Throes Of Dawn have returned to the scene after a six year hiatus, with maybe their best release to date and with a totally updated & efficient music style. “Our Voices Shall Remain” is, without any doubt, one of the top atmospheric metal albums for 2016. Grande Rock had an attention-grabbing chat with the band’s vocalist & songwriter Henri Koivula, about the new album, the band, the music and several other interesting things… check it all out below.
Hi Henri…first of all, congrats on your new mesmerizing album “Our Voices Shall Remain”. I do think that this album is the best you have released to date!
H: Thank you! I’m glad to hear that you liked it. It’s hard for me to look back and think which album is the best, but I really like this album too. Usually I don’t listen to our albums after they are released, but I seem to return to this album very often. It’s an album we have always wanted to make.
Do tell us… why did it take you almost 6 years to come up with a new album? Didn’t you worry at some point that due to the numerous new releases each month the band might have been forgotten in a way?
H: Well, for us it seems to be the norm to come out with albums in six year intervals. I was not worried about other bands or releases, there are plenty anyway; we are just concentrating on our own stuff. We want to make music that has some significance to us, something that feels sincere. No matter how long it takes. And I have to say that we have probably the most resilient and coolest fans out there. They always remember us, no matter how long it takes. Speaking of our fans; one Swedish fan actually bought 12 “Our Voices Shall Remain” albums only to send them in promotional purposes to different radio stations and magazines. How cool is that? (i.n.: Supercool!! Never heard something like that before!)
What has happened all these six years? Did you work on new songs from time to time or you took care of other musical things as well?
H: Of course six years is such a long time that we had periods that we were not so active. We were doing some live shows, and I was also doing an album with my other band. The goal was to make a new album, and we were working with the songs quite intensively at some point, but it’s also good to take some distance to the material every now and then.
Can you say that the change of style came up after several experimentations that you did the years prior to the release?
H: I think the style is just the outcome of natural progression, but yes, there was a lot of experimentation and improvisation involved when we were composing these songs. We kept an open mind. The only criterion was basically that the music must sound like Throes Of Dawn.
Do you think that this is the music style that fits the band better or not? I do think that you finally found your music port somehow. What’s your say?
H: Yes, I feel that this is really what we have been after for quite some time, but lacked in either skills or boldness to reach out this far. It was risky of course, but I think it was worth it. We shall see what the next album will be like…
Tells us also about the new additions to the band’s lineup – Henri Andersson on keyboards and Juuso Backman (ex-Swath) on drums. And why did the bassist Harri Huhtala left the band? Have you found a replacement yet or that thing will take some more time?
H: At some point we really got fed up with the back track and decided to get a real keyboard player instead. Luckily we had a good friend who was just the right person for the job. Henri Andersson has done a brilliant job, and he has really opened up new possibilities with compositions and his vast array of different keyboards has brought new life to the band. Juuso Backman joined us when the earlier drummer left the band. We auditioned few others, but Juuso’s style of playing and his character fit the band perfectly. He has a very broad knowledge when it comes to recording, so it has been a big help for the band. Harri Huhtala has a medical condition, which makes playing live shows very risky for his health. It has been really hard to let him go, as he has been such a vital part of the band for so long. He is a very dear friend and will always be close to the band. We have decided to not replace him with a new member. Jani, our rhythm guitarist, has taken the bass guitar duties and so far it seems to work really nicely.
OK, back to the album now. How did you come up with the title “Our Voices Shall Remain” and what does it declare?
H: It’s something that came into my mind at some point when we were working with the songs. It’s also a title of the fifth song on the album. The lyrics are basically a tribute to this band and the years spent together, and how we have created something abstract (music) that will live on, even after we are gone.
Give us a hint of each track…
H: “Mesmerized”: a sacrifice…
“We Used to Speak in Colours”: a longing…
“The Understanding”: the title explains it all, really…
“Our Voices Shall Remain”: a tribute…
“One of Us Is Missing”: a premonition…
“The Black Wreath of Mind”: liberation…
I’ve noticed that the album was recorded in a 2-year period. Did you have in mind to take things slow or it just came about? The band produced the album but you also worked with Jarno Hanninen (Vanguard, Thyrien, The Undivine, etc.) and Juuso Backman for the engineering and the mixing. Your new drummer Juuso Backman (ex-Swath) mastered the album as well. Are you satisfied with the final outcome – are there any minor things that you would change if you had the chance?
