Finland is the home of many incredible artists, and the guest of this interview is included in this category. Johanna Ahonen, lyricist and singer for Memoremains, has shared with us some insight about her band and her life.
Hello Johanna! How are you doing at the moment?
Hi and thanks for asking! I’m doing great because we’ve just released our second album ”Pop Metal” and our summer gigs are about to start.
Oh yeah, Memoremains’ second album is released now: can you share with us your creative process?
Our second album has been well received. I’m so grateful to all the fans who have listened to and pre-ordered the album. It means the world to us! Our first album, ”The Cost of Greatness”, was more like a concept album, so we wanted to do something different with our second one. We just started by making songs that pleased us, and at the same time, we were looking for a new world of sound for Memoremains. At first, we thought we were creating ”a party album” at whose pace people could dance. Now, as I listen to the finished album, it’s more aggressive than our previous one. As the lyric writer of the album, I would say that the pandemic certainly affected everyone’s mood during the writing process, and it also can be heard in the record. The album has a lot of head-banging riffs, surprising chord choices, and of course, it’s pure pop metal with catchy melodies and heavy pedaling. All the songs (except ”Not My Fault” which we did together) were composed by Mikko (keyboardist), and I wrote all the lyrics. The album was a joint arrangement of the whole band.
You’re an exceptional vocalist. During the years, how has your practice technique changed?
Thank you so much! Hopefully, that’s a good thing! haha! ;D That’s an interesting question; I think I’ve become a bolder voice user over the years. When I was younger, I always tried to sing neatly and with an exact pitch. Now I try to use more interpretation in my voice, and I’m trying to learn to use more distortion effects to create a more aggressive sound. It adds spice to interpretation and makes the vocals sound more interesting. I also love to learn new things with my voice and to see what kinds of things I’m capable to do. I’ve also learned that It’s important to take care of yourself and your health because all the problems with your body and mind affect your voice.
I think your songs are perfect to be played in concerts. Will we be seeing you live in the near future?
This summer, we’re doing a few gigs in our home country Finland, starting at Nummirock, a cult heavy-metal festival located in the middle of nowhere. Hopefully, we’ll be able to do a tour abroad next year in Europe.
That’s awesome! What’s the last picture you took with your smartphone?
I took a picture of two golden marker pens to show the band members what kinds of pens we are using to write signatures on our physical albums. Speaking of the topic, our second album is also available as a physical edition. The first 100 copies have our signatures!
Who is the messiest person of the band?
It depends. My answer is Mikko. When he’s creating some new stuff and has his creative mode on, everything just explodes around him. Usually, though, that’s a good thing because a mess means something awesome is coming!
Do you think that women in metal are being treated differently than men? If so, what do you think the main issue is?
According to my own experience, I’ve been treated fairly equally, for example, if I compare myself to my band members. However, I know that there are differences when it comes to treating men and women, but it’s more universal than just in the metal genre. According to research, the music industry is still quite male-dominated. If we think about the role models of metal and heavy music, usually they are all men. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any women out there, but for some reason, men have been more prominent throughout history. The lack of diverse role models has caused us to think that heavy music is not suitable for women because we aren’t just used to seeing women, for example, sing aggressively. Therefore, women often have to prove their skills more than men to be taken seriously. But I must say, it’s more of a universal problem.
What is your favorite article of clothing?
My favorite article of clothing is a leather jacket. I still own one that I used when I was in middle school. It’s still in good condition.
Let’s play a little game: if you could live in the last book you read, where would that be?
I’ve been reading a lot of psychological stuff lately, so my answer is that I’d live inside my head! What a nightmare. 😀
I’ll say! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview! Would you like to add anything to FemMetal readers?
Thank you so much for this lovely interview! I hope all the best for FemMetal readers! Go and listen to our new album Pop Metal on Spotify or some other streaming service and follow Memoremains on Instagram and Facebook! Let us know what you think of our music, and have a great sunny summertime!
Hi! My name is Benedetta, I’m 29 and I live in Northern Italy. My passion has always been music: I started taking guitar lessons when I was 6. Now I work as a sales representative, but in my free time I interview talented people, I spread the word about my favorite band (MoonSun), and I go to concerts or travel around Europe.
I am a huge collector of anything Tolkien-related, autographs, merchandise, and CDs. I am quite an original person and don’t mind being the voice outside of the choir (even though I play in the church’s choir!).