Brother Firetribe

Brother Firetribe returned with their new studio album “Sunbound” and they take no prisoners. This is indeed the band’s best release to date! Grande Rock caught vocalist Pekka Ansio Heino, while being on the road and had a very interesting & fun interview. Read for more below…
Brother Firetribe band pic

Hi Pekka and congrats on your new album “Sunbound”. I do think this is your best work to date…
P: Thanks a lot, I think we share the same opinion...!
So do tell us… why did it take you almost 3 years to come up with a new album? Was it something that you had planned? Did it just occur due to the members’ other obligations and especially Emppu?
P: In our book that was really fast! The gap between the previous albums was 6 years, which was utterly ridiculous. After wrapping up the tour for “Diamond in the Firepit” we made a promise to ourselves and the fans that it wouldn’t take that long with the next one. So, we started throwing ideas around as soon as the tour was over, that being in March 2015, so it took us 2 years to write, record and master “Sunbound”. We started from the clean plate so I guess it’s not that long after all. We also put a lot of time in each step. What comes to Emppu’s schedule with Nightwish, this time he had breaks from the tour and he also recorded some stuff while on tour.
There’s a new members on board on “Sunbound”, the drummer Hannes Pirilä. How did this member change come about?
P: Hannes stepped in for the “Diamond in the Firepit” tour as Kalle Torniainen was busy as hell with other things. No hard feelings at all, he’s still a good friend and Hannes fits the band like a glove!
Which are the main differences and similarities between your new album and the previous ones?
P: I think it has to be the production and the soundscape. We used Mikko Karmila’s unbelievable mixing skills for this one, he did an amazing job. I think we’ve never sounded this good. Also I’d like to think this is our most consistent album to date. It’s pretty hard to find any fillers there, I think we really nailed it with the songwriting too.
Did you approach the new album differently on the songwriting part or not this time? Is it all about big hooks and strong melodies after all?
P: We wrote the songs just the way we’ve always wrote them. Me and Tomppa come up with the skeletons and throw them at the guys who add their individual parts. Then it’s all about arranging them until we’re all smiles from ear to ear. And yes, it’s always about big hooks and strong melodies. This band is based on those.
How did you come up with the album title “Sunbound” and what does it declare?
P: It reflects the mood and vibe within the band throughout the whole process of making the album. We really felt like marching towards the light the whole time, from the writing to the recording and finishing the album. We really felt we had something special in our hands this time. Plus we have amazing people around us now who are making things happen, so it all added to the sunny vibe.
How did you decide to cover John Parr’s “Restless Heart”? The cover is very tasteful in general.
P: Thank you! We’ve had a funny little habit of doing a cover on each album, all from the genre of movie soundtracks from back in the day. This time it was not an easy choice, we almost gave up after going through a shitload of songs. “Restless Heart” was already on the first list, we had to go back to find out how brilliant it was for us. It was right before our eyes, it just took us awhile to realize it. It’s a great song and John Parr is an incredible singer!
Tell us a couple of things about each track…
P: “Sunbound”: We figured the album needs an intro like that, to kick things into right direction with a short, strong instrumental.
“Help is on the Way”: An up-tempo rocker, the best choice for opening the album seamlessly from the intro.
“Indelible Heroes”: A homage to the legends we’ve lost recently. The 2nd single, we also shot a video for it.
“Taste of a Champion”: We wrote this for a TV campaign here in Finland, it was too good not to use on the album too.
“Last Forever”: A feel good AOR song about wishing those sunny days would never end. All about Summer vibes.
“Give Me Tonight”: The fastest song on the album, really poppy melody-wise but still rocking your socks off.
“Shock”: Probably the kinda song that jumps out of the box the most. It’s really intense and steamy.
“Strangled”: I personally love the verses on this one, it builds up nicely to a big chorus and the outro lifts it to another level.
“Heart of the Matter”: Written on an acoustic guitar, arranged really well as an anthem. It’s about how we shouldn’t whine too much.
“Big City Dream”: Our 3rd single, one of the strongest choruses on the album.
“Phantasmagoria”: Based on a simple but clever guitar melody line which turned into this massive thing. The orchestration really nailed the vibe with the lyrics.
“Don’t Cry for Yesterday”: A Japanese bonus track, which can be found on the vinyl version. We had a hard time dropping this from the album; it’s a good melodic rocker about always looking forward even though times get rough sometimes.
