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A Dirty Dozen with TIMO KAARKOSKI and ARMORED DAWN – April 2020

| 8 April 2020 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “Armored Dawn, the Brazilian metal band from Sao Paulo has released its new album Viking Zombie via The Orchard/Sony. Recorded in Sao Paulo, the album was produced by drummer Rodrigo Oliveira and bassist Heros Trench. The deluxe edition consists of 14 tracks, including three bonus tracks, “Skydiver Of The Light,” an unplugged version of “Ragnarok,” and a live version of “Animal Uncaged.” Armored Dawn is comprised of vocalist Eduardo Parras, bassist Heros Trench, keyboardist Rafael Agostino, guitarist Timo Kaarkoski, drummer Rodrigo Oliveira and guitarist Tiago de Moura. The album’s first two singles, “Ragnarok” and “Animal Uncaged,” both gained huge radio exposure in the US, peaking in the top 15 on the Mediabase Independent chart. The band’s latest single “Zombie Viking” is at radio now!” We get Timo to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through? Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

We started writing songs for “Viking Zombie” almost a year before it was released, so we were still in the middle of the “Barbarians in Black tour”, listening to all kinds of more modern metal bands on the radio, and started liking some of them. This influenced the new songs a bit, I think. We ended up writing songs with more modern keyboard parts and in general I think “Viking Zombie” sounds a bit more modern than two previous albums. But it’s still heavy, melodic and old school enough for older fans as well.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Well, we all got involved in music at a very early age. Eduardo (vocals), for example, started playing the piano because his mother used to teach piano; Tiago (guitars) was very influenced by Brazilian music, and his father was also a musician; Rodrigo (drums) started playing the drums at the age of 14 and he is a self-learner. I started listening to music at very young age. I remember being around 5 and hearing bands like Cream, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, play in the radio. I always hated all those happy songs for children, so when I heard something heavier and darker, that was it for me. About wanting to be a musician, you can blame Ritchie Blackmore for that. Videos were hard to see those days, bug listening to Deep Purple and looking at pics of Ritchie, made me want to do that as well. I was even more convinced about it when I was around 13, and realized playing violin would not get me laid, so I ended giving up in my promising career to of boring violin player and focused 110 % on playing Rock n Roll.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

I would definitely say, Ritchie Blackmore. Surely my main influence and especially after seeing him on stage with Rainbow numerous times in the early 80’s (yes, I’m THAT old…) there’s no doubt in my mind that me ending up as musician, is his fault.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Well, let’s start from the obvious, Ritchie Blackmore. Technically there’s lots of “better” players, but music is SO much more than that. It’s all about feelings. It’s about getting people to feel something, whether it’s joy, sadness or whatever the song makes you feel. If a song doesn’t make people feel something, it’s not worth doing. And when Ritchie plays, you can feel every note he plays, not just hear. So, more influences… Well Gary Moore, David Gilmour and Michael Schenker for the exact same reasons. Awesome guitar players, awesome songwriters who have played some of the most memorable shows of my life. Of yes, one more. Let’s go for Frank Marino, yet another guitarist who pours his soul into every single note he plays. Yes, I do like a lot of technical guitar wizards as well, but just those who can actually write decent music as well, like Steve Vai, Malmsteen and Paul Gilbert. There’s a LOT of dudes who can play fast and furious, but forget that there’s no point in running, if you don’t know where you’re going to.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Anyone who would manage to write us a song which would sell 50 million copies and make us rich as fuck Lol. Then we could spend the rest of our lives just playing for fun with zero worry about how to buy pizza to survive… And on more serious side, I’d love to write some music with Joe Bonamassa. Yes, I do love the blues as well.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Media calls us a Viking metal band, but it’s very important to say that we’re not a Viking Metal band. We just like the Viking theme and write out it. We have influences from many different things, as Power Metal and Thrash Metal, now we are also influenced by some more modern elements. So, we can say it’s only metal.

7. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Nobody cooks, which is property better for everyone’s health… As far as drinks go, that would be Heros, our bass player. No acoustic guitars for parties… After all, we normally spend 5 days a week in studio, playing, rehearsing and recording, so when were out if there, it’s more about drinks and barbecue.

8. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

I’ve been a huge Saxon fan since early 80’s, so when we had the pleasure of touring in Europe with them, I was obviously very excited. Being able to chat with Biff was really cool. But I remember back in the 80’s when I got to meet Ritchie Blackmore when Rainbow played in Finland. He was actually really cool and to me, that was like meeting God. Of course there’s also the time when I met Yngwie Malmsteen in a guitar store in Fort Lauderdale, but more about that another time.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

Few things I really love are playing guitar and traveling around the world. As a musician you get to do both. It’s like your hobby turns into a profession. You get basically paid for having fun! I always wanted to be an airline pilot, so maybe I’d try to go for that.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

The question is  “Can I give you 10 million dollars?” And the expected answer, for sure “Yes, please, but give 9 million to me and donate 1 million to animal rescue centers to buy food and medication they surely need.” I’m not really tired of any question, but sometimes it’s a bit complicated as people ask me about influences on writing the lyrics… I mean, I’m just a humble guitar player…

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

When I was younger, many many moons ago, I had an opportunity to go study in musicians institute in Los Angeles and didn’t do it. Who knows how things would have ended… But I’m pretty happy with all the choices I’ve made in my life.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Whitesnake, Saints & Sinners. To me, the best Whitesnake album. Great times still with Jon Lord and Ian Paice. Who wouldn’t want to play with them? I would have chosen Deep Purple Stormbringer, but I seriously doubt Ritchie Blackmore would accept having another guitar player in there.





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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