June 18th, 1666
OLYMPOS MONS - SEVEN SEAS
OLYMPOS MONS - CONQUISTADOR - LMP
Sure you might have heard of the stellar Olympos Mons, but chances are you have not heard of these Finnish newcomers... well, sort of a newcomers because despite shrouding themselves in the kind of secrecy usually surrounding details of a state visit, the members of the band are experienced musicians. Never mind though, what really counts is the music, which happens to be really good. Ali "The Metallian" invited the band's singer Ian and guitarist Jari to Metallian Towers in order to find out more about the members, the band and the music. - 10.02.2005
METALLIAN: Welcome to Metallian Towers. I trust that your stay has been comfortable. Can you guys speak about the band's formation and background?
IAN E. HIGHHILL: Thank you. We met after a gig Jari was playing with his former band at a club in our hometown, Hanko. After the gig we talked about music in general, bands, what we liked and what music we would love to play while we were getting absolutely death drunk. I went home, passed out and forgot everything about it!
The next day Jari phoned me and asked if I remembered our chat the other evening and, of course, I did not. He refreshed my memory and told me that we had sort of made plans about forming a band - a real metal band this time. He came over to my place and brought a demo with him. I listened to it and was totally blown away. This was exactly what I had always wanted to do and more. After that we started exchanging ideas, making songs and eventually auditioning musicians suitable for the project. It took us quite awhile, but here we are and the rest is history.
JARI SUNDSTRÖM: Yeah, that's the story basically. When it comes to the moniker Olympos Mons, it is Latin and means Mount Olympus, the mythological home of the gods in ancient Greece and also the greatest volcano in our solar system, Olympus Mons which is located on planet Mars.
METALLIAN: You guys all have previous band experience and even shared bands. Why are you so secretive about it?
IAN: Well, I've been in so many bands I can't remember them all. The last one was a Deep Purple tribute band named Stormbringer. And yes, Jari, Krister and myself have been in the same bands in the past.
JARI: We have not tried to be secretive about our former bands. It is just that they have been small-time bands with a small reputation and small achievements so I see no point in mentioning any names since they won't mean anything to anybody anyway.
METALLIAN: No matter how minor the bands, can you give us the names?
JARI: Well, our former bands weren't metal bands at all. They were mainly... they were really crappy hard rock bands of total insignificance so lets drop the subject, please...
METALLIAN: In that case, it is also probably impossible to get Ian's real last name because one somehow doubts that he is a hobbit.
IAN: No, not impossible, I am the Grand Wizard of Mordor, no further comments.
METALLIAN: Oh no, not secretive at all! Never mind, let us talk about the band's music. It is quite effective. Can you elaborate?
IAN: I don't know man, you must have an excellent taste in music to say that.
JARI: Yes Ali, you certainly must have an excellent taste in music, or then our album must be excellent, or then it's something else which must be excellent... did I mention the word 'excellent' already (laughs)? I think the instruments are like a long and heavy, powerful steam engine train pulling cargo through the desert landscape with our music and the vocals and keyboards are the clouds floating above this whole scenery.
METALLIAN: Is the Conquistador album a concept and to what does the title refer?
IAN: The album is not a concept album and is simply named for the song Conquistador.
JARI: Conquistador is Spanish for 'conqueror.' That particular song is about the troops of Hernando Cortez conquering the Aztec empire.
METALLIAN: In that case, is the cover artwork related to that particular song as well? By the way, just curious, what is the cover model's phone number?
IAN: What we wanted to do was to bring in the conquistador theme into the Martian environment. So the result was a reverse Captain Smith-slash-Pocahontas scene with a Martian background (more laughter). Her phone number, by the way, is 666-616.
METALLIAN: Her number is almost as cool as her looks. Was the illustration you used painted for Olympos Mons or did you buy it from the artist's existing inventory?
IAN: It was made exclusively for us.
METALLIAN: What about the references to Freedom Call? Is that a correct analogy and are you fans of that German band?
IAN: Freedom who? Yeah man, I like German bands, but I think my biggest influences are in the British hard rock scene of the late '70s and early '80s. Bands like Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath with Dio, Uriah Heep, Judas Priest and Rainbow with Dio are bands I like.
I also like some American bands like Kansas and, of course, Canada's Rush. But I think when Jari and I are writing songs it is like a product of every tune we ever heard in our lives and not of any one in particular. Olympos Mons is what comes out when we start writing. It's as simple as that.
JARI: I don't know about any references, but I have certainly been a big fan of several German acts like Accept, Udo, Helloween and Gamma Ray.
METALLIAN: Elsewhere, can you explain for aspiring bands and other readers how a band goes from demo to a deal with a label?
IAN: It all depends on how hard you're ready to work on promoting yourself and of course the product has to be good so you can believe in it one-hundred percent. We started promoting our demo on the internet and soon there were many webzines and radio stations worldwide who were interested in us.
We had at the most about six labels wanting us, of which LIMB was the biggest so the choice was easy really. We have a one-album plus three-options deal.
METALLIAN: There has been some line-up changes within the ranks. Who is in, who is out and why all the upheaval?
IAN: The current line-up is Mikko Sepponen on drums, Jari Sundström on guitar, Krister Lundell on bass and me behind the microphone stand. As far as changes in the line-up, well, it's been for the usual reasons. Two guys were having a vision and some other guys were not quite sharing it (laughs). We knew what we wanted. All those changes were necessary in order for us to achieve them.
METALLIAN: In that case, What are you immediate and long-term plans with the band?
IAN: Making demos for our next studio album and preparing ourselves for some serious gigging are on top of the list. The long-term plans are to conquer the world of course! As far as goals go, well does the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame sound too much?
JARI: (Laughingly) well that's about it.
METALLIAN: What about newer songs and what the fans can expect next?
IAN: A new album with kick ass heavy metal as only Olympos Mons can deliver is next. The new songs only have working titles so far, but Frozen will be one title, I think.
METALLIAN: Thank you for your time and I trust that your stay at Metallian towers was satisfactory. Let us end the conversation by answering why Metallian is the best source for metal in the universe?
IAN: Because Metallian now has an interview with the Olympos Mons!
To find out more or hear samples of the band's music browse over to http://www.olymposmons.com.