KIUAS was perhaps one of the most legendary Finnish metal bands, and everyone in their right mind was at least a little bit heartbroken when they announced quits back in 2013. From the ashes of the renowned KIUAS, guitarist and one of the founding members of the original band, Mikko Salovaara, now formed a new act with the same driving force and sound. DAIMONIC is a continuation of KIUAS with the difference that Mikko Salovaara next to taking up his role as lead guitarist again, also took it upon him to become the band’s frontman and singer. The lineup consists out of members from other heavyweight bands such as MOONSORROW and KING COMPANY. We had the chance to talk to frontman Mikko Salovaara about DAIMONIC. Read the entire interview here.
First of all, thanks for taking the time to do this interview. How have things been with you since you announced the rise of DAIMONIC?
Mikko: Well, it’s been kind of a long road, which back to 2012 or something like that. We released the first single in December, so about a month ago, but this band has been seven to eight years in the making. There have been a lot of different people in the band during these years. We gathered different ideas, and we planned the concept, which already started before we actually put KIUAS to rest. So, we already had these plans back then…
Was it always supposed to be a continuation from KIUAS. Is there any reason why you decided not to call the band KIUAS anymore?
Mikko: I think if I remember correctly, we wanted to change something for the better. We already had some ideas, and already knew that the, back then, current band wasn’t going to be there anymore. With KIUAS there was a bit of drama, which is why about half of us were going to be the foundation of the new band, DAIMONIC… There was Teemu, our bass player, and Jari, our keyboard player. Our drummer was in the new band for a while as well but left. We sort of moved around with different ideas about whether to keep the name and which direction to go but we knew for sure that we wanted to evolve into a more theatrical kind of style, both visually and musically. That was something that we felt that wasn’t in place with KIUAS. The sound, as people who listen to KIUAS know, had sort of theatrical elements in there, but we always had this kind of very down-to-earth street look, so we wanted to change that, evolve, and develop it much further. We’ve had some different ideas for a more central storyline or a concept, so those things were already in place back then.
The look you have on the promo photos, is that going to be the look you have on stage?
Mikko: Yes, definitely.
Where did you get your inspiration for that look?
Mikko: From many things. It kind of goes so much back to the whole concept that we have in the first place, which has since then also evolved. Obviously, in different subgenres, there are a lot of these looks. For example, black metal bands have more of this kind of theatrical, dramatic style. But I guess we were going for this kind of melodic metal meets BEHEMOTH kind of vibe. So, melodic metal but with the extreme elements and the visual aspect such as BEHEMOTH has. We wanted to combine all of that, but then also have something of our own. Actually, in the logo there’s this symbol which has a lot of meaning, I’m not going to explain the details yet, because it’s going to be something that is going to open up during the releases. We are going to put hints here and there. So, we want to bring that to the stage as well. It’s going to be there.
I think many fans were surprised that you were going to be the singer of the project as well. Especially because people know you as a guitarist, was it from the start always the plan that you’d take care of the vocals?
Mikko: When we ended things with KIUAS, we had quite a bit of a dramatic ending. Everything is settled now and we are good friends with everyone, also with Asim, our second singer. We had some bad vibes in the band, and a bit of an episode. Fortunately, that’s over, and that was a long time ago. Anyway, the whole idea of singing by myself came from the difficulty of finding the right singer for the band. When you’re the sole songwriter, basically the singer is almost always in a difficult position of having to try and interpret someone else’s thoughts and ideas. Ilja, our first vocalist, was writing some of the lyrics, and he had musical ideas of course, but I think he didn’t feel much for that role even though he did it perfectly. There are many reasons, but what really felt right was to be able to communicate exactly what I’m trying to say with my own voice. Because then you don’t have to explain anything to anyone else. It either works, or it doesn’t, but it’s still me. So, whatever I’m trying to say, if I feel that I can get it across the right way, it works. If it doesn’t, then I can easily fix it by myself, and it’s authentic. Whether or not I have the skills, it’s important to do it in an honest manner. There are legendary artists that may not have the best skills compared to someone else, but they might be so honest that their voice is so recognizable. It sort of puts exactly the right emotions, and the right soul into the song. So far, that might be the main reason. Of course, there was so much work to do regarding the skills that I had to develop, and that I’m still trying to develop. That was also one reason why it took so much time because I really wanted to reach a certain level, you know, that it does justice to the songs as well, and now is the time…
You mentioned that you don’t have a release plan, so perhaps it’s difficult to answer this one… A lot of bands nowadays release singles rather than full-length albums when they start out. What’s your approach going to be? Are you working on a debut album already, or are you sticking to singles and EPs for now?
