Mikko Ojala and Inka Tuomaala - Dark The Suns - Back
Interviewer: Jeffrey D. Adkins

Dark The Suns started as Mikko Ojala's (Vocals & Guitars) solo project in 2005. A year later and a move to the Finnish city of Jyväskylä the bandís current lineup was completed when Juha Kokkonen (Keyboards), Inka Tuomaala (Bass) and Markus Lehtinen (Drums) joined Dark The Suns.

After a couple demos the band was noticed by Firebox Records and was signed for a two-album deal. In the autumn of 2007 Dark The Suns released their first brilliant album entitled "In Darkness Comes Beauty." This album has a full and rich sound, with a melancholic atmosphere, "Beautiful piano melodies and dark vocals" which creates a melodic doom metal / gothic metal sound...very pleasing to one's ears.

Mikko and Inka found sometime in their busy schedule to talk with me about the band, their instruments, their phenomenal record "In Darkness Comes Beauty," future touring plans and much more.

So read on and find out how much beauty can be found from within Dark The Suns...


Metal Fanatix: Hey Mikko and Inka, how’s everything with Dark The Suns?

Mikko: Thank You for asking! Everything looks very good. We have got really good reviews of our debut album everywhere and we are really happy for that.

Inka: We also just released The Sleeping Beauty -single, and we’re happy for that, too. The single includes three songs from our debut album and one bonus track outside the album. Right now we are also waiting for Friday’s gig and next week’s Firebox Metal Fest, so there is a lot of going on :)

Metal Fanatix: Let’s talk about beginning of the band. Mikko, from what I understand Dark The Suns was once your solo project. What did the band sound like back then? How does the band’s sound differ today from what you did as a solo project?

Mikko: Yes, this band begun as my solo project in summer 2005. I have always liked a lot melodic metal and piano is one of the most beautiful instrument in this world. So I started to write melodic metal music with beautiful piano melodies and dark vocals. I recorded the first demo all alone, because I lived in a small town, where it was hard to find players for my band. This first demo was awarded the demo of the month in Finnish Inferno Magazine. I was really happy for that because I had always believed in this music very much. In the beginning of year 2006 I moved to bigger town Jyväskylä. Soon after that Inka, Juha and Markus joined the band and solo project turned to a full band. When I think about the time when band was solo project, I think that the main style and sound has always been quite same as nowadays.

Metal Fanatix: What did Dark The Suns set out to create when the group got together?

Mikko: From the beginning the main point in our music has been to combine beautiful piano melodies and dark vocals. We started to write and rehearsal music together and soon after that we had many new songs ready. We also wanted to play gigs, so I started to organize tour dates and other things like that for our band.

Inka: We had very soon new songs ready for the second demo, and we entered the studio in the August 2006. Everything was quite easy, because we have quite similar views about our music. I think that Dark The Suns’s music is really melancholic and deeply emotional, but at the same time very energetic and straight-forwarded.

Metal Fanatix: Mikko, since the band was originally your solo project, it would seem that you have quite a music background. Tell me about your background. What instruments can you play?

Mikko: I have played guitar since the year 1998. My first synth I bought in year 2000 and drums came in my life in year 2003. I have always liked to play metal music with all those instruments. Actually the most interesting instrument besides piano is drums. I’m really hooked to play them :) It’s really sad that nowadays I have not so much time to play drums. I have been in several minor bands before Dark The Suns and I have grown with them.

Metal Fanatix: Inka, as a bassist, who are your main influences? Do you play any other instruments?

Inka: I have played piano since I was six years old, so even though I love playing bass, piano is still in a way the most important instrument to me. All the music I have written to Dark The Suns is composed by piano. I am also very interested in other instruments; I have tried to learn to play guitar for some time, and in this winter I have became very interested in playing drums too! :) It’s really fun to play them! As a bassist I don’t really have any idols – maybe that’s because of the fact that there are not many female bass players, and it’s not the same to idolize a male player? Of course, there are a lot of bands and players, who’s sound and style have some influence to me and my music, but it’s not easy to name them.

Metal Fanatix: As musicians, what are both of your biggest accomplishments to date?

Mikko: The record deal with Firebox Records is really important accomplishment for me. And of course 14.11.2007 was really amazing day when our debut album was released and we celebrated and played our album release gig in Finland.

Inka: As Mikko already said, the most amazing thing has - so far - been the release date of our debut album, and of course all the gigs of In Darkness Comes Beauty -tour we played in this winter and early spring.

Metal Fanatix: Inka, what brand of bass do you play? Do you have a favorite model?

Inka: I really love my Ibanez bass, it sounds very good, but is still small and dainty enough for me to play.

