INTERVIEW – MATIAS KUPIAINEN, STRATOVARIUSNov 29th, 2010 | By Robert Tenold | Category: Intervjuer
Den relativt nye gitaristen, Matias Kupiainen har i tillegg til Elysium, lagt fotspor på Polarisalbumet fra 2009 som landet på 2.plass på den finske billboardlisten. Jeg tok en prat med Matias om den nye platen og om hva vi kan forvente oss.
So Matias, you’ve been in the band for about two years now. How has the journey been so far?
So far so good. The guys have been very mellow and very nice to work with, so absolutely no reason to complain.
And with Timmo Tolki being in the band for such a long time, how was it to fill those shoes? Did you feel any pressure?: In the beginning of course. I felt a lot of stress and pressure when we first started rehearse the old songs, and at the beginning of the Polaris tour. But now its piece of cake, it’s easy. We’ve now done two records together and proved that we still can compose great songs, so it’s all good.
So how was it to enter the studio for the first time?: Well you have to remember, when we first started to record the Polaris album we had no material at all to work with, and I had just began to play with Stratovarius , so we were basically just a bunch of guys putting some music to the table to see if there was something to make an album out of. The results of that later became the Polaris album, which was that kind of album we were able to do at those circumstances. But now the new album is coming out soon, which I think is much much better.
Yeah, about that new album, what can we expect? And What makes it different from the other albums? – Well now we had so much more material to work with. We had almost 18 tracks composed and did a whole lot more rehearsals before the recording sessions began. You certainly get a feel that this is an album we have put much more work into. So more time together as a band and more time in the studio is obviously one of the key ingredients.
On the new album, Elysium, do you have any favorite tracks? : Hmm, I don’t know. I think it’s was a couple of weeks ago, I was still sitting in the studio mastering and mixing the final bits of the album, so at this point it’s very hard for me to say. If you ask me that question in a year or so I can answer you, but it’s all been so fucking hectic lately, so I haven’t had that much time to think about it.
I see, no doubt about that – But I see that you’ve written the title track for the album which lasts for about 18 minutes. How do you write and record a song like that? : Well, the song itself took me about a 8 months to write. The whole writing process happened while we were on tour, so it took a little more time that planned. But after that we recorded a demo, and then a second demo, haha, and then we just went in the studio and recorded it like any other track. We are machines!
You surtenly did a lot of writing on the new album, how do you approach the songwriting?
Well, I don’t know actually, hard to say. Of course when you have cool riffs or melodies in your head you try to write it down so it will, in the end, develop into real music. But I prefer to maybe get hold of a singable melody first, and THEN put some riffs together and work my way from there. But I’m not that kind of guy that comes up with a couple of chords and has a song ready in ten minutes, It takes usually a few days, weeks or even months.
And when it comes to lyrics? : That’s hard to say. Sometimes ideas pops out from nowhere when we are out on tour traveling. So I tend to write about things that I see or experience. Everything makes an impact in some way, so that makes the writing process much easier.
The new album Elysium has an absolutely awesome cover. Is it a story behind it, or is it just, you know, a cover? : Yeah, isn’t it? It’s done by an Hungarian artist called Gyula Havancsá. I really really like it. He’s done the EP as well, but no, there is no story behind it sorry.
When it comes to guitars and equipment, what kind of amps, guitars and effects do you use today in the studio?
Hmm, we did use a lot of the Pro Tools stuff, but afterwards we did some preamping with a ENGL Fireball heads and some vintage celestion 30’s which is like a basic Marshall 1968 cabinet. Other stuff we used was a lot of different Marshalls, like JMP’s from the late 70’s or early 80’s, some JCM 800’s, for clean parts we used a VOX AC30 Combo. Some tubescreamers, Sonic Maximizer, gates and a Wah Wah of course.
A whole lot of gear in other words he he. Do you try to minimalize your live rig when you’re out on tour? Yeah, but not so easy always. I use a ENGL B60 full stack with two heads(Fireball/Powerball) with goes through this small rack which contains a ENGL E-530 tube preamp, the wireless system and a Rockman MIDI Octopus. On the floor I use a Wah-Wah and volume pedals and a TC Electric Nova System to control the rig.
Since Im a guitarist myself, I couldn’t help notice you guitarstyle while seeing you guys live at Rockefeller, Oslo last time, You seem like a quite disciplined and accurate guitarplayer. How has your style and sound evolved over the years?
That’s hard to say, but I’ve played a lot of classical music for many years, since I was 5 years old or something, which definitely has impacted my style. My roots sticks pretty deep into the whole classical genre. Technicalwise I’ve always admired people like Al Di Meola and Eric Johnson. They have very good accuracy and technique in general.
I was going to ask you that Matias, who your favorite guitarplayers are. Any you like to add to the ones you mentioned above?
In addition to Al Di Meola and Eric Johnson? Well of course the whole progressiverock genre has influenced me a lot. Guitarists like John Petrucci from Dream Theatre and Michael Romeo from Symphony-X.
Yeah, that Michael Romeo guy ain’t that bad he he:
No, I’ve could kill myself to play like him, but then I wouldn’t be able to play anyway so, HAHA.But he’s fuckin’ amazing.
But you know, playing in a band like Stratovarius, it is really a great achievement. And for all of us who’s still pursuing a career as a guitarist in a band like that, can you please tell us your secret?
HAHAHA, well I really don’t know. Maybe you can tell me. Keep practicing and work hard on your playing. The reason why I got to join the band, was because Timmo came by my studio on day and asked me if I wanted to play with the band. I was like “What the fuck? Yeah, let’s go for it man” and the rest is history you know.
Thank you so much for you time Matias, I’m really looking forward to see you guys in Oslo. Now GetMetal would like to send all the best wishes to Jörg Michael – A drummer of that caliber can beat any decease on the face of this earth!
No Worries, see you at Rockefeller – And I will tell Jörg that. Thank you so much for the support.