Tracedawn - 07/08/2008

For some time now the Finnish music scene has been dominated by the dark wave of heavy metal. The official albums and singles charts are topped with metal releases, so it was just a matter of time until this would affect the up-rising generation; Tracedawn is living proof of heavy metal influence on the youth. The average age of the group is below average but yet the roots of their technical and melodic death metal lead back to a decade before they were even born  


The story of Tracedawn goes back to December 2005 when Tuomas Yli-Jaskari came up with an idea that would be named Moravia and then changed to Tracedawn. Already having played numerous projects, the young musician knew that the only way for him to play the music he wanted was to start a band of his own. This lone musician began searching for the perfect line-up in the summer of 2006 and he was soon surrounded by a group of extremely talented young musicians. With the new functional line-up, the band locked itself into Studio Redhouse and recorded a demo called “Path of Reality”., with this demo the band caught the attention of various record labels.


After playing together on a regular basis for quite some time, the opportunity to release an album became a reality. Tracedawn signed a record contract with Redhouse FMP in late 2007 and vigorously started to record their first official release. The band recorded a four-song EP and went fishing for partners, soon they convinced Playground Music Scandinavia and Live Nation to collaborate.


The actual album recordings went down in Sonic Pump Studios under the eye of Nino Laurenne who is known for his work for bands such Thunderstone, Stratovarius and Children Of Bodom amongst others. The 8-track metal monster was mixed by Mikko Karmila (Nightwish, Children of Bodom, Amorphis) and mastered by Mika Jussila (Nightwish) at the infamous Finnvox Studios.



Tracedawn's debut album will be released August 22, so there is much to talk about and therefore Metal-Experience tracked down some band members to set up an interview. Here you can read what they had to say.


Your self-titled album will be released in a couple of weeks, so of course we’d like to ask you a couple of questions about it!


Antti: Shoot!


First of all, I’m not familiar with your band so could you tell me something about Tracedawn? How did this band get together, where does the name “Tracedawn” come from, what does it mean and could you tell me something about your musical background?  


Tuomas: Tracedawn is about 6 guys who try to make good music and have fun. I decided to establish the band in winter 2005. I started searching for members for the band. We have said many times that it feels like fate that we found each other to play in this band. In two years we have become best friends. Our singer Antti was the only one who I knew before the band was formed. It was also a coincidence that Antti joined the band: One day he took the same bus as I did and I remembered that Antti was a singer so I asked him to join the band. So If Antti had missed the bus ... :D The other guys I found through the internet. Everyone has played in many bands before Tracedawn and I also studied music.


Jeremy: I have played two years now with Tuomas in this band. Tuomas
was looking for band members and I contacted him. Immediately when we played together, we felt this would work. I spoke to the bassist, Henri, and he also joined the project. Tuomas asked Perttu to play with us and that’s how the band got together. Antti came later and Vili about a year ago. The name Tracedawn just sounded beautiful so we took that. I have played guitar for several years in Lapland were I’ve lived 16 years.


Perttu: The band's name "Tracedawn" had to come up quickly because the old name had already been set aside for some margarine factory. The name means figuratively searching for a "new beginning". In other words, in reality we are full of angst and we try to find the way out of teenage storms, haha :)


Antti: We got together via internet and old connections. Tumppi is mainly to blame for getting this bunch together. The word Tracedawn might mean something to you, or it doesn't. To me, it just sounds cool ;D  I have been playing/singing more or less my whole life, but I wasn't very active before Tracedawn.


How did you launch into writing the material for this album? Did ideas come easily so that you just had to write them down or was it more of a careful composing thing?


Tuomas: Material for the album came quite easily. Some of the ideas are 3-4 years old.


Perttu: I think that some of songs came quickly as a result of momentary inspiration but the album also includes songs that Tuomas had composed a long time ago, but which have gradually evolved since the very early days of Tracedawn.


Antti: We had most of the material ready before we got the deal. The song without walls is 3 years old. Every song has taken its own time to finish. No point in rushing things, is there? ;)


Jeremy: Tuomas came with new song ideas; we practiced the songs together and arranged them to the style of the band.



What were the goals you had in mind when you started to record ‘Tracedawn’, any elements you definitely wanted to have on the album?


Tuomas: We wanted the album to sound hard and melodic.


Jeremy: To have an album that sounds like us and to play it well. Also we wanted to have that same energy on the album what we have when we are playing together.


Antti: We just wanted to record an album that sounded like us, that's all. There's something there from every one of us, so I think we achieved that goal.


