Hanna Tsepesh: Moi Ian! Kiitoksia oikein paljon( thanks a lot in Finnish) for accepting this interview! First question, tell to us about Olympos Mons history ,members names and what they Play…

Ian: Well, kiitos sulle(thanks to you in Finnish) Hanna!! Olympos Mons is a Finnish Heavy Metal group formed back in 2003 by guitarist Jari Sundström and myself Ian Eric Highhill (singer). Besides us there´s Krister Lundell on bass and Mikko Sepponen on drums. In 2004 we made a demo which cought the interest of 6 record labels from around the world. Among them was Limb Music publishing with who we signed a deal and released our first record Conquistador. In 2007 we signed a new deal with Scarlet records in Italy and our new record has been out since the third of August in Europe and hopefully sometimes during April in the US. We also have a sub license for it with the Japanese Marquee Avalon.

Hanna Tsepesh: How has "born" the passion for music? when you feel that “scream” inside you that make you and Jari Sundström (guitarist) the Olympos Mons band? Why this name “Olympos Mons”?

Ian: After screaming my lungs out for 3 years in a Deep purple tribute band I strongly felt it was time to do something else...(laughs)! No really, it all started when I was out boozing on a Saturday evening back in 2003 and and Jari´s band happened be there playing. On the break, me and Jari started talking music and what we´d like to do. After that the band invited me to sing a song with them (Perfect stranger) and almost immediately we felt some vibe going on. We had both been in cover bands for so long and wanted desperately to do something original, something to call our own. The next day Jari brought a tape over and I was sold there and then. It was exactly the kind of arrangements I have had in mind for a couple of songs I´d written. Jari came up with the name and we both thought it would be a name grand enough for the kind of music we´d written. I came up with the logo.

Hanna Tsepesh: What are your inspirations to create the lyric's for Olympos Mons?

Ian: A lot of things really, things from everyday life, things that has happened to me, to others and also things I wish would happen to me. But I always transform them into a kind of fantasy poems, so everyone can find their own meaning in them.

Hanna Tsepesh: Apart from singing, do you Play any instrument? And why that instrument or instruments?

Ian: I play bass, keyboards, guitar and harmonica, a little drums too, not very well tho. I once started out as a rhythm guitarist in a band, later on I switched to bass in another line up then back to guitar again in a third line up and so on…! When I did the deep purple tribute thing I played a little harmonica. I still play it from time to time but more for fun. Keyboards I use for writing songs, I´ve never played them live tho.

Hanna Tsepesh: What are your musical influences and the rest of your band? Can you tell some names?

Ian: Well, for me it´s like Black Sabbath (with Dio), Rainbow (with Dio), Iron Maiden, Uriah heep, Magnum, Judas priest, Kansas. Jari´s taste of music is very similar to mine except for some trash bands like Annihilator and some German bands like Accept and Gammaray.

Hanna Tsepesh: Your first big concert was "Tuska Open air" fest in June 2005, right?! And in October 2006 you also had a mini tour in Ireland… Can you tell a little bit how was these experiences for you and how everything run?

Ian: The reaction on Tuska open air was as I remember it, that no one believed it was the band´s first gig ever, they thought we were too professional for that (laughs)!! On our Ireland tour we had a lot more experience, and we felt a lot more confident in what we were doing. We had a lot of great moments with the crowd and fans over there also (absolutely beautiful country).

Hanna Tsepesh: I think the same too, i never been there but i saw some pictures and videos and it is a really beautiful country with fantastic nature! Talking a little bit about your last album "Medievil," this wonderful, powerful, excellent Power Metal with all the ingredients (laughs), my congratulations to you and for all the band , you created a fantastic atmosphere musics around the songs, in my opinion this is a very mystical album! Can you talk a little bit about the album "Medievil"? Something has changed between your work from 2004 to this one?

Ian:Thank you so much for the encouragement, we need all we can get you know (laughs)! I think Medievil is a bit heavier than conquistador there are more trash elements and the symphonic parts are bigger than the ones on Conquistador. I like the sound better also, it´s more rough not too clean.

