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




LAURI PORRA talks to Mark about the latest album and the band's first dates Downunder in OCTOBER!


Stratovarius is a band that rules the Power Metal and Symphonic metal genres, since their formation in 1984 they have put out 15 studio albums and one live album. They tour Australia for the very first time in October 2013. We delve into the latest release 'Nemesis' and ask why it's taken so long to get here and will they have something special for us when they hit Sydney and Melbourne?



Mark: Hi, Lauri, its Mark from Australia’s Rockpit, how are you?


Lauri: Good, thank you.


Mark: You are finally making it to Australia after twenty nine years, why did it take so long??


Lauri: I think because power metal is still very small, and we are still very small, and it’s very expensive for us to come from Finland to Australia. We weren’t even contracted when this show happened, so we are doing a show in Japan in October, and for the final part we are coming to Australia as well.


Mark: It’s great that you are finally making it over; you are playing the Loudpark festival in Japan, is that the first time you have played Loudpark?


Lauri: Yes, it is our first time at Loudpark, but we have been playing Japan, since the early 90’s.





Mark: With the two shows in Sydney and Melbourne, that you are playing, they are quite small, intimate venues, do you think you will put on a different show to the one you normally do?


Lauri: I think whenever we have a show in a new country, on a different continent; we try to put on a mixed show, because we know none of the audience has heard any of the songs live, unless they have travelled abroad. So, usually we would be playing a long show, and we would be playing some old stuff and new stuff. If it’s somewhere we go often, we play more new stuff, because we have played the old songs so many times already! In a new country, we have more variety, with more classics.


Mark: Sounds like we’re in for a great show. Power Metal and Symphonic Metal in general is massive in Europe and South America, why do you think there’s such an enduring audience for this type of music?


Lauri: It’s hard to say, it does alright. I always consider that it’s so out of trend, it’s never been in fashion, so it’s never been out of fashion!! It’s like a good old melodic style of music, it comes and goes, but if you have a good song with a good melody that gets played by good musicians, you always want to hear it.






Mark: The new album, “Nemesis”, has critics calling it one of your best yet, what did you set out to achieve with the album? There was talk of you becoming more commercial, or reaching a wider audience.


Lauri: No, we weren’t trying anything, except to put out as good an album as possible. The thing was that we changed the line up a little bit, so the band were in a transformation phase, and for me with the new album, “Nemesis” we had evolved as a band to the point where we could make this new album, it’s a good album.


Mark: It’s a great album and the track that you’ve done the video for, “Halcyon Days” is a great video. With so many strong tracks on the album, was it hard to choose a lead track? We had “Unbreakable” initially on the EP, now we have the “Halcyon Days” video, will there be another video or single on the way?


Lauri: Yeah, it’s always a little bit hard, I think “Unbreakable” was a good choice. We made a couple of low budget videos, which will be put out at some point.






Mark: I think our favourites are “Castles in the Air” and “If the Story is Over”, can you tell us a little bit about those songs, and how they came about?


Lauri: I think “Castles in the Air” is like a song by Yes, it’s really nice; it has a Yes flavour to it. We tried to do it live, but we haven’t done it yet. “If the Story is Over” I think it has an ‘age’ to it, it’s one that Timo Kotipelto wrote and has a connection to the solidarity movement as Timo has that connection, but it’s hard to say more as I wasn’t part of the writing of it.



Mark: Is there any chance that “Castles in the Air” will be ready to play when you’re over here?


Lauri: I would say it’s not likely! We practised the whole album and picked out the bits that would work well live. Sometimes a track sounds great on the album, but doesn’t really work, live.


Mark: So, what is working well in practice at the moment?


Lauri: From the new album? I like “Unbreakable” and “Fantasy”, they work really well. For “If the Story is Over” we did want to do it live, but we are not quite there, so we are trying to do it a more acoustic version of it, so we will take that approach.





Mark: What do you think is the song that people here in Australia, most want to hear? There have been a few online polls, but I was just interested to hear what your thoughts were.


Lauri: Classics, I think, “High and Low” and “Black Diamond” those are songs we have to play always.


Mark: You have a few dates back in Finland, when you leave Australia, what happens after that? Are you looking at another big tour?


Lauri: I think after Australia, and our shows in Finland, we will have a few months break, to write new songs for hopefully a new album, late next year.


Mark: If you could have been a fly on the wall for the recording of any album, at any point in time, what would it have been for you and why? Any time, any era.


Lauri: I like this time, I’m not one of those guys who complain about how it used to be better in the old days, or whatever! I liked the 70’s, but, I like this time with computers, they are a big part in making music, and music production, it is a very interesting time. It is a very exciting time for music.


Mark: Finally, what is the meaning of life?


Lauri: Music, I think it’s whatever makes your boat float!! That’s the answer!


Mark: That’s a great answer! It’s going to be great seeing you here in October, the 23rd at the Billboard, in Melbourne, and the 25th at the HiFi in Sydney, thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us.


Lauri: Thank you. See you soon, bye.





Lauri spoke to Mark Diggins September 2013





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