Was it a conscious decision to do it this way?


Jeremy: I know every member knew how we work on the album to make it sound the best it could. We didn’t actually sit down and have big conversations about how to do this. We trusted each other so much that everyone knew his own place when doing the record.


Perttu:  The desire to play hard music


In song writing, what is the utmost important ingredient for a song according to you and is there any typical way that your songs comes into being?


Tuomas: Every song has it’s own story but usually I write songs when I’m depressed or angry because then I’m more inspired than when I’m happy.


Who was responsible for writing the songs and the lyrics on your latest album and where do you get your inspiration from?


Tuomas: I composed the biggest part of the album and Antti did most of the lyrics. Inspiration demands some kind of emotional state of mind.


Antti: I get my 'inspiration' from my experiences and my anxiety ;D


Perttu: Until now Tuomas has composed most of our songs but on the next album you will hear songs composed by me and Jeremy as well!


Is the music written independently of the lyrics or do you try to reflect lyrical ideas through the music?


Tuomas: Usually we write the music first and then the lyrics. In my opinion it’s great when lyrics sound like the music.

Antti: When I'm writing lyrics, I mostly write about issues that I feel I want to write about. When I hear a new song that one of the guys has done, I try to listen to it and figure out the nature of the song. You know, is it angry, happy, sad, violent etc. Then I go back to my lyrics and look which might fit the song. If nothing fits, I write something that fits, without forcing it too much ;D


About the song writing – how can we imagine you work on new songs? What comes first, lyrics or melodies? Is it like you sit down and write a new song because you need material or do you wait until you get an idea?


Tuomas: It doesn't work if you just sit down and make songs because you have to. Waiting for ideas is a better way.


Antti: We wait. We really don't want to force anything that we do, because that's not pleasant for us or for the people listening. We really don't have a specific work order when we compose/write. I write lyrics when I feel like it and Tumppi and the other guys compose when they feel like it. Been working great so far :D


Perttu: We do not have a specific routine how to make songs. Each song is created in its own way, depending on the moment.



Do you have any favorites on ‘Tracedawn’, songs that you think are somehow above the others?


Antti: My personal favorite is the final track “Justice For None”. The lyrics there came out very easily and naturally, and they are maybe the most personal lyrics for me on the album.

Besides, the song rocks like hell! :D


Jeremy: No, it depends on my mood.


Perttu: I personally like to play the songs ”In Love With Insanity”, ”Without Walls” and ”Justice For None”.


How did the recording process proceed and how much time did you spend in the studio?


Antti: We had a very tight recording schedule, and we only had two weeks of studio time. We were more or less working around the clock, and relaxing when we got the chance.


Jeremy: Two weeks altogether. It went down without any big problems and it was kind of therapy to have those songs finally recorded. Kind of we got that job done, and we were able to concentrate on new ideas and doing more gigs.


Perttu: Working in Sonic Pump studios was instructive and fun. Recording happened in two parts and it took two weeks overall, so we didn’t have that much time, in fact, sometimes all the rush burdened the nerves a little bit. Fortunately, uncle Nino was a humorous guy and finally, we passed through the trial!


The production was done by Nino Laurenne, what made him the perfect producer for Tracedawn?


Antti: I wouldn't say perfect, but I'd say he came pretty damn close! He has done a lot of recording with his band, Thunderstone, and he has been in this same situation himself, so he knew how to work with us. With a firm hand, but with a good attitude :)


Jeremy: I honestly don’t know, because it was our first album. But Nino knows what sounds good and he really kicked our asses to play better all the time.


Perttu: Nino has experience in this type of music. In addition, Nino is a hell of a good guy and it was our pleasure to work with him.


In which things/songs on the album can one clearly hear his vision and ideas?


Antti: All of the songs are 100% us. The only time when he ever really wanted something changed was when we were recording the song Widow. We were working on the chorus, and he told us that it was shit. So we called Vili to come and compose another one. He came in a rush, played the piano for about 45mins and came up with a new one which made it on the album :D


Jeremy: In “Widow” and “Fallen Leaves”, for example.


Perttu:  For example, ”Widow”s chorus was made by Nino. Because we asked Nino to work with Tracedawn as a producer in a late stadium, he did not have the chance to affect the songs much. Some ideas were his, of course but I think his skills will perhaps be more apparent on the next album. It remains to be seen…


Have you received any feedback on your album yet?


