Interviews Music

Interview with Marko Atso of Metsatöll

If there is an Estonian metal band that has been able to break through internationally (and singing in Estonian), that is Metsatöll – an ancient Estonian word used as an euphemism for “wolf”-. And if there is an Estonian metal band linked to Finland nowadays, that is Metsatöll too, after having signed with Finnish record label Spinefarm (the most important metal label in Finland, a name behind the success of Finnish bands like Nightwish, Sonata Arctica or Chldren of Bodom) and scheduling to record their next album at the legendary Finnbox studios.

Metsatöll is probably living their most exciting time after their formation, bringing their folk metal to the masses all over Europe in a tour together with Finnish Ensiferum and Tracedawn. Their drummer, Marko Atso, had time to answer a few questions of what is going on for the most international Estonian band nowadays.

Please Marko, tell us a bit about your beginnings in the music. How and when did you start to play drums?

I started taking music lessons in 1979, at that time I was singing in choir. At the age of nine, piano and block flute lessons accessed. I started being “metalhead” at the age of 11, when I saw the Kiss´ song “Tears are falling” from the Finnish TV-show Hittimittari. I started to play drums in 1989, when I was 16 years old. The band was called Aggressor.

Jani Penttinen

When you were a child, it was still in the Soviet Union times. Did you have access to hard rock and heavy metal, or what music do you remember to listen firstly? How and with what bands did you start to listen to metal?

In the Soviet Union there were no people, who had access to hard rock and heavy metal until the year 1983 because all the recordings which had that kind of music on them were broken on the border by its workers. Photos of Twisted Sister, Iron Maiden, Ozzy Osbourne were photographed from the magazine Suosikki and were sold with very high prices. Cassettes with bad quality, brought in illegally by Finnish friends, were handed to each other. A thick book could be written about those times. And I believe that people, who have lived only outside of the Soviet Union, would not believe the stories in it. Firstly I listened to Ozzy Osbourne, Metallica, DIO and Iron Maiden, basically in 1984.

You joined Metsatöll in 2004. Did you know the other guys beforehand? How was the process and your first impressions of playing together just after joining?

I knew Kuriraivo before, because I had played with him in another project for a  year. I got in Metsatöll by accident. They were going to give a concert in two weeks at Tavastia and had no drummer, so they asked me and I had to learn all songs in two weeks and had no time to get any impression about the band. But I have to confess, that those songs seemed to be absolutely absurd at first, because I had never played or heard songs with such a structure before.

I have read that you build yourselves in the band many of the instruments you use. Do you copy old designs, or do you create new modified ones? I see that in Estonia most of the guys enjoy as hobby doing reparation and “remont” work. Are you also the kind of guy who is on Sunday morning fixing things at home?

I haven’t done any drums, but I have built myself an apartment and a house. Lauri does most of his instruments by himself. At the very moment we have electrician, builder, IT-specialist and also a teacher in the band.  I do not like fixing things, I construct them, and usually those things remain for many years.

Do you have difficulties to combine your job and other activities with playing in Metsatöll?

We have no difficulties with combining our jobs and other activities, because Metsatöll is our activity no. 1 and other things come after that. First things first!

“We have many good bands and musicians in Estonia. They just need more stimulus”

The economical crisis is hitting hard everywhere, but as far as I see, especially in Estonia, where many construction workers do not find anything, etc. Do you notice it in your everyday life?

Yes, I do. But what does not kill us, makes us stronger. People who have lived in Soviet Union are used to more awful things.

You have recently signed with Finnish record label Spinefarm. How is the cooperation so far? Do you think that this will improve the international promotion of the band?

Cooperation is very “chill” and pleasant, we feel like being children who have just reached home. It stands to reason that this contract has its influence on the international promotion.  We have done it by ourselves so far, now we can just do good music.

You are quite a well known band also in Finland. Do you notice any difference in the audience when playing there compared to Estonia?

Yes, you could see more tattoos and body piercing among Finnish audience.


What other Estonian bands (metal or other style) would you recommend to a foreign listener who wants to discover more about Estonian music?

I would recommend from the metal style Horricane and Loits, industrial No-Big-Silence and Pedigree and for those who like progressive music, Contus Firmus.

How do you see the Estonian metal scene nowadays in general? Do you think that has a good health in the number of bands and venues to play?

We have many good bands and musicians in Estonia, who need more stimulus and feeling that they are necessary to somebody. Of course, some of them are too lazy to achieve something.

I see that you have a busy summer ahead, touring around Europe (including 4 gigs at my native country Spain). Is there any particular country/city you are looking forward to visit?

No, there isn’t. I am just looking forward to the European tour. Driving around Europe in tourbus has been our dream for 10 years already.

Anything you want to add for the readers?

We will start recording our 4th album in the end of July at Finnbox. This is going to be a very interesting one. You should also check our website


“Q&A with Marko Atso

Favourite band ever?

Celtic Frost

Best memory of a concert you have played?

Warming up Metallica with band No-Big-Silence in 1999 and Motörhead in 1995, also a concert with Metsatöll in Tuska Festival in 2006

And best concert you have seen as spectator?

Celtic Frost, Tavastia club 2007

What is the craziest thing that you have seen happening backstage?

We played on Rock Summer festival in 1994 and after that, bands Korrozia Metalla and Napalm Death, who were going to play on the same stage, clashed. 15 people took part in the fight and it was quite a serious one.

