Aurora KInterview by Lucifera Elena
AURORA K is a melodic hard rock band, founded in 1999. The band started as a trio but soon the line-up was completed with yet another female, singer Katriina. Nowadays though, Katriina and guitarist /songwriter Johnny A. are the only original members. If you have a feeling you've heard of this band before, it's no surprise, their lovely a medium tempo ballad,"Rosalie," hit #1 on the metal charts at mp3.com.
1. Your demo only had two songs but the music was very impressive. Is this some kind of magic that bands from Helsinki, Finland possess. Isn't this the home of the band HIM as well?
Katriina: In Helsinki there are many great bands besides HIM. The world only has noticed some of them.
Johnny: Thanks for your judgement, Lucifera. But you know what, all this talk about magic of Helsinki or Finland makes me somewhat worried. The more often I hear about it the more often I think of Seattle and similar phenomena. I wouldn’t like Aurora K to be part of any geography-based musical fad. The mightier the rise, the harder the fall… Please, put it on your introduction that we come from East-Ukraine or something like that. Hah hah!
2. Tell us who the current members of Aurora K are and how you decided on that name for the band.
Johnny: At moment Aurora K features Katriina – vocals, me – guitar, Suvi Salo – keyboards, VM – bass and Jocke Silberstein – drums. Even though, I really don’t know what Jocke’s “official status” is. I mean, he’s promised to play drums on our first album and is practising with us tightly these days. But, we haven’t talked about his membership. Especially, because we are likely to use also other drummers on our future gigs ‘cause Jocke is too busy to play them all.
The story behind the name of band is such that a few years ago I read an interested biography of a Finnish Noble Lady called Aurora Karamzin and somewhat later figured out that AURORA would make a cool band name, referring not only to this extraordinary beautiful and mysterious lady but also to the phenomenon of aurora borealis and the Goddess of the Dawn. Later on we added the letter K to separate us from many other Aurora named bands and artists.
3. Could you describe the concept behind the two songs on your album? What inspired them?
Katriina: They were the most interesting songs we had at the moment. I didn’t want to record any other songs.
Johnny: I don’t know if there is any pre-planned concept there. But, I would say that the overall vibe of the single is darkness and melancholia driven. I don’t like (to play) happy songs.
4. How does it feel to have been voted #1 on mp3.com?
Katriina: It was cool but nothing earthshaking. Now we just have to look forward.
5. How come "Rosalie" wasn't included on your two song demo?
Katriina: We didn’t want to do it again ‘cause it was on our first demo already. Now it’s great to put it onto the coming album.
6. The single 11th Hour is also on video. Who recorded your video? And how did you decide what you wanted to do for the video? Tell us the story behind that.
Johnny: It was directed by a guy called Tuomo Hyytiälä who, by the way, has just expressed his willingness to direct also our second video. The theme of the video was born under pressure of a tight schedule. Basically, we (or mostly me) just met with Tuomo many times beforehand and on those occasions we speculated with different ideas for the plot, song and location. However, the final storyline was written by Tuomo alone. And, I think it was crucial because that way Tuomo really felt that it was his thing, his project. And hence, there seemed to be no limit as to his devotion of getting us a superb video. But, the whole video team was also great and we owe them a lot.
7. What bands and singers do the members of Aurora K enjoy? Who are your influences?
Katriina: Progidy, James Brown, Madonna, (earlier years), some R&B singers, hip hop music, drum & bass music….
Johnny: I listen to all kind of music. Basically, all older metal and hard rock is fine, excluding trash, death and similar metal. I love to listen to guitar instrumentalists like Vinnie Moore, Greg Howe, Satriani and other greats. From the pop side I really dig Gloria Estefan, early Madonna, Billy Idol sometimes. As far as the rest of the band is considered, I know that VM and Jocke also listen to almost anything. And, unlike me - heh heh -, they also seem to like many modern rock / metal acts. Suvi, on top of her classical “perversions”, for sure likes Jack Wilde’s Black Label Society and many other hard rock greats.
8.What are the future plans of Aurora K? When will you have a full-lenght album?
Katriina: Going on day by day. The album will out in about half a year. Looking forward to it.
Johnny: We’ll probably start recording the album in about a month or so, but then it could also take (lot) longer that than as well… On top of the album, we’re planning to shoot our next video in the “near future,” probably in June.
9. Do you feel that there is a balance between men and women in the metal scene now as compared to the 80's? Are women being taken more seriously as musicians?
Katriina: I don’t care what happened in the 80s. There are now-a-days great metal bands fronted by both men and women.
Johnny: I do mind what happened in the 80s. It could be true that women of metal were undervalued back then especially ‘cause there wasn’t too many of them around. But, I would guess that real talents like Lita Ford were taken seriously by the vast majority of metal fanatics.
10. This is the first time I hear about Soundmen Records. Is this your label and if not who are they and how did you become involved with them?
Johnny: Soundmen is something special. It’s a small Finnish label owned by two music fanatics. I’m personally involved with the label in many ways. Our deal with them is more like a promotional one simply because of the limited resources. A couple years ago we played on a club event organised by these guys and ever since Soundmen has been strongly connected with our band.
11. I found Katriina's vocals to be "nasal" for lack of a better description. What other ways have Katriina's vocals been described? How do you feel about my description? :)
Katriina: I know my voice is “nasal”. Your description is ok.
Johnny: Is it really nasal!? Oh, my God! I’ve got a nasal-voiced singer!
12. Who writes all the music?
Johnny: If you’ve got something positive, then it’s me; if negative, then I’ve got no idea… Heh hee!
13. What do the members do for fun on their spare time? What is the music scene like in Helsinki? Is there something you wish were different in Helsinki's music scene?
Katriina: I don’t care to hang around in Helsinki ‘cause I live elsewhere. I love to party and dance when I’m in the mood to have fun.
Johnny: I try to exercise some sports regularly. Even though I live here, I don’t really know too much about the music scene in Helsinki. I go out to see bands very seldom. But, there seems to quite enough of clubs and restaurants with live music, and bands! Maybe too many bands.
14. A lot of musicians have complaints about the music industry? What would you like to see changed?
Katriina: That they would also notice us small ones. There are great bands and singers who never will make a breakthrough.
Johnny: I think many music industry players make too many assumptions about what people (or the “average listener”) wanna hear. I guess even The Beatles would go unnoticed from these guys ‘cause they “are not looking for that kind of a group at the moment.”
15. You've played shows in your area? What is one of your live shows like? What bands did you play with and whom would you love to tour with?
Katriina: I hope our shows would be full of energy and fun. That everyone would dance themselves to death! I don’t care about anything else. I wish there’d be a tour bus! A big one.
Johnny: So far, we’ve mostly played alone. But, there have also been many gigs with local known and unknown heroes. I would be happy to join the tour wagon of almost any medium- / big-size internationally acknowledged hard rock act. Deep Purple, King’s X, KISS or something like that would be really cool.
16. Who is Andy here in the US? What kind of merchandise does the band have that my readers can obtain?
Johnny: Andy is our lonely cowboy based in LA, California. He’s an American, long time friend whose been doing us little favors whenever we’ve needed such. Unfortunately, our merchandise offering sucks. We’ve been talking many times about getting at least T-shirts and postcards but then postponed it until “the days of glory.” Maybe when the album is out we finally should start cashing in… Hah hah! Anyway, when the AK T-shirts become available on top of some basic model with only printed text I want us to have also a model with a really cool picture on it. I’m still waiting for the inspiration for this “supernatural image”…
17. Any last words?
Katriina: World is a dark place.
Johnny: And, lovely cold, as well. Thanks Lucifera!