Hanna Tsepesh: Don’t need to thank me Ian, you have one excellent work, i only talk about my feelings about “Medievil” album! Can you explain how it was on studio? You and the band had everything done (letters, riffs and melodies) or all appeared through the recordings? I know Mikka Jussila and Janne Saksa worked with you in this album right?! Can you tell to us a little more how was this experience of working with these great names in your country?

Ian: When we compose it´s just Jari and me. From every song line to every guitar riff or drum beat it´s always just us two. We´re making demos on our computers of every song we have chosen for the record which we then play for the other members in the band. We rehearse for a couple of weeks and then we enter the studio. Janne Saksa is a great mixing engineer and it was a real pleasure working with him. He´s the type of guy that really listen to what you have to say and trying his best to make your vision come true. Mika Jussila on the other hand doesn´t need much guiding he´s just doing his thing. And as on Conquistador Jari and myself stands for the production.

Hanna Tsepesh: Through this whole process since the band started,the band had some support? It was a difficult journey for the band?

Ian: Well, the journey is still on, we´re living and learning. This is not a very glamorous business as we say in Finland:"artisti maksaa" (the artist pays) can´t be more true. The world is full of fuckers who are just waiting to rip you off, and "lucky" us we have managed to meet the lot of them already. You really have to be a little bit crazy to do this, fortunately for us we´re totally insane... (laughs)!!

Hanna Tsepesh: (laughs) Is a cool insanity! But unfortunately that kind of people exists to try to piss bands off! So tell me how was the sensation of signing with the Scarlet Records (Italian record)? I know that you had some problems with your other Record, and how was to work with this new one? Your album has also been released in Japan, what are your Japanese fans telling about “Medievil "? You should be very proud of your work!

Ian: Yeah we´re very proud of our work! We haven´t seen any sales reports yet but hopefully the sub-license we have with Avalon in Japan will pay off. We´re trying to do as much work as we can to promote the record ourselves by sending copies to radios and webzines. One thing we´ve learned from our mistakes is that the label support isn´t enough, you have to do a lot of work yourself if you want things to happen.

Hanna Tsepesh: Has previously mentioned I loved "Medievil" for me was one of the best albums of Power Metal, 2007! Your voice is even better then before! You have singing lessons? Do you have some kind of care with your voice?

Ian: I have never taken any kind of vocal lessons. But I really think everyone who´s into singing should. I have read a few books about the subject earlier in my career and eventually I´ve developed a technique good enough for doing what I do. Singing is very much happening in your mind so you have to be able to shut out all the bad things going on in your life while performing, otherwise you´ll probably fuck up. I´ve lost my voice a couple of times in the past caused by fatigue, drinking and way too much singing. But I´ve learned my lesson so now I drink more and sing less (laughs)!!

Hanna Tsepesh: (laughs) good lesson! One curiosity… What do you like to do in your free time?

Ian: I´m reading a lot poetry and books, I watch movies (I love fantasy movies), I´m a little into art (computer and oil painting), I sing and write songs (surprise, surprise..), promoting the band to the world, I do a little bit of jogging and walking, lifting some weights or just spending time with family and friends.

Hanna Tsepesh: What are your plans for the future of Olympos Mons? The band is thinking about a new album?

Ian: We´re making new material all the time but it´s too early to give any comments on when it will be ready at this point.

Hanna Tsepesh: About concerts, can you tell some days and locations? In the future the band is planning to visit Portugal?

Ian: We want to play in every corner of the world Portugal included (off course), but our negotiations with agencies haven´t been that successful yet. Hopefully the future will bring something!

Hanna Tsepesh: Last question, do you want to leave a message for your Portuguese fans?

Ian: : Hopefully you´ll like our new record... naa, off course you´ll like our new record, go and get it for yourself and your grandma! Together we´ll fight for the true steel!! (how did that sound??)

Hanna Tsepesh: (Sounds cool and funny [laughs])! THE GATES OF METAL wish you and the band a lot of success in this album and future projects! Hope too see you guys in Portugal soon…

Ian: Thank you lovely Hanna for Introducing us to the Portuguese Metal fans, hopefully we will meet at some club in Portugal somewhere in the future. Let´s have a beer then shall we?

Hanna Tsepesh: Of course we will! Don’t need to thank me, I thank you for this cool interview!

By: Hanna Tsepesh