May 2003
interview by Ian C Stewart

Finland metal band Embraze was formed in 1994, influenced, as explained by drummer Ilkka Leskelä, "mostly from metal, but one of my favorite bands is Pink Floyd. Their music is so relaxing and full of different elements. Of drummers, I have to mention Lars Ulrich from Metallica because he is a great showman onstage. My stage appereance is influenced by him. And of course Rick Allen from Def Leppard. He shows that you don't have to have two arms to be a great drummer and that is something to respect. Bands like Pantera, Slayer and Testament for example are very close to my heart because their music just kicks ass." And with two left-handed musicians onstage, they run the risk of looking like a modern-metal UB40.

Songwriting: "Lauri [Tuohimaa - guitar, vocals], Sami [Siekkinen - guitar] and Heidi [Määttä - keyboards] are the main songwriters, so if they have little pieces of melodies or riffs in mind, we go to the rehearsal room and start putting the ideas together one by one. I concentrate mostly on arragements. We make songs with whole band. In Embraze, it's quite rare that someone writes an entire song alone."

Playing live: "At the moment, we are not as active as we could be, because we don't have any kind of management around us. We have played a lot of gigs over the years and still we do, but now it's little bit harder to book them. I think the biggest show we played was back in 1999, a festival called Nummirock in Kauhajoki, Finland. I still get shivers thinking about it. The crowd was estimated 5000 - 6000 and the atmosphere was wild. It was electric!"

Then what happened? "Okay. First I have to say, this wasn't funny when it happened, but now I can laugh about it. One time we were sitting in our tour bus, drinking beer as usual. We were in a great mood, the gig had gone well and we were having fun, big-time. Then I noticed a lonely opened bottle of beer behind the driver's seat. I thought it was mine, so I took a big gulp from it. The first thing I noticed was that it was definitely not beer that I drank. It didn't taste bad but it wasn't good either. I asked the guys that whose bottle it was. Apparently it didn't belong to anyone. Then it hit me, I realized that I just drank some crazy fucker's pee!"

What's next, apart from urine-chugging? "A lot of gigs, I hope. All the big summer festivals are ahead, so hopefully we get a chance to do our shit there. Maybe at the end of the year we'll start planning a new record. We already have a few new songs, but there´s no hurry."

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