Lassi Vääränen and Iivo Kaipainen, respectively singer and guitar player of the Finnish Symphonic Power Metal band Arion, allowed us a bit of their time before their show at Turku’s Apollo.
How are you?
Lassi: Pretty fine
Iivo: Yeah, we’ve been in a good mood again so… There are many people who come, so that’s great, yeah!
Lassi: Definitely feeling really good at the moment.
For the ones who still don’t know you, can you quickly introduce the band?
Lassi: Hmm… That’s a difficult question.
Iivo: We always discuss labeling our band into any specific gender. Basically a modern metal band with catchy choruses and pretty heavy stuff, some elements from Symphonic and Power Metal too. A background lies somewhere in like Power and Symphonic Metal but we evolve in two worlds with american riffing and stuff like that, that’s kinda combined with those Symphonic stuff.
Lassi: I would also mention the talents we have in this band.
Iivo: Yeah, general musicians, that’s kinda the selling point.
How did you come with the name Arion?
Iivo: It comes from a Greek Mythological book or something like that. It doesn’t have a deep meaning. I’ve been asked that a couple of times, it doesn’t have any deeper meaning.
Lassi: I’ve actually heard the answer many times, I still can’t remember…
Iivo: Basically my mom found it from a mythology book and she was like “okay this is a cool name”. And initially we didn’t approve the name we had first, we came up with a pretty shitty name first, which isn’t worth mentioning and after that I suggested maybe Arion and they were like “okay it’s pretty cool, let’s go with that”.
Lassi: Is it like a God from Greece ?
Iivo: Not a God but like a singer or an artist you know, that’s who Arion is.
Lassi: Good question! I should read the interviews and check it out.
You came to France for the first time during spring 2019, what’s your feeling about the French public?
Lassi: It’s been a long time, almost three years. The shows were awesome, of course the whole tour was awesome. But like France, the food, the wine, that’s something I really love there. I remember playing in… What was the name of the cities?
Iivo: Paris at least and…
Lassi: Yeah Paris was awesome.
Iivo: And Lyon of course.
Lassi: Paris was probably sold out actually.
Iivo: And something else.
Iivo: That’s where I got the food poison, that was awful.
Lassi: That was from here?!
Iivo: Yeah it was there, yeah that was awful, let’s not talk about that. And something else too
Iivo: Ah yeah Toulouse!
Lassi: Yeah that was in a really small club! Yeah really loud fans in Paris I remember.
Iivo: The best date of the tour I would say.
Lassi: And the cities are really beautiful, for sightseeing and this kind of stuff.
Iivo: The day off in Paris was pretty awesome.
Lassi: So we love you guys!
What was your inspiration for the new album?
Iivo: Basically pretty negative stuff in general. I’m the lyric writer of the band so it basically came down to a lot of stuff from my personal life which took dramatic turns throughout 2019. Also with the band we had some turns out events if I may say. That’s basically the general inspiration for the album. And yeah, it turns out pretty intense I would say.
What’s your favorite song on the new album? And why?
Lassi: It’s been a while since someone asked this one. One year ago I would have probably say Bloodline or In the Name of Love, those ones are the biggest ones on radios and Spotify but yesterday we played Break My Chains and I Don’t Fear You and I’d say I Don’t Fear You wasn’t my favorite song in the studio but last night when we played it live it was probably one of the best songs.
Iivo: Yeah absolutely, it was an absolute blast.
Lassi: Yeah cause there’s easy lines so you can get the crowd with you and that’s something I really love so I would say I Don’t Fear You.
Iivo: Yeah for me too initially it was Bloodline and of course In the Name of Love too. There’s many kinds of attachment points for me for each of the songs so it’s difficult to say one but I love Bloodline for its massive Arion describing sound, In the Name of Love for its catchiness and I Love to be your Enemy for being so brutal. The instrumental song also of course.
Lassi: And I also have to point out that Susanna from Cyan Kicks was featured on In the Name of Love and Noora Louhimo (Battle Beast) in Bloodline which was awesome.
Iivo: I can’t name a favorite one so maybe I’m just gonna say Bloodline, it’s easier that way.
Lassi: I just remember that I’m Here to Save You is also a great live song!
I Love to Be your Enemy is completely different from what you get us used to, how did you come up with the idea of this song?
Iivo: It’s actually a bit of a funny and complicated story. There was this brutal instrument piece which wasn’t written by me but by Topias (drums), it was kinda difficult because Topias directed me to fill this song with vocals and melodies.
Lassi: Topias usually write in a progressive way.
