Fireworks Magazine Online 70 - Interview with Cain's Offering

Jani Liimatainen of Cain's Offering

The Finnish Power Metal supergroup Cain's Offering strikes back with their sophomore release 'Stormcrow'.  However, this fact was just the starting point fot the discussion as Alexandra Mrozowska caught up with the band's mastermind Jani Liimatainen (formerly of Sonata Arctica).

Cains-Offering Fireworks-Interview

How different is the newly released 'Stormcrow' from the 2009 release 'Gather The Faithful'?

The songwriting on 'Stormcrow' is much more solid than it was on 'Gather The Faithful' where there were some really great songs and moments, but overall the songwriting was a bit all over the place. Of course, the sound and production on 'Stormcrow' is also much better and a lot more powerful.

What do you think are the strongest points of the new album and why?

I think tracks like 'Antemortem', 'Stormcrow' and 'Too Tired To Run' are my personal favourites. Still, the whole album is solid which is quite an accomplishment given that it has a runtime of close to 60 minutes. Also the production and Timo's vocal performance are just a few of the things that I think elevate this album above your standard, generic metal album.

Did you write the new songs with a specific concept in mind, or are they just a collection of your experiences?

I didn't really have any grand idea or concept behind the album as a whole. Each track tells a different story, both lyrically and also musically. Regarding the music, my only plan was to write the strongest album I could, a collection of great songs that I could still look back at after 20 years and think "Damn, that was a good album!". The lyrics have a lot going on, there are songs that deal with love, loss, alcoholism and hope, just to begin with. Some of the songs are really personal, some are more fictitious... but I always try to add something that is real and personal to me, even to the songs that are maybe not that autobiographical for the most part.

How did a songwriting process for the album look like? What do you start with and is every band member involved in the process?

This time I actually set a timeframe for myself. I cleared my calendar for half a year and just concentrated on writing the material for Cain's Offering. I always start with the melodies, as they are the core of the song and define everything else that will come. On this album I wrote everything except 'On The Shore', which is the last track of the album. That one we wrote together with Timo. He had had the main idea for the song for years, and now finally we were able to finish it up and I thought it would be a perfect way to end the album. We also wrote the music together for a song called 'Child Of The Wild', which ended up being a Japanese bonus track, although it's a good song and could've easily been an actual album track as well.

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Do your past experiences somehow contribute to your present work in the band?

Of course the fact that we all have been around for a while, some more than others, helps. Everyone is a professional musician and everyone knows what their part is in the equation and how to get the best possible results. All in all I think that is what makes this line-up so great, it feels like it is even more than just a sum of it parts.

Super-groups never last long, they say. What do you think about Cain's Offering super-group quality to it?

I can see why people would call us that, but I have never seen it that way myself. To me it's just a great group of musicians writing and recording beautiful music together. Of course even I occasionally got the feeling "Holy shit, that's Jens Johansson playing my songs!" as I have been a huge fan of his since I was 15 or something, but still at the end of the day it's all about the music and not about who's who and who has done what before. It took us six years to release our second album, but the fact that we managed to actually do it already in my opinion shows something, and I have a feeling that there's still more where that came from. You are not getting rid of us that easily! (laughs)

Are you and your bandmates up to anything else at the moment?

Hurtsi plays drums in a progressive metal band Silent Voices alongside Pasi Kauppinen and Henrik Klingenberg from Sonata Arctica and Timo and Jens of course have this little known power metal band called Stratovarius, which can hardly be called a side project. Jonas played in a melodic death metal band called MyGrain, but they just quit so I don't know if he has anything going on besides Cain's Offering, but he works as a bass teacher in a music school so I imagine that keeps him pretty busy as well.

Cain's Offering is said to be a studio project. Do you plan to bring it to the stage?

When we put together the first line-up to record 'Gather The Faithful' I would say it was pretty much just a studio project, but now with the new line-up and 'Stormcrow' it seems we are transitioning towards becoming a "real" band, and we are actually working out a schedule to try and take Cain's Offering on the road. It's clear that we can't do it yet this year as Stratovarius is coming out with a new album later this year and they have the whole second half of 2015 book for touring. However, we are really planning on doing some live shows during the first half of 2016. It would be the first time ever that Cain's Offering performs live and we couldn't be more excited about it.

What do you think is a secret of the thriving Finnish – or Scandinavian – Metal scene?

This is actually something I get asked a lot, and quite frankly I have no answer. We were joking about this with Timo while we were recording the lead vocals for 'Stormcrow', it was really cold and dark even during the daytime, we were standing outside and I think it was Timo who said "This is why there are no good metal bands coming from nice and warm places, they don't have this darkness and despair" (laughs) Of course it was a joke, as there are a lot of great bands coming from that kind of places, but I think there might be a seed of truth there. The days are dark a lot of the year here, and maybe it contributes to the Scandinavian mindset. What else is there to do here besides playing metal? (laughs)

Is there anything you'd like to add in the end?

I would thank each and everyone out there who have supported us and showed interest in our music. We hope to see you all in our shows next year. And to all you readers who are yet to hear our music, take a chance and give us a listen. You might even enjoy it!

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