Antti Kokko


A new rising band from Finland, with a great course till now are here with their second studio album They Will Return. We were able to steal some of Antti Kokko's time, lead guitarist of Kalmah to answer some of our questions. Let's here from him then...
By Fotis
February 19, 2002
Antti Kokko (Kalmah) interview
Thank you very much for answering our questions, hopefully I will not be too tiresome!
How did you came all together as a band?

The story begun in 1992 when Pekka formed Ancestor with Petri Sankala. When Pekka asked me in the band the year was 1997. In 1999 we took a keyboardist in the band.

After the debut Altti, our basist at that time, and Petri left the band and we found the replacements soon after that. We asked Timo Lehtinen(bass) and Janne Kusmin(drums) from Catamenia to join us and they did. During these years we have had all in all 4 different basist.

Did it ever occur to you that some time you would sign for a record company like Spikefarm? I mean when you started playing music for yourselves was there a small (or large) part of you that said we will be a big band someday?

We have never thought that we are going to be big although we have always been looking for the recording deal. Our main goal has been to get our music to the ears of people who like metal music because we have always thought that we have something to give to all metal lovers all over the world. If we are going to be a big name in the metal scene in the future that's great, because more and more people can hear our music.

From where do you get the thematology of your albums and especially your debut album Swamplord?

The thematology comes from our lives and the environment we're living in. Where we live over 60% of landscape is covered by Finnish swamp, so, it has been always a big part in our lives, especially, beacuse the nature is near our hearts. There is also some kind of swamp legends... On swamplord the thematology wasn't so consistent than the one on They Will Return but both of these albums represent lyrically and thematologically pretty different style than those we have used to in metal music. I think it's not so easy for people outside Finland to understand this Swamp thing but maybe that will interest them more because of that.

What is your relation with internet and the issues that arise from it's use? I mean the circulation of mp3's even before the official album release and all?

The internet has really overturn the music industry. For bands that are not on the recording business yet but make demos and work hard to break through, it's definitely good thing. They can easily spread their music via the net. For bigger bands the internet is easy way to keep in touch with the fans.

If the whole album is released on the internet before it has been released that's not good. Bands that do the music cannot benefit from it at all, in most cases. It has become a matter of conscience more or less.

For example I don't download songs from internet because I hate the sound of mp3 tracks. I want to take the CD in my hand, read the booklet etc. while I'm listening to something.

Is it easy for a band nowadays to make it to the top, with so many bands coming forth everyday?

It's definitely not easy and in most cases it depends on the promotion and the efforts that labels put in their bands. If you are damn good but the label doesn't do anything for you, you propably continue to be the underground star! Of course it's possible to make a real hit song and break it through but that usually have to be a bit lighter one than, for example, our songs.

On the other hand the present situation on metal scene is great for the metalheads because there's so much bands and so much different kind of metal styles and that's always good.

In our case we have been damn lucky that we have got a good promotion and label that really does something for us, eventhough, our music is definitely not the most commercial...

Did you sacrifice something from your way of life in order to be what you are today?

Music has always been a hobby for me and it's the best hobby I can imagine. For me, the other things in life like getting educated is nevertheless more important. If I think of me ten years later, I propably have long hair and I play metal and listen to metal but if I have some other profession than musician I'm happy (maybe rich) and have long hair etc. ... Maybe I have sacrificed some of my money for the equipment I have but money always comes back, hopefully.

Most of you are still studing in the University, from what I have seen in your site. Where do you find the time needed for rehearsing?

That's not hard because if we all study from 8 am to 4 pm we have plenty of time to rehearse in the evenings. There is also weekends and if we are not drunk we rehearse.

What are your next moves after the release of your latest album?

We are going to play some gigs here in Finland at first and try to get Kalmah to some of the summer shows here in Finland. A tour would be great too!

What made you change your name from Ancestor to Kalmah and what does Kalmah mean?

Ancestor didn't bring us the recording deal, so we decided to clear the table and begin again.

Kalmah is a word from Karelian dialect. It means to the death or to the grave. Karelian dialect is fading language spoken by people who live in Karelian area. It belonged to Finland before the second World War but now it's part of Russia.

Is there anything you would like to say to your fans out there? (I am one for sure!!!)

I hope You like our new album! Visit our web pages at and sing our guestbook or forum. Hope we'll see on tour some day!

Thank you very much and we would love to see you perform live soon (hopefully all over Europe). We wish you all the best!!!
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