On their latest UK tour supporting Rammstein, Apocalyptica have caused a storm with some amazing crowd support. Claire Bailey took time out to hang out with Eicca Toppinen (cello) backstage at the Manchester Evening News Arena.

Room 13: How would you describe the sound of the band to someone who had not heard you before?
ET: That's difficult as it's always difficult to explain what the band is about. I think our latest album sounds like a normal rock band with a string flavour to it.

Room 13: It's a great mix of classical cello and heavy rock - do you consider yourself to be a classical group with rock influences or a rock group with classical influences?
ET: I think it's strange as when we first started out in 1996 we were classical players who just wanted to play rock music, but after our 6th album and playing 600 - 700 shows we became a rock band with classical influences. I think at the moment we have nothing to do with classical music apart from the fact we play cello.

Room 13: Do you think you have influenced the younger generation of cello players?
ET: Definitely. In countries where we are better known there are many bands like ours - many of them covering our songs. However they are mostly classical cello groups with rock influences.

Room 13: A lot of European rock bands gain greater success on the continent rather than in the UK. How have you found your success here in the UK? Has it been different?
ET: Well our record company has refused to release the last three of our albums so we are after a new label. It's the same in America as nothing sells there either. It's very different to Finland. The media are very hard here.

Room 13: At Download 2003 Metallica had a secret slot billed in your name. This meant you went on to play on the main stage. How did this feel?
ET: It was fucking horrible!
Room 13: You didn't enjoy it?
ET: Not really because the conditions were so bad. We were supposed to open for them but a day before the show they phoned up and said that it just wasn't the right place so we were moved to the main stage. We didn't have any of our technicians and we could not hear anything so it was really difficult to play. It was one of the shows I'm most ashamed about so I hope we can play at Download this year and do a proper show.

Room 13: So do you have any plans to do any of the summer festivals this year?
ET: There has been some negotiation regarding Download this year and we are playing festivals in Central Europe too.

Room 13: How have the Fans reacted to you on your tour with Rammstein?
ET: Very well.
Room 13: Even though your almost two different genres of music?
ET: If you look at what Rammstein do, their effect is different. It is very monotonic and the rhythm is very coarse. They have big shows with pyrotechnics, where as we are based on the cello and how we play it.
Room 13: So there aren't going to be any pyrotechnic cellos then?
ET: (Laughs) No. We are so good at what we do we do not need them.

Room 13: If you could add any instrument to your set what would it be and who would you get to play it?
ET: I think what we have now is enough. We definitely don't want to have a regular singer as we need all the space on the stage for the cellos! When no one is singing the instruments give us so much musical freedom. If we were to have a vocalist all the time all the attention would be focused on them and not on the cellos but it is cool to work with other artists.

Room 13: If there was anyone you could choose to collaborate with who would it be?
ET: There are so many. It would be so good to work with people from different genres - Gwen Steffani, Marlin Mason or Nick Cave for example.

Room 13: Finally do you prefer Tits or Arse?
ET: (Laughs) Arse!

Room 13: Thanks for your time and all the best with your tour.

For more information about Apocalyptica visit www.apocalyptica.com. Their set at the Manchester Rammstein date can be found here.