A Chat With Sonata Arctica’s Henrik Klingenberg

Heeeeeeerrrrrres Sonata!

If you’ll remember, I mentioned having an interview lined up for the near future in my very first blog post. Though it was done quite a while ago, I finally have the chance to
share it with you! If you’re not familiar with Sonata Arctica (click band name for more detailed info) allow me to give you a brief introduction:  They’re a 5 piece Progressive, Melodic (or insert your own sub genre here___________)Metal band hailing from Finland.

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Their stellar musicianship, hard work, and down to earth charm has helped them win the hearts(mine included, of course!) of millions of fans all over the world, as well as warrant several award nominations and gold discs since their start in 1996.They were direct support while on tour with Nightwish at the beginning of the year and keyboardist, Henrik Klingenberg was kind enough to give me an interview before they hit the stage. So, here it is:

The Chat  ~ Sunday, February 21, 2016

Muzique Pryzm: Hi, and Welcome back to Montreal & Metropolis. This isn’t your first time playing here. Any recollections of this venue?

Henrik: I actually thought this was another one that we’ve played at here in Montreal,
but when we arrived I realised that we’ve been here before. No specific memories though.

Muzique Pyzm: You’ve also played The Medley and Club Soda a few times. I was wondering if there were any comparisons between these three(e.g., sound & stage size-wise)…

Henrik: I remember that the Medley had a more wide stage, if I’m correct, anyways the
fans in Montreal have always been good to us, regardless of where we’ve played.

Muzique Pryzm: Btw, Happy Anniversary! 13 years ago today was your first gig with Sonata Arctica in Tornio, Finland, Henrik. Do you remember what it felt like? Any interesting stories?

Henrik: I remember some stuff from that yeah, it seems a lifetime ago 😉 I was nervous
as hell.

Muzique Pryzm: Today is also the anniversary of Winterheart’s Guild. Is there a song from this album you love to play live?…or one that has never been done live before?

Henrik: The Ruins of My Life would be nice to play one day…I think we’ve done most of the other ones at some point.

Muzique Pryzm: Are there any special exercises you do to help prevent injury to your fingers and hands?

Henrik: I don’t do any special exercises 😉

BeautifulHenkka

Photo by The Age of Metal

Muzique Pryzm: Many fans that have taken up playing keys have been inspired by you. Have you maybe thought of doing clinics?

Henrik: It could be nice to do it at some point, right now we’re too busy though….

Muzique Pryzm: You have kids at home. Have they shown an interest in doing music? Would you encourage them into the music business?

Henrik: They’re really into music but I hope they find something less straining to do with their life….whatever makes them happy is fine with me.

Muzique Pryzm: Besides your obvious musical creativity, do you have any other artistic talents? Anything you’d like to try?

Henrik: I don’t have any clue about anything else than music haha.

Muzique Pryzm: On social media, a lot of your fans have commented that Sonata Arctica is in fact the band that got them into Heavy Metal. What do you think about that? What is Metal to you?

Henrik: I really don’t think about it too much, Metal can be anything or nothing,
I guess it all depends of your point of view….

Muzique Pryzm: Now I’m going to touch on a subject many tend to shy away from: At some point at a Dimebag Darryl tribute show, ex-Pantera member, Phil Anselmo, yelled out the words “White power” as he gave a Nazi salute a few weeks ago. What are your thoughts on that situation, and do you feel there is discrimination against visible minorities in Metal?

 

Henrik: I have no idea what really happened and what went on behind that but I’m sure nobody in our band would ever do such a thing, drunk or not. I think the whole discrimination/racism etc thing is a bit overblown at the moment and it seems like people are getting upset and offended by almost anything that is being said these days. Of course this situation was in my opinion wrong  and stupid, just to be clear about it.

Muzique Pryzm: Many artists have turned down awards for various reasons, e.g. political & personal beliefs. How do you feel about musical award shows and receiving awards?

Henrik: Another thing I really don’t think about 😉 , Of course it’s nice if you get an award for something but it’s really not something we concern ourselves with, we got a lot of other things to worry about.

Muzique Pryzm: Music vs lyrics – In a song, is one more important to you than the other?

Henrik: I’ve been thinking about this for sometime, personally I’m more interested in
music but it wouldn’t be fair to say that lyrics aren’t as important so…I guess it also
depends on the song.

Muzique Pryzm: Is there a particular time of day you feel the most creative?

Henrik: It used to be at night and I did most of my work in the evening or in the middle of the night but these days I get a lot more done during the day or morning…I guess anytime is good as long as I can work uninterrupted and as long as my energy levels are up.

