5 Questions With Stratovarius Vocalist Timo Kotipelto: ‘Eternal’ Album, Longevity + More
It’s a big year for Finnish power metal act Stratovarius. They kicked off 2016 on the high seas as part of this year’s 70,000 Tons of Metal Cruise and now they are lined up for a variety of European summer festivals. We had the opportunity to chat with frontman and longtime member Timo Kotipelto about the band’s latest album, aptly titled Eternal, as well as his longevity as the vocalist of the group. He also dished on plans to play with his other project Cain’s Offering, as well as creating new Stratovarius material. Check out our interview with singer Timo Kotipelto of Stratovarius below:
The latest release Eternal is the 16th album for Stratovarius. What does that longevity mean to you?
Well I am super happy to be here after being in a band for 21 years or something, I never expected – I didn’t have any idea when I joined the band in 1994 and the first album came out in 1995. I was like, “Ok this is fun. Let’s do some music.” I’m still here, of course there has been a lot of lineup changes but Jens [Johansson] has been in the band for about 20 years. Of course, the music is still here and the album title Eternal, it has seven letters and this is the seventh time we have seven letters in a title. I didn’t know it but I was doing promotion in France last summer or something and one journalist told me, “You know this is the seventh album with seven letters," and he told me the albums. We didn’t notice, I think it’s either a curse or a blessing. I don’t know which one.
What significance does the title Eternal have for you?
Eternal -- very often we have very epic album titles because our music is a little bit epic in some ways. I think it’s a good name, I’m not saying our band will be eternal but hopefully some people somewhere would listen to our music in 50 years. You never know, you just try your best. That would be great if they came across it in the next version of Spotify, we’ll see. [Laughs]
With or without lineup changes, the music industry is an unpredictable one. What keeps you going?
I just love singing. It’s also a big plus that we have super good chemistry in the band especially nowadays so it’s fun to go and play shows. Of course, other bands probably say this, but this is what I mean: we have some of the best players for this kind of music that you can ever imagine. I’m not saying this about myself as a singer but I’m saying this about the other guys in the band. These young guys when they came to the band -- Lauri [Porra] has been there since 2005 I think so he’s been around and Matias [Kupiainen] came in 2009, but whenever there’s a new guy he’s bringing his own playing style but they also respect what Stratovarius needs.
What does the rest of 2016 have in store for you and the band?
I think I’m going to do some shows with Jani Lilmatainen, who’s also playing in Cain’s Offering. He used to play in Sonata Arctica and we’re playing many dual shows this April and it’s the first time we’re playing these acoustic shows in Italy, the first time abroad. We have some plans, we talked to a promoter and might go to South America this year or next year to do this thing, as well. That’s also something when I’m not touring with Stratovarius, in a way it’s totally different even though we play some Stratovarius stuff. It’s a different version, only one guitar and two vocals. Then we have summer festivals with Stratovarius but then after that, it’s still open, what’s going to happen. Do we start composing? I don’t know yet.
When touring, what is one non-electronic item you must have on tour with you?
It has something to do with singing, not so much about clothes or amulets. What would it be? I use a lot of time to warm up, it’s a stupid vocalist thing but I use some special pills that help and very often I use steam machines to get the vocal cords moist. Then it’s kind of weird and probably only in Finland where singers use, it’s called a resonator tube which kind of massages the vocal cords. I’ve been paying a lot of attention to it, taking singing lessons in the past and teaching singing lessons – I’m trying to make my life on the stage as easy as possible. Of course for me, this warming up thing is also getting ready for the show, not only physically but mentally also.
Our thanks to Timo Kotipelto of Straovarius for the interview. Go here to see their list of upcoming festival tour dates.