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Sonata Arctica

Enkele weken voorafgaand aan het concert van Sonata Arctica in Den Bosch is er contact met de platenmaatschappij van Sonata Arctica. Nadat het op Wacken maar niet wilde lukken, kunnen we nu wel tot een interview komen. 'Je hebt een gesprek met Jani en/of Henrik om 18.00 uur in Den Bosch, voorafgaand aan het concert. Geef maar een belletje met de tourmanager als je er bent.' Zo gezegd, zo gedaan. Tot mijn verbijstering hoor ik dan echter dat de band pas na het concert interviews wil geven en dat het mij toegezegde half uur ter plekke veranderd is in maximaal tien minuten. Altijd fijn, een meewerkende tourmanager ...

Door: Patrick | Archiveer onder heavy / power metal

Als ik hem na het concert spreek is hij druk doende met de politie te overleggen hoe ze de auto, die de tourbus klem geparkeerd heeft, kunnen weghalen en wordt er een extreme aanslag op mijn geduld gepleegd. Rond middernacht krijg ik eindelijk een vermoeide Jani te spreken die van het management welgeteld tien minuten krijgt om met me te praten. Als we ergens een rustig plekje gevonden hebben komt er vrolijk iemand binnen stappen die zegt dat ik twee minuten voor het interview heb. Voordat ik een waas voor ogen begin te krijgen en lichtelijk over de rooie dreig te gaan, grijpt Jani in. Hij zet de man de kleedkamer uit met de woorden: “You can come back when I say so. And nothing sooner!”. Het heeft moeite, geduld and tijd gekost, maar de inspanning wordt beloond. Tien (!) hele minuten om iemand te spreken, dus verwacht hieronder niets anders aan te treffen dan een standaard vragenvuur i.p.v. een goed gesprek!

Did you enjoy the show tonight?
It was hot, fucking hot tonight! I do not remember we ever played a place this hot. Felt like being in Brazil! (Laughing out loud!) It was at least a very tropic atmosphere.

It makes it more difficult to play then?
Usually it is nice to play when it is hotter, but today was just too much. Running around was impossible, just looking around made you sweat. And at the end of the sow we just started to feel bad.
In the middle we felt like “it is way too hot here and we still have like forty-five minutes to play.”. That is why we left the stage. It took a while, but we had to take some rest. We needed a break. It was better to take a little break and come back with more energy than continuing playing.

This was the second performance of your headlining tour. Correct me if I am wrong, but this is your first headlining tour, is it not?
Basically, yes. We did a few headlining shows in the past. This is the first one we really do by ourselves.

Symphorce and Machine Men are joining you on the European part of this tour. Who decides which bands will join you?
It is a mixture of who we want to join and who can join us. We have a special booking agent and everyone in and around the band get involved in the process.

This show was sold out instantly.
I heard it was sold out in a couple of hours. We really hope to come back here. I had no fucking idea that Den Bosch was such a cool city. We will definitely come back as we had a really good time here!

The people in the audience were quite young. Sonata Arctica seems to be attracting a lot of young kids.
We are just getting older and they seem to be getting younger and younger (laughing out loud). Fuck yeah!

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Does the set list differ from the other concerts now you are headlining?
It differs a little but not that much. As opening act we are trying to figure out what kind of audience we are playing for. Usually a set list comes very easily. We just sit down before the show and then first decide what we want to play. Before today we rehearsed a couple of songs we did not play in a while and decided to put that in a medley. Just to play something different, something people have not heard before.

Where are you off to now?
To some festival in France. We get in the bus and sleep there because we have to drive to the festival. And it is really nice to sleep in the bus actually. You sleep really well there. We do not have to rush to a hotel and … I sleep better in the bus than I in a hotel. It is just very easy to sleep there. We will be touring through Europe first now and then we will be having a month off. Then we will do eight shows in Finland and then in January we will go to the States for six weeks. That is going to be a long one.

You have been quite a while on the road now.
Yes, indeed, We are now in Europe for the second time and the US will be the second time as well. We played some summer festivals as well. Wacken for example was fun, although we played really early. But there were a lot of people despite that we were on stage this early. It was really incredible!

How difficult is it for you as person to go on world tour? Is there any contact with family at home during the tour?
I am engaged and of course it is hard to go out there. First you are excited to go on tour but then, a couple of days before the tour starts, you get totally warmed up but you also think 'this sucks, we are not going to see each other that much'. But when you get on tour and you get the thing rolling, it is okay. But like a few days before you are leaving, it is worthless.

Do you keep in touch with your girlfriend?
Well, she comes to certain concerts in Finland. And of course there is cell phone …

It has been almost a year now since 'Reckoning Night' has been released. I imagine you have some new songs by now?
We have some. Not much, but we have rehearsed one tonight.

Not enough for a new record?
There might be enough material already but we do not have the time. Until the end of February we are at least touring. And we need some time off before we can even consider making a new album. So I think a new album will be coming out in the beginning of 2007.

So, up till now it is looking forward to the concerts and fans have to be patient for a while for new material?
It sure is!

Thank you Jani for your time, do enjoy your birthday and see you somewhere around!
Thanks! That birthday will be okay … me and the guys are certainly going to enjoy the bottle of vodka you gave us and thanks for your time and patience! And to all those readers: join us on the tour if you can!

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