An Ode to Sludge: 21 Questions with Amoth Guitarist Tomi Ihanamäki

Poop Culture tried to land an Podcast interview (CHECK OUT OUR PODCAST ON ITUNES OR HERE ON THIS SITE)  with Amoth guitarist and composer Tomi Ihanamäki, but unfortunately due to scheduling conflicts we went with a web interview.  Much of my knowledge of the best interviews in music come from www.metalsludge.com.
It was with that I chose to heavily pay homage to the website that kicked my ass.  So, here is my 21 Questions with Amoth!

1) What are you currently up to?  PLUG YOUR SHIT

I’m composing material for the 3rd Amoth album. Besides that I’m teaching guitar to tens of students. I also teach bands. When I have spare time I hunt down Ganon in the new Zelda remaster and try and learn to use Final Cut Pro X.Amoth-Revengezeldawallpaper1024

2) What continent has hotter women?  Europe, Asia, North America, South America?

Europe / North America for the win! Voluptuous/BBW type all the way!

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3) Which bands were the biggest influence on your playing and the sound of Amoth?

I would say bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Testament. Dream Theater maybe in some ways. Also Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and Vinnie Moore were a huge influence. Strange thing is I don’t really listen to progressive metal/rock that much. That part of Amoth comes solely from the fact that I’m an ”educated musician”, so I have played and studied A LOT of different styles and have a very strong knowledge in music theory. Also I’ve ”taken” many chords and scales from jazz music.

4) Have you encountered any rock stars that deservered a Finnish beatdown? If so, who and why?

Wherever you go and whatever you do, there always has to be one asshole. The only way to deal with assholes is to take them behind the sauna for a good old fashioned beating.

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5) Rate the following Guitarists on a scale of 1-10: Eddie Van Halen, Ace Frehley, John Petrucci, CC Deville, Kirk Hammett

-Eddie Van Halen: It cannot be anything else than 10, right?! A man who invented basically everything when we talk about modern electric guitar sound and stuff. For me Eddie’s guitar sound is the pinnacle of guitar sounds. Yeah yeah, I know there was Black Sabbath etc. before him, but if we talk about guitar sound, (we ain’t talking ’bout love right, pun intended) he invented the modern über distorted sound. Eruption could come out in 2016 and it would be a modern sound. How he did that in 1978, I have no clue.
-Ace Frehley: Naah, don’t really care about him and I’m not really into Kiss. Although I listened the ”Animalize” album a lot when I was four (!?) years old. So I give him a strong 6.
-John Petrucci: This is a tough one. Obviously a very talented player. For me the best part of Dream Theater is the rhythms. Think about the intro of ”Dance of Eternity” or ”Overture 1928”. That’s some cool stuff! But…I’m not at all into the whole shredding side of his playing (although I covered the ”Fatal Tragedy” solo onYouTube. That’s a great solo) and I cannot stand the guitar&keyboard unison shredding in DT or in any band. I throw him an 8 for the highly influential and cool rhythms.
-CC Deville: CC who? Never heard of him.
-Kirk Hammett: He gets shit a lot. But I would give him a 9. I think he’s way better than all the modern shredders combined. Has made his own style, is instantly recognizable and has played a million memorable solos. I would give him a solid 10 if he could somehow improve his live sound. Hetfield sounds always amazing live, Hammett somehow gets lost in the mix.

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6)  Does Iron Maiden need 3 guitarists?  Who would you kick out? Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, Janick Gers

No they don’t. I would kick out Janick Gers.

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7) What are you 3 best and worst moments playing with Amoth?

Best:
-Our first album release
-Our second album release
-Probably our first show ever with Amoth. That was something. It was on ”On The Rocks”, Helsinki. Saturday night and the house was packed full. We had never played those songs live and didn’t know how it would turn out. But we rocked the hell out of the whole place!

