TUOMAS SAUKKONEN (BEFORE THE DAWN, WOLFHEART): “This Is An Album That Was Never Supposed To Come Out”

Before The Dawn band photo
Photo: Teppo Ristola Photography

Finnish Melodic Metal band Before The Dawn have recently released their eighth studio album entitled Stormbringers on June 30th. Before The Dawn’s guitarist/drummer Tuomas Saukkonen (also of Wolfheart) took the time to talk with Metal Express Radio about their new album, Before The Dawn’s hiatus, writing and recording with the new lineup, and more. Check out the chat below!

Metal Express Radio: Your band, Before The Dawn released a new album entitled Stormbringers on June 30th, what can you tell fans about the new album?

Saukkonen: This is an album that was never supposed to come out but we are super happy that it is coming out and we get to be back together after 11 years of silence. Stormbringers is musically honoring the old albums and bringing a fresh breeze of air, at the same time.

MER: Between the lineup changes, and the hiatus for you and your band, how was the writing and recording process?

Saukkonen: The writing process was super smooth and easy. I have been constantly writing for Wolfheart and Dawn of Solace during the long break of Before The Dawn, and made 10 albums during the past 10 years. So I have been in a constant writing mode which just kept going with Before The Dawn. I have also worked with Juho (Before The Dawn guitarist and sound engineer) on several albums in the past years so stepping into the studio now with Before The Dawn was like a walk in the park. It all went super easy, and the only challenge was to fit the studio schedules to both mine and his touring schedules since Juho is also a member of Swallow The Sun.

MER: You’ve released two singles from Stormbringers so far, what kind of feedback have you received?

Saukkonen: The feedback has been really good. Of course there was a big change when Paavo (new vocalist) took over both my growling, and also all clean vocals and that has been a bit complicated for small amount of fans in the beginning, but now that we have 3 singles out and whole album actually even the oldest fans have found the band again and also the feedback from the first festivals has been amazing.

MER: What do you see as far as plans for you and the rest of the band for the rest of the year?

Saukkonen: We are currently playing festivals in Finland. September/October we have a bigger club tour in Finland and in November we are heading to Europe together with Before The Dawn, Wolfheart, and Hinayana so we’re pretty much fully booked until December.

MER: Who do you hope to tour with that you haven’t yet and why?

Saukkonen: I would love to tour with Amorphis because it was one of the best tours ever for Before The Dawn, supporting them in 2009. Also touring with Swallow The Sun is and would be awesome, but I don’t think Juho would like to play two shows each night.

MER: How would you describe the music scene in Finland?

Saukkonen: When it comes to the Metal scene, I think it is one of the strongest in the world and year by year getting stronger with more and more new bands emerging. Compared to the population, we do have the most metal bands in the world.

MER: Where do you hope to play live and why?

Saukkonen: I have never played or visited Australia and also never played in North America with Before The Dawn, so that is on the bucket list for sure. Done 3 North American tours with Wolfheart, and each one of those were awesome.

MER: What have been some of your favorite releases of 2023 so far?

Saukkonen: The new Katatonia album is simply awesome! That would be a clear winner for best album so far from 2023.

MER: Which album from Before The Dawn would you suggest to a new fan and why?

Saukkonen: Since we are in a fresh start and new beginning I would definitely recommend the new album.  After that I would suggest the 1st album My Darkness, and then Deadlight.

MER: Since forming in 1999, what have been some of your favorite memories playing music?

Saukkonen: First big festivals like Summerbreeze in my early career. Or first bigger tours in Europe supporting Moonspell or Insomnium. And each time I was in the studio working with any album I have released already.

MER: What was it that made you come out of hiatus and keep Before The Dawn going?

Saukkonen: Absolutely nothing of this comeback was planned and to be honest it was never supposed to happen. Me and Juho (longest standing member in Before The Dawn beside me) were super busy with Wolfheart and him with Swallow the Sun and then Covid took away over 200 gigs from us both. That forced free time gave us the idea to release the vinyl version of Deadlight (original release 2007), and we decided to record one new song for the special edition with the same line up that was in the studio in 2007. That sparked the idea that it is still super fun to make music for/with Before The Dawn but did not lead to any further talks or ideas. Then Paavo Laapotti performed our ‘Deadsong’ in Voice of Finland and pretty strongly amazed both me and Juho. I started to be in contact with Paavo during the competition and after he took 2nd place I suggested I make some music with him for his solo career. When the song was done in the studio I was driving home with the mixed version and then it hit me. This sounds what Before the Dawn should sound like in 2022. That moment is where the comeback was decided without even making a decision. That song was titled ‘Downhearted’, so the first new song written for Before The Dawn was not even meant for Before The Dawn.


  • Matt Zaniboni

    Matthew is an interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He started his passion for music journalism back in his college radio days serving as the Heavy Metal Director at WKKL out of Hyannis Massachusetts. During Matt’s tenure in radio, he has had time working for commercial stations in Boston Massachusetts such as WAAF, WZLX AND 98.5 The Sports Hub before landing with Metal Express Radio. Anytime you want to talk heavy Metal, hockey, Guiness, and dad life, Matt is your guy m/

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