Ever since MetalOrgy earlier this year, we’ve found ourselves growing more and more intrigued by CRIMSON SUN! This modern melodic metal group released a fantastic debut album, “Towards the Light,” to rave reviews, and has been swiftly gaining steam ever since! Thrilled by the opportunity to check them out at Tuska Open Air this year, we grabbed Jukka Jauhiainen, Joni Junnila, and Sini Seppälä to ask them a few questions about how things are going in the band!
I’m really glad that I got to talk to you guys after your gig, because it’s always more interesting to ask – how do you think the gig today went?
Sini: I enjoyed it and it was great to see that there was such a big crowd and I think the people liked it. They had their fists in the air.
Jukka: Usually if you play a gig [in a club], the changeover times are a bit… you have to do everything in a hurry, but today everything went perfectly thanks to the Tuska folks and everyone who made it happen. Also, 5 minutes before the show you could hear the echo from the hall because no one was there.
I came a little bit before you guys started because I got the start time wrong and I was thinking, “Wow, there’s no one here.” Then as soon as the show started, it was like a tidal wave of people washing in!
Joni: It went really well. We all enjoyed it.
Sini: It was one of our best gigs so far.
Had any of you guys been to Tuska before?
Sini: A couple of times, yeah.
Jukka: I played a show last year with my other band, RED MOON ARCHITECT, and then I think we’ve been here once or twice just as civilians.
Joni: I went to my first Tuska when I was 15 years old in 2004, alone. I saw some frightening things and started growing long hair.
Who have been your favorite performances so far, if you’ve been watching them?
Jukka: I think yesterday we saw BEHEMOTH and AVANTASIA. Those are the only two shows we’ve seen.
Sini: We came here a bit late, so we got to see only BEHEMOTH and AVANTASIA, but I think BEHEMOTH was great. I haven’t seen them before and I think the show was really great.
Jukka: A really visual show.
Have you guys done anything else in the festival area other than looking at the shows? Have you checked out anything else around here?
Joni: Drinking beer! [laughter]
Jukka: Probably that.
How’s the beer selection?
Jukka: Really good! And today it’s even better because it’s free!
Is there any show that you’re still looking forward to seeing?
Joni: Yeah, GHOST!
Jukka: There’s something weird about that band. I think I saw GHOST for the first time in Sonisphere Festival held in Kalasatama and I hadn’t heard it before and I was like, “What’s happening? There’s guys playing old-school music and waving some scented basket.” I didn’t like it then, but I think everyone in the band listened to the “Meliora” album and they said that it was really good. But I remembered what I had seen at Sonisphere and I thought, “I’m not going to listen to it,” but 2 months ago I gave in and…
It grows on you like a parasite.
All: Yeah! [laughter]
Jukka: So yeah, GHOST, definitely. Also tomorrow, KATATONIA and GOJIRA!
You often hear about the struggle that up-and-coming bands go through – what’s entering the music scene been like for you guys, having been around for such a long time?
Jukka: I think we’ve been around for a decade. We just been making small demos and we have this, always when you’re 15 years old, you’re into power metal and you do that, but now we found Sini and the band grew a hell of a lot bigger. I think somehow we found the sound that we want to do, thanks to this girl here. [gestures to Sini]
You guys formed in 2001 – what’s the story so far? What has brought you to where you are with this current line-up?
Joni: We began as a MEGADETH cover band with a male singer and two guitars. Then some members left the band and we thought that it would be cool to play with keyboards and some faster music, so a friend of ours came to play keyboards and then we began to do this power metal thing.
Jukka: A lot of member changes. Joni and I are probably the first two members of the band, and then we found Antti on the drums and then came Miikka and we found Sini. Funny story actually – I don’t know if luck had anything to do with it, but I was at a party held for my workplace and then we went to this karaoke bar and Sini was singing karaoke and I was like, “Fuck, that girl is really good at singing.” I went over with the power of ten pints of beer and gave her an email address and she replied and now we’ve played the best show of our lives so far!
Do you think you guys are currently in your strongest incarnation right now, or is there any element from the past that you wish you still had with you?
Joni: No, I don’t think so.
Jukka: No, I think we’re the strongest now.
Sini: And growing stronger!
Joni: This line-up brings the best of all individuals, so I think we’ve found our place.
As you said, you’ve been around for 10-15 years – how do you think your live performance has changed, other than the obvious style changes? How do you think being on stage has changed over the years?
Sini: I have been in the band for like 3 years now and my first show ever in a band was back in 2013, I think. If I compare to that and what I’m doing now, I think I’m becoming better all the time and I’m learning.