Who drinks more, Estonian or Finnish bands?

In my opinion both drinks a lot, but Finnish are better musicians. I can say this, because I have been sober for seven years after being professional alcoholic. Usually all alcoholics are good persons.

What would be the first word or sentence in Estonian that you would teach to a foreigner?

It depends on how old and what kind of outlook he/she has ;)

Cinema DVD

Streets of Blood

Drugs, gangsters, killing, corrupted police… does it sound familiar?

Most of the critics I read in Internet said that this movie sucks. And this time… they are right. I find no reason why a movie like this has to be made, unless the twisted mind of the director, Charles Winkler, finds a secret pleasure in making spectators waste their time. The plot is just ridiculous, cliché after cliché; it just seems like a parody of the police drama genre with some gratuity in sex scenes to try to spice up a dead product. Val Kilmer looks totally out of shape here, both physically and about his acting skills and presence. It would not really be a guy I would like to use as a wingman flying a combat aircraft anymore.

Sharon Stone

The appearance of Sharon Stone does not add anything at all to the movie, a role that could be made by any other actress for probably 5 times less salary (and this time she does not even need to perform any high voltage erotic scene). The saddest thing is that 50 cent turns to be like maybe the best actor in the movie… that does not say much about their partners in the cast. 

Resuming, Streets of Blood is a totally forgivable movie. The style is shot is totally annoying for the spectator. I wonder if there is still talent left in Hollywood. Probably with the money spent in this dreadful movie, twenty wonderful independent movies could have been born. This is the MTV culture, where only pretty boys and girls and lacks of brain seem to dominate… 

Rating 1/5

The best: that in the end you can watch it like if it would be a parody instead of a real drama.

The worst: Direction and script are awful.

The detail: Do not even expect to admire the mature but still sexy anatomy of Sharon Stone.

Albums Music

Madcon – So Dark The Con Of Man

The Norwegian duo has been able to make it through the world with their newest album full of danceable tracks!

First time I head the single Beggin' , I thought I was listening to Outkast. Although they affirm that their style is totally different, it is true there is a big resemblance in some of the songs, that wisely know how to mix hip hop and funky to create perfect hits to move your hips in the disco.


But it is also true that Madcon has a big variety of registers to offer, with songs sounding different. That is pretty noticeable in the collaborations, like in the fourth track Hard To Read with Noora or in The Way We Do Thangs with Timbuktu.

Honestly, when I just watched the cover of the CD first time, I though I was going to encounter another boring album of rap with people trying to be cooler than life. But I was happily surprised by Madcon. They transmit a good vibe to put you in the right healthy party mood. A notable effort by the Norwegians, that know how to mix the good Scandinavian way of working with the relaxation and cheerfulness of their African roots.

Rating 4/5

Interviews Music

Interview with Ari Koivunen and Ben Varon of Amoral

{mosimage}If there has been a piece of news that shocked the foundations of Finnish metal scene during the last months, it was the union of Ari Koivunen, ex former winner at the Finnish TV show Idols, with Amoral. Many old fans saw this as a deception, but for many others, this is a clever step that can open many more international borders to the Finnish metal heads. FREE! Magazine had the chance to make an interview in English with Ari himself and Ben Varon, guitar player of the band. Do not miss it, because these guys do not hold their tongues with any kind of question!

Thanks for your time guys. You have a new album released this summer, Show Your Colors. What can you tell about it for a person who a virtual fan who would still not have listened to any track from it?

Ben: Hard rockin´ & fast lovin' melodic, groovy metal with a huge dose of rock n' roll, big choruses and catchy tunes. If you're a metal head, this album could get you into rock music, and vice versa.

Ari: Ben said just about all. I think it's a good mixture of technical metal riffs and hard rock vibes with a huge melodic edge.

Jani Penttinen

Niko leaving the band has been an important turning point. Was it a shared decision between him and the band, or what were the reasons behind it?

B: It was 100% Niko's decision, and the news was as much of a surprise to us as it was for our fans. Apparently he just wasn't feeling the burn anymore, wasn't willing to commit to the band as much as necessary and didn't like the hectic pace we were used to. So we think he did the right thing by stepping out and letting us continue with full force.

Everybody in Finland knew Ari from Idols, but how the idea of joining forces took place? Did the members of Amoral and Ari know each other beforehand?

B: we knew each other a little bit, Ari had been to some of our shows, and we'd end up at some after parties together. So we knew he was a cool guy. Ari had heard about Niko's leaving, and offered to try out for the job. We didn't think he was serious first, but he kept reminding me to give him the audition. So we did. And it went good!

A: Yeah, I've been a fan of Amoral for several years so even to go and auditioning with the guys was cool. I've been a fan of death/thrash metal since I was about 7 years old so that is always close to my heart even I enjoy older hard rock and melodic metal as well.

It has been a challenging and risky decision. I suppose from one hand, for many old fans of Amoral, this change could have been too drastic. And Ari had already 2 albums in his solo career. What were the main positive points you saw for starting this new period together in Amoral?

B: Well, the minute we understood that our time with Niko was over, we decided we'll switch the vocal style to clean, at least for the most part. We found just growling to be restricting, especially as the whole band is big fan of melodic rock and metal. So after the shock and sadness of Niko leaving had passed, we were more than excited to start a whole new chapter in our book. We knew for sure that the new style – and especially getting Ari in the band – will piss off a lot of old fans, but then again, we've never planned our moves according to other people before, and weren't about to start now. We're just glad to see a lot of the old fans appreciating this new direction too, and respecting us for doing things our way.

