INSANIA-Stockholm Finnvox Studios, Finland 11.7.2002

Aor-Europe was invited to the famous Finnvox Studios for a studio report and interview on the new Insania album, which will be released in October. Stratovarius has also been recording their new album in Finnvox at the same time, so the Insania guys have been borrowing some stuff from them for their album. The equipment pile from Stratovarius filled almost half of one of the rooms, so we just had to take a picture of that for you.

Insania was supposed to go on tour with Vince Neil, but due to illness in the band the tour got cancelled. But soon we have a chance to see this half Finnish band on tour with their new singer, Ola Halén, the perfect voice for Insania after David Henriksson left the band. We had a chance to hear one almost finished song called "Carry On" and it sounded great. The approx five minute song was an easier song, a good candidate for single release with catchy stuff that is "easy" for the normal listener. But most of the Insania songs will be more faster and technical. The whole band was present during this interview, but mainly Henrik Juhano (guitar) and Mikko Korsbäck (drums) took care of speaking.

- Since Insania is an old band, could you tell us a bit about your history and what took you so long to record the first album ?

MIKKO: Me and Henkka started playing during 1992 and we founded the band and we didn't have any singer, so I sang and played the drums, so maybe that's why we didn't get any record company to listen to us. But in 1997 David moved out from North of Sweden and when David started to sing with us we decided that we have to make a demo tape and try to get signed to a record company. So after that we got a frontman and a singer in David and it took about five months to get signed, so it was pretty fast anyway. But we've been playing since 1992, so that's ten years.

- What reactions have you gotten from fans from your albums ?

HENRIK: Good. The first one was not really well advertised. We didn't get so much reaction really. MIKKO: Yeah, there was no commercial promotion with the first album, so maybe that's why people couldn't hear about the album. With the second album we had a name in Sweden and got good critics with that one. HENRIK: And we recorded it in a great studio with a great producer, that helped us a lot.

- Does any of you have any classical background or listen to the music, since you've got the influences in your music ?

MIKKO: Not really. OLA: I play classical guitar, not much though. MIKKO: None of us grew up with classical music, but it's pretty fun to mix it into heavy music, sounds pretty good. Yngwie Malmsteen, Helloween sometimes, Stratovarius. But I don't think none of us likes the classical music too much, it's slow and too soft maybe.

- Where do you get your ideas from ?

HENRIK: We get influences from other bands, we listen to new albums and then we want to make similar music. But we want to make our own stuff. The biggest influence was Helloween, because Mikko (drummer) and I listen to Helloween. Mikko started liking them after Metallica. MIKKO: And that's one of the points too, because Helloween don't play that kind of music anymore, they're a little bit heavier and we're talking about Helloween on their best days, the Keeper albums. That's the kind of music I've loved from the beginning. We have to keep that kind of style since they don't.

- Were you looking for something like Kiske when you looked for a new singer and Can you reveal why David left the band ?

HENRIK: Of course ! Ola is Michael Kiske ! Kiske is the biggest influence ever. It's been twelve years since I heard him the first time and I knew then this was my kind of music. HENRIK: Personal reasons, no hostility between us. MIKKO: He wasn't fired or we weren't angry or something, he just decided to quit and move back to North of Sweden. HENRIK: David will reveal his reasons when he's ready, but we're still very good friends. Maybe he's going to continue with music, but not with heavy metal. Maybe he'll do some guest appearances.

- What are the expectations from the new album ?

HENRIK: We feel that other people have expectations from our new album. We play a little bit heavier. MIKKO: But we're more advanced and technical, but still fast and melodic, more mature Insania. And I think we'll put more orchestra and stuff into our music, there's more arrangements this time. A little bit more thoughts behind the music this time. Now we're thinking what we're doing and we've arranged the record a lot.

- Tell me about the new songs, the lyrics and recording process.

MIKKO: It's been much the same stuff as before. I write my way and the other guys their own way. But it's the same old Insania as before. It's great to work with Karmila 'cos he's a great producer and there's almost no pressure at all. It's pretty easy to record. It's like if I write a song and show it to the guys at the rehearsal, they tell me do they like it or not, hopefully they'll do and then we start to rehearse the song and after a while everybody gets some ideas. So we arrange it together. The guitar player always wants to play faster... HENRIK: And the drummer...that's a fact !

- What about the video material ?

HENRIK: We have no videos made, well one, but we won't use it...

- Is it like the ones Hammerfall have ?!

