Power of Metal.dk Interview

Interview with Viljami Holopainen - Arion, October 2014

Arion is a young Melodic/Power Metal band from Finland, founded in 2011. As newcomers, they created a masterpiece with their debut album 'Last Of Us'. Even after weeks of non-stop listening you are not getting tired of the album. You can't believe that the members are not older than 20, because they already sound really mature and professional. You can be sure that you will hear about them again. Arion will be the next big thing. The singer Viljami Holopainen is a tenor with a remarkable voice that can be powerful or even aggressive and from one moment to the next he sings softly and emotionally. In the end of September I interviewed him. Here, you can read his answers to my questions.

PoM: How did you become the singer of Arion?

Viljami: Iivo, our guitarist, and me went to the same school, but then we went to different high schools. One day, he called me again and asked if I wanted to become the singer of his band, just for fun, and I agreed.

PoM: What was it like to record your debut album 'Last Of Us'?

Viljami: It has been a very long process, especially to record the vocals. For me, it was the first time singing on a metal album. I learned to sing in new ways and I tried different styles. Also, when our poducer asked if I could sing rougher, I tried. All in all, it was an amazing experience and I improved as a metal singer in the studio.

PoM: Was the songwriting process mostly Iivo's and Jani Liimatainen's part or was everyone involved making the music?

I personally wasn't involved, but Arttu and Topias were. Iivo has written most of the music and Jani helped with the lyrics. Matias Kupiainen (Topias' brother) has been knowing Jani for a long time already and he asked if Jani could help us and so he did. But most of the lyrics are written by Iivo.

PoM: How did you feel seeing 'Last Of Us' standing in the music stores?

In some way, it is a surreal feeling. It is our debut album and to know that people from all over the world can buy it is amazing and a big step for us as a band.

PoM: What is your favourite song on the album?

It's hard to choose, but it must be 'Last Of Us', because it is such an epic and melancholic song. Especially the last chorus is powerful and emotional. I love that.

PoM: Which song do you enjoy singing most?

'Burn Your Ship', 'You're My Melody' and 'Out Of the Ashes'. I can't just pick one.

PoM: Do you think there will be a song in Finnish with Arion somewhere in the future?

I think we will continue writing songs in English to make it understandable for people in other countries and because it sounds better, but maybe in a few years...

PoM: Are there any plans for shooting a music video?

We don't have any concrete plans yet, but we want to shoot a music video this year.

PoM: I know that in Finland you still have to do the military service. How do you handle that?

Viljami: I don't really know how to handle it. I know that Arttu will do it in the beginning of next year and I think I will have to do it in 2016. It's something we have to do here in Finland, but after that we can do whatever we want to, so we'll see.

PoM: Did you ever take vocal lessons or have you sung in a choir?

In primary school I started singing in the famous Tapiola Choir. I was there for about five years, but in high school I focused on singing as a solo artist, because I realized that this is what I really want. At the moment I take vocal lessons at a music school. Iivo also took guitar lessons there.

PoM: What is your family thinking about you being the lead singer in a metal band?

They are really proud of me and they accept that this is what I want to do and that I love it. They are happy when I am happy.

PoM: Which singers have the biggest influence on your singing style?

Tommy Karevik (Seventh Wonder/Kamelot). He is a big inspiration for me.

PoM: What is your aim in developing your voice?

I don't know in which directions things will go, because I started singing metal maybe two years ago. I don't have to get any higher, I've already reached my limit there, but I want to improve my vibrato for example.

PoM: What are your plans for the future in general?

Right now I'm still at high school. After that I will probably apply for the pop/jazz conservatory where Arttu, Iivo and Topias are already studying. I don't know yet.

PoM: Do you think that as a young musician it is hard to be taken seriously?

If I was a few years younger, I would think about this question, but now I'm at the right age to be taken seriously.

PoM: Let's go on with some weird questions. Create a band of five people, dead or alive, which would be perfect in your opinion.

I used to be a huge Dream Theater fan, so the perfect band would be Dream Theater with Tommy Karevik on vocals. Also, the music would be a bit different.

PoM: Does anyone of you have any bad habits?

We go to sleep very late, because we are musicians and we get the best ideas during the night. That is the only thing that comes to my mind right now.

PoM: Are there any rituals in the band, for example before a gig?

We are still a young band, we don't have any rituals yet.

PoM: If you could choose a singer to perform with on stage, who would it be?

I'd like to sing with Elize Ryd (Amaranthe) or Tommy Karevik, but male duets are not very common.

PoM: What embarrasing songs might I find on your MP3-Player?

The electronic music I made with some of my old school friends, just for fun. Not really embarrassing, but kinda weird.

PoM: Do you have some hidden talents?

I'm a good actor. Actually, when you are a singer, you are an actor at the same time, especially on stage. I can also beatbox, you can find it on a video we posted from our tour in Japan.

PoM: Are there any plans for going on tour in Europe yet?

There aren't any plans yet, but of course we would like to tour in Europe.

Arion - Last Of Us

Label: Ranka Kustannus

Link: www.facebook.com/OfficialArion.

Viljami Holopainen: Vocals
Iivo Kaipainen: Guitars
Arttu Vauhkonen: Keyboard
Georgi "Gege" Velinov: Bass
Topias Kupiainen: Drums

New Dawn (EP, 2013)
Last Of Us (2014)


Interviewed by Sophie Ruhnke