INTERVIEW: EERO SIPILA of Battle Beast – May 2017

According to a recent press release: “BATTLE BEAST unleashed their 4th studio album, Bringer Of Pain, on February 17 via Nuclear Blast Records. Recorded and produced at JKB Studios by keyboardist Janne Björkroth, Bringer Of Pain was also mixed by him alongside Viktor Gullichsen and Mikko Karmila, while mastering was done by Mika Jussila at Finnvox Studios. Additionally, Bringer Of Pain is BATTLE BEAST’s first album recorded with guitarist Joona Björkroth.”  With the bands North American tour coming to an end, we were able to get bassist Eero Sipilä on the phone to discuss the latest disc, the tour, and much more…

Toddstar: Thank you so much for taking the time out for us. We really appreciate it.

Eero: No problem at all.

Toddstar: So, Battle Beast is here in the US out on tour. How are the dates rolling along so far?

Eero: It’s been really great so far.  Honestly I’m a bit surprised that we only have four shows left. It’s been real quick. I mean, every night’s been great. It’s been really fun to see the response of the audience every day. Everybody’s so enthusiastic, it’s like, something that’s totally surprised me.

Toddstar: Cool – you guys bring a form of metal that we don’t get a lot of here. There’s not a lot of great symphonic style metal that comes out of the US so to be able to get you guys over here is a real treat for all of us.

Eero: Yeah, that’s what I figured though. If we tour Germany or elsewhere in Europe… over there we have bands like us coming over every week and all the bands touring all the time so I figure in here we’re more of a rare treat to have European bands like us coming over, doing tours. It’s more of the specialty bands I guess.

Toddstar: Earlier this year, back in February, you guys released your fourth album, Bringer of Pain. How is that material going across with the people coming out to this shows, some of the newer stuff?

Eero: Actually on the tour, we played mostly the new stuff on this US tour. And, well like I said the response has been great so it seems to me that it went over pretty great. Of course a lot of people have never heard of us, they’re here to see Sabaton or they’re here to see Leaves Eyes so a lot of them never heard of us anyways. Every day we leave the stage and it seems like people have enjoyed it so I guess that’s the best response you can get.

Toddstar: You guys are playing a lot of the new material as you said … If you look at the album though and you compare it to some of the older songs, which songs off of the album do you feel will now fully be a part of the Battle Beast set whether you guys are opening or headlining five years from now?

Eero: I really don’t know. A lot of people ask the saying, “What are your favorite songs” Or “What songs do you connect with the most” and I always say, I don’t know yet. It’s only been out for three months now, so I guess it will take a year or two to say which songs you really feel like you connect with. I don’t know. Judging from the audience response, it seems like “Madness” seems to be kind of a hit. It’s got that good live song bite to it. Every time we play that one people go pretty crazy. That’s a top contender for sure I believe.

Toddstar: I’m not going to ask you to pick a favorite, but which one when you know it’s coming up in the set list, gives you a little extra spark?

Eero: Well it’s probably a classic like “Black Ninja” or something. We’ve played it so many times, and it’s like playing it by itself doesn’t feel like anything like just going through the motions but every time we play it for a live audience, and everybody goes crazy, so that’s definitely one of those songs you always know when you start the song you say it’s name on the microphone… the moment you say ‘Next is “Black Ninja”‘ and everybody’s already psyched for it… that’s one of those moments for sure.

Toddstar: Let’s talk about you for a minute. What got you into music?

Eero: Originally my parents put me through music school at the age of nine or ten to play classic double bass – classical music and stuff. But the rest, as you can figure, didn’t actually, exactly go that way for a long time. So as a teenager I got interested in heavy metal and rock and roll and I switched to electric bass and here we are now.

Toddstar: Sure. If you had to think about it, who would be you musical influences, either as a player or as a writer?

Eero: Let’s start with obvious ones, so Geddy Lee from Rush and Steve Harris from Iron Maiden… and I guess Freddie Mercury from the musical variety point.

