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Interview with Aittala
All questions are answered by Eric Aittala.
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
If I think back, I was introduced to KISS (while they were still in the original makeup phase) and from then I gravitated towards rock/metal. Of course, I wanted to be Ace Frehley.
It took a few false starts at attempting to play guitar before it took hold as a teenager and has been nonstop ever since.
Of course, like 99% of musicians, I have a day job to pay the bills, but music is and always will be my passion. I’ve always done something related to the band; writing, recording, promo, video, design, etc.
I don’t know what I would do with myself if I didn’t have this passion.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
When I’m not working on something related to the band, I’m working out, playing PS5 or working on my house. I’d say those things allow me time to step away from the creative process so I can come back fresh with a new perspective on something I’m trying to create.
How long has your band been around?
The original incarnation of Aittala was formed in 1991 while I (Eric) was stationed in Holland with the US military. The band was starting to gain some traction on the Dutch metal scene, but, after a couple years, I had to leave Holland as my military contract ended.
I had intentions of continuing the band after I got settled in the US, but, it remained inactive for 15 years.
In 2008 after relocating to North Carolina, the time was right to resurrect the band, and has been active ever since releasing 6 full-length albums (including the upcoming album) along with 1 EP (released in 1993).
The current line-up of AITTALA consists of Gary 'Zeus' Smith (joined in 2012) on drums and Ali Lugo (joined 2019) on bass.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
The band is based out of Raleigh, North Carolina, USA.
Since I’m not from this area, I can’t say there’s really been an influence on the music itself. I’ve actually lived all over the US (growing up a military kid) and around the world (in Japan and Holland while in the military). I’d say that’s been a bigger influence as it exposed me to more unique experiences.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
First, a lesson onhow to pronounce it correctly since I know your readers are wondering. It’s pronounced 'eye-tah-la' with emphasis on the first syllable. It’s Finnish in origin.
The band name is my last name. But, ironically, I didn’t originally name the band. Back in 1991 when I was living in Holland (as mentioned prior), I formed the band with an American singer (his wife was in the military) and a couple of Dutch guys.
I already had quite a few songs written and we were learning those songs as we were organizing the band.
It came time to decide on a band name. We tossed around numerous names, but either the name was taken or it didn’t seem to fit the style of music (sometimes band names immediately classify a band’s genre). Then the singer said, let’s just call it ‘Aittala’ since we’re playing the songs you wrote and it’s ambiguous to a specific genre.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
Here’s one of the funnier stories that come to mind
From Aittala’s second album, ‘Haunt Your Flesh’, there’s a song called ‘Human Waste’ which deals with the daily struggles of life, and for years, it was a staple as the second song in the set.
At one particular show at a smaller venue, We were about three-quarters into the first song of the set and the band, along with the rest of the crowd based on the reaction on their faces, started to smell a familiar ‘sewer’ smell that kept getting strong. Apparently, someone decided to ‘blow up’ the venue's bathroom for everyone’s noses to enjoy. When the first song ended, I comically made light of the situation and it was a fitting segue into the next song….’ Human Waste’
Other memorable shows are the 2 times we went to Europe.
Just the experience of playing shows for fans that are much more into metal than in the US is amazing.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
My favorite venue in the Raleigh area is called The Lincoln Theater. Just a great room with a great sound system that holds about 900 people.
As far as venues I’d like to play, there are just too many to name. I’d love a chance to play in an arena or large outdoor amphitheater.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
I’d say, I’d have these bands on the bill in no particular order:
Black Sabbath (early 70s)
Metallica (1986 with Cliff)
Blue Oyster Cult (mid 70s)
Marilyn Mason (1996)
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Don’t go into music with the goals of making money or becoming famous.
Get into music because you have passion for it.
Don’t trend jump and try to be part of the latest thing. By the time it’s the new thing, you’re probably too late to even try to get on the bandwagon. Write organically from your soul and people will feel it more.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Wait until you’re older before getting tattoos.
As far as music advice, I would have told myself to go to school immediately after getting out of the military and get it out of the way. I wasted a couple of years floundering around in life.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
I’d say all of the songs on this new album are the most meaningful in general.
I wrote the new album, ‘Live to Regret’, during a chaotic time in my life. Not only was it during the height of the lockdowns of the pandemic, I was also in a very chaotic relationship. That chaos fueled my creativity and both musically and lyrically. I was constantly walking on an uncertain tightrope and I never knew when it was going to break.
We hope the fans feel the same pleasure, pain, chaos, and passion that I was going through and infused into the songs when they listen to the album and singles.
If I were to pick one song in particular from the new album, I’d say ‘Saint’. It has the most personal lyrics.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Live, I have to say ‘Russian Roulette’ from the album Effigy (2014) and ‘Different Day’ from the album False Pretenses (2019).
As far as most requested, it’s ‘Juliet’ from the album Haunt Your Flesh (2011).
If fact, the new album, has a reimagined version of the song on it.
The original song was more of an industrial song with programmed drums and all synthesizers and keys.
After Gary joined the band, we started playing the song live using a backing track so it had real drums and additional guitars. So I thought it would be cool to do an updated version with real drums and guitars.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
One word: organic.
As the main songwriter of the band, when I’m writing music, I just put ideas down that I’m feeling; I don’t pay attention to the genre or try to force it into a genre; I just let it flow naturally.
Once I have what I think are a few elements of a song that go together (like a verse riff, chorus riff and maybe some other parts), I’ll put them in a loose, basic structure.
Then I’ll reference my lyric book where I’m constantly jotting down ideas or shaping lyric elements and match lyrics to the music in a way that I think sounds good.
Once I have a solid base of a song, I’ll take input and suggestions from Gary and Ali and just keep working with the lyrics and song structure until it’s a finished piece of work.
As far as inspiration, it can come from anywhere; movies, TV shows, the news, personal experience, etc.
I’ll put those ideas down in my lyric book and when the urge hits, I’ll sit down and use those raw ingredients of words and phrases to start writing verses…then from the verses, ideas and song themes or stories start to shape which get fleshed out into complete lyrics
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I’m not much of a songwriter that is trying to convey a particular message to people. My songs are mostly observational and are conveying a story or an experience. And, since it is metal, the lyrical content tends to gravitate to the darker side of the human condition.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
A band is like a living family and, as most families are, they are dysfunctional. Most disagreements are petty and mostly just getting on each other’s nerves. In general, most things just blow over when you cool down.
Just have to find the ‘fun’ in the dys‘fun’ction.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
November 7th, 2022 will see the release of the band's sixth full-length album ‘Live to Regret’ on Exitus Stratagem Records.
The first video/single will be ‘Collateral Damage’.
We’re very excited for everyone to hear this one. As most bands will say, this is the best album yet (but this time we mean it).
And be sure to check us out:
Music video - “Collateral Damage” at
Album pre-order: https://hypeddit.com/aittala/livetoregret
Album Sampler –