Sonata Arctica have worked very hard for where they are now. They have toured relentlessly, put the hours in and made some brilliant music. Because of this they are reaping the rewards, they can tour and make music for a living while having a loyal fan base in the millions. Henrik talks about the band’s latest album (The Ninth Hour), their latest tour, the history and what the future holds for the band.
Jack: Hey, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. How are you doing?
Henrik “Henkka” Klingenberg (Keyboards): I’m fine thanks. Just arrived in Lyon, France….
Jack: Your ninth album The Ninth Hour came out in October. Looking back, are you happy with the response?
Henrik: So far the responses have been really good, so yeah, we’re very happy with it.
Jack: Songs like ‘Closer to an Animal’ have a more 80s influence. What inspired this direction?
Henrik: I think there have always been some 80s influences in our music and as far as ‘Closer To An Animal’ is concerned, I think it’s the keyboard sounds that are the most 80s thing in that song.
Jack: What bands influenced this direction?
Henrik: I think our main influences have always been the same since we started, basically the stuff that you hear when you’re in your early teens influences you the most; and anything after that doesn’t make quite the same kind of impression on your music.
Jack: Why was “Closer to an Animal” picked as the first single?’
Henrik: It seemed like the right track to give fans a first taste of the album. We don’t really spend too much time dwelling on which songs should be released as singles and in what order, we just go with our gut instinct.
Jack: What was working in Studio57 like?
Henrik: It’s really great. We’ve been doing a lot of stuff there lately and it’s really great to just go out in the woods with no outside distractions and focus on making music.
Jack: The album was released by Nuclear Blast, what is working with them like?
Henrik: We’ve been working with Nuclear Blast Records for over 10 years now so it’s really easy, we understand each other and it has been a great ride, which of course still continues…
Jack: How is the European tour going?
Henrik: It’s been great; this is the longest European tour we’ve done so far. Seven weeks and 42 shows so it’s a kind of monster!
Jack: You are touring with Triosphere, Striker and Thunderstone. What do you like about these bands?
Henrik: Nice people and good music, what’s there not to like? We’ve been getting along really well which of course is very important when you spend a lot of time together on the road.
Jack: You’re hitting the UK soon. What do you like about the UK?
Henrik: I like the pubs and you have some really nice ciders over there as well, it’s going to be really nice to play outside of London this time since I think the last proper UK tour we did was in 2010 or something…
Jack: What makes it different to other countries?
Henrik: It’s an island [Winks] and you drive on the other side of the road… I think all countries have their own distinctive culture and such things, the little differences…..
Jack: Sonata Arctica have been a band for 22 years. Did you expect to have lasted this long and release nine albums?
Henrik: I don’t think anybody goes in to this business with the idea of: this is exactly what we’re going to do for the next 20 years…so yeah I think it’s been a bit of a surprise that we’re still here. However this is all we know how to do so don’t expect us to go away anytime soon!
Jack: What has been a career highlight for you?
Henrik: There have been too many of those, so I rather not single anything out. Traveling the world and performing in front of our fans is a highlight every single day.
Jack: What has inspired the band to keep going?
Henrik: We really love what we do, so I guess that’s how we’ve managed to stay around for such a long time.
Jack: Do you have day jobs outside of the band
Henrik: No. There’s no chance of us having a day job since we spend so much time touring and working with Sonata Arctica.
Jack: How has the music scene in Finland changed since the beginning?
Henrik: I have no idea, since we live in the north of Finland, we’re not really connected to any scene and we’re kind of outsiders in that regard….
Jack: What are your plans for after the Euro tour?
Henrik: We have a few weeks off (I’ll record the last few tracks for the next Secret Rule album, an Italian band I’ve been working with a bit) and then we do a Latin American tour for 5 weeks. After that it’s already time for the Summer festivals and there will be more touring in the Autumn as well.
Jack: Finally, the band are very active on social media. Is social media an essential thing for bands today?
Henrik: Yeah, I think it’s really important to stay connected to the fans so we try to be active online as well.
Jack: Thank you so much for your time and have a good tour!
Henrik: Cheers and thanks!
The Ninth Hour can be purchased here.