Battle Beast (Anton Kabanen, Noora Louhimo)

We've caught up via email with guitarist Anton (and singer Noora for a couple of questions too) in order to unveil some more information about their latest release and the future plans of the Finnish six-piece. Enjoy!

Article by Chiara Frizza - Publish on: 30/05/13

Hi guys! How are you doing? First of all, congrats for your fresh release. What can you tell us about this new album?


Hey, we're fine thanks! We're happy with the album and it was one step forward for us again. We can't wait to play those songs live on tour!


You worked on the recording, production and mixing yourselves. Was it an easy process? Have you tried this before or was it a new experience?


To be honest it was a nightmare, at least for me. I was the main producer and I have never produced or mixed an album before so there were many things which I had to learn in the process, so did Janne, who was the co-producer. But it had to be done because the third album will then be easier to make. That way we won't repeat the same big mistakes which we did this time. And the fact that our previous singer left the band in the middle of the recording sessions didn't make our job any easier.


What are the biggest differences between "Steel" and "Battle Beast"? What's new in the latest release?


On the new album we have a new singer, Noora Louhimo, and the production is simply better. The songs are very similar in my opinion. Straightforward, catchy and powerful. We had an outside producer on the first album but weren't happy with it at all so this time we fixed that mistake, even though we still haven't found our own sound production-wise but still the new album is closer to what we want us to sound like.


Are you getting a positive feedback about "Battle Beast" from fans, critics and so on? Is it what you expected or did you have different goals in mind?


Absolutely. Everyone is telling that they like this new album more than the first one and it's no surprise. As the band's songwriter I have always had a clear vision of how I want my compositions to sound like and when I listened to the first album I knew that the songs were ruined. I don't want to sound too self-confident but that's how I feel about it. The goal was to make the new album better than the first one. We succeeded in that.


Your music is influenced by "classical" heavy metal like Judas Priest or Manowar but there are also some unordinary elements in it (I'm thinking about "Golden Age" or "Neuromancer", for example.) what is the key to this mix? Where do you get inspiration from?


For me keyboards and orchestrations have been normal elements in songwriting since I started writing music. I've done countless demos like "Golden Age" but there's simply not enough room for all the songs to be on one album. So we have to decide what kind of an album we want. It just felt right to finally add some of the elements I'm comfortable with as a songwriter. The inspiration comes from anywhere. Movies, soundtracks, books, cartoons, 80's and 90's videogames, fictional and real-life characters, history, life, world, any music that's good and etc. And of course I love bands like Judas Priest, W.A.S.P. and Manowar.


Most of the songs on the record sound like pretty good live material, with big, arena-like choruses. Have your recent tour experiences influenced you while writing this record, did you mean to make it sound like this or was it just a lucky coincidence?


Like I said, I have always had this side of me as a songwriter who writes different type of music so our tours didn't really have an effect on the songs. Actually the songs we're already written before the tours.


Talking about touring... last year you warmed up for Nightwish and Sonata Arctica as well. How did you get to work with these bands, did you guys knew each other personally already? Anything worth sharing about these tour experiences?


No, we didn't know the bands personally. We were asked to join the Nightwish tour which was an incredible honour. At first I thought it was a joke or something. Luckily I was wrong and it was the real deal. Sonata tour was recommended for us by the label and management and we didn't hesitate a second to agree. Both tours went great and the chemistry between the bands was great as well. They are all good guys and we had a lot of fun. For the most curious ones I suggest you to go to YouTube and check out our three part Battle Beast tour blog. There you'll have a glimpse of what it was like on the road with Nightwish.


battlebeast_intervista_2013_02Nitte left the band in August 2012 and it didn't take you long before you could be back on track with Noora. Was it easy to get her into the band or was the singer-hunt harder than it seemed?


It was a stroke of luck that we found Noora only after a month of singer search. And luckily she was very happy to join the band. We had a short phone conversation where I introduced myself and let her know what I want and what we're offering her. The next morning she calls me back and before we knew she was already in the studio and on a tour with us. The whole band's chemistry got better when Noora joined us. She is also more motivated than Nitte and working with her is more professional and less dramatic.


Did Noora bring something new to your sound?


Definitely. She's a versatile singer and she surprised me many times in the studio by what she can do with her voice. I have to say that I really love those metal screams she pulls off, for instance, in "Over The Top". And her softer voice is very beautiful so we wanted to use that too, in such songs as "Black Ninja" and "Out Of Control".


We have three questions for your singer as well. Noora, your singing style is pretty different from the majority of other women singing in metal bands. Have you always sang like this or did you got into this style later on?


I got the rasp in my voice about 3-4 years ago while singing lots of Janis Joplin and the power in my voice has developed during the years I've been singing since I was 4 years old. The style I'm doing in Battle Beast came when got in the band.


Does it take extra care for your voice?


Of course I need to take care of my voice by doing some secret "magic tricks"!


How does it feel to work 24/7 in a men's band?


I love it. Always been working mostly with guys in music business so it's very natural for me. Actually don't feel like being in a men's band: it's Battle Beast


In the last 15 years, Finland has given birth to many metal bands. Do you find it hard to share the spotlight with so many other artists?


To be honest, traditional Heavy Metal isn't the most popular thing here so I don't think that the fans of many other popular Finnish metal bands would necessary even come to our show. I could be wrong. But anyway, in that sense it's hard to stay on the surface but nevertheless things are going better for us now than before! The bands here support each other which is cool.


Any plans to sing or write songs in Finnish as other Finnish bands often do?


Well, I have a song in Finnish that's half-ready but I don't feel like it's gonna be finished or recorded for a long time. Gotta wait for the right time and the feeling to do that.


You already have some live shows planned. Is a headliner tour coming up soon?


Would be super awesome to do our first headliner tour after the Powerwolf's Wolfnächste 2013 tour. Maybe next year it will be possible. We love the life on the road so be it a support or a headliner tour, this is what we want to do!


You played twice in Italy already. Did you receive a warm welcome? Any chances to see you in Italy again during 2013?


We're hoping to return to Italy as soon as possible. But probably not until 2014. Yeah, I remember our previous gigs there and the response of the audience was absolutely superb! It feels great to perform to people who enjoy our shows to the full and aren't afraid to show it. That's what it's all about, having a good time together!


This was it, thank you for the time you took for answering these questions. If there's something you want to add for your fans or whatever, now's the time!


Many thanks for reading this. I hope you buy our new album "Battle Beast" and tell your friends about it too. It's a winner! Trust me. Till next time! Take care.

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