Mikko: Well, we have enough material to record an album, but with all these lineup changes, we just decided we want to plan it out this way: we put out some music and see what the reaction is, from the audience side, but also from the business side. Now that we put the first single and second out, we’ve had some interest from record companies and booking agents and all these people. That’s exactly what we wanted, so they can also evaluate the reaction of the audience, and then see what they want to offer us. In the long run, the plan is that once we get these things in order, we will definitely record the album.
Talking about all the lineup changes, how did you find the rest of the members of the band?
Mikko: Well, there have been a couple of members that have been with the band at different times during the past years. They were all from within bands that we know. It was very natural, but the reason that we had to go through these changes was that we had some bad luck at different moments. Some of those guys were in bands that were really active. So I didn’t want to keep them waiting around for something to happen while things were still in progress, like the songwriting and so forth. The actual songwriting process took quite some time as well. The lineup that we have now, however, is the one. With this lineup, everything just fell into place. It made it easy and natural to launch the band with these members.
Some of you also have different bands. You are playing in two other bands, LEVERAGE, and METAL DE FACTO. Is that going to be a problem, or is this your main project?
Mikko: Well, of course, it’s difficult to combine everything, and everyone has to be flexible. Schedules are always a challenge but it also helps, because in today’s world it’s so much about having different connections and sort of putting out your tentacles everywhere. So, there are pluses and minuses but let’s hope that we’ll stay on the plus side of things. There might be some moments were our schedules might overlap, but then we’ll just have to work around it.
You already have the first show with DAIMONIC on 1 February 2020 at Henry’s pub in Kuopio. What can people expect from attending that show?
Mikko: Everything! It’s going to be the perfect metal show, of course. We’re gonna have a stage look, we’re gonna play the two songs that we have released by then, and we’ll play a lot of other songs that you’ve never heard. We have had that material already for a while, so all the songs we’re gonna play they are polished diamonds. Of course, it will be hard for the audience when they hear songs they’ve never heard before, so we’ll see what the reaction is going to be like. We’ve also chosen a set that works live. It’s gonna have a lot of fast songs, some of them are going to be in the same style that also is represented by the first singles. There’s going to be some blast beats and a lot of grooves that work live for the audience. There are a lot of headbanging and moshpit moments that’s for sure, so if you like that kind of concerts, it’s gonna be a very entertaining show.
It’s quite a contrast with LEVERAGE from what you describe.
Mikko: Yeah, it is. But we’re going to have a lot of melodic stuff there as well. So compared to KIUAS, it has definitely those elements in the music as well. So, that’s gonna be something that helps the audience, because there is something familiar, but yeah, of course, it’s different.
Are you planning to have more shows? Do you have anything planned?
Mikko: Yeah, of course. Everyone is asking about more shows. The answer is that once we get those confirmed, they’re all going to be announced on social media. Before that, I don’t wanna say anything because things might change.
Alright, looking forward to when you plan to announce more shows! I believe our time is up. Do you have any last thoughts you want to share with our readers?
Mikko: The most important thing is that – if you already haven’t done that – check out our Facebook page, keep checking out what we’re doing and then you will know about all the shows and whatever we have planned. So, wherever and whenever there’s a gig, come there! Right now, there’s only one gig, so everyone… Come there! It’s on 1 February 2020 at Henry’s Pub in Kuopio!
Interview by Laureline Tilkin