1. All of us at AOR-Europe who have heard the record thought that there is a strong The Cult influence in there. Would you agree?
Sami Alho: Yes, we would agree. The Cult is one of our biggest influences, especially albums Sonic Temple and Ceremony. The Cult represents big guitars and groovy rhythms, which are very important to Free Spiritīs sound too. Also lyrics and overall feeling in The Cult songs inspired us when we wrote songs like Easy Days and Pale Sister of Light.
Petri Levelä: Currently we are recording new material and there will be one new song that will most likely kick pure rockers asses!
2. What other influences you have?
S: Free Spirit's music is mainly based on 70's heavy metal. Bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Whitesnake, Jethro Tull etc. etc. have influenced us the most. We actually found 70's heavy metal in late 80's and the inspiration it gave to us was one of the reasons why Free Spirit was founded few years later. Also 80's melodic heavy rock has come more and more important part of our music, especially after Heikki joined the band in 1999. Of course there are also lots of personal favourites, but the mainly we draw the line somewhere from Doors to Live both musically and chronologically.
P: Of course we are influenced by lots of bands, especially those we are compared to in many reviews. It feels good to wrestle in a heavy league with legendary bands like The Cult, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake, Led Zeppelin, Scorpions and so on. But still we are making our own music and we hope some day in the future we are one of those bands the newcomers are compared to.
3. You've achieved a lot as an independent band, videos, TV performances, radio airplay... how have you found all these contacts? Tell us especially how you managed to get your video to those TV channels in the States?
S: First contact came from Strutterzine, a Dutch Webzine. The editor of the 'zine heard our songs on MP3.com and he wanted to write a review. We sent him a disc and he liked it a lot and gave us a quite promising review (thanks Gabor, we owe you one), so we started to search new contacts from the internet, mainly magazines that concentrate on melodic rock. After the first reviews of the Easy Days-CD, we got requests from other magazines and radio stations who had read about Free Spirit and they got interested in writing a review or playing our music on the radio (one of them was actually Wally from Catchy Hooks). So one contact led to another and that's why Free Spirit is getting well known and we like to believe that the main reason why we have achieved quite a lot, is that our music has really spoken for itself. With the video almost the same thing happened: I found the imntv.com pages from the internet and sent the video Cry of an Eagle to them. Few weeks later we received an e-mail from an american girl who had seen the video on TV! We contacted imntv and they told that it was true. Free Spirit's video was accepted on daily rotation on a nationwide cable channel in America, but they had just forgot to tell us about it! Because the video was on rotation on imntv for several weeks, lots of other independent TV channels saw it and got interested.
P: It has been a lot of work, too. It takes time to search for record company, magazine and tv- and radiostation addresses. Somehow you still have to find time to write songs, rehearse, record and mix them, have contacts to magazines and stations and so on.
4. Are you planning to release a fullblown album on your own, or are you going to wait for a record deal to come through for that?
S: At the moment we are working with a new material, but we donīt plan to release it on our own. We hope that record companies finally take us seriously, because we have proven that we are very hard working and dedicated band and most of all our music seems to impress people around the world and it seems to have crossover appeal on it. New material will be released for promotional use only, but we have planned a D.A.M. CD release for the fans thru MP3.com. We hope and believe that one day in the near future, a full length Free Spirit CD will be available.
5. What direction the latest few songs you have written are heading to?
P: Itīs very hard to say. Even we have lots of different styles mixed in our music the basics still remain the same. We do the music that we like and thatīs pure rock with a big guitarwall and nice, catchy melodies, no matter what other elements there will be included. The most important thing is that it feels good to play and that new material is something we would buy from a record store. We like our rock served hard, loud and heavy!
S: One other thing is that we don't want to write one song many times. There always has to be something new that we haven't tried yet. We have very high threshold when we are writing a new stuff. For example one guitar riff or cool vocal line doesn't make a song. The whole package has to fit together. Basically we have two diffrent music style, songs with 70's, native american and celtic influences (like Easy Days) and songs with more 80's type of melodic guitar riffs and vocals (like Strangers of Love). It also depends quite a lot who brought the original idea of a song. I'm more into the 70's, Heikki is more to 80's and Petri is something between me and Heikki.
6. Are you following the melodic/classic/hard rock scene, and have there been any bands who have really impressed you lately? Or do you stick to the old favourites?
S: For me there haven't been any interesting bands for almost a decade. Of course there is always an interesting song or two on the air, but not bands really. So I guess I have to stick to the old favourites. I still always try find something new from the new music because my wish is to combine those great classic rock tunes to a modern sound in a Free Spirit way. Although I have to mention that I'm very proud of those new Finnish rock bands like HIM, Stratovarius and Nightwish who have been very succesful and I wish we can join them pretty soon.
P: Liveīs The Distance from Here was a great album and Guano Apes is pretty good too. And what Iīm looking forward to at the moment is getting that new The Cult album on my hands.
7. When can we expect to see you on stage or on TV?
P: Hopefully soon. New video "Strangers of Love" is basically ready and we'll start distributing it to TV stations later this summer. It seems to be easier to get the video on the air in the USA than in Europe, so propably the video will first be available in States and later in Europe. We don't expect to perform live in a near future (except two shows in late July) 'cos right now recording and writing new material is basically taking all of our time.
S: We'd like to perform live more often because it's the best thing a band can do, but as long we don't have a record company and manager to organize that, we really donīt have much chances to play live as often as we wish to. Right now the most important thing for us is to find a record company and best way to do that is concentrate to record new material and promote the band on the internet, magazines, radios and TV.
8. Anything else you would like to say to our readers? Where can they check out your music, etc?
S: First we would like to thank all those people from magazines, radios and TV stations who have supported us and especially we'd like to thank all of our fans! Later this year we will release a D.A.M. CD thru MP3.com which includes the songs from the Easy Days promo CD and these new songs which we are currently recording. If you wish to have a copy of the videos "Cry of an Eagle" and "Strangers of Love" please feel free to drop us a line at: email@example.com
P: Remeber to check out our music at www.mp3.com/freespirit. New songs should be available within a month or two. Take care!
By Kimmo Toivonen,