Interview: Apocalyptica “We felt that it was time to dig deeper and to renew ourselves.”

Who would have thought three cellists and a drummer would make such a huge impact on the metal scene? Well Apocalyptica have done that and then some. Famous for their interpretations of classic tracks as well as original compositions the Fins have become close to many metalheads hearts over the years. Jo Wright chatted to Perttu about their latest album, tour plans and why the world needs Apocalyptica.

Cell-0 is your first instrumental album in 17 years. Why did you decide to make a record without vocals this time around?

“We have always been a group wanting to challenge ourselves and find new ways to express our musicianship and creative-selves. We keep developing and never want to repeat what we have accomplished before. This instrumental concept started taking shape and getting clearer for us whilst on the road on our Anniversary Tour, ‘Plays Metallica by 4 Cellos’. We felt that it was time to dig deeper and to renew ourselves, to create music by really focusing on what the core of the group is all about and to really cherish the instrument – cello.”

What would you most like our lovely Devolution readers to know about Cell-0. What did you do on this album that you’re particularly pleased with?

“Bringing back the great attention to our instruments, the beautiful and brutal sound of the cello. The strong environmental concept and the dark philosophy behind the music, the structural freedom of the songs, the different layers…. I could go on forever!”

You will be touring Europe with Sabaton in the New Year and providing reinforcements on stage to Sabaton themselves. Excited?

“That’s going to be one hell-of-a ride!!! They’re very nice guys and passionate in what they do. It’s lovely to unite such bands together and I am glad we can bring flavours to their already epic music! Flames and sweat! “

It’ll be an epic tour. Can you tell us a little bit about what to expect from yourselves?

“I will play with Amaranthe, Elize Ryd is singing for Apocalyptica and we are playing with Sabaton,  So, it will really feel like a true collaboration among the bands performing TOGETHER.  Our set will be a proper introduction for ‘Cell-0’, but we will of course also remember to play our ‘greatest hits’ to introduce ourselves to some audiences that probably don’t know who we are, or haven’t heard of us much. I will surely head-bang my neck off!”

Apocalyptica have been joined by some pretty legendary guests in the past. If you could collaborate with absolutely anyone, who would you pick and why?

“Nick Cave… I have been listening to his art a lot lately and simply adore the way he tells stories and the great atmosphere he creates.”

You guys have hit legend status yourselves, but how hard was it back in the beginning to get Apocalyptica off the ground?

“We started just for fun, we didn’t have any plans back then… But the band had a very strong start, by having the chance to support Metallica in a big arena in our hometown, which was our 5th public performance!  So, it was at the same time both easy and hard… Probably easy to get attention as a novelty act, and some kind of a freak curiosity, but after that hard to prove that we are a ‘proper band’ with longevity and a long career.  But here we are, quite a funny accident!”

The world is just in complete turmoil at the minute, but your music, especially the instrumentals, bring such solace. The planet needs Apocalyptica. Do you agree?

“I do hope so! And Apocalyptica needs this planet, so we have to stop ruining it!  ‘Cell-0′ has a concept, which is to challenge the listeners to question themselves… “Am I doing the best I can for the environment, for other beings? Is there still something I can change?” and so on. Cell-0’ is for us a hypothetical ‘God-particle’, the missing source and the core of the universe… Not having this ‘Cell-0’ particle in our lives, it makes us ignorant and if we do not find it, we drive ourselves into inevitable self-destruction.”

It is possible to listen to Apocalyptica and be transported to places limited only by your imagination. How does it feel to know you can affect people like this?

“Once again I do hope we do have that impact! I always followed this ideal of affecting myself this way. I believe that if I am honest to my musical urge and I listen to my musical soul when composing, the people who like to follow us will find the music fascinating. And that is all I need!  We share a common Soul with our listeners and we get excited by similar types of vibes and emotions.”

Do you have any tips to encourage kids to practise their instruments? They don’t tend to listen to parents, but they may well listen to a million-selling, world-famous band…

“Probably that, besides all necessary studying and practicing songs that are chosen with their teacher, let them also choose whatever they want to play! Whether it is Mozart, Post Malone or Morbid Angel! The most important virtue in learning anything is to have the passion for it!”

Lastly, Cell-0 is your ninth studio album. You have created the genre of Cello Rock. Your musical achievements are absolutely massive. Do you sometimes have to pinch yourselves to make sure you are not dreaming?

“Well, thank you for your kind words! I rather try to be thankful for these amazing opportunities we have had in creating music, and I promise to maintain the same enthusiasm and passion in future too, to create another 9 albums or more!  It’s such great fun!”

Interview by Jo Wright