A: I guess the talent of song writing in this band is just getting better and better when Ben and Silver doesn't have to do all the melodic parts with guitars, but focus on the brilliant riffs they do. With growling vocals only good riffs just aren't enough and you need to fill the whole song with guitar melodies to make it interesting and get it to carry till the end. With melodic singing there are three melodic instruments in the band and I guess it also gives a new kick to compose new stuff.

Pekka Johansson on the bass is also a new face in the band. How has the work together and the adaption for him gone so far?

B: It's been smooth sailing with Pexi, all the way. We knew we had our guy when he showed up for the audition. He had just the right rock n roll attitude we were looking for, as well as being a good player and having an awesome stage presence. It feels like he was with us from the beginning.

With so many new and veteran metal bands in Finland, what does a band need to head up, outside of the general bunch of bands? Is having talent the only key? Good contacts? Good record company and managers?

B: It's a combination of talent, song writing, good contacts and a lot of luck. If you have killer songs, play stellar gigs around town and are active with your webpage etc, you just might to get noticed by the right people. No-one's going to come asking for you from your basement…

A: One big thing is to be original and have a sound of your own. In my opinion the biggest thing in common with big metal bands is knowable singing sound or guitar sound. I mean, think about Metallica without James Hetfield's sound or Megadeth without Mustaine's and this list is at least as long as Meshuggah's


Finns have (a well deserved) fame of being shy. For Ari, getting to be known publicly so quickly in the last years, how has affected your life? Do you enjoy being recognized in the streets, or you prefer to disguise yourself in the crowds?

A: Well, I like to be just a human being like I am so disguise in crowd for sure. I've actually never been a fan of being a "celebrity" and I really don't want to be one. I just love doing and performing music but in my personal life I enjoy peace and all kinds of hobbies…

“The songwriting in this band is getting better” (Ari)

And now, for the other members of Amoral, does it suppose any kind of problem that maybe the media and fan attention is more diverted to the vocalist, or is something you do not give importance?

B: well, we do get the occasional mention in some yellow press that we could happily live without, but other than that it's no biggie. The frontman is supposed to get the lion’s share of the attention anyway, as the voice and the face of the group. As long as there's no Lead Singer Disease noticeable, we're all good, hahaha.

You seem to have a busy schedule for the rest of 2009 with the European Tour. Is there any country or venue that you are especially looking forward to playing in?

B: Z7 in Pratteln, Switzerland is always a treat, with its huge stage, amazing food and, most importantly, a washing machine! Country wise, I'm really looking forward to Greece and Bulgaria, as we've never been to those countries before.

A: This is my first European tour so I'm looking forward to see every venue and every country! There's over 10 countries I've never been to.

Anything else you want to add for the readers?

B: Check out the CD, it'll blow you away! Also, if we happen to come through a town near you, make sure to be there to witness the rock n' roll madness that is Amoral's live show!

A: Be there or be a complete pussy!


Q&A for Ben & Ari

Musician you admire the most?

B: Probably Slash, as he's the one who got me into playing in the first place. His sense of melody is incredible.

A: God this is hard… I would have to say Jaska Vitikainen, because he got me singing and helped me with my life big time when he was still alive. Miss U Jack!

Favorite drink?

B: In all honesty, there's nothing better than a cold bottle of Coke when thirsty!

A: Gin Long Drink

Craziest thing that has happened on or off the stage in a gig?

B: Onstage, probably when Niko was spinning his mike around and hit my guitar really damn hard, breaking a huge piece of it off. The hit was so hard that I actually though he had run into me, instead of it being just the mike… Offstage, cutting my finger really bad with a shaving razor just a few minutes before show time. It wouldn’t stop bleeding, so our drum tech put some superglue on it so I could do the show. It still hurt like hell!

A: I will never forget the gig with my solo band when I got food poisoning just before the gig started… That was nasty and the worst feeling ever!

Is there any band you always dreamt to see live but never had the chance?

B: This is easy, Guns N' Roses with the original line-up, or around 91-92, on the "Use Your Illusion" tour.

A: Pantera.

What has been the best band/artist to share tour or stage with so far?

B: I'd have to say Finntroll, who took us out in 2005 for our first European tour. They were so cool to us, and treated us like true equals. Love you guys!

A: Joe Lynn Turner took me up to the stage to sing Burn with him 2008 at Myötätuulirock festival

What is the Finnish sentence that every foreigner should learn first when coming to Finland?

B: "miksi täällä on näin hemmetin kylmä?" , meaning "why is it so damn cold here?"

A: "Kierros koko baarille!" meaning "A round for the whole bar on me

Do you have any secret “musical pleasures”, artists you love listening but feel embarrassed to recognize that you like them?

B: I'm not embarrassed in the least by anything I listen to, be it Seal, Prince or Salt N' Pepa!

A: No way! I'm not embarrassed about anything.

Photos by Valtteri Hirvonen extracted from band´s official MySpace

Related articles:

Review of the album Show Your Colors

Cinema DVD

The wrestler

Mickey Rourke scores the role of his life with the story of a profesional wrestler who renounces to admit that his golden years are away.

