Memoremains from Finland is definitely one of my personal top newcomers of the past years. The incomparable mixture of metal, pop and disco music succeeds incredibly well and their first album “The Cost of Greatness” confirmed the great potential of the band. Lately the band around singer Johanna Ahonen has been active again, released new singles and is about to release their second album.
First of all, thank you very much for your willingness to do this interview with me. To start with, tell us something about yourselves – how did you get together, how did this mix of different elements of music come about and how is the year going for you so far?
Hey! Thank you for taking us for an interview. And thanks also for your kind words about our band.
We started as a band in 2016 when Mikko and Eemeli got the idea to form a band and they invited their friend Aapo to join. We made an application to a musician website where we were looking for a singer and guitarist for our band and Johanna and Aleksi responed.
We never really thought too much about where our music comes from. It’s really a mix of a wide variety of genres and because it’s basically drums, bass and guitar they guide it into the rock world. The rest comes as a spice on top.
This year has got off to a great start, as the pandemic seemed to ease for a while and things looked brighter at the beginning of the year. At the same time, our thoughts are in Ukraine and the people there. The war has been horrible to see and we hope the Russian Government will end their attack. Fortunately, Europe seems to be united recently.
Your album “The Cost of Greatness” has done really well for a debut album. The song “Bring It On” has over two million views on Spotify and a few others are close to a million. Did you expect this and how did you experience the time after the release?
That number is something we couldn’t even dream of. We are really greatufl for those listens! I think “Bring It On” is a successful song in many ways and it’s one of our few songs that I can say i’m almost happy with the end result (laughs). I often listen to our songs in hindsight thinking “that should have been done differently”. But you have to live with it and on the other hand every song acts as a time machine and it’s fun to listen to our own choices and views in that era.
The success of “Bring It On” came as a big surprise to us. The numbers of streams are still unbelievable for a small independent band as we are. “BIO” was actually one of the last songs that got included on our first album. I remember that the demo of the song was just so good that we had to include it to our album even though the plan and structure of the album was already ready. I’m glad it got involved! (laughs)
Speaking of the number of views on streaming services – the album also has songs that have just over twenty thousand views. How do you explain this difference? In my opinion, you have another masterpiece on this album, for example, the song “Theme Park”, which doesn’t seem to get the attention it deserves.
Mikko: I think the reason is simple. The songs on the first album, “Bring It On” and “Lift Me Up”, are clearly so-called hit songs that have ended up on several different playlists and received a lot of listening through them. They are also such songs that seem to fit better into a number of different playlists. I also really love “Theme Park”. That song was born from the head of our guitarist Aleksi and the song is one of the highlights of our gigs.
If you look at the streaming volumes of mammoth bands and compare their hit songs to the so-called album songs, the ratio is pretty much the same as in our catalog. Mammoth bands may have an even higher ratio.
In any case, we don’t want the streaming volumes to determine our band. We know that 2 million streams doesn’t mean 2 million viewers are coming to our gig (laughs). We still have a lot of work to do to make random listeners become our fans!
I agree with Mikko about the fact that single releases usually get more attention because of their hit potential. It’s also a fact that those songs get more promotion compared to album songs because when you release an album you are promoting the whole collection of songs instead of just one single release.
I’m so glad that you like our song “Theme Park”! It’s one of my favorites too because in my opinion the story of the song seemed to work out quite well and there is a nice variation in the structure.
Like many newcomers from the last years you had to struggle with the fact that live shows were almost not possible. How did you deal with that and how did you make good use of it as a band anyway?
It must be admitted now that we felt depressed. We had just done our first tour abroad and everything seemed possible. Suddenly nothing seemed possible anymore and that was as if we were staying in some part. Nor could we have guessed how long this uncertainty would last. We spent time making one song demo, then another and suddenly we realized we could make our second album out of these individual songs.