Toddstar: If there was somebody, one collaborator you’d like to do a song with, who would you want to do a song with if you were going to write a song or even just play on stage, who would you want to share that moment with?

Eero: Another of those “I have no idea” moments for me.

Toddstar: Eero, in your opinion, what’s the best thing about being a musician?

Eero: Well, if you’re a touring musician, it’s like a very large extended family. Everybody knows somebody through some connection. People on the tour, you can talk about pretty much any band and somebody from you band or somebody from your bus or some technician or tour manager knows somebody of them. Everybody’s always got some story to tell. It’s something you learn when you join a band and you do a couple of tours, how it’s all so connected and how everybody knows everybody and that’s something I think it’s really cool.

Toddstar: What might a fan of your earlier material not pick up on first or second time they listen to this album?

Eero: Some people have called it experimental but I would only call it like that, it’s a pretty diverse album. There are a couple of songs which are, they are not strictly metal. There’s some pretty funky influences there; like “Dancing with the Beast,” or something like that. At least from what I hear, people are, their first revelation are some of those songs are like, “Oh my god, what is this”. And then they can give it a couple of more listens and then they start enjoying it in all their cheesiness. I guess it’s those kind of things with the new album.

Toddstar: Well one thing I dug about the album from the first listen was that it maintained that Battle Beast’s spirit and sound, yet, and I don’t want to call it experimental either, it was just a little diverse for you guys, but how much of that pulls from different song writers this time? I mean, the guy who normally put together a lot of the songs, wasn’t there all the time, so it really fell on you guys to pull together. Do you think that affected the outcome of the album itself?

Eero: Yeah, definitely. I think the influence for us was just like everybody makes songs and then we together pick the ones we like the best. Yeah the result is what you have there. It’s a very diverse album, very different from each other. Just everybody pouring in their influences and their musical backgrounds. So yeah, I’d say it’s exactly what you guys are like. Different songwriters… so yeah.

Toddstar: Yeah, sonically it’s not same, but it reminded me of some of the older KISS albums, where you have Gene and Paul writing but you have the occasional Ace Frehley song or Peter Criss song so you’d get that diversity but it still seemed cohesive.

Eero: Okay.

Toddstar: You just got compared to Kiss…

Eero: (Laughing) Well actually, when you asked me the previous question of who’d I’d like to collaborate with I immediately started thinking about Kiss. And so, it would be nice to play instead of Gene Simmons, or you play wearing his boots like literally breathe fire or something, but back to your point.

Toddstar: Looking back over you career, you’ve been with Battle Beast since 2008 and this isn’t your first rodeo. Is there a single moment or situation you wish you could do over? Is there anything you think was just a long step for you?

Eero: No, not really. It’s really hard time to think here. Maybe the early days we could have done somethings easier and learned something faster but I don’t think that’s what you mean here. I don’t think we made any big mistakes after that. So no, not really, no.

Toddstar: What’s next for you guys? Like you said, you guys are wrapping up this North American tour. What’s next for you guys? What’s on the agenda for the rest of the summer?

Eero: Well, mostly for the rest of the year it’s going to be touring. After we come home from here, we have two weeks off and then we play a festival in Belgium and from here on we have like, I don’t know how many festivals we play. Like two or three festivals each week and so that’s a lot for the summer and then come autumn we’re going over to Japan. We do a tour in Scandinavia and another European leg. We go over to Russia for a couple of gigs so, it’s going to be a busy year. This year it’s mostly just touring and hopefully we can start on the work on the next album next year.

Toddstar: You guys kind of ripped the last album out relatively quick for bands these days. Normally you’re seeing a lot more time between albums. Is this something where you guys just didn’t want to sit around for a long time? You space them out about every couple years, but some of the bands now are taking two, three, four years.

Eero: Yeah, but for us I think it’s not even an option. Bands like us have to stay on the map, we have to put out stuff, new stuff out regularly and then you need to tour on that album you put out. Now we are doing pretty good, but if we like, you know, for like three years we didn’t do anything, people would forget us and so that’s something we don’t want to happen, obviously. So, you know, we just gotta keep grinding albums of course and so far it’s been no problem, ’cause you know the fans keep coming and touring is fun. That’s the way it has to be.

