QUICKIE OF THE WEEK: A short interview with Antti Honka (Khroma)

written by Marko Jakob

Pix666: Hey Antti. Thanks for your time. How are you doing these days, are you alive and well? How are the other guys of Khroma?

Antti: Hi Marko, thanks for having me. I’m doing very well, enjoying the summer, and conducting occasionally little trips from Helsinki to northern Finland to meet my old friends and relatives; I think some people would see the certain action as a summer vacation or something. Also, Mikko, Riku, Teemu, and Olli (as our sound tech.) are doing splendidly, we just gathered about a week ago to plotting some future Khroma business, and it was lovely.

Pix666: Please introduce your band to the readers in a few short sentences. How did you get to know each other as a band?

Antti: I’ll try to make it briefly… Well yeah, Khroma was born around 2010, since then I have been very close with Mikko (guitar) and Riku (vocals). Teemu (bass) joined Khroma recently, but we’ve also known each other for a very long time. Also, our former members: Maarik, Janne, and Joni are dear friends and their parts in the story have left a huge effect on the essence of Khroma.

Pix666: You play a mix of different styles. …is that also because you as band members maybe like totally different music?

Antti: If I roughly break our musical concept down, we have quite solid and repetitive fundamentals in our sound, such as cinematic machines, low-tuned guitars, loud drums, and a couple of different vocal styles. This framework sort of dictates the concept, to where our favourite styles in riffs, beats, and vocals are adapting. It’s quite interesting and inspiring how all the different elements – doesn’t matter how weird ideas they have been – are sometimes making their way to represent the core element of the song, e.g., a fast drum ‘n’ bass beat, played with acoustic drums and low tuned guitar, hitting the beats in atypical rhythms. As musicians, we also share a great number of musical preferences, which are sometimes influenced by other art forms such as films or other audio-visual art.

Pix666: What was your inspiration to become a musician in general? What are your personal favourite drummers?

Antti: Oh well, I remember that drums were the first instrument that I could really play like 30 years ago. My big sister’s boyfriend showed me a couple of things with a drum set and I learned the basics immediately after the first try. At the age of 12 or something… My first band was called ‘Krapula’ (meaning hangover in English) even though I haven’t experienced such a condition yet back then. And of course, as I lived in a very small town in the countryside in my early teenage, there wasn’t much to do except to play hockey and hang out in the basement with friends, playing punk. So, to becoming a musician was more likely than becoming a hockey player.

There are many drummers I listen to with a keen ear but if I just drop a couple of names, the list would be following: Matthew McDonough (Mudvayne), John Dolmayan (System of a Down), Brann Dailor (Mastodon), and Chris Pennie (The Dillinger Escape Plan).

Pix666:  You’ve been on the road with Khroma for over ten years now. What have been your best experiences and adventures with the band so far?

Antti: Yeah, that’s right, over ten years on the road behind, and hopefully at least another ten ahead. For me, it’s always wonderful time to travel with the boys and play shows, mainly all over the Europe. The weirdest experience for sure was a three-day trip to Tokyo to play one showcase gig. I mean the city is of course awesome and so but counting in the condition of jetlag and first-time experience visiting in Tokyo, you know, it just was a very unusual setup to play a Khroma show. Of course, I must mention that the show was epic, and the crowd was even more epic – we loved every second onstage.

Pix666: You released your new song ‚Tread Light some days ago. How were the fans’ reactions to the song and the video?

Antti: Yeah, I think it’s been quite good so far with the release. In my opinion, Tread Light represents very important aspect to what Khroma is capable, and I hope the song can be played not only the metalheads’ playlist but other alternative sound listeners, too. The video has reached a normal number of views so far in Khroma’s scale, and I think it’s visually interesting enough to find its own audience.

Pix666: Now your new, third album ‚Ex Nihilo‘ will be released soon. What can fans expect. When exactly will the album be released, and can it already be pre-ordered somewhere?

