Within the grandest and most vivid of metallic tapestries, one just may find Dotma, enchanting the listener with their cinematic reveries. Dotma features the stunning vocal performance of Johanna Lesonen as well as a slate of superb musicians at the very height of their craft. Bringing the symphonies to ultra vivid life, Sleep Paralyses weaves its timeless magic throughout even the darkest and intriguing of compositions. From the haunting refrains of Legend Of Blackbird to their magnum opus Kingdom Of The Sky and beyond, Sleep Paralyses is a masterwork one will want to revisit time and again. Check into our interview vocalist Johanna Lesonen and welcome to their wondrous world of metal dreams…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Dotma, and how long the band has been together.
I’m Johanna Lesonen, the singer of Dotma. Our band was founded five years ago, but the final line up formed in 2009.
Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
We are based in a town called Hyvinkää, Southern Finland. The local music scene is like the country itself, small but active. There is a big bunch of high level metal-acts coming out and they keep the scene fresh. Of course that also means that the competition is tough. You need to work hard to get yourself noticed.
Is there any story or concept behind the CD title Sleep Paralyses?
In this context Sleep Paralyses symbolizes the four stories of the album. In each story there is a person who is either stuck in a dream world, or in between the dreams and the reality. In a real sleep paralysis a person wakes up, but the body is still in REM sleep and thus unable to move. Here the term is a bit different. In these songs the main factors are hopes, fears and memories. Somewhere between dreams and nightmares, present time and the past, there is the sleep paralysis. That’s a weird state of mind which you cannot control, you’re totally at the mercy of subconsciousness.
One of your songs Kingdom of The Sky is 11 minutes long – an incredible track to be sure! Have you ever played that one live and what is the inspiration behind the lyrics?
Our keyboardist Harri Koskela will answer this question: Kingdom Of The Sky tells a story about a very dear relative of mine who passed away. The idea in that song was to pay my tribute to him and what would I say to him, if had a chance. There’s a lot of metaphoric writing on the lyrics and it’s up to every listener to make their own story of it. We play this song in most of our gigs.
Please select two other songs from the new CD and tell me what the lyrics are about/inspired by?
Indian Fall: The song starts ”The Grey day, the naked trees” and it really was a rainy autumn afternoon, I looked out the window and saw the leafless trees. I felt very lonely. That day seemed to last forever, and I started to long for childhood. In this song the summer and the autumn symbolizes childhood and adulthood. So quite a cheesy story but the song and the feeling matched together perfectly.
Whispering: This song is about overwhelming fear. When you fear something so much that your mind cannot handle it anymore, you will escape. In this song the escaping happens in the girls mind. She goes to a dreamworld where she hears whispering. This whispering takes over her and finally she becomes the one to be feared. Again there is symbolism involved, and I don’t want to illuminate the conclusion too much. I want people to consider the lyrics from their own point of views.
How did you wind up being signed to Scarlet Records?
Filippo Bersani from Scarlet Record contacted us first. We negotiated about the deal for a while, and finally made the decision to sign the deal with them.
What is a live Dotma show like for those of us who have yet to see you play?
Atmospheric. The music is in the major part. As a singer I actually live the song each time I’m performing it. All in all the show is very intense, we recreate the moods of the songs.
Have you ever played in the States or plan to do so in the future?
We haven’t played in the States yet, but of course we are planning to do it in the future! At the moment we are looking for a proper booking-agencies and contacts to make the touring happen.
Who did the fantastic cover art and how much input did you have on it?
The cover-art is made by Jan Yrlund (www.darkgrove.net). We gave him the basic idea and he did the rest.
You have an amazing voice! What kind of vocal training have you had and who are some of your influences?
Well thank you! I’ve been taking classical singing lessons from the age of 18. At the moment I study in the Lahti Conservatory, Finland. I love opera and many great opera singers like Maria Callas, Anna Moffo and Natalie Dessay have inspired me. I also admire Tori Amos and Kate Bush for their unique voice and way to express themselves.
How did your recent show in Russia go and was this your first time playing there?
Yes it was our first time in Russia and I think it was the best show so far! Everything went really well, and the audience was great.
Where did you get the band name Dotma and is there any story behind it?
It’s a shortened name that we’ve carried bravely from the start of this band, and everyone interested can scoop it from the google. 😉 It has a lot of meanings and the name was figured with a big twinkle in the eye!
Any messages for people reading this who might want to check out your music?
I truly recommend to check this album out because you might adore it!
Dotma is: Johanna Lesonen on vocals, Harri Koskela on keyboards, Leo Saarnisalo on guitars, Harri Koskela on keyboards, Aapo Lindberg
on bass, and Joonas Pykälä-aho on drums.
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)
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