Finally meeting Strato

Here you can talk about Stratovarius and related bands. Language used is English.
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adrian9
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Finally meeting Strato

Post by adrian9 » Fri Nov 29, 2019 6:01 pm

Hey guys, so yeah it finally happened, I did a Meet & Greet with Strato on Nov 27th in Santiago, Chile.

First off let me say this, if you are thinking about getting a Meet & Greet and you're not really sure about it with Stratovarius is a MUST, all gents, all friendly very happy to meet their fans, so go ahead and do that.

Now make this story short, this is my second strato gig, the first one on Caracas, Venezuela (A pretty memorable show) and when I saw there was a chance to meet the band I didn't doubt it.

I have all my collection back in Caracas, so I went and bought some Cds for autographs the same day of the gig and went to the venue, was really looking forward to talking to Kotipelto and Jens, I was keeping it cool until I saw them getting in the room for the meet and greet, I'm a 36 year old now and I couldn't even speak properly, I said to Jens "Hey I'm Adrian9 from the forum" ... wanted to take a selfie with Jens too, but only got Koti and Lauri in the pic..Sorry Jens! I was so fucking nervous.

Image

This is what timo is pointing at

Image

Anyways... the gig was amazing, the crowd really intense, I think the band felt that reaction, everybody performed at their best, Matias and Rolf are great additions to the band.

here is a video I recorded
https://youtu.be/EjPwPHP-OUk

and I have some more pics but I don't know how to resize them here so ...help!
A9

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Re: Finally meeting Strato

Post by robocop » Fri Nov 29, 2019 6:39 pm

Nice! Do you by any chance have a picture of Kotipelto shirtless in a sauna?
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Re: Finally meeting Strato

Post by adrian9 » Fri Nov 29, 2019 9:07 pm

robocop wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 6:39 pm
Nice! Do you by any chance have a picture of Kotipelto shirtless in a sauna?
I probably have them on an external drive, at the very least I can assure you that those exist :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Finally meeting Strato

Post by Pancio » Fri Nov 29, 2019 10:15 pm

Nice pic and I'm happy for you, of course!

I'm following their tour in Latin America by Instagram and Facebook and I can say the crowd is really good and there's a lot of people, even tho the locations seems smaller than what we have in Europe.

The band seems happy with your response and your sing along is powerful (but I won't do a comparison with italians since our skill are on par or even higher 😏).

About the meet and greet I was lucky enough to have a M&G plus signing session with them in SpazioRock Festival, a meeting outside Alcatraz in Milano in 2010 and 2017 and I won a personal meeting with Kotipelto and Liimatainen in Parma during Blackoustic Tour in Italy but, after 12 concert in less than 10 years, is not that strange, I guess 🤔

But no, I don't have shirtless Timo in a Sauna unless we're talking about Tolkki, who post from sauna every 2 minutes lol

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Re: Finally meeting Strato

Post by AAAAAAAAAA » Sat Nov 30, 2019 12:45 am

What an excellent story!!! Glad you had a memorable time. Hoping one of these days to see Stratovarius in the USA again. They haven't toured here in a decade....

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Re: Finally meeting Strato

Post by Pancio » Sat Nov 30, 2019 2:17 am

For what I know about Strato in the USA the actual problem is the lack of interest showed by local promoter, the expensive trip and accommodation and the price of the location and logistic as well.

I believe they want to play in USA but touring there it's not worthy 'cause the lack of interest in Power Metal scene by almost everyone (Spotify country rateos clearly show it, they're much stronger in Europe, Japan and South America and way less in USA even tho you have a lot of big city) and TBH, States are too big to handle, you can not play a couple of shows, is pointless.
Even Pumpink United Tour landed there for 6 shows in small/medium location and, outside USA, they are playing in stadium and so on.

