Interview with Ultimatium
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
When I got introduced to Stratovarius’s Visions-album. I then acquired the sheet music book of that album and since we already had some old Casio in the house, I started learning those songs and then making midi’s out of those. Not all of us are full time musicians, I for one do software development for daytime work.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I play a lot of video games. For the lyrics side it does have some impact, on the musical side not that much. If you don’t count excessive use of C64 SID sounds in our latest album :)
How long has your band been around?
Over 22 years now, this band was started back in 2001.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Early days, when we were still operating from Suomussalmi, Finland, which has a lot of forest and long, snowy winter, the nature influenced our lyrics a much, it was mostly winter here and there in the songs. Environment of our whereabouts no longer influence our music that much.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
Origin is from my name, back in the days before I started this band, there used to be saying “Ulti-Matti and his magical toyota”. Toyota was small, light blue hatchback and we used to cruise around the Suomussalmi with it and have fun. I just combined the name Ulti-Matti to something with more metallic ending, so if came out as Ultimatium.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
Even though we had couple of great shows in Hevimesta, Oulu, most memorable was our first show ever. We were performing in our hometown, in celebration party for Marko Kemppainen, who won olympic silver medal in olympics. It was quite absurd really, we playing in front of around 1000 people who were expecting the music to be bit more “traditional”, including the hero of the day :D
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
We have since stopped playing live, but the ones that we did play, old Hevimesta in Oulu was really nice and it had very nice overall feeling. That building no longer exists, sadly.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Probably something like “mosters of prog opera metal” with us starting and Devin Townsend project and Ayreon finishing the show. You could imagine the final song being sang by +60 vocalists or so :D
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?
For someone who is just starting, I’d say make sure you don’t drop out of school for that / get a degree, music business is really hard and if you just passionate of writing music and DIY things, you need a good job to finance the stuff. For younger me, I’d say that learn to let go of band members that do not fit easier.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
As we started in 2001, we’ve seen the evolution of music business, I’d say to myself in 2006 or something like that, that utilize the new platforms more effectively. We we’re not active in the social media when it started and yeah still not that much.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
It’s hard to pick one song, but I think Mindcaptives from our latest album means the most, because it was first very operatic and over 10 min song which turned out really great, so maybe that
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
We don’t play live nowadays, but people tend to ask songs from our first two albums quite frequently, since those are not in streaming services
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
This might sound a bit boring, but it just sit in front if the keyboards and start playing random stuff, until there’s some nice riffs coming out. And then I sit for hours in front of computer making more parts to songs, occasionally trying new riffs of keyboard and then keep just composing. After the song is finished, I introduce it to rest of the band and they throw in their own influences and talent to it.
Inspiration comes from the music itself, hearing it while composing it. I use midi & virtual instruments, so I do all the instrument parts and nowadays even vocal parts, so I can hear the “pre-production” version of the song as I make it.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
On last album, Virtuality, which is story based theme album, I think the message is in being healthy sceptical about social media and technical advancements. On previous albums, themes were bit generic and lyrics did not always had any special meaning or message
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Nowadays a lot less, but there was a time in our band when it was mostly disagreements all the time. That part of the band that did disagree is no longer in the band, so that’s how. When disagreements are too deep, like how and to what direction the band should go, sometimes there’s no alternative to firing members.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We’ve doing a last push of promoting Virtuality, our latest 5 lead vocalist progpower theme album, so we’re releasing two more videos for it, last one came out 3rd of January and next on will go out around mid-february. On top of that, we have new album in the works, but that will be revealed later, so maybe that’s a top for another time ;)