It was a rainy night in Helsinki as we crumbled to the band tourbus filled with stuff for a chat what's been going on with this melodic metal band lately, who've released two albums so far. On this night the band was sharing the stage with Human Temple, the melodic band fronted by the famous finnish pop singer Janne Hurme and Agonizer, another powerful band hailing from Pyhäjärvi, who also just played in the first ever held Finnish Metal Expo. Vesa Virtanen (vocals) and Carl-Johan (Calle) Gustafsson (guitar) were the most talkative band members, eventhough most of them were present in the bus.

RockUnited - So, how are you guys doing ?

Vesa - We're doing fine. Our new album was just released two days ago and now we're just waiting who's buying it, if anyone. We hope to do lots of shows.

RockUnited - What is the story behind your band name, has it been taken from a game or self invented ?

Calle - That was in 1996 when we thought of the most stupid name for a band and decided this would be it.

Mikko Tång (bass) - But it's some kind of a role game also.

RockUnited - I remember your show in Nummirock, Finland in 1999 when you played on a really small stage outside the festival area, in the middle of the camping area. How did you look at the band then and what did you expect from the future ?

Vesa - I think we'd just released the sadly famous ep "Land Of The Kings", which was sent throughout the world hoping someone would contact us for a deal. We were travelling in the same buss with Impaled Nazarene. We also played there again in 2002.

RockUnited - Already then your guitarist Calle was noticed to be quite a virtuoso. How much the guitars take room from your music ?

Calle - I play a lot every day. But what counts in the end is what each member brings along.

Mikko - But we're more guitar orientated than for example Nightwish or Sonata Arctica.

Vesa - And since we're not planning things before a show, Calle has more room for his playing in our shows if he feels like doing that. And even more so when we don't have a second guitarist.

RockUnited - Is all that just show-off or love for playing ?

Calle - It's love for playing. You just play because you love it, you don't give all that stuff to the audience for nothing, it's just natural to me.

RockUnited - Many people don't like it when someone starts showing off with difficult technical stuff. Maybe it's just jealousy.

Vesa - There's nothing wrong if you've learned all that and want to play it.

RockUnited - Have you taken any quitar lessons ?

Calle - When I started out I took some with basic blues stuff and later on I went to the musical institute and learned classical guitar for a while, but I'm basically self-taught. I learned the basic things at classes.

RockUnited - If your band was a child, what kind of a child would it be ?

Henri Suominen (drums) - Some kind of a love child, sympathetic and cuddly...undisciplined, long laiboured child.

RockUnited - Now back to the Nummirock 2002 show, you once again played there. How was the experience now, was it any different to your earlier one ?

Calle - We had a bigger stage and it was really cold. We had fun and there were enough people. It started raining when we went on stage. In '99 we played with our shorts on and this time we had to wear many shirts. But people knew our songs better this time.

RockUnited - You've had Children Of Bodom-like murdering keys since the day you started, what's the story with them ?

Calle - That just came there. If something sounds good, we just do it.

Vesa - It works, so why wouldn't we use that.

RockUnited - There's different influences in your music. I can hear it balancing between Uriah Heep, Rhapsody to Steve Vai-trickery. What do you listen to yourselves ?

Calle - Anything really, from jazz to pop and classical.

Some of them even mentioned some hip hop sounding good and not being afraid admitting to liking something which is classified as irritating music. So the band feels more open-minded these days to things, when earlier they had a narrow view to things. Then a discussion went on for a while about growing up and being open-minded. In the end they decided that after years go by you evidently start to blossom, so to speak. Alright, now we're talking, I thought. Metal men getting deep, discussing some seriously fluffy stuff. But then they shut their mouths with a grin on their faces. I was still wondering how has Stratovarius influenced their music, especially "Time Has Come" has something along their lines.

Henri - Jörg Michael was the one who got me into drums. It was a new era for me, earlier I'd only been playing at school. From there on I started practising more seriously.

