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Kai Hahto

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  • 8 months later...
On 11/17/2021 at 9:23 PM, Spartanguy83 said:

Thank you for this!!!!!

You're welcome! While we're at it, there's a fantastic series of drumcam videos of Kai during EMFB-era Nightwish shows... Worth a look for the weird perspective and to get a better feel of the exhausting solitary work of a metal drummer during a live show.

Espoo Finland 2015-11-13

Himos Finland 2016-08-20


Edit: While Jukka played drums on Last Ride Of The Day during the Himos concerts, that recording was never released for reasons mentioned here.

Jukka's performance was also caught on camera but I doubt it will be ever released. For many reason but one big reason being he is playing with Kai's kit which is different brand than Jukka has as an endorsement. Kai is a Pearl artist while Jukka uses Tama drums.
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12 hours ago, Fugazi said:

You're welcome! While we're at it, there's a fantastic series of drumcam videos of Kai during EMFB-era Nightwish shows... Worth a look for the weird perspective and to get a better feel of the exhausting solitary work of a metal drummer during a live show.

Espoo Finland 2015-11-13

Himos Finland 2016-08-20

Thanks again! I could watch these all day.

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  • 10 months later...

Kai will do a solo show in Helsinki next year, around the time I presume the next NW album will be released.

ALONE - An evening with Kai Hahto

"Witness his mesmerizing drumming skills at Apollo in Helsinki on Feb 3, 2024. "Alone" brings you unique renditions from Nightwish, Wintersun, Swallow the Sun, and more. How? All by himself, Alone! Don't miss out!"

Kai is excited about the new project: "Alone is a tribute to my drum journey. Since the 90's I have toured and recorded with different bands, for example Cartilage, Wings, Misantropia, Rotten Sound, Vomiturition, Enochian Crescent, Aggressor, Max on the Rox, Swallow the Sun, Wintersun, Trees of Eternity, Auri and of course the last 9 years with Nightwish so now it's time to stop for a moment and look at everything that has been done in the last 30 years. Thousands of gigs and around 40 studio albums later, it's time to celebrate this journey, the music and my own 50th anniversary."


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  • 3 months later...

According to setlist.fm, in his solo show Kai played Music, Pan and Nemo from Nightwish, plus songs from Wintersun, Swallow The Sun, Auri and others.

I hope that the official recordings from the show become available in one form or another.

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  • 3 weeks later...
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A recent interview with Kai:


"If someone thinks you can play jazz, then you automatically know how to play metal - it's definitely not true!"

Marika Kapanen  25/03/2024



Metalliluola was watching Kai Hahto's 50th anniversary concert Alone – An evening with Kai Hahto at the Apollo Live Club last February . During the evening, a wide range of songs from Hahto's career was heard, and the audience filling the entire hall seemed to enjoy every moment. 

Hahto has also been in a hurry, because in addition to organizing the Alone gig, the calendar has also been filled with Nightwish and Wintersun's new album releases and organizing drumming lessons in Vaasa.

Despite being busy with work, Metalliluola caught the man on the phone and asked about his feelings about the Alone gig and drum lessons, that is, Hahto's drum clinic.


You've obviously had a busy first year with the Alone solo gig, Wintersun and also Nightwish, how does the coming spring look like in the calendar?

Well, we really got that drumming teaching space in December, so that you can start doing things here. A few guys from abroad have come here for a spin, and teaching activities have now been slowly started along with all the other stuff. 

Nightwish's album is actually finished now. The entire package, cover art and booklets have been handed over to the record company. The album has been mastered and mixed, and there will be different versions, so they've been tweaked and of course the promo photos and videos and so on... And of course there was the Alone gig in February and quite a bit of fun.

To some extent, the calendars are starting to fill up again. At first it feels like nothing is happening, and then suddenly all sorts of things happen again, and always on top of each other, and then you have to try to tear yourself apart in different places at the same time. 


I was watching his Alone solo gig at the Apollo Live Club in February. The whole hall was full and people seemed to be enjoying themselves. How did you feel about the evening?

Well, of course, it's quite difficult to reflect on it, like the whole thing - because it was somehow so deep, and you didn't really know what to expect from such a stupid gig, when rarely has anyone done that.

