Interview with Tarmo Kellomäki – Finnish modern rock band Frail
Hey Tarmo nice to meet you and I’m glad you discovered my page.
First of all please introduce your band Frail. Who are the band members, how did you meet up?
Frail is a Finnish modern rock band and our music is a combination of American style melodies, catchy choruses and low-tuned metal(ish) guitars. The best definition of our music I heard, was that we are like “Sunrise Avenue on steroids”.
Frail consists of four members:
Tarmo Kellomäki – vocals, guitar
Joel Hekkala – lead guitar, screams
Otto Kulhomäki – bass
Nikke Karaksela – drums
There have been many former members in the band and I am the only original band member currently. After having a decade-long hiatus, I gathered the band back to live. Most of the former members did not have the time to put to the band, so we ended up having a new lineup. I knew the new guys from other music projects and Joel used to be a gig guitarist for Frail in the past. But we are great friends with the former members and they are fully supporting us, which is a heartwarming thing.
By the way how did you come up with the bandname Frail?
Back in the days, the initial idea behind the band name Frail, was that it constitutes the frailty of life. For youngsters on the verge of adulthood, the concept of course sounded edgy, somewhat tough and most importantly catchy (like a real rock name should!), but little did these youngsters know about the real frailty of life.
Now when decades have gone by, the name Frail, that I personally used to almost hate at some point, has become more and more relevant. Why? Well, for starters one starts feeling the frailty in one’s body flavored by the looming (but astonishing!) silverfox look. Still that doesn’t compare to the realization on how much pain, struggle and sorrow come on one’s way during this life. Life can be a full-blown war against the human depravity. And unfortunately some get more burden than others, but still everyone gets their fair share. That’s what makes human life so frail.
Which musicians influenced you the most in finding your own „Frail“ style?
Originally I wanted to have an American style mainstream rock band. The first songs I wrote were pop-rock, not that hard rock. I listened to bands like Lifehouse, Goo Goo Dolls and The Calling. But pretty soon I found bands like Puddle of Mud, Blindside, Creed, Nickelback, Deftones and Linking Park that started to change Frail’s music to more hard sounding.
At some point I hanged around a lot with metalheads and found myself listening Soilwork, In Flames and even Fear Factory. 😀 Fear Factory.. can you believe it!
All in all, Frail’s music is built around catchy American style pop melodies, groovy (nu-)metalish rhythms and broadly used vocal harmonies. But we like to try out different things without thinking too much.
With your latest single „Come Back To Me“ you get compared to Samu Haber respectively HIM. How do you feel about it?
Well it’s true that I hear that a lot. It’s pretty weird, because I think I don’t sound Samu that much. Maybe we both have pretty strong low-register in our voice, so that makes the comparison true. But of course I admire such a comparison. When it comes to HIM, it is true that Come Back to Me has similarities to some HIM songs. But I don’t think the other songs have that much similarities. Personally I respect Ville Valo / HIM a lot, so of course that’s nice to hear.
How do you usually compose your songs? Are the lyrics inspired by your life experiences?
90% of the songs starts by from a chorus melody that starts playing in repeat in my head. Many times I go for a walk with my dog and start forming the song in my head. I use my phone to record melodies, riffs and rhythms I produce with my mouth. 😀 Sometimes after the walk, the main skeleton of the song is ready.
I am pretty goal-oriented when it comes to composing or making lyrics. „Now I make a song. Period!“ That doesn’t mean the song wouldn’t change it’s form anymore… I can have 3 to 5 different versions of choruses if I am not happy with the first one.
Back in the days, I really didn’t care that much what the lyrics are about. But nowadays I want to write on things that have meaning. The topics might be from my own life, from my friends life or they are just observations from the world.
I guess the song „Save a Life Tonight“ is very personal for you. What are your thoughts and how is it now for you when you perform this special song live on stage?
SALT is very personal song to me, since it is about my oldest son’s heart issues and the feelings I experienced when he was taken to an open-heart surgery. It is a family song because my second oldest son played the distorted guitars on the album.
Usually I want to tell about the song before we play it on gigs. It usually stops me and sometimes I have to hold myself from visible emotions.
You just released your second album. It’s available on the major streaming services but also as CD. How is the response so far to it?
Honestly I have received 99% great feedback. This might sound a little arrogant, but I know this is a great album and we are very proud of it. So if you like this music genre, one should definitely check this out.
I am still waiting for reviews of the album. Let’s see what the critics say about it.
It’s available on bandcamp: https://frailofficial.bandcamp.com/album/stand-by-me-in-the-storm
You did a release concert in Jyväskylä. How was it to play the new songs live for the first time? Do you have a favorite one to perform live?
Well we have had 5 shows during the winter, so this was not the first time we played the songs. But of course it was great to play those in one of the most legendary rock clubs in Finland. Usually those songs that have suitable tempo / rhytm to bang one’s head are my favourite ones. Maybe Kiss Goodbye, Mirror and Children of Depravity are best to that purpose.
You’re going to play more shows in september in Finland. What about some gigs abroad? Which would be your favorite band to play with or go on tour?
That’s a tough one. I haven’t really thought about that. Selfishly speaking, it would be nice to support some big names to reach their fans. 😀 Blind Channel might be a good candidate for that!
Going to play a concert or being in the studio many unexpected things can happen. Can you remember a funny or weird situation from your past you want to share with us?
When we were recording „Stand By Me In The Storm“ and had just finished all guitar recordings, his Mesa Boogie almost caught fire. I mean literally! Smoke was pouring out of the amp and Joel had to run out from the studio with the amp. That was scary but hilarious.
There are many unexpected things that have happend in the shows. One thing that pops out to my mind is when our former bass player’s knee got dislocated during a show. We had to stop the show and say to the mic: „Call an ambulance!“
Last but not least what are your favorite hobbies if you want to relax and get your mind free from everything?
Well I have pretty hectic work, so I really don’t have time for other things in my sparetime than music. But I try to keep fit at least to some level and I like running and going to gym.
On which social media channels can everyone find you?
Well you can find us on:
Is there anything else you want to let us know?
Well we want to thank everyone who has supported us, listened us and come to our shows! As a small band, one has to do a lot of work to get one’s message out, so we would appreciate if all of our fans could spread the message from our music.
Thank you so much for your time. I wish you much success with your new album and hope to see you on stage soon here in Germany!
That’s the plan for the future. 😉