Vesa - Kind of strange to compare our stuff to Stratovarius, since most of us haven't even been listening to the band.

Mikko - "Episode" and some others were good, though they still are. The ones that came out in the end of '90ies and after weren't that good anymore.

Then there was a dispute about "Episode" and a quick coverage on all Stratovarius albums. There were good sounds and productions, to which Vesa stated it's hats off for the band, they're after all the Godfathers of Finnish heavy metal scene. And after all, many of todays bands are getting their influences from them. The guys were drinking in their bus before the show, so I had to ask how well do they deal with being under the influence of alcohol on stage. They thought they weren't even drinking yet, and it was still couple of hours for showtime. And as they said, they have a high level of moral about working. But then again, might be that Mikko is the only one who'll be sober on stage.

Vesa - Somewhere along the years we've noticed you just can't play if you're drunk.


The band also went to Russia for a few shows. When I mentioned the word "Ryssissä" to them, which is a rough translation in finnish of russians and also a remaindering word from the times of war, they couldn't stop laughing at my statement. But it's a word that got stuck to our vocabulary. where exactly did the band play, how well were they received and what memories do they have from there ?

Vesa - It was fun, it was like Dingo-hysteria over there. (Dingo being a legendary finnish band which sold albums like crazy and created total chaos in Finland). But none of them knew our songs and after our first show we threw some of our demos to the crowd and on the second show they knew our lyrics already. That was great.

Calle - And the girls were in short tops there.

Vesa - We played in a place where bands don't go too often.

Henri - There was some ten years now in between...hah..The last time we played Europe's "Final Countdown" there, and the shows were arranged by our city together with another city which was our twin town there. Afterwards the people were talking about Europe visiting their town. They only knew that song from them.

RockUnited - Your band name describes your music well, but the word Twilight is very used with bands, you can find bands with this name even from early 90'is. How much has it created confusion ?

Vesa - There's been a few, but we just have to deal with them. Why bother yourself with that since you're already screwed.

Henri - When we started the band we weren't thinking about it or knew about other bands.

RockUnited - What would be the best description of your music, some kind of power metal ?

Calle - I don't think power metal is the right word. Mikko has a better description about our music.

Mikko - I'm not even sure what that means.

Vesa - I think it's got more to do with the lyrics. But our first one was more towards that. The new one has nothing to do with any swords and stuff. Usually the sounds are very massive with those bands, like Manowar.

RockUnited - They don't consider themselves being power metal and me neither.

Henri - It has to have choirs and classical influences for that. But our lyrics exclude that out. We've got old school in our music and power metal, even progressive influences.


RockUnited - You released your new album "Wasteland". How do you feel about releasing it to all ears ?

Calle - We feel good about it, since we mixed and mastered it again. The original version wasn't how we wanted it to be.

Vesa - It was a long process with that.

Henri - We released our first one "Tales Of The Brave" in 2000 and "Wasteland" came out in September 2004. We mostly just waited to get another one out. It was starting to annoy us really.

Mikko - And now you're interviewing us, which is kinda funny, 'cos in these past four years hardly anyone has interviewed us. But now we've gotten some gigs, so it looks much better now.

RockUnited - How does your latest album differ from your debut ?

Calle - We've got better sounds now, which together with the songs this time are more diverse. And now the lyrics are better, it's more interesting to read the lyrics now.

Vesa - There's more depth in them. But since we started recording this long time ago, we've still got some old stuff haunting in it.

Henri - The first album felt a bit too straight. Now there's more colour in the songs.

Calle - And Vesa is The Eino Leino of metal music (late finnish poet).

RockUnited - You've changed the producer with this album. Was it a result from the label change, since the first album was well produced already ?

Vesa - We didn't exactly have a producer with this album. Karmila mixed it, but we screwed up with the rest of it. Karmila just fixed what he could. We're never satisfied with our work, but Karmila did great with it.