Muzique Pryzm: Three things you would wish to have if deserted on a remote Island?

Henrik: A grand piano, shitload of whisky and maybe a couple of beers if I get thirsty.

Muzique Pryzm: Your favorite movie/tv character you feel you identify with the most?

Henrik: It used to be Hank from Californication…or maybe Chandler from Friends, actually I have no idea.

Muzique Pryzm: If you were to become president of your Country, what would be the first task on your adgenda?

Henrik: To get a proper President put in office.

Muzique Pryzm: After death, what animal would you like to come back as, if possible, and why?

Henrik: Maybe a Koala, they seem to chill a lot which could be a great change of pace.

Muzique Pryzm: I saw a recent clip of a video game featuring the likenesses of the band fighting to the death. Is this a new Sonata Arctica-based game in the works?

Henrik: I have no idea, the WHG game fell through apparently but I have no clue about a new one in the making.

Muzique Pryzm: Tonight you’re the direct support for Nightwish. There is some history between you two. Can you explain a little bit on how you came to know them? You’ve also toured with the other opening band, Delain. Do you know them as well as NW?

Henrik: Tuomas and Tony have been friends for many many years and we first supported Nighwish in 2004 in Europe, the next tour was in North-America, 2008 and of course now this tour. We’ve also played a lot of the same festivals etc so I guess that’s how we know them. Delain on the other hand first supported us in 2008 or 2009 in Europe and then we brought them to North-America as direct support on our last tour in 2014, so we also know these guys quite well but not as well as Nightwish.

Muzique Pryzm: Might we expect to hear a teaser from the latest album you’re working on? How is it progressing?

Henrik: We’re still just starting out so everything is kinda in the open right now, meaning that there will be no spoilers from the upcoming album on this tour 😉

Muzique Pryzm: You have your own side project, The Klingenberg Syndrome, in which Pasi(Bass) and Elias(Guitar) also from Sonata Arctica played on your 1st album, as well as your other band, Silent Voices, in which Tony, SA’s lead singer, lent his voice to one of your songs off the last album. What’s happening with those at the moment?

Henrik: We did a tour in Europe with Silent Voices & E.Vil [Elias Viljanen] and that’s about it. I guess at some point we’ll be starting to work on new Silent Voices material but as usual it will take some time to get everything together since all the guys have so many other things to take care of. As far as Klingenberg Syndrome goes, the 2nd album is ready and I’m just checking on how I will release it at the moment….It will be out by the end of the year…hopefully sooner.

Muzique Pryzm: What were you up to during your 5 month break?

Henrik: There was a lot of planning upcoming tours with SA etc to take care of, in addition to that I played the keyboards for a band called Secret Rule from Italy, I also did a music video with them in Holland. I finished the Klingenberg Syndrome 2 album, played all the keyboards for my friends band Winterborn and did a 3 week tour playing keys with Silent Voices and E.Vil. …That was more or less it, some guest tracks here and there and of course I tried to have some time off as well, didn’t work out too well though but I don’t mind.

Muzique Pryzm:  Recently you announced your headlining European tour, set for October. What follows after that?

Henrik: Our aim is to have the next studio album out before the Europear Tour, so that will be the first leg on the next world tour. After that we’re heading back to North-America for a proper headlining tour with Omium Gatherum and Leave’s Eyes as
supports and that’ll run right up to our Christmas break. In the spring of 2017 the World Tour continues and I think the tour will end sometime before the end of 2017….but we haven’t gotten that far with our planning yet. So, lots of work ahead as usually,
we prefer to keep busy 😉

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Sonata Arctica are now preparing to head back on stage after weeks of working on their upcoming 9th studio album , set to be out in the fall. Their first show will be in a couple of days(June 10th) performing at RockFels Open Air,  in Germany. Check here for All Tour Dates….and if you can, do yourselves a favor and check them out if they’ll be in your area. You won’t regret it!!

I’ll now leave you with the band’s first release from their last album, Pariah’s Child:

…ok,  one more. Sonata Arctica has something for everyone. 🙂

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Frustrated, Tired And Angry!

Angry?! It’s my right!

My words fall on your deaf ears

Still, I keep talking…

This may not be the angriest song but I couldn’t help think of it. Sometimes we try to get our message across but our words don’t quite come out right. Sometimes, for various reasons we’re not given the chance to fully express ourselves and that leads to frustration and eventually anger. Anger isn’t the most pleasant emotion out there but it resides inside each and every one of us…and probably necessary at times, to hopefully help sort out our differences through words. We should NEVER stop trying to communicate. Without it, there can be no understanding, and without understanding there’s no compassion. Without compassion there’s no respect, and without respect?…