Where did the recordings take place and who produced & mastered the album? As far as I know the album was mixed by Finnish famed producer/engineering Mikko Karmila (Nightwish, Children Of Bodom,Stratovarius).
P: We recorded everything in 3 different studios; Emppu recorded at home and on the road. Tomppa held the strings in terms of the production and Mikko mixed the album. It was mastered at Chartmakers, they did a great job also.
Since you’re on the road as we speak, how is the current tour going so far? How does the audience react on the new tracks so far?
P: It’s been unbelievable. All of the shows have been sold out so far, we couldn’t have dreamed of a better start. People are already singing along the new songs, which is really heartwarming and couraging. We’ve played “Sunbound” entirely and will continue to do so. The songs work so well live.
Do you have in mind to release any other concept or lyric video at some point in the near future? I do think that a video for “Shock” or for “Heart of the Matter” would be just great.
P: We’ll see, would be great of course! It all comes down to money, unfortunately. The budgets are small and in our opinion it makes no sense to make a cheap looking video. It also cheapens the song. But who knows?!
Since this year is your 15th anniversary, can you actually say that Brother Firetribe are here to stay? I do think that bands such as yours are missing from today’s melodic rock/AOR music scene.
P: We’re definitely here to stay. We’re having way too much fun whenever we get a chance to get together and get out playing our music. And as long as we feel like we’re coming up with strong material, I don’t see any reason to quit.
Which are your expectations from your “Sunbound” and what are the band’s and your personal plans for the future in general?
P: All we can do is people enjoy it as much as we do! We concentrate on touring the shit out of it for the rest of the year and see where we end up after that. It’s all very exciting right now!
Brother Firetribe band pic
Time for our “weird questions”!!! How did you come up with the name Brother Firetribe initially?
P: It was an inside joke initially. A drunken friend of ours translated the name of a legendary Finnish tennis player Veli Paloheimo in English; we thought it was too good to waste!
If you could “erase” one thing from modern music, what would it be?
P: I wouldn’t erase anything. I just don’t pay any attention to the bad quality stuff. That bites itself in the ass eventually anyway.
Which is that band that you’d like to be part of (any time & era)?
P: My favourite bands always had amazing singers; I wouldn’t want to be in those bands! It would’ve been great to play guitar for Elvis...
Has the internet changed the ways music should be played and released or not? Is it a “divine gift” or a curse?
P: It’s a double edged sword. It’s great from a consumer’s point of view; I love the fact that I can get my hands on some rarity as a music fan. But being a recording artist at the same time... that’s a whole different story.
Top 3 comedy movies of any era?
P: Top Secret, Blazing Saddles, any Monty Python movie!
Best 3 melodic rock/AOR albums of all time?
P: “Raised on Radio” by Journey, “Russ Ballard” by Russ Ballard, “4” by Foreigner…
Fill in the phrase… “AOR music wouldn’t have evolved the way it did, if it hadn’t been for…”
P: …what happened when Elvis walked in through the Sun studios door.
Were you obliged to give just one album to extraterrestrials that would represent the whole human music, which album would it be and from which band/artist?
P: I’d hand them Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue” and say “chill out, have a cool trip back home”.
Who is the sexiest female Rock Star of all time?
P: That’s a tough one... Debbie Harry had the looks and the attitude, for example.
Which do you consider to be the best female & male vocalist in metal history?
P: In metal, I’d say Ronnie James Dio and Ann Wilson even though she’s not metal.
What’s the worst thing one can say right after sex?
P: “Are you kidding me?”… Or that could be great too, depending on how it ended...
If you had the chance to travel in time… where would you choose to go? To the past or the future and why?
P: To 1956, to catch the birth of rock‘n’roll.
Which character from the “Game of Thrones” would you have been – if you lived in the Seven Kingdoms?
P: I’ve never watched it... I’d be Batman anyway.
Imagine that your girlfriend/wife is selling your whole album-collection just to buy an expensive ring for herself. How would you react?
P: I’d tip my hat to the lady for being clever and sneaky enough to have been able to sell the thousand and something obscurities I have!
We’re done Pekka! Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview. Wish you the best for the new album and have fun on the road. Take care, dude!
P: Much thanks, Thanos, this was fun!