Hollywood loves the stories of resurrection. Mickey Rourke was lost for cinema industry for many fans and producers, but Darren Aronofsky gave him a chance of redemption in a role that was suiting him like a glove, and he did not waste it. Actually, Rourke´s performance is so strong and so linked to his real life that literally erases everything else in the movie, although Marisa Tomei acts like a great counterpart as the mature (but still sexy) stripper attached to him.

Mickey Rourke

I was seriously disappointed with Rourke not winning the Academy Award for best actor, but well, Hollywood is like that, a land full of paradoxes. Awarded or not awarded, certainly this The Wrestler is one of the best movies done in 2008 and released in DVD in 2009. For many people of my generations, it will be a wink to those matches of WWF that we loved when we were children, but although the movie is about a wrestler, is not only about wrestling. It is about redemption, pride, family bounds, hypocrisy… the layers are endless and compose a delicious onion to be tasted by the spectator.

Aronofsky confirms once more that with small budgets (revisit for example his deliciously chaotic Pi), he is still one of the most interesting and exciting directors nowadays, and Rourke just nails it here. Do not miss it!

Rating 5/5

The best: that Rourke seems to have been born for this role. And seeing Marisa Tomei giving a lap dance…

The worst: that he was not awarded as best actor in the Oscars as he deserved it.

The detail: in the scene where Rourke cuts his forehead with a razor, he really does it, imitating a common practice of wrestlers on the ring.

The Wrestler Trailer

Albums Music

Enochian Theory – Evolution: Creatio Ex Nihilio

New album of the British trio; from my point of view, one of the best thing I have heard so far in 2009!

Sam Street on the drums, Ben Harris-Hayes on the vocals and Shaun Rayment on the bass are the components of this relatively unknown British metal band featured here. Evolution: Creatio Ex Nihilo is not maybe the catchiest title for an album, unless you are studying a doctorate in dead languages, but nevertheless the quality here is overwhelming.

Enochian Theory

The band is able to display a wide amount of musical registers without losing the face. Great orchestration like in Waves of Ascension and great vocal skills by the hypnotic Harris-Hayes makes them a good catch if you want to discover a bit more of the underground side of British metal. Even the artwork rocks! 

fF you like metal bands with a personal twist like Tool or A Perfect Circle, you are going to love these ones. 

Rating 4/5

Cinema DVD

Confessions of a Shopaholic

Do you like going Shopping? You cannot enter in one mall without buying something? Well, watch out that your credit cards do not get on fire!

Isla Fisher

Confessions of a Shopaholic is a romantic comedy aimed mainly at girls. Let’s be honest, although many men (me included) like shopping clothes, we all have a short limit of resistance to a period of stay in a shop. After a usual quick decision, we prefer to hit on a bar or sit on the sofa watching sports. For women, it is a way of life. The movie directed by P.J. Hogan is fun to watch, but that is basically it. Isla Fisher is actually very sensual and suitable in her role of shallow posh girl obsessed with Gucci and Prada, and Hugh Dancy as Luke Brandon plays his part as the British journalist who is both honest and a good catch. The dialogues have some good humor inserted from time to time (pay attention to the appearance and references to Finland all over the film), but the end is predictable.

Another romantic comedy in New York, where all can happen… according to Hollywood. For the rest of the journalists with feet on the earth, we will continue writing reviews and features with the hope that one day we can find that inspiring green scarf that will lead us to success!

Rating 3/5

The best: The sensuality of Isla, looking like the forbidden neighbor of the fifth floor.

The worst: The final is too predictable and lacks of innovative ideas.

The detail: The characters really speak Finnish language in the movie, although Isla`s accent makes it almost understandable during the final credits.

Confessions of a Shopaholic Trailer

Cinema DVD

Bedtime stories

Adam Sandler must be the hottest names of comedy genre lately in Hollywood, if not, remember his recently histrionic Zohan!

Adam Sandler

The film is aimed at children. Saying that, it does not mean that the adults cannot enjoy it either. Being an Adam Sandler movie, expect more than a bit of craziness and extreme situations in the plot. But actually Sandler is quite measured in this one, maybe due to Disney being behind it, and not as irreverent and in many other of his productions. Actually, this can be a weakness of the movie, for Sandler’s fans, this is a “light” version of his skills. the secondary roles there are some really big names like Courteney Cox or Guy Pearce. Actually, I think that Pearce could do much better than appearing in these kinds of movies, but it seems that his career is on his way down after he gave us already 9 years ago that formidable gift of interpretation in my beloved Memento.

Bedtime Stories is a movie to see in family, but well, do not expect tones of excitement with it, although it is worthy a couple of good laughs.

Rating 3/5

The best: Adam Sandler, he is the salt of the movie.

The worst: in the end it is a product in between a Sandler’s typical comedy and a children’s film.

The detail: Carmen Electra makes a cameo, as hot as ever!

Bedtime Stories Trailer

Interviews Music

A new dimension of sound – Interview with Dope Stars

Fabrice la Nuit, Victor Love and Darin Yevonde are the components of Dope Stars, an Italian band that brings an amazing and powerful sound into this decadent world. We had the chance to interview the 3 of them and get to know more about their new album, their projects, their opinion about Finland and the (almost nonexistent) scene in their native Italy and their views of how technology around has is affecting us and has affected their lives for good or bad. Do not miss it, because these guys have a voice on and offstage!

