Interview with Henri Pirkkalainen, Excalion (January 3rd, 2006)

This is Henri Pirkkalainen, the drummer of Excalion. I will answer your questions.

Thank you.
A few months ago Finnish band EXCALION released their debut album "Primal Exhale" on Sound Riot Records. I have send them a few questions and here is the full interview with the drummer Henri Pirkkalainen of EXCALION:

Peter: - Hi, first off I just want to congratulate you on your debut album. Could your please fill us in on the history behind it all?
Henri Pirkkalainen: - Excalion was formed in the late 2000 while almost all of us we're still living in Konnevesi. Jarmo M asked us to play with him in a nearby rehearsal room and that's how it started.
We were all very enthusiastic from the start and after lots and lots of playing and demoing we got a record deal from "Sound Riot Records" in november 2003.
After the recordings our line-up changed a bit because Kimmo (former guitarist) and Timo (former bassist) had some motivation problems. Vesa Nupponen joined the band as a guitarist in april 2005 and Tero switched to bass. Now the group is hell of a lot tighter than ever before! 
Here's the current line-up:
Jarmo Pääkkönen - Vocals
Jarmo Myllyvirta - Keyboards
Vesa Nupponen - Guitar
Henri Pirkkalainen - Drums
Tero Vaaja - Bass

Peter: - Who has produced and mixed the album? Are you pleased with the result?
Henri Pirkkalainen: - The album was recorded and mixed in Studio Watercastle, Jyväskylä, Finland by Arttu Sarvanne. We didn't have a producer so the whole band and Arttu contributed in the producing. We are really satisfied with the result as we only had three weeks for the recordings and mixing.

Peter: - How did you get your name EXCALION?
Henri Pirkkalainen: - Former bassist Timo came up with it as he was trying to remember some Lord's name. We thought:"Good enough, let's take it." heh!

Peter: - How would you describe your music?
Henri Pirkkalainen: - It's a mix of great vocals and melodies. Has the best parts of heavy music combined with a touch of 80's rock. That's pretty much it. Maybe this description fits even better to our second album that we record before summer 2006.... 

Peter: - If your music was an emotion, which one would it be?
Henri Pirkkalainen: - Music is always much more than one emotion. This one was too difficult.. :D 

Peter: - If you should suggest one single song to understand the full Excalion music potential, which title would you choose and why?
Henri Pirkkalainen: - From "Primal Exhale" I would say "Dire Waters" as it has it all. Great atmosphere and melodies.

Peter: - Do you feel that you sound will evolve in some different direction, in the future, or you will still follow the same path?
Henri Pirkkalainen: - It already has developed alot since "Primal Exhale" as most of the songs were from a few years back. I would say that "Dire Waters" and "Moment In The Spotlight" are maybe the best one's to represent the sound of Excalion on the next album.

Peter: - Which bands from then and from nowadays have their influence on Excalion?
Henri Pirkkalainen: - I guess Stratovarius was the biggest to almost every single one of us when we started. After that there has been various bands and artists from rock to metal that have left their marks on Excalion.

Peter: - Who has done the artwork? And how important do you feel it is to have a great cover?
Henri Pirkkalainen: - Chrille Anderson made the cover which I personally like VERY much. It is the first thing that U see of the band so yes, it's really important to have professional cover-art.

Peter: - Do you have any touring plans?
Henri Pirkkalainen: - Lots of plans, but we are still lacking a gig organizer. We'll do everything we can to play as much as possible. 

Peter: - What's the craziest thing that has ever happened on a tour?
Henri Pirkkalainen: - Some really funny stuff of course happen almost every time when we have to travel and stay overnight in a hotel. U have to ask that again in maybe two years and I can share some best parts with U, ok?
We'll have to wait that something really crazy happens.

Peter: - Let's speculate - you have been granted a free slot on a tour of your own choice - who would be your ideal touring partners?
Henri Pirkkalainen: - I would say Stratovarius, as I maybe was their biggest fan when I started drumming.

Peter: - The internet is a very important source for many metal fans - how do you use the internet and how important is it for you and other bands?
Henri Pirkkalainen: - Of course it´s almost the best way to promote a band nowadays and it will be even more important in a few years. Metal pages are really excellent way to be heard! Eh?

Peter: - What are your favourite old and recent bands?
Henri Pirkkalainen: - My personal favourites are the old stuff of Stratovarius, Symphony X, Masterplan, Helloween of course and Bon Jovi but in addition I love to listen to all kinds of other styles from pop to punk.

Peter: - Do you have a life philosophy? If yes, what is it?
Henri Pirkkalainen: - Maybe just to be happy at all times!

Peter: - What are you doing besides Excalion, job wise as well as hobbies?
Henri Pirkkalainen: - Drumming is of course my main hobby but I also love watching films and playing video games. I study in the university and try to earn some extra money working in a shop every time I get a change. Our singer Jarmo is working in construction and the rest of the guys are studying.

Peter: - Can you tell us about any future plans for you and your band?
Henri Pirkkalainen: - Playing as much gigs as possible and hitting the studio before the summer and then it's just waiting for the release of the follow-up to "Primal Exhale"!

Peter: - Can you finish this sentence: In five year Excalion will be...
Henri Pirkkalainen: - HUGE! heh. That´s something what Donald Trump would say.

Peter: - Thanks for your time, and I wish you the best of luck in the future to come! Do you have any famous last words for our readers?
Henri Pirkkalainen: - See Ya all somewhere and stay heavy!
ROCK \m/

Excalion - Primal Exhale

Album out on Sound Riot Records.

Click on the album cover to see more info on Excalion.