Tuomas Seppälä & Capri – Amberian Dawn

Interview by Laura Medina

Amberian Dawn, a symphonic metal band from Finland, announced via their official website that they were parting ways with their longtime female vocalist, Heidi Parviainen, in early 2012 soon after their magnifying, superior and outstanding performance at the Metal Female Voices Festival (MFVF) X in Wieze, Belgium. Flash forward to December 2012, it was announced via their official website that the band would release a compilation album consisting of songs from their four previous albums that would be re-recorded featuring their new Finnish female vocalist, Capri!
 
With the release of “Re-Evolution”, their new female vocalist Capri poured out her own mix of classical and rock styles as well as raw emotions into those Amberian Dawn songs. She made them her own like she was part of the band from the beginning and those songs would appeal to both old and new fans of the beloved band. Not only would this mark a new chapter of Amberian Dawn as a band, but also this would start of something new and exciting.
 
I was so pleased and honored to have an opportunity to talk with Tuomas Seppälä, Amberian Dawn’s Founder, composer and Guitarist turned Keyboardist, & Amberian Dawn’s new Finnish female vocalist, Capri.
 
Hello Tuomas & Capri! It is a pleasure and honor to talk to you both and welcome to Femme Metal Webzine! I hope all is well with both of you?

Tuomas: Doing fine, thanks

Awesome! If you don’t mind, shall we begin! Your latest music effort entitled, “Re-Evolution” is a compilation album that contains previously re-recorded songs from the span of the band’s four albums, if I understood that correctly? Would mind sharing some details about the process of completing the new album with a new female vocalist since the departure of Heidi Parviainen and how that would be perceived with your fans?

Tuomas: We agreed with Heidi in early 2012 that we’re going to part ways but we decided to work together until almost end of that year so that we could promote “Circus Black”– album properly etc. It was really a hard task for me to find a new singer, a vocalist who would be good enough and could provide the new sound I was looking for. When I found Capri with help of my musician friends, it was like match made in heaven right away. At first we were just supposed to try out some of AD songs so that we could be sure that she’s the right person for the job. But after demoing those couple of songs, we all were so satisfied with the results that we decided to record a whole album. I’ve noticed that major part of AD‘s fans have accepted Capri as our new singer. Of course there’s also some, who aren’t accepting her at all. Those people will still always have the old AD albums and our strong legacy isn’t going anywhere.

Capri, you are the woman of secrecy behind the introductory video posted via YouTube if I might say. We can hear a lot of rock-like vocals, but I read you are classically trained. Would you mind telling us more about your musical background?

Capri: I’ve been singing all my life. First performing in public was when I was three years old and I remember I loved it. I started to play piano when I was 12, Singing lessons I started when I was 14 and in age of 19 I started my studies to become a singing teacher. Nowadays I teach singing and I’m for example in ABBA-Dancing Queen-Show in Musical Theatre Palatsi and we do lots of gigs of course.

Sounds great! Now this question is for both of you, what musicians or bands past or present have influenced you musically and impacted your life today.

Capri: I’ve always tried to be open minded for all styles of music. Yngwie Malmsteen, ABBA, Sonata Arctica, Heart, Within Temptation, Lara Fabian are just few I like to listen. And movie soundtracks like “Last of the Mohicans”, “Lord of the Rings” and so on.

Tuomas: I’ve got quite similar taste in music than Capri does. I like for example Ritchie Blackmore, Yngwie Malmsteen, Stratovarius, Dio, ABBA to mention a few. I’ve always listened to heavy metal and hard rock. And when I was maybe 14 years old, I started to play guitar because I loved the sound that Vivian Campbell had on DIO‘s “Sacred Heart” album. At that time I was a really hard DIO fan and I just loved the whole concept, Dio as vocalist, Vivian as guitarist, Claude as keyboardist, Vinnie as drummer and Jimmy as bassist. That was a killer combination. At different times I’ve had different favorite bands, but DIO has always been one of the most important for me. Later I discovered bands like ABBA and Modern Talking. Those bands I liked very much. I’m not listening JUST to metal music. I also like classical music and very different kind of good music.

It’s nice to have such a range and variety of music. In December 2012, I read that just a month after announcing Heidi’s departure from the band, Amberian Dawn introduced us to Capri and her captivating voice in the introductory video teaser for “Re-Evolution” on your Official YouTube Channel. Tuomas, would you mind explaining to us the process and the road to finding a new female vocalist that lead you to the beautiful Capri.

Tuomas: As I mentioned before, it was a really hard task. I was not looking for a classically trained singer. I was just looking for an awesome singer, which could sing both old & new Amberian Dawn stuff. Like you have probably noticed, there’s a lot of diversity in AD‘s music and also in the future we will keep on doing different kind of styles and experiments. New dimensions to AD sound is definitely going to rise. After a long searching I found Capri with help of my friends. Capri was “hiding” pretty well, because the musician & singing circles in Finland are quite limited, but still I hadn’t heard of her before.

I have noticed the diversity and new sounds with this record and might I say I am very interested to see what Amerbian Dawn has in store! Tuomas, how well has the band accepted and embraced Capri as their new band mate and as one of their own, professionally as band mates and privately outside the studio and concert stages?