Metal Fanatix: Mikko, what about you, what’s your favorite axe?

Mikko: Nowadays I’m happy for my Ibanez. I have played over 30 gigs with that guitar and it’s really good and have nice sound. I like also Jackson guitars because they have good sound for metal music and they look really good!

Metal Fanatix: Are you endorsed by any equipment companies? Does the band have any other type of endorsements?

Mikko: Not yet, but hopefully very soon :)

Metal Fanatix: Onto your new record! I absolutely love your album “In Darkness Comes Beauty.” How did the recording process go? Any troubles during the recording process?

Mikko: We recorded half of the album in our keyboardist’s Nightmare Workshop home studio by ourselves. We had lots of time to record guitars, bass and synths there without hurry and stress. We had also time to think about the sounds and small productional things, and to compose some additional synths and guitars to the songs. The other half was recorded in Studio Watercastle. Arttu Sarvanne recorded vocals and drums. He also mixed our album and did very good work. The album was mastered in Finnvox Studios by Mika Jussila. We are really happy for the sounds and results. The album sounds as good as we have always dreamed. Inka also designed graphics to our debut album and now we have a beautiful visual world in the album covers that supports our music perfectly.

Metal Fanatix: When I listen to your album I feel that I need to listen to it all the way through because every song is appealing to my ears. How has the response been so far for you new album from the media and metal fans?

Mikko: Thanks :) Really nice that you like our album. People have liked our music a lot and I’m really happy for that. We have done lots of work for this album, so it’s wonderful when somebody comes and says that he likes our music. In Darkness Comes Beauty has got also really good reviews from media and that is really important because people read lots of reviews in the magazines and that affects for sure to their opinion of the band.

Metal Fanatix: How does the band go about writing a song? Does some one start with a riff and everyone adds a little? Does it start with lyrics? Does someone write the majority of the music?

Mikko: Inka, Juha and I have written the music to our debut album. Everyone of us writes music with piano. For example, when I play piano and catch a beautiful melody, I record it to synth’s sequencer. Then I listen it about 50 times and think about the productional things and other instruments for the song. When song is almost complete, we record together a demo version and start to play it with the whole band. What comes to the majority, I have written 5 songs, Juha 2 and Inka 3 songs. There are some songs in our debut album from the time when band was my solo project, so of course there are more my songs than Juha’s or Inka’s.

Metal Fanatix: What are the underlying themes for your record? Are these the typical topics we should expect from the band?

Inka: I and Mikko have written the most of the lyrics to In Darkness Comes Beauty together. In our album we talk about two kinds of darkness, two different worlds where the lights are fading: the world we are living in and the one that is inside our hearts and minds. In most of our lyrics we talk about sorrowful feelings, sadness and loss; all the darker moments of life.

Mikko: I think that sorrow and grief are stronger emotions than happiness and joy. Sorrow affects two people in different ways and stops to think about the whole living. I like melancholic atmosphere and maybe there is also something a little bit romantic in it.

Inka: I like melancholic atmosphere too, and the night time! There sure is something romantic in it, too... Everything seems so beautiful when the whole world seems to be sleeping. I think that night time is also more mysterious than usual day life; there is the mystery of deep forests and sleeping leaves, mist rising from the lakes... Familiar things seem to change a little when you wander through the city alone and rain falls on the streets.

Metal Fanatix: Do either of you have a particular favorite track off of “In Darkness Comes Beauty”? If so, what are they?

Mikko: Of course I like lots of all these songs, but my own favorites are The Sleeping Beauty, Black Sun and Alone. The Sleeping Beauty is the first Dark The Suns song ever, so it will always have a special place in my heart. Black Sun is really hard song and I think that the guitar solo is really atmospheric and beautiful. Besides them, Alone is really wistful and melancholic song with beautiful piano melody.

Inka: I have loved The Sleeping Beauty since I first heard Mikko’s demo version of it! I really like the feeling of that song, whispers and piano melodies. My other favorites in this moment are Angel Soul and Away.

Metal Fanatix: What do you think of when I mention the following tracks?

“Reflections”

Mikko: It’s really good first song and it begins with beautiful piano melody. Our plan was to start and end the album with piano, so Reflections is really good song for the album start.

Inka: I like the song very much, especially the contrast between whispers and growls in the verses. I also wrote a distinct and groovy bass line to the song; it’s really nice to play it!

“The Sleeping Beauty”

Mikko: It’s the second song from the album. It’s really energetic song and also have really beautiful and catchy piano melody in the chorus. It’s actually the first Dark The Suns song ever, so it has lots of nostalgia for me.