Thanks a lot for your time guys! Just in July your new album 21st Century Slave was released. What can you tell to the new listeners about it, and what are the similarities or differences with your previous albums Neuromance and Gigahearts?

Victor: I think the new album is a good starter for all the new fans of Dope Stars Inc. because it keeps at the same time the sound concept of our previous release but improved with a more experienced attitude and a 360 degrees production which involve not only music, but lyrics and the visual side too. Also the album does not lack of new experiments in other fields so this makes it a more complete and representative release compared to the other ones. What is good is that most of the new fans we are getting now also get into our previous production and this album is also succeeding to interest people from different scenes apart from the industrial/gothic one. This is cool thing for us because we basically never felt only an industrial band but our main research has always been about merging together the industrial and electronics world to the rock and metal one. This is also something that connects to the cyberpunk concept behind our music. So making a summary while Neuromance and Gigahearts where more directed toward a precise sound research the new album “21st Century Slave” is the result of both the experiences we had thanks to our past albums.

La Nuit: 21st Century Slave will represent the latest improvement of the band in song writing and visual expressions. It’ll drive you deeply into the “visionary” cyberpunk world that lives so close to our contemporary reality. Added to this you will notice the perfect mix of sounds coming from both the previous releases: Gigahearts (guitars and rockside) and Neuromance (synths & electronic atmosphere) in order to create something new using the most popular properties of our already know production.  One big news will be the real drums recorded by our friend Fabrizio D’Amore (brother of Victor) and a stronger concept that will allow people to enter deeper into the world of DSI.

Darin: Moi & Ole hyvaa! Our new album Is a new dimension of our sound, mixing experience and experimentation we had with Neuromance and Gigahearts. The new album can put the listeners in a decadent representation of the world right now, with a cinematographic mood. It’s a new Chapter of our life, our past, our present, our future.

Dope Stars

In your album, you touch very intensively the new technologies and its impact in the world. What do you think of it, do you see it as a healthy way of development, or is not healthy that the youngsters spend so much time today in front of the computers?

Victor: Technology had an impact on society since many years but today the situation is much more evident and has immediate effects. We are now living in a world that does not look so much different from the visions of cyberpunk novels. It looks like art inspired or predicted the future in some way.  If they’ve been right on that side also the consequences, especially the negative ones, deriving from these premises are well known. There are things moving in the background these very years we are living to make the instruments of new technologies a way to control the people, thoughts and information. Our personal data is being stored everyday and this most of the times happen because it’s the people that do it by voluntarily just to follow a trend. The whole social revolution has got indeed his negative sides but also have enough positive ones such as giving the way to people from all over the world to exchange opinions, culture, information and whatever is a matter of thought. This is making possible for a lot of people also to start getting interested on topics that would have never been known otherwise. Also it expands a lot the range of connections with other people from any country which makes all of us citizens of the world above any nation imposed differences. This also gives to the information the power to be an unstoppable thing. For most of the young people it is absolutely normal they take it more like a tool for having fun with their friends but it’s always good if they protect themselves and get informed about the risks of a too easy use of such websites, applications and network tools in general. That’s cause basically the connection and impact between the cyberspace and reality is becoming everyday stronger. This makes the internet a place which is not about fun only. It is instead the place for everything. The message we want to send with our album is to master technology and start getting every information about all the instruments of technology you are using. Especially the ones you’ll be seeing coming out in the future. Thanks to the internet also this is possible.

La Nuit: As I see it depends on the right use we make of technology. We love informatics and part of our growing career is coming from the endless power of internet about connecting people. 21st Century Slave will investigate on the exploitation of technologies done by few mega-powered lords who really want to rule the entire world hiding themselves behind the shadows of well known corporations. So the keyword for every one of us will be “MASTER TECHNOLOGY” and not be slave of it. Open your eyes and take part to the digital war.

Darin: The influence of technology in our society is becoming day after day bigger and bigger and the power it has on young people is huge! Most of the teenagers right now are living their life in virtual world loosing what real life means. The control these tools have on young brain is really powerful.

And you, as users, are your lyrics based on personal experiences feeling a bit like “slaves of the technology” and running for freedom?

Dope Stars

Victor: Technology is about advancement. I’ve been into technologies since I was very young. I started working with computers since vic-20 and c-64, amiga, x-86 and so on till the current days and have been always working with technologies. I was into that since even before internet existed and then first modems come out. I’ve actually been living all the evolution of informatics, the internet and home computing in general till today and yeah I’ve seen and experienced many things changing fast. However this has always been like a passion for me together with the music and of course also has influenced by my personal life. But this also helped us a lot in the band because without that technology Dope Stars Inc. probably would have never existed or anyway would have never sounded this way. Besides we started from the internet and we’ve been growing thanks to our fans and communities that helped us spreading the word on the network. We’ve been always trying to make a good use of technologies and it is great that actually everyone can do the same with a computer. Slaves are those who believe a computer is just a nice handy machine. 

La Nuit: Well for sure I’m a big fan of technology since I was just a little kid, but I never felt like a slave. It helped me to learn a lot of things (first of all foreign languages), helped us as a band to record new brilliant material and gave us the possibility to be known all around the globe with few mouse clicks. Certainly you must be warned, there are not only positive sides of technology. As said before, someone is exploiting technologies to control your life, ordering you what to do, what to buy, what to eat simply through your laptop. So be smart guys and discover the dirty games hidden behind those dazzling banners, it’s up to you now!

