Interview with Fear of Domination — "I feel the music, I feel the audience and I’m there for the audience, I want to give them a reason to smile tomorrow and I want to feel alive on the stage."


Formed in 2006, Fear of Domination has released their new album “Metanoia” in the beginning of May to the masses. The new album has so far received a lot of positive feedback, ensuring an even more bright future for the band. With their fresh lineup they are now ready for business.
On the evening of their release show at Nosturi, Saku Solin and Sara Strömmer made some time for Tuonela Magazine to talk about their newest release, the future and what they have been up to the past year. The rest of the band is sitting quite near, listening attentive to what their lead singers have to say. Sometimes we get interrupted by the soundcheck for the other bands of the night, but one thing is clear, the band is looking forward to perform again!
interview fod
Hi guys! Thank you so much for making the time for Tuonela Magazine. First of all, tonight you’re having a release show at Nosturi. How are you feeling? show, how are you feeling?
Sara: Actually very nice! Busy, but nice.
Saku: Really good, hmmm. (talks in very deep voice)
Sara: (laughs)
Saku: Focus, focus, stay with me.
Sara: Yeah we have a lot of expectations for this evening, we are really looking forward to the show…
Saku: She’s really looking forward.
Sara: (laughs) Do you have something to say, Saku?
Saku: This night is going to be awesome, we are going to be awesome. You are going to be awesome, Sara is going to be awesome. Everything is going to be awesome.
Sara: So we’re feeling awesome! (laughs)
Your new album “Metanoia” was released on May 4th. How have the reactions been so far?
Saku: Awesome.
I should have seen that coming (laughs).
Sara: (laughs)
Saku: To be honest, many people have commented that it’s really really…
Sara: … Awesome.
Saku: It’s just perfect, nobody can do better albums than me.
Sara: (laughs)
Saku: That’s kind of a Trump answer. (laughs) But yeah, in all seriousness. We are really happy about the outcome and the feedback has been really good so far.
Sara: Mostly because there’s a lot of like different kinds of songs, from the ballads to doom metal inspired songs and many more. (personates a music genre)
Saku: … (pauses) Okay.
Sara: (laughs) A lot of people actually expected us to make standard Fear of Domination songs, so this is very new material to them. It was really a step into the unknown for us so to say. But the reception has been very good. We dare even say that the feedback was… Awesome. (laughs)
Saku: What I don’t understand is why some people demand us to make a new album and then somehow complain that it’s not like the other ones, that it’s a new album with new kinds of songs and that they should sound more like older material. I don’t get the point of that. We want to make new music, something different, we want to make it cool and we want to make it… Awesome.
Sara: (sings) Everything is awesome!
Saku: No.
Sara: Okay.
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So, you just mentioned it yourself. Your new album is really different from the older material that has been out there. How was the writing process different for you in comparison to the last albums?
Saku: Well basically, Johannes Niemi and Lasse Raelahti were the main composers of “Metanoia”. (waves) Hei Jonne!
Sara: Do you wanna show your face here?
Jonne: Nope.
Saku: That’s Jonne over there, but he doesn’t want to show his face to you. You would die. Nevertheless, they came up with new cool ideas and they sounded really fresh. Something new to be honest.
Sara: I had been in the band for one year, but Saku has been there since the beginning, over ten years now, so compared to the old material, it’s really different.
Saku: To be honest, I want us to evolve at every album and now we have Miikki and Sara with us, so it’s of course going to sound different. Even though we have had a female singer around on every album before “Metanoia”. Now we are actually focusing on another singer, so she’s like a lead singer as well, not just a background singer.
Sara: Like a lead singer (laughs)
Saku: She is a lead singer.
Sara: Well yeah, but that also meant that some arrangements had to be made. Beforehand, Saku has had all the leads, so now we had to divide everything. But all-in-all it was a very nice process. It was nice to share the singing with you, thanks.
Saku: Nice to share my parts with you.
Sara: So the process was good!
Saku: It was quite refreshing as well to the band. The new album just sounds different, the songs are new, but also the making process was kind of a new process as well. It sounds like it as well.
Like you mentioned you and Miikki are new to the band. But how was the whole process and experience to be a part of Fear of Domination for you, Sarah?
Sara: That is actually one of the reasons that I am in the band.
Saku: What?
Sara: The whole process. When they asked me the first time to replace one of their live singers Helena Haapanranta, the whole thing went so smoothly and in a way I just kind of ended up being in the band, because the whole thing felt so natural. Or do you disagree?
Saku: No.
