The Epic AOR Melodies of Imperium
The Epic AOR Melodies of Imperium
Imperium is the solo project of Finnish drummer Mika Brushane, and the latest masterwork entitled Heaven Or Hell is now available from AOR Heaven. All the lead vocals and guitars found within the realm of Heaven Or Hell are played by various extremely talented musicians from the rock/metal scene all over the world, including Robban Ernlund (Treat), Markku Kuikka (Agonizer, Kenziner, The Ragged Saints), Stefano Lionetti (Lionville), Mikey K Nilsson (Sapphire Eyes), Erkka Korhonen (Dark Sarah, Urban Tale), and Robbie LaBlanc (Blanc Faces). Highwire Daze recently caught up with the one and only Mika Brushane to discuss his vast and epic career in music as well as the glorious auditory odyssey that is Heaven Or Hell. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Imperium, and how long the band has been together.
I’m Mika Brushane, the “Mastermind” behind Imperium. I write all the songs and lyrics and I play all the drums, keyboards and VST-bass, I also sing backing vocals. Imperium is not so much a band as it is a studio project. I released the first Imperium song back in 2012.
Where are you based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
I’m working from my studio in Vantaa, Finland and the music scene here is quite good, we have a decent amount of live venues around here.
How did you wind up signing with AOR Heaven?
After we sold STRIKE albums via AOR Heaven in 2013, I contacted the label to see if they were interested in signing my “solo project” Imperium, and the rest is history.
Is there any overall story or concept behind the Heaven Or Hell album title?
No, not really… the concept was to make a consistent album!
Select two songs from Heaven Or Hell and what inspired the lyrics.
Vision In A Dream and Time Is Up, they are both about climate change and what we are doing about it and how there still are people that don’t think it’s real!
Who did the cover art for Heaven Or Hell and how much input did you have on it?
I did it myself.
How did Robban Ernlund of the legendary Treat become involved in the recording and what was it like working with him?
I have been a huge TREAT fan since 1985 and when I wrote the song Dreaming On, I thought that it had a TREAT vibe and then had to contact Robban and fortunately he wanted to sing it! 😊 The collaboration was easy as I also speak Swedish so we talked over the phone about the songs and then Robban recorded his parts himself at his home studio in Sweden.
Stefano Lionetti from Lionville also appears on the album. What was it like working with him?
It was very nice, he is a truly gifted musician and he understood immediately how to compliment the songs with his awesome guitar playing!
Labelmates Markku Kuikka of The Ragged Saint and Mikey K Nilsson of Sapphire Eyes also appear on Heaven Or Hell. What was it like working with them?
I have worked with Markku on all Imperium’s three albums and working with him is always easy, I know in advance that whatever he does is going to be good! This was the first time I worked with Mikey, but it felt liked we worked together for years… He also understood immediately what I had envisioned for the guitar tracks and delivered just that!
What has it been like to record and release new music in the middle of a pandemic and so much social unrest in the world?
Well, awesome and weird! 😉 Awesome because the situation with the pandemic limits where you can go and what you can do, so I had more time at the studio. Weird because the studio sessions where I had musicians actually here in the studio we had to stay 6 feet apart from one another. But I think it was a good time to release the album now because I think that people are listening to more music now!
Has Imperium ever played live or would like to do so in the future?
No, this has always been a studio project with changing musicians and many of them are from around the world so live practicing and performing would be quite difficult.
One of your melodic rock releases was with Strike on the album We’re Back. What was it like working with them and how did it influence the beginnings of Imperium?
Yeah, making the STRIKE album was awesome! It was so nice to make an album with the guys you started with in 1985! The band went on a “break” in 1991 and the after 20 years we started to record the We’re Back album in 2011. I wrote a few songs for that album and all of them did not make it to the album so I started to think what I could do with them and I also wanted to write more music, so that’s how I came up with a studio project called IMPERIUM!
What was it like being an 11-year musician playing in your father’s band and what type of music did you play?
It was interesting I must say, I went to school during the days and played live gigs in the evenings! It was great to be able to play along side my father and actually my grand parents and my aunt were also in the band. It was a Big Band that played evergreens and all kind of old dance music.
Are you involved with any other bands or projects outside of Imperium?
Yes, I play percussion in a big party band and I have another Melodic Rock studio project coming up! 😉
What do you hope 2021 brings for you and Imperium?
Hopefully new fans will discover IMPERIUM so more people could enjoy the performances of the very talented musicians that have offered their time and talent to make this album, and I hope I have as much time as possible to write songs to the next album!
Any final words of wisdom?
I hope you all stay safe and remember to listen to good music as much as possible, it makes you happy and us happy! 😉
(Interview by Ken Morton)
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