The only chance is, to be fair, Prog Power or waiting, with finger crossed, until their next album.
They have toured a lot after Eternal and they may have cash enough to tour States but, again, it's not only the band itself.
I hope you can have an occasion, of course :)

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Re: Finally meeting Strato

Post by ZenithMC » Sat Nov 30, 2019 12:21 pm

Congratulations, adrian9, on meeting Stratovarius! :)
Pancio wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 2:17 am
Even Pumpink United Tour landed there for 6 shows in small/medium location and, outside USA, they are playing in stadium and so on.
This is true. When I saw Sonata Arctica live, they played in a very small bar, which was really cool for me from a fan perspective, because the front row was only inches away from the band, but perhaps not so much from the band perspective. I'd imagine they perform in much larger venues in Europe and elsewhere, where Power Metal is more popular.

I'm too lazy to investigate it myself, so I'll ask here. Why do you think that there is a lack of interest in Power Metal within the U.S.?

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Re: Finally meeting Strato

Post by NeverendingAbyss » Sat Nov 30, 2019 5:12 pm

The radio stations in the US are a disgrace. Most of them are owned by iHeartMedia, a failing company struggling to keep revenue going. Because of the lack of profits, they had to cut costs so they laid off most, if not all, their DJs. This completely eliminated the variety of songs and bands you can hear in the radio. If you listen to the radio in the US, the big majority plays CDs in loops at a 90-minute interval. So you listen to the same song every 2 hours. This is especially true for iHeartMedia stations.

The constant loop also constraints other fresh bands/songs from getting air time. So new and promising bands don't get the attention they badly need, hence they never grow. You need to be lucky, but most of all, know a good producer who can promote your music. They only care if you are deemed profitable.

There is a radio station in Baltimore that plays hard rock, and occasionally they would play Dream Theater (mainly Pull Me Under), but their main theme are bands like Disturbed, Pantera, Alice in Chains, Korn, etc... not quite progressive metal. They do have a dedicated time slot for heavy metal, but that is on a weekend (I think Sunday?) after 9-10pm.

As far as to why progressive metal never got popular in the US, I would assume that it's a highly competitive market, and air time is key in being competitive.
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Re: Finally meeting Strato

Post by Pancio » Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:23 pm

It's time for some historical notions and sociological theories as well.

First of all, Power Metal came from Germany as a "melodic" evolution of Speed Metal, then spread across Europe during mid ''80s.
Early Blind Guardian and Helloween are a good example of that.
Stratovarius wasn't really a thing at the time but they were active in Finland since '84, as a sort of "doom rock" band (Black Sabbath, to be more precise) but Helloween were pretty famous with tons of booked festival.

Meanwhile, in the US, Thrash Metal became a standard as a good mix between Punk music and British Metal, two of the most famous "underground" genres and a lot of metalheads, in search of something new, found something "extreme".
We could say that Americans like it raw.
Anyway, in the 80's was really difficult to import band like Helloween due to lack of internet and lack of interest by music labels interested pretty much in Pop Music or, at best, Hair Metal.
These are the main causes of Power Metal as a main european Heavy Metal sub-genre.

Then the 90's came and music tastes changed a lot. Pop music still was the main genre but Hip-Hop, Grunge and Rap gained a lot of attention worldwide and, especially, in US.
Once again radio stations and music labels were interested in promoting only music with big sales.
But within mid '90s something changed and lack of musical skills, in Metal, led people to Progressive Metal (Dream Theater) with increasing level of virtuosity (well, Shrapnel Records pushed a lot guitar skills during 80's, Malmsteen became famous in the States thanks to Mike Varney).

Meanwhile, in Europe, Metal developed in an antithetical way with Black Metal gaining a lot of fame and Power Metal evolved in something more orchestral and even more melodic and cheesy thanks to the massive use of keyboard.
Here Stratovarius started with their fastest ride ever: from an unknown band to a multicultural band with really big guests in a couple of years.
Blind Guardian, Gamma Ray, Helloween and so on started touring a lot outside their country and even outside Europe: Japan and South America turned out to be great countries for Power Metal and their fame grown a lot and Power Metal spread worldwide and american bands like Iced Heart changed from Thrash to Power and, in a certain way, helped the circulation of Power Metal music a little.