Sara: (laughs) I was like: “I was forced to take Sara in this band. Fuck. And in the Tuska stage you were like oh no now I have to do it like properly.” (impersonates Saku)
Saku: Yeah, we were on the stage and there we go, bring out the tears, well here is Sara is well, she is now a member of Fear of Domination, fuck.
Sara: (laughs)
Saku: And now she is there.
Sara: Hi I’m here!
Saku: And won’t go away.
Sara: You are there.
Saku: Sadly, yes.
Sara: And I’m here with you. Yaaaaay!
You all seem like such a great group of friends in the first place. When you perform it looks like you’re having a lot of fun. Do you have some fun stories to share with us from for example during the recording?
Saku: No those are mostly sad ones.
Sara: (laughs) Yeah
If you want, you can also share the sad ones with us. We’re all ears.
Saku: Oh yeah, there’s this one… (pauses) No, I can’t say it out loud. But wait, what about your facial impressions, Sara?
Sara: Yeah, there have been some funny moments when we were recording our vocals and I was wondering something and looking at Saku and did this… (does a facial expression)
Saku: Like, “Do you like it?” I was like okay well, I think I will go to the singing booth and just go record the song now.
Sara: Yeah yeah yeah, like what’s your problem, bitch (laughs) I was like whaaaat?
Saku: “What would you like to do next?” “Uhm, sing maybe?”
Sara: Nothing else.
Saku: That was basically every time we went to recording and now she’s just saying that it was a joke.
Sara: We don’t only sing in this band. (hugs Saku)
Saku: Fucking me too. Don’t touch me. (laughs)
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You were the support act for Pain, quite a big name in the genre you are in. How was that experience for you?
Sara: Oh! Saku will tell you quite a few nice stories, because he was drinking with them all night after the shows!
Saku: Yeah, nobody else did that, only Saku. The rest of the band went to sleep and didn’t do anything. But Saku was the bad boy, he went to the band, he started drinking. The rest was like no I’m a professional fucking artist, I’m sleeping, don’t touch me.
Sara: And I went to sleep, but then Saku came and was like (starts shouting) I’m drinking now, so yeah. But yeah, they had some nice times with them, didn’t you?
Saku: Yeah, Grege if you’re ever watching this, love that way we did it. (laughs) Drinking, I mean. Nevertheless, great time, great band, I really enjoyed them. Like when we were talking outside with you, we talked about that sometimes the headlining bands don’t really give a shit about the support acts. But in this case they were all the time very supportive, like hey we can do that, and we just want this to be here, but if you don’t agree, it can be there. It was really easy to make the shows happen with them and the after parties were also really crazy. Everything else went really smoothly.
Sara: Yeah, that was a really good experience. I don’t know what’s going to happen, next week we’re going on a small Baltic tour with Amaranthe, so we have to see how they are turning out to be, but Pain was awesome.
Saku: So Peter, Grege, rest of the guys, we love you!
Imagine that you’re addressing people who haven’t heard your music before, so new possible fans, how would you describe the sound of your new album to those who don’t know you yet?
Saku: Well, some would say it’s industrial metal, but that’s quite boring to describe it. It’s not entirely industrial metal, but it’s not basic melodic death metal either but nevertheless, I think the main thing in our music is the beat and the rhythm.
Sara: There’s a new kind of groove in the songs.
Saku: Mixed with some electric and industrial parts, sometimes with harsh double beat.
Sara: Some have said that I have a very poppy sound in a way, a pop singer sound, so I think that will also bring out a new element to the songs. It brings this kind of mainstream element in to the songs.
Saku: Basically there is no rules for us. So this just sounds like what we wanted to do. We didn’t care about the genres. We didn’t have any limits of what music we wanted to do and what we can do.
Sara: For a new listener, I would just say listen to the songs and make your own mind because there are so many opinions about them!
Saku: In the “Metanoia” album, every song is different. It’s a something-for-everybody kind of album. Not like ten hit songs for you.
Sara: (thinks) Ten hit songs.
Saku: (laughs) Next time we’ll release an album it’s going to be Fear of Domination – Ten Hit Songs. Only for you.
One thing that just pops in my mind is just out of curiosity. Is there any particular reason why you decided to cover The Bad Touch? I guess it’s not the most obvious choice a metal band could make.
Saku: (starts laughing uncontrollably)
Sara: Saku, will answer this one after he has recovered from this helicopter thing that’s going on.
Saku: One moment. Uh. (breathes) “The Bad Touch”. Well we had been playing it for many many years. It was a little joke at our rehearsal place. You know, the place where we play without an audience… (pauses) Like every show (laughs). But yeah, first it was a joke, then we tried a it a few times during different shows and people just went crazy about it. Last year we were thinking that we need to have some new material out there, but “Metanoia” wasn’t ready yet and we also didn’t want to spoil any singles for it because it would still take over a year for it to come out. So Jonne came up with the idea to record “The Bad Touch”. It went viral as well. We dominated viral channels for months.
