AHOLA, officially formed in 2011 but cooked on a slow burn for some years, is J. Ahola’s new band – a band that strives from the foundation of rock and gives to the listener those vibes that the songs made people feel during the golden era of rock and heavy music. The band’s music is written boldly and by experimenting new things, bringing the good stuff to this day with a modern and unique twist and sound.
J. describes the band’s songs as “approachable with catchy choruses but, when giving the songs a deeper thought, loaded with layers one can dig into.” One can hear echoes from classic rock of the ’70s, alternative rock and metal of the ‘90s and the last decade, pop music in general, even punk rock… but one should better listen to the music to really understand what this is about.
After the announcement of TERÄSBETONI’s break, J. found out that he had more time on his hands and a bunch of songs ready plus a bunch of songs coming up. After several talks with Antti Mäkelä (the guitarist of J.’s duo project), J. and Antti decided to found a band. Antti suggested that they should band up with Jari “Jamo” Laitinen, Antti’s friend and, the most important, a bass player. Since the guys had some schedule problems, things evolved a bit slow, but in the following summer they recorded a demo as a trio. J. handled all the guitar tracks, but he felt that they needed a lead guitarist. After searching (and almost finding one great player… but a too busy one), once again Antti had news: he knew this guy who had what it takes, Antti “Anza” Karhumaa. The band was to be called AHOLA. The idea was to play hard rock music with no boundaries, like the great bands did in the 70′s.
AHOLA did its debut gig at On The Rocks in Helsinki in the late summer of 2011. After a few gigs and a few new songs, the band felt like it was time to start rehearsing for the album. In early 2012 all was set and the band hit the Headline Studio in Tampere. They laid down the drum and bass tracks in quite a short time. The next phase was to record the guitar tracks at J.’s place. This period took a bit longer time, since there were a lot of tracks to record, and once again the schedules gave guys some gray hair. After laying down the guitar tracks, J. started the vocal sessions at MSTR-Studio, where the album was also to be mixed. Jussi Kulomaa and Antto Tuomainen did a fantastic job with the recording and the sound. After Jussi’s final mixes, the album was mastered by Jaakko Viitalähde at Virtalähde Mastering Studio.
During the mixing and mastering process, the guys went for a photo shoot with Samuli Karala. Meanwhile, Ville Terämä was sketching a layout for the album cover and booklet. Since there was no idea for the cover yet, Ville was having a hard time trying to give the guys some ideas, but after seeing some extra photos Samuli took of the guys, J. had an idea for the cover and one of the album songs gave the album a title: “Stoneface“.
“Stoneface“ was released on April 25th 2012, being well received by the fans and getting good reviews from different media sites around the world. Also, despite the difficulties the music industry undergoes nowadays, the album hit the official Finnish charts.
After the release of “Stoneface“, the band continued playing gigs around Finland, gaining more fans along the way.
At the beginning of 2012, J. announced that he was composing music for a new album. This time it was a bit hard and slow for him to start writing new material, but he eventually got into the right songwriting mood and two months later the demos he had were already forming a picture of how the album would be like. However, the planning for the making of a new album was a bit uncertain due to the availability of the band members. In principle, the drumming sessions would be done in summer, as Antti was going to move abroad for some months, and the rest would be seen later. Still, everything depended on how many songs were ready and how much the band could rehearse.
In the end, even though the schedule ended up being a bit tight and the rehearsals somehow challenging, everything went as it was planned and in August the album finally was cooking. The band first had a photoshoot in Turku with Samuli Karala, the same photographer they had for “Stoneface“. One week later, it was time to hit the Headline Studio in Tampere once again to lay down the drums with the help of Jani Viitanen . Studio photos were taken by Harri Hinkka.
As for the other instruments, they were recorded in different moments later in time and at different locations. This time the bass was recorded at J.’s place, while the guitars and vocals were recorded at MSTR-Studio where it was mixed as well.
The finished album called “Tug of War“ (including 13 new tracks) was released 21st of March, 2014.
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