Interview by Joshua Becker & Jessica Clingempeel
A Nordic Symphony tour has officially started, how has it been so far?
Today is the second show, so it´s early to tell yet. But Stratovarius camp is feeling good and it´s nice to play some new and other songs we haven´t played in a long time. It´s also great to also introduce our music to Tarja´s audiences.
It is unfortunate that this tour saw no U.S. dates, do you find with many European bands, it is difficult with scheduling, promotions, etc., to get proper recognition in the United States?
Unfortunately we haven’t toured U.S. in a long time, the best chance for U.S. audiences to see us have been on 70000 cruises. The biggest problem in touring the US is in the cost of visas and big distances between cities so logistically we have been not able to get it working well enough to tour there for many years. I hope we can get back to touring the U.S at some point when the right tour comes along.
What was the process for how A Nordic Symphony came to be? Was Tarja one to initiate this meeting, or how exactly did this process happen?
Tarja´s management approached us with the idea of a co-headlining tour. We knew Intermission II was coming out in October and we wont have a new album until 2019 so it felt like a thing to do. I think it´s great to tour with other bands as you get to play also for other audiences than just Stratovarius fans. Hopefully we will gain some new friends and fans on this tour.
Were there any other bands in mind to work with on this tour, or was this a set collaboration with only Tarja?
Just Tarja this time, but you never know from the future. I think with next album we will do some headlining shows first before another collaboration tour.
Have you done any work with Tarja prior to this tour?
Tarja has visited our show once or twice to sing Forever but we have not worked together before. As Finns everybody knows everyone else from many years back already.
Are any of the shows being recorded for a live DVD release?
No such plans on this tour
Is there a chance for a future album collaboration with Tarja, or any other big names in metal?
No plans for that either, but maybe we do something with a symphony orchestra at some point.
Your album, Enigma: Intermission II, just released on the 28th of September. How has it been received so far by your listeners?
It came out just 2 days ago so it´s early to tell, but the single Oblivion has done well in streams. We have a good following so i hope they will be into it.
Can you walk us through the process of choosing material for this album? Were there songs you were set on, and then changed your mind on later?
This albums material comes from 3 sources. First there is 3 new songs we did which were picked from a bunch of material we have but are not going on the next Stratovarius album. Second there is the orchestral tracks which were chosen from last 4 albums. We wanted 1 track from each album so looked at which songs the fans liked the most and would work best with orchestral arrangements. Thirdly the rest of the songs are bonus tracks from last 4 albums, there is a bunch of tracks there which have been only released on special vinyls and for instance in Japan, we wanted to share these songs now with all our fans.
For fans new and old, what is one thing you hope the fans gain by listening to this new album? Any message(s) you want to convey to them?
Stratovarius is going strong, I hope you can come and see us live!
As a fan of astrology, I really like the idea of using the zodiac as part of the background for the cover art. What made the band want to run in this direction with the album cover? Kudos to Gyula Havancsák.
Astronomical themes have always been with Stratovarius it is a part of Stratovarius mythology ever since Visions, we like to follow these themes in most of our artwork. Guyla has been a big part of our visual image ever since he got onboard in 2009.
Being that this band does not have its original founding members anymore, do you ever worry about disrupting or tarnishing the legacy from the bandmates before you?
Not really the old lineups are alive on the albums and documents of those eras, this is what Stratovarius is in 2018, if someone is just interested in a certain era of the band, he/she can choose to listen just to those albums.
Regarding the line-up changes, the band still keeps going, and stays true to its musical roots. What about this band gives it such a legacy for others to keep alive?
The old times are gone and they will never return, Stratovarius is a big part life for everyone in the band and we do the best we can to continue the legacy that is Stratovarius. As long as we feel the fire, we keep doing this and we do feel the fire still.