Tuomas: We all band members just love her. She’s really a sunny person and a very hard working girl.

That’s nice to hear you guys really enjoy having her part of the band. Let’s talk about the album, entitled, “Re-Evolution”. What could you tell us about the arrangements and process of re-recording all the material again for this album?

Tuomas: We needed to drop the key of some songs, so that Capri could sing those songs with her rock voice. It was a really nice project and we got a change to add some orchestrations in the mix too for example. Our current co-producer Mikko P. Mustonen did an awesome job with the arrangements of those orchs. It was really great to see those old AD songs to get a new life with our new lineup.

New life to old songs + new lineup= great album! Can you explain the meaning behind the title, “Re-Evolution”, and how was that brought about during the recording of the album?

Tuomas: It’s obvious that the word Evolution represents the change in AD‘s sound and feeling. The name Evolution just didn’t feel right and we decided to add the “Re”- word in front to put more emphasis on the fact that the band has almost reborn.

I felt that while listening to “Re-Evolution” and thought this record was your best yet! Your first official single, “Kokko-Eagle of Fire”, off your “Re-Evolution” album has reached well over 40,000 views on YouTube, Congratulations! You both must be so proud, happy and excited about this fine accomplishment. What was the concept behind the video? And what has the response of the video been like so far among your fans?

Tuomas: The most important thing for me was to introduce our new divine vocalist to our fans and to the new audience. Secondly, I wanted to get some real pyro-effects on that video. I’ve never had a chance to play live with pyro-effects on stage and now we got a chance to have those on the stage while shooting the video. Also the lyrics of that song was supporting the fire-theme very well.

I loved all the Pyro effects throughout the video and felt like it portrayed the song “Kokko-Eagle on Fire” perfectly. Capri, you seem like a natural and look comfortable while performing on stage according to the video. Was this your first time performing on stage with a band or have you had previous experience singing at live concerts or performances before?

Capri: This was the first time on stage with Amberian Dawn but not really the first time on stage. I’ve been performing since I was three. Singing has been my “job” for many years now. For fun I’ve done a lot of tribute gigs like P!NK, Nightwish, Madonna. Very different kind of gigs but I think it’s very important to control your instrument in every style and learn more every day.

Awesome to hear you have prior experience on stage. I hear that Amberian Dawn is in the process of working on a new studio album with all-new material. Can you tell us where you currently are at the moment and how has the process been since Capri joined the band?

Tuomas: I’ve composed all the new songs and Capri has started to write lyrics. Capri and I are just doing some pre-production and demoing those new songs at my home studio. So far everything is going very smoothly. Soon we’ll have some news concerning this new studio album.

Cannot wait for your news regarding your next studio album. What can we expect in this album without spilling too much detail if I might ask? Don’t feel objected or obligated to answer, just a curious inner fan wanting to know!

Tuomas: I can say that this is going to best AD album so far. I’m very excited about it. No more hints I cannot give at this point, sorry.

Sounds very promising! Currently, what else is in store for Amberian Dawn? Will you be booking more live performances, or will you guys be strictly working and focusing on the new album?

Tuomas: We’re going to do more pre-production for new album and also preparing ourselves for our first gig with Capri. We’re going to play a live show here in Finland later this year.

Good luck with that live show in Finland! I am sure you guys will do great! I live in the United States, actually California to be exact; can we expect an Amberian Dawn World Tour in the future because it would be an honor and pleasure to have you guys play here in California one day?

Tuomas: We just love to tour and hopefully we’ll have a chance to play in US too some day. “A World Tour “sounds quite impossible at this point but of course it’s our wish that some day we would have enough fans so that we’re able to tour worldwide.

I wish you guys the best when touring in your home country and all over the world! A non-musical related question: Aside from being in a band, what other types of activities do you both like when not performing on-stage or recording music in the studio? What is your ideal perfect day look like?

Capri: Non-musical hobbies, hmm… I really love to watch movies. I probably watch 7-12 movies in a week. Last night I watched “Jack The Giant Slayer”. I love TV-series like “Game of Thrones” and “Dexter”. Then the basics like running, reading, and Finnish sauna. And I play Stiga Table soccer, (yes, it’s a toy )

It’s nice to have some rest and relaxation with a good book, movie, TV show or just doing whatever you like. I just recently graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development last month; do any of you have any other occupations or college degrees that fans might be curious to know?

Tuomas: I have a Master of Science – degree and I have studied piano as main instrument in music school for about 10 years. (From 5 to 15 years old)

I would love to learn how to play the piano, one day I will. We have reached the end of our time together. What final words would you like to say to your loyal Amberian Dawn fans?

Capri: I hope we have a lot of great gigs together!

Tuomas: Would be nice to visit US some day. We have a lot of fans there and it would be awesome to tour in US and play on some festivals there.

Tuomas and Capri, thank you both so much for taking the time out of your busy schedules to talk with Femme Metal Webzine today!

Capri: Thank you!

Tuomas: Thanks!

 

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All the photos by Toni Härkönen

 

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