Interview with Henri Pirkkalainen, Excalion (June 15th, 2007)

Hello. This is Henri Pirkkalainen, the drummer of Excalion. I will be answering your questions. Thanks in advance.


Hi, first off all I want to congratulate you with your new album “Waterlines”. Awesome album. Are you satisfied with it?


Henri - Yes, very much. I think Jarmo Myllyvirta did an awesome job with the song writing and the outcome of the studio is everything we wanted it to be.


How has your new album been received by the media?


Henri - In all very well. In Finland we’ve had really good reviews from 8 to 9 points out of ten. Seems that all media agrees that “Waterlines” has put as on a higher level than our debut “Primal Exhale”.


Where do you see the main difference between “Primal Exhale” and “Waterlines”?


Henri - I think with Primal Exhale we got comfortable with our own playing and Jarmo M was still in development as a song writer. It was ambitious album but still it had some kind of naive perspectives in it. I think Waterlines is a lot tighter album. It has awesome song writing and we all handle our instruments way better than before. Also the production and sounds are a lot better than on Primal Exhale.


How did you get your name, Excalion?


Henri - Our former bass player Timo Sahlberg came up with it when we were starting as a band. He was trying to remember some Lord’s name but he misremembered it as “Excalion”. We thought it sounded nice and kept it. That’s it basically.


How did you secure the deal with Limb Music?


Henri - We were signed to Sound Riot Records that wanted a bigger record label to take over the releasing of Waterlines. They searched for a record label that would buy the licence. A couple of other European labels were interested but Limb was the one that made the best offer.


In what words would you describe the music and moods of Excalion for someone that has not heard you yet?


Henri - I think melodic Metal with 80’s influence would suite quite nicely. I would also say that Excalion has strong feelings in it’s melodies and in Jarmo’s singing.


To what subjects do the lyrics of Excalion refer to, and who writes them?


Henri - Normally Jarmo M or Tero Vaaja writes the lyrics. The topics are very close to earth. Mostly of our every day lives put together as metaphors. Nothing of castles and swords I assure you. heheh.


Who writes to music?


Henri - Our keyboardist Jarmo Myllyvirta writes all music of Excalion. We do the arrangements as a group in the rehearsals.


Who has produced and mixed the album? Are you pleased with the result?


Henri - The album was recorded and mixed at Watercastle Studio in Jyväskylä, Finland. Arttu Sarvanne recorded and mixed the album. We produced the album by ourselves. We are really happy with the outcome. We planned specifically how we wanted the album sound like and Arttu helped a lot in order to find the right sounds and moods.


What’s the song you consider most representative of the new album and why?


Henri - I think every song of the album could represent the album. My favourites change all the time depending on a day, but at the moment I get the biggest chills (in a good way) of “I Failed You”. It has very big emotions in it. I love the choirs on that one.


Do you feel that your sound will evolve in some different direction, in the future, or you will still follow the same path?


Henri - I’m sure our sound will evolve on our future songs. It’s too early to say how it will differ from Waterlines, because we haven’t rehearsed that many songs after that. I think the basic idea will be in the same vein.


How long do you need to practice to feel comfortable with your songs before you record them?


Henri - Sometimes it doesn’t take that many rehearsals to get the right feel for the song. Sometimes if the song is more complex, it takes more time to finish it. We like to do demos before entering the studio. That way we know before hand if something doesn’t work properly.


The music scene really changed between the 70's, 80's and 90's. What would you say has been your strongest influence?


Henri - I think all band members of Excalion has somewhat different influences but I think most of us has the strongest influences from 80’s and 90’s metal music. I for myself get the greatest feelings from progressive metal.


Any plans to go on tour? If so, when and where?


Henri - We are at the moment doing only single gigs around Finland because we don’t have a tour manager to handle bigger tours. We just played a gig with Thunderstone a few days ago. In summer we’ll do some separate gigs in Finland. We just confirmed to play in a big heavy festival called “Nummirock”. We’re doing our everything to find a gig organizer that could make happen a tour outside Finland.


Who designs your CD artwork and who has the final word on what actually goes on the album cover?


Henri - Jason Juta made the cover art for Waterlines. He designed the cover by himself. We wanted that the cover must have water in it and Limb music basically decided the rest.


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 - Hard to say. Some huge band of course. I think Nightwish or Stratovarius would be quite nice. First I thought of Metallica but I’m not sure would melodic metal band fit perfectly to warm up a trash metal band. heheh


What are you doing besides Excalion, job wise as well as hobbies?


Henri - 4 out of 5 of us are still studying in the university. Our singer is working full time. I’m also working along with my studies. Excalion is of course bigger than a hobby for every one of us but we’re doing all sorts of other things besides it to feed ourselves.


What albums or bands do you believe have had the greatest impact on the history of metal?


Henri - I’m not sure if it’s possible to give the credit only to certain bands because it’s always a combination of various elements and small things that you hear around you. Of course there are some bands that have invented something new and exciting that influence more than others. But of course from rock bands Deep Purple and Black Sabbath are really major influences to metal music.


Thank you very much for participating in this interview and sharing this information and your thoughts with us - these last lines are entirely for you…


Henri - Thank you very much for the interview. See you all somewhere and be sure to check “Waterlines” out!

Stay heavy \m/


 Interviewed by Jørgen Ditlev.
Excalion - Waterlines.

Album out on Limb Music Products.