Iivo: Yeah, this was also the case here, it sounded like a pretty progressive piece for me too and I didn’t know what to do here cause it doesn’t sound like an easy thing to write with catchy melody for the verse part, the chorus was easier. Then I kinda came up with the idea of having a brutal vocalist, like a feating there. I wrote kind of a rap to complement the verses and when we demoed it together with Lassi…
Lassi: Yeah, it was supposed to be just a try
Iivo: That’s it but it sounded so freaking awesome that we decided to just keep it. That’s the way the song kinda came together. I was like “Yeah okay this is pretty damn cool”, we’ve never done this before and not anyone has done this before so that’s why the song is so cool. It combines the progressive elements, the very catchy chorus, the very brutal lyrics and a very different kind of singing/rapping song which is really unique.
What song would you like to play the most live?
Lassi: Well, I said I Don’t Fear You earlier but… Hmm, I’m Here To Save You, I’m gonna answer that one. There’s also the chorus part where it’s so simple to get the crowd to sing along. It looks like people like that too so I’m Here To Save You is my answer.
Iivo: For me it’s Punish You actually, cause it’s the first most familiar song on the setlist and that’s kinda ignite the crowd and we’ve been playing it for so long it’s easy to nail, that’s an important ego boost on stage, to nail a song be confident about that.
How did you guys build the setlist for this weekend?
Iivo: We have this rough idea of the core setlist which consists of the most popular songs and also some of our favorites, some we like to play, that fans would probably expect but we like to play.
Lassi: And of course we wanted to choose new songs.
Iivo: So we kinda tried to make a nicely flowing setlist.
Lassi: It seemed to be working yesterday.
What are your best and worst experiences as a musician?
Lassi: Well, I played these shows almost ten years ago where you’re driving five hours with a shitty car, in the snow, then you do soundcheck and everything and when showtime comes, there’s no one. There’s only the mixing guy and bartender here, so basically two people. And leaving home after that you’re thinking like “should I do this at all?”, that’s probably the shittiest thing.
Iivo: Yeah I’d say that too. Pretty much all of that like that stuff you do at the very beginning of your career. not all of that is shitty of course but when you go really far away and no one shows up and you’ve put all that effort in that and you think you’ll never become anything, that’s the worst probably. And well, the best is probably playing abroad anytime. It’s pretty damn cool and it’ll always be great.
A band you consider as underrated you would recommend everyone to listen to?
Iivo: Cyan Kicks!
Lassi: No, I can’t say Cyan Kicks. I would say Ember Falls!
Are there any musicians or bands you would like to collaborate with?
Iivo: I already mentioned in previous interviews Jack-E from Cyhra, of course, who’s one of my favorite singers and probably the best live singer ever, after Lassi of course.
Lassi: Yeah Jack-E is very cool.
Iivo: There are also pretty cool female singers too like Melissa Bonny for exemple, Alissa White Gluz is pretty amazing. I’m not sure if we could find something that would suit her style but she’s pretty cool. Nyango Star, that Japanese apple cat drummer with the costume. I would like to jam with them someday, it would be really awesome
Lassi: Actually I haven’t thought about it lately at all but I would say Melissa and those female singers. We have noticed those kinds of duets work pretty well with the writing stuff Iivo does.
Which bands would you love to tour with? I let your create a tour with your band as opener and three other bands
Lassi: Battle Beast, it has always been a pleasure so that’s easy to choose.
Iivo: Nightwish, of course
Lassi: Yeah it would be really cool ! And Cyan Kicks!
Iivo: Cyan Kicks, Sabaton and NightWish!
What do you know about the French Metal scene? Which French bands do you know and like?
Iivo: Gojira, of course. And when I was a teenager I used to listen to a prog metal band called Adagio. The guitar player was pretty good. The singer was also good. He was Finnish actually?
Lassi: Christian Palin used to sing!
Iivo: I used to listen to that. But not much anymore cause I’ve kinda moved away from that, more into generic power metal stuff but it’s a cool band.
Lassi: Actually I have to say Adagio is the only French band I know, with Gojira.
What if I ask you to compare your music with a dish? Which one would it be and why?
Lassi: Something pretty spicy I think. And probably something huge too.
Iivo: A really spicy hamburger! Because our music is pretty turbo charged. Probably something really beaffy but with some salad there too.
Lassi: with two steaks!
Lassi : There has to be meat !
Iivo : But there has to be some vegetables too. Or it’s to heavy you know
That was my last question, thank you for your time and your music, last words are yours!
Lassi : Come to see us when we’re in your city or country. The world seems to open again to music so let’s enjoy it!