Arion

Arion is a metal newcomer which took me by surprise from the very first moment that I came across their music. We’re talking about a very young and talented band that’s now only making its first steps on the metal scene and they’re destined for big things in the future. Do keep their name in your mind cuz you’ll hear more about them in due time! We had a chat with the band’s guitarist Iivo Kaipainen so as to find out as many things as we could about this gifted young band…
Arion band pic

Hi Iivo! Your debut album has taken me by major surprise! Amazing work! Kudos!
 
I: Hi! This is Iivo, the guitarist of the band Arion. Thank you very much! As a band, we really think that this album actually is a great piece of work. We are very proud of it and it’s very nice to hear that many people have enjoyed our music.
 
 
Please introduce us the band to us in a few words…
 
I: Arion is a melodic/symphonic metal band from Finland. Our Band is formed by five members, which are Viljami Holopainenon vocals, Iivo Kaipainen on guitar, Arttu Vauhkonen on keyboards, Topias Kupiainen on drums and Georgi “Gege” Velinov on bass.
 
 
How did you come up with the band name Arion? The name has its origins in the Greek Mythology, I’m sure you are aware of it. Is it a reference to the ancient bard & cithara master Arion or to the immortal horse with the same name?
 
I: The name Arion is partly a reference to the ancient bard & cithara master Arion. Arion has also other meanings, which are for example musical and spearhead.
 
 
The band consists of fairly young members. You may be quite young but upon listening to the album one might think that the album has been released by some rock/metal veterans. Where do you think this music maturity derives from?
 
I: We all do practice a lot and mastering one’s instrument in this band is very high appreciated. Also, the amazing production team of the album plays a big part on driving us towards the more mature kind of sound, which is actually very nice I think! Also, the amazing Mr. Jani Liimatainen (ex-Sonata Arctica) has given us a lot of help with the lyrics.
 
 
Which are those bands and artists that have influenced Arion and you personally?
 
I: Most important bands might be Nightwish, Children of Bodom, Symphony X, Disturbed, Scar Symmetry and similar. For me personally, jazz/fusion artists like Steps Ahead, Allan Holdsworth, Snarky puppy, Guthrie Govan, Frank Gambale and many else give me a lot of important influence. In my songwriting, regular commercial pop music gives me a lot of inspiration and that’s something you can hear on many songs on the album “Last of Us.”
 
 
The album’s music is a blend of various metal and rock genres. How would you describe the music that Arion plays?
 
I: We usually describe our music as melodic/symphonic metal with also influence from pop and progressive rock/metal. We also describe our music as Arion, and I bet you know why! smiley
 
 
Going back to the debut… who is the “Last of Us”? Where does the title refer to?
 
I: The title track “Last of Us” was the very last track to be written for the album. For me and the band, the song symbolizes the incredibly rewarding prize, that can be achieved by hard work and great encouraging band spirit and that’s why we decided to name the album after that particular song.
 
 
Do give us a hint about each track…
 
I: “The Passage”: The introduction for the album. Pulsating full orchestral song that leads to the first annual song of the album.
 
Out of the Ashes”: This song goes with full-throttle ahead and features a powerful chorus with the fastest keyboard and guitar solos of the album.
 
“Shadows”: Outstanding rock/metal song with heavy guitars, techno elements, amazing chorus and a very technical solo duel by guitar and keyboard. One of my favorite songs.
 
“Seven”: Killer power/symphonic metal song with great melody and orchestration. One of the best songs on the album.
 
“Last of Us”: Powerful atmospheric song with great melodies, killer guitar solo and the most powerful chorus on the album. One of the bands shared favorites.
 
“I Am the Storm”: All out power metal song with powerful chorus and outrageous instrumental break. One of the audience favorites on live shows.
 
“You’re My Melody”: Beautiful piano ballad with heartbreakingly touching vocals and lyrics. Also features one of my favorite guitar solo on the album.
 
“Burn Your Ship”: Experimental, movie-like epic song. Amazing orchestral break and very fast bass drum assault.
 
“Lost”: The very first Arion song features great chorus with big choir and touching lyrics. The final chorus of this song always gives me the chills.
 
“Watching You Fall”: The most progressive song of the album featuring outstanding keyboard solo, big orchestra and absolutely insane and brutal vocals by Viljami.
 
“New Dawn (Bonus Track)”: Heroic, epic piece of work with great orchestral riff on the chorus and amazing keyboard solo.
 
 
“Seven”, “Lost” and “New Dawn” were all part of the first EP “New Dawn”. Did you re-record and re-arrange the tracks for the debut release?
 
I: No we did not. Despite that, “Seven” and “Lost” we’re remixed and mastered to match the total sound character of the album.
 
 
Where did the recordings take place and who did the mixing, the production and the mastering of the album? The sound is awesome and full!
 