Then the new millenium came and Power Metal was at his peak, Stratovarius were headlining major Metalfests in Europe and South America, along with other bands like Sonata Arctica, Rhapsody and so on, and they were able to fill big venues, here in Europe, with a lot of sold-out shows but it was too late for US, Power Metal was unfashioned, there, and bands with 20 years of history were almost unknown since nobody really cared.

Then piracy started out as a big plague and music industry changed until now, where financial crisis and lack of budget buried a lot of income making a new records almost unprofitable if not supported by a lot of touring.
And, since Power Metal never made it to the States, this created an infinite loop where bands like Stratovarius (although big) couldn't afford a loss of profit in touring since album sales cannot cover it at all.

Here's why Power Metal is not a big thing there: geographically far away from US and uneconomic since US musical tastes are different from european ones and since fashion is the main engine in every artistic business.

Here's my two cents about the actual situation: music streaming is a double sided sword since you need to turn it into a source of revenue, pushing fans to buy your records so that you can return your expenses and allow your label to trust you in producing your album while handling all the logistical stuff.
Then relying on touring to give yourself an income. And this is really difficult, how can you sell your products if anyone can have it for (almost) nothing?
Spotify is a really good way to promote your music but a big drawback in income and, if not used well, can lead to a collapse of music industry, at least for little to mid artists.

Sorry for the long post but I find it interesting. I would like to know also Strato album sales from the beginning until now and well:
How many copies of Polaris have they sold? Of Elysium? Of Nemesis? Of Eternal? How is the trend? The last data available on Wikipedia is kind of smoky with 2,5 millions sales (but it's from Tolkki's era) never updated in years.

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Re: Finally meeting Strato

Post by NeverendingAbyss » Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:43 pm

Very nicely put, Pancio. As the good ol' marketing strategy goes: sex sells.

Anytime I tell a hot girl that I like power metal they become severely turned off. Then again, that usually happens when I show them my peepee. :red:
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Re: Finally meeting Strato

Post by Empathica1928 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 8:54 pm

If I win the lottery in the next few years I am personally funding a Stratovarius USA tour

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Re: Finally meeting Strato

Post by Pancio » Tue Dec 03, 2019 8:55 pm

Same here, don't know why little ladies don't like my peepee, it's kinda sad; dick pics are awesome :(

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Re: Finally meeting Strato

Post by robocop » Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:19 pm

Pancio can really describe shit pretty well....as for the music around here, most “metal” people like is standard metallica or slipknot. :lol: Very rare to find someone with a passion for the good shit. Also another reason why there’s no market. Few and far between fans.
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Re: Finally meeting Strato

Post by AAAAAAAAAA » Wed Dec 04, 2019 8:17 am

Pancio- your thoughts are super interesting and you should write more!

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Re: Finally meeting Strato

Post by HoldenCaulfield » Wed Dec 18, 2019 6:05 pm

Dear Stratofans.

Pancho's post is my new gaming pc wallpaper.


Greetings from Sagunto.


-HC

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Re: Finally meeting Strato

Post by robocop » Thu Dec 19, 2019 9:06 am

Why did everybody stop posting?

Greetings from Toys R US

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Re: Finally meeting Strato

Post by SentineLEX » Thu Dec 19, 2019 7:10 pm

NeverendingAbyss wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 5:12 pm
The radio stations in the US are a disgrace. Most of them are owned by iHeartMedia, a failing company struggling to keep revenue going. Because of the lack of profits, they had to cut costs so they laid off most, if not all, their DJs. This completely eliminated the variety of songs and bands you can hear in the radio. If you listen to the radio in the US, the big majority plays CDs in loops at a 90-minute interval. So you listen to the same song every 2 hours. This is especially true for iHeartMedia stations.

