Musicscan: Can you perhaps tell us something about the intention and the spirit of the band when it came to be. Has it changed in any way until today? What kind of philosophy is the basis for what you are doing, and what is driving your creativity?
For The Imperium: It was our drummer Tuomas who wanted to put up a band with a more higher purpose. And I'm not talking about the religious sense but more in the musical sense. He tried some different musicians and eventually came up with the "fantastic four". We even had a fifth member in the very beginning, but as the band got more serious and we started to play live, the four member-version seemed to be a better choice. And honestly, I feel it was the right choice.
The idea behind our music is probably the same as many other bands', to make good, new music that takes us and the listeners to a new level. Yes, I know, you have heard it a thousand times but this time it's for real!
We always push ourselves to the limit and try to keep the excitement and the pressure all the way up. That's the main thing that keeps us going forward. Will we maintain it? Let's see what the future brings.
Musicscan: Did all members of the band had an equal vision about how the band should sound like from the beginning, or is the music sort of a "crazy compromise"?
For The Imperium: Every band wants to have a democratic atmosphere and each individual of the band wants to feel equally important. Well, as we all know, it doesn't always work like that.
If some of us has a vision, you just speak out and then you just hope that the other members of the band can get a grip of that vision and add it to their personal music agendas. Sometimes we all feel the same, sometimes not. It's like that, you know. If three out of four loves it, so... hmmm - The one just has to deal with it! So basically it's a democratic thing but in the end, not!
Musicscan: As far as scenes and styles go, the industry’s constantly changing. Who do you feel sets out with the same ideology as For The Imperium; attempting to accomplish the same things that you have?
For The Imperium: Who has the same ideology? Probably a lot of people! Still, there are few who really wants to make something out of it. Many bands, labels, overall people are scared to make some difference in this modern music world. I'm not blaming anyone for being scared, but it's easy to be among the sleeping majority and not take the chance to make a difference. I hope you understand my point? To make something new that will blow your mind away, you have to let go of the rules and create some new shit of your own. Lifeforce are already doing that and I have a really good feeling about the things going on right now!
Musicscan: A lot of todays bands seem to miss passion, but you are having lots of it and that's why I enjoy your album so much. Is it just a question of attitude? In my mind you Lifeforce debut is one of the most courageous records I have ever heard. It´s intense and really shows what the band wants to do, no matter what listeners say. What would you retort to that?
For The Imperium: As I said, I have to give a big hand to Lifeforce. But, at the same time I don't want to sound like a prick! Usully the labels welcomes the band to their family, but in this case - I welcome Lifeforce into the For The Imperium family! Warner Finland already joined us on our crusade and I hope that Lifeforce will enjoy the crazy ride they're about to take with us. Look at it like this: Welcome to the Romen Empire! Ha ha =D
Passion is everything. And positivity. I know there will be the day when it's gone, but I hope it happens when I'm already dead. We don't know where this all is leading us. The important thing is that we love to do it and we do it one day at the time and enjoy every second of it.
I don't want to talk about other bands that have lost their passion to do honest music. If someone wants to do ONE "guaranteed" pop hit for the radios with same tools that have been used for years, that's their choice and there is nothing wrong with that. I just has nothing to do with us! Ha ha
Musicscan: From your personal point of view: Is it such an exception in these days that bands play the music they really want to without focussing on what listeners might expect? Are we really that far?
For The Imperium: If I understood the question right... We are living in a dilemma. We can blame the labels for many things but!! The last call is up to the band/performer. Here in Finland I think it has become an issue. It is sad that bands are putting all the shit on the record labels shoulders for not allowing to make interesting stuff. As a musician I can only blame myself if I don't know how to make my own music. You have to take some risks!
And for the record companies: There's only one Metallica, one Foo Fighters, one Paramore, Nightwish, Black Sabbath, Oasis or any other of those big pop/rock/metal bands. Stop fucking signing a thousand of clones that sound exactly the same! A couple will be okay, but not thousands. C'mon! Where's the balls?! Be brave and try to find the NEXT big hit!
Musicscan: As for For The Imperium: how important are compromises in things like music? Should they play a major role at all? To me it seems that you're not willing to take compromises into consideration at all...
For The Imperium: You're damn right! I'll say it again from our point of view. "We are Rome! Join the Empire or be crushed!" Compromises are done, but in our way. We love our music and we are doing it the way that pleases us the most. Of course we want the listeners to love our music but that's not the priority number one. We have a huge passion for our music and For The Imperium gives us a perfect to express ourselves.
Musicscan: It is obvious that the members of For The Imperium listen to lots of different genres of music and have diverse interests. But when it comes to your songwriting: Do you tend to write your songs in segments, which you then piece together, or do you project an entire composition from a single melody?
For The Imperium: The both. Every band member has his part of composing a song. It could start from a guitar riff (f.ex. Creator) or a single vocal line (DieDead) or just an idea of a pop-meets-industrial metal song (California Girl). It's surprising to see that every time a song is "almost" ready someone comes up with the special missing ingredient that spices it up to a whole new level.
