Jarno Keskinen Interview 2000

Interview by Ricardo Franzin of Rock Brigade/Brazil

Ricardo:This new album is even better than the first one, Timescape. How do you analyze the improvement between the two records, I mean which were the main matters that made the new CD get this better?

Jarno Keskinen:I just added more classical sequences and classical feel to this new album that is what appears on hundreds of tapes of my previous instrumental songs example in 1993 I was first time in studio recording 4 classical influenced instrumentals songs to DAT. So I have several tapes including Hard Rock Classical Instrumental Music Metal whatever experimental stuff, so now it was a time to do more classical influenced CD, what comes to that is this better album I think it is matter of taste I would say that hopefully each album I make would have a different color and feel on each of them so that is what I try to reach in future.

RF:Its clear that The Prophecy is a heavier effort. Was that done intentionally? Why do you think the album sounds more metal in this sense?

JK:No I write music in spontaneous way so I write what I feel, I don't plan to write something, it just happens, example when I wrote The Razor`s Edge I picked up the guitar and immediately started to play those riffs and sequences so I guess it is a gift, ideas just comes somewhere.

RF:Even though the album is heavier, you have added a permanent keyboardist to the line-up. Where did you find the guy and what's the role he played in the new CDs final result?

JK:I had add in local music magazine and that`s how I find him, then we met and played few tunes just jamming and then I sent his demo and photo to Leviathan and after that I invited him to come to studio in Helsinki to record prophecies he played keyboard solos to 5 of the songs in this album + some of the other keyboard stuff.

RF:There's also a new drummer in the line-up. How did you get in touch with Brian and can we consider him to be a permanent member? What can you say about his playing in the album?

JK:After I heard Zanister album I wanted him to play drums in The Prophecies Cd, in my opinion he is one of the greatest metal drummers in the world all those hi-hat ride stuff is great!!! Killer drum fills that is what I like. What I have heard from Brian he is interested to play on next album.

RF:How do you analyze Stephen's vocal improvement between Timescape and The Prophecies?

JK:I think he has his own style of voice and singing style which remains the same, a professional.

RF:How do you analyze your own improvement as a musician between the two albums?

JK:I don't think I have improved as a guitar player or musician or composer it was just a time to write heavier stuff after Timescape, technically speaking there is quite complex stuff on Timescape and also in Prophecies so they both are good albums.

RF:Due to the fact 50% of the band lives in Finland and the other 50% lives in the USA, many people (at least in Brazil) have the feeling that Kenziner is a studio-only oriented band. How much of that is true?

JK:I just want to say that for a long time I have felt frustrating because we have not been in tour, but because this is multi national band there is much more difficulties to take care example travelling expenses where to Rehearse etc stuff, well if the albums sells enough it won`t be a problem me to travel to US and rehearse with full band it is simple as that.

RF:Still talking about the question above, is Kenziner a real band or is it more correct for us to view it as Jarno Keskinen personal project?

JK:well projects usually fall down, and I am planning to many KENZINER albums with different line ups or with permanent line ups, all I can say that the music stays in the same KENZINER vein. I am 26 and I have done 2 albums both released world wide so I think I have plenty of time for touring in future.

RF:You havent toured to promote Timescape (which contributed to the feeling Kenziner is a studio project). Do you plan to do so in regards to The Prophecy? What shall be the live line-up? You have to find a bass player at least.

JK:Why not the sooner the better, first of course there has to have a demand for tour, and after that I don't think it is a problem to find bass player in case the tour happens, I would love to hear tapes from bass players.

RF:The artwork of the new album is amazing. What does that mean and who came up with such concept?

JK:Rainer Kalwitz from Germany is the artist who came up with that eagle idea I think it is interesting that there is Aztecs indians etc stuff on cover because Trail Of Tears is about destruction of indian culture.

RF:The track The Prophecies is really epic and I think it definitely stands out in the record. What can you say about that? How did you come up with the main ideas for that song?

JK:In musically it is in the vein of Seasons with more classical sequences with cello parts of course. lyrically some would say it is a fantasy story but when we look around there is Nostra Damus etc prophecies so there is prophecies around human history the title can work in many levels it is how you like to understand it.

