Tero and Samu (Embassy of Silence) – When Finns get worldwide inspiration

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Embassy of Silence

Embassy of Silence is a really cool (and I rarely say this) Finnish band with an eclectic yet somewhat humoristic approach. From the first song I listened I was hooked and definitely intrigued. Therefore, I got in touch with Tero and Samu and we had a really awesome Skype chat that you can read below. We touched upon all sorts of subjects ranging from the creation process, how they keep things funny, future plans and more! Check it out and if you want a good laugh, don’t miss the video at the end:

 

Alexandra: For those who are not familiar with you, could you briefly introduce yourselves?

Tero: I can start with this. I’m Tero Kalliomäki guitarist, composer from Embassy of Silence. The band started in 2007 with me and Ines. I found Ines online and asked her to come on another band’s record. After a while we started discussing ‘what if we start a new band together?’ with a different kind of music. We both liked Anathema, Opeth and bands like that.

Samu: Quite soon they asked me to jump in and we found a drummer, another guitarist and that’s it, it was quite fast action, really!

 

And when you create stuff together what parts do you have except playing your own instruments?

Tero: Ines does all the lyrics and vocal melodies and she does it well! I do almost everything else and of course we arrange the songs together with the band

 

While listening to ‘Verisimilitude’ which is your new album, I’ve noticed you guys are not afraid to add a bit of humour to your musical approach. Was that always the case?

Both: Yeah, it has always been the case!

 

Why do you use it, do you think it helps with the sound of the music?

Samu: I think it keeps it more interesting and we don’t stick to one genre

Tero: And Ines is also a very humoristic person and she likes to add that to the songs

 

How was the new album received so far?

Both: Quite good, actually!

Samu: ..and good articles..

Tero: .. from around the world

Samu: And it looks like people in the middle of Europe are more interested. In Finland there are so many good bands that it’s hard to break through.

Tero: But someone bought it also in Finland!

 

Well see you’re getting there! Did you get any negative critiques?

Tero: Just one..

 

What did it say?

Tero: From Germany..

Samu: But there’s also been really good feedback from Germany but oh well, we couldn’t really translate the whole article.

Tero: Yeah they said something about Bon Jovi..

Samu: And it was 5 out of 10

 

So Bon Jovi is not good..

Tero: Usually they say we’re goth metal in Germany but now it’s Bon Jovi

 

I think they say that because of the female vocalist because to me you’re veeery different than goth metal..

Samu: It’s very hard to put us in any label

 

That’s true I’ve heard so many influences from all over!

Samu: Yeah!

 

Being that you’re now at the third album with the band, how did your creation process evolve over time?

Tero: It has been quite the same always. I do the main song parts in my studio, now in a bigger studio than before. Now it’s a lot easier that I have the right equipment and cheaper also. We don’t have to use the very expensive studio anymore except for the mixing but nothing else really..

Samu: You put the songs together and then we start the rehearsals with the band and Ines is writing lyrics and she jumps in when she’s ready. That’s basically the way.

 

I was wondering if you’re planning any new video from the album?

Tero: We are planning a DVD!

 

Oooh, tell me about it!

Tero: Because its going to be 10 years with the band since 2007

Samu: Yeah so basically it’s not going to be about the last record but about the whole career but we have ideas about future videos as well!

Tero: We’d like to do a video for ‘Thimble’ that’s one of our favourites as well!

Samu: Making good videos also means lots of arrangements and not really free so it requires some sort of budget..

 

But it would be the same with the DVD if you want good quality

Tero: We are collecting all sorts of material and we will release it in 2017!

Samu: Because then it will be 10 years with the band

 

So then you will continuously collect stuff from the beginning until then

Both: Yeah

 

Will you also have like the way some DVDs have videos and live footage, and then the band talking about all sorts of experiences, do you plan on making something like that?

Samu: Yeah, something like that. Basically there’s not a strict plan yet but we’ll see.

 

That sounds like fun, I’m sure it will turn out great! I understood you guys had a really great gig last Saturday (17 October)! Tell me about it!

Samu: It was a home-town gig but sometimes these don’t feel like real gigs because they are not as big as a gig in the capital but still it was good. Lots of people turned out!

Tero: Yeah there were around about 150 people

Samu: And that’s a lot in this small town!

 

Yeah, that sounds like you guys had quite an audience! And did you play a bunch of songs from the new album?

Tero: Yes 5 songs from the new album and the rest was older stuff

 

How did the audience react to the new songs?

Samu: Of course because the album has been out for some time, the songs were familiar to some people

Tero: Lots of friends were there too!

 

So is that why it doesn’t feel like you guys are playing a gig because its your home-town so it feels more like home?

Samu: It does feel like a gig but it’s a bit different because it still has the aspect of partying with friends

 

Well isn’t that how it should feel?

Samu: Yes and it’s great but still it’s different than if you travel somewhere where you don’t have any friends in the audience

Tero: And I also played once dressed as Darth Vader!

Samu: ..so the humoristic aspect is also there during the gigs!

 

Well I’m pretty sure that makes the audience connect even more with you! Do you have any other gigs planned at the moment?

Tero: Nothing confirmed yet

Samu: Now we are looking for some external help for booking gigs

 

If you could go play somewhere where would you like to go?

Samu: I suppose Middle Europe would be something for a small tour!  That’s basically the plan but of course we accept gigs in Finland also, but we are aiming for some more abroad.

 

I was watching your video and I noticed you had a keyboardist who sort of got lost along the way. What happened there?

Samu: Well..yeah..that happened

Tero: He’s lost somewhere in Finland

Samu: There was a situation with his life, work, so he decided its better to quit the band

Tero: And he now has a new band whose name he won’t tell to us! It will be huge he says..

 

So you guys parted on good terms no bad blood and stuff.

