INTERVIEW: Noora Louhimo (Battle Beast)
With their recent sophomore self-titled release, Battle Beast come to be an uprising force in the heavy metal ranks. The band’s new lead singer, Noora Louhimo, was kind enough to answer our questions about the new album and also about herself.
Metal Divas: Hello Noora, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions and congratulations on your new album “Battle Beast”. What’s the feedback so far?
Noora: It’s been really good so far and hope more people get to hear this album and give some more feedback.
Metal Divas: I had a blast listening to the album and reviewing it. Was it fun to record? Can you share any details about the process?
Noora: It was really hard work in short amount of time. Took about two weeks all together to record the vocals. It was very stressful and ”painful” time for everyone and especially for Anton. But when we got the album done all we had to do was wait the album to come out. This was the first time Battle Beast had done it’s album all by itself.
Metal Divas: It’s hard to tell if this is a concept album or not. What’s up with the Beast in your universe?
Noora: The songs are made of three different categories. One is the fantasy world that Anton has created where the beast is fighting against the machines and has lot of other adventures.
Metal Divas: Who’s the anime/manga fan in the band? There are clearly influences from “Berserk” in “Battle Beast”, especially “Golden Age”, “Kingdom” and “Fight, Kill, Die”. Am I right?
Noora: Anton is the anime/manga freak in this band but all the other members have also watched ”Berserk” and other stuff. And you are right: Anton wrote those songs you mentioned about ”Berserk”, there’s still one more song which is ”Out of control” about the series.
Metal Divas: Would you mine telling us a little bit about each one of the songs and which one is your favorite?
Let It Roar: Energetic, powerful, full of strong feelings (my favorite)
Into the Heart of Danger: Strong 80’s vibe, reminds a little bit of the song ”Eye of the tiger”, catchy chorus
Out on the Streets : very mainstream, catchy song all the way through
Raven: Quick tempo, attacking, doesn’t leave you cold-kind of a song
Over the Top: again a song with 80’s vibes, simple, makes you want to sing along (in my opinion), (my 2nd favorite)
Black Ninja: Mystic, sexy and powerful. Black Ninja is one of the characters in the world where the Beast fights against the machines.
Out of Control: One of the songs about ”Berserk”, the inspiration for this song came from the 3 last parts of the series.
Fight, Kill, Die: Is about Guts’s lifestyle in ”Berserk”, totally awesome head banging song.
Golden Age: Instrumental, beautiful and calm intro for ”Kingdom” which is about ”Berserk” too.
Kingdom: Is about Griffith’s (The White Hawk) dream to conquer the world no matter what it takes. Again lot of headbanging and fists going up :)
Machine Revolution: This one tells a story from ”The beast’s” world where the machines are dominating the humankind.
Neuromancer: Based on the cyberpunk novel that was written in 1984 by William Gibson. Has a sci-fi/robotic atmosphere in it.
Rain Man: This one is actually the only song that is about Anton’s life. You have to ask more specific details from him. Same kind of a powerful song as ”Raven”.
Shutdown: A song about the machines and cyberworld. Sticks into your mind like desease!
Metal Divas: Noora, let’s talk about you for a minute. You are Battle Beast’s new lead singer and it seems that it all happened pretty quick. How did you end up in the band and what did you do before?
Noora: Last years September (2012) I got a call from Anton that they want me to join Battle Beast. I had heard their music and loved the sound and the vocals so the next day I called Anton and said I’m in. Anton found me by accident on YouTube when he was searching for the new vocalist. He had been looking for a vocalist male or female no matter only thing mattered was can that one sing his songs without compromises.
I’ve been singing since I was 4 years old. While being a huge fan of heavy metal of 80’s and a teenager I had some classical singing lessons when I was 16 years old. Then at the age of 19 I started studying music in pop/jazz-line. At the same time I started doing some jam sessions at bars. There I found my first band (Admiral Octopus) in the “Bluesbar“. We used to play rock and blues music from 60’s-70’s and Janis Joplin was the reason I got the rasp in my voice.
After Admiral Octopus in 2011 I took part in a singing competition (Wanna be a rock n’ roll star) at Henry’s pub of Tampere and won it with Janis Joplin’s “Piece of my heart“. That’s how my single “Relax” was born. So that’s about it with my history before ”Battle Beast”.
Metal Divas: While reviewing “Battle Beast” I described you as “an eruptive blond temptation, detonating anthems one after the other with meteoric force.” Does this apply to your personal life?
Noora: Well, I am a ”wildchild” but I got this calm side of me too :)
Metal Divas: You have a powerful, characteristic voice that fits the music very well. In fact, it’s a perfect match if you ask me. What do you do to keep it in shape?
Noora: I do different exercises with my voice and rest it when needed and a lot more. Working out is very important part of keeping the instrument in a good shape.
Metal Divas: Your sound and the way you sing is very classic heavy metal. What are your influences and was this done on purpose on the record?
Noora: Everything that’s done in the record is done by purpose. My influences: Ann Wilson is the biggest idol for me after Janis Joplin. I got influences from many singers for example Whitney Houston, Bonnie Tyler, Tina Turner, Ann Wilson, Janis Joplin, Etta James, Robert Plant, Freddie Mercury, Ronnie James Dio, Bruce Dickinsson, Blackie Lawless, Robert Halford etc. The list is endless.
Metal Divas: Back to the album, there are many futuristic/cyber hints in the music but also on the cover. Please tell us more about the artwork.
Noora: The artwork was done by Claudio Bergamin from Chile, he is one of the most talented artists I’ve ever known. Actually he send a message to Anton and asked if he could do the artwork for our next album. We are definitely going to use him in the future too. The artwork, as you can see, is based on the world where the beast fights against the machine. The lioness in the picture is Claudio’s idea. Perhaps we’re gonna use it some day in our lyrics, you never know.
Metal Divas: “Battle Beast” sounds much better than “Steel” to me. Are you guys satisfied with the production? Were you able to achieve the sound you had in mind?
Noora: Pretty close, I think. But this was our first self-produced album so everything was learning and doing mistakes. The 3rd album is going to be even better for sure.
Metal Divas: How’s the support from your label and is there a tour scheduled to promote the album?
Noora: The support has been good and we are going on a tour with Powerwolf next september.
Metal Divas: Alright Noora, let’s wrap it up. I have one more question… where and how did you learn to do these unearthly high screams? Is there something in the water in Finland?
Noora: Haha! We just tried different things in the studio and found different screams and sounds. You know this was my first ever singing heavy metal even though I’ve been listening to it since I was 16 years old. Maybe Ronnie James Dio and Blackie Lawless and Robert Halford has something to do with it ;)
Metal Divas: Noora, thanks so much for this interview. Metal Divas wish you best of luck and success with “Battle Beast”. The final words belong to you.
Noora: Thank you for the interview, it was my pleasure. All the readers of Metaldivas.com, go get your own ”Battle Beast” , come to our shows and let’s release the beast!!!! Grraauuhh!!!
Battle Beast is:
Anton Kabanen – Guitar, lead & backing vocals
Noora Louhimo – Lead vocals
Eero Sipilä – Bass, backing vocals, narrator voice
Janne Björkroth – Keyboards, orchestrations & backing vocals
Juuso Soinio – Guitar
Pyry Vikki – Drums