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In Words: Kotipelto

- Timo Kotipelto - May 2002 - Claudia Ehrhardt & Nadja -
- Stratovarius: Timo Kotipelto - Nov. 2005 - Claudia Ehrhardt -

Stratovarius: Timo Lotipelto - live 2005
© Claudia Ehrhardt

Stratovarius: Timo Kotipelto - November, 4th 2005 - Cologne (D), Palladium

The year 2004 - and partly 2005 - have been a rollercoaster ride for Stratovarius and so it was a little surprise that after the release of the self-titled album the band hit the streets. The interest in Stratovarius was huge, too many questions waited to be answered. During the set of HammerFall Timo Kotipelto granted some time to answer some questions. They were already on tour for about 2 weeks... "So far the tour is very good." Timo stated. Together on tour with HammerFall some might have expected some Johnsson brothers to cause some mass. "Jens broke some table and plates backstage - and something else -, but since Anders' sons are with us on tour they behave a little better." Not everybody is playing Russia and so I was curious how that shows been. "It was the second time we played there. The audience was very good, everybody knew the words." Even if not that many copies get sold over there... "It was the same promoter who booked us last time, but this time the organization was even better - at least for us as a band." More bands are playing there these days, thanks to a new promoter. "From Finland it's easy to go there, just take the train. Well, I flew back and forth. I didn't want to sit on a train for 13 hrs with my back problems." But still from St. Petersburg to Moscow he had to face a 9 hrs. long train ride, but in a sleeping compartment. Many bands release their debut self-titled, but Stratovarius named their latest album after the band - the re-united band. "This feels like a new start for the band and when Timo came up with the idea it feels right. You can only do this once in your career." Back together, but is it still the same? "It's different, we have a new bassist." Timo says with a smile. As Tolkki stated before that the line-up with bassist Jari is the one and only, it's a bit strange... "Jari played on the album, but when it came to tour, he took his leave. He married about 2 years ago and wasn't up to it any longer." Lauri was the obvious choice and as Kotipelto worked - and still works - with him, they got him on board with Stratovarious. "He's an equal member. Some band might have a lot of money to split, but we don't and so everybody gets the same. He's a good guy." So Timo tells that even in his solo band he shares everything and not just hires some guys for playing live or for the recording. "Actually I got less money then my band from the solo tour, coz I paid everything." That proofs that he‘s still down-to-Earth and not acting like a rock star off stage. "It was like a dream come true when I got the offer for the solo tour. It was like 'now or never' and I did it! It was great. I like playing early, coz you can only win. Expectations aren't that high. On this tour with HammerFall we are co-headlining, but at some shows HammerFall play second and we headline. It's great." Next time Timo hopes he can bring on solo shows the recording line-up, but last time the schedule didn't allowed it. On other occations Jens jumped in. But we came together to talk about Stratovarius... The track Götterdämmerung caused some discussions and it was first called Hitler. Tolkki even planned to use some part off a Hitler speech. "It was Timo's idea. And yes, there should have been some speech used, but I'm aware that this subject should be treated very sensitive. In a way I understand this arguing, but on the other hand it's just about a person in history. And we want to make people aware of this, about this dark days in history." But fans might get it wrong... "The label said 'no' to the title Hitler and then Jörg - or Timo - had the idea to call it Götterdämmerung." Here he confesses that he don't know much about it, only that it was off some old legend as Jörg told him. He got used to sing lyrics written by Tolkki, even if it's hard sometimes. "He never really plans where to go lyrically. He just writes what he feels and so this one is darker. Some sort of depressive..." That‘s no surprise when you think of waht Tolkki been through. So it's a diverse album and reactions been mixed. "Some good, some bad. Timo is composing and writting the lyrics and I'm not sure, if he knows what's next. Anyway, I hope it's more positive..." The band was signed to Noise International / Sanctuary, then Nuclear Blast and now back with Sanctuary. "There aren't that myn metal labels and we don't want to be no. 30,200 at EMI or another major. Why back to Sanctuary? Well, the deal ran out." With a new label and back on tour there is an obvious question... What about a DVD? "We actually recorded a show in Såo Paulo and Jens is supposed to edit it. But now we are on tour, but as soon as he finds time he'll edit it and then Timo will mix it. So, no idea when it'll come out." When Stratovarius have some time off, will the band Kotipelto be active again... "Well, I have already written some songs. Only composing music, but no lyrics yet. I also wrote some songs together with Lauri and Tuomas who are playing in my band and they will be on the next record. I hope we can start in February, but it depends on Janne's schedule and if he‘s on tour with Children Of Bodom. If we start working in February then it might be out in September / October 2006." And if Stratovarius won't start working on their coming album. The next Kotipleto album should be out before Stratovarius anyway and perhaps then there is time to tour again... "I hope I can do another tour. The European tour was fun, no stress. Well, money-wise it could be better..." It seems that Timo Kotipelto really likes to play as support and so some might hope for a tour of Kotipelto and Stratovarius. "It would be great to do some shows with Thunderstone, Warmen, Stratovarius and Children Of Bodom. Not in this paticular order, but you know to mix up a bit. I've been working with Janne, singing on Warmen albums and Mirka is playing on Warmen and on my album - it would be like having two bands on stage. Perhaps we can do that in Helsinki one day..." But Children Of Bodom would give the other bands a tough time, coz live they blow you away. But it would be fun... Not just for the bands!
And that was it for today, perhaps next time there is more to talk about. And I have the feeling that he‘s much more talkative when he can talk about his own band... When there is a new Kotipelto album, there is a chance to find out.