Antti: Pretty much. Mostly positive ;)


Perttu:  Yes, we have received both good and bad feedback which is only natural, especially when the music involves broad elements of the various genres of metal. The biggest thing on which we share common views is Antti's clean and growl vocals.  But mostly feedback has been surprisingly good!


Are third party opinions (press, fans, etc.) on your music important to you? Or are your music and band the only things that matter?


Perttu:  I think I just want to write and play music that I like and if somebody is interested in what I do, it isn’t a bad thing. If we even have any fans, I would like to thank them for their support but I think we are not going to change our music because of anyone´s positive or negative feedback.


Jeremy: It`s always great to have people at concerts. But being famous isn’t the reason why we do this. It’s just fun and music. It’s always nice to hear opinions but I don’t think they will affect our art.


Antti: Of course fans matter to us, but in the end we are doing this for ourselves. The music always comes first.


Overall, are you pleased with the outcome of the songs or would you have liked to have changed anything in retrospective?


Antti: There are always some little things that you would like to change afterwards, but we made the best album we could in the given circumstances, and we are very proud of the outcome :)


Jeremy: Maybe more solos and faster stuff:P


Perttu:  Let’s just say we were wiser after the studio time than before. You can never be fully satisfied with the results because there will always be things to improve and to do better. If you make a perfect album, it’s no longer necessary to do more.


The metal scene exploded the last couple of years in Finland, a lot of bands seem to pop up. So what is the difference between Tracedawn and other bands in this scene?


Jeremy: We have great fun playing together, a big amount of energy and furious live playing that improves in every concert.


Perttu:  Are there any differences? Maybe that we are young? Ha ha, just kiddingJ Every band has its own ”thing”. Even the fact that someone is really writing own songs is unique and praiseworthy.


What is your opinion on the ‘metal’ scene these days, is there anything missing in the scene?


Jeremy: The metal scene today is all about growling and a sound that’s too heavy. What is missing is beauty in music and clean vocals. And we have those two elements in Tracedawn.


Perttu:  I am sure that all metal listeners will find something good for themselves. The supply is extremely wide-ranging!

Tuomas: If you don’t find any good metal in the metal scene of today you should try trance or something!


Which album has been your biggest musical influence, one that made you think “this is what I want to do!”?


Tuomas: I can’t name one album because there are so many awesome albums! But when I heard The Beatles I knew what I wanted to do. I was 5-6 years old then. Stratovarius was the first metal band that I heard. After that there was no turning back..


Perttu:  When I was really young I listened to my older brother´s punk and rock CD´s and I remember when I heard Motörhead for the first time and I thought “rock is the most ass kicking music”. Shortly after that I heard Cannibal Corpse´s ”Hammer Smashed Face” playing in one of Jim Carrey´s movies and then I started to really like metal music. But back then there were too many good bands and artists to mention, not only in the metal scene but also in other genres as well.


Jeremy: To me it has been Children of Bodom`s “Follow The Reaper”


How would you describe your own music and what are your musical influences, are there any particular bands that’ve been a big influence in your song writing, metal or otherwise?


Tuomas: I think there are hundreds of bands that have influenced my songwriting in some way. I think you can’t escape influences. Some of my favorite bands are Nightwish, Strapping young lad, Protest the Hero, Periphery.. I could continue this list forever!


Jeremy: Heavy riffing, growling, death metal mixed with clean vocals, beautiful melodies. And it has this weird mix that is not usually heard in the Finnish Metal scene. But still I think that Finnish metal is the biggest influence to Tracedawn.


How do you see the future for Tracedawn, what can we expect in the near future?


Tuomas: Hopefully much touring and many good albums! We are already working on new material for the next album and we are very excited about it!


Antti: A lot of hard work. Touring, touring, maybe some recording and a little more touring :)


Perttu:  I hope we’ll play lots of gigs and meet good guys on road!


Jeremy: A way better second album, exciting concerts and to have fun together. If you invite us abroad we are ready to show some Tracedawn-action.


Is there anything left unmentioned? Any last statement or anything you'd like to add?


Antti: ;)


Jeremy: Buy our records so you get the idea of the potential of the new Finnish heavy metal generation, and that’s furious.


Perttu:  Yeah, keep it brutal!


Thanks for your time!

Eugene Straver



Antti Lappalainen - Vocals
Tuomas Yli-Jaskari - Guitar
Jeremy Qvick - Guitar
Perttu Kurttila - Drums
Vili Itäpelto - Keyboards
Pekko Heikkilä – Bass

Former Members:
Valtteri Turunen – Vocals

Tracedawn - Tracedawn (2008)