Crossover metal act STRIKE AT ONCE recently released their brand new EP, “Bloom.” We had the opportunity to chat with vocalist Lukas Gaspar about their latest release. Read the complete interview here…
Hi there! Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. How are you guys doing?
Hey, thank you for taking your time. We try to be as positive as possible in these trying times. We felt it is important to keep our work ethic and creative process high. Lately, we kept ourselves busy with promoting our new EP in all the possible ways. Staying in people’s minds and building our fan base is something we haven’t stopped working on. Based on the positive feedback we’ve received recently from our old and new fans, we can say we’re happy. Of course, we’ll be a lot happier when the live shows come back (laughs).
Could you briefly talk a little bit about STRIKE AT ONCE’s history for those who haven’t heard about you yet?
Around 2013 four school friends (Eetu, Erno, Juuso, and Jarkko) started jamming together. They played some shows and they built the foundations of what was to come. The Band in its current line-up was formed in spring 2018 when I joined as the last member. Since then, we played several shows around Finland and released two EPs, singles, and music videos, all DIY. Meanwhile, our second guitarist Jarkko left the band. Because we loved the chemistry with the four of us, we decided not to replace him with someone new. Basically STRIKE AT ONCE is four individuals united by friendship, music, and the same goals.
You call yourselves a crossover metal band. How would you describe STRIKE AT ONCE’s sound? What are your biggest influences and what do you think you bring new to the metal scene?
As musicians, we have trouble putting a “genre” to our band. Crossover metal is probably the best way to express that we like to mix things up. When you listen to our songs, you can hear a lot of influences. As humans, we were influenced by many different genres growing up. All this is reflected in our music. If we want it or not… It is a part of our expression. You can hear everything from hardcore and groove metal to hard rock, nu-metal, and punk rock… After our performances, sometimes people come to me and say that our music reminded them of this or this… I’ve heard everything from early AVENGED SEVENFOLD, PARKWAY DRIVE, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH, to SLIPKNOT, etc. Sometimes I’m like “What!? Really!?” (laughs) But I believe those people heard it “their own way” and that’s the beauty of music. You can ask ten people and each can give you different points of view. I would like to urge people to listen to it a few times. First decide whether you like it or not and then give it any label you want and you think fits best. As a band, I don’t think we have any common influence. Our goal is to create STRIKE AT ONCE music. I think that’s also what we can bring to the metal scene. Something new and different. If you go to our show, you’ll see what I’m talking about. Of course, this difference can be our “minus.” Sometimes it just takes time for people to get used to something new. But at the same time, this is the way we want to go.
You recently released a new EP, “Bloom.” How have the reactions been so far?
Yes, it was released February 19th, 2021. The reactions have been really good so far. I would say they exceeded our expectations. Currently, we are trying to get it reviewed by as many music magazines as possible. We will see how that goes. People can listen to it on every streaming platform there is, Youtube, and also they can buy it on CD through our band pages, Facebook or Instagram.
What was the writing process like for “Bloom” and has it changed in comparison to when you composed the songs for the previous EP, “Sink or Swim”?
Very good questions. Actually, there are a few important things that have changed. These are the first songs we wrote with only four members (so only one guitarist), even though there are a couple of duo guitar passages audible on the record. Yet, it is still heavy and melodic. You can hear more bass guitar on this record and we really like that. It brings new dimensions into our music. We have been focusing on writing records (from music composition to sound) that you can not mix with anything else that is currently in the Finnish metal music scene.
Who came up with the title “Bloom”? Are all the songs thematically related to the title?
I came up with the title. I made a list of possible names and we decided this one fits the best with what we want to say on many levels. “Bloom” is about our growth. It is another step on the way to become the band we want to be. Thematically it fits also with the lyrics on the album. In our life, we bloom to get somewhere, to become something… good or bad. It is a story about the peaks and falls we experience as humans. It is a story about weaknesses, addictions, and demons we have to face… and about our ability to find strengths within ourselves to blossom or die (whether metaphorically or physically) before we are able to reach there.
Your previous EP dates back to 2019 – are you planning at any point to release a full-length album or do you think releasing singles and EPs fits more with modern times?
We hope somewhere in the future we will be able to record full-length but currently it is not in our plans. We believe as a young/rising band without any management or label behind us, we have to simply focus on building and stabilizing the band on the music scene first. This we want to achieve through live shows, short albums, singles, and music videos.
What are your plans for the rest of the year? Are you planning to release more material, music videos?
Now we want to spread “Bloom” to the world. Reach to the people that might not have heard about us yet. We would definitely like to get back on stage as soon as it is going to be possible/safe. Probably some music videos or videos are on the way this year. Maybe we’ll release a new single, some merchandise… There’s a lot that comes to our minds. We will have to see what way the world is going to turn (laughs).
Lastly, any last thoughts you want to share before we wrap this up?
Thank you for the interview. To everyone out there, stay safe! Stay positive! If you don’t know STRIKE AT ONCE yet, go give it a chance. Listen to “Bloom” a couple times and if you like it follow us on social media. Most importantly share it with your friends and come to the live show when it’s possible again. Support the good music and read Tuonela!