Both: Nooo no!

Samu: He was saturday watching our gig. He’s a very good friend. And no hard feelings.

 

Sooo maybe then in the future you will have some songs collaborating with him.

Samu: Yes that’s very possible

Tero: I already played some acoustic guitars for his album

 

Was it good?

Tero: Yes it sounds good! It’s more power metal than us and its not my favourite thing, but of course I played in his band!

 

You’re experimenting, it helps! Do you guys find that the environment in which you grew up had an influence on the musical style you picked?

Tero: No..i don’t think so

Samu: I don’t know but maybe there’s ..I’m not composing or making lyrics but I can see that it’s an open environment and you can have lots of influences from around the world and many music styles. So the environment hasn’t been too closed.

 

So you got influences from all over!

Samu: Yeah maybe you can hear that in the record

 

Yeah absolutely, I found myself thinking of Spain at some point..I felt some Spanish influences along the way

Tero: Yes I was playing those castanets, so I was making those sounds on the record

 

From a listener’s perspective I do find it’s a nice surprise to find all these elements along the record, it’s what keeps it interesting.

Tero: Of course, one of my favourite tracks is the song ‘Moths’ which has those castanets and western style of music!

 

But by the way are the songs difficult to play live with all those layers of sound?

Tero: No..we use some background tracks.

Samu: And definitely now we are forced to used those background tracks because..

Both: ..no keyboards..

Samu: ..and those are really important elements for the songs.

 

So you’re not planning on bringing any Spanish dancer on stage to play them?

Tero: That would be fun..yeah..that’s..we have to think about that!

 

Maybe it goes with the whole Darth Vader suit.. you can make a whole theme!

Samu: We have had a naked guy on stage with a vacuum

Tero: It was part of our intro

 

How did you come up with that?

Tero: It was some crazy idea. I was at an Anathema gig and I saw they had a guy who was vacuum cleaning before the show so I thought we must have one of those ..naked!

Samu: Fat and naked

 

Was he like full on naked or..?

Tero: Actually he was! I remember when I put some oil on his back and rubbing it it felt quite gay..

Samu: Quite erotic show indeed

 

I think it would’ve been fun to see that so you should keep the elements!

Samu: The Spanish dancer would be a piece of cake after that

Tero: I can send you the youtube link of it

 

I’ll check it out! We’ll put it under the interview!

Samu: It’s not safe for work though..

 

A bit more serious now..as a band who has been around for a few years how do you view the current situation of the industry and the way it works?

Samu: As I said maybe the problem in Finland is that there are lots of good bands so it’s hard to get relationships with record companies and you really have to pay a lot of things by yourself. Maybe you can get a little bit of marketing but the situation is not good for newcomers..

 

Is it difficult bonding with different artists? If you tried to play with different bands.

Samu: No that’s not the difficult thing, we are friends with a lot of people who play in different bands but another problem is planning good gigs!

 

So the main issue is mostly with management and labels and stuff like that. When it comes to finding a label, I sort of noticed when reading your bio that your album releases were from different labels so why did you need to switch?

Tero: That’s because of the record companies’ decision they want to do just one album. They don’t do longer contracts anymore

Samu: We’ve used a Swedish, British and now Finnish label

 

With the labels from these different countries did you find any difference in the way they were operating and treating you?

Tero: Well the first company was from Sweden and was bigger and they had lots of contacts that helped us but not the British one because it was smaller

Samu: Okay but the main thing is we got our album out!

 

If you could share the stage with one band who would it be?

Samu: There may be 5 different opinions about that through the band

 

Well of course but I’m asking you!  

Tero: I have always answered this with Anathema

Samu: Of course it needs to be somehow in line with our music

Tero: Maybe Opeth, David Gilmour. I love Pink Floyd and David Gilmour.

 

Well both Anathema and Pink Floyd use plenty of influences in their music like you do so from that point of view it might work!

Tero: Of course! I must go to Vincent Cavanaugh and ask him ‘Well how about it?’

 

What’s your dream festival to perform at. Anywhere in the world!

Tero: The cruise what was it..?

Samu: The very big cruise?

 

Oh the 70.000 tons of metal?

Both: Yes!

 

Oh I want to go there one day! But a few finnish bands like Korpiklaani and Apocalyptica made it there already! 

Tero: Yes that is my dream!

Samu: Yes for sure! But there are similar cruises for progressive bands.

 

Those are amazing concepts!

Tero: Or Wacken

Samu: Or Sziget

 

What celebrity or band do you dislike the most?

Both: Uuuugh

Samu: This is hard

 

I don’t mean trash your fellow bands or musicians but I mean there are certain acts you wont like and I’m just wondering what those are and why

Tero: I like so many shit bands. Its hard to say anything bad!

 

You can be polite!

Samu: I don’t really hate any performer or band

Tero: Power metal is not my thing

Samu: We can say Nickelback that’s always a good answer

 

Heeey I like Nickelback!

Samu: It’s a common answer

 

Wait I heard power metal that’s the whole genre so you don’t hurt anyone’s feelings in particular

Samu: That’s Tero’s opinion

Tero: There is one power metal band that I like

 

Which one?

Tero: Rhapsody of Fire and Luca Turilli is a very good player

 

So Samu who do you dislike? I’m not letting you guys off the hook..

Samu: Dammit! Actually..U2 ..That band is so over-rated. They have like a million albums and just a few decent songs

Tero: And I don’t like KISS

 

Okay, I’m done with torturing you! I was wondering if you have any last words for our readers?

Samu: I wasn’t ready for this! Keep your eyes and ears out for Embassy of Silence stuff will happen soon in Finland and the rest of Europe!

 

And if you guys are curious about the naked guy with the vacuum cleaner, he’s not a myth:

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