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Pete Ahonen (Ghost Machinery)

Interview with Pete Ahonen from Ghost Machinery
by Grigoris Chronis at 25 November 2010, 10:11 PM

GHOST MACHINERY released their second full length album and made quite an impression to METAL TEMPLE. So, it was a matter of time to get in contact with the band and request an interview to learn more about this band. One of the band’s axemen Pete Ahonen responded to the questions as follows…

Hello Pete, thanx for taking the time to answer to our questions!
Hello to you too and the pleasure is all mine!

Having not listened to the band’s “Haunting Remains” debut, I admit I was left speechless with the quality in your latest “Out For Blood” release. Still, let’s start with some typical but important information for our readers. Would you briefly introduce the band and tell us how did you manage to gather such an excellent team of musicians surrounding you? You do not see such musicianship every day!
Taage Laiho - vocals, Jussi Ontero - drums & keys, Mikko Myllylä - guitars, Sammy Nyman - bass and me on guitars. Jussi is one of the original members, also Mikko has been with us almost from the start, but now he’s a fulltime member. Taage was the first choice when I was thinking about the new singer and fortunately he was very interested to join us. Sammy was a singer & bassist in a cover band playing Rock classics night after night and I basically saved him from that, hah hah! So, I am surrounded by hugely talented musicians, yes!

Many bands – due to lineup changes, lack of inspiration for songwriting or other external factors – do not succeed in preserving the band’s spirit even if they have to wait for 4-5 years between the making of two albums. What was the driving force for you to decide GHOST MACHINERY should keep making music?
Well, basically we never decided not to make music! All of the “Out For Blood” songs were ready before the debut hit the stores in 2004, so the plan was pretty clear, we just had to wait for the right time!

Would you consider GHOST MACHINERY a ‘side’ band, since it seems you’re quite occupied with BURNING POINT, too?
No! It started as a “side band” or whatever, but it was clear very soon that this going to be a band and not a project etc. And yes, busy with BURNING POINT but as well with my “new” band STARGAZERY, whose debut will be released, I think, in January 2011. So, lots to do, but I love it!

On with “Out For Blood”: this is an excellent Heavy Metal album, powerful and easy to swallow but not even close to ‘typical’. And imagine we’re talking about a genre where everything seems to have been played by now. The music is great, the lyrics are impressive and the vocals are a blast. Did you foresee this coming from the beginning of the rehearsing sessions, or it took a lot of time and work to have the desired result?
Thanks for the nice comments for starters! Yes, I do ‘hear’ how it supposed to sound or it will sound when it’s finished…but then again, it’s always so much more \[than] what I thought it would be! Nice surprises with a ‘wow’ effect!

Were there times you thought you’d not achieve laying down what exactly you had in mind for this album? If yes, how did you unblock such an issue?
No, as I said earlier the songs sound soooo much better at the end than I never would’ve imagined.

Compared to your works with BURNING POINT, “Out For Blood” shows a more melodic approach. Should we assume you’re also into enough of melodic Rock/AOR stuff? I do know how to explain it, but apart from the classic Metal references bands like e.g. BROTHER FIRETRIBE or EUROPE popped into my mind. And we should not forget your take on BLACKFOOT’s “Send Me An Angel” classic, too!
Nice that you noticed! This was one of the key points to form another band, I wanted a “channel” that I can represent my AOR side of songwriting. EUROPE, JOURNEY, TOTO, FOREIGNER etc, great stuff! The “Siogo” album is one of my all time favourites from the 80’s, everyone should get that album!

Really, who handled the production and mix for this album? Needless to say, the sound in the CD is kicking ass!
Our drummer Jussi handled the mixing and yes, it definitively sounds awesome! We all are very happy with the production! To me it sounds much more dynamic than most of the albums nowadays.

How many songs were demo’d for this album? Was it hard enough to pick and choose the songlist? Are you generally working by majority vote or you mainly speak for all?
We basically didn’t record any demos, if you don’t count the one which I sang, and we only had those 11 songs. And we wanted all of them to be included on the album.

You believe it will be a pain in the ass to determine which songs to play live, with so many great songs from this album alone? Really, are there any touring plans as we speak?
Yes, that’s why we rehearsed all of them! We have 16 songs in total and we’ve played all of them live! Few gigs at the end of this year, but hopefully our booking agency are working their asses off to get huge amount of gigs to us next year!

Are you any worried that an established band might not want GHOST MACHINERY opening for them and showing them up? This seems to have happened sometimes in the past e.g. to KISS, when some headlining act got so jealous of KISS they turned off their power!
Hah hah, I’ve never thought of that! But sure, I can see the picture, ha haha!

Another typical question: what bands have influenced you the most? Both as a fan and a musician.
80’s bands in general: ACCEPT, JUDAS PRIEST, IRON MAIDEN, HELLOWEEN, QUEENSRYCHE etc, plus I listened a lots of not so known German bands like TRANCE, STORMWITCH, ZED YAGO, RESTLESS etc

All songs in “Ghost Machinery” have a radio-friendly duration. Have you thought, so far, writing something lasting for e.g. 8-10 minutes? You know like the way some long ‘epic’ songs were last in the tracklist of Metal albums in the 80s (things were even ‘larger’ in the 70s, haha). Do you aim to the directness of three of four-minute numbers to preserve the listener’s attention or it’s something that just happens naturally?
I’ve written some songs to BURNING POINT: “Salvation By Fire”, “Feeding The Flames”, “Burned Down The Enemy” etc. and I do love those epic songs, but I never think what type of song I will write next. What comes, comes very naturally!

Really, what has happened with the Scandinavian countries and don’t let go but keep ‘exporting’ great bands and albums the last 10+ years? Or maybe it was always this way but we, in the rest of Europe/world, did not have the chance to check them out? I can remember it took me years to discover influential and great bands from Finland (like e.g. HANOI ROCKS, OZ or TAROT) since Metal printed mags rarely mentioned something…
I think that Finnish labels or whoever was responsible didn’t have the knowledge etc \[on] how to promote the bands outside Finland. I mean in the past, but I think now it’s much more in the professional level.

Pete, thanx a lot for your time. Feel free to add anything you like. We really hope we won’t have to wait for another 5-6 years for another GHOST MACHINERY release!
Thank you for doing this interview, great questions indeed! Also thanks to all of our fans out there for the support! And remember, buy the album, do not download it illegally! It will kill the music! New album is on the \[works] already so no worries, it will be released next year!


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Edited 04 December 2022

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