HENRIK: Yeah, it's very amateuristic. But we don't want to talk about our video. It's fun to watch our video now and then.

- Maybe you can add it to your homevideo someday ?

MIKKO: Yeah, maybe something like that, but we have to make a good one first. HENRIK: We've talked with our record company about that and they wanted to hear the songs 'cos we didn't make any demos. They were sort of trusting us. MIKKO: They don't know how our new songs sound like or the new singer... MIKKO: Roland Grapow, the ex-Helloween member, is going to play a couple of solos on this album. In my opinion he's probably the best guitar player Helloween has ever had. I like Hansen a lot, but if you're talking about solos then Grapow is the king. So it's great that he's playing with us. Maybe we'll have some other guests too, but it's not official yet.

- What are the plans after this album has been released ?

MIKKO: We're going to a world tour..heheh. We have to promote the cd also in Finland, 'cos as far as I know none of our albums have been promoted in Finland before. Then we have to get on the road and show the people what we do live. HENRIK: We have no gigs planned yet, 'cos we have the new singer and we haven't had time to rehearse. MIKKO: This studio thing came pretty fast, 'cos when David left and we started searching for a new singer we didn't know what to do, 'cos we planned to go to the Finnvox and record the cd this summer. But when David left we didn't know how to solve this problem.But we were a little bit lucky 'cos Ola heard that we were looking for a new singer. We did a couple of rehearsals and he gave us a demo cd with vocals and we told the record company that we wanted to do this studio thing 'cos we're not going on tour anyway. They heard his singing from the cd and said go to Finnvox.

- What happened with the Finnish Tuska festival, 'cos I heard you were going to play there ?

MIKKO: That's the other thing, we were short on time. Otherwise we would've played there. We're in this studio until Sunday, so we're a little bit out of schedule right now. So we'll do this record first. We decided not to play there 'cos we had to rehearse a lot of songs and there was no time for it. Hopefully there's Tuska next year too and we could be there.

- What kind of a band is Insania live ?

HENRIK: We don't know 'cos we have a new singer, so we don't know how Ola will work live. OLA: They call me Rubberface... MIKKO: You'll make some stupid faces.. OLA: Oh no.. MIKKO: Insania is pretty much the same as before, we'll play fast and loud. HENRIK: We'll play faster than on the record, there's more energy in the songs. MIKKO: Usually we try to put one or two cover songs in the set. Earlier we played a couple of Iron Maiden covers. Last year we played Future World from Helloween and stuff like that.

- Do you have stage sets ?

HENRIK: We have a few ideas, but it costs a lot of money. We have to wait a little. And if you play something like Tuska you don't have any sets. But on future tours we'll have something.

- What has been the best show from you and what about the fans ?

HENRIK: Sweden Rock was one, we played with Manowar (1999) at the same time, we stole some people out of the Manowar crowd. We were a fresh band with a new record and there were a few hundred people and they were singing our songs and that was really funny. We thought it would be empty. MIKKO: The stage was pretty small, but it was a great crowd and it was a full house when we got on stage. A lot of Insania fans there and signs. Then there was a festival with Sahara Hotnights and Hellacopters and it started to rain when we were supposed to go on stage and the crowd was leaving. But a lot of them came back when they heard us. We spent like 300 000 swedish crowns on sound and light. HENRIK: We were really tired and had a bad hangover, but we did a great show there. MIKKO: We've recently started getting fans from South America, they're signing our guestbook almost every day. It will be great to go there. We actually have a fan club in Chile. We haven't been there yet, so that's great. We've sold pretty well in Japan, but we're not as big as Sonata Arctica there, not even close. We have to do a tour first and promote the cd, so it will open their eyes. But we have to do the European tour first.

Do you have a story to share to our Beast Side Story page, anything funny or catastrophic ?

HENRIK: The whole band is catastrophic, we're psycho, we need therapy ! The name says it all, we're insane. You can't even sleep when someone is doing a practical joke on you. OLA: Me and Niklas are "ruotsalainen" (=Swedish) and seems like Finnish people think that we're "homo" (=gay, an old joke of Swedish men), but we aren't, so we get to hear that a lot.

[- By now all the rest of the guys were almost rolling on the floor laughing, but I still had to ask if there were any final words after they had calmed down.] We love you...stay patient, 'cos we're coming. We want to thank those who buy our music and those who like it. And we always do our best on stage.


Interview by Satu Reunanen,
Pictures: Kari Helenius

Layout: U :-)