perfect.  On the album, the CD, whatever you want to call it – MP3 now, my personal favorite is “On the Rooftop with Quasimodo.”


Mikko Siren: Good choice, it’s my song (laughing)


Toddstar: (laughing) Yes it is. It’s also my personal favorite of the non-vocal tracks.  I also like, I think its “Sockra” or “Sacra”.  That one I understand is built around a Finnish folk song of sorts.  What was the inspiration for “On the Rooftop?”  Is there an inspiration or is there just –


Mikko Siren: There was an inspiration.  It was a real personal song for me.  I’ve been always into electronic music a lot and the whole song started.  Years ago, I sampled Eicca playing cello & I had this sample which the song started with a sample (making cello plucking noises).  That’s a sample which I treated.  I was fooling around with my old Akai 2000 sampler and just like making the sounds and that sound came for sorta the feeling for the whole song.  Also with that track, I wanted that to be really theatrical, really moody, & I don’t know how to explain it.  There was a story just like on the roof with Quasimodo – how I’m sure there were sounds, they were in my head on how it starts it’s like the church bells (he makes the same cello plucking noises as before).  It’s the church bells.  Quasimodo is on the roof; he’s in love with the most beautiful girl he knows he can’t ever see, but he’s in love and he’s happy.  In the final part, it goes sorta like crazy when he realizes he really can’t get the girl.
Toddstar: No, that’s perfect.  It goes back to the last question, because that sound brought the emotion in me, I could feel the movement in the music & the change in the excitement level.  Listen, I know you have other stuff to do, so I just want to wrap up with a couple more questions.  If there was one song in history that you could say you wrote or you played on?


Mikko Siren: If I would have played on some great – I can’t listen to music where I play so it sort of would ruin the song.  For me the best song of rock music is “God Only Knows” by Beach Boys.


Toddstar: Really?


Mikko Siren: By far…yeah, it’s like beyond.  The best album is Sgt Peppers (Beatles) of course, but the best song is “God Only Knows” it’s just really beyond.


Toddstar: There's the unexpected. (Laughing)


Mikko Siren: I don’t know what you expected.



Know your Apocalypicta - spot the odd man out?



Toddstar: That is a cool selection.  Ok, the last question for you is – according to Mikko – what is the meaning of life?


Mikko Siren: Biologically?


Toddstar: Anything.  However you interpret that.


Mikko Siren: To eat and fuck.  Mentally, to… I have a quote from Spinal Tap – “To have a good time, all the time”


Toddstar: Perfect, perfect. I appreciate it. Again, thank you so much for taking the time out for the RockPit. We really appreciate the time.


Mikko Siren: Thank you so much.


Once again… if you don’t think a cello can’t rock, you are so missing out.  This group of guys put on a hell of a show and play some of the best non-mainstream rock music out there.  Check ‘em out.






By Todd Rockpit