PERIHELION SHIP: Interview with Andreas Hammer

Finnish prog metallers Perihelion Ship returned in October with the release of their second album “To Paint a Bird of Fire,” a follow-up to the excellent debut “A Rare Thunderstorm in Spring.” Compared with the debut, the band took a bit different approach to arrangements for the sophomore release, what, in the words of singer and guitarist Andreas Hammer, resulted in “harder to digest” recording.

Hammer opened up about “To Paint a Bird of Fire” in an interview for Rocking Charts.

Hey folks. How are you doing?

Everything is going great! Thank you for inviting us/me here.

You recently released your second album “To Paint a Bird of Fire.” How do you feel about the release?

It is an unique sounding album, both sound- and composition wise. I guess the reception was a little less excited than I thought it would be, but I admit that this album is harder to digest than the first one so that is to be expected.

To Paint a Bird of Fire

How much of a challenge was to work on the album?

It was a very challenging task in the end. Everything started out fine but at the end things were not progressing very well and a few members left due to the exhausting process. The writing was also harder this time as I wanted to broaden the songwriting horizon and I guess there was some pressure due to the well-received debut.

What other artists similar to your genre that are coming from Finland are you friends with?

Currently we are in the same practice room with a talented prog metal act called Keoma and have discussed arranging gigs with a prog rock / metal act called Colonist who released their debut in the Summer called Songs of The Machine.

What is your opinion about the current progressive metal scene?

I guess there’s a lot of different bands doing their own thing and since modern prog metal is very broadly defined, there’s a lot of stuff that don’t really spark my interest. Otherwise I think prog metal in general is on a little hiatus and might come back next decade.

Can you tell me something about your influences?

I started to get really interested in playing music after I got into classic 70’s prog. Before that I didn’t play anything, but I enjoyed a lot of 60-70’s rock music as well as some 80-90’s more well known acts. Then around 2010-2011 I started to get into metal really much and Opeth really struck me and we founded Perihelion Ship with Jani Konttinen (keyboards, lyrics). Of the well-known classic prog, I still hold Genesis, Yes, King Crimson and VDGG in very high regard.

What are you listening to these days?

Mostly underground metal and prog/avant-garde.

Perihelion Ship band

Your 5 favourite records of all the time?

Tough question. For now let’s say GenesisSelling England, OpethStill Life, DisillusionBack to Times of Splendor, AgallochMarrow of The Spirit and YesClose To the Edge. Changes every once in a while.

Can you tell me a little bit more about the gear you use to record “To Paint a Bird of Fire”?

Drums we recorded with our producer/engineer’s gear: He has excellent gear from Neve Preamps to very high-end studio microphones. We used Impressions cymbals, Yamaha drums and rented an expensive snare. For guitars I used an LTD MH-1000NT with Duncan’s JB and ’59 pickups as well as a very cheap nylon for ‘River’s Three’. The electric guitars were reamped with ‘Engl Savage’ and ‘Bogner Übershall’ heads (Mesa and Engl cabs). Both the Hammond Organ and Mellotron sounds are done by simulated instruments, as we don’t really have any chance of accessing the real versions. And if I remember correctly, the bass distortion is done with a guitar overdrive pedal. Vocals I recorded at home before work with AKG C414 and Audient ID22.

Besides the release of the album, are there any other plans for the future?

Gigging in Finland and maybe releasing some videos on Youtube. We also want to record the third album with the new lineup but that’s not on our immediate sights.

Any words for the potential new fans?

Hope you enjoy the music. You can find us on Facebook, perihelionship.fi and Youtube.