von Marko Jakob
Pix666: Hello Annika. Thanks for your time. How are you doing these days, how are the other guys of Her Alone?
Annika: Hello! Thanks for having me. I started my music pedagogy studies couple of weeks ago, so I’m currently surrounded by a lot of music. Jesse and Jyri are both doing well and Iiro is busy preparing our next single for mixing and mastering.
Pix666: Please introduce your band to the readers in a few short sentences. How did you meet and what was your inspiration to become a musician? What kind of music does Her Alone make?
Annika: Her Alone is a symphonic metal band hailing from Joensuu, Finland. Her Alone combines ear-catching melodies with heavy guitars accompanied by colorful orchestrations and powerful singing. Iiro and I met in 2015 when we started studying at the same school. We got an idea to form a band and at some point started searching for the other members by ads. That’s how we found Jyri and Jesse.
As a child I actually said that I don’t want to become a singer since they tend die young, but later during the secondary school I started playing guitar and singing in the schools music club with zero experience. Since then my passion for music has been unquestionable.
Pix666: You’ve been on the road with Her Alone for a few years now. What have been the best experiences and milestones so far?
Annika: It has been journey to remember from our first gigs to the last recording session. Best experiences have been seeing people enjoy our singing and playing. It’s the most awesome feeling to see you have succeeded in bringing joy to someone’s life. Of course recording and releasing our first single was a huge step for us too.
Pix666: Some months ago your single ‘Into the night‘ was released. How were the fans’ reactions?
Annika: Reactions have been mostly positive and it was nice to notice that so many people with various backgrounds seem to like our style.
Pix666: Were you allowed to play some live shows at the time of the single release or later in the summer?
Annika: We played one gig in May and after that we had six gigs in July and again one in August. Since early 2020, the pandemic has made booking really hard, and due to many uncertainties places are really hesitant to take a no name band like us to perform, so we were blessed to get our July as full as it was. Booking got more uncertain again after that, so we decided to take a little break since we have a new single coming.
Pix666: Please describe the feeling of finally being back on stage.
Annika: I had felt longing to sing for people and it was so amazing to finally be able to do that. Whilst on stage, you can just forget everything and travel into the worlds of the songs.
Pix666: When you release a new single, usually an album isn’t far away. Is there anything in the works that you can already reveal?
Annika: We are releasing our second single ”The Last Rays of the Sun” soon. We have planned more after that, but at this time it’s too early to tell.
Pix666: Where do you get the ideas for your songs, which topics do you mainly deal with?
Annika: So far Iiro has been responsible for making the lyrics and compositions for our band. ”Into the Night” and ”The Last Rays of the Sun” both draw their inspiration from basic human emotions as well as nature. Iiro wants the listeners to form their own interpretations of the lyrics, so it’s up to you to figure out what they mean to you, there’s no wrong answer. He hasn’t actually told any of us what they mean to him, he finds it amusing to keep us quessing..
As for myself; I have created my own stories from the lyrics Iiro has written, so they become more personal for me. When I am writing my own songs, it usually starts from the emotion I am feeling or some idea I feel passionate about. Nature, animals, love and difficulties in one’s life are some topics I write about.
Pix666: How do you generally create your songs? Is there a certain plan? Who in the band is responsible for what?
Annika: With his songs Iiro has a clear vision what the songs should be and he lays out all the rough guitars, drums, vocals, synths and orchestrations, so the demos have been pretty much a done deal. He may need to ask some specific questions about my vocal range or if we need to change the key etc.
During vocal production he’s open for my ideas and visions regarding the vocal interpretation. Same goes for drums and bass of course, it’s all about serving the song. He’s also been in charge of producing and recording in our studio sessions at Finnvox.
Some time in the future, we’d love to do some proper arrangement sessions where we could play the songs together to see what works and pitch each other ideas. But due to geographic limitations, as well as our work and studies, it’s pretty much out of the question for the time being. We simply can’t just drop everything and lock ourselves to a rehearsal space 10 hours a day for a month to work on the arrangements. Bringing in that extra step from the demo to the final recording could be really beneficial, but so far things have worked out fine.
Pix666: Social media and music streaming are both a blessing and a curse for bands. From your point of view, what are the advantages and disadvantages of this development for your band. How much do Her Alone use social media and where are you represented?
Annika: It has never been easier to get your music to be heard, but at the same time, when CD’s are not selling we are dependend on our gigs and other forms of merchandise. On the other hand, streaming royalties are so small that for a small band like us, they don’t come close to covering all the costs associated with a release like recoding, mixing and mastering, let alone provide a minimum wage when the rest are split between four individuals.
We have an artist fundraiser at our Spotify if you want to help. You can also buy our merch from Unomas.fi/heralone, they ship worldwide. Our single can be purchased from Bandcamp or iTunes. Her Alone uses social media quite actively, mostly Facebook and Instagram.
Pix666: Last year you covered the Nightwish hit ‘Sleeping Sun’. Why did you choose this song and are there more songs that you have covered?
Annika: Nightwish is of course a huge influence for us since we all have been growing up while listening to them, I was actually born the year they were founded. ‘Sleeping Sun’ is meaningful for me and I’ve been listening and singing it for so many years and in so many places, that it was a natural choice for us to cover. Back then I also had a more classical singing style so that is one of the reasons too. Nowadays I’m working on my chest voice, so the classical singing is more of an special effect. We also have a live version of Epica’s ‘Storm the Sorrow’ on our YouTube channel.
Pix666: With a cover version, you can of course get a lot of negative criticism. I hope it was different for you – tell me what the feedback was like?
Annika: I think there was some comparison between the original and our version, but the feedback was mostly very heartwarming. While we’re playing ‘Sleeping Sun’ at our gigs I usually see a lot of smiling faces.
Pix666: As a musician, you certainly spend most of your time creating music – but what else do you do in your free time when you want to get your mind off things – are there any interesting hobbies that you pursue?
Annika: I have been horse riding since I was 8-years-old, so I spend a lot of time with horses. Nowadays I also swim almost every day. Drawing and handcrafting are things I hold dear, but I don’t do them too often. And not to forget, I am also taking care of my angora rabbits Rölli and Kuura.
Pix666: Do you have any other news, that you would like to share with the fans?
Annika: You can follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay tuned on our next single called ”The Last Rays of the Sun”. It’s going to be heavy!
Pix666: Thank you very much for the interesting answers – Good luck with the new songs and stay healthy!!!
photos © Miro Jokinen, Karoliina Inkilä & Her Alone