Interview with Jarkko Ahola, Teräsbetoni (October 2010)


I understand the 4th album of Teräsbetoni is already in the works... Could you update us a bit on where are you now in the process and how it is going so far?

Well, I can tell you this: It’s ready! It’s recorded, mixed and mastered. I love it. It’s the best album we’ve done so far. It has raw power in it, but yet some kind of exquisite tone as well. And it’s HEAVY. This is why we call it Heavy Metal, since it should also sound like it. And it does.

How's the sound compared to your previous albums?

It’s  bigger. The bass sound is more like the live sound I use. It has certain edge on it. We also wanted it to sound a bit more like an 80’s album, so there are cool sounds on drums especially.

When do you expect to have it out?

It’s coming out in the end of November.

Has the band decided on an album title?

Yes, but we’ll have to wait for our label to release it first.

What kind of expectations do you have after the release?

Hopefully radios will find our great songs and air them as much as possible. I also hope that our old fans will go and buy the record and I know that we’re going to have new ones as well, since our label has this cool reputation of being a reliable musical referee.

Why are your lyrics only in Finnish?! Is it very unlikely to have English lyrics on your future albums?

Yeah, I hear you, but most of the band thinks we wouldn’t be the same if we’d do it in English. It would be a huge change, that’s for sure.

Aside from the big festivals (Wacken, True As Steel Metal, etc.), you don’t do too many gigs outside of Finland. Why is that? You have a lot of listeners outside of Finland waiting!

This is something I really don’t know the answer to. If there are lots of fans, the rock club owners etc. don’t know about that. We’d love to visit different countries and play our music!

You’ve joined the Eurovision contest back in 2008… What made you decide to take part in it?

It was mostly our label that time, Warner Music. They felt it would boost us… but I don’t know if anything happened. Maybe there was a chance for a bigger success, but no-one really didn’t do anything. It’s hard to get backup from the labels nowadays. But anyway, it was great fun visiting Serbia and seeing all that crazy ESC-shit.

It was a pleasant surprise to hear your cover of ‘Rainbow In The Dark’ by Dio (RIP). Not many can take on his music, just wanted to compliment you on that…  and will Teräsbetoni be doing any more covers?

I have to straighten this out again. It’s not a Teräsbetoni-cover, it’s something that we did with V. Rantanen many years back just for fun. It’s just a demo track, that many people have found somehow and thought it’s a Teräsbetoni-cover. But I’m glad you like it, though I feel I could do it much better now! Hah. Anyway, Rest In Peace Ronnie.

You’ve done a lot of things on your own outside of Teräsbetoni. Doing the Acoustic gigs, Heavy Christmas tour, Metal Warriors, etc. What is next for you?

I don’t know. The Big Band-albums comes out this week, 29th of October. It’s a different crossover album full of Hard Rock classics. But I don’t know… First I want to do a good promo for the new Teräsbetoni-album and play some great gigs!

You’ve also chosen to participate in a project called ‘Oulu All Star Big Band’. What is it and could you tell us about the collaboration?

Ah, just when I got to the topic! It’s a cool project that involves MANY people, since the band is really huge. There are 10 songs of pure Jazzdom, but the core is founded on Hard Rock classics. Great songs covered in a totally new way. It’s hard to explain… you gotta to hear them and keep an open mind.

Of course you are also in Northern Kings... How did Northern Kings come to be and how do you like working with the other guys?

It’s kind of a continuum to the Raskasta Joulua-gigs. We had an idea to do something else together and someone had this said we should just do cool covers of the songs we liked. Make it huge and majestic. So, the record label got interested in us and soon we were doing our first album. I dig working with those guys, since they’re all professionals. It’s all very easy and smooth. No messing around.

What is new with Northern Kings?

Well, I am not totally sure but there’s been a talk about a new album. What kind of album it would be… I don’t know.

I've heard different things about this, so I want to ask you about your old band, Dreamtale. What was your reason for leaving?

First of all: the time. I didn’t have the time for the band as much as they wanted. And second: the music. It just wasn’t my cup of tea. I really wanted to like the songs… but what can you do? You like what you like, and it’s not easy to be a singer and give your best to the songs you don’t fully dig.

You are a well accomplished singer. How did you develop your voice and what do you do to keep it in good standing?

Oh, well, thank you. I developed my voice during the years when I was singing in local bands in this little city called Viiala. It’s not even a city, it’s a village or a little town. One day I just realized I could sing stuff most of the guys couldn’t. I guess I tried real hard when I started. I sounded terrible, believe me. I really don’t have any special ways to treat my voice. Sleep is good. Water is good. Steam is good. Warming up is good. But for real, I find sleeping pretty hard – I sleep too little. When you’re on tour, where do you get hot steam? Warming up sucks. Hah. It’s just that you gotta know your limits and try not to work too much. You’ll lose your voice if you over use it.

Who are your biggest influences in music?

Hard to say, really. They seem to change from time to time. Manowar is the big influence from my youth. Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Deep Purple… the classic rock came soon to mess my head. I also dig some records super much, for example: ELO’s A New World Record, Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On?, Glenn Hughes’ Addiction, Danko Jones’ Sleep Is The Enemy, just to mention. I think I like many things in music and nowadays I’m very open to all kinds of music… as long as it touches me.
You’ve been in so many bands and you love what you do, obviously. If you weren’t a musician what do you think your profession would be?

Phew… I don’t know. Maybe I’d work in a studio and mix albums. Pretty hard to say, this is all I can do and this is all that I am.

This space is yours… Any words you’d like to give the our readers and your devoted fans?

Hi guys, I don’t know how many fans there are out there reading this text, but I just wanted you to know that I really appreciate your support and the mail you sent me. It’s hard to answer all of them, but please remember that I am grateful for every fan I and my bands will ever achieve.


Interviewed by Haydee G.
 Teräsbetoni - Myrskyntuoja

 Album available on Warner Music Group.