Rock Overdose and Zisis Petkanas had the opportunity to talk to Esa Holopainen, guitarist of Amorphis, about his newest solo project, "Silver Lake". They also discuss the future plans of Amorphis and their new album.
Rock Overdose: Welcome to Rock Overdose! How are you doing these days?
Esa Holopainen (AMORPHIS, SILVER LAKE): I’m doing fine, waiting for the world to be open again and ready to get my vaccine shot, hopefully in a couple of weeks.
Rock Overdose: Great! I’ve already had both of them.
Esa Holopainen (AMORPHIS, SILVER LAKE): Ok! Congratulations!
Rock Overdose: So, I think we’re ready for live shows.
Esa Holopainen (AMORPHIS, SILVER LAKE): Yes, absolutely.
Rock Overdose: And let’s hope for live shows to return soon. So, how did you decide to do a solo album and what’s the story behind it?
Esa Holopainen (AMORPHIS, SILVER LAKE): Well, pretty much we lost all the shows and touring from last year, like all the other touring bands and I didn’t have anything to do and I got a phone call from my friend who is running a studio here, who is also the producer from the last Silver Lake album, he asked if I wanted to start work with my own solo record and that’s it in a nutshell.
Rock Overdose: So it was due to the lockdown that you made this decision.
Esa Holopainen (AMORPHIS, SILVER LAKE): Pretty much yeah, without the lockdown I don’t think I would have any time to focus on this project, but thanks to Covid-19 I was able to do this.
Rock Overdose: One could expect that a guitarist would release a guitar-oriented album, but this is more than that. Could you tell us a few things about this album and the musicians that have worked on it?
Esa Holopainen (AMORPHIS, SILVER LAKE): First of all, I’m not a big fan of guitarist solo albums, because it’s… it depends, unless you’re in it it’s boring to listen to music that you can’t recall after a couple of songs, you don’t know what’s going on or what it was all about. But anyway, I wanted to focus, especially on the vocalists and the songs on this album, to create a common musical theme and music-wise I got help from session guys, the studio musicians that helped me out with the keyboards, bass and drums, obviously I played all the guitars and I got help from all these great vocalists.
Rock Overdose: Would you like to tell us about the vocalists? You have the singer of Katatonia, Leprous, you have Anneke...
Esa Holopainen (AMORPHIS, SILVER LAKE): Yeah! That’s pretty much what we have. The point was for me to ask vocalists that are people who I respect and I like myself. I have Jonas Renkse from Katatonia, who did two songs on this album, Björn Strid from Soilwork, Einar Solberg from Leprous, Anneke van Giersbergen and of course Tomi Joutsen from Amorphis, my bandmate. Then I have two vocalists that most people won’t be familiar with, a folk singer from Sweden and a Finnish actor who did a Finnish spoken word song on this album.
Rock Overdose: I suppose they responded quickly, they wanted to do this cooperation with you, all of them.
Esa Holopainen (AMORPHIS, SILVER LAKE): I didn’t want to just send randomly songs to these vocalists and hope that someone would catch some song, I really tried to focus on the nuances and the greatness of these vocalists and what I love about them, in what kind of music I’d like them to be heard and I offered songs based on that. I’m pretty sure they all felt good with the songs I chose for them and each one of them did a remarkable work.
Rock Overdose: That’s great. If you could choose only one, which is your favorite song from the Silver Lake album and why?
Esa Holopainen (AMORPHIS, SILVER LAKE): One song? Oh, that’s difficult. I think it’s “Alkusointu”, it has Finnish spoken words and the song itself musically describes really well what this whole atmosphere in the album is like, as well as the lyrics. Most of the people don’t understand the lyrics because they are in Finnish, but the lyrical idea is about the world creation story in Finnish mythology, how people used to believe the world was created. So if I had to pick one song, I would probably pick that one.
Rock Overdose: So, you have 9 songs in the list. Where there any other songs that you left out of the release?
