Just three weeks after To/Die/For played in Moscow and St. Petersburg, the news reached us that this talented Finnish band was on the verge of a break-up. Of course, we did our best to clear up the situation and contacted guitarist Joonas Koto via e-mail and asked him a few questions.

MetalKings.com: There have been a lot of statements and rumours about To/Die/For breaking up or being put on hold. What actually happened to the band? Will you continue under this name?

Joonas: We had some difficulties with our booking agency and with Spinefarm Records but the band is NOT breaking up. We're demoing the new songs for the next album during the summer and we'll go to Astia-Studio in October to record the new album. The new album will be released sometime early 2003 by Spinefarm Records.

MetalKings.com: It was announced half a year ago that your third album "Jaded" was going to be released in January 2002. Is the material for the album written? What are you going to do with it if To/Die/For breaks up?

Joonas: As I said earlier we're not breaking up but we took a little break from the music business in general. The material is not ready yet but we have something like five or six new totally kick-ass songs completed so far.

MetalKings.com: Why did guitarist J-P Sutela leave To/Die/For in 2001?.

Joonas: He wanted to concentrate on other aspects of life and he got totally tired of touring. He's gonna play with us at Koria-Roll festival this summer though. We're still good friends and see each other at least every week. We've been discussing with him if he would like to rejoin the band as a full time member again.

MetalKings.com: I heard that you recorded a King Diamond track as a bonus for the Japanese edition of "Epilogue". What track is that and is it of any special importance to you?

Joonas: We recorded King Diamond's "Behind These Walls" from "The Eye" album. Originally it was supposed to be released on a tribute album but it has never been released yet. I hope it's gonna be released someday because it's a totally cool version and it has one of the best solos I've ever nailed in the studio. Maybe as a b-side of a single or something.

MetalKings.com: Why did you choose "Passion Rules The Game" for the Scorpions tribute album? Have you ever played this track live?

Joonas: I don't know why we chose that particular song. It has good melodies and a very relaxed feel to it so maybe that's why. We haven't played that song live but sometimes at the rehearsals.

MetalKings.com: Are there any unreleased tracks from recording sessions for the "All Eternity" and "Epilogue" albums?

Joonas: There's one song from the "Epilogue" sessions called "Dying Embers" which is going to end up on the next album. The reason why it never ended up on "Epilogue" is that we didn't get a good enough version of that song in the studio. We've re-arranged the song and now it's got some serious hit potential to it.

MetalKings.com: How did you like touring with Lacrimosa? What do you think of that band in general?

Joonas: The tour was something like a disaster for us. The "true" gothic audience is just not our audience. There was something like 1000-2000 people every night but everyone just stood still and swayed on their feet. The arrangements of the tour were not even close to what we had agreed. We had to fight every night to get enough beer and food and still we had to buy more with our own money. The crew treated us like shit and especially the tour manager should be hanged by his balls. The tour was close to being the last nail in our coffin. That was one of the things that made us consider quitting the whole business. We didn't get paid or laid. The Lacrimosa guys are great but personally I don't like their music at all. It's terrible when a band sings in German.

MetalKings.com: Do you still play in Malpractice? When can we expect the second full-length CD?

Joonas: Malpractice is still active and we have enough material for two full-length albums. The only difficulty is that we haven't got a recording deal at the moment. We have just finished recording a new three-song demo that should nail us a new deal. The new stuff is much more progressive than on the previous album. I think the closest comparison would be "Parallels" era Fates Warning with some Nevermore heaviness to it. We're gonna play next summer at Joris-Rock festival in Suonenjoki with New Dawn Foundation and Sonata Arctica to mention a few.

MetalKings.com: Are there any plans to re-release Mary Ann CDs (the band that preceded To/Die/For -ed.)? What record label originally released them?

Joonas: I don't think there are going to be any re-issues of the old Mary-Ann albums. Both albums are self-financed. There are only 500 copies of the first and 1000 copies of the second album in the world.

MetalKings.com: How did you first get in touch with Mary Ann? As far as I know, your favorite music is Nevermore and Iced Earth, how did they convince you to join a gothic metal band?

Joonas: I've known the guys all my life. I was on the same class in school with Jape (Peratalo, vocalist - ed.) and we lived next door to each other when we were kids. Tommi (Lillmann, drummer - ed.) and I have played in same bands since 1990. The guys asked me to fill in for their keyboard player on some gigs in 1999. So I started on keyboards in Mary-Ann. It came quite naturally for me to switch to playing guitar when their guitarist quit the band just few weeks before we started recording "All Eternity" so I learned the songs in a few weeks and went to the studio with the guys.
I don't think that To/Die/For is something you can call just gothic. Especially live we are just a butt-kicking rock band with some serious metal guitars and pop/gothic overtones. The reason why I play in To/Die/For is simply that I like the guys and the music very much. I'm not just a metal guy. I listen to all kinds of music from old 70's progressive stuff to thrash-metal.
To/Die/For is a great band to play in. Although it's a bit limited but that's why I still have Malpractice where I can play and write whatever I want.

MetalKings.com: Whose idea was it to invite Tanja from Lullacry to sing backing vocals for To/Die/For?

Joonas: I think it was Tommi who invited her to the studio to do the Sandra cover ("In The Heat Of The Night"). Her voice just fits in our stuff so great that we decided to ask her again for "Epilogue" sessions.

MetalKings.com: I heard that when you entered the studio to record "In The Heat Of The Night", you haven't yet decided which song to do. If it is true, what were other options?

Joonas: We decided to do "In The Heat Of The Night" just a few days before we had to go to the studio. We had the studio booked already and we didn't have a clue what to do there. J-P went through some old 80's pop collections in a local supermarket and he came up with an album that had "In the Heat Of The Night" on it. He recalled that the song was cool and so we decided to do that one.

MetalKings.com: What is your best and worst remembrance from the days with To/Die/For so far?

Joonas: The best memories are absolutely from the first European tour with In Flames, Sentenced and Dark Tranquillity. I can't say that the tour was just pure heaven but it was the first time I got to play somewhere outside of Finland. The Russian and Mexican gigs were also very delightful. The audiences were the best ever and I'm not just saying that to lick anyone's ass. I don't want to bring up any shit from my days with To/Die/For but I can tell you there's been a lot of that too but that's not something I want to remember.

MetalKings.com: What are your impressions about the Russian gigs?

Joonas: The audience was totally awesome. You lunatics! The St. Petersburg gig was not that great but that was totally our own fault. We had a little trouble with Mr. Demon Alcohol that night. The Moscow gig instead was one of the best gigs we have ever played. I heard that someone has the gig on video. That's something I would like to have for myself. I have a huge collection of To/Die/For stuff on video and I'd like to get that one too.

MetalKings.com: And your final words to all your Russian fans and MetalKings.com readers.

Joonas: Thanks for a love(less)ly time in Russia and keep bombing your local promoters so we can come back and play there again.

-- Roman The Maniac , MetalKings.com

Back to MAIN

Copyright © MetalKings.com 2000 - 2021

All rights reserved. Any reproduction without quoting MetalKings.com is prohibited

updates |  review archive |  interviews |  gig reports |  aggressor |  dark princess |  contacts |  home |  sitemap