We have also a wild card. There's this one guy who can change it all and tell us to try something else. That man is our producer Kari "Huikka" Huikuri who has been like the fifth member when we were doing the album.
Musicscan: Do you still remember when you wrote your first song for/with For The Imperium and what it felt like and how it feels now when you finish a song? How has your relationship to music and the band changed over time??
For The Imperium: I was the last man who joined the band. I remember when the guys showed me the first song. My expression was like "Hell yeah, Dream Theater on steroids" but in the end not even close to that band. Ha ha ha.
Nowadays it's a lot easier to come up with new stuff. It feels that we have got a rid of the complaining of different music styles what we could not use or play. And now we know when's the time to fight against each other and strangle someone a bit and when's the time he needs our love and support to gain more strength to carry on. So yes, it's getting better and better!
Musicscan: What are you looking for in a song in general? Have you ever achieved something like a perfect song in your opinion? How would you define such a perfect For The Imperium song?
For The Imperium: I don't know how to answer that question, ha ha. Probably a some kind of mood and feel, it varies from time to time.
And to the other question: NO! If we would have done a perfect song and we would admit it, it would mean that our stomach and mind are full and we have nothing more to give.
I can agree that we don't have (at least in our opinion) yet a song that would define our style. Or maybe we have but, we just don't know it yet.
Well, let's take System of a Down as an example. Think about their songs Aerials or Chop Suey. I think those two songs are pretty much perfect to define their style.
But you know, our music is so diverse and constantly changing, kind of "all over the place" metal, so I don't think there's such a thing as a "perfect" song that catches the whole essence of our music.
Musicscan: You are putting out a record that consists of different layers and extremes. On the one hand side, it consists of rude arrangements and crazy stuff, on the other hand side there are longer interludes and nice melodies and stuff that create an incompareable atmosphere. Do you think that this diversity makes your album even more diverse and strong?
For The Imperium: Yes I do. Definitely. I think you just described our style pretty well! Ha ha ha ha
Well, now you could give it a name, because we don't know!
Musicscan: Musically and lyrically For The Imperium seems like a band fueled by raw emotion which is at the same time tempered by a “reflected” vibe.
What are the motives behind writing in this style, what reactions are you seeking to evoke in your audience?
For The Imperium: I can not give you the answer because You are the listener. You decide what you want to get out of it. Do you want to crack your head or make love to it? Or even just mosh your head until it rips of from your body. See us live and then you maybe get the answer to this question. And I hope you will see us soon!
Musicscan: How important is the improvisation factor to the music of your band, and is it different when you enter a stage?
For The Imperium: I admit that we are not a band that gets down and jams in the rehearsal studio. But we do a lot of brainstorms at the drummer's (Tuomas) or the guitarist's (Ville) home. There we improvise our stuff and record demo versions of the new songs. When they are done we practice like hell! :D
Musicscan: And where do you guys see the line drawn between progressing on what you do well, and completely offering a new direction or sound?
For The Imperium: Only God knows where to draw the line. Only the sky is our limit, or the universe.
Musicscan: Of all the songs you guys have written, which one do you feel crosses the most borders? And what other borders, musically speaking, do you guys wanna knock down in the future?
For The Imperium: You have to think it as a whole album. Every song crosses something in someway. For example songs like In the End, DieDead or Pike River are full of influences varying from old school pop/punk/metal. And those are just a couple of styles combined together. That's how we create our own sound. That's For the Imperium!
What happens in the future or what comes next? Let's wait and see.
Musicscan: Are there specific things that you're doing to push yourself further in different directions? Listening to different genres of music, reading more music theory, practicing...is there anything you're doing on a consistent basis?
For The Imperium: Doing all of those mentioned things will truly help you even if you think it takes away your creativity. But it's not the only way. You can be the best musican in the world without the knowledge of music theory or any of that educational stuff.
If you're a talented musician and you have an education and a lots of practice hours behind, who will stop you to break boundaries and make your dreams come true? Well, as we all know it's easier said than done. So you still need to work your ass off and hope that you'll have some luck with you. I could talk about this for hours! Ha ha ha
Musicscan: Is there something like a main theme or a main idea that runs through all the songs on the record, something that perhaps connects the individual songs you‘ve created for your Lifeforce debut?
For The Imperium: Lifeforce joined the For the Imperium family for a greater cause - to make the music shine again. I'm 100% sure that we have given them something that stands out from most of the plain so-called metal albums today. We have given them something to be proud of. Otherwise they wouldn't have signed us!
The album contains lots of things that are going on in this world right now. So the themes vary from side to side, depending on who's point of view the story is being told. All in all, this is the world we live in, so beautiful and so ugly at the same time. We try to expose it lyrically and also musically.
Musicscan: What makes For The Imperium special to you? How would you describe the essence of your band?
For The Imperium: We all love this band. Sometimes everyone is a real pain in the ass, but hey, that's life. As Optimus Prime said: Lets roll autobots! We roll!