Esa Holopainen (AMORPHIS, SILVER LAKE): No, not on this session. I pretty much released everything I’ve got and the reason was that I was composing the material while I was recording the album. I didn’t have any other vocalists on my mind and I was really happy with the material I had when I finished the tracks, so I think these 9 tracks really represent well the musical world I wanted to come up with in this album.
Rock Overdose: Do you have plans for a second Silver Lake release in the future?
Esa Holopainen (AMORPHIS, SILVER LAKE): Yes, I probably plan to, but I don’t know when I’ll have time to focus on another album. I’ll probably start working with new songs at some point, little by little, trying to come up with some ideas, but of course, I hope there will be not that much extra time as I had last year, like we all had and we can get back on track really soon, when it comes to touring and playing shows. But at some point, yes.
Rock Overdose: What about Amorphis? You cancelled a lot of shows, due to the pandemic. Do you plan to release your new album first or to go on tour first?
Esa Holopainen (AMORPHIS, SILVER LAKE): We are actually at the studio at the moment, recording the next album. It should be out early next year. Hopefully, we can do some shows within this year, we haven’t cancelled all the shows with Amorphis yet, so if everything goes as planned and we get most of the strict limits with what comes with the live shows, we can probably do a few shows with Amorphis within this year. But the next album and the touring for the next album comes next year.
Rock Overdose: So you will combine a new album and touring.
Esa Holopainen (AMORPHIS, SILVER LAKE): Yeah, the way it usually goes, new album, then tour.
Rock Overdose: So how is the recording process going with the new album?
Esa Holopainen (AMORPHIS, SILVER LAKE): It’s going pretty good, we are about halfway with the recordings. All the drums, basses and rhythm guitars must be recorded, I think we finish recordings by the end of summer. The release is planned for early 2022, so I’m really excited, really happy about the material.
Rock Overdose: What about its music direction?
Esa Holopainen (AMORPHIS, SILVER LAKE): It’s Metal, it’s pretty much I guess what we’ve done with “Under the Red Cloud” and “Queen of Time”, slightly progressive elements here and there. It’s hard to say what the final result will be.
Rock Overdose: What about your memories from our country?
Esa Holopainen (AMORPHIS, SILVER LAKE): Gagarin was a great venue in Athens, that’s what I remember, when we played there and Thessaloniki as well. Great city where we had a great time and amazing food, nice people, warm weather, excellent. Can I already fly there?
Rock Overdose: So I guess you loved our country.
Esa Holopainen (AMORPHIS, SILVER LAKE): Very much. Amazing culture and beautiful country, absolutely.
Rock Overdose: Would you like to leave a message to the Greek fans?
Esa Holopainen (AMORPHIS, SILVER LAKE): Hopefully we’ll see you pretty soon, I hope that with Amorphis we’ll come to Greece in 2022, when we start the tour for the new album. Meanwhile, be open minded and listen to the Silver Lake album.
Rock Overdose: Are there any other news that you would like to reveal through this interview, regarding Silver Lake?
Esa Holopainen (AMORPHIS, SILVER LAKE): We’re actually working on another video that is coming out at the end of the week, I think it will look pretty nice, it’s filmed in Finland and I haven’t seen the final motion yet, but it already looks nice, so that is coming out and of course the whole album.
Rock Overdose: Via Nuclear Blast Tonträger Produktions.
Esa Holopainen (AMORPHIS, SILVER LAKE): Yes, we have to always add the Tonträger Produktions, because that’s another Nuclear Blast.
Rock Overdose: Would you like to tell us about this cooperation with this company?
Esa Holopainen (AMORPHIS, SILVER LAKE): It’s great, you know, with Amorphis and now with Silver Lake nothing has changed, we have the same people working there and I’m pretty happy. I haven’t seen anything change radically, so the Silver Lake album, the next Amorphis album is coming out on vinyl, which is important for me, to have the physical form of the album and not just the digital, so everything is fine.
Rock Overdose: Thank you very much for this interview, I wish you the best and I wish to see you in Greece and why not meet in person.
Esa Holopainen (AMORPHIS, SILVER LAKE): Absolutely, thank you very much for the interview.
For Rock Overdose,