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Niko Mattila of Strider discusses their new album "Dominion of Steel" (Lion Music) with Andy Carey

1.    Can you please tell us something about your background?

We met with Eemeli back in 2001 when I became the lead singer of Force Majeure.  Years later, we talked about a long dream of putting together a traditional true heavy metal band.  We started to compose songs while we were searching for the perfect line-up. It took us few years to put all the pieces together, but we didn’t want to make any compromises with this band.

2. I was told you all all huge fans of Manowar, is this correct? What other bands have you been influenced by?

YES. All, except Ville, are huge Manowar fans. The first time we met with Tuska and Marde, was at Manowar’s Magic Circle Festival 2008.  Of course, Manowar is not the only band for us, but we tend to listen mostly traditional Heavy metal, like Accept, Dio, Judas Priest, Maiden, Pretty Maids etc. Power metal bands, like Hammerfall and Running Wild, are also among our favorites, which you can hear in our music.

3. Your debut video ”We Are Strider” is quite a bit funny, how did you come up with this concept?

There are thousands of metal music videos, where the band looks way too serious and plays in a dark industry hall. One of my favorite music videos of all time is Edguy’s Superheroes, and I wanted to do something similar. Unfortunately our budget was a bit smaller than Edguy had. Of course, as a true metal band, we wanted to tell a story about evil rap music listening posers, and a metalhead hero who saves the day. And you can’t make a decent metal music video without some babes in it. If you think “We Are Strider” is funny, wait until you see our videos of “Dominion of Steel” and “the Elite of Steel”.

4. How long did it take to record the album and where did you record it?

The drums, guitars and bass were recorded in a small independent studio up North in Kuusamo, Finland. I wanted to record the vocals in a more quiet environment, so I went to a friend’s home studio, in Hyvinkää. The album was mixed at Scandal Recording Studio in Helsinki. The whole prosess took almost three years. We first started the recording in another studio, but the owner/engineer was much better at billing than recording! So we lost some time and money, and got nothing from it.

Dominion of Steel (2019)

5. Are there any chances you will bring your excellent debut album ”Dominion of Steel” on tour?

I surely hope we do. I’m constantly trying to find a perfect tour we could join. These days, newcomers have to buy themselves to the tours, and we are prepared to do that. But even so, it’s still quite hard to find somebody who’s interested, when you have nothing to promote yourself with. Hopefully that will change once the album is released.

6. A lot of good metal is coming from Finland, a country with a population no bigger than just over 5 million people, how come?

Well, maybe the spirit and sound of metal fits well together with the basic life here in the North. You know, dealing with freezing weather, fighting with bears and moose, boiling our own booze in the heart of the wild forest and so on. Also, it’s too cold to go out in the winter and there are million mosquitoes outside in the summer, so you just might as well stay indoors and keep writing heavy metal anthems.

7. Do you have any special goals with your new album?

Hopefully as many people as possible will hear our music, and with that, we get the possibility to tour all over Europe (let’s save rest of the world to the next album).

  8. Lion music claims you are the next major metal export to come out of Finland, do you see this happen?

Well, we certainly have the spirit, the will and the know-how for it. But in today’s world, you need a bit of luck as well. Maybe it’s our time. After all, Manowar can’t continue forever, and we are the rightful heir to the throne.

9. What is your favorite song off your new album? And why?

Too hard to mention just one. My personal favorites are Strike of the Strider, and Stride, Stride, Stride. The rest of the band has totally different favorites, which goes to show it’s a strong and diverse album, I suppose.

10. Do you listen to and/or play music that is very different from your recordings, and if so, what?

Tuska plays also in a black metal band called Antipope, and Marde has lost of different bands. Eemeli has his power metal band Force Majeure and Ville has a couple of melodic death metal bands. Personally I have a couple of cover projects, but they’re just for beer drinking. When it comes to listening to music, I think it’s mostly heavy metal for all of us. Some Topi Sorsakoski for the rhythm section, and I have some skeletons in the closet I better not share with you 😊.

11. How do you feel about today's music business with diminished CD sales and streaming more or less taking over?

I realy don’t care. I’m just happy if people can hear our music in some form. Or course, it would be nice to sell enough records to you get your recording costs back! If not with record sales, maybe with merch sales or income from live gigs.

12. What are your future plans?

Songs for the second album are being written as we speak. I’m also trying to sell us a small Tour to the Baltic countries and eastern Europe. Hopefully, we can also find our way to few festivals in Europe the upcoming summer. In ten years, we’ll be on a world tour with Manowar as our opening act.