Interview: Noora Louhimo of Battle Beast

Interview: Noora Louhimo of Battle Beast
Interviewed by CJ Claesson

The sheer energy exuded from heavy metal powerhouse Battle Beast would put the Energizer bunny to shame. It’s been almost three years since their last offering ‘No More Hollywood Endings’ was unleashed upon the world and now it’s time to enter the ‘Circus of Doom’. Razors Edge caught up with behorned frontwoman Noora Louhimo to discuss the new album, possible sports ventures, eggs and how Battle Beast is the future of metal.

Raise your hand to hail Battle Beast!

CJ of The Razor's Edge: Due to the pandemic obviously your EU headline tour was sadly canceled which must be very frustrating for you guys - how do you deal with all the cancellations?

Noora: Well, you just have to go with the situation. We didn't totally cancel it because we are trying to find new dates for later, so it’s going to be postponed maybe until the end of this year, the whole European tour. But we’ve still got the plan for touring the U.S. - and let’s hope that that’s going to happen.Then of course next summer, the whole summer is booked. So I’m kind of trying to feel hopeful here but at the same time I’m pretty skeptical [laughs].

CJ: I saw one comment on “Eye of The Storm” on Youtube that read: “I hope to God this is the future of metal because damn that is one hell of a voice!!!” - is Battle Beast the future of metal?

Noora: Of course! [laughs] If that would be the case, Battle Beast is known for mixing different genres together and not, you know, not just doing a certain kind of heavy metal. So if the heavy metal scene would be similar to Battle Beast then all the bands would probably be mixing more different genres more bravely, like we do. It’s good not to be afraid. You know, try out new things. I also think it’s nice to stand out as a heavy metal band. We are not afraid of shaking people with different songs and making, for example, pop heavy metal or orchestra or whatever. I think music is like life - you need to enjoy it; you need to play with it and not take it too seriously, and that’s what we are doing in Battle Beast. We are just playing around and enjoying and taking the most out of it and not taking ourselves too seriously - but we do this with a serious mind!

CJ: I love that. It is very noticeable that you do have a lot of influences in your music - is there something music-wise you definitely wouldn’t do?

Noora: Well we wouldn’t do a rap album [laughs]. But anything else would be, maybe, considerable.

CJ: ‘Circus of Doom’ is the sixth full length album and again we hear an album packed with powerful and epic metal from start to finish. To me, ‘Circus of Doom’ delivers the same punch like ‘Bringer of Pain’ and therefore acts kind of like a follow up to that record - would you agree on that?

Noora: Yeah, well the thing is, we always want to develop as a band, music-wise and production-wise and make the other album better than the previous ones, and that’s our goal always - to develop. Of course if we have to compare, I think there are some influences or something from “Bringer of Pain” and “No More Hollywood Endings” and so on. But I think we just want to kind of still keep all the albums individual, kind of like artwork, but of course it’s nice to hear that you can actually hear from each album that they all are Battle Beast and not something like - okay, the new album is totally different from our essence or our essential sound, or something like that. This new album also includes these classic Battle Beast songs. For example, you can hear from the song “Wings of Light'' that it’s certainly something very recognisable as a Battle Beast song, but I also want to think now we are re-creating a new “skin” for Battle Beast on each album - with bigger sounds, more orchestral and more theatrical sides within our music. That’s something that I really like because I’m a very theatrical and dramatic person [laughs]. So I love that!

Battle Beast

CJ: The lyrics and titles - not least the title track ‘Circus of Doom’ are aggressive and relatively dark - is it a social commentary on the world we live in or is it just about a really sad circus experience?

Noora: Well, actually we didn’t think about it in any kind of negative light. We didn’t think about it as a negative thing at all, but it symbolises different things. It can be symbolising the state of the world right now but it also, in a humoristic way, symbolises Battle Beast as a live act, because when we have a live show we are like a circus and you never know what’s going to happen next [laughs]. You can hear that when you start listening to the album from the beginning to the end - it’s an exciting adventure. You can enter the huge circus tent and you don’t know what to expect. It’s got so many different emotions and stories in each song. ‘Circus of Doom’ is definitely not a concept album, but it is an adventure [laughs].

CJ: Just when you think the album is over you end on the power metal epic “Place That We Call Home” - are you spoiling the fans a little bit?

Noora: Of course we want to spoil our fans! Yeah, we wanted to give the best that we could possibly give, and people can always trust that we will give 3000% - on our albums and on stage, so get prepared for when we get to your town. Even though we have to wait a little bit longer until the Europe tour, it’s going to be a very entertaining and explosive show.

CJ: The energy of Battle Beast’s music is remarkable - I have your music on all my workout playlists - where does all this energy come from?

Noora: Well, simply put - it comes from us! We are all very passionate. We are very passionate about our music and about entertaining people. We just love that, and you can feel the love coming out of us in this form of energy and we always want to give people all that we’ve got and nothing less. We don’t want to be one of those tired bands [laughs]. Even though we’ve been doing this already for quite a long time. This is my tenth anniversary year in Battle Beast - but I feel like it’s been only one year. I’ve got so much more to give and all of us have got so much more to give and we just can’t wait to get on the road - and just give all the love to people again!

CJ: Your live shows contain the same energy you’re talking about - both from the music, obviously, and also from the band, as you mentioned - would you ever branch out and create a fitness program called something like “Battle Bodies” so people can get fit while listening to Battle Beast?