RF:Carry On Tomorrow is a very commercial and almost pop song. Do you think it fits well in the record or you also feel it to be kinda disconnected from the general feeling the CD carries?

JK:I think it fit well in the album because after Eternity and Live Forever and The Prophecies so we must Carry On Tomorrow. Trail Of Tears has a more modern metal feel to it. Do you agree?

RF:If so, from where do you take such influence?

JK:I just play what I hear in my head and it was a time to write really crushingly heavy type of song with oriental sounding solos.

RF:The instrumental track Dimensions opens room for each one of you guys show your musicianship and technical ability. Even though it is outstanding because of this, don't you think the final result is kinda self-indulgent?

JK:I wrote this song originally in 97 but we recorded it now, I would say that this instrumental has lot of sequences so that what makes it different from most instrumental songs.

RF:By the way, do you care not sounding self-indulgent when writing your songs?

RF:I mean, because most of the time you succeed in doing so, even though most guitar players fail in this area.

JK:Well in my guitar solos, I would say that there has to have drama and comedy like there is in life.

RF:Do you enjoy this so-called "new metal" of the 90s bands like Korn, Limp Bizkit, Marilyn Manson, Deftones etc. etc. etc.?

JK:I think Korn has great groove and aggression and sometimes it is cool to listen that type of music just for a minute, well I saw that Woodstock gig in TV and it was cool for awhile.

RF:Which are you personal favorites in the album? Why?

JK:Carry On Tomorrow, because it has a positive message.

RF:I feel a stronger Yngwie Malmsteen influence in this album. Maybe I'm wrong, but is it correct for us to assume Yngwie to be a great influence to you?

JK:Yes this album has more "Classical Influenced" feel.

RF:What were the guitarists that made you start playing, your all-time favorite ones?

JK:Ritchie Blackmore and Yngwie Malmsteen. Regarding to previous question I think that what makes people play instruments is the feeling, when I was 11 I watched Iron Maiden and Wasp Videos Judas Priest DIO Accept what I can say I just wanted to play. And after I saw Blackmore playing and after I heard Yngwie I thought that I want to do it my way by practicing Violin Pieces and that is what I did for a long time without listening anything else than classical music.

RF:David T. Chastain did production for the new album and also wrote a lot of lyrics and vocal harmonies (just like he did in Timescape). Can we consider him to be the fifth member of Kenziner?

JK:well I havent seen him in band photos so I'm not sure ;) but seriously because I compose all the songs including all guitars all bass all keyboards and even some of the drums in demo tapes, it has so much work that I don`t have time to write lyrics AND sang melodies to demo tapes, well I did lyrics and melodies with Stephen to 3 of the songs in the Prophecies album, also I do all the song titles so I have ideas behind the music, most of times I hear the Chorus in my head so I know where suppose to be the chorus where 1st verse etc I try to come up with most the lyrics and vocal melodies for next album.

RF:What's been the reaction to the album so far if compared to Timescape? Its been released everywhere, so I guess you should have a good idea by now.

JK:I guess it is doing better than Timescape so far.

RF:Were you able to figure the response Timescape got in Brazil? I mean, have you received email messages, letters and general mail from the brazilian fans? In which country you fell the band got the better response so far?

JK:Not much and I would love to hear more from you I think in Germany Kenziner is popular and Italy in general.

RF:One of the most successful power/melodic metal bands of the 90s, Stratovarius, comes from Finland. Do you think you're ready to follow their path and become a huge act of the genre too?

JK:I don't know, time will tell, I just try to do good music as possible but of course that does not guarantee anything, it is the people who listen and buy the music who could make that happen, I hope so.

RF:Thanks a lot for the attention and time spent in the answering of this interview. Please fell free to add anything you might want to. Thanks!

JK:Most of all I like to thank all the people who have bought Timescape and The Prophecies albums there is more to come in future with lot of surprises we hope to tour sometime in future and meet you all. I thank you and all the best to you all, with kind regards Jarno Keskinen (KENZINER) from Finland.

More Interviews!:Jarno Keskinen