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Worst:
-It always sucks when someone decides to call it a day. It’s extremely hard to find new members.
-Keeping your head when everyone says ”you can’t do this kind of music, it’s impossible”. Especially when we started out and had no demos or anything to show what we are all about.
-We were booked on a Scandinavian tour with UDO, but there was so much confusion and misunderstandings so it didn’t work out. It sucked ’cause we were really thrilled about that one.

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8) Have you toured with any bands that were a sack of dicks and how did you deal with the dicks?

No not really so that the whole band would be dicks. Dicks are dealt the same way as assholes; behind the sauna.

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9) What was your job before playing guitar in Amoth?

Studying and practicing guitar and music so I could play in Amoth

10) Preference Time:  Metallica or Megadeth?  Fates Warning or Dream
Theater?  Savatage or Tran Siberian Orchestra?  Drinking or smoking?  Trump
or Clinton? Pain of Salvation or Queensryche? Circumcised or uncircumcised? Shaved,  natural,  trimmed?

-Megadeth, they’re still making relevant music.
-Dream Theater
-Savatage
-Drinking, I can’t stand smoking and don’t see the point.
-Chuck Billy for president!
-Queensryche
-Uncircumcised
-Whatever it is, I smash it!

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11) How much time do you spend a week writing, practicing, playing guitar?

A shitload of time! Basically all the time from when I wake up to when I go to bed. If I’m not teaching, I’m writing. If I’m not writing I’m teaching. If I’m not doing either of then I’m practicing.

12)  Is there any current band out there that should just walk away now?

I don’t understand the current ”djent” thing. So I wouldn’t mind if they disappeared. And I’m not even going start with hip-hop etc…

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13)  What’s the craziest thing you’ve done while out on tour?

Listening our singer f*** some chick for 6 hours straight on a bed next to mine.

14)  How do you feel about streaming music services?  Does it hurt the industry or help?

They’re a double edged sword. They’re making possible for smaller bands to get their songs out there but then on the other hand they’re keeping almost all of the money. Only the big bands can make money with Spotify etc. If you wanna enjoy music and hear it how it was meant to be, then buy a CD or a LP. Mp3:s just suck big time on quality. Even if it’s 320 kb/s, it’s WAY worse than a CD quality. Music has become disposable unfortunately. Because you have every album of every band on the palm of your hand, you can’t concentrate fully on a specific band and just listen 30 seconds and then skip to another song/artist.

15)  What were the biggest changes in recording the new record vs the first one?

Only everything. Well, almost. First of all we have a different singer and a drummer so they bring their own kind of vibe to the album.  Also the studio has a new mixing console, preamps and whatnot, that are better quality than first time around. Then I had completely different amps and guitars. This time around I went with Marshall head and a cabinet. We combined Marshall cabinet with Rivera and got a great sound that way. I used a custom built guitar made for me by my friend Jani Rinta-Keturi, who is now working at Ruokangas guitars. I used the custom for all the rhythm guitar parts and some solos. On solos and lead parts I also used two different Ibanez Jems and an ESP M-II.

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16)  Do you have any plans to come and tour the US?

That would be something! Of course we’d love to! What we need is a proper agent/management company to book us there and around. If you know any, give ’em a call and say that we are hell of a band!

17)  Do you watch Netflix a lot and if so have you seen Fuller House?

Not a lot really, although I have a subscription. Most of the stuff that they have I have already seen. But it’s a good way to watch series! I have not seen Fuller House, maybe I should check it out.

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18) Bigfoot: real or not?

Not real, but Santa is and He lives in Finland and He’s coming to get you all if you don’t behave!

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19)  Recommend me another prog/metal band to check out that I may not have heard of?

Psychotic Waltz! But you probably know that one already so I recommend my friend’s band Malpractice. Their drummer Toni Paananen was on our first EP.

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20)  If things don’t work out with this singer are you open to having me sing without hearing me perform?

Hah hah, no! We would put you through hell with the auditions!

21) Top 3 Robert Loggia movies

Psycho II, Independence Day, Scarface

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A review of Amoth’s new record Revenge is forthcoming…

Thanks for this possibility! Chat you again soon.

Tomi Ihanamäki / Amoth