Masterstroke takes a good sleep

{mosimage}Masterstroke is one of the new Finnish metal bands deserved to be highlighted. These guys from Tampere bring good melodies and a classy style with their new album: Sleep. Jussi, the keyboard player, tells us more about them.

Tell us a bit about the origins and foundation of the band.

Masterstroke was formed in 2002 when Janne Juutinen and Niko Rauhala wanted to do something of their own, after having been in different bands for few years. The band started out as more "traditional" power metal band (same line that Gamma Ray or Stratovarius) but our style has been moving towards more aggressive styles. We've gone through some line-up changes over the years, but now we have a band that just works.

You are from Tampere, aren’t you?

Yes, we're from Tampere! We've done shows in Hellä and Rusty Angel is a sort of regular haunt for us (and especially Marko…).

What are your main musical influences?

My background is in electronic music, Vangelis, Kraftwerk, Jarre, Tangerine Dream, etc., but now I've been listening to Evergrey, Katatonia, Symphony X, Ayreon, In Flames… I like metal that has a lot of feeling to it and strong melodies, harmonies etc.

What was the reason for Niko leaving the vocals, and coming back later again in substitution of Jani Tiura?

Niko never left the band, he just concentrated on playing the guitar while Jari was singing. When Jari left, it was obvious pretty soon that Niko should start singing again. We did try a few other singers, but they just didn't seem to feel right for us.

Tell us a bit more about that experience of having your debut album only published in places like Russia and Japan. Was it frustrating?

It was really frustrating, because we had no way of knowing what was going on. It was doubly frustrating for me, since I had planned to use it as a sort of calling card for more recording and mixing work… We've been talking about releasing the album again at some point, but so far it's just been talk, nothing concrete. It's pretty hard for any band from Finland to go and play in, say, Japan, much more so for a relatively new and unknown band like us. So we didn't get the chance to play there… yet.

Is it too hard the competence in the Finnish metal market? It seems that nowadays 1 out of 2 Finnish young guys plays in a metal band. Do you have other activities apart from music?

I think it is since there are a lot of bands. But I feel that since competition is hard, only the best and those who are willing and able to work for what they believe in will succeed. I've pretty much dedicated my life to music, but I try to find time for books, movies and friends.

Any favourite tracks in the new album.

At the moment I like Final Journey, for the feeling it gives while playing it. That might change tomorrow however…

I see that you into the voting process to be selected for playing at the Sweden Rock Festival. Are you excited about it? It must be the best metal festival in Europe (if not in the world) and an excellent promotion for you.

I have to admit being totally oblivious to the whole European festival "scene" so, sure, I'm excited if that comes true, but only because it would be great to get out and play in festivals.-How has been the popular response to Sleep?

Are you happy with the results so far since November?

It's still too early to tell any numbers and all that and I haven't even asked. So far the response and reviews have been positive, a bit reserved. That's natural for a beginning band such as us.

What can the people expect in your incoming live shows?

Good music and a kick-ass show!

Any plans in the long run?

Gigging, making new songs and a new album somewhere in the horizon. Oh, and world domination in 2014, of course!  So Support your local metal-scene! Come to the shows and buy the records! Check out our website and write to our guestbook!