Hi Anton! How are you today?
Fine, thanks! How are you?
Oh, fine thanks! It’s nice to talk to you! I’m Zsuzsanna Muszka and welcome to Kronos Mortus metal magazine! Could we start with the questions?
Ok, fine! First things first: in 2015 we got the sad news that Battle Beast tore up although as it turned out later that was the way to your absolute gladness and success finding quickly new mates, new band members, establishing Beast In Black. But, at the moment of parting with Battle Beast,did you already know that you wanted to continue with this style of music? What were your plans then?
Yeah, I already knew that I want to continue with this type of heavy metal. I was thinking about what to do but it came pretty fast to my mind that I felt I haven’t said everything yet with this style what I would like to say. The Beast thing as well says like hey, there’s this Beast character which I came up with I think in 2006 or around those times and I felt I wanna keep that in my new project as well. So I was thinking about the name for the band and how to use the word Beast and then there was also that Japanese manga-anime called Berserk where there was this character called The Black Swordman and his inner demon is the Beast of Darkness, so I combined those two in a way out, playing with those and it turned out to be Beast In Black. That’s the result which I came up with and I was happy with the name eventually. Luckily the band itself was formed quite quickly because most of the guys were also my friends from the past, except for Jan who is the newest guy. I met him for the first time in 2015. Before that we were only having been in touch through internet and chatting with him. But then, when I met him, I told that ’Hey, I have this new project coming up then if you wanna join’ and he was interested. That’s how it started.
Were there any expectations towards the new band members?
Well, how I would say that… Not really expectations but I knew that they all are great musicians already, so that was not really something that I expected, I already knew it but with time Jan has turned to be even better singer than I thought for the first time. There was a developement Jan went through when we started to work together. It was new for him and new for me. It was a great thing to see how things went especially with the debut album, you know. He had not recorded something like that ever before nor do I. It was something very special for us and together, as a band. When we worked on that album, we had no real expectations, we just wanted to do the best we could and then see what’s gonna happen. I was sure that I wanna do music, no matter what. I had no plan B. It was all way or noway. You can never see the the future so we just did our best and luckily it turned to all total surprise that people liked it very much and it became a successful album and music video. What I think, when you don’t have too much expectations, you might have some nice surprises waiting for you.
That’s true. So the band’s life has been quite exciting since 2015. „Straight forward to success” that happened to Beast In Black, one could say. What’s the secret of it? Maybe your musical style that’s really capturing, acceptible and fit for most of the people or something else?
I think there’s no real secret. I think it has to be like first of all: if you wanna build a career, you won’t be successful. First of all what you need is definitely to have good songs but that’s only the beginning. If you have the best songs in the world but nothig after that, you will not be successful. So that comes without shame. I believe that songs always played huge role in the band but we tried to do everything 100% like. There’s no details that we neglect, we tried to take care of every detail, first of all the band chemistry because you’ve there is something wrong, seriously wrong with the chemistry, even with one person, it affects the whole group and the whole crew walks with the band and people will see it when we play live shows but if the band team, the core team is tight, a strong unit that also reflects to that people. And since we played to many-many hundreds of thousands of people I think during last year and almost after every show people come out and say that „Wow, you’re so happy on stage and smiling” and they say they rarely saw a metal band that’s so happy on stage and I think we gained a lots of fans through that kind of positive energy. And also then we have the best possible management and booking agencies and the record label. All of these are like the best we could imagine. So it’s the wholeness, not just the songs, so everything makes it like the secret of having all these things taking care of, you know, a high level.
Yeah, it’s absolutely true. To be honest, I think you reached that step of success only by releasing Berserker album that level of reputation Battle Beast gained after several years and albums. What do you think about it? Are you still in connection with Battle Beast anyway?
I’m not in connenction with them since the departure but like I said previously, it’s all because of this everything about the band is taking care of. That’s why Beast In Black has grown a faster and bigger band than what Battle Beast was in the beginning, from the debut album until the third album. When I was in the band, with the three albums we were not that big with Battle Beast that we are now with Beast In Black already with the second album. If you compare the beginning, from the first album. It’s mainly because of what I explained in my previous answer to your previous question but also I knew people from the beginning, who knew that I was then to do something new and they were expecting this new band which was Beast In Black and that helped as well, when you have some kind of fanbase. But it’s never enough, it’s just one thing like I said.
I see. As for the previous album Berserker, as I know, you toured that time with Nightwish. A huge amount of people got you to know your band then and it was a great leap forward for Beast In Black… What experiences did you gain on that tour?
That whole tour was very extraordinary. Like a dream come true, it’s a perfect way to end a touring cycle for our debut album with that magnificent tour. It was an arena tour, supporting the biggest Finnish band ever. We gained a lot of fans on that tour, very much. And it helped very much our headline tour, many people come to see us to the headline tour because they became our fans on the Nightwish tour. The tour itself was six weeks and at some point it felt like time flies so fast because we were having good time there. There was a great band chemistry from day 1 with the crew and Nightwish itself and it was like a buch of friends together on the road, having good time and doing their job properly and like I said, it was a perfect possible way to end our touring cycle as a support band.
Great memories indeed! And now we’re waiting for the second album, „From Hell with Love”. Do you continue the way on this disc that you started on Berserker or we might expect something else? What are the main differencies between the two albums?
Well, musicwise actually I don’t see much difference. But people have said and we also realised that it’s like a more 80’s sounding album definitely. Apart from that to me it feels like more or less the same I see it, like the first album was 100% Beast In Black and the second album is also a 100% Beast In Black. It’s like they’re all a part of Beast In Black, they have their own character and different color but they’re all 100% Beast In Black. Like your children – if you have children –, all your children are equally yours but they all have their own nature, own character. That’s how we see the albums.
