QUICKIE OF THE WEEK: A short interview with Johanna Ahonen (Memoremains)

written by Marko Jakob

Pix666: Hello Johanna. Thanks for your time. How are you doing these days? How are the other guys of Memoremains?

Thank you for asking, we’re doing great! It’s kind of dark here in Finland at this time of the year but the first snow just rained so it brought a little light for our “polar night”. In recent weeks we have spent tim rehearsing for gigs and we really do hope they’ll finally come true after all postponements.

Pix666: How did you get to know each other and what kind of music does Memoremains make?

Johanna: Mikko (keys) already knew Eemeli (drums) and Aapo (bass) from some previous band projects but they hadn’t actually played together. Mikko had composed songs before forming Memoremains and asked if Eemeli and Aapo would be interested in starting a band based on those songs. Aleksi and I joined the band by responding to the application which guys had made for a website where musicians are supposed to network with each other.

We describe our music as pop metal. Our music is a mix of pop melodies, metal riffs and groovy disco beats with a hint of symphonic epicness.

Pix666: You’ve been on the road with your band for a few years now. What have been the milestones in the band’s history so far?

Johanna: I would say our European tour in 2019 and the release of our first album ‘The Cost of Greatness’. Also performing at Provinssi Festival in 2019 was an important achievement and a memorable moment to us.

Pix666: In 2020 you released your debut album. The songs from the album have over 2 million streams on Spotify. Do you like to look at such statistics and do you know where your listeners live?

Johanna: It’s an incredible amount of streams for an independent band like we are. We are truly grateful to all who have listened to us! We do look at the statistics because it’s interesting to know where all our listeners are and the numbers gives us an important feedback from our fans. We have received messages from our listeners from many different places around the world which is so cool but in addition to Finland, I think we have listeners especially in Germany, United States and Sweden.

Pix666: Now the time has already come for album number 2. Has the Covid Sitaution sped up the songwriting process?

Johanna: Yes, it has. We released our first album in autumn 2020 in the middle of “the second wave of Covid-19”. Like every other artist and band, we had to cancel our gigs and postpone all tour plans. It was of course a big disappointment but we decided that we don’t want to give up and the most sensible way to act in a middle of pandemic was to create new music.

Pix666: What can fans expect on the album – are there some differences from the first album and when will it be released?

Johanna: ‘The Cost of Greatness’ was a clear consept album. We wanted to break our previous formula with the second album so we didn’t set any restrictions on the songs – we just wanted to make great songs and see what kind of result we’re going to end up with. The album will be released in 2022.

The second album has more modern sound and electronic twist but the songs are still relatively heavy. We have taken risks and been experimental when it comes to composing. Even though, we have tried new things the album still has the ”Memoremains vibe”.

Pix666: Do you already have concerts or even a tour planned for the time around the album release?

Johanna: We’re really looking forward to perfom at Rytmikorjaamo Seinäjoki (FIN) in December 17th with such amazing Finnish bands Battle Beast and Arion. We have also planned to do a tour in Europe but right now it’s difficult to say for sure when it will happen. Hopefully, we can combine that with the release of the album.

Pix666: Let’s talk a little bit about your songs. How do you create your songs? Is there a certain plan? Who in the band is responsible for what and what themes are the lyrics of your songs about?

Johanna: Usually the process proceeds so that Mikko composes the songs and after that I write lyrics. We have no strict plan for creating music and we’re open for all ideas. Sometimes Aleksi composes and sometime I participate in composing too. The final arrangement of every song is always made by the whole band and each member of the band brings their own vision to the song.

Pix666: 2 years ago you covered a song by Madonna. I like the cover very much. Why did you choose this song and are there more songs that you have covered?

Johanna: So great to hear that you like it! J ‘Sorry’ is a song that got originally released when we were pre-teens and we remember it as a catchy dance hit. It’s such a great song but in a way also a little forgotten. We got an idea to add more rocking groove to the song and make our own version of it.

We have also made a cover of the song called ‘I Turn To You’ which is great hit by Mel C.

Pix666: How important is social media for Memoremains and on which channels can people find your band?

Johanna: In times like this when it’s hard to meet audience face to face, social media is extremely important platform to communicate with fans. By posting pictures and videos we’ll have a way to tell about the latest news of making music and what’s happening behind the scenes. I hope we’ll soon be able to see our listeners live as well.

People can find us on Instagram @memoremains and Facebook Memoremains.

Pix666: Tell me a little bit about your dreams…. In which locations or at which festivals would you like to perform and with which band(s) would you like to go on tour in the future?

Johanna: I would love to play in festivals like Wacken Open Air (Germany), Nova Rock (Austria) and Hellfest (France) and it would be awesome to go on tour with bands called Evanescence or Halestorm.

Pix666: Do you have some – typically Finnish – hobbies? Here in Central Europe they say ice swimming and sauna is a must for Finns. 😊

Johanna: Ashaimed to admit that I have never tried ice swimming. 😀 Maybe some day when I have enough courage. But sauna really is a must! I also like to bake (and eat) cinnamon buns which is a traditional Finnish pastry. We actually celebrate a national cinnamon bun day on 4th of October here in Finland but I think we have borrowed that idea from Sweden!

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

We just released a new song called ‘Not My Fault’. We would really appreciate it if you go and listen to it! More new stuff is yet to come!

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


photos © by Anssi Leppänen