Of course, troubadours go to sing with backing bands or play guitar and sing, but less often the drummer goes to play alone. There was a small risk in that, of course. And really, when there was all that kind of work before that, the preparation could of course have been a little better. But he did it as much as he could, so that... it didn't leave a bad feeling, but it could have gone a little better. But I'm still satisfied and happy that I survived because there was a bit of a feeling before the gig that "what will this be?" There were so many variables that could have gone awry, but luckily it all worked out. And maybe now there was a similar idea that when NW's new album and Wintersun come out, we could do a few more Alone gigs. Not in Helsinki, but somewhere else. There has been interest in the direction of the promoters since South America, that if we were to take the whole thing to other places than Finland... Let's see what happens.

In the Alone gig, the idea was also to celebrate the 50th birthday at the same time. A bit different than when I turned 40, when we just drank beer and invited friends to Vaasa and that was it. Yes, there's a bit of music playing on stage there as well. There were really funny lineups and it was fun too. But now I thought that this 50-year party would be a little different, the focus would be more on playing the music than on drinking beer. 


In addition to all the band activities, do you also find time to teach the drums? Could you tell us more about this drum clinic activity?

Yes, now that teaching job has been done, whenever there has been an empty calendar and there has been an opportunity to teach here in Vaasa. People have been accommodated in our home before, but then last year in February we started building a 65-square-meter outbuilding. The new building has a large playing room where teaching takes place, and the adjacent room has accommodation facilities. There is a kitchen and beds, TVs, showers and toilets - such an all-inclusive service, where a few foreign students have already gathered to stay overnight. And the wife is a restaurant chef, and she has made the food for the store. So when the student comes here, he gets accommodation and food from us for the same price.


So you have students all over the world?

Yeah, yes it is. There are inquiries, and since the beginning of the year, I have had a German and a Scotsman visit here who attended classes, and then, of course, there have also been people from within Finland staying here who come from other places than Vaasa. So a few have been able to try this new space and have been really excited. They kind of have their own house here.


What kind of students do you accept? Do you have to already have experience playing in a band to come to the drum clinic?

People of all levels have visited here. Some don't even own drums yet, for some it was the very first time with drums, when we start from scratch. I don't have any level requirements, I teach people of all levels. There is no such discrimination as to what level it should be that you can get lost here. 

Younger friends have also been here, all under the age of ten with their parents - a father and son from Germany, for example, and one has then played the drums and the other has just been along and both have been accommodated. All ages and abilities are welcome here. It doesn't matter where you go, even if you don't even own drums, you can start playing here. And after visiting here, many people have gotten the urge to play and bought themselves electric drums or an acoustic set.


A beginner metal drummer may wonder whether to get electric drums or acoustic drums, what is your opinion on which training drums should you invest in? 

Of course, it always depends on the space and where the drums are placed. That if you have an apartment in a block of flats, you rarely dare to get acoustic drums there so that the noise from your neighbor can last longer than half an hour. But of course I always recommend acoustic ones first, because nothing can replace it. An acoustic drum is so much harder to handle than an electric kit. There are many things to take into account compared to an electric kit, such as how you hold the drumstick, and how the cymbal sounds, while in electric drums it is synthetically through the sample that if you squeeze the drumstick a little more, it is not noticed as sensitively in an electric drum kit. Then, when you suddenly start playing an acoustic after a couple of years of banging an electric set, you might come across that: Wait a minute! Now there is a small problem here, that playing this acoustic drum set is actually not that simple. It's a bit like if you know how to play the acoustic piano, it's pretty easy to play synths after that. Or an acoustic guitar, and moving from that to an electric guitar - of course they are two different instruments, but when there is an acoustic instrument, it comes with how those instruments are treated acoustically. When you can play an acoustic instrument, then you can also play those electronic instruments with water.


In 2002, you went to New York to study jazz drumming. How does metal and rock drumming differ from jazz drumming?

Well, yes - actually I went there in 2002 to Nyki to learn from the jazz legends, just because I wanted to study the technical side of what those guys knew. Through that, I did get a lot of relief for my own calling, because there was knowledge of such work that is rarely found here in Finland. In other words, technical hands-on things. Ohan, playing jazz was completely different in terms of coordination, and also dynamically, than playing rock drums or metal drums. So if someone thinks that if you know how to play jazz, you automatically know how to play metal - it's definitely not true. They both have their own things that need to be taken over and understood. For example, in jazz, the bass drum and the snare drum are hit in a completely different way, so that you don't hit as hard as you want, but the nuances are more present in jazz, so you have to play quite quietly sometimes. And also in jazz, the coordination is very different from playing rock and metal.

But I have also drawn philosophy from that teaching of jazz drums to teach the technique of metal and rock drums, and yes, here in Vaasa, I also have jazz drummers teaching. All kinds of guys hang out here.


What are the two or three most important things for a drummer?