By the way, I noticed in your promotional paper that you name “Snow Crash” as one of your influences. I don´t know if you have realized that in the TV series Heroes there is a character, Hiro, very similar to a character in the book…

Victor:What a strange coincidence! I am just getting into the 3rd series of heroes as I missed that.  I like heroes and yes the character thing is weird but Heroes is more like science fiction with the feel of a DC comics.  In Snow Crash it’s the cyberspace or metaverse that plays an important key role. However our biggest influence comes from Neuromancer of William Gibson which is the actual cyberpunk bible.

For those who do not know your band yet, can you briefly explain your beginnings and how did you get to know each other?

Victor: We were just a group of friends and friends of friends that hooked up together to make something new. By the times I was doing the first steps in producing music myself but in a short time I had ready 5 songs and a cover version of Billy Idol (Shock to the system).  When the first EP was released we’ve got a great feedback that helped us to get signed. We did 2 albums, Neuromance and Gigahearts and in the meantime we had some experiences that lead us to reduce the line up to the essential which is me, Darin and La Nuit. So we started to perform several shows and a couple of years ago we also met Ash Rexy who started to perform the electronic parts live with us.  In July we have released the new album “21st Century Slave”. What about me and La Nuit we are long time friends and we played together already years before DSI as in another band called “My Sixth Shadow”. Darin was introduced to me by one of our former members in 2003 and since then we become great friends. What makes everything perfect is that we like to do, watch, listen or experience basically the same exact things regarding music and art in general and together we are doing what we love to do above everything.

How is the actual industrial metal scene in Italy? Do bands like yours get recognition, or is it easier to break through in other countries like USA or Japan?

Victor: There is no scene in Italy of any kind actually, apart from pop music. A scene is something about a good amount of clubs arranging live shows and people attending to it, a good amount of magazines and radios promoting a certain kind of local music and people listening to it. This creates a scene and also helps bands to get known from the underground. Today instead the only  way is the world wide web and most of the times the feedback comes from outside of Italy like USA or UK/Germany/Finland and even more from countries such as Russia and the whole South America, Asia and Africa.

La Nuit: Recognition in Italy??? MMM….. not at all. It’s easier to find a double-headed living cat than obtain something from Italy… and believe me it’s a shame, cause we’ve got a lot of very interesting bands over here. First of all, it’s about Italian people, they don’t support the national scene at all and that’s too bad. The clubs???? Oh yes, they can organize a poor show for your band, but clearly you can immediately forget to either cover the expenses. Welcome to Italy!

Darin: For us is easier to be popular outside of our country, Italy is definitely the wrong country for any kind of alternative music proposal. Suomi knows Dope Stars Inc. much better than Italians ;) We don’t have any kind of support in our country but just Jealous shitheads are always ready to throw shit on us.

How is the European tour going so far this summer? Any venue you especially liked, or any place you are looking forward to playing in?

Victor: I look forward to almost all the shows in the future because they are all cool for different reasons. In October we’ll be together with Deathstars, Diary of dreams and The Birthday Massacre which are all great bands and we are sure it will be a great experience. Also in USA we are going to make our first show and I’ve personally never been in the US before. Also on 23 October in Helsinki we’ll take part at this Cyberpunk festival, Alternative Party, which will be interesting to me not only because we are going to play there. We are also going to play in the UK soon for the 2nd time and considering the past experience and the big feedback we received always from that country I really can’t wait to hit the stages there too. At the moment we are not touring because we focused on the album that has been released just now and we’ll have our summer touring the next year.

La Nuit: During the spring/summer time we had few gigs because we were really busy in the recordings of the new album and EP and didn’t have enough time to fix live shows. So people, everything will start from next October touring Europe and finally reaching USA! Talking about latest gigs, they were really cool (Jesus, I really love to do concerts J ) and we’re talking about the Mama Trash Festival in Helsinki (great bands/people and exciting party atmosphere) and our annual gig in Moscow (hey you Russian people, you shock me all year long!!!! You’re the best!). Finally in June we had the possibility to show our ugly asses in Germany thank to the Blackfield Festival and it made so happy, because it was a long time that we didn’t play in Germany, where everything began for us.  … Going back to our upcoming tour, can’t wait to play one more time at La Loco Paris (mais oui La Nuit arrive tout de suite!!!) and feeling very excited about the London gig, the Festival (Alternative Party 2009) in Helsinki and about our Halloween Night in Philadelphia!!!

Darin: We love to play a lot but not always is possible have long tours. We are waiting for Tour in October with Deathstars, The Birthday Massacre and Diary of Dreams, will a huge fun touring with them! We already played together in a festivals with Deathstars and The Birthday Massacre, will be cool rockin again ;) Will be cool play to some Finnish rock festival like Ankkarock, Provinssirock, Ruisrock! I love play in festivals when bands in the bill are playing totally different kind of music.

“Suomi knows Dope Stars Inc. much better than the Italians!”

You have previous experience playing in Finland, if I am not mistaken. How do you like the audience and the country? Are there any differences there than when you play somewhere else?

Victor: Finnish audience has always been one of the best ever; probably it was also because we have been playing at some very cool events too. We’ll be also going to play more in spring but at the moment I really look forward for the Alternative Party. It will be a great day. Too bad we’ve to flight back to continue touring just straight after because I really wanted to check both the days of the festival.

