(L to R) Janne “Gekko” Granfors (B), Krister Stenbom (Vo), Jori Tojander (Key), Risto Tuominen (G) and Tuomas Pelli (Ds).
***Questions were sent to the band before ANDERSTEIN MUSIC announced that they closed their business***
Rue: WAKE THE NATIONS have released the 2nd album “HEARTROCK” in Japan as the band’s debut in Japanese market. Congratulations. Would you let us know each member of the band? Japanese fans say “The band is absolutely a good one as some of them are from HUMAN TEMPLE.”
WAKE THE NATIONS (WTN): The members are:
Risto Tuominen (HUMAN TEMPLE) – guitars
Jori “Jorge” Tojander (ex-HUMAN TEMPLE) – keys
Janne “Gekko” Granfors (ex-HUMAN TEMPLE) – bass
Krister “Papa Smurf” Stenbom – vocals
Tuomas Pelli – drums
Greetings to HUMAN TEMPLE fans in Japan!
Rue: It took some years to release “HEARTROCK” after you guys released the 1st album “SIGN OF HEART”, what did you guys do then?
WTN: Actually, we started to write new songs quite soon after the release of “SIGN OF HEART”, but at the same time we were touring as well. We were contacted by the producer of RECKLESS LOVE and we started by recording three songs under his guidance. We found the perfect composition with regards to sound and harmonies and followed his advice also as we recorded all the other 8 songs. This time we wanted the album to sound classy and fresh, with lots of catchy melodies.
Rue: “HEARTROCK” has got a lot of good reviews and responses from fans of melodic HR and AOR in Japan, Did you hear about that?
WTN: Yes we did! And that is super awesome! Hopefully we’ll someday have a chance to perform in Japan. That would be our dream come true.
Rue: Would you let us know each track of “HEARTROCK”?
WTN: We don’t quite know what you want to know about the tracks, but if we sum it up all in one sentence, all the songs are telling some sort of story about High’s and low’s of different situations of life. Heart Rocks up and down when you’re happy or sad, etc.
01. No Mercy
02. Tattooed Girl
03. Midnight Lovers
04. All My Life
05. Fallen Angel
06. Now You’re Gone
07. New Day
09. Something In Your Eyes
11. This Is Over
12. Real-life Superhero
Rue: The previous album had another singers, and it made the album sound like a project band. This album has got tracks much improved compared to the previous one. Did you try anything new when you guys composed?
WTN: Firstly, we got help from top song writers like Sören Kronqvist and Thomas Vikström, to name a few. Risto experimented quite much with synth sounds and arrangements. That gave the songs another dimension. Of course the producer influenced a lot and the final touch was different this time since Erik Mårtensson mixed and mastered the whole album like nobody else.
Rue: How did you have tracks from Thomas Vikström for THERION, Ilkka Wirtanen for THE NIGHTS, Sören Kronqvist who ever wrote for ONE DESIRE, FIND ME? And how did you like to work with Erik Mårtensson for ECLIPSE / AMMUNITION for mixing and mastering?
WTN: We got Thomas and Sören onboard because Risto had been in contact with them before via social media. Ilkka contacted us and asked if we needed any help. Erik was asked if he would like to mix our album and we met him here in Finland when ECLIPSE was opening for SCORPIONS. We all love Erik’s songwriting skills and the sound of ECLIPSE.
Rue: On this album you guys had guest musicians again. You guys wanted to have something different from the previous album? Was there any musician who got you impressed?
WTN: We wanted the album to be diverse in many perspectives and thus we invited some friends to play and sing on the album. Every musician succeeded greatly in their roles and oh dear, we were impressed of them all!
Rue: On the promotional video of “Tattooed Girl” You guys were actors. What did you think when you joined the video shooting?
WTN: Basically the video shoot was all about having fun! But the story behind the video was inspired by life of the main actress, Sini. The song is about her and it was kind of natural to have her featuring the video. But as we needed more actors, we did not look any further…
Rue: For a bonus track in Japan “Real-Life Superhero” which was released as a solo material of Risto last year is on Japanese release, would you talk about it? His kids on the promotional video are very cute.
WTN: The song suited the other songs of the album well and it was one of the band’s favorites, so we decided to re-recorded it and get it on the Japanese version.
Rue: We heard you guys had a release party and did a gig in Helsinki in February 2019. Would you let us know how it was?
WTN: Yes, we did celebrate the release in Helsinki by playing new songs and couple of old ones. We had great time with our fans and friends. Timo Pelander was playing with us and it is always a pleasure to share the stage with so talented guitar player like him. Now we are eager to have more gigs!
Rue: Is there any plan to tour later on? Outside Finland you guys ever did gigs in Germany. We hope to see your gigs in Japan.
WTN: There are a couple of gigs booked, but all of them are in Finland. We plan to visit Germany again – we have toured there 4 times before. But as said, we are dreaming of performing in Japan. We are seeking for booking agents in Japan.
Rue: What do you think about the market of HM/HR in Finland? In Japan fans think there are many bands in Finland and your country is a dream place for metalheads and introduced like everything is there from traditional HR to death metal, black metal.
WTN: Even though there are a great amount of metal bands in Finland, the market is somewhat narrow. Finnish language and pop music are mainstream now but it seems like heavy metal is rising again, like BEAST IN BLACK and CHILDREN OF BODOM show. In other words, there are some hope left for heavier rock music!
Rue: Krister, we heard you have come to Japan for a private trip last year. Which cities did you visit? What do you think about Japan?
Krister: Yes, that is true. I have visited your beautiful country several times in the past and absolutely love everything about it. Last year I was in Tokyo but I have been to Osaka and Kobe as well. Like said, I love Japan, people are friendly, food is absolute magic and I have always felt like being in my second home!
Rue: Would you give your messages to your fans in Japan? Kiitos!
WTN: We heard that you are many! Let’s hope we can play for you sometime soon. Let’s spread the word and try to organize a gig! Thanks a lot for listening to our music and have a nice spring time, heartrockers!
Greetings from Finland
Tuomas, Jorge, Risto, Gekko and Krister
HEARTROCK (AOR HEAVEN / ANDERSTEIN MUSIC, 2019)
SIGN OF HEART (INVERSE RECORDS, 2015)
WAKE THE NATIONS Official FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/WakeTheNations/