interview with Samuli Federley

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Have any of you played in other bands? Samuli (S): Yeah I have my solo band, which is my main focus right now. Then Reversion which isn't active right now but will come back. I also play in Standing Ovation and do lots of guest tracking and solos for other bands.
How is it that you started playing music? S: Well my dad plays guitar so I think that has probably been the main thing that got me into music. Even tough he's a guitarist I was interested in piano at first. So I had a cheap keyboard in age of 8 or so and really enjoyed playing that. Then, I got interested in playing drums and took lessons for couple of years. I still do play both of those instruments. Finally in age of 10 I got into guitar and played same time all these three instruments. Soon it got more serious and we established our first band with my buddies.
Basically I was playing in a band before I even knew how to play. So soon we found out that it might sound better to actually practice our instruments to sound cool.
What are your names? / Who plays what? / How old are you? S: So my name is Samuli Federley and when doing my solo songs live I use on drums Rolf Pilve (Stratovarius), on bass Jaakko Nikko and on vocals Mari M and other guest musicians. I'm 34 years old and the other guys are about the same age as I am.
Have you had other previous members? S: On my album, Quest For Remedy, I had three guest vocalists. Aleksi Parviainen (Malpractice, ex-Reversion), Keijo Niinimaa (Rotten Sound) and Mari M. In Reversion we had multiple member changes before finding the perfect line-up.
Did you make music even when you were young? S: Yes. I consider myself first and foremost as a song writer. Even when I was a little kid I was singing my own melodies to my cassette player. As I mentioned, I was in a band from the day one and we played first cover but soon started to write our own material in  age of 12. Before that I was making my own songs with my keyboard and when drumming, I was imaging I was playing with a song. You know not just playing a beat but imaging there would be a whole band with me. Luckily that came reality soon.
Where are you from? S: I'm from Southern Finland, Vantaa. Later on I moved to Helsinki, the capital of Finland and nowadays I live in Espoo. This is the capital are of Finland. I like it here.
What year did the band form? S: I started to do my solo stuff in 2010. My dream had always been to release a solo album so then I felt the time was right. Reversion was formed in 2005 and the musical style between these two is quite similar since I am the composer in both groups.
What's your style of genre? S: I would say that it's metal but not just that. You know I love all music and the genre doesn't mean much to me. The most important thing is to have a good song. So I like to incorporate some fusion, classical, cinematic and pop influences in my music. But metal is the core of my music. Some people call it progressive metal but I try to avoid that term. Surely there are those elements and some shreddy stuff too but there's lot more in it.
What inspires you? S: Everything. Other bands, books, movies, players, news, you name it. I do majority of my composing in my head while walking in the forest so I have to say the main influence is silence.
How often and where do you reherse?
S: I practice on my own daily. The more the better is my motto. But since I'm a busy guy I don't have as much time for practicing as would like to. Luckily I'm a guitar teacher so I get to play as a profession but that isn't considered as practicing. When there's a tour
or gigs coming up we practice with the band quite a lot. Also then the main focus is in the private practice. You know we don't want to waste anyone's time at the rehearsal room by not knowing the songs. So we do our homework properly and then polish the 
stuff at the rehearsal room. Due to the hectic schedules we don't spend time at the rehearsal room for fun even tough it would be great. There's no time for that so only when there's gigs coming or a studio session,
How have you developed since you started with the music?
S: Haha, everything has changed. As I mentioned earlier, I love every kind of music. It has always been that way. When starting playing guitar I played classical stuff and blues. After few years I got into country music heavily. Then I got into Van Halen and started 
to be interested in metal and rock. I also studied jazz for 6 years. I've also always been interested in technical playing to that has always been there too. When discovering Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai and Shawn Lane and started to practice technique heavily. Also 
Stevie Ray Vaughan had that impact on me.
Do you have other interests of work outside the band? Not much really. I eat and breathe music and that's my passion. But I also read books and and go to the gym.
Are you looking for a booking agency, and what are your thoughts around that? Yeah all the time. So if someone's reading this interview that has connections to those areas please contact me. I've done touring in Europe and China so I would love to do that more. It's good to have a proper booking agency that is able to organize professional tours and things work smoothly.
Are you looking for a label, and what are your thoughts around that? S: Well yes. I'm on Mad Guitar Records now which is a great small guitar oriented company but I don't mind being with Nuclear Blast. :) A pro label is good to have for their expertise and connections. Nowday it's possible to high quality records by yourself so it's good to have someone to distribute and promote it. After that a booking agent is needed for the shows.
