It’s been longer than we had hoped since CRIMSON SUN has been releasing music, but fortunately these guys started to drop a trail of singles at the end of 2019 for us to follow. Their sophomore effort, “Fates,” is due for release on January 24th, 2020, so we sat down with the band at the end of 2019 to chat about what’s been going on in the interim, as well as what to expect from the upcoming album.
Hello! It’s been about 3 years since I’ve talked to you guys. What’s new, other than the new album coming out?
Miikka: We are doing pretty well. We’ve had so much stuff going on, publishing the new album, preparing for live shows, making backing tracks for live shows, preparing the setlists. You can imagine, all sorts of things.
Jukka: Music videos.
Our last interview was at Tuska 2016 and you were hoping to have the new album out already in 2017-2018. Was there something specific that slowed down the process?
Jukka: I think we had huge changes in a lot of peoples’ personal lives.
Miikka: Things got complicated [laughter].
Jukka: Yeah. I think for that reason it was delayed. So many big things happened behind the scenes with almost everybody involved.
Miikka: Almost everybody has moved to a new place, somebody has sold their apartment, people have started new jobs…
Jukka: … new relationships.
So life happened, and a whole lot of it.
Jukka: [laughter] Yeah, life happened, pretty much.
Miikka: Also some not-so-nice things, like one of us lost their parents. But some of us have new children too, so it’s not all bad.
Well I’ve already had the opportunity to hear your new songs. The first track, “We are One,” feels really positive and uplifting, and then from what I understand, the second single, “The Beast Within” – which is as uplifting as the first but also more forceful – is about CrossFit. I know you [Antti Rantavuo] have done some CrossFit – how did it translate into a song?
Antti: I wanted to do a song that was really power metal and the lyrics were a joke at first, but when they were written down, we thought that they were pretty good, punchy lyrics, so we decided to go for it. So that’s how the song turned out that way.
It’s interesting because, the first time I heard it, it felt like a good, upbeating, positive reinforcement type song, but I’m also a CrossFit coach, so the moment I heard that the song was about CrossFit, everything made sense because the lyrics to the song are the same things your coach shouts at you when you’re training… but with a bit more positivity.
Antti: The joke is that, if no one tells you that the song is about CrossFit, you’d never know it. But if someone tells you this is a CrossFit song, you find these little nuances.
Jukka: I don’t know if it’s a good thing to promote CrossFit song or let people find out that it’s actually related to CrossFit…
Antti: I don’t know either, but that’s the way it goes.
Miikka: At least let’s make it clear! We are in no way endorsed by CrossFit… but we’re open for endorsement [laughter].
Have any of the rest of you guys ever tried CrossFit?
Sini, Jukka, & Joni: No.
Miikka & Antti: We have.
Jukka: We don’t want any lawsuit either [laughter].
Last time, you mentioned that you all do a bit of the lyric-writing. So we’ve gone into CrossFit… what else have you guys included in the lyrics on “Fates“?
Joni: Our personal feelings about the past, what has really moved us. I personally wrote about things that have really changed me as a person. I like to keep it honest.
Do you guys tend to work together on the lyrics do you each have a couple of songs on the album that are sort of “your” songs?
Jukka: There are both. I think one song had three people contributing to the lyrics. Usually one person takes care of one song’s lyrics, but of course everyone gets to comment on the lyrics and if they have suggestions then we arrange it so that everyone has a say to the lyrics. I personally wrote lyrics for five songs, so every song has a different theme. One is about CrossFit, one is about the world ending, so it varies a lot. One is about social media taking over you.
Would that be “Virtual Reality”?
Jukka: Obviously. One is about traveling in space and the distant stars. Lots of different kinds of lyrics, but the album fits together nicely because there are so many different things happening.
Miikka: We even had a cabin weekend where we brought our recording equipment with us and locked in and really wrote two songs, went through the lyrics multiple times and made recordings there and tried to improve those.
Using the “mökki week(end)s” feels like a very Finnish way of writing music. NIGHTWISH and THUNDERSTONE are also known for writing music that way.
Sini: Yeah, that’s true.
Jukka: It’s a good way to get all the people together and really concentrate on the thing. There’s really nothing else to do except drink beer and sauna. Just trying to focus on the music and forgetting about our homes and problems.
Miikka: We were really able to limit the beer-drinking. We barely had any beer at all because the song-writing took so much time.
Jukka: That was probably because I didn’t attend [laughter]. I think that may have influenced it.
