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Tuomas Heikkinen (Leverage)

Interview with Tuomas Heikkinen from Leverage
by Yiannis Zervos at 26 April 2008, 6:16 PM

LEVERAGE is a band that made quite a noise on the European Hard Rock with their first album Tides. Their second album Blind Fire is coming to establish LEVERAGE as the upcoming force among Finland's great bands. The mastermind and songwriter of the band, Tuomas Heikkinen, speaks to Metal Temple about LEVERAGE's secret of success.

Tuomas, thank you for taking the time to answer to our questions.

Thanks for having us!

You made a big success with your first studio effort; Tides won awards for Best Rock Album and made the LEVERAGE name known outside Finland. Did this sudden success scare you or you expected something like that?

We didn’t know what to expect. All the good feedback felt good, of course.

Many times when bands have such an enthusiastic debut, usually they do not continue with the same passion. You had that thought in the back of your heads for your second album?

Absolutely not. We got the band going with Tides and we were very motivated to as good a follow-up as possible.

I could understand from listening to Blind Fire that you were really careful and that you worked really hard to put out your second album. How much time did it take you to record and mix Blind Fire?

We started recording in the beginning of last July and were done with the mixing by halfway September.

Obviously the strong point in your music is the melodic lines and Hard Rock harmonies. From the songwriting point of view, there is only one man that puts together the songs or is it a team effort?

I wrote all the songs on Tides’ original version and 8 out of 10 for Blind Fire, plus I’ve written all our lyrics. In that sense I am responsible for a lot of the noise you hear, but on the other hand we’ve grown together as a band and even at the home demo stage I have a fairly good picture of how the guys most probably will want to play their parts. I’d say the demos were about 90% there, and the rest was some tweaking here and there. But Torsti wrote 2 fine songs for the new one, and I expect us to write more and more together as a band in the future.

What are the main differences between Tides and Blind Fire in your opinion?

Blind Fire is darker and heavier, and there’s plenty more happening in the actual playing side. I feel like Tides was the best we could come up with, back then, and I feel the same way with Blind Fire.

I think that your music style brings the old-school Hard Rock of RAINBOW to our present. Do you agree? What other bands influenced LEVERAGE’s music and sound?  

RAINBOW and Blackmore especially has been a huge influence for me, but I’ve listened to many types of mainly guitar-driven Rock throughout the years. We share common ground with the guys in the band, but Pekka Heino is maybe a bit more AOR-oriented, Torsti is an Yngwie freak, Lampinen plays anything and Valtteri and Marko come from a heavy school of Prog Metal.

Lately many Finish bands make their way to the European Hard Rock and Metal scene. You believe that a Finish or Scandinavian Rock School could come out? What is your opinion for the other bands from Finland?

There are many pretty damn good bands in Finland, especially on the more power metal side, for example, STRATOVARIUS and CHILDREN OF BODOM have led the way for Finnish bands to get some attention.

From all the music that comes out of Finland and the Scandinavian countries in general, I can distinguish wonderful melodies not even in Hard Rock but to Black and Death Metal bands, also. Where do you think this passion for melody comes from? Music seems to be basic knowledge for children in Finland. Finnish kids grow up with musical instruments or something?

I think certain type of minor melodies are fed to us in the mother’s milk, and maybe the Heavy Metal style of Rock just fits our mood here. You know, with cold, snow, months of darkness and so on…Plus there really is a big boom going with kids wanting to learn to play, it’s been like that already for some time.

How do you feel about people that download your music from the Internet instead of buying your CDs? You think Internet and downloading is a way to increase your popularity by making your music accessible to more people? Or you think that your work is been stolen in a way?

It is very two-sided, I think you nailed the issue, and we wouldn’t for example be doing this interview without the Internet, but illegal downloading really is robbery, the whole works of artists should not be available like they are. It literally kills less known bands, that would need every cent from the record sales to convince the record companies to prolong their contracts and, with that, their recording career.

How far do you think that LEVERAGE can go? What are your dreams and your plans for the band in the near future?

It’s impossible to tell where this thing will go, we’ll just keep pushing to do our best. In the near future that is mostly just about kicking ass live. In many ways, the two albums we’ve been lucky to get to make is a dream come true already.

I can see that you have some Finnish dates booked already ’till March. You have any plans for summer concerts in the big European festivals?

That is a long shot, we need to get connected to get worthwhile chances to play abroad. Hopefully sooner than later.

You have anything that you want to add or to say, to our readers?

Thanks for the support! Keep rocking!

Thank you for your time.

Thank you.


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