Sara: Yeah and we still do, people listen to the song very very vrey muchç So it’s very popular song. So it was good to have it out. I was part of the recordings as well, but I was just pushing the buttons though. Actually Lasse did all the recordings. I was just like “heeeei hyvä Saku, hyvä, let’s go!”. So I’m not singing on the single, but I’m doing it live.
Saku: We’re doing it live…
Sara: We are doing it live. (winks)
Saku: Not today though, not today.
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So let’s talk a little bit more about the lyrics. Is there any kind of overarching theme present in “Metanoia”, or like you know a general mood?
Saku: It varies very much from song to song. I don’t think that in general there is a basic line, genre or a basic idea that connects them. All of the lyrics I have done are based on a feeling I had, an emotion or situations. Some kind of status that I wanted to shout out loud and then I wrote it down. Jonne then brought some riffs to the studio, of course when the songs came out there was this kind of idea in the song, but surely not any kind of theme. So there’s not any kind of red thread going through the album, it’s not a theme album. But of course every word came from our minds. In that sense the album is more kind of uniting the band, you know in “Metanoia” you can discover a whole new band by just listening to it. But the lyrics don’t cover a certain theme.
Sara: What combines the songs is that they are very personal, straight from the heart and soul. It’s about all the sad things we’ve experienced in our lives.
Saku: Also about all the great things.
Sara: Of course.
Saku: All those kinky, kinky nights. (laughs)
Sara: Yeah, some personal stuff.
Saku: She’s blushing (laughs).
Sara: (laughs) It’s nice to sing your personal life on the stage, especially the older songs, for like two hundred people.
Saku: I’ve never wondered how many sex offenses of mine you have been singing on the stage. (laughs)
Sara: All the old songs are… Very nice. Especially the song “Tool of God” is quite nice (laughs).
If you can have your fans remember one thing about you, what would it be?
Sara: One thing about us? (pouts) Only one thing? But there’s eight of us.
Saku: One thing that we all have in common on stage is that kind of lunatic insanity, the craziness, the joyfulness.
Sara: … The awesomeness
Saku: Yes, the awesomeness. The feeling of bonding and the feeling of family and all the crazy, expressions, I don’t know how to describe it one word!
Sara: Yeah, how do you say all that in one word.
Saku: Yes, that’s what I’ve been trying to say, that emotion
Sara: Is it insanity?
Saku: No, I think insanity somewhat is a negative word.
Sara: Ah yes, because it has to have the passion and love. Should we go for passion?
Saku: One word to remember us by is passion.
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That passion is something I definitely remember from the first and only time I have seen you play live. You said you have kind of this lunatic insanity on stage, it’s very hypnotic to watch. Is there a secret to it?
Saku: Be yourself, there’s nothing more to it, just be yourself! Free yourself! At least I don’t know if you have something different (looks at Sara), for me I don’t bluf, I don’t plan it, or I don’t schedule it, it’s not that at 8.30 I will go this kind of crazy, around 9 I’ll go a bit slower, I just go on the stage, I feel the music, I feel the audience and I’m there for the audience, I want to give them a reason to smile tomorrow and I want to feel alive on the stage. I don’t know, that’s it, if I overthink it I will spoil the whole thing as well.
Sara: For me the music of Fear of Domination makes me go crazy. Of course I also have to have the feeling that I can trust the band members and the people I’m with. Because when I feel safe, I feel certain and I feel more free to express myself. With Saku this is also much more easier. I can count on him. Whatever I do, he will always be there for me.
Saku: Awwwww I think… No.
Sara: Did I make you cry?
Saku: No not yet!
Sara: I can make you cry. (laughs) Well, so trust is important and the most important thing is that I can trust that we are all in this together. It makes me want to do even more, give my everything to Fear of Domination even more.
Saku: Is that a tear?
Sara: No it’s just a…
Saku: No, I just got something in my eye. (laughs)
Alright! I think we have covered quite much now. But before we wrap this up, do you have one more message to our readers (or viewers)?
Sara: Ah okay, the end!
Saku: The end! I want you to come to our shows!
Sara: Yeah, enjoy our music, enjoy our company!
Saku: Be true, something epic, cliche cliche cliche come to our show.
Sara: Be yourself, most of all, be yourself, don’t let anyone label you!
Saku: Person person.
Sara: Person person, be awesome!
Saku: Henkilö henkilö.
Sara: Be awesome (laughs)