Finland’s Battle Beast has been creating quite a buzz for itself in Europe with its latest self-titled record. Sabaton even recently covered "Out of Control" on its own new album "Heroes". The Battle Beast sound mixes symphonic, traditional and power metal with a glam, 80s vibe.
This week vocalist Noora Louhimo touched base to answer some questions about her first record with the band. She joins fellow band mates Anton Kabanen (lead guitar) and Janne Björkroth (keyboards), Pyry Vikki (drums), Eero Sipilä (bass) and Juuso Soinio (guitars).
Noora- Last year saw the European release of Battle Beast’s eponymous sophomore album, your first with the band. This February, North America will got their ears on the record. This marks sort of a coming out party for Battle Beast outside of Europe. You have to be pretty excited. Why did it take so long for the rest of the world to get the new album?
"I don’t see there’s been very long time getting the album outside Europe. We are very young band and everything has happened very quickly. Thinking five years ago the guys of Battle Beast were just dreaming of getting on tour or even a place to play at so I think we are way ahead. Most bands in the world have to do hard work for ten years or more to get even this far as we are now. We are very privileged."
Taking nothing away from former vocalist Nitte Valo, you bring an amazing vocal presence to Battle Beast and it makes a huge difference on the new record. For those of us on this side of the world who have not yet discovered Noora Louhimo, tell us a little bit about you; your influences, and your path to music and metal. I understand you were barely out of diapers when you began singing.
"As in age 4 I realized want to sing and do everything I can to express myself. Since then I had many hobbies before I started concentrating on singing. For example many forms of dancing, circus, acting, drawing, painting and doing music. I was about 13-year-old when I had my first band at school. I used to sing finnish pop and rock and also lot of love ballads from artists like Whitney Houston and Celine Dion. As 15-year-old grunge and hard rock came into my life and at age 16 heavy metal. I listened those genres but never thought I would have the guts to do it on my own. Until I was 19 and found my first Blues/Rock band. We played Janis Joplin , Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane etc. But my biggest influence was Janis and she’s the reason I got the rasp in my voice. Then the band broke up and I continued my adventures solo and end up to a singing competition, took part in different jam sessions and had acoustic gigs around my hometown."
Was there an album or moment that changed your life and started your musical journey?
"I think my musical journey started before I was born because my parents are both musical people. My father taught me to listen different music and mother gave me a chance to try everything in arts. But if I have to say one artist or a song I’d say Guns n Roses - “Welcome to the Jungle” turned my world around when I was 16."
How did you become the new voice of Battle Beast? Rumor has it Anton found you on YouTube.
"Anton found me by accident singing Janis Joplin on YouTube and then he took contact on Facebook. That’s how it all started. I was in the band the next day Anton had taken contact."
You can transition smoothly from a clean Sharon den Adel style vocal delivery to a gritty Udo Dirkschnieder attack. It adds depth to the band’s sound. How did you develop your style?
"I’ve taken influences from many artist like Bruce Dickinson, Rob Halford, Janis Joplin, Robert Plant, Ann Wilson, Whitney Houston, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Michael Jackson, Axl Rose, PV Louhimo (my brother, vocalist in a great rock band Piecemaker) and many many others."
While the debut album, “Steel” was quite good, the new self-titled record is significantly better all around. The songs are bigger and more memorable. How does the songwriting process work in Battle Beast and what have you brought to the band on the songwriting side?
"Anton has written and will write all the songs. He is the best guy I know doing our songs so I don’t want to go in there. Of course you never know what ideas come up in the future. I think the biggest difference in our self-titled album is that we did it just the way we wanted. Anton and Janne (key boards) did all the mixing. My job is to deliver my best vocal performance on the records and on the stage."
There seems to be a definite anime/manga passion in the band. Tell us about that.
"Anton’s passion is manga and fantasy so of course the lyrics also are about those things among other topics.There are three categories in the song lyrics: Berserk (Manga), Anton’s fantasy of the Beast’s adventures and free category (anything). Anton is the band’s visionary and other members are the ones to make his visions come true."
I understand you guys self-produced this record. What were some of the challenges you faced doing this for your first time?
"Everything was a challenge and considering the fact I got in the band in the middle of recordings it was even more challenging: I had to learn how to sing heavy metal a month before we went for a tour with Sonata Arctica and after that we started recording the new album. I never had sung Heavy metal before Battle Beast so I got to say it was pretty crazy..."
Battle Beast did a video for "Black Ninja" which seemed an odd choice. "Let It Roar" seemed like the more obvious choice. Can we expect any other videos for this record? What was the experience like for you making the "Black Ninja" video?
"It was fun experience and my first video ever. The choice wasn’t completely ours but people seem to like it anyway."
The new record is just now coming out over here, but it’s been done for almost a year. Are you already looking ahead to album number three?
"Actually we are in the middle of recordings of our third album. More info in the near future."
Can U.S. fans hope for a stateside tour at some point?
"We definitely have our thumbs up for a tour in U.S. Hang on there dear fans, we’re coming!"
Pointless question of the week: What bad habit or guilty pleasure are you hopelessly addicted to?
"I love chocolate :P"
Noora, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with The Examiner. We look forward to seeing you live and hearing what you have in store for the next record.
"Thank you for the interview, Take care and buy our album!