Interviewed by Heili, Kaheli and Narri
Questions answered by Lari Sorvo
Who would you consider to be the ‘papa/mama’ of the band? Why is this?
I don’t think we have a single papa or mama in the band. We’re a really tightly knit group of people. Everyone have their own personal qualities that contribute to the overall atmosphere in the band.
Some bands have different tastes than they show on stage or within the music they’re playing, does your band’s presence reflect your personal taste?
To me personally, yes. Or at least partially. Everyone in the band has a very broad musical taste, from the cheesiest pop to some really hardcore stuff. I think it’s important to incorporate influences from many different directions, but you need to be careful not to overdo it. I know that all of our members like to play the music of Shear, but that doesn’t mean they don’t like other kinds of music as well.
Any plans to release a full length album in the future? If so, what can one expect to find on the album?
I’m pretty sure that the next release of Shear will be a full-length album. It’s hard to tell exactly what to expect since all the material hasn’t been written yet, but it will definitely bring even more interesting and diverse material than the EP. However, if you liked the ‘In Solitude’ EP, you’ll definitely like the new unreleased stuff too.
What makes Shear different from other female-fronted bands?
I think a lot of the female-fronted metal bands have a very theatrical approach to performing. The lead vocalist plays the lead part of the ‘play’ and the instrumentalist just work as a background band. There is nothing wrong with this actually, but it’s not what we want to do with our band.
We work together as a rock band where everyone plays an equal part of the performance. No need for anyone to hold back, just play and sing energetically.
On your first EP, ‘In Solitude’, how did you come to choose that name and is there any particular signficance to the title?
The name for the EP was chosen because ‘In Solitude’ was picked as the first track for the EP. The song is a good introduction to the rest of the material on the EP.
Is there a single storyline to ‘In Solitude’ or is it just lyrics/music that have been polished to create separate stories within the EP?
There is not a single storyline on the EP, every track is a unique entity. Every song has its own theme, both musically and lyrically. However, there is still relevance between the songs since they have been composed and written by the same group of people.
Who writes the music and lyrics for the band? Is it just one or two of you or do you all work together in the creative process? Also, what part comes first: the lyrics or the music?
The music is usually written by me or Mikael. We show the band a rough demo version of a song and then we arrange it together. When the song is ready, everyone has been a part of the creative process. We actually have many band members capable of writing songs. For instance, ‘Mistakes’ on the EP has been written by Lauri.
The lyrics are written by me and Alexa. I personally write the lyrics apart from the music, so the lyrics might be written before or after the music has been composed.
How do you feel about metal being the ‘in fashion’ genre at the moment? Do you consider metal to be the ultimate fashion statement for music?
Actually I don’t think metal is ‘in fashion’ right now. There are far too many metal bands out there at the moment. Most of them are really bad, and you really seldom find a new original band. I think it’s just a matter of time when people get tired of the thousands of mediocre bands, and only a handful of the best bands survive.
At what age do you think it’s time to quit playing metal music?
There is no age to start or quit playing metal music. Metal is just as any other music genre. If you enjoy it, play it. If you don’t, don’t play it. Same goes to listening. I will keep playing as long as I find it rewarding and fun.
Do you guys have any funny, interesting or even horror studio stories you’d like to share?
Nothing worth mentioning. There are always a lot of small things that go wrong in the studio, but fortunately nothing catastrophical has happened to us.
Do you play floorball with Mikael? If so, who would you say is the most competitive?
Actually I do play with Mikael. We play together a couple of times per week. I think I’m the more competitive one.
Besides keyboards, are there any other instruments you play?
I own a guitar but I’m not very good at it. Maybe I someday find the motivation to start training harder!
Do you do mixing for other bands or do you just use your skills for Shear?
I enjoy mixing and recording a lot, so sure I use my skills whenever possible. I’m currently working on the forthcoming Ponies to Kill EP, and just finished The Nibiruan EP a month ago.
If you could have any guitar in the world, which one would you choose and why?
Quite a hard question to answer. Some time ago I was drooling after an Ibanez PS-10 just for the looks of it, but at the moment I would like an Explorer. I like the neck and fingerboard on the Ibanez PGM-300, so maybe some sort of custom made mix of the guitars mentioned earlier would be the perfect guitar for me.
You quote that sleeping is an important part of your daily life, do you dream in color or black & white?
Hmm, most of the time I just can’t remember my dreams but the times I do, I remember dreaming in full HD.
How many guitars do you currently own and which is your favorite to use?
I own only three guitars at the moment, two PRSs and one Gibson Explorer. My favorite is a black PRS CE-24 I bought second hand, it just has it all – great sound, fantastic playability and groovy looks. The other PRS I have is also amazing – it’s definitely the most beautiful guitar I’ve ever seen anywhere.
Who are you currently studying for literature? Is there a particular era or style that you prefer above the others?
I’m currently writing my master’s thesis on W.B. Yeats. I wouldn’t say that I have one favorite style above the others – I mostly concentrate on single works as stand-alone works of art rather than on specific authors or genres. When I’m doing reading by myself, I’m mostly reading modern and post-modern stuff or I might read through some classics that I haven’t had read yet. Just bought Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” a few days back so that’ll be my next read when I have the time.
Besides Shear, what other side projects are you currently involved in?
I’m playing in a band called “The Nibiruan” (http://www.myspace.com/thenibiruan / http://www.thenibiruan.com) and doing some occasional gigging as a session guy for different groups.
Do you find it hard sometimes to be the only female in the band?
Not at all! I like it. We have a lot of fun together, but everyone gets their job done, without involving any drama. I’ve never been a very girly girl, so we’re pretty much on the same level when it comes to humour and all in all “behavior”.
When you tell people that you front a metal band, do they believe you at first?
Some people are very suspicious about it, but these people don’t know me. And some of those who know me think that because I have a history with classical music, I probably sing opera in a metal band, like Tarja Turunen did in Nightwish. I usually try to explain that it’s not at all like it.
Is there any one particular female vocalist who has had the biggest influence on your life both personally and professionally? If so, which one?
Female? Not really. But there are a few good female vocalists that I like. For example Christina Aguilera, it’s just sick how good she is! She could sing pretty much anything, but I’m not too crazy about the music she sings, as a genre. And if I have to mention a metal singer (female), then it would probably be Floor Jansen. She’s good!