I have no greater knowledge about CORONA SKIES but they interested me enough to wanting to interview them. Answers by Panu Aho, Guitars. Anders Ekdahl ©2016
Every band has to introduce their music to new people. What is it that you want people to get from listening to you guys?
-Corona Skies is an unique mix of smashing guitar riffs, hyper-skilled keyboard athleticism on rock solid rhythm section, completed with powerful multi-layered vocals. From ambient, atmospheric soundscapes to hard-shredding solos and huge orchestrations, the versatility of the band becomes evident for the listener willing to give it a try. Although the music itself cannot simply be described in terms of a single genre (yes, we know it’s a cliché), some elements from classic hard rock, power metal, progressive metal and thrash metal are definitely there.
How hard was it for you guys to pick a name? What had that name have to have to fit your music?
-If I remember correctly, one night in way back in 2005 or 2006 – we were still teenagers when we started out – we were having a casual beer at the rehearsal place a nd started discussing about a band name. It’s impossible to remember the specifics of that discussion, but I think someone first came up with the “Corona” thing and then we kind of bounced around that idea for a while until it became what it became. Interestingly enough, I wasn’t a member of the band yet at the point when this happened, but was friends with the other guys so I used to hang out with them quite a bit.
Everybody is influenced by certain things. What band(s) was it that turned you on to the kind of music you play? What inspires you today?
-Although we are a metal band, lot of our personal influences come outside of metal scene and I hope it can be heard on the album as well. I can briefly comment on other guys’ preferences and musical taste as far as I know them. Osku, who’s taking care of vocal duties, draws most of his influences outside metal world. As he’s more into classic rock bands like Queen, it’s no brainer why he loves multi-layered vocal lines which have become one of our trademarks so to say. Matias (guitars) used to listen quite a bit 80’s hard rock and shared his interest into power metal with Janne (bass) as teenagers and these influences were heavily dominating the music we played during the first active years of Corona Skies. Ville (keyboards) is a professional musician and is exposed to broad range of music all the time. However, he listened lot of progressive stuff in high school times. Matias, Ville and Janne were also in a band called Stereopolis, playing progressive metal like Dream Theater so there are influences coming from that direction for sure as well. Petri (drums) has always been more into punk and extreme metal bands compared to rest of us.
When you formed did you do so with the intent of knowing what to play or did you do so from the point of having a band name and then picking a sound? How did you settle on the name/sound combo?
-I don’t think the band name has so much to do with the actual music nowadays, but the other guys used to listen quite a lot of power metal bands such as Stratovarius or Sonata Arctica back in those days so I the name might be oriented a bit towards that kinda stuff, I don’t know.
I believe that digital is killing the album format. People’s changing habit of how they listen to music will result in there being no albums. Is there anything good with releasing single tracks only?
-Hmm… I don’t completely agree with this. I believe physical medium such as the CD might very well soon be at the end of it’s lifecycle. The format of an album might change towards the digital, but I don’t believe that the concept will totally disappear. I believe that there still is markets for releasing larger entities as opposed to just single tracks and people who will still enjoy listening to whole albums.
What part does art-work and lay-out play when you release new recordings? How do you best catch people’s attention?
-Well, sometimes we try to be very deep and thoughtful about the artwork and capture the overall feel of the lyrics and musical content, like we did on our debut “Fragments of Reality”. The artwork concept is basically about the concept of time. We grow up and have to leave our childhood behind and face the real world with all the troubles. But somewhere deep there is still the inner child, who is always ready to play with his favorite toys. Reaching for the easiness of the past but with knowledge of the future and the burden of being a responsible adult, or something along those lines.
And sometimes it’s not so deep and thoughtful. For instance, we could have just a bunch of space monkeys fooling around for no apparent reason, cruising on Uranus highway like bosses. Just check out the artwork for our 2011 self-financed EP “To Pluto And Never Back”, it’s awesome! The whole point of Corona Skies is that youre not gonna know exactly what you get. On the graphical side, we have worked with a great guy called Petri Lampela for years now and he’s been able to realize even our most bizarre visions.
Has social media re-written the rules on how to promote your music? Or do you go about doing promotion the same way?
-Of course you promote your stuff where your customers are, that’s a pretty basic marketing concept in my opinion! E.g. YouTube is the biggest music media in the world. In the legendary South Park animation series there was once a joke about people making “theoretical dollars” on YouTube videos, but it’s not a joke anymore, it’s something that actually happens with real, not theoretical, money.
There are of course downsides. e.g. Facebook has in-built algorithms that make it very difficult to get feed space for small bands, and if you start paying to reach your potential listeners, it can in the worst case turn against you.
When you play in a band, does that make you feel like you are a part of a scene, of something bigger and grander?
-Sure, for instance a lot of great bands were and are still coming from our home town Turku and there is definitely a small but active scene going on. It’s not easy though for young bands out here, since there is e.g. little suitable places for people to rehearse in and a lot of gig places have shut down in the recent years so it’s not easy to get your first shows.
How much of a touring band are you? Is touring/gigging still a great way of spreading the word of the band?
-Sure it’s a great way to do that. To me live music is always an unique experience. There is so much you can do today with Pro Tools in studio that to get a real impression what the band is about I think you should definitely check them out live. Right now we are looking forward to arrange some shows in our home country and perhaps Europe.
What will the future bring?
-In addition to playing some shows, some time next year we probably start working on new material and perhaps in a few years we could release an EP or something similar. All of this is not as easy as it sounds since we all also have full time day jobs, university, families etc. These realities need to be taken in to account but rest assured we have no plans of disappearing anywhere!