And it felt like a good idea, as our first album was (at least in our opinion) more of a concept album sounding. Now the next album might contain more individual songs put together in the same collection.
I Remember how devastating it was to cancel every event around our first album release in October 2020. Of course, we knew that all bands and artists were in the same situation but on a personal level it really hit hard. A band could only have one chance to release a debut album and want it to be special. I’m really grateful that so many listeners have found us despite the fact we couldn’t promote the album live. Thanks to all our listeners!
However, very quickly we decided not to rest on our laurels. Making music was certainly our salvation or at least i think so. What musicians do if they can’t get to gigs? Well, they’re making music!
At the end of 2021 you finally got to play a big show supporting the great Battle Beast. How do you prepare for such a big show if you don’t know this atmosphere before? How did you experience the evening and how did the Battle Beast audience react to your music?
Yes, it was an amazing experience! They are one of the coolest bands and I remember watching their gig about 4 years ago in the same concert hall and wondering “would we ever be at the same gig with them?”. It was great to experience that idea come true!
The preparation was the same as for any other gig – at full power! Of course, we had reserved video equipment for this concert because we felt that it was good to record it for video. Also because Memoremains doesn’t have much live material on YouTube. “Bring It On” is now available from that gig and more is coming!
Because of the pandemic this gig got postponed three times before it actually happened. For a moment we thought it would never come true but luckily we finally got a chance to perform at the same evening with Battle Beast. Like Mikko said, the preparation was similar to any gig but of course there was a lot of pressure because we hadn’t been touring for so long end the evening was special to us.
Enough of the past, let’s move on to the future. You have been very active lately and have released new singles. When can we expect the next album? How do you approach the next album with the high expectations that are sure to exist after the first album was so well received.
As already mentioned there, this upcoming album has been more about working on individual songs than on the whole. We felt that in the previous album we focused more on creating the concept and now we kind of wanted to get rid of it. Someone could call this upcoming album a compilation disc (laughs). And maybe it’s also the modern age that guides our operations. After all, all the songs are the ones most people remember bands for – not the records. Although I myself love to listen to many albums and like them as a whole.
Personally, I don’t stress much in advance about success. While it’s a cliché, I think the band’s most important thing is to get music done and enjoy making it yourself. It’s been great to see how our songs have reached so many new listeners and i’m really grateful for all that!
It is commonly said that the second album is the hardest to create but we didn’t want to take stress about it. Before our first album “The Cost of Greatness” we head released a lot of singles and in those processes we focused on one song at a time and tried to make it as good as possible. We used that method on our second album and then just put the puzzle together. Of course many songs were left out because they didn’t fit the puzzle.
After the whole writing process, I think the lyrics have more noticeable concept assets than the compositions. However, that hasn’t been the goal, I just wrote what the song made me tell. The emotions evoked by this strange time and experience are evident in the lyrics although the songs do not directly tell about it.
What are your plans after the release? Are you planning shows in Europe, maybe a headlining tour of your own?
Our spring tour to Europa was canceled for the third time. We are hopeful that the fourth time will succeed!
We would love to do an European tour as soon as possible! We know there are a lot of queues for gigs but hopefully we’ll have a chance to do even a few gigs abroad later this year.
Finally, I would like to point out that Memoremains have their own fan club (“Memoremains Squad). I also received mail from you with my membership card the other day, which made me very happy, thank you very much at this point!
Here you can say a few words to your fans and all who want to become fans. Thanks for the interview and good luck with your next album! It was a pleasure to do this interview with you.
Thank you Sven for this interview! It was really nice to chat and have had the pleasure of getting to know you! We are really grateful for all of our fans and thank you for being on our journey. Memoremains does have its own fan club called “Memoremains Squad” and it’s growing! Members will receive exclusive material from the band to see and other benefits! Take a look!
It really was a pleasure to chat with you Sven! Thank you so much for this interview!
All Images on this page are copyrighted to Anssi Leppänen Photography