Inka: There is some nostalgia in The Sleeping Beauty to me, too. It was, of course, the first DTS song I ever heard, and actually the song was also one of the reasons for which I wanted to join the band! I felt that I really want to play in a band who’s music sounds that beautiful and fresh. Mikko’s demo version was a little different than this album version; the album version of the song is a little faster and more energetic, I also shaped the bass lines, but the atmospheric whispers and pianos are still there.

“Alone”

Inka: The piano melody I wrote to this song, was the first one I wrote to Dark The Suns, so there’s some nostalgia in that song, too! It was a rainy and gloomy evening in the late autumn... I like the melancholy of the song very much.

“Angel Soul”

Inka: Angel Soul is written by me and Mikko, it was really easy to write that song together. Piano melodies is mine, guitar melodies are written by Mikko, and I think that they really fit together well! I also like the lyrics we wrote, I think that they reflect really well the beautiful and melancholic feeling of the melodies.

Metal Fanatix: In 2006, Dark The Suns signed with Firebox Records. How is it working with Firebox Records?

Mikko: Everything has gone very well. We are really happy for their support and they have done good promotion work for us.

Metal Fanatix: When you signed with Firebox, you signed a two record deal correct? Have you started working on material for your second album? Is there anything you can share with us about it?

Mikko: Yes, we have a record deal for two albums. We have some new songs ready now and we have played one of them in our gigs too. The song is called Dead End and it’s really atmospheric song with wistful piano melody. It’s still very heavy song in the style of Black Sun.

Metal Fanatix: I saw on your web site that you have an upcoming Eastern European tour in May? Have any locations been decided yet? Any other tour plans for the future? Is North America in the talks? It would be awesome to see you live!!

Inka: We had planned with Firebox that we would play an Eastern-European tour in May, but unfortunately that tour had to be cancelled due to several problems with schedules. But we are still going to play a mini tour in Baltic countries in May, and we’re really looking forward to that!

Mikko: It would be very nice to play in North America, but we don’t have contacts to club promoters etc. It would take lots of work to organize tour dates and other things like that. But North America... Of course that would be great!!!

Metal Fanatix: If you could put a tour together with any band from the past or present, who would you tour with? Any particular reason?

Mikko: It would be very amazing to hit the stage with Dimmu Borgir. I started to listen to metal music a long time ago when I heard for a first time their Enthrone Darkness Triumphant album. I was really impressed by these beautiful synth melodies among their dark music.

Metal Fanatix: What do you do for fun when not playing in the band? Any hobbies?

Inka: I like photography and reading, watching movies and playing horror games with Playstation. It’s not a hobby, but I am also working with my thesis about medieval literature about women’s virtues. The theme is very interesting!

Mikko: Actually I haven’t got much other interests than music. I write album and demo reviews to finnish Stalkermusic, I like to record music with my synth and guitar and I have been really hooked to play drums for a long time. Besides that I like swimming and also playing horror games like Resident Evil4 and Project Zero3 with playstation.

Metal Fanatix: If you could only take one album with you on a long voyage, what would it be and why?

Mikko: Of course our own album In Darkness Comes Beauty :) But if this is not possible, I would take Before The Dawn’s Ghost. It’s really atmospheric album!

Inka: I would take with me HIM’s Dark Light.

Metal Fanatix: What current bands do you like or respect?

Inka: I have loved HIM since their first album, the atmosphere and the melodies are amazing in their music. My new favorite is finnish doom metal band Hanging Garden. Their music is absolutely beautiful. Besides them I listen to Entwine, To/Die/For and Before the Dawn, and many many more...

Mikko: I have liked Dimmu Borgir’s music over ten years. As I said before, their music have affected me very much. I also have liked Finnish Before The Dawn since their first album, it’s really amazing band. In the last week I bought Arch Enemy’s Rise Of the Tyrant –album. There are great guitar melodies and amazing drumming, great album!!

Metal Fanatix: Well that’s just about it. I want to thank you both for taking time an answering questions for us at MetalFanatix.com. Just one more question to ask before I let you go…do you have any final words for the Metal Fanatix of the world?

Mikko and Inka: Thank you for the interview, Jeff!! We hope that people are going to listen to our free web singles from our web page and write feedback into our guestbook!

Have a nice week and stay metal forever!!

Metal Fanatix: Thanks, you rule! METAL!!

To keep up with all the latest news & much more on Dark The Suns check out the following websites:

http://www.darkthesuns.com/ - Official Dark The Suns Site
http://www.myspace.com/darkthesuns - Dark The Suns MySpace Site

© Jeffrey D. Adkins April, May 2008 Not to be re-printed in any form without written permission.