H: Initially we went to studio to do a proper demo of the songs and we decided to just record the drums and see where to go from there, but the recordings went to so smoothly that we decided to start building the album straight to these drum tracks. Some of the songs were not even finished by then. I didn’t have all the lyrics etc. We were fortunate that we could work very independently in the studio. We got to use it in the evenings and sometimes during the weekends as well. But there were long periods that we couldn’t go into the studio because it was booked to some other bands. I’m quite happy with the sounds, and of course there are always something that you might do differently, but I think just some very minor tweaks.
Do you plan to release any concept or lyric video at some point?
H: We had a plan to do a video for one of the songs, but there was so many things piling up before the album release that we had to postpone it somewhere into the distant future. I don’t see that much value with the videos these days. They can be nice if done properly and with good taste. I had some ideas regarding the “Lifelines” song, but we shall see if it ever materializes.
What are you touring plans so far? Any plans to give any live shows in Scandi or Europe in general?
H: No tour plans at the moment. There are some really cool shows coming up, but I can’t reveal any details yet. Next show is with In The Woods… in Helsinki. Really looking up to it!
How would you describe your band’s music style to someone that has never heard of your before?
H: Melancholic, atmospheric metal with progressive elements.
What are your expectations from “Our Voices Shall Remain” and what do you wish to achieve with Throes Of Dawn in the future?
H: When we were recording this album, we didn’t have any contract or even a clue who would release this album. I think the only goal was to get it released through a label so that we would not lose any rights of the material to the label. Luckily we found Argonauta Records through our friend, Tomi Mykkänen, who had only good things to say about this label. And indeed, Argonauta has been a very good label for us. I can highly recommend it to anyone. About the future expectations I can only say that I wish that we can still continue to do music with this band and still enjoy the process of creating something new.
Time for our “weird questions”!!! How did you come up with the name Throes Of Dawn initially?
H: It was something that our first drummer came up with. He had two alternatives and we picked Throes Of Dawn.
If you found a genie in a bottle and you only had 3 wishes what would they be?
H: 1) A good health for my family and friends; 2) Unlimited funds, so that I could stop my day job and concentrate more on my family and bands; 3) Peace of mind…
If you could “erase” one thing from modern music, what would it be?
Are “social media” a “compulsory part” of music biz these days or bands, artists & labels can do without them as well?
H: Unfortunately yes. I’m quite an introvert person and I really don’t like pushing our music in the social media. I just joined Facebook half a year ago, and really don’t like it at all. But I do see the point that it’s very good platform to spread news and contact people.
Which is the record you wish you had written and why?
H: There are many, but maybe Tiamat’s “Deeper Kind of Slumber” would be my choice. It is a very, very good and underrated album. The lyrics are absolutely fantastic. (i.n.: I totally agree with that!)
Fill in the phrase… “Atmospheric rock/metal wouldn’t have evolved the way it did, if it hadn’t been for…”
H: Pink Floyd…
Which are the best 3 atmospheric rock/metal albums of all time according to you?
H: 1) Pink Floyd – “Wish You Were Here”, 2) Tiamat – “Deeper Kind of Slumber”, 3) Anathema – “Alternative 4”…
Which do you consider to be the best male & female vocalist in rock history?
H: These are tough questions as there are so many great singers. Maybe Robert Plant and Janis Joplin.
Which is the guitarist who influenced rock music the most?
H: I really have no clue, as it’s not my instrument. Maybe Hendrix?
What’s the worst thing one can say right after sex?
H: “You look like your father”…
You have the opportunity to have sex with a movie-celebrity/porn-star of your choice. Who would it be & why?
H: Sherilyn Fenn, from my favorite TV-show, Twin Peaks.
If you could be any historical person, which one would you be and why?
H: I don’t know… thinking about historical persons I only come up with people whose life was more or less miserable. It would be a person who did something artistic and who enjoyed life and lived for his art. Picasso?
If you had the chance to travel in time… where would you choose to go? To the past or the future and why?
H: I would go back in time and record our first album in a totally different studio.
Imagine that your wife is selling your whole album-collection just to buy an expensive ring for herself. How would you react?
H: I don’t think my wife would ever do that, but to be honest my record collection is not that big or important to me. But if she did something like that I would return the ring and keep the money.
Finally we’ve come to the end Henri. Thx for talking to Grande Rock. Say anything you feel like saying before we close. Take care dude!
H: Thanks for the interview! Check out our latest album “Our Voices Shall Remain”…