„My passion is to create music”: Interview with Anton Kabanen

írta savafan | 2016.09.29.

Anton Kabanen, the former guitar player and main composer of Battle Beast founded a new band, called Beast In Black. Currently he is touring with Wisdom and beside that he is working on his new band’s debut album. Our magazine made an interview with the musician about the break up with Battle Beast and of course his future plans too.

Hard Rock Magazin: Let's start the interview with a bad memory. Many things are said about your quit from Battle Beast. How it is from your point of view?

Anton Kabanen: You know, to be honest I'd prefer not to go into the truth how I see it, because probably it would only start an ugly and endless war of words. But at least to squeeze it into minimum without going into details I can tell that hypocrisy, lying, opportunism and blackmailing was the name of the game. The whole thing was just wrong and twisted and there is no more Battle Beast if you ask me.

HRM: How you felt after this, and how could you get over this?

AK: It was harder at first but the only solution was just to keep going! I got support from many dear people; fans, friends, collegues, family and etc. I'm grateful to everyone who stood by my side. My passion is to create music and I always do it with full heart and uncompromised. So I kept writing new songs and tried to focus in forming a new band/project that would consist of people who's musical professionalism matches – or surpasses – my expectations and of people who would be honest and loyal friends.

HRM: Since than, haven't you been asked to join bands or play guitar solos on albums?

AK: I've been asked but I haven't felt that I'm ready or have enough time and energy to do much 'extra' so to speak. Well, the exception is Wisdom of course, and also there is one small project where I'm going to contribute some of my guitar playing. But other than that there is nothing else. Let's see how it goes after the debut album of Beast In Black is ready.

HRM: Not so long after you quit Battle Beast, Wisdom asked you to replace Mate Bodor who joined the british Alestorm. Why did you accept their invitation and how do you plan the future with them after your new band Beast In Black becomes more active.

AK: Battle Beast and Wisdom toured together supporting Powerwolf in 2013 and that's how I got to know the guys from Wisdom and I liked them. We had good conversations and good time together so it was kind of an easy decision to say 'yes' when Mate the bass player of Wisdom asked me if I wanna join them. Also I thought that it would be good for me to be in a band and do live shows every now and then so I won't forget what it feels like to be on stage while I work with Beast In Black more or less behind the scenes. All I can say that Beast In Black is my priority and let's see what the time will bring. I hope that everything can be organized in a way so that everyone is satisfied.

HRM: When Battle Beast was founded you were all unknown musicians. However, your new band's members are well-known and experienced warriors. Was it a conception?

AK: I knew all the BIB-members from my past, except for Yannis who is the singer, so I didn't have to go to far to find the persons that I like and knowing that they have the required skills.

HRM: As far as I know your bandmembers in Beast In Black are all your friends, although they were in Battle Beast too in the beginning. Why do you think this new line-up will be able to stand the test of time?

AK: It's all about having the right chemistry. When everyone feels comfortable being themselves in the band and share many same values, not just in music but in life as well, that's when you know that there is a strong basis. In Battle Beast for example some of us almost never even hanged out together on our free time because there wasn't much that would connect us.

HRM: Please introduce us the band members, what we need to know about them.

AK: Yannis Papadopoulos is our singer from Greece and Mate Molnar is our bassist from Hungary. Rest of us guys are from Finland. Sami Hänninen is the drummer. Kasperi Heikkinen and I play the guitars Also I do a little bit of singing.

HRM: How difficult it is to manage an international band where there are some members who are active in their other bands?

AK: It's a challenge but the most important thing is that all the members want to be part of this group from their free will. Everything can be arranged one way or another.

HRM: Do you have any advances because of your past in signing a record deal or in organizing live shows for Beast In Black?

AK: Yes, at least I'd like to believe so. But in my opinion what matters in the end is the music. I mean, let's say that we could get a good deal from a big label and a massive worldwide tour, but how long would the joy ride last if the audience dislikes the songs. So the advances are only good if you still can offer something good for the others too, and I believe that BIB can do that without a doubt.

HRM: You use the "beast" word in the name of your new band too. What was the reason of this?

AK: I want to continue my vision which I originally started with Battle Beast. Basically it means writing my own songs with freedom and the beast has already become an essential part of my life. It's something like Eddie of Iron Maiden.

HRM: Will you continue to draw some inspirations from the world of Berserk in Beast In Black too, or you finished with this after you've finished with Battle Beast?

AK: There are going to be at least four songs about Berserk on the upcoming BIB-album. Berserk is almost like a bible to me. (ha-ha)

HRM: What differences will be between your ex and new band in music and in all other things?

AK: The feeling in this group is totally different. And only in a good way. Everyone can be themselves and we enjoy each other's company and I believe people will feel and see it. In BIB the level of musicianship is much higher than in BB. The band rehearsals, the album recordings and the communication is so much smoother. The music itself is not gonna be so different but it's gonna be more powerful and heavy.

HRM: The new songs for the first Beast In Black album are made by you completely or the others also brought some ideas?

AK: I wrote the songs by myself but only together we can make these songs sound as good as they can be. The others usually change some small nuances but those small nuances are important, too. And also what I find important is their feedback about the songs.

HRM: How you go with your debut album? When it is planned to release it?

AK: It comes out sometime next year. No exact deadlines or release dates yet. The work has been going slow because of many many things but we're getting closer to the finish line all the time. We can't wait to get this album done. Personally it's going to be my best work so far!

HRM: Will Beast In Black be a touring and continiously operating band or rather a project with some shows only?

AK: Well, we'd love to go on tour so I guess we will have to make it happen!

HRM: You've had some shows already with this new band, how were they and how was the chemistry on the stage?

AK: Yeah, we've played three shows and they were all good and successful shows. First show with Nightwish, the second one with Sabaton and the third one was at the Tuska Festival in Helsinki. In my opinion especially on the latest show we started to feel the right vibe so to speak. And it was a great feeling to play together with band members with whom you truly enjoy being with.

Made by Savafan
Photos: Band promotional, Savafan
Thanks for Máté Molnár!