I: The recordings were done in 5by5 studios in Finland. The producer was the amazing Stratovarius guitarist Matias Kupiainen. He also mixed the album. Like many other metal albums in Finland and Europe, our baby was mastered by Mika Jussila at the Finnvox Studios.
 
 
How did the contract with Ranka Kustannus occur? You see nowadays it’s both easy and hard to get signed to a label but most of the bands decide to go independently. Did you have such thoughts at any point?
 
I: The boss of Ranka Kustannus, Riku Pääkkönen heard us from television when we were taking part in the Finnish UMK contest for Eurovision. From the very beginning, we were absolutely sure that signing a deal with Ranka Kustannus would be the best way to go with this. We have really enjoyed our time while under the contract.
 
 
I’ve read that you were among the 12 competitors of the Finnish UMK contest for Eurovision. Can you tell us why you took part there and what are the pros and the cons of contests such as this one?
 
I: Of course, taking part in such a contest makes a lot of people hear at least one of your songs which is very good. The bad thing may be that you might be recognized as a “Eurovision band” after that but we have not suffered that kind of issues.
 
 
Are there any plans to release a video anytime soon? If yes, for which track?
 
I: Yes, there are plans for a video and it will be released as soon as it’s done! As for the track, we have decided not to give any further info, until the shooting begins.
 
 
What about any live shows? Are you working on something?
 
I: We do have live shows planned in Finland for this autumn. Dates and places will be announced later! Stay tuned!
 
 
The first goal has been accomplished. So what’s next? Where do you see yourself and your band in a few years from now?
 
I: It would be very awesome to play on big stages in Finland and Europe. Obviously, such a thing to be achieved requires a lot of work. The songwriting process for the next album has been started and at the moment, the most important thing to do is to make good music and give some enjoyable live shows for all of our fans!
 
Arion band pic

You’re the new generation of metal music. The music industry is not what it used to be and many things have changed for the worst as well as the best at the same time. How do you see that new music era and what are the things that you want to change should you have the chance?
 
I: Of course it would be nice if people were always able and/or required to give some credit (read money) for the artist and the label when consuming music. Anyway, I think that crying for “good ol’ times” is nothing but useless. One just has to deal with the present situation.
 
 
Time for our “weird questions”!!! Who is the absolute Rock Star of our time and why?
 
I: Paul McCartney! He is the one who started this.
 
 
Best rock/metal band of all time?
 
I: Nightwish. They’re almost perfect.
 
 
Most overrated rock/metal band of all time?
 
I: I don’t wanna say anything to this. I am no one to judge anyone to be overrated.
 
 
What’s your opinion about the “free downloading issue” of today?
 
I: Well at least if there’s something good about it; it’s that people do hear a lot of music and finding new artists is easier. But it also makes many musicians struggle with their living.
 
 
Are funding platforms like Kicksatrter, Indiegogo etc. the answer to the “free downloading issue” of the 21st century? It’s kinda weird. On the on hand, the fans get the music for free without caring that much about the artist/group and on the other hand, the fans pay for an album that they haven’t even heard… and most of the times it hasn’t even been recorded! What’s your say?
 
I: I haven’t been in touch with such platforms so I can’t say a thing.
 
 
What do you think about this “Views, tweets & Likes” mania of our time?
 
I: It doesn’t bother me. Actually it’s kind of funny that this kind of phenomenon is so big part of our lives, and I am part of it as well. smiley
 
 
Imagine that you’re living in a post-apocalyptic world – like the one in “Walking Dead” What would you choose to be? A survivor – who fights every day for his life or a zombie who seeks out survivors to eat them and why?
 
I: I would be a survivor. I would be good at it, as I am an ex-junior-athlete. I have run 100m sprint at 11.4 seconds!
 
 
Which character from the “Game of Thrones” would you have been – if you lived in the Seven Kingdoms?
 
I: I’ve never seen the show which is kind of sad, I’ll tell you next time when I might know. cheeky
 
 
Which of the Seven Deadly Sins do you reckon is the one, that’s more likely to send you straight to Hell, in the afterlife?
 
I: It is the envy I think. You can ruin many lives with jealousy.
 
 
Best pick-up line that has worked for you several times in the past?
 
I: This is a really hard one. I think I’m the one who just gives “the look”, if you know what I mean! (i.n: Hehehe I do dude!)
 
 
If your girlfriend caught you cheating on her… what would you do in order to calm her down?
 
I: I would write a song for her. And then hope that it would help.
 
 
Imagine that your girlfriend is selling your whole album-collection just to buy an expensive ring for herself. How would you react?
 
I: I would just sell the ring and get my album collection back! Just kidding, I would be very mad about it. Albums are something to be preserved!
 
 
Finally, we come to an end Iivo… say what you want before we close this interview. Wish you the best for the future to come dude! Take care!
 
I: Thank you very much dude! Keep rockin!