Why don't you start off by telling us a little bit more about the band and members. Did anyone play in previous bands before Dyecrest ? How and when did everyone meet up and how was the first period of the band. Were any of the members active in other bands before Dyecrest?
Ok! We've been playing with this line-up since 2001 when Henri joined the band to play the third guitar. But to go back in time, you have to go to 1993, that was when I (Niko), Jukka and Pirkka started to play together. Jukka and I have known each other always, 'cause we are cousins. We had this idea 'bout a band and we knew Pirkka through some common friends, we knew that he played guitar and then we just asked him to play with us! Of course, the whole thing was just for fun (we were fourteen-sixteen years old...) at first and played in our garage some cover songs, but we started to write our own songs, too, from the very beginning.
In 1996 Matti joined the band and then we really started to write more our own songs. And in 1999 we found Janne to sing in the band, which was a great thing for us, 'cause we really needed a decent singer to be able to write the kind of songs we wanted to! We made some demos through the years but, they really weren't that good and a record deal was just a dream for us... Then in 2001 Henri joined the band, and it was also that time when we were starting to find more and more our own style in our music. We went in to studio in the beginning of 2002 and we recorded the "Lost Faith" demo, which eventually took us into the Young Metal Gods-finals, from where we got the record deal with the Noise records!
Henri have had some other band stuff going on before he joined our band, but they were more like projects (I was playing drums in one of them), not real bands. Matti is still playing in a Finnish rock-band called Mikä!.
Musically the band obviously draws a lot of inspiration from the typical power and heavy metal bands, yet there is a lot more variation than usually is the case. Dyecrest does really well in creating something of an own face. Which bands and artists would you say have been most influential for the band?
Thanks, we have really tried NOT to be just a typical power metal band, and actually the aim is to go even further from the "basic stuff". Of course there are dozens of bands which have influenced to our music (even on unconscious level) but I think I can name a few. Hmmm.. let me think... Okay, here we go: for example Iron Maiden, Helloween, Judas Priest from this "old school" section and maybe In Flames, Symphony X and Queensrÿche from the more could I say "modern" type of metal. And of course bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Wasp, Kiss and even Scorpions have influenced us. Not necessarily musically, but by some other ways, 'cause they were one of the names which were big when we were kids!
How would you personally best describe the sound of Dyecrest and how has it evolved over time?
I'd like to say it's just heavy metal. There's too much of this categorising nowadays in my opinion. But I know how much people love it, so here it comes: Powerful metal (without being power metal) with influences from traditional metal and even some progressive and trashy touches here and there. Our style has changed during the years from more traditional (power)metal to what it is now. I think that's because we have developed as a songwriters and are now able to express ourselves more in our own way. And it was also a conscious decision to get further away from the typical stuff.
'The Way Of Pain' is a surprisingly mature release for a debut. How hard was the song-writing and how long did it take before everything was finished ? Does the entire band participate in this process? Describe the way in which the band works for us a little.
The song writing was a bit hard, 'cause we got in bit of a hurry... But eventually got the songs finished in time, and I think the little pressure on us just made good for us. Well, not for us but for the songs... ;) We had to write five completely new songs during the June, 'cause drums were recorded in early July. Actually the songs weren't completely completed (for example some vocal melodies and almost all of the lyrics were still missing) when I entered the studio in the July. Then we had approx. a month to finish the songs before all the other stuff was recorded in August.
Usually we write the songs in the following way: one (or two or three:) of our guitarists (Matti, Pirkka and Henri) have an idea for the song, maybe even a whole song, then I write lyrics for it and then we arrange it together.
Who came up with the name 'Dyecrest' and is there any special meaning behind it?
We used to be called DyeCAST, but then an American band called DIEcast forced us to change our name in last November. We had two days time before the promotional material was to go into pressing and printing... So, we wanted to keep the Dye in the beginning of the name and we searched through different option and together with record label, we ended up with Dyecrest.
Also very much worth mentioning are the lyrics. They are a lot darker and serious than a lot of other bands in the heavy and power metal scene (e.g. no kings, dragons and castles). Who is responsible for the lyrics and where is the inspiration drawn from? Personal experience?
Well, I'm the one to blame! ;) And also Janne wrote one song's (Until Death Do Us Part) lyrics. Yes, the inspiration comes from my own experiences and from the events in the real world. It's kind of a therapy for me to write down my bad feelings.
The production was done by Piet Sielck – how was working with him and did he contribute a lot to the songs and band ?
I believe we were very lucky to have such an experienced guy as Piet to produce our debut album. He really has a great vision of metal and his heart is pure steel!!! :) He contributed the album especially on the vocals. The really good thing about him was that as a great singer and a guitarist, he was able to show an example of what he had in mind instead of just saying "Try something different". And also you can hear his (and Rolf Köhler's) incredible performance on the backing vocals!
Are there any plans for upcoming live shows and tours? Does the band have a lot of live experience? Also how difficult is it to play the songs live (especially keeping things like the chorus's in mind)?
There are some plans and whispers in the air, but nothing has been confirmed yet, so unfortunately I can't say anything yet, but keep yourselves updated on our website!!! We have played something like 20 shows with this line up, so I would say we have some experience. Of course there are things in the songs which are more difficult to do on the stage than in the studio. In our case especially the backing vocals are a bit challenging. But we have trained them a lot, and I think that we are able to make them sound great great and big also on stage when all three guitarists are shouting with red faces!!! ;) One thing we don't wanna do is to play along with the backing vocals coming from DAT or mini disc or whatever that kind of device. We wanna keep our live show totally LIVE!
In general what do you expect from the album and the future of the band?
Our expectations are on quite low level (when talking about the first album...). We know how hard it is to get yourself noticed from the pile of gazillions of albums! But of course it would be nice if the record would sell us a way to make a tour, and on one day, a chance to make a second album, too!
Any final words or thoughts you'd like to share with readers of this interview ?
All the best to you all, have a nice time waiting for the spring and summer (it's minus 23 Celsius degrees at the time here in Finland...) and KEEP UP ROCKIN'!!!!