Noora: Hey, that’s a really good idea [laughs]. Why don’t you do that?! You could make a lot of money! I don’t know if I’d have time for that, but you know when you come to our shows it is like an aerobics class. You have to pump your fist up in the air all the time. You have to bang your head all the time. You have to jump all the time. You have to keep up with me [laughs].

Interview: Noora Louhimo of Battle Beast

CJ: So you’re already doing it! The live shows are already a fitness program.

Noora: Yeah! You just have to come to our shows. You don’t have to go to the gym to get fit, just come to our shows [laughs].

CJ: I saw you headline a sold out or near sold out Lido in Berlin a couple years ago and you mentioned there that the previous time you had played Berlin there was only about 50 people in the audience. You got a bit emotional and it was a beautiful moment. When did you start to realize that the band was moving up?

Noora: Well of course when you start seeing more people at the shows. It’s like “okay so we are getting somewhere”. It’s been amazing, you know, the reception. Before we released the album we released the singles and seeing like a million views coming in or a million streams coming in just in a couple of weeks - and it’s like “what the fuck has happened during these past couple of years!?”. Even though we haven’t been on the road, it’s been amazing how the fan base has been growing and we haven't been forgotten even though we’ve been laying low during this creative process. So I have high hopes for our success in the future and, of course, our goal is to conquer the world and after that we conquer the universe [laughs]. You know, these kinds of humble goals.

CJ: Getting back to the album a little bit - Due to the pandemic and lockdowns was the writing and recording process different from other releases this time around?

Noora: Well, the biggest difference was that we actually had time! We had time to do the album and just focus and concentrate on the album and kind of polish everything we want the way that we want it. The case before the lockdown was that we were always touring and making the albums at the same time. It was like constant never-ending work and no breaks, and I noticed that it was kind of wearing all of us all out. We had low energy and everyone was kind of pissed off, but when the lockdown came we got to be with our friends and family again and gain positive energy and regain our power. It’s been amazing. We have such a good atmosphere right now in the band and we are all so happy and proud of what we have made and what was born yesterday - when our album was released!

CJ: Do you have a favourite track on the record?

Noora: Yes. My favourite track is definitely the opening track, ‘Circus of Doom’ because I think it represents the album and what it is. It’s full of different parts and drama and theatrics and it reminds me a bit of some kind of movie soundtrack or a Disney musical [laughs] - and that’s Battle Beast, so I really love it! And also I love that I feel like I got to show people on that specific track a new side of me as a vocalist, so I think people who appreciate a lot of dynamics and dramatics, and theatrical, and orchestras and choirs, and my voice - they’re going to love that song.

CJ: You always have a very polished production on your albums - and this one is no exception. What albums or bands do you have as a benchmark for good production?

Noora: Well, that’s a question for Janne [Björkroth], because I know that when he does the production and when he did the mixing he was definitely listening to a lot of different bands that he wants to, sound-wise and production-wise, go for - what sounds the best. So I believe he’s been listening to a lot of different references from streaming services to make this album’s quality as good or even better.

CJ: It feels like only yesterday when ‘No More Hollywood Endings’ came out. When was the theme set for ‘Circus of Doom’?

Noora: Well, it actually happened quite naturally. We never start the songwriting process that way in that we decide the theme or anything like that beforehand. It comes along during the song writing, and Janne wrote these circus themed songs, and I really loved that theme. I actually love the circus, anyway. When I was a kid I was in a circus school, actually [laughs]. So I really loved this theme and I really loved Jannes songs and ‘Circus of Doom’' is definitely his handwriting. Even mine and Janne’s visions - we agree a lot where we want to take Battle Beast: and it is more theatrical and bigger sounds and extravaganza. That also shows visually in my outfits and now the guys have gotten new outfits also, so everything is leveled up, and I’m super happy.

CJ: So now you have the new album and you have upcoming tours - are you able to sit down and smell the roses or are you already planning the next step?

Noora: We are now of course enjoying the release, and also we are starting again to rehearse and prepare and plan for the upcoming tours, so the work has just begun. We have to prepare a great show for our fans, and what people can do to prepare themselves for our shows is to go, you know, of course get our album from the Battle Beast webstore and also a t-shirt, and vinyls and whatever other cool stuff we’ve got there, and support us that way.

CJ: Do you have a dream tour package - obviously you’re headlining now, but do you have one? Which bands would you most like to go on tour with?

Noora: Well of course if Iron Maiden would be opening up for us [laughs]. No, the other way around would be cool too, but that’s my ultimate dream. I’d also love to tour with Judas Priest. This summer there's actually plans that we are going to be warming up Judas Priest in Finland and in Estonia. So let’s hope for the best that it will happen!

CJ: Amazing! Something that I'm just personally interested in is: bands’ riders. Is there something on your rider that you always have when you go on tour?

Noora: Something weird, you mean? [laughs].

CJ: No no, just anything in general. [laughs]

Noora: Well we always have beer and then I have this weird - well, is it weird? It’s not weird for me, but I always want to have boiled eggs, so that’s something. But yeah, you know, we don’t have anything special. We are very easy going about that. We always just want the basic stuff - beer and food. And boiled eggs [laughs].

CJ: So you wouldn't say that your rider has changed much from the early beginnings of Battle Beast to now?

Noora: Well it has, because I don’t drink alcohol now. So we need to have alcohol-free beer as well - so that’s something different.

Check out our review of Battle Beast's latest album, Circle of Doom, here.

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