What made you decide to make this music? S: It wasn't a decision, it just came out naturally. I really never thought that now I'm gonna make this kind of music it just happened. And I compose all kinds of songs so it isn't just metal. On my YouTube channel there's some fusion stuff, Classical, pop among other stuff.
Do you start with the music or the lyrics? S: 80% of the time music comes first. Sometimes I have a song title or a phrase in my head and I compose the to fit that title or mood. Then I finish the lyrics. Actually it goes like that pretty often. For example I had a title "Hades" in my head so I felt that the song with that name has to be heavy, slow and bombastic. Then it builds from there.
Have you done any covers live? S: Yeah some. Some that comes into my mind are Cowboys From Hell by Pantera, Euphoria by Loreen, Erotomania by Dream Theater and once we did a Metallica cover gig covering two hours of Metallica's music.
What language do you sing in? S: In English so everybody can understand it.
What are the least and most people to attend one of your gigs? S: I've done many festival gigs so there it has been thousands of people and the least must be something like 10. Usually it's ok. It depends on the size of place. If it's a small venue but packed with 100 people then it's great. 
What ages are most of your concert attendants? S: I guess between 20-40. When I was touring in China there was whole families in the audience. From little kids to grandma's. 
Do you always play the same songs live, or do you vary? S: When touring we mix up the set list little bit. Not too much because the songs are really complex and can't practice all of our material for one tour. So we change song or two on each gig. Also the type if the show might require different songs. For example when playing at a festival it isn't necessarily wise to play 20 minute epics. We keep it there tight and heavy.
What was your first gig like? S: My first gig was in age of 12 in front of 600 people so it was terrifying. I somehow pulled it off and it took me quite lot of time to get comfortable on the stage. Nowadays I enjoy it really much.
What was your latest gig? S: My latest gig was at the most legendary venue in Finland called Tavastia. You know for example Dream Theater, Children of Bodom and 1000 of others have played there. We had a record releasing show there with Standing Ovation and the gig was excellent. Big show and a cool audience.
Have you had to cancel a gig? S: I try to avoid that to the very end. Actually I don't remember I have ever cancelled a gig. I have been very sick on the stage but show must go on. Once I had a solo gig coming up with drummer and bass player and they couldn't make it so I did the gig alone with backing tracks.
Where do you plan to gig the comming year? S: There's already some really nice gigs being booked for this year in Finland. I'm also planning a US tour and some gigs in Estonia. So if those would work out it would be excellent. I also do clinics and private shows so those really cool too!
When did you start to sell merchandise, and what do you have for sale? S: We've had some t-shirts and bags for like 4 years. I also sell tabs for my songs so I guess those are merchandise too.
Where can people buy your merchandise? S: From my website at www.samulifederley.com and from the gigs.
What do you think about people downloading music instead of buying records now a days? S: Well there's two sides to that. The good side is that everybody can get it easily. I think I have 1000 times more listeners because of downloading so that's good of course. The bad side is really bad tough, I don't get paid from people downloading my music. It isn't meant to be free but that's the way it goes. I just have to think other ways to make money with music. like teaching and doing shows. And you need to have songs to do gigs and to have an audience.
How do you think the music industry have changed because of this? S: A lot. It's is in trouble. Many artist are making their albums by themselves so record companies needs to think new ways to make money with bands. Many bands get their majority income from merchandise sells.
What do you think of my work? S: I really appreciate that you are doing this. Helping us artist to speak of their music and other stuff. It is really decessary for us and it wouldn't be possible without you.
How do you think and know that this interview will help you in the music business? S: You know you never know who's reading this. It can chance everything if the right people are reading this. Gotta keep optimistic.
Do you have any role models or idols? S: Well not role models by idols sure. Like Shawn Lane, John Petrucci, Albert Lee, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Rusty Cooley, Rick Graham, Marco Sfogli, Martin Miller, Steve Vai, Eddie Van Halen...
What have been your biggest obstacles? S: I guess the main one is to stand out from the huge amount of other musicians. You cannot compete who's the best. There's always somebody who's is better. Luckily music isn't a competition for me so all I can do is to make my music that is honest. If it's true stuff
there's always people who feel the same and will like it. I don't follow trends and just make music I would like to by myself.
What advice would you give other bands or artists? S: Follow your heart and don't give up.
Do you have any new material? S: Yeah, I'm currently writing my next solo album. It will have some big names on it. I mean guest players but I can't tell those names yet. Anyway I'm constantly putting new songs to my YouTube channel so check it out.
How can people reach you? S: Through my website and I'm also active in social media like Facebook and Instagram. Contact me there!
What are your plans for the future? S: Becoming a better player, making better songs and doing awesome gigs.
Do you have something to add? S: Thank you so much for everybody who has supported me and bought my albums. This would happen without you!
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