Antti: ‘Ex Nihilo’ will be an energic and multidimensional soundtrack of Khroma’s audio visual universe. There will be familiar elements such as cinematic atmosphere in machines, different styles in rhythms, a lot of rap vocals (not forgetting the screaming though), and great live bangers for future shows to play.

The release date for Ex Nihilo will be 10.9.2021, and it can be preordered in our label’s webshop: https://www.inverse.fi/shop/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=941

Pix666: Were you able to play at least a few concerts last year, or did everything have to be cancelled? Have you already made new tour plans – are there already new tour dates or festival dates?

Antti: If I remember right, we played two shows at the beginning of the year; there were two Finnish dates to share the stage with 3Teeth: Helsinki and Tampere.

Now, the latest info is that we’re going to be onstage next time on August 14th at the festival called North of Hell Festival in Oulu, Finland. That’s quite cool because that’s the city in Northern Finland where I’m from. The last time I’ve played there was something like ten years ago.

Pix666: I saw you live in Hamburg at the end of 2019. That was a fantastic, energetic show. At least one of you guys shouted some words in German into the audience. Did you pick that up on tour, or do you have another relationship with Germany?

Antti: Thank you very much, and cool that you came to see our show. The German speaker onstage would be our guitarist Mikko, he is always very keen to communicate with the German audience when the opportunity arises – Mikko and all of us naturally love Germany.

We’ve been spending time quite a bit in Berlin, all three of us: Mikko, Riku, and I. We have a strong connection to the city in many ways. In addition to many other great things to do in Berlin, we partly produced and finished our Stasis album in Berlin.

Pix666: Can you actually remember every city, every location on a long tour? Is there a location where you would definitely like to perform in the future?

Antti: To me, this is always very challenging, I usually don’t remember from which city we’re coming, or to where we’re headed next, haha. But seriously, in our last tour with Jinjer in 2019, there were numerous venues I’d love to play again someday. At our travel to back home, me and out singer Riku went through the list of the 37 tour dates and tried to remember how the venue in each city was like, and surprisingly, we remembered quite many of them.

Pix666: … another question – 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 Khroma use social media and where are you represented?

Antti: Yeah, in my opinion, the social media platforms could be very effective toolset for your band, when using it wisely in regular basis. During the Macro Tour in 2019, we had a person helping us with creating the content to Instagram and Facebook every day; the effect was very impressive, almost shocking to me – we reached thousands of people and got new followers more than we’ve got in the period what Khroma has been around in social media.

Pix666: As a musician, you surely spend most of your time creating music – but what else do you do in your free time when you want to distract yourself – are there any interesting hobbies you pursue?

Antti: Yes, couple of things, what I’ve found very important in my life. I’m also a graphic designer, and I practise visual music, which means generating new media by combining the graphic and sonic art. Actually, you can find the impact of the visual music from Khroma’s music videos. And another area, which I’m concerned in very passionate way is acting. I found the art form at quite late of an age, something about four years ago, when I was 36. I’ve played a number of minor roles in TV and film. I also educate myself for the profession by taking acting classes, occasionally.

Pix666: How did the Midsummer parties in Finland go this year? Were there any restrictions caused by Corona, was the weather good, did the beer taste good?

Antti: Oh, the midsummer party was excellent. I have a tradition to travel to my old hometown in North and spend the midsummer time with my very old friend. Last year there were restrictions, all bars were closed etc., but this year, all the bars were very open. The alcohol tasted nice but the status of being in such a place – with no mask on my face – made me feel a bit nervous; though the bar had very good safety clearance, but still I felt a bit uncomfortable.

Pix666: Do you have any other news about your band that you would like to share with the fans?

Antti: We’ve just finished the production of shooting our next music video and the post-production is already in progress. The new single will be released in autumn, just before the new album hits in September. So, people, stay tuned for further announcements for the release date.

Pix666: Thank you very much for the interesting answers – Good luck and stay healthy!!!




photos © by Janne Koski