With their brand new album out, featuring some of the largest names in modern metal, Apocalyptica are hot stuff at the moment. Room Thirteen had a chat to Mikko Sirén about the record and how it came about.

Room Thirteen: Your new record, 'Worlds Collide' has such a variety of guest stars performing on it. How did you go about getting this sorted? Did they approach you or did you already have a list of artists you wanted to work on the record with you?
Mikko Sirén: Basically every collaboration has got it's own story. In the early days of Apocalyptica it was actually Apocalyptica being asked to feature on other bands songs. Then we slowly started to think why shouldn't it be another way around as well. With this album we contacted and asked all the guests to make music with us.

'I'm not Jesus' was such a strong song both musically and lyrically that we truly needed some ultimately strong male voice who could carry the song. We'd talked with Corey already way before that we should do something together, so with this song it felt like a perfect choice.

'SOS' was originally an instrumental song, but when the demo was done we started to feel like it would sound great with female singer in it. We were lucky to get Cristina to join in, 'cause I think she's got one of the most enchanting voices.

'Helden' then again was done on purpose just for Till. The whole arrangement and drama we built in the song was done so that Till's voice would sum it up.

'Last Hope' was also tailor made just for Maestro Lombardo's drum work. ( I'm sure you can hear it!)

R13: The new single, 'I'm Not Jesus', brings cellos into rock music in a very subtle way. Combined with such a prominent artist- Corey Taylor- on vocals, was it intentional to make it easier for people who listen to more mainstream music to find their way towards your records?
MS: We weren't thinking too much what we should do and what we shouldn't. I think that for the first time we were able to let go of the dogma of having cello, cello and cello pointed out in every place. We were totally concentrating on music. If a song felt most natural with more distorted sound then we went for it. On other occasions it was just another way around and we aimed for pure classical cello sound. It's very restricting musically to think all the time that will all the people now realize that this sound is made with cello. What the hell! If you think for instance Radiohead's Kid A, would you think that they were concerned that: "hey we're a guitar rock-band, we shouldn't sound like this." Music is what matters most and we were most pleased that we had the guts to do musical decisions and not be afraid of this cello-issue.

R13: What was the most exciting song to write off your new album? Were there any that really got you excited as you began to write and then later to see the song take shape?
MS: One of the great ones was to write the song for Dave. When it was confirmed that he's able to make it on his off day on the Slayer tour we started to work on it. Eicca had this one song, so Eicca and I went to rehearsal room to fool around with it. We had a blast just thinking what would be coolest way to arrange the song so that Dave would be able to do his magic on top of it.

Other important song for me is 'Grace', which I wrote. It started as an electro-dance type of a song and turned into this electro-metal-punk-whatever.

R13: How do you think your fans will take this album? Do you think they will view it as a natural progression from your previous work?
MS: I'm sure some fans don't like it that we change our style. On the other hand there are people who think that we should change. The most important, and maybe the hardest thing is to stay true to your own thoughts and ideas. That's the only way to make music with a bigger meaning.

R13: Were there any songs on the new album that began as something completely different that were changed to work on the new record better?
MS: Most of the songs were re-thought several times when rehearsing, arranging and recording. There are fairly few songs that didn't change at all. Our producer Jacob Hellner made us to question everything all the time. Is the mood strong enough? Could it be sharpened somehow? How could we clarify things we wanted to point out? Is the drama of the song best we can make? ... It was something totally new to us and I'm sure that we learned a lot during this process.

R13: Out of all your albums, which has been the hardest, overall, to get from the writing stage to releasing?
MS: This one by far! It took almost 12 months to make this album. We wrote 40 songs altogether to get this 11 song-album done. We re-recorded basically every track at least three times. We worked six days a week, 12 hours a day for five months in a row. It was hard, believe me!

R13: ...And which has been the easiest album to create?
MS: Though I wasn't with the guys I'm sure it was the first one. I think that most of the bands really create something special on their first album. When making the first album you're somehow naive, you have such strong belief on your visions and so on. So you just play the parts and that's it. If you think for instance of The Police's, Guns and Roses', Seal's etc. first albums, there's something indescribable in them.

R13: What was it like performing at the Eurovision Song Contest?
MS: It was fun! We got artistically free hands to do what we wanted with the music. We thought that it's a great platform to do something unique and something normal people weren't expecting us to do. We wouldn't be in competition, no way. But we'd lot of fun doing it like that.

R13: How did it feel to see Lordi win for your country last year? I tuned in for a little of the event and it brilliant to see an act with a little more bite win for a change!
MS: For sure it was great!! It was nice to have something completely different for a change. But to be honest I'm not the biggest fan of that competition. If you think the history of the contest, basically there's been only two remarkable bands who've come to publicity out of it: ABBA and Lordi. (Celine is known for other reasons...) So I don't find it to be a musically important event in any way.

R13: Can you give us 3 reasons why people should see you live on your next tour?
MS: I think that we're highly energetic band on stage and I think one of our qualities is that we can give 100% presence basically every night. I'm also really pleased with our new stage design. It's totally different compared to the previous tour and I'm sure it's one element more to take us to next level. We've also worked hard with the sound system, pick-ups and amplification, to gain same strong sound as is heard on the new album. So, see you on tour!

R13: And finally, would you ever consider recording a track with Harptallica (http://myspace.com/harptallica) ? Are there any other unusual cover bands that you think R13 should check out?
MS: I've heard of the band before and I find it really entertaining. At this point I'd say no for co-operation, but never say never. Much weirder things have happened.