Embraze will end a ten-year break from live performances on Thursday, as they return to the Nummirock Inferno Stage at 20:00. The Kiiminki, Finland-based band whose most recent output was The Last Embrace (Verikauha Records, 2006), will return with their five-album catalog of metal and goth-rock-inspired tracks such as “The One”, “My Star”, and more.
The group, comprised of vocalist and guitarist Lauri Tuohimaa (Tuohimaa band, ex-Charon, For My Pain…, and Maple Cross), drummer Ilkka Leskelä (Maple Cross), keyboard player Heidi Määttä, bassist Olli-Pekka Karvonen, and guitarist Sami Siekkinen (ex-Maple Cross), reignited their spark last year after sharing a meal and recognizing that their chemistry had survived, both on-stage and off.
Tuohimaa spoke with Metal Solstice about the decision to reunite, Embraze’s current studio efforts, and the art of balancing time with his other musical endeavor, Tuohimaa band. The frontman also discussed Nummirock festivals past, and Embraze’s resolute fans who will be among Thursday’s eager spectators.
Metal Solstice: So Embraze reunited in 2018; what were the factors that solidified the decision to come back?
Lauri Tuohimaa: It took nine years that we didn’t see each other, all five of us together. Eventually, on one winter evening we all went together to this one cafeteria and talked all past things through. We ended up having so much fun and felt the old, good connection between us. Many songs are very dear and lots of memories relate to many of them; I’m really happy to be able to perform them again.
MS: The scene has certainly changed in the past decade. Have the same fans remained loyal for Embraze’s return?
LT: Yes, everything has changed very much in the music industry since we last were active. It’s been a pleasure to notice how much our fans have been waiting for our return and how excited they’ve been. I can say, that we’ve been practicing more than ever and are in really “good shape”, so to speak.
MS: Some of the band’s recent social media post hint at new material. Can you tell me about what you’re working on in the studio?
LT: We haven’t composed any new songs but have been re-recording some old songs. During the summer, we’ll release at least one of them, and possibly in the fall another one.
MS: What can fans expect from your Nummirock set?
LT: We’ll be playing material from all the eras of Embraze and want to provide a great Embraze summer night performance with a good mood. It’s great to return to gigs again, and especially to Nummirock.
MS: What is one of your favorite memories from the Nummirock festival, as either a performer or spectator?
LT: I have many good memories from Nummirock. In 2003 I played there with Embraze and with Maple Cross, and after that we played there with Charon as well. It’s a good place to meet friends and colleagues.
MS: Regarding the “Kiiminkijoki” cover: I understand Kiiminki is where the band was founded. Why was it important to you to do two interpretations of this song in your career (with Embraze and Tuohimaa band)?
LT: Kiiminkijoki, the Kiiminki river, is an important place for me to relax and calm down. My grandmother’s house was by the river and I’ve learned to swim and fish over there, my childhood’s school was by the river as well. When I perform the song, it always makes me feel really good and nostalgic and it’s an important song also for other people from Kiiminki who have moved away and come to see for instance Tuohimaa band’s gig. It’s a great song. That most likely won’t be played in Nummirock however, but most certainly on the upcoming gig In Oulu next fall.
MS: Why and how did you start Tuohimaa band? How do you balance your time with both bands?
LT: I started to write Finnish lyrics after Embraze finished and when Charon was about to finish soon as well. After giving almost half of my life for these previous bands, I wanted to do something different. Olli-Pekka and I tried to find a drummer already in 2009 after making first Tuohimaa songs, but suitable drummer, Antti Liimatainen, was found only in 2014. During some years, I even played in three bands at the same time and scheduling was often really challenging. In the future, Embraze will only have few suitable gigs when Tuohimaa is having a break.
Upcoming Embraze live dates include:
6.9.2019 at Bar Loose, Helsinki
7.9.2019 at Club Teatria, Oulu
13.9.2019 at Rytmikorjaamo, Seinäjoki
14.9.2019 at Tuiskula, Nivala