Jukka: You really learn… let’s say 5 years ago, 10 years ago, you used to focus on what you’re playing and you were a bit stressed out. You went to the show and you were a bit frightened of the live performance. Nowadays, when you have that kind of crowd in front of you, it gives you so much energy that you just take it all in and fucking explode!
Joni: It’s way more relaxed nowadays. You can see the playing is relaxed and you’re headbanging more and not focusing so much on the play, because you’re okay with it.
Jukka: Also, when you see some random folks singing the lyrics and getting really into it, that’s awesome.
Sini: It’s the best!
What was the process of making your debut album like? Did you write collectively or was there one mastermind?
Joni: Actually, Jukka and I just decided that now it’s time to make the debut album, so we began writing and composing things very intently.
Jukka: For the first time we felt that the band was ready, once we found Sini. Everything came into place. We dug up a few old songs that didn’t even make it the EP, so we redid a few of them and then we made new songs.
Joni: We wrote plenty of songs and then we worked together with our producer, Saku Moilanen, and then we went to his studio and arranged things even better.
Jukka: Yeah, it’s really good to have a producer to tell you what is shit and what is good. So it’s really important to have a good producer.
Are there any themes that you’re interested in lyrically? Are there any stories on the album?
Sini: It’s a fun fact that we all write lyrics in the band, so there are always different stories behind the songs. They’re not linked together because there are different writers behind them, but every song has its own story. It can be from our personal lives.
Joni: Miikka likes science, so he usually writes some lyrics about some scientific things.
Jukka: I don’t write a diary – I write songs.
You have a music video for “Awaken” now, which seems to be footage from everywhere. Where was all the footage from and how did the video get made?
Jukka: We’ve been collecting footage I think for over a year. If we went to a show, we had a GoPro with us and filmed something and we’ve also filmed performances at clubs in festivals. Then just goofing around in the rehearsal space.
What are each of your best memories of being in a band so far?
Sini: I think it’s when we went to Gdansk, Poland. It was a holiday last August or September. It was just a holiday and I think it was good to just hang around with bandmates.
Jukka: Not involving music in the vacation.
No stress or deadlines.
Jukka: No, and you remember how… usually if you play in a band and everyone is a phenomenal musician and they blow galaxies up with their playing, but they’re douchebags, so then you don’t get along. It’s really important to get along with everyone. The whole thing really works.
Sini: The chemistry is really important.
Jukka: Really important.
Joni: Yeah, I think it’s important to be friends with each other rather than co-workers, because it shows in the live shows.
Jukka: I want to say that I think one of the best memories was right there, 2 hours ago. It feels unreal. It hasn’t settled in quite yet.
This one’s for Sini now – how has it been, being a woman in the metal scene? Do you ever have any issues with that?
Sini: I don’t have any problems with that, but I think sometimes I don’t know what to think about how everybody’s talking about “female-fronted metal”… it doesn’t matter if a singer is a male or female. Or someone might just not like metal bands if they have a girl as a singer, but I don’t care. We just do our thing and I think if the music is good, it doesn’t matter if the singer is a male or a female.
That’s probably the right attitude. So what can we expect from you guys in the next year or so? What’s on your plate?
Jukka: The second album is definitely on the plate. We’ve actually booked some time in the studio in September. We’re probably going to make a few demo songs and try to nail a bigger recording deal with those songs. Or then if no one likes it and we don’t get a bigger deal, we’re going to release an EP and then the full album a year from now.
Joni: New stuff, yeah. And hopefully new shows.
Awesome! What are your goals/what are you most excited for in the future?
Jukka: I don’t know if excited, but frightened about the second album. The first album was so good that it’s pretty hard to go into the studio again. Joni and I have this thing where you always have to top the last album.
Joni: Yeah, if you don’t have any better stuff then go home and make some better stuff, rather than going to the studio and recording some shit.
Jukka: The debut album had so many great reviews, so it set the bar really high. We have to top that.
Joni: We’ve got something new and I think it’s going to be good.
Jukka: 8-string guitars!
Joni: Yeah! Lower tuning, so probably a bit heavier.
Sini: That’s true! I have to say that I’m looking forward to gigs abroad, touring in Europe or something like that. I’m really excited if that day comes next year or the year after that!
Well, that’s all my questions! Do you have any last words for anyone who might be reading this?
Jukka: Thanks for reading this! [laughter]
Joni: Thanks to everybody who came to our show here in Tuska.
Jukka: And listens to our music and like our music… basically thanks to everyone. For half a year we’ve began to recognize that there are really some random guys liking our stuff and coming to chat with us and it’s really awesome to get feedback.
Sini: Stay tuned for new gigs and new stuff coming up!
Interview by Bear Wiseman