Dark The Suns | Interview with Mikko Ojala

Counterpoising beauty with darkness, Finland’s Dark The Suns perform a Melodic Death-Metal with a mournful, melancholic spirit. Their recently released debut album “In Darkness Comes Beauty” conjures up images of a desolate autumn being overshadowed by a forlorn, shivering winter and already has garnered some enthusiastic responses worldwide. Vocalist/guitarist Mikko Ojala and bassist Inka Tuomaala briefly enlightens us from the darkness surrounding Dark The Suns.

Known as the land of the thousand lakes, 187,888 of them to be accurate, Finland has over the last few years produced impressive homegrown Metal bands at the same pace as their biggest company Nokia presents new cell-phones models. Even more surprising is the fact that we frequently see Metal groups reaching music charts at very honorable positions by shifting a considerable amount of record copies and on top of that, last year winners of the 51st Eurovision Song Contest, which is normally associated with catchy pop and big ballads, was a Finnish group called Lordi, who dress in monster costumes and rock out some Kiss-flavored tunes. Well, mentioning that a Metal fan named Ari Koivunen have pulled off a surprising victory at this year edition of the Finnish Idols with brilliant interpretations of Iron Maiden, Whitesnake and Stratovarius classics will only reinforce that Finland is indeed a Metal country!

“That's true! Finland is a country quite open to metal music. We think it's a great thing. Because of that, many young bands will also get an opportunity to play gigs and to be heard. Of course, there is also some competition, but we don't think that's a problem; there is room for everyone.”

Dark the Suns is a relatively young band, which formed in 2005 so there’re probably still a lot people that don't know much about you, so could you tell us a bit about the band and its history?

"Everything began in the summer of 2005 when Mikko found this band in Valkeakoski. Dark The Suns was at first his solo project, and the first demo “The Sleeping Beauty", where he played all the instruments, was awarded "the demo of the month" in Inferno Magazine in spring 2006. Soon after that Inka, Markus and Juha joined the band and it turned to a full band. We started to write new songs together and we recorded our second demo in August 2006. Very soon after this we were signed to Firebox Records for two albums and now our debut album "In Darkness Comes Beauty" is just released."

People always have a tendency to compare young bands with more established acts and I’ve noticed that your debut album “In Darkness Comes Beauty” is often associated with Crematory, which to an extent it’s true as both play a very melodic and melancholic brand of Gothic Death-Metal with a predominant use of keyboards. Do you think it’s fair to make such comparisons, do you see Crematory as an influence?

"It's funny that people find similarities to different bands; we have also been associated with bands like Eternal Tears of Sorrow or Sentenced. No one of us has ever heard Crematory, so maybe we have to check this band out, because people find so many similarities."

“In Darkness Comes Beauty”
has received great reactions from the press, are you happy with the end results?

"We are really happy, because we have done so much work for this album. We recorded guitars, bass and synths in our keyboardist Juha's homestudio by ourselves. Only vocals and drums were recorded in Studio Watercastle by Arttu Sarvanne, who also mixed the album. He did a great job and we are very happy with the results. Our bassist Inka designed the graphics to this album and to our web site. Now also the visual world in the album covers and homepages reflects our music very well and we think that "In Darkness Comes Beauty" looks and sounds as wonderful as we have always dreamed. After all this work, it is really great that people like this album!"

Finland has one of the highest rates of suicide in world, and Finnish people are often considered to be very shy, do you think it has something to do with the long dark winters, where the sun never really sets in for months. Or it’s just us foreigners that have a misconceived idea of Finnish people?

"When winters are cold and days are short, of course the darkness affects people. Maybe that makes this melancholic atmosphere into these hearts. Actually, Finnish people may seem a little shy at first, but when you get to know them, they are very friendly and also talkative."

Does the harsh winters and the surroundings plays a role of some sort in shaping your songs?

"Maybe! In a way, maybe that melancholic atmosphere affects our music. And of course darkness and sorrowful feelings are quite essential parts of our lyrical world too. But, after all we think that sorrow and sadness affect us more than the dark winters."

What are the future plans for Dark the Suns?

"We are going to play lots of shows here in Finland during the next year. It would be great to play also in Europe, but it takes lots of work to get tour dates and everything else organized. We also constantly write new songs; actually, the first new song for the next album is already done, it's called "Dead End". We have played this song also in "In Darkness Comes Beauty" tour."