Every album has its own ’personality’, we could say. What were your main inspirations in writing this new album, lyrically and music-wise?
Music-wise it’s difficult to say, because most of the material consist of already pre-existing songs so there wasn’t really an actual songwriting process for the new album apart from two songs, the title track From Hell with Love and Oceandeep. These songs were born quite spontaneously, not long before the actual recordings. So the other stuff is, for example the song The True Believer was already written before the debut album but we decided not to put it on the debut album. It’s hard to say where some inspirations came because I don’t even remember always where some melodies came from. Just something starts to come to your mind you know, you just hear some melodies in your head and that’s how it happens. Sometimes it can be like some other songs or a soundtrack from a tv-show or a movie you hear a few notes and then it triggers something inside you and opens some musical doors and you start to hear some music in your head and that’s how it happens. But lyric-wise that’s always a big challenge for me. I have to think about the lyrical themes always much more, what theme fits to what song. Basically the album’s lyrical themes are divided in two categories. One category is personal stuff like personal experiences, feelings and statements and some kind of fictional things but the other part of the lyrics is based on Japanese anime and manga. Five songs are strictly based on Berserk and one song is based on Fist of the North Star. It was the first time that I co-wrote some lyrics: I co-wrote them with a friend of mine, Paolo Ribaldini, an Italian guy who lives here in Helsinki, the same city where I live and he is also a fan of Berserk and this Hokuto no Ken which is the Fist of the Norh Star. Hokuto no Ken is the original Japanese name of that series. And it was nice to write together because when you share the common interest with someone, it’s always like a nicer thing. Sometimes to work with somebody when you have time-limit and very tight schedule and somebody who understands what you want to deal with in the songs and when someone can help you with, that is a great help.
You mentioned once, related to the album cover made by Roman Ismailov that reflects to the love-hate relationships. What do you think about love and hate: with which one people have to be more cautious?
It’ a tough question when it comes to emotions. Sometimes emotions have to be what they are. You cannot force them. You cannot just stop feeling hate or stop feeling love. But it just takes time. Time has a tendency to change things. It doesn’t totally take away something but it changes. With time usually feelings grow more mellow. They are not so edgy, after some periods of time. Well, of course, when you feel some very extremely negative feelings and you wanna get rid of it – I think personally, am lucky from the prospect that I can put out those feelings through music and writing. And whenever you can process these things, I think that is the key. Whatever you feel, you somehow have to face your demons and yes, that would be my answer. Like you said, which you had to be more cautious with: love or hate – love can turn or trigger some kind of hate as well. I think that would be my answer like I said. You just have to process those emotions and find the way how to process it without harming others.
I understand. That’s absolutely true. Back to the new cd: we will have two bonus songs, one from Motörhead and one from Robert Tepper. These are covers of course. Why did you choose right these two songs?
Well, our bass player’s idea was to have Killed by Death, the Motörhead song. I knew the song since I was 8 years old so it was a kind of easy choice for me and also it was interesting to see how Jan will sing it because a Motörhead and Lemmy type of singing is totally different compared to what normally this heavy metal or power metal singing is. But I think Jan did a great job and it’s gonna be interesting for people to hear a Motörhead with also some keyboards there. So it was a nice try-out. As for the Robert Tepper song: I think me and Jan thought about it two or two and a half years ago or something like that and we both loved that song very much and we thought that bullshit to make a colour out of it, so finally we made it after these years and I think everybody in the band loved that whole soundtrack. At least Kasp, our second guitar player, he definitely loved that soundtrack as well and it’s just one of the best soundtracks from best movie soundtracks that is out there in my opinion so. And that is one of the best songs also from that soundtrack and we just wanted to stay loyal to the original but give this Beast In Black touch, Beast In Black treatment to it, to make it a bit more straight forward, maybe a bit more powerful but other than that we wanted to like really make justice for the original.
Yes, I understand. Soon your own tour starts and you’ll take the Finnish Turmion Kätilöt. An independent European tour and some shows are already sold out! That’s fantastic! What’s your opinion about it?
First of all, we feel that we are very lucky with this. We are very grateful that we get to do this headline tour soon because not many bands get to play a long headline tour after their second album. So we are very happy about it. I am looking forward to have good times, having fun with the fans, with the band and you know, with the whole team. We expect good times and great memories and successful tour in every way and hopefully next time we can play to more and more people and in more countries when the time goes by.
What will be your next step, your next goal after the tour?
Well, that’s the festival summer and after that we have few different plans for autumn so we’re trying to fix those. And whenever they’re fixed and time is correct we’ll have to start announcing the autumn plans. But whenever we have free time, we will definitely set our radar towards the making of the third album.
You already played in Hungary. Although you’ll skip out our country this time, do you have a message for Beast In Black’s Hungarian fans?
First of all, thanks for everyone who checked out this interview. Stay tuned for Beast In Black news. Go, get the album when it comes out on the 8th of February. Whenever we gonna come near your town, come to the show and until then just take care and listen to Beast In Black albums!
Thank you very much for your time and congratulations again! I hope to see you live soon! Take care and thank you for your time!
Thank you so much! That was a nice talk! Have a good evening!
For you too! Bye!
Thank you! Bye-bye!
The interview was taken with Anton Kabanen on 01.02.2019.
Contributed by: Zsuzsanna Muszka