Meet The Band: Coronary

This week the Finnish band Coronary are in the Meet The Band spotlight. They released a demo last year, and are working on a full-length. Guitarist Aku Kytölä, bassist Jarkko Aaltonen (Korpiklaani), vocalist Olli Karki, guitarist Jukka Holm and drummer Pate Vuorio introduce us to their band.

Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Coronary.
Aku Kytölä: Sometimes weird things just happen, and like-minded people tend to click together. Me and our drummer Pate (former vocalist of Rytmihäiriö) just happened to meet, standing side by side next to piles of second hand LPs at a local flea market. We started to talk about stuff, exchanged numbers, and within a year we were proud members of a new ’80s metal band called Coronary — except that there were only two of us.

Luckily, Jarkko from Korpiklaani agreed to join the band. Jukka already played with Pate in another project called Mind So Fragile, so it didn’t take that much time to persuade him to join our forces. We got together every Monday to write songs, grew a bit together as a band, and finally found Olli to be our stuka screamer, and pretty soon it was time to hit the studio. The rest of the story is still unwritten.

Describe the songwriting and recording process for Demo 2018.
Aku: Those three songs just happened to be the first songs we finished as a band, and we thought they would be enough to make a demo. Nothing special in the story; I wrote the basic lines with an acoustic guitar – lying on my back at home, binge watching Netflix – and then we just worked on them as a band until we were happy with the results. Then Olli came around and gave the finishing touch with his ear-blowing vocals. The first time he just took the microphone, shot from the hip, and we stood and watched, with our jaws dropped, and all of us knew immediately that he was our guy.

How would you describe the album’s style/sound?
Aku: As ’80s metal as ’80s teens can make when they reach middle age!

What lyrical topics do you cover?
Aku: Tits and ass, violence and bloodshed, cars and women in all forms, basically anything we would have wanted to sing along with during those long and pimple-filled days of our youth.

How did you come to sign with Heathen Tribes?
Aku: Basically they just asked us, and we said scoobydoodah, daddy-O, we got a deal!

What is the status of your full-length debut?
Aku: Almost ready! Missing the finishing touches in a few main vocals and still working on the backing vocals, but getting there. All the instruments are finally done (at least I hope so). We started the recordings a few months back, in early spring, and now it seems we’re finally about to reach the finish line, but we still got a few more rounds to go. Hopefully we are ready before the fall and get the album out before Christmas.

What has been your most memorable Coronary live show?
Aku: Definitely the first one! Pate was so nervous he started to smoke again, did half a pack before the show. And it still went great, the audience really enjoyed the show, and so did we. It’s always awesome to see what happens on stage when you’re up there the first time with fellow musicians you have never before played live with! Things either go great, or then you gotta give up. No need to guess which one happened for us that day!

What are your upcoming show/tour plans?
Aku: More lights, smoke, bombs and flashy stuff in the middle of a full size Stonehenge replica, but before that we might need to have a decent record deal, and by that I mean we definitely need more money. Until that happens, it’s gonna be five guys in their denim jeans and t-shirts giving all they got. Which is lobster red faces, sweat and tears, depending if someone forgot to take his medication.

Currently the actual touring plans are not much to write home about. We’re about to do a couple of support shows for another local ’80s hard rock band called Horsepower, who actually started in the ’80s, but other than that it’s just a couple of our own small-time shows in Finland.

How did you get started in music?
Olli: I started with my mom. She was a singer by nature. We sang a lot together (still do) and she taught me harmonies. Then I heard rock music (Slade, Dio, Whitesnake, Rainbow, Blackfoot) and I could not stop myself. I had to be a rocker. I did my first gig when I was nine years old.

Jarkko: I started to get interested in hard rock and heavy metal in the very early ’80s. There was of course music in the house before that too but none of that interested me that much. Motörhead and Black Sabbath did! It still took a few years to start actually play myself and that was as easy as it could: a friend had a fledgling rock band whose bass player had just quit or stopped showing up. “Wanna come and play? We’ve got a bass and an amp.”

Aku: I just decided at an early age of eight that I’m gonna be a rock star. Then I became one. Easy. I actually have proof of that, I found an old children’s book with tasks, questions etc. where I wrote it down already back then, in 1979.

Jukka: When I was 10, a new guy called Teemu came to our school, and he had lots of cool Kiss badges. However, another guy called Jani told me that Stray Cats sounds way cooler. As I didn’t know anything about music, I just started listening to both. Then when I was 12, another Teemu (in the end, there were at least five Teemus) played the electric guitar at some school party, and all the girls seemed to love it. Soon after that I bought my first guitar!

Pate: When I was six or seven my parents gave me two cassettes, Little Richard and Elvis, and something happened when I listened to Little Richard’s groove, feeling and songs and I decided to play some rock and roll too.

Who were your early influences and inspirations?
Aku: Even though Coronary is based heavily (pun intended) on ’80s hard rock and heavy metal, the very early influences are older than that. No one in this business can deny the meaning of Black Sabbath or Motörhead or Deep Purple. But then came the ’80s and suddenly there was a huge influx of all kinds of metal bands where you could just pick your favourites! Accept were a huge influence for many of us, but everyone had their own preferences so basically we could just list the entire 80s metal band roster here.

What was the first rock/metal concert you attended?
Olli: Whitesnake at Ruisrock festival in Turku, Finland in 1983. Also saw Hanoi Rocks at the same place. Great festival.

Jarkko: There probably were some before, but Popeda was the earliest when I realized that “If that is what rock and roll is about, I wanna be part of it!”

Aku: Popeda.

Jukka: I’m not sure… Could have been Catwalk or Peer Gunt!

Pate: Zero Nine.

What’s the heavy music scene like in Tampere?
Aku: Pretty much the same as in the rest of the country. Lots of interesting new bands of all kinds of metal coming out from the basements all the time. And also the same old farts still hanging around with no intention to leave.

Tampere has some nice clubs and bars where even the smallest bands get to play live shows, so it’s definitely not a bad place to put a metal band together. And of course we have the other end of the spectrum too with a big metal festival and some stadium shows as well!

Who are your all-time top 5 favorite Finnish bands?
Aku: Impossible to name just five, because there are so many: Hanoi Rocks, Smack, Stone, Zero Nine, Oz, Peer Gunt, Lama, Sielun Veljet, Appendix, Kaaos, Tarot, Kalmah,…

What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Aku: It varies a lot, but at the moment for example WASP, Napalm Death, Slayer, Sielun Veljet and Tuomari Nurmio.

Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Aku: Stay tuned for more info! The new record is coming out, and it’s full of great songs!

(interview published July 6, 2019)

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