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Interviews Freedomination

Interview with guitarist and vocalist Timo Ahlström and bassist Tommi Otsavaara

Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen

Date online: April 9, 2024

From the land of thousands of lakes and drunken dorks, Finland, comes a band called Freedomination, formed in 2008, who play what I would call a mix of both speed and heavy metal. They already have a decent number of smaller releases put forth from their sweaty metal cave but, practically speaking, a full-length studio album is still missing from the band's recording catalog. That situation is about to change very soon as the guys have been working hard to get their debut full-length finally finished. The album is titled Until the Lights Go Out and you can read more about this as we got the band's primus motor Timo Ahlström and bassist Tommi Otsavaara to reveal a bunch of things about the making of it among many other things as well.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is Freedomination...


Howdy! How are things in Freedomination these days? The recordings of your debut album have been keeping you somewhat busy lately, right?

Timo: Hello Luxi! Things are good in our camp. Yeah, we've been occupied with our new album. Tommi, our bass player, has been putting in some serious hours tracking and editing. But hey, good news, we've finished mixing, and now we're just waiting for the final master.

Exciting times ahead because the album is almost done! Now we need to get ourselves to the rehearsal space!

Do you still have the same band line-up as your previous Tales from the Vault EP, released in May 2016?

Timo: Nope! Only me and Jukka are in the band from that period. And now we've got Jökä Reinholm (guitars) and Tommi Otsavaara (bass and backing vocals) in the band with us. Tommi did, however, record and mix the EP and our other releases, too.

How satisfied are you with the results so far? Have you accomplished the results that you originally hoped to accomplish regarding both the songwriting process and studio work, and have you faced any setbacks while getting this album done?

Timo: Pretty stoked with what I've heard so far! Pekka "Splendid" Laine has been doing incredible work with the mixing of the album.

We've also had some setbacks. We didn't know that doing things properly meant needing to put in as much effort as it has, and we started the recordings in January 2023 with Anssi Kantola on the bass. He had to leave the band due to other commitments and time issues. When Tommi joined the band, we were able to do a lot of the recordings at his home studio, while focusing our budget on nailing the vocals and mix. We're learning. Next time we'll be wiser... or not!

In which areas would you say you have made improvements as far as how the whole unit works?

Timo: We are tighter than before and more focused on details. I think Jökä brought in a more focused mindset towards the details. I think our playing as a band has been a little bit all over the place sometimes. Yeah, I think we're a bit more focused now and trying to make the best out of the songs.


Who was responsible for writing songs for this opus?

Timo: Well, I've written the songs, but everybody contributes to arrangement and throwing in ideas so that we've been able to make the best out of these compositions. Our former bass player, Anssi, also helped with some of the arranging here and there.

Are there some bands that you would say are your strongest inspirations and/or influences on how they shaped you and your way of writing songs?

Timo: Yes, for sure! A lot of the inspiration comes from the North American and British metal bands. Heavy metal, speed metal, thrash metal, some progressive metal and some punk rock. I guess you'll hear bands like Annihilator, Megadeth, Anthrax, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and the list goes on.

What can you tell us about the songs on this album? Are they more in one certain style of metal, i.e., speed metal, heavy metal, etc. or, a mixture of many styles?

Timo: OK, well, yeah, I guess we're mixing heavy metal and speed metal on this album mostly. I think it's got a pretty wide range of different kinds of songs but it's all metal for sure!

Do you also feel that you have poured your hearts and souls into the making of these songs that will appear on your debut?

Timo: I've put my mind deep into creating this music. Sometimes it's been easier than others, but I always want every song to be special. Some songs feel more personal than others to me but yes, I'd say it's very straight from the heart. I want us to be a really good metal band. We've also invested a lot of time as a band trying to make the best out of the music.

Have you set a title for this opus, or is it still something that you kind of want to keep as a hush-hush thing, at least for the time being?

Timo: Yeah, we can reveal the album title, it's called Until the Lights Go Out.

Many bands seem to use some well-known guests on their recordings. Has this thought ever crossed your mind, like a guest guitar solo or a chorus part or whatever?

Timo: This is not a bad idea. We had Jeff Waters from Annihilator play a solo for a song back in 2011. I wanted this album to just be our band, though. Maybe later?

Are there some songs on this forthcoming record that might become your favorite songs off it?

Timo: I'm happy with all the songs but some are more important to me than others. I think my favorite is the title track!


You tried to release your debut album around 2011-2012, but eventually those plans kind of failed and you chose to release six songs on the EP titled Tales from the Vault instead. What's the story behind this failed attempt to get your debut album out?

Timo: This band has actually recorded two full-length albums in the past! One in 2011-2012 and the other one in 2014. The problem has been dissatisfaction with the end result. The albums just didn't sound ready to me, although there's some good material on both. I don't think all the material was strong enough and some of the performances should have been better, especially my vocals.

Tommi: Ha, I think Timo covered the other questions well, but I have something to say about this. I recently revisited the 2012 album for the first time in years. While I wasn't part of the band during that period, I dedicated countless hours to engineering the album. The album sounded surprisingly good after all this time. I think many people would have appreciated the album if it had been officially released. If I were in 2012 now, I would've urged Timo and the band to release it.

As far as I know, you don't have a deal with a record company yet, so finding one is probably the next step that you will take in the coming weeks. Do you have any names of labels in mind that might be a good company to work with a band like Freedomination?

Timo: You are right. We don't have a record deal, so we're searching for one. I just finished reading Destination Onward - The Story of Fates Warning book, so I decided Metal Blade would be cool, so when Brian Slagel reads this interview, I hope he sends us a lot of money! But seriously speaking, any label that's interested in us and wants to help the band sounds good to me!


It's been a good while since Freedomination shared the stage last time if I am not mistaken...

Timo: We've done only a few shows in the last two years and with this line-up only one last summer. After we get this album out, I really want us to play live much more!

Festivals are nice places to get your band introduced to the masses. Are you perhaps aiming to get some festival slots this year, or is it too late to jump on the festival train in 2024?

Timo: I guess it's a little bit late for that, but let's see. We're definitely interested in doing festivals.

What do you hope for the future? Is there something special that you'd like to achieve with the band before this fuckin' sick world turns into total turmoil?

Timo: Simple answer: More new music and cool shows to play. I'm grateful for all the positive things that happen along the way. Can't take life for granted and I want to have a positive mindset. Let's see what happens. And yes, the world does feel like a complete mess right now!

Then a bit tougher curveball question-wise. What makes you proud of this band?

Timo: I'm proud of the fact that we are doing honest metal music straight from the heart. I think we have a really cool group of people in this band and the new album will be great! I also think that there aren't many bands doing this kind of metal nowadays.

What's the next best thing since sliced bread, thinking of all of your doings with the band so far?

Timo: Maybe a boring answer, but it's this upcoming album! There've been some cool gigs that we've done in the past and I think there've been some really cool moments musically, but it hasn't been as good as what's coming up next!

Well, that was it on my part, so thank you very much for your time, and may your road to success contain some pleasant surprises and rewards along the way when you are firing with all cylinders with Freedomination. Any fitting closing comments?

Timo: Thank you very much for this interview and for everything else! The Metal Crypt rules, and we can't wait to get our new material out there!

Other information about Freedomination on this site
Review: The Stand

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