By ANDREW McKAYSMITH
NOW, I must admit to the readership that I’ve not long been a critic, reviewer and aspiring journo. I enjoy every interview as it gives me the opportunity to speak to some truly remarkable artists and musicians. Some I know well, others, I only have a few days to research and sample the music of the intended interviewee before the moment of truth arrives.
One band I knew next to nothing about is Brother Firetribe. Pekka Ansio Heino is their charismatic front man and vocalist. Such is the quality of the band’s music, not to mention its commercial potential, that I’m astounded that I hadn’t heard of them well before the opportunity to chat became available. The band’s sound sits somewhere between epic melodic metal and Bon Jovi style FM radio rock. A big part of the reason for the band’s success can be heard on their new album, Sunbound.
“So far it’s been outstanding, we knew that the album turned out really good,” says Heino. “This is our fourth album and for some reason, ever since we started writing songs we started from a clean slate so to speak. We started writing the songs and every time we finished a song, we thought, ‘Holy shit, we’re on to something here’. The vibe was just different if you compare it to the previous albums. That’s where the name of the album comes from, Sunbound, throughout the whole process of writing the songs and recording and adding the cover. We had some new people around us who were making things happen for the band for the first time. So everything kind of clicked, the whole album was kind of born under a good sign and we had this strong feeling that we’re kind of, you know, going towards the light. So that’s where the Sunbound title comes from.”(continued below)
That’s Heino’s response to my question about the fans’ response to the new album. I mention that it sounds like Sunbound has a theme running through it due to the optimistic tone of the album title and Heino’s comments in the previous question. “Everything kind of came from the feeling within the band but also when we started thinking about what’s going on in the world today. It’s pretty fucked up to be honest. I’m getting sick of reading the news and watching the news, so I don’t know, I thought maybe somebody will get something out of this, in these crazy times, to light up a little and put the news aside and put this album on and just forget about the negative stuff for a while.”
According to Heino, where does rock’n’roll fit into the global political narrative of 2017? “I think rock n’ roll should stay out of it as much as possible. I mean, thank God there are people who are trying to change the world through music, that’s really important but I think just as important, is to have bands that are there for escapism or just getting people’s minds off from the madness that’s going on right now.”
On an entirely different track, Finland, much like Australia, has produced some outstanding rock and metal of late. It seems the world is just starting to take notice of the splendid efforts produced by bands of the far north nation. “I remember back when I was a kid, there were no bands in Finland who had made it outside of the country,” our man recalls. “If they tried, it was just ridiculous and all of a sudden something happened. There always has to be a band or two who can make it, who break down that wall and that’s what happened with bands like HIM, The Rasmus and many bands in the metal (genre) like Stratovarius. I mean nobody can deny what they did for Finnish metal in general. It really seems like Finland is really one of the leading countries in metal. There’s not that much in rock or pop but definitely metal and that’s just awesome. In a way it’s pretty funny but it kind of fits living in the darkness for 90 per cent of the year. Things get a bit gloomy.
Heino and I have a laugh about Australia getting most of the sun that Finland misses, with Heino offering that there seems to be a “good balance between Finland and Australia.” Can he see Brother Firetribe visiting Australia anytime soon? “I have a couple of friends from Down Under who I’ve been in contact for many years but I’ve never been to the country. It will be a dream come true to be able to play there.”
If FM radio played the likes Brother Firetribe I’d certainly listen to more radio!
Sunbound is out now through Spinefarm Records.