RockUnited - While waiting for the new deal you weren't getting desperate then ?

Calle - Well, the motivation was quite low at times, thinking is there any sense in things since nothing's happening.

Vesa - But it's more fun now since the members are still the same and now the album is out and we've gone through all kinds of shit.

Calle - And since Jari (Pailamo, keys) joined the band a year ago we got more inspiration to keep on playing.

RockUnited - What happened with your previous keyboard player ?

Calle - He decided to leave the band after "Wasteland" was done. It was about a year that we searched for a new one and we got the best.

Vesa - We had a mutual understanding about the situation. Antti (Valtamo) has never been that deep of a heavy metal fan. He had no motivation to stay and it showed in the music.

Calle - But we didn't kick him out, he wanted to leave.

RockUnited - How do you think Spinefarm Records will open doors for you ?

Calle - We hope to get as much gigs as possible, that's the main goal, so we can promote the album.

Vesa - Anything from our former german label is better and gets us further. We didn't get no help for any matter from them. Things are looking much better already.

RockUnited - That was Angular Records, right ?

Vesa - Yeah.

Spinefarm is well-known for its artists like Nightwish, Children Of Bodom and so forth, so maybe this time around these Guardians have some hope on the musical playground. They're not of course the priority of the label, but Japan should work for this kind of melodic metal. They even have a blonde guitarist, which should be a big plus in the land of the dark haired female metal fans. Calle recommended they'd all go blonde if they ever go to Japan. For the latest album the guys recorded a Judas Priest-cover "Rocka Rolla", which the band actually found to be quite humorous at first, but decided to record it. Later on it started kicking in. What other cover ideas did they have in store for the album ?

Vesa - It's difficult to choose a song which we're all interested in playing, since we all like different kind of music.

Calle - And it has to be an obvious decision, with personality in it.

Vesa - We want to add our own things to it too. The original video of it (Priest) is really funny. We haven't got any videos out yet. We did film one, but because of an incident we never saw it ourselves.

Calle - We made one for the song "King Of The Wasteland", but the files probably got stolen. So that was it.

RockUnited - Thinking about the finnish or national tv, it's quite useless to make music videos. And even if you're a bigger band like Nightwish, you still might not get your video on rotation because of some weird decisions. But going back to the cover songs, you also recorded Ozzy's "Bark At The Moon", so I take it Ozzy is one of your idols also ?

Calle - It's the skeleton in the closet for all of us.


We went through the songs a little on "Wasteland" and "Time Has Come" was the first song the band recorded, the lyrics were done last. The song itself was about the anxiety the band felt while being on Angular Records, going nowhere and seing the grass is greener on the other side. "Father's Cave" introduces the Gary Moore "Always Gonna Love You"-type of intro made by their previous keysman Valtamo, but the whole band worked on the song, when others were mostly done by one or few persons. "The Wraith" comes from the typical winter evening melancholia, which starts to kick in afterwards. The lyrics were written leaning to the atmosphere and they go much hand in hand with the Edgar Allan Poe-type of twisted gloomy horror. "Search For Grace" has perverse, altered guitar sounds playing tricks in the beginning and Calle was exactly after that mood, though the band wasn't too keen on the idea. What about the last song "Hellward" then ?

Vesa - When the "Tales Of The Brave" was released we played a couple of shows with Tunnelvision, who are pure prog metal. They got me into prog and I wanted to write something along the lines and this song turned out. It's my favourite tracks, but hey, I wrote it, so...(laughs). But it was a good closure for the album.

RockUnited - What is the writing policy among you ?

Calle - Usually me and Vesa work on the songs.

Vesa - It depends on the situation. Sometimes you bring some stuff to the rehearsal place and we start working on that. Sometimes I use the computer to write songs and it's easy to write lyrics at home too, it's a peaceful working ground.

RockUnited - And everyone's happy ?

Henri - The rhythm section is happy.

