Helsinki-based Wake up Frankie, victors of the Tuska-Torstai competition, will take the stage for the first time at the annual Tuska festival on Saturday in Suvilahti. The self-proclaimed “groovin’ thrashrock” performers, comprised of Kasperi Meriläinen (vocals), RisOtto (guitar),
Vesa-Matti Pääkkönen (guitar), Dimi Kavvadas (bass), and Joni Huovila (drums), edged out several other up-and-coming bands for the 15:00-15:30 time slot on the Inferno stage. Other competitors included bands such as doom outfit Tomb of Finland, progressive metal troupe Of Origins, thrashers My Funeral, and formidable metalcore opponent Balance Breach in the final battle.
In a long-distance interview with Metal Solstice, Wake up Frankie set the record straight on the story behind their formation, their monster moniker, and the momentum towards a yet-to-be-titled EP to include their most recent single, “The Texorcist”.
Metal Solstice: WuF has had quite a big past couple of months; first a show with Profane Omen and then winning Tuska-Torstai. How has this boosted the band’s confidence?
Wake up Frankie squad: We actually signed up for the Profane Omen gig before entering the Tuska-Torstai competition. Tuska-Torstai was kind of like an, “Okay, let’s see where this goes,” kind of thing. Show after show, the audience grew and we ended up winning it.
MS: What do you think put you ahead of the other competitors?
WuF: We decided to do a show that works as a whole and interact with audience, rather than just stand there and play for 30 minutes. We always had this “green color” thing going on, so we took that to the stage and featured Frankie, our mascot. Also, our singer doesn’t look like anything he sounds, which is a really nice difference-maker.
MS: So how did WuF get together two years ago?
WuF: Our guitar players, Otto & Vesku, were sitting in a bar in the spring of 2017 and decided to form a band that combines their favorite music styles, as they felt there really wasn’t that kind of underground band in Helsinki. They wrote the song “Wake up Frankie” and started seeking players. Otto knew Kassu from previous bands, and asked him to join as a bassist. We then auditioned some singers with no luck. Kassu came up with the idea that he could sing. Otto and Vesku were quite skeptic about that; a guy who looks like he’s travelled here from 1985 with a time machine, growling?! Yeah, right. But we couldn’t have been more wrong! He nailed it, and we did a video of the song to attract players.
We auditioned drummers the whole summer; eventually Joni contacted us, and it worked. We then asked our longtime friend and Otto’s ex-bandmate Dimi to play bass. Not only did he bring great playing live, he brought more songwriting skills to the band. So a match made in heaven, or something. After that, we met up with Joonas, presented “Damage Control” to him, recorded it, did some gigs and…now we’re here. It’s a brief history.
MS: For everyone out
there who is curious: what is the meaning behind the band’s name?
WuF: We get this question a lot, so let’s open it up good for once. Otto can specifically answer this one.
Otto: It dates back to 2014, when I was forming a band with my ex-bandmates. We had a guitarist, a drummer, and a WhatsApp group. We wrote songs and never rehearsed, because the drummer didn’t seem to have time. So, we complained about that in WhatsApp and our drummer just answered something like, “Take it easy, it takes time to wake up Frankenstein’s monster!” The group was instantly named “Waking up the Frankensteins”. We started playing around with the name with our guitarist at the time, Jussi, and somehow it ended in the current form “Wake up Frankie!”, but with an exclamation mark.
Don’t know what happened to the exclamation mark, but I suggested that name to Vesku when we formed this band and were thinking about a name. It worked, kinda. Didn’t have anything better. But it’s definitely better than a generic name; at least it raises questions!
MS: What can fans expect to behold at your first-ever Tuska set?
WuF: We are gonna give 150% to make sure everyone is having a good time. We’re gonna play some new tunes, add some intros and take our “Frankie-show” a little bit further. For those who don’t know, we do have a mascot on stage at times, if you can wake him up; maybe some guest-appearances also.
MS: As a band that’s only a couple of years old, what do you want new fans to know about WuF?
WuF: First of all, we want everyone to know that we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We have fun on and off stage, and we like to add “Easter eggs” on our songs, like straight references to our favorite songs. You can find at some Pantera, Sabbath, Motörhead, etc. in our songs. The way we try to engage our fans is that we take everyone who shows up at the show seriously. Everyone who sees us is a potential fan, and we try to deliver accordingly.
MS: Why did you choose “The Texorcist” as the band’s most recent single, and how does this fit into the sound you’ve defined as the band’s signature?
WuF: We chose that as a first single off the upcoming EP because we think it shows the direction we’re heading and it was a good sequel to “Damage Control”. The song is really groovy, it relies a lot on the rhythm, even though it’s still quite melodic. It features a couple of different singing styles from Kassu and It also has a couple of mood-swings that can give you a hint how the EP is gonna sound.
MS: So there’s a new EP on the horizon; what else is coming up for WuF this year?
WuF: We’re recording new songs at the moment, and we’re gonna focus on the EP for the rest of the summer. We have a release gig already planned. For the rest of the year and the beginning of 2020, we have some really nice things going on gig-wise and if everything goes as planned, it’s gonna be a blast! And we’re definitely going to gig outside Helsinki soon.