written by Marko Jakob
Pix666: Hello Kate. Thanks for your time. How are you doing these days?
Kate: Thank you for chatting with me! I’m doing very well, I’m just now coming back from a few weeks of downtime and regaining my energies for this year’s spring and summer projects. It’s been a very intense time both physically and emotionally in the last few months, with the release of my first solo album!
Pix666: You already started your solo career in 2016 and released your debut album at the end of last year. How were the reactions to ‘Compass To Your Heart’s Desire’ and how satisfied are you with it?
Kate: The responses that I’ve had to Compass have been nothing short of incredible! This far I think the main complaint that people have had is that the album wasn’t longer! I originally wrote the songs as a bit of an experiment because I wanted to see if it would be possible to combine my three favourite music genres: classical, folk, and metal music. It ended up working really well for me, and I’m very happy that the experience with my music has been so positive for other people as well!
Pix666: What other experiences have you had as a musician?
Kate: I’ve done a lot of different things over the years, I started out as a classical piano student, then I moved on to singing opera, then Irish folk music, then I was a doom metal keyboard player for a while… The list goes on!
Right now apart from my activities as a recording symphonic metal artist, I’m collaborating with the prog power band Noveria as their lyricist and also with a traditional music band called The Shire from Rome.
Pix666: Do you have any musical idols or role models? Are there maybe even musicians who inspired you to become a musician yourself?
Kate: As my first musical role model I must tell you about my brother Frans, who was playing guitar every day as far as I can remember! He went from playing rock and metal music to writing in a very cool style of contemporary electronic pop, while I ended up doing the exact opposite and going for heavier sounds. But the pivotal moment for me was when a friend of mine lent me her copy of ‘Oceanborn’ by Nightwish. When I heard that mix of distorted guitars, orchestra and soaring vocals, I knew that was something I wanted to do as well and that’s what got me started with the classical vocals!
Pix666: You grew up in Finland and now you live in Italy. Who or what brought you so far south?
Kate: The move to Italy came about as the result of a twist of fate really – My brother was playing in a rock band and I met their new guitar player all the way from Italy. Eventually the band didn’t work out, but we did, and when he had a business opportunity back in Italy we moved here together. Fifteen years later, we’re still partners in crime!
Pix666: Regarding the lyrics of your songs, are you more connected to Nordic themes? What are your songs about?
Kate: The songs on my debut album are the best I’ve written over the years as I’ve been learning the art of composition and songwriting. Most of the stories in the lyrics for my own music stem from personal experience, because I use writing as a way of trying to understand the world and how people work.
Of course since I’m a fan of folktales and fantasy literature, especially the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, my writings tend to take on a bit of a fantastical vibe even when I’m describing seemingly mundane situations – for example, the song ‘Breathe In The Night’ is about watching the stars from your front porch. I believe life is a lot more interesting when you find the magic in the small things!
In a few songs on the album, like ‘Dance Of The Fairies’, I’m also revisiting folktales and medieval stories, and that’s something you’re going to see a lot more of in my future works!
Pix666: How did the songs come about – did you write and produce the album yourself or was it teamwork?
Kate: I wrote all the songs on my own, it felt quite freeing to explore the songs from the beginning to the end. Writing and arranging the orchestra was the most fun part because it allowed for unleashing the music nerd in me!
For guitar, bass and drums I called the best metal musicians I know; my colleagues from Noveria! I was also very lucky to have a special guest appearance on my album with Timo Tolkki, the founder of Stratovarius and one of my favorite composers in the power metal genre. You’ll hear a smoldering guitar solo duel between Timo and Francesco Mattei from Noveria on the song “Wither And Rust”!
Of course it’s impossible to talk about the creation of the album without mentioning the beautiful sound production made by Simone Mularoni at Domination Studio, his work definitely took the whole record to a different level!
Pix666: Will we see you on stage soon with a live band – are there already concerts or a tour planned?
Kate: I see myself more as a recording artist for the time being – I’ve recently started a recording studio in the middle of a medieval town in Italy so I’m quite busy getting that project up and running. But I won’t rule out the possibility of playing live shows entirely!
I’ve never really stopped performing, since the traditional music projects I’m involved with are mostly focused on playing at live events, and it’s something I love to do. However, as a solo artist with original music it’s not as easy to coordinate! So while right now it’s not in the cards for me to play ‘Compass’ live, I’m looking forward to doing it in the future!
Pix666: Looking back on your musical career so far – what were the 3 highlights and/or the most unforgettable moments and experiences for you?
Kate: A recent favorite moment of course has been the release day of ‘Compass To Your Heart’s Desire’! Every time there’s an album release, you know there’s going to be a response, but until the album goes live and people actually hear it for the first time, you can’t know for sure what the response is going to be.
The coolest live performance I’ve had this far was a special guest appearance with Noveria at the Z7 venue in Switzerland where they were co-headlining with Evergrey! It was by far the most important stage I’ve set foot on in my career, the organization and the crew were incredibly efficient and professional, and seeing people singing along to the songs I helped to create was an incredible feeling!
Also having such a legendary musician as Timo Tolkki as a guest on my record was something very special for me!
Pix666: Kate, what do you do when you are not busy with music – are there some interesting hobbies?
Kate: In my free time I love to read a good book over a cup of tea and spend some time with my cats! I like to have a simple, down to the earth life where I can stay grounded and in touch with nature. It helps to recharge my batteries in between projects!
Pix666: Do you have any other news, that you would like to share with the fans?
Kate: I’m gearing up for making physical copies of ‘Compass To Your Heart’s Desire’ in the next future! Also since a lot of people have asked about the ‘Coffee and Folklore’ livestream that I did over the quarantine times, I’ve been thinking about how to bring it back for a third season. I’m still evaluating what would be the best way to do that! The best way to stay updated about all these projects is by joining my email list, you’ll get some nice little freebies too. 🙂
Pix666: Thank you very much for the interesting answers – Good luck for the future and stay healthy!!!
photos © by Marco Savi