Someone blurted that "the rhythm section does what is told", but the guys seemed to be pleased about everything and thought the direction stays more clearer when only couple of persons work on the material.

Vesa - And it's good also, we get brilliant stuff since Calle is a fan of classical music which shows in his playing, and I like different things.

RockUnited - You've already got material for the next album. Will you stay the same or are there surprises ?

Calle - We'll have them, but better not start guessing on those. It's going to be even more heavy and darker than before.

Vesa - I think it'll be even more versatile.

RockUnited - Are you going to have more grunts there ?

Calle - We haven't decided on that yet.

Vesa - We're working on that.

RockUnited - And all of a sudden you're a black metal band...but how hard do you work really, since you've just released this album and now you've already got new material ?

Henri - You have to remember the time-line, we've been writing for a few years now.

Vesa - But since we waited for so long, our motivation was lost and we had no interest in writing anything. Our last material was lying over in Germany for a long time. But it's quite easy to write songs. We could release a new album every two months !


RockUnited - How long do you think you'll have the interest in playing this type of metal, it's gotten really popular in the last few years.

Calle - We're all growing up all the time and getting older, so the music will develop as we go. It's not going to be like this forever, it'll change for sure.

RockUnited - What about classical influences, do you think you'll find yourself writing Nightwish-type of songs since you love classical music ?

Calle - It's hard to tell, we'll see.

Vesa - And I'll write jazz-orientated material.

The band saw the road free ahead, but still referring "what ever works on the Arkadiankatu", a street in Helsinki, which is a low standard set for themselves. But how do they preper to keep their foot on the tight competition between bands like themselves ?

Calle - I think our music is original in its own way, you can't compare it that easily to other bands. Maybe this is where we will have a chance to break through.

Henri - I think we don't feature much new elements, but a good song is always a good song. I don't listen to them thinking do they have something new to them I haven't heard before.

Vesa - You better not think what band each song reminds of. You wouldn't write any material in that case.

RockUnited - Now I want to know about this strange project band called Six Pack Annie I read about.

Vesa - Where did you read about that ?! It's even older than Twilight Guardians. I was the founding member and we're the typical cover band at restaurants. We still play when we have time, which is about three gigs in a year.

RockUnited - You wouldn't by chance have taken the name from the movie ?

Vesa - It was stolen from somewhere, can't remember where.

They weren't familiar with the movie, which started a funny conversation reflecting it to porn movies. The title sounded quite hideous for those movies for all of us though. Twilight Guardians had some shows ahead and they still manage the show booking themselves. From their mouths they're a tight live band, who don't really use bombs or anything on stage. They don't even have a backdrop, but as long as they can't have those they count on their music doing the talking. The perfect show musically and placewise would be Wembley Stadium with 125 000 people, Queen and Metallica warming up for them.

Vesa - But the best part would be in the audience and no one would complain about being drunk on stage.

As for the other bands on the bill this night, Vesa mentioned never hearing about "none of them. This is the second time for me here. The last time was on New Years and my cousin was taken to the hospital from here. Got stiches into the hand".

Henri - Janne Hurme sings in one of the bands. That should be interesting.

RockUnited - What would you like to say to the european readers and fans now ?

Vesa - I've got nothing to add. Get the album, memorize the lyrics and join the fun. All of you from Lappeenranta to Greece come sing along. You can also send chocolate in the mail.

RockUnited - Thank you for the interview.

Band - Thank you.

And the night was as usual in Stella Star, only a couple of music fans present and soundwise what the club has to offer, as empty and distorted as always. But the Guardians gave their best and the fans enjoyed it. Not the best place for any bands to play in, but better than nothing. The band has a handful of shows this year in Finland, though fans would like to see them all over the world. In the meantime catch them in the beautiful finnish summer.

Interview by Satu Reunanen,
Pictures by Kari Helenius,
(c)2005 RockUnited.Com