Well, of course, when playing in a band is social, you should put your ego aside, and be more of a team player - when being in a band is like playing latke or futsal in a team. The whole is what matters, and not that your own ego is there all the time, but that you have to take others into account as well. Few people want to be with a friend on a bus or on a trip with whom they can't get along when there's too much of their own hexles banging... It's a really big deal, what kind of bandmate you are outside the concert stage for the remaining 21 hours.

And then, of course, there is the fact that you have such an open and humble attitude to doing it, and dare to leave the basement there... You always come across things that you just don't know how to do and don't know, so it's pointless to stay in that basement for too long thinking that "I'm not good enough for this "However, you're never completely ready for everything, so you have to go out and try different things... I've been playing here for over forty years and I'm still practicing every day - that learning never ends. Usually that development ends in satisfaction when you are too satisfied with what you are doing and where you are going. But at least until today, I haven't felt like I could stop training. However, you have to go through the basics all the time, because with them you can maintain the skill, so that you can play well even on a bad day. Even if you're tired and haven't slept well, the difference between a bad day and a good day is pretty small. 

In other words, team playing and humility and openness to doing it, those are the same important things to me. And then one thing that somehow gets emphasized too much these days is that: Learn to play that instrument. No one is going to fix you playing live. Today in the studio you can tinker and fix a drum sound based on a sample and then everything sounds like a machine gun, but then the fact is when you actually play it, you know it might not sound like what you see... Honest training is important, that you learn to play that instrument and don't rely too much on it to those aids, because then when we go to the studio or play live, the harsh truth might rear its head a bit. That it's not as well packaged as we thought. 

I myself grew up in the time of the tape recorder, so when you went to the studio to make the first records, you realized that when the tape recorder started spinning, there is no chance to mess up. When there's a mistake or something goes wrong in that take, you just have to start the song again from the beginning and play it all the way through, you couldn't take it in pieces or take it apart, but you had to play it right on the tape and rehearse things so that when you go to the studio so there is no time to train. And that's how I still train, for example when the new NW was made, there are songs from which we took two or three takes and then it was that we chose the best one. The song could last ten minutes, so they played it for ten minutes straight and listened to how it sounded. It's a really important mentality for me to learn to play that instrument. Because you kind of think about how a record was made in the past, that the tape recorder was turned on straight in the studio and Sinatra was made to sing over the orchestra and that was it - you sometimes miss that kind of thing these days. We have too many opportunities not to play well, or not to learn to play that particular instrument. That technology is a bit too loud - for example, when singing, the autotune thing is annoying, it's gotten to the point where you can hear it within a second of using it. 


I can relate to that, for example, in the media these days a lot of material created with artificial intelligence is used, which takes away artists' foothold and salaries. 

Yes, that's right, it's basically the same thing. Artificial intelligence is starting to creep into both music and image processing, it's so black it's a bit dangerous that no matter how well it's done, it's not a human handprint, which I'm always interested in - what that person has done. Computers and artificial intelligence - they are good rings but a bit bad hosts. When you give a little too much lead to the world of artificial intelligence, I think there is always a small danger in that - for example, if you want to play songs made by artificial intelligence on the radio when they are cheaper and you don't have to pay for the artists, then I think that would be a bit of a mess. 


How can those interested in drum lessons contact you?

The easiest way is to send an e-mail to kai.hahto@gmail.com , and from there I will answer as soon as I can and give further instructions on how to proceed. And there will also be a website for this teaching project this spring, as long as we can take some pictures of this new teaching space.


How did you just become a drummer? When you were young, did you have a particular drummer or band that you admired?

Yes, I did get a guitar as a Christmas present, but it seems to be gone pretty quickly... Somehow it started when I was three years old, banging pots and lids on the kitchen floor. I dragged those pots and all the jars out of my mother's cupboard and rattled them on the floor to the delight of my parents. Thus, at the age of six, I started to feel that now that drum set has to be acquired. And yes, I also played a lot of ice hockey and soccer until my early teens, but unfortunately they got out of the way of music and playing the drums... That Musa then took, and I can't really say why the drums - but that's how it happened, somehow but fascinated since childhood. 

Of course, when I was eight years old, I had Iron Maiden's Killers album, so the cover art was somehow so funny and forbidden-looking, that's when the whole horse business started, because there wasn't any stuff like that on my parents' record shelf, but Elvis and Kari Tapio and other stuff. Iron Maiden was the first to get that enthusiasm for heavier music. The guitar melodies and heavier sound was something that fascinated me, and that's how it started. 

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