Interview By Kimmo Tattari / June 2015
After a strong decade in the noughties, highlighted by the finnish chart topping position with 2006’s Mimic47 -album, finnish metal machine Diablo has been stirring from its slumber and putting finishing touches to a new album and plans for live gigs are in the schedule. Steel Mill spoke with band’s bass player Aadolf Virtanen who coincidentially happens to own one of the coolest looking musical instruments in the world!
It’s been a while since the latest Diablo album, Icaros, which was released in 2008. What has happened in the Diablo camp during the past years?
Well, everybody has been doing their own things… Our drummer, Heikki Malmberg, has concentrated on his studio work as well as teaching drumming. Both guitarists, Rainer Nygård and Marko Utriainen, besides their work and family activities, have written most of the material for the upcoming new album. And I have been pretty much involved in playing live. There’s been enough interesting, and sometimes challenging, bassduties available. It’s been basically everything from pop to brutal metal. It keeps you flexible and open for new things.
So, the new album is almost done now?
The songs are finished, but the lyrics still need some trimming. We should be finished with the album during this summer.
What kind of material should we expect this time?
More of everything! More melodies, more aggressiveness, more technical skill. The new material is very strong, although it’s also more challenging for the musicians and also for the listeners. There ain’t gonna be plain ballads included this time!
How about the touring plans?
It’s a bit too early to say, really. In Finland there are some plans made for the next autumn, but we’re really looking forward to going abroad, as well. With this new material, we are confident enough to go on the road again.
You are known as a huge fan of Judas Priest. How did it start?
It started during the MTV era, somewhere between 1984-86. I saw their videos and heard the band from the c-cassettes I borrowed from my friends. So, it’s some 30 years of Priest digging behind me now.
I was a huge fan from the start, but when Rob came back in 2003, it really made things more serious. Then I realised that Judas Priest is a band whose career, production and ‘getting older’ should be monitored closely through the fan’s binoculars, to the end…
A while ago you got a very interesting birthday present…
Yes, that’s a one string fretless bass guitar made in a Judas Priest style! My good friend, boatwright Jari Kareinen from Joensuu, handmade it for me as a 40th birthday present. Absolutely stunning workmanship with all its design and painting! The body is basically a huge JP-logo, and the good old Judas Priest fork has found its place at the end of the neck. And in addition to these details it’s a fine fully functioning bass guitar.
How does this bass work with Priest’s material?
So far I have tried Turbo Lover only. It worked fine after some practising. Reckless from the same album might be cool also. Have to try that one! Breaking the Law is simple enough for one string…
What is your personal favourite album and song from Judas Priest?
It must be Painkiller from 1990. Its perfectness and stunning energy never stops to amaze me. I’m not sure what really happened to the band during that period. Changing the drummer doesn’t explain
everything. It’s perfectly clear that an eruption like that won’t happen twice. My favourite song is Between the Hammer and the Anvil from that same album.
The much criticised theme album Nostradamus comes also very high in my personal ranking, although it seems to be overlooked by many.
What do you think about the latest Priest release, Redeemer of Souls?
I liked it a lot, but it wasn’t a surprise, really. I expected a decent album, but was also prepared for a letdown. Redeemer is a versatile album with all the familiar Priest elements. You can’t hardly notice the absence of K.K.
There are a couple of songs that might be a bit mediocre, but then, on the other hand, the stuff on the bonus disc is absolutely stunning. I’ve included some of those on my personal playlist, and here we go again, close to perfectness!
Thank you Aadolf. If you have something in mind, now it’s your chance to ask K.K. Downing a question!
Mr Downing, I know it’s hard to mention just a few favourites from your huge catalogue, but could you pick a song or two that makes you proud, and you still enjoy to play?
K.K. Downing: Hi Aadolf, always very difficult to say, but I still love all the Nostradamus album. I quess it did get somewhat repetitive to always play Victim, Another Thing, Living etc.
I think it would have been great to play Call for the Priest again, also Before the Dawn would
have been good… and One Shot at Glory, but then I suppose there are many I could choose.
Good luck to you Aadolf! Regards K.K.
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