MONTAGE: Band Aware of Their Influences

Montage

Montage are a relatively new progressive hard rock group that hails from Finland’s capital city, Helsinki. Their music is a mixture of traditional hard rock and the hazy sounds of folk, early prog rock and psychedelia. The band have just put out their self-titled debut album on Secret Entertainment, and they talked with Prog Sphere about it and many other things. The interview below is a part of Prog Sphere’s Showcase feature. You can stream Montage in its entirety over at Progify.

Define your mission with Montage.

Our mission is to write and perform timeless and eclectic rock music that is accessible to both regular rock music listeners and prog fans.

You have just released your self-titled debut album via Secret Entertainment. Describe how the album came together into a cohesive whole.

We started working on the album about two years ago and it pretty much consists of the songs we had in our live set at the time. We also wanted to make the songs sound quite similar to the live versions, so there are not a lot of twin guitar stuff or multiple synth layers in there. The actual recording process took quite long because we recorded the album in several different sessions. This made us feel a bit frustrated at times. But in the end we managed to get everything on tape just the way we wanted and we are all very pleased with the results.

Montage - MontageHow did you document the music while being formulated?

Our music is mostly documented in audio form. Roni usually comes up with song demos and then we start working on the arrangements together with the whole band.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced when working on the album?

Luckily we had a producer who knew what we were after, so we had no trouble finding the right sounds and building the arrangements for all of the songs. The recording sessions weren’t difficult to manage because we knew the songs inside out. The only setback was that we had some minor changes in the line-up, so in the end we had to do some re-recording.

Tell me about the technical side of Montage? Where was it recorded? Who produced it? Also, what kind of gear did you use for the purpose of recording the album?

The album was produced by Matias Melleri and most of it was recorded at his private studio in Helsinki. The gear we used on the album is pretty similar to our live setup, so basically we just brought our instruments and started nailing the songs.

Give me a snapshot of topics you explore on Montage.

The lyrics on the album are pretty much all influenced by hippie-like themes with a hint of dark humor. For example, Misty High tells about guy returning to his hometown in the hills only to realize that the whole town has been turned into a ski center. There are also more serious lyrics on the album, but it’s good to keep in mind that in the end we are just making rock ’n’ roll music and the lyrics don’t have to be all doom and gloom. It’s nice to keep the overall vibe uplifting.

Provide some insight into the band’s chemistry that opened door for this music.

We’ve played together in various bands in the past. For example, Mikko and Roni released an indie-folk album entitled Riverland last year and Kim, Jukka and Roni have played heavier stuff together in groups called Soma Kick and Northworld. It only felt natural to combine our influences and start making music with more room for fantasy. That’s when Montage came into picture.

Where do you draw your inspiration from, and how do you go about channeling it into writing?

The inspiration can come from pretty much anywhere, but the ideas you put on paper usually have something to do with the music you’ve been involved with lately. We all play and listen to all kinds of music, so it’s only natural for us to combine ideas from different genres and put them into a rock context.

Montage

Montage

Are there any plans to present the music from the album in front of live audiences?

We’re supporting the album release with several gigs in Finland and nearby countries in May-June 2014. We are also planning an Autumn tour for September-October 2014.

Do you follow any pre-defined patterns when composing?

Most of our music is first written by guitarist Roni and then arranged by the whole group. Usually the song-writing process begins with an idea for a main riff or the chorus part of the song. Rest of it is just following wherever your imagination takes you.

What non-musical entities and ideas have an impact on your music?

There are a lot of 60s-inspired topics in the lyrics and the album art also looks like something from that era. That actually came by an accident, so it wasn’t something we had planned in advance. But there is still something pretty cool about the late sixties counterculture movement and hippie mystics and it’s not a secret that some of the songs on the album are inspired by that kind of stuff.

Do you think that hard rock, as a genre that emerged in the 1970′s, has good prospects for the future?

Yes. There will always be an audience for genuine hard rock music. In fact a lot people have come to thank us for doing what we do, because they don’t seem to find this kind of music anywhere anymore. Of course we are not interested in being labeled as a retro band, but we are aware of our influences. As with any good music, good hard rock is timeless and there will always be tons of people interested in checking out the new bands as well as the old ones.

What lies in the future for Montage? What do you hope to accomplish at the end of the day?

We hope that our music will catch the attention of both rockers and prog music fans worldwide. We also have tons of material ready for our second album, so we’ll probably get back to the studio to work on the next release in early 2015.

With Prog Sphere we tend to release a downloadable Progstravaganza compilation series, highlighting the artists coming from progressive related genres from all around the world. Do you think such a thing is good enough to showcase the potential of many unheard bands on the already overcrowded scene?

Prog rock fans are usually more open-minded and devoted than the average music listeners, so there are probably a lot of people out there who might be interested in checking out the newcomers. Therefore the compilation series sounds like a very good idea.

Montage is:

Mikko Heino – vocals
Roni Seppänen – guitars
Jukka Virtanen – keyboards
Taneli Tulkki – bass
Kim Etelävuori – drums

Montage online:

http://www.montage.fi/

https://www.facebook.com/Montagefinland

Bands interested in taking Prog Sphere Showcase feature can contact us at [email protected]

Nikola Savić is a prog enthusiast, blogger and author, in addition to being the founder of Prog Sphere, Progify, ProgLyrics and the ongoing Progstravaganza compilation series.

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