Claudia Ehrhardt


Timo Kotipelto (with Stratovarius) - live 2000
© Claudia Ehrhardt

Timo Kotipelto - Dortmund (D), May, 14th 2002

These days the first solo album of Stratovarius singer Timo Kotipelto hit the stores. It's called Waiting For The Dawn. A good reason to talk to the Finnish vocalist. We had an appoint­ment at the office of Century Media in Dortmund for late afternoon. Luck wasn't on our side, our luggage was still in London-Stanstedt and so we had to do this interview without a recorder, etc.
We explaint the situation to Timo and that we just returned from the U.K. shows of Annihilator & Seven Witches to do this interview. Timo offered us a coffee and we ask him to fill in the the profile which you can now find in the section 'Specials / Profiles'. That gave us the chance to calm down and to think about the questions.... While he was filling in, he didn't want us to read it, so we joked a little about it. It was fun from the very beginning.
First I wanted to know, if he had the idea to do a conceptual album about Egypt for quite awhile or if it just came up while working on the material. "I had the idea to do a solo album for awhile, but we were busy with Stratovarius and there wasn't enough time to realize it." The story is based in Egypt and even if the protagonist isn't a real character most of the story is based on historical facts. Unusual.... "In school I always was better in history then in music! I've been interested in history, especially in the Egyptian history ever since, but really thought about writing about after I visited Egypt in fall 2000 on holidays. It was amazing and after I got back home I started reading about it. During my research I read about 25 books about this subject!" In Mr. Kotipelto's opinion everybody should visit Egypt once, but due to the political situation in the Middle East he can't recomment to do it these days. We promised him to visit Egypt one day... At least when he'll play there! But what to expect musically from Timo Kotipelto's solo album? What are the differences musically between Stratovarius and his solo album for Timo Kotipelto? "What do you think are the differences? Sorry, I have to askt this question! *smiles* Actually I tried to write the kind of music I was listening to before I started my musical career. Music from the 80's, partly from the 70's, but in todays' sound. Kind of nowadays Rainbow and Iron Maiden. That there are similarites to Stratovarius, coz I'm the singer in Stratovarius. A mixture of my influences and my main band...." The solo debut is released on Century Media Records, while he's signed to Nuclear Blast with this main band. "I got several offers, some companies offered more money, but they wanted to control everything. Century Media offered less money, but I have more control about everything." To have more control about everything Timo Kotipelto founded his own record label. "One reason to sign with Century Media was that I have more control and also can learn a lot about the business form the labels point of view." Somethings are easier to understand if you can take a look behind the scenes and to have the label in the same building as Stratovarius management and booking agent is another positive effect. Another reason for this decision was to make it clear that this is not Stratovarius, that this is independent from his main band. Even if it would be easier to arrange schedules while working with one label instead of working with 2 different companies. And the schedule is focused more on the main band than on the solo stuff these days. "I'm not happy that I'm here a week before the release and that I can't do the signing session when the album is in the stores. But this was the only possibility, coz tomorrow I have to head back home to do a photo session with Stratovarius." Even if for the fans the band is still taking a break they already recording the next album. "Later this year a single will be released in Finland and probably in Germany. But I'm not sure about this. The album will be called Elements Pt. 1 and shall be in the stores early next year. A tour will follow, starting in March / April 2003. Most of the shows are already booked and soon the dates will be announced!" Sounds like there won't be a chance to see him live with his solo stuff, even if there were plans in the beginning... "I'll do a few club shows in Finland as well as a festival there. Beside that we will open up the Wacken open-air on Thursday at 18:00! We will be the first and the last band, coz I'll burn the stage after our performance and bring down the whole festivals!" *laughs* Live the Finnish singer will work with some of the musicians who appeared on the album. "Live Jari, Janne Wirman and Mirka will be with me. Unfortunately Roland and Mike will be too busy to join us." These guys been with him in the studio, but how came? "Most of them are friends for quite awhile. They offered me a helping hand. Others called me up and wanted to be part of it." The songs were written, but everybody had the possibility to add his own sound, to play it his own way. Perhaps that's part of the magic, that all this contributers add their own sound to the music written by Timo Kotipelto.... Anyway, our time was almost over, even if there were a few things we hadn't talked about... But after the show in Wacken there will be a chance to continue....But the last 5 min. we wanted to use to do some assossiation. Timo looked a little puzzled and we explaint that we will give him a word and that he should tell has what comes to his mind. He took the pen he was playing with up to his head, he turned the cap and it was squeezing... !"See, there is nothing inside!" *smiles* But we started anyway...

Slide your mouse over the questions to get the answers!

Then it was time to leave for the signing session. It was a very pleasant talk and we are looking forward to meet the sympathetic singer again and to talk a little more then... Finally we have to thank Timo for this unusual interview and for the chance to continue later this year personally as well as for offering us to send a few questions by email!

Claudia Ehrhardt


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