Toddstar: It beats a day job right?

Eero: Yup. Definitely.

Toddstar: Being a band from Helsinki and getting the opportunity to tour the world, Europe for you guys but then to be able to come to North America, is this something that when you guys first started the band, you thought was possible? That you’d get out of Helsinki?

Eero: Well, yeah out of Helsinki definitely. But you know, touring the US actually felt pretty distant back then. I was thinking like, yeah we’re definitely going to do Europe at some point, but this was one of those things that I didn’t even think of when we started; we’d get to tour over here. So yeah, that’s kind of a cool things that we actually do and probably going to come over here again so that’s also very neat.

Toddstar: I’m really hoping so because you had a date in Detroit earlier this year and I was actually out of town and couldn’t make it.

Eero: Oh no.

Toddstar: So I was very upset ’cause I’ve loved you guys since the first album when you guy’s released Steel. For people like me, I’ve got all four albums and I listen to them, but how much material is there that you guys haven’t released. I mean, do you guys have B-sides? Do you have songs that just never saw the light of day but they’re finished?

Eero: There’s no songs we have recorded and not used. Very few demo’s from the early days which are not totally finished there are. But when we make an album, we record the songs that are going to end up on the album. There’s no overtakes or stuff like that. So there’s no hidden secrets anywhere. But yeah, there are songs which haven’t been used for sure in demo files and stuff but not finished songs, no.

Toddstar: When it comes to Battle Beast, at what point did you, or will you if you haven’t yet, consider this a success?

Eero: Well, I guess it’s a success now. As it was stated many times, we are here now and well tours in Europe are going faster… there’s more of them. Records sell good. I guess the big thing is we don’t get any actual money out of it, as stupid as it sounds. Yeah, I don’t know. Maybe I would consider it a success when I don’t have to worry about paying my rent every month or the electricity bill or the water bill every day. At the point when every month wouldn’t be a struggle then, I guess, we’d be successful.

Toddstar: When you’re not plugged in, when you’re not on stage with Battle Beast and you’re sitting at home with the bass or the guitar, what kind of music do you like to play when you’re just relaxing?

Eero:  It’s pretty much all over the map. Lots of the times I don’t actually listen to music at all, especially here on tour. It seems like all the time there’s something playing, like at the venue there’s always some DJ always playing on or at the bus we have some guys who like some pretty funky electro, so that keeps playing hour after hour. So actually, for me, I don’t really listen much music at all in my private space right now.

Toddstar: I know you’re busy so I’ve got one more for you before we cut you loose. This is one of those, you have to think about it questions again.

Eero: Oh no, oh no.

Toddstar: If there was one album in the history of time that you could magically go back in time and be a part of, what album would it be and why?

Eero: You know I’m going out of the box and I’m going to say Rumors by Fleetwood Mac. I was just thinking about that record a couple of days ago. I was thinking my god this is still great. Every time I pop it in it’s so awesome. Part of my brain doesn’t believe it actually exists.

Toddstar: It’s a classic.

Eero: Yeah, it’s a really good one and all the songs seem kind of personal, I mean to some of us. I know all the songs are about some other band member… who did she sleep with… so it’s really like all the real rumor album. Guess it would be in some, weird perverted way, fun to be a part of it. Probably not, but still.

Toddstar: Eero, again I really appreciate you taking time out for us. We wish you well on the last four days of the tour with the next one picking up in Tampa at the Orpheum. Hopefully we’ll get you back in the US and Detroit sooner than later.

Eero: Yeah, I hope the same. Hey, thank you very much.

Toddstar: All right Eero, we’ll talk to you soon.

Eero: Talk to ya.

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INTERVIEW: EERO SIPILA of Battle Beast - May 2017

Filed Under: Interviews

About the Author: ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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