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Fireworks Magazine Online 72 - Interview with Stala & So.

STALA & SO.


Stala & So. were one of Scandinavia's best kept secrets - they surely should start to get the recognition they richly deserve following a stellar review of their recently released eponymously titled album, by our very own Kieran Dargan. Mark Donnelly put the questions to singer and founding member Sampsa Astala, aka Stala.


StalaAndSo Fireworks Interview


For the benefit of those that have not come across Stala & So. before, can you give us a brief history of the band?

We started the first version of the band in the late 90s as "SO." From 2000 to 2010, I played drums in Lordi along with our bass player Nick Gore. During that period our band was more like a "therapy band". Then, in 2010, we started the band again under the name Stala & So. during which time we participated in the Finnish Eurovision song contest, with the song 'Pamela'. After that, we released two albums, 2011's 'It Is So' and 2013's 'Play Another Round', and one EP, 2011's 'Gimme Five', and we have toured Europe a couple of times. That is the long story short.

Your self-titled album has just been released. This is your third full studio album. What can fans expect?

It is a Hard Rock album with an attitude and good melodies. There is some Classic Rock, AOR and even Pop influences.

How does the new release compare to your previous albums? Sound wise, are there any returning facets that might be familiar to long-term fans and, on the other side of the coin, is there anything new that these listeners can expect to find?

There is a little more versatile stuff on this album than our previous albums. Saying that, it still sounds typical Stala & So. with big drums, loud guitars with lots of vocal harmonies. In certain songs, there are some dark elements that we have not had before.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine for Melodic Rock Music

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On a more general front, have you tried anything new this album – be it writing, recording, production – that you have not attempted before?

We added some loops and modern elements that they are using in productions nowadays. Also, we have a ladies' choir on three of the songs. We did everything by ourselves, in our own SMF studio in Helsinki.

Why did you go down the route of having the album self-titled?

It felt like right thing to do.... and we did not have any better ideas!

I like all the songs on the album but especially 'When the Night Falls', 'I Can See It In Your Eyes' and 'You Don't Mind'. Which are your particular favourites?

I like them all as well but maybe 'Headlong' and 'When the Night Falls' are my favourites at the moment. Those songs are fun to sing.

Can you tell me who did the fantastic production on the new album?

I did it myself with help from our guitar player, Sami J., who is also a producer. Of course, all the band members had their input on each song.

Who are the principal songwriters in the band and how does the process work?

I am the main song writer and everything goes through me but everyone can bring their ideas; Nick gave us a couple of songs.

Who are the main bands that have influenced Stala & So.?

Kiss, Whitesnake, Mötley Crüe, Foo Fighters, Europe, Bon Jovi, Skid Row, Ratt, Foreigner... You name it.

Have you found reference to your previous band Lordi a help or hindrance over the years?

It helps, of course. The music is not that different; it is still Melodic Hard Rock. We have lots of fans who like both bands, Lordi and Stala & So.

How is the Rock scene in Finland?

It is pretty bad, at least business wise. Of course, there are some great bands but radio does not play any minor or Indie bands anymore.

I presume that you will be touring when the new album comes out. Do any of your plans include UK dates?

We are trying our best to come to the UK. We have been there twice and it has been wonderful. I think we need to find a good supporting slot first. Any good ideas?

You mention on your website that you are all about making music professionally but having fun whilst doing it. Does that ethos remain as strong now as it always has?

If it is not fun then there is no use doing it. I mean, we do not get enough money doing this; that is why it needs to be fun at least.


Stala & So. is available on Escape Music.

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