After a few Skype mishaps I was finally able to sit and have a chat with Noora Louhimo, lead singer for BATTLE BEAST. With their third album (second with Noora) Unholy Savior finished and awaiting release at the time of the interview, I found her to be very engaging and eagerly looking forward for the world to hear it. We touched on that and more, so have a look:
Amps: Two songs stand out on this record for being like night and day: “I Want the World…And Everything In It” and “Touch In the Night”. Talk about those two if you will.
Noora: “I Want the World…” it’s actually based on the movie Scarface, one of my favorites. The dialogue where Tony says, “I Want the world…and everything in it.” I like that song because it’s based on Scarface but the song can be different things for different listeners. It can be a power song for someone if you want to go for your goals. It’s kind of a pep talk telling you to just go for it and nothing can stop you. “Touch In the Night” is the new side of BATTLE BEAST, I think. It’s the softer side. I love 80’s kind of stuff (Amps enthusiastically agrees!) and actually it was my idea to use that kind of SAMANTHA FOX sexy-
Amps: You did NOT just say SAMANTHA FOX!! I was OBSESSED with her when I was 13 years old. The Touch Me album was on constant repeat and my room was covered in her posters, it was a shrine!
Noora: (Laughing) I love that we got this influence growing up, and even though some people have picked on the song saying, “No, this is not heavy metal”…what the fuck? Who else got the balls to do this kind of disco kind of heavy metal and stand behind it?
Amps: It’s one of the best songs on the album. Those people are crazy.
Noora: (Laughs) and I think music shares people. Some hate, some love. As long as they feel something. Music is for everyone and “Touch in the Night” is for a bigger audience and the people who don’t necessarily listen to heavy metal music. This can be one kind of way to get some people into our genre.
Amps: Was it a conscious decision to play around with different styles musically, or a happy accident?
Noora: That was all planned that we wanted to show the diversity of this band and of course the different styles that I can bring: the soft side, the emotional side, and the rough side. But there is always this BATTLE BEAST flavor in these songs. I LOVE to sing ballads. I love W.A.S.P.’S “Sleeping in the Fire”, it’s one of the best ballads ever made. And actually W.A.S.P.’S guitarist Doug Blair contacted me and he wants to do a project because he heard a cover I did of that song. That’s pretty cool!
Amps: This is your second record with the band. Was anything different this time around now that you’ve been in for some time?
Noora: (Laughing) the whole thing was different! There were a lot of challenges during the whole year we were doing this album. We also had some stop-by dates in Europe and Finland, so we never had real time to concentrate just on this album. We were constantly on the road and trying to fit everybody’s schedule to get the recordings done bit by bit. And of course that made people stressed out and it was very nerve-wracking in all kinds of ways.
Amps: How do you take care of your voice? Is there any special regimen? Because you go from one extreme to the other!
Noora: Well actually I’ve stopped heavy partying (laughs)! That’s one thing because it’s very important for any vocalist, regardless of genre, to rest your voice. Some people can for a while, but eventually you can hear that their voice is not healthy anymore. If you just keep on partying after the show the combination of smoking and drinking and yelling makes things worse. I prefer just chilling out after the show and just enjoy the moment without any major alcohol amounts in my system. My purpose in life is to entertain people and always bring my best, so my time to party is not while on tour.
Amps: Speaking of which…What are the tour plans? Anything booked yet? U.S. dates, perhaps?
Noora: Well, actually just in Germany for five weeks with SABATON right now. Finally! We’ve been waiting to play with them and now it’s happening. The first time they asked us to be a surprise guest on their SABATON Cruise, we went there and the guys liked us, so they asked us to play their own festival (SABATON Open Air) in Sweden last summer and they liked us again, so now we’re going out on tour with them. I’m so excited!
Amps: What do you listen to away from the band?
Noora: Everything!! Actually I don’t see myself as a heavy metal singer, just a singer. And I love to sing and listen to different genres. It depends on what kind of phase I’m living in my life, or my mood. Sometimes I listen to 80’s heavy metal, or some hippie rock like Janis Joplin. Sometimes it’s just nice to wash your dishes in the kitchen to some Ella Fitzgerald, so it’s really about the mood I’m in. If I want to get in a really good mood before a show I almost always listen to AC/DC. The energy that their music gives me is just amazing.
Amps: Do you have any outside hobbies or interests?
Noora: I love to do everything with my hands. I paint and draw and write. I love to do different kinds of stuff with music besides singing. I’m learning to play acoustic guitar and harmonica. It would be lovely someday to do some kind of concept album that is sort of epic and movie trailer kind of music and include some kind of story, but that’s in the future.
Amps: Say something to the BATTLE BEAST fans all over the world.
At press time BATTLE BEAST had just wrapped up their run with SABATON. Gods, imagine if that tour came here to the U.S.?? Not fair, I say! In addition, the band has announced a series of headlining homeland shows in Finland and a pair of headliners in Japan. You can find tickets for all Finland shows HERE and Japan HERE. Get out and see these folks in action for those of us who can’t!! And be sure to grab your copy of Unholy Savior, out now on Nuclear Blast Records.