Thank you for having me, how are you today?
Hello! I'm fine, thank you - bit freezing, though. The weather in Finland is really cold right now.
Many people have still never heard of you, could you give us a quick introduction?
A quick introduction: There are five members in a band called Katra. I (Katra) handle the vocals, Johannes plays bass, Kristian and Teemu took over the guitar section and Matti is the drummer. Katra was founded in 2006. I had played in different bands, but I was missing something. I wanted to gather a band of my own. In the year 2006 I gathered a group of great guys and musicians around me. That's when this all started. We released our first album 'Katra' in the spring 2007. It was in Finnish and released only in Finland. After that we toured through Finland and in 2008 Napalm Records contacted us and we signed a deal with them. At that point we decided to change the lyrics into English. At the end of 2008 we released an international version of 'Katra' called 'Beast Within' and added three new songs. In 2009 we did couple of gigs abroad and concentrated on writing new material, then 'Out of The Ashes' was released in October 2010.
Tell me about the new CD: 'Out Of The Ashes', what can fans expect?
I think 'Out Of The Ashes' is more mature and powerful album than 'Beast Within'. 'Out Of The Ashes' deals with heavy issues and lyrics like child abuse and domestic violence. No legends or fairytales - the topics come straight from real life. The whole album is also more guitar-driven and the sound is a bit more straightforward and intimate with less orchestrations. The vocal point of view is in rock-technique rather than classical technique.
You seemed to have gone through an enormous change with your voice. You sounded very deep on 'Beast Within', yet very clear on 'Out Of The Ashes'. Were you so sick of being compared to Tarja Turunen?
The biggest change for me was when I started studying Theatre Music and Music Drama at the Tampere University of applied sciences in 2009. The days consist of vocal lessons, acting and dancing. The main point is to be a performer in musicals, so the vocal training for me is no longer in classical technique, it's now in rock/jazz/pop technique.
'Out Of The Ashes' seems very different from 'Beast Within'. It almost seems like they were made by two different bands. How did this come?
Already during 'Beast Within', we wanted to make some sound changes, but since it was international version of our Finnish debut, we only added a few songs as representative for what was about to happen in the future, the songs 'Beast Within' and 'Swear'. There are few things that influenced writing the new album: Since the singing style is a bit different, I wanted to make the vocal melodies to support that style. We also found a good way to compose and co-operate with each other. The whole band took part in composing and arranging, there's at least one song from everyone on the album. Usually the basic structure and idea of song was made by one of us and then everybody arranged their own parts. I wrote the vocal melodies and lyrics. Riffs, chord progressions and song ideas were usually done before and then we build it up together.
What is your favourite song on this album, and could you explain why?
This is a really difficult question, but 'Envy' is probably my favourite song. I was having a really hard time while writing this song. The writing process took a long time and finally when 'Envy' was done I kind of felt that my therapy ended and I was declared sane hahaha.
Since 'Grail Of Sahara' is an English version of 'Sahara', I was wondering if you used more older songs to create tracks for 'Out Of The Ashes', or did you only do that for 'Beast Within'?
No, all the songs in 'Out Of The Ashes' are new.
When the lyrics are being written, do you write them in English or in Finnish?
I write them straight in English. I feel it's easier that way.
Any plans to tour outside Finland anytime soon? I would personally love to see you on stage one day.
The booking management is not in our hands, but I sincerely hope so. We would love to do a tour soon.
Is Katra is your main source of income? And if not, what does everyone do to earn a living?
Well, we all have different kinds of projects. Besides my studies, I perform with fire in a fire performing group called Flamma, that's my other passion and source of income. Then I also do gigs with my cover band in different kinds of occasions. Johannes studies ethnomusicogy in University and also plays in a band called When The Empire Falls. Kristian and Teemu have day jobs and Matti plays in Avenie and Soulfallen.
Thank you for having me, any message for your fans out there?
We wish you a really good year 2011! Hope to see you at a gig!