La Nuit: We mainly took part at this incredible festival called Mama Trash Fest, so well organized by our Mama. Believe me, it’s something so different because there’s a special friendship atmosphere there that is so unusual. Bands and people, they are all together, just like old friends getting drunk during a special party. All the Finnish fans and bands were really cool with us and we had this unbelievable feedback and support from them, we really didn’t expect. We’ll be there once again to do it again for sure my friends.

Darin: We played in Finland 3 times: A couple of time on Mama Trash Fest in Helsinki and once in Tampere with Jann Wilde and the Neon Comets. Finnish people are totally crazy and passionate! I never expected something like that before we did it the first time! Suomalainen hullu rockers! One of the best audiences we ever had ;)

When I saw the concert of Deathstars years ago before interviewing Whiplash, I noticed that they were very popular among female fans. Is it the same for Dope Stars? Do you consider that your style can be a bit more “sexy” for the female fans that the pure and more classic metal?

Victor: What I can tell you about it from the experiences is that we started to have a lot of female fans but then gradually also the interest of male fans has been growing and today we actually have a quite balanced fan base. We have songs that are very different and catch the interest and taste of different kind of people. Sometimes some male defenders tend to have some prejudices at the start cause of our image, which is instead not an issue for females and this causes to bands like DSI to have a female wing which is in first place supporting. And that’s great because girls are smart! J. What is good is that after some years we are also getting a good feedback from people coming from the harder scene. We’ve been always fans and been part of very different scenes and this reflects also in the music and visual concept we follow.

Darin: We have lots of female fans, I think it is quite the same between Deathstars and Dope Stars. In our music we have songs that make happy female’s tastes, I think, especially in slow/mid tempo songs. But we also have a harder, rough and violent sound in many other songs. They belong each other in some way and those components living together create a unique mix of feelings and emotion.

La Nuit:  Our music is so wide open-minded that can embrace all kind of fans, starting from dsi-addicted little fans (also attracted by the musicians), to music lovers who really adore our mixture of synth-rock electrocyberpunk. For sure, during our concerts, you’ll see mainly the first rows completely full of girls ;) but i think it’s something normal, in the end they’re always more emotionally involved during the live shows. But if you take a glimpse more deeply, you’ll see also real pure rockers with our star on their t-shirts banging their heads to our heavy guitars!!! I love you all, my friends!

Actually, talking about bands you share tour with, what is the one you have enjoyed more touring together? And what is the one you would love to tour with in the future?

Dope Stars

Victor: I personally enjoyed any tour with any band so far. While touring you experience a lot of things together and it has been always a beautiful thing. The longest and more remarkable one has been with Asp, London After Midnight and Kirlian camera but also in single dates we got in touch with many other artists and we had a great time together.

La Nuit:  May i say 2 bands instead just one: London After Midnight and Kirlian Camera. People, you’re great and i will always remember out tour together as the happiest tour with friends.  On the other hand i have to admit, that everyone who shared a tour or simply a single gig with us was really cool and I’m talking about you : Gemini Five, Violent Divine, Entwine, SKD, Jesus on Extasy, Richard Christ, etc…. and clearly my other band Latexxx Teens (coolest guys on earth).

Darin: We had a lots of fun touring  with band like London After Midnight, Entwine, ASP, personally will be really cool have someday tour with  Turbonegro! Finnish bands like American bands love to party hard , party animals creatures!

What are your future plans when the current tour is over?

Victor: When the tour this autumn will be over we are going to arrange more touring for the next spring. We’ll be visiting most of central Europe + UK and Finland this autumn and we’ll also do our first show in the US, in Philadelphia. So after these dates we are already planning more shows in Europe, the US and we are evaluating possible shows in Asia and Australia. We’ll be also attending to summer festivals in Europe and we will probably announce some of them already in the next weeks.

Darin: Find and find again new place where play! I wanna play as much as possible, my life is on tour. My favourite hobbies: restaurants, shopping, films, call of duty series and my motorbike. Recently I discovered my insane passion for every kind of extreme sports…. one day you’ll see some pictures online ;)

La Nuit:More and more gigs, I hope…. as said before, my first reason to be in a band is getting on my knees with my guitar on in front of all of you during a fuckin ultra-loud DSI concert. Ok?

Art Features

A Finnish souvenir – Aalvar Aalto decorative bowls

Iittala, one of the most prestigious Finnish design companies, has taken the famous design of Aalvar Aalto for trays and vases and applied it to mini bowls, very suitable to place all kind of objects like candles, chocolates or snacks into it.

Aalto bowl

Alvar Aalto (1898-1996) is probably the best well-known Finnish architecture and designer. His particular designs of vases were first presented in 1937, and they have become one of the world´s most famous glassware, due to the simplicity of its forms and sensual plasticity as well as the multiple uses that the customers can find for it.

If you visit Finland and want to bring with you a sample of tasty national design, or if you need to buy a refined present for a relative or a friend, a decorative bowl is an excellent choice to pursue as souvenir. Easy to transport and suitable in all kind of environments, it is just the perfect choice to carry a little piece of Finland with you!

For more information, you can visit:

Albums Music

Ufo Mustonen – Kuudes Aisti

Mustonen is a Finnish violinist who has collaborated with some top Finnish orchestras and artists like Kauko Röyhkä. Here he introduce us his solo album.

