Before the Dawn’s Resurgence: Tuomas Saukkonen Reflects on the Band’s Evolution, New EP ‘Archaic Flame,’ and Future Plans

Before the Dawn's Sonic Revival: Tuomas Saukkonen Discusses the Band's Reawakening, the Impact of Vocalist Paavo Laapotti, and the Unveiling of the 'Archaic Flame' EP...

Interview by: Myglobalmind

 

 

Toumas, thanks for taking the time. Curious to note, between the lengthy hiatus, a decade long, what were the band/members doing? Realizing that you were busy with Wolfheart…

Wolfheart took most of my time during the 10 years of silence, but I was not the only busy one. Juho continued to become a more and more known professional sound engineer and also became a permanent member in Swallow The Sun, and bass player Pyry has made an impressive career as a session bass player.

With your return last year with the record “Stormbringer,” what prompted your return back to music as Before the Dawn?

There were absolutely no plans on the table to do any kind of comeback or make new music for BTD until we saw Paavo performing one of our “old hits” called “Deadsong” in Voice of Finland. That started the snowball effect that led to writing a whole new album.

How was that album received? What changed in terms of musical style, members, direction, etc.?

There will always be a certain amount of fans that love the first two albums with me and Panu doing vocals, a certain amount that think that the era when me and Lars did vocals is the only BTD for them, and part of the fans that like the last album we released in 2013 before the long break and that has no clean vocals at all. So, a minority of fans were shocked about the changes with vocals, but now looking back at the numbers with album sales, tours we have done, and streaming, we have clearly gained a whole new generation of fans while receiving really good feedback from most of our older fans.

The addition of vocalist Paavo Laapotti on the last album, can you talk about how he was brought on? What qualities you saw in him when forging the comeback record last year?

Naturally, the rest of us heard his performance on TV and knew the vast potential, but after we got to the studio together, it was more clear how wide a range of tools we actually have for the vocals. Especially with the growling since that was not well presented in Voice of Finland. A huge range with vocals is a great advantage for me as a songwriter, and of course, Paavo’s energy was also a big push for the “old timers” like me and Juho :). I let Paavo bring any ideas he could have thought of when I was doing the demo versions of the songs, so he was able to have his input at a very early stage.

As a multi-instrumentalist, how much has your playing evolved through the years?

I hope I am still able to evolve as a musician with each instrument, and now that the music industry is slowly getting back to normal, I am also, for the first time in my life, able to focus 100% on the music and will be off from my day job for a few years at least and am able to put a lot more focus on rehearsing. So, on a daily basis, working nowadays to be better.

How did that compare or influence the works on “Stormbringer”?

I don’t think it did either of those in any other way than allowing me to write more freely since the more varied you are able to play, the more ideas you can produce into songs. But mainly it is just fine-tuning your tools to get the job done while the mind writes all the music.

This new EP “Archaic Flame,” is it a continuation of the last record? Can we expect a full record after this one?

Definitely, there is another full length coming in the future, but right now my focus is shifting to Wolfheart, and Juho has the same with Swallow The Sun, so I would see it realistic in 2025 at some point. The EP is more a continuation of the energy in the band that has been steadily rising since we decided to do the comeback. After the European tour, we felt that we just want to push a little further and decided to go back to the studio.

For fans familiar with Wolfheart, what difference would you say there is with this band and Before the Dawn? If any?

I have been working with the new Wolfheart material for a while now and as the sole songwriter of both bands, I am always one album ahead of the listeners and know pretty clearly what the next Wolfheart album will be about. BTD EP steps a bit closer to the latest Wolfheart album but the next Wolfheart album will make it clear that these are completely different bands.

The mix of melodies, harsh vocals, clean, synth sounds, etc. on the EP, how do you balance all of those elements and still keep the sound fresh and interesting?

As a band, BTD has been training to deliver with those elements since 1999, so it comes very naturally. It is all about building contrasts and all elements you mentioned work really well together if the arrangement is right.

When listening to the EP, I was reminded of old school Gothenburg sound with bands like In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, Soilwork, to name a few… Were you influenced by some of those bands?

I was and still am a big fan of old In Flames. And the early years of At The Gates too so the Gothenburg sound has always been dear to me. And the mix of Scandinavian melodies and aggression.

Where do you see Before the Dawn going after this EP?

We will have another great festival summer ahead and then Wolfheart will take me on the road but I will start writing a new album for BTD so I see us being busy with working with new music and releasing it too so no more 10 year gaps between albums

What’s on the schedule for the band this year?

Festivals for the summer

How do you find new inspiration for writing music and composing?

To me, it is an ongoing process. Every week I find myself writing something new, and it is kind of my thing to release an album per year either from Wolfheart, BTD, or my sort of a solo project Dawn of Solace.

Final words are yours…

Thanks

https://www.btdmetal.com/

 

New Digital EP, Archaic Flame, Available Now via Napalm Records

Here: https://lnk.to/BTD-ArchaicFlame

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