BLOCK BUSTER - Losing Gravity - Not to be confsued with the long-gone movie rental shop or the SWEET song for that matter (or any other lame comparison). These lads are an up and coming band from the Finnish hard rock scene and one of the new signings to Frontiers's New Breed roster. Young-ish, full of energy-ish, and ready to carry the rock n roll torch into the future, Block Buster was formed in Kuopio, Finland by the Metsäpelto brothers Aarni (vocals/guitar) & Jaakko (drums) while they were still in junior high. The band has since found themselves chosen to open for Bon Jovi at Helsinki Olympic Stadium, shared stages with Anthrax and Ghost, along with several other Finnish and international bands. So... "You better beware, you better take care. You better watch out if you've got long black hair. Keep looking behind, you'll go out of your mind. You better not go, you never know what you'll find". Yes. It's Block Buster!!! Find out more about the band and their album. Here's: JAAKKO METSÄPELTO...
First question. Why the band name and monicker: Block Buster? They're since long out of business, you know?
Jaakko: Well, we came up with the name when we were 14-15 year olds. I remember reading somewhere that it used to be a nickname for a bomb during the WWII, so we thought it was cool. Years went by and the name just kind of stuck, so here we are! At first, we didn't really know about that now-long-gone movie rental shop Blockbuster, by the way, because we didn't have that in Finland.
Your album is entitled 'Losing Gravity' can you explain the meaning behind this?
Jaakko: To me, the album title 'Losing Gravity' represents freedom of all earthly pressures or limitations, where as the title track itself tells a rather tragic story of a person who chooses to ignore or deny all his limits, even when put face to face with reality.
Kindly tell us something about the writing process and what you're trying to capture on the record.
Jaakko: The writing process was quite relaxed, as we didn't have any actual deadline. Sometime around 2017 we decided to clear the table of pretty much all our old ideas and start fresh. Even though "Losing Gravity" is our very first full length album, we have been operating as a band for quite a few years, releasing singles and EP's here and there. It was time to reinvent ourselves, so to speak, as we didn't want to have anything to explain later on, like "oh we were just 18 year olds when we wrote this and that". I think that in the big picture, the release of your first album is always the point where your career actually starts.
There's a track about a certain herb aka "Sweet Mary Jane". Any political view or statement behind the song?
Jaakko: Haha, no, it was purely just a fun theme we came up with. Of course the song is pretty self explatonary. However, we did try and make all the lyrics match the way that it could be about some girl as well, who makes you "trip" and do weird things, so it can be either way.
Reading the press release about Block Buster and I quote, "the best way of describing their music would be something like this: take AC/DC and Motorhead, spice it up with some Extreme and Bon Jovi, the rougher side of The Rolling Stones, throw in some hunger and energy of the rock-torch carriers of the newer generation such as Airbourne and The Darkness, add a good dose of modern vibe to the mix, put it in a giant blender and you will have the band", end quote. Phew. That's quite a write-up and tons of stuff to take in and process. Do you agree with the press release?
Jaakko: Of course we like all those above mentioned bands, but I have to say that might not be the most accurate description of our band. That quote is actually more or less taken from our old bio that we had somewhere years ago, and now it has re-appeared from nowhere and ended up everywhere! The internet never forgets, I guess...
Any thoughts about Frontiers and their releases? Any favourite acts in their massive catalogue?
Jaakko: They have been a great bunch of guys to work with, for sure. I'm not very aware of their other recent releases or signings, but sometime ago I heard they had signed Blue Öyster Cult, which is pretty cool.
What kind of 'sound', production wise, did you have in the back of your mind, prior to entering the studio?
Jaakko: We wanted to have a modern meets retro type of production, if that makes any sense. We used many vintage guitars and amps, and wanted to have the best possible room for the drum recordings, in order to capture the sound of the room. At the same time we wanted the album to sound very modern, a 2019 record. We had the same mentality with the songwriting as well. I think we achieved exactly what we wanted.
What kind of input did the producer have during the process?
Jaakko: Johnny, our producer, basically became like a fifth member of the band when we started the pre-production period up until the last note was recorded, meaning there was no band + unknown producer kind of situation. We have been friends with him for a long time so working with him is always nice. He was not only the producer but he also engineered and mixed the album. Johnny always manages to get the best takes out of us and he's very good at what he does. What comes to the input songwriting-wise, some tracks had already started to take their final shape when we showed our ideas to him during the pre-production and there’s a few that we co-wrote together, based on one of our riffs or choruses that we had, for example.
And are you pleased with the final outcome? (sound - production wise)
Jaakko: Yes, absolutely. Couldn't be happier with the result.
Are there any decent venues in Kuopio and what about the local metal scene?
Jaakko: I think the local scene in Kuopio is not as lively as it used to be some years ago, when we were starting out. Of course there are a handful of rock and metal bands but at least the younger generation, meaning people who are 5 to 10 years younger than us, are not that interested in playing in bands or going to see the shows at youth centers that much. There are a couple of cool venues but the scene itself is almost non extinct compared to what it used to be in the good old days... I might sound like a grumpy old man but what can you do!
If there's anything you'd like to add, say, please do
Jaakko: I wanna say thanks to everyone who has been supporting the band one way or another over the years. We hope you enjoy our debut album and we hope to see you on tour soon. And thanks for having me!
INTERVIEW by: Urban Wally Wallstrom
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