Ufo Mustonen

If you like nice melodies to chill out in the relaxed environment of a small club or café, you are going to dig the songs of Ufo Mustonen. With a music of great quality, and accompanied by other 6 talented musicians,  Mustonen offers a collection of 11 tracks with great lyrics. For fans of introspective Finnish music, like for example the last work of  Samuli Putro of Zen Café, this is an excellent way of discovering the lights and darks of the Finnish soul. Great tracks like Hopeakylkinen or Villiä Lempeä will hit you instantly. For others, especially if you do not understand Finnish language or prefer more danceable or stronger rhythms, this can make you bored.

At least give it a try. It can be the perfect soundtrack for a first date in a dark café, or enjoying a glass of wine at home while talking about the goals in life.

Rating 4/5

Albums Music

Järjestyshäiriö: Lopullinen Ratkaisu

Third studio album for the Finnish band from Jyväskyla.

If there is something that Finland does not lack of, it is young rock bands. It seems that every time you kick one stone in any Finnish city or town, twenty new bands show off.  That has its good and bad sides: the circuit is big, the people have great appreciation for rock and metal and there are always musicians to jam with. But on the other hand, if a band wants to break through, it has to show “something” extra than the others.

band promo

I do not find that extra in Järjestyshäiriö. Certainly they sound compact and professional, but basically like many other dozens of rock bands that sing in Finnish with softer rhythms easier to like also for the female audience. When the band goes a bit more experimental, like in the third track Koneet, the quality boost up. But for most of the album, it just sounds like another average Finnish pop-rock band. If you like bands like Liekki, you can enjoy this one. But for an over saturated Finnish market, being a third album, I would say that this is not enough.

Rating 2/5

Albums Music

Amoral – Show your colors

With Ari Koivunen, the young former winner of Finnish Idols replacing Niko Kalliojärvi, no doubt this is one of the most awaited and polemic Finnish metal albums of the year.


After the introductory instrumental track Random Words, the first sentence that comes out of Ari´s mouth in the album is “There is going to be some changes” in the second track Release. Certainly if there is something you can say about this Show your Colors, is that it is an album full of changes. Starting from the change of vocalist and basically continuing with the change in the style of the band. Because if Amoral was before well known as one of the most promising Finnish bands in death metal, here they approach closely power metal.  Basically, they have adapted their style to Koivunen´s vocal skills (and he really has them, Idols or not Idols in the middle). Is the result bad? Well, that depends on your point of view. I understand that for many fans of the “old” Amoral, this can be a change that they did not deserve. They could have basically ended up with Amoral´s name and started a new and fresh band. On the other hand, for fans of power metal and for those open minded metal followers, this album is good. The orchestration is great and some tracks like Year of the Suckerpunch sound like instant classics.

If you want to forget about Amoral´s previous works and welcome a new great metal band, you will enjoy this. If you are a hardcore Amoral´s fan, probably you can feel betrayed with the turn of style. My advice:  be open minded and enjoy with the great quality of the new album. The old Amoral´s works will be always there for you if you feel nostalgic.

Rating 4/5

Cinema DVD

American Buffalo

into the big screen of David Mamet´s play with Dustin Hoffman and Dennis Franz offering an amazing acting duel.

Certainly American Buffalo is not the typical Hollywood movie. Due to being an adaptation of a theatre play, you do not see many characters on screen, actually most basically you just see 3 all the time (and the shoe cleaner at the beginning). But the dialogues keep catching you deeper and deeper until you find yourself enjoying the film almost by surprise.

American Buffalo

The acting is top class, and the story is full of nice dark humor and smart sentences.  Director Michael Corrente is able to transmit strong values and feelings all over the movie: characters that get lost in the small problems and details and miss the big picture of life.

If you enjoy philosophical essays about life and the nature of human beings, this one is going to touch your soul. For other kind of audience, maybe its small pace can desperate them before they truly learn to appreciate its quality.

Rating 3/5

The best: Sean Nelson scamming dollar after dollar from the two main characters

The worst: The movie is from 1996, so for some spectators it can smell too “old”.

The detail: Franz has been one of the stars for many years in the TV series NYPD Blue.

Cinema DVD


Based on true events, here comes decades later a new reminder of what the Watergate scandal supposed to America.


That a film is based on true events does not mean that everything that tells is 100% true. Surely the Richard Nixon portrayed here is far from the real Nixon, but … who cares? The point is that this Frost/Nixon offers much more to the spectator than the eye can catch at the beginning. A beautiful story that shows that no human is totally good or bad. Both Langella and Sheen /Nixon and Frost are far from perfect, but with a determination that makes them “dangerous” and always on the edge.

The movie has many wonderful moments, like Nixon´s sentences before the shooting to try to make Frost lose concentration, or the amazing telephone conversation with Nixon drunk that leads to the turn of the events. On top of that, Oliver Platt, Sam Rockwell and Kevin Bacon are superb in their secondary roles.

I thought before starting to watch the movie that this would be have another boring political plot, but far from it, it was smart, well directed, with rhythm and with superb acting skills, especially for Frank Langella who could have perfectly got the Academy Award for his personification. Good cinema!

Rating 4/5

The best: Frank Langella and his sharp comments (it does not matter if Nixon did not have sense of humor in real life)

The worst: Many will think that Nixon´s figure should have been more demonized.

The detail: Both Langella and Sheen had had the same roles in the theatre play before shooting this for the big screen.

Official trailer: