Kiitos for letting us interview you. Let's begin with discovering a bit more about the band. How did everything start? What's the story of the band ?
Well, the band is a high school band. I started it when I was 14. I used to play classical piano at that time. I wasn't really very enthusiastic with that sort of music so it was great to find bands like Stratovarius, Dream Theater and all those other hard rock bands that were keyboard driven. So I started making my own music, starting right with my first compositions and because I went to music high school it was very easy to find young students who like to play music also and thus I formed the first version of Simulacrum. Our bass player Olli and my little brother Solomon, who plays guitar have been present right from the beginning and in summary that is how it all started =)
From where does your name come from ? How did you get the idea for it ?
I think I found the word Simulacrum for a first time in a Conan The Barbarian novel. I used to read fantasy and sci-fi novels at the time and the word Simulacrum popped up and I instantly thought it would make a cool name for a band. Not so sure anymore though is it such a good name since everybody asks me “so what's your band?” and when I say “it's Simulacrum” nobody ever remembers the name after that. You have to hear it at least 3 or 4 times before you can remember it but now we have already released two albums under the name Simulacrum so no point changing it anymore! :D
From where do you take your inspiration (for your music and lyrics) ? Are there any particular things that influence your music ?
Well, the lyrics are mostly by our singer Niklas and on “Sky Divided” they mostly dwell from our childhood inspirations like the “Fallout” game series, Mad Max and all the sci-fi classics that we used to read and the games we used to play. But who knows what the influence will be on the next album. They might be something very modern because we draw influence from all around us all the time.
Tell us more about your last album “Sky Divided”. What was the atmosphere you wanted to give on it ?
We wanted to do a sci-fi/space opera concept album that has one story that we follow from the beginning to the end influenced by all the stuff that was present when we were kids. I think we came out with a pretty cool story that has some nice twists and turns, but we wanted also that the music is good enough so that it stands out also on it's own. The musical influences are of course bands like Symphony X, Dream Theater and all the other progressive metal bands. Maybe the elements that separate our sound from their sound though is that most of the prog metal classics are written by guitarists, but because I am a keyboard player and main composer of Simulacrum I use different kind of harmonies than guitarists usually tend to use. This gives a fresh sound to a somewhat vintage genre.
About the album I say in review that “every song have their identity but with still totally feeling together exactly like each would be a chapter of the same book”. Was the album indeed written in that way ?
Yeah that's exactly what we wanted to achieve. Each song is a chapter in a book. That's very well said and we wanted the sounds, graphics, videos, lyrics and webpage all to feel like a part of a big entity, but in a manner that the separate tracks work on their own also.
« Sky Divided» is your 2nd album. Which evolution would you say that the band got since the release of the 1st album ?
So the first album was a bunch of songs that were written during a decade. The first song, the oldest song was “Battle Within” and I did that when I was 16 and the newest song was written in 2007 so, around eight years and eight songs on the first album. That it’s a really long time span and you can hear that “The Master and the Simulacrum” is not quite as balanced as the new album which was written in about two and a half years and also produced during that time. Because of this I think everything sounds much tighter, the production work is better, Niklas sings better and really I feel like we have progressed in every manner.
You are the composer of the band and your singer, Niklas is the lyricist. When you compose, is it depending of his lyrics or do the lyrics come after ? And do you compose with a theme in your head or do you go more for random ideas as they come?
Well on this album we did a synopsis of what happens in story and then I tried to compose songs that fit that synopsis. And then Niklas worked on the lyrics based on the synopsis that we had written together and the songs I had come up with. So basically we had a pretty good map to work with. The only song that came afterwards was Broken because after all the other songs were completed we still felt that we needed one more song between “Behind the Belt of Orion“ and “Embrace the Animal Within”. Broken was written right at the end just before the album came out and so that songs theme is a little bit separate from the main storyline. Niklas came up with the idea that it was about the alien homeworld and the lyrics describe the atmosphere of that plannet.
If you need to choose one song in all the songs you made, which one would it be and why ?
It has to be the last song on the album called “A New Beginning”. This epic fourteen minute song shows everything Simulacrum has to offer at this point in our carreer. I think it is one of the best songs we have written and even if it’s long, I think the whole song is very fluent. It has epic parts, lots of dynamics and everybody gets to do their own solos and shine on this song very well.
Some of the people who will read this interview don't know your music. What can you say for giving them desire to discover you ?
Well, we are a band that at the moment is maybe a little outdated. Everybody seems to be doing very modern progressive (djent) metal, more towards Tool and Meshuggah. We also like djent and math metal and our next album will have some elements of this but we still will always be more of a vintage prog metal band. I really hope that the youngsters who are now growing up with djent will also broaden their mind a little and listen to some of the progressive metal that we do, because it also has a lot to offer. But if you like bands like Symphony X and Dream Theater and actually any kind of artistic music then I recommend you taking a listen to our album.
If someone will come to see you live, what kind of show will he/she see ?
Well our live shows are nowadays pretty professional. You can see we’re having a good time, we are relaxed on stage and we have been playing so long together with each other that it’s very easy for us. We just try to have a really good time on stage and even if we play difficult music, we don’t just stand arround on stage but try to move a lot and it catches on to the audience also. So if you come to our show I’m sure you will have a very good time.
What are your plans for the future ?
I think the next step in our carreer would be to tour abroad. We’ve been speaking a lot about it with different parties but it’s expensive, it’s hard to arrange and many of the guys in our band have a day job so it’s all about scheduling. But a two week Scandinavian tour with maybe an addition of Holland, Denmark, Belgium and Germany would be really be cool to do. So that is the next step but we are now starting to also write material for our next album and hopefully we will get it out within about two years.
If you could recommend some Finnish artists to discover, who would they be ?
Hmmmm, Finnish artists... Amberian Dawn is very good. Then there is Lost Society who play thrash metal. Young guys that have a really really high energy level, but I think many people know them already. Acrually there comes heaps of good bands from Finland. Another band I play in is called Adamantra and they lean more towards Symphony X than Simulacrum. I think Adamantra's albums up to now have been very good and we’re also doing our third album at the moment. It should come out in the autumn or early 2017. What else... A band called Masterstroke were very good, we did a show with them a little while ago. Also names that come to mind are Burning Point, Arion, Constantine...
Thank you for giving us some of your time. Is there something you want to say to FI Musica's followers ?
In many of the interviews I have emphasised that I really hope people will go more to listen to live music. The trend seems to be that people cannot be bothered to go and listen to young, small bands and you have to be a big band before you get a decent audience. So I really hope that people will start enjoying live music and go on small musical adventures to the local pub and listen to what bands are playing there because you can really do some great finds and have some wonderful artsy moments.
(Interviewer : Isa )