Now are there any songs about, say, equestrian on the album, or has that hobby escaped the lyrics so far?
Sini: [laughs] I wrote one lyric, to the song “Trailblazer,” but it’s about personal goals and things like that. I don’t write a lot of lyrics at the moment, but I would love to write more. I think it’s easier to write about your personal life and personal feelings, stuff like that. Also, the older you get, the more you have to tell about.
Do you guys find it hard at all to find the right metaphors to use to talk about personal subjects?
Sini: I prefer metaphors usually.
Miikka: I would say the same. The key word is the interpretation. I like to write stuff that can be interpreted multiple ways. It’s the same with art and painting. It’s not just what you see, it’s what you think you see.
Jukka: I also like to write in metaphors, so it’s easier for the listener to get familiar with it, if it touches you. If I tell a story about something specific from my past, it might not be as easy to relate to, whereas if you speak in metaphors, it’s easier to find similarities.
Now last time, again, you mentioned how important your producer, Saku Moilanen, had been in the making of “Towards the Light.” Did you use the same producer again this time?
Joni: Yes we did, same guy. A big hand to Saku Moilanen from Deep Noise Studios in Kouvola. He’s a great guy and he obviously knows what we really want on the album. He gets us and he knows what we want.
He’s a good match for you guys?
Miikka: He’s a great match and he’s also a really professional guy. He knows a lot about the recording and music-making process that we don’t, so having him working with us is really helpful.
Antti: When we started the process of making this album, it was obvious that Saku would be the one we would work with.
Jukka: He’s been a friend for over a decade, so you can be honest with each other.
No one worries about someone taking offense from suggestions or criticism, things like that.
Sini & Jukka: Yeah, that’s really important.
You were also, back in 2016, expecting the new album to include more 8-string guitars, some heavier sounds, lower tuning… did this album go in that direction or no?
Joni: It’s recorded with the 8-string, and there are some parts that go very low, but we kind of went back to the sound of the debut album rather than the EP. At that moment it felt more like what we wanted to do. So on the EP there is a lot of the 8-string. Now you use more of the range of the guitar and every other instrument.
Is there any song particularly important to each of you guys individually? Do you have a favorite song on the album right now, or one that’s particularly close to your heart?
Miikka: My favorite to play is “The Last Day on Earth.” Lyric-wise my favorite is “Fate of Nora.” I wrote it a few years ago in a very meaningful realization of my own life and how I should continue on from that point. It somehow translated into this story about a girl, Nora.
Is she based off any real Nora?
Miikka: No, I don’t many Noras, unfortunately. At least not any that would translate into that song.
Jukka: For me it’s definitely “Virtual Reality,” because of how things are at this time. Things shouldn’t be like this. You shouldn’t be addicted to anything, and people don’t realize how bad it is to be addicted to your phone. It does so much harm. Also it’s a really fucking good song, so that helps. A definite favorite for me.
Sini: For me, I think the favorite song is “We are One.” After all that we have been through individually and also with the band, we are still here and after all, we are releasing the new album, so it’s a really meaningful song for me. Even though I had nothing to do with the lyrics, I think they are still pretty great.
Antti: My favorite is “The Last Day on Earth.” It’s a really important song for me because I had the idea for the lyrics and the whole song as a concept in my head, and it came out pretty much just like I wanted it. It’s a powerful song about people destroying this earth we are living in and it fits in with this time, with all of the environmental discussions.
Joni: For me it’s definitely “We are One.” At the time we wrote the lyrics, it just hit me that we have been busy in our personal lives and how much I missed doing this [making music] and these guys [the band]. It gave me a really good boost that, okay, now let’s do this album! It gave me a lot of fuel for it, to remember how cool it is.
Did you guys ever find a label for the album, or are you releasing it yourselves?
Miikka: This album we’re releasing ourselves. We had a lot of discussions with a few labels, even some nice and prominent ones, but we all agreed together that we would release this album on our own and see what happens with the next album.
Any final words or comments, anything I’ve missed that you want to mention?
Jukka?: We have an album release coming up on January 31st, 2020, at Bar Loose.
Will you do any local tours or opening slots?
Jukka: We have negotiations with a few places to play some gigs, but since it’s been years since our last album, I have to say that it has not been so easy to book shows. Also we have a couple of opening spots in negotiations.
Sini: Let’s keep our fingers crossed.
We’ll definitely keep our eyes out for you guys next year and thanks for taking the time to chat with us!
Interview by Bear Wiseman
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