The constant loop also constraints other fresh bands/songs from getting air time. So new and promising bands don't get the attention they badly need, hence they never grow. You need to be lucky, but most of all, know a good producer who can promote your music. They only care if you are deemed profitable.

There is a radio station in Baltimore that plays hard rock, and occasionally they would play Dream Theater (mainly Pull Me Under), but their main theme are bands like Disturbed, Pantera, Alice in Chains, Korn, etc... not quite progressive metal. They do have a dedicated time slot for heavy metal, but that is on a weekend (I think Sunday?) after 9-10pm.

As far as to why progressive metal never got popular in the US, I would assume that it's a highly competitive market, and air time is key in being competitive.
The meme is that a radio station will advertise themselves as tough and rebellious and then play nothing but Imagine Dragons. You got any of that in Baltimore?

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Re: Finally meeting Strato

Post by SentineLEX » Thu Dec 19, 2019 7:16 pm

Very good post Pancio. I think all four of Strato's last four albums made the Billboard Heatseekers chart in the US the week of their release but that's about it.

Personally being a Slav I pirate almost everything (not even streaming, hate ads too much) but I did buy every Strato studio CD and donate it to a local music shop. Never bought either Intermission though.

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Re: Finally meeting Strato

Post by robocop » Thu Dec 19, 2019 10:34 pm

With the streaming platforms, they don’t always have every album. It is way more convenient for me at least than to find some album that barely anybody seeded the torrent of. Putting it on my itard phone takes too long. Plus, there’s masters to some albums on Tidal. If you hate ads pay for the service. :lol: They all pay like complete shit, there is a benefit if you can find FLAC Strato albums somewhere. 8) Anyway, I’m not innocent myself and have pirated my entire life and try to stream as much as my favorite bands as I can so they can get a few pennies. You can also buy albums from Amazon for example and have the mp3s. Not in the highest quality I might add. Cheeki Breeki.
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Re: Finally meeting Strato

Post by SentineLEX » Fri Dec 20, 2019 12:51 am

Maybe I could have a script to run the service or something.

My other problem is a lot of the shit I buy virtually has DRM or some other thing that doesn't let me change the mp3 tags to my liking. Then it's inconsistent with bootlegs, my own music, and things people gave away for free.

But if I pay for a streaming service and the artist only gets pennies a month from my plays that doesn't sound very fair either. Then again I'm pretty sure the artists don't make a lot per album sale either...

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Re: Finally meeting Strato

Post by robocop » Fri Dec 20, 2019 4:42 am

I’ll tell you what, bro. Buy the albums in every format and then rip them onto your computer yourself. :) I did that before, on a small scale though. CDs are in no way expensive, even if the bands get a quarter per sale. :lol: What do you mean run a script? Sorry I have the dumb.
Edit: Buy merch, too. :twisted:
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Re: Finally meeting Strato

Post by ZenithMC » Fri Dec 20, 2019 3:53 pm

SentineLEX wrote:
Fri Dec 20, 2019 12:51 am
My other problem is a lot of the shit I buy virtually has DRM or some other thing that doesn't let me change the mp3 tags to my liking. Then it's inconsistent with bootlegs, my own music, and things people gave away for free.
Yeah, that's awful. For software, DRM is complete tripe, and the only thing worse than it is software as a service (subscriptionware). :yuk:

I'm a little confused as to how DRM would prevent you from changing tags in an mp3 file. Does that mean the mp3 is encrypted, and can only be decoded using specific software? Otherwise, I don't see why it wouldn't be possible to create a hex dump of it and change the tags manually.

Personally, I'd never buy a digital version of a song, epecially considering the encoding is usually lossy. I also just don't even want to think about dealing with DRM crap. :roll:

I'm also not into the whole streaming service thing. I just listen to the album on Youtube first, and if I like it, I buy the CD. If the albums weren't on Youtube, I wouldn't own every Stratovarius album right now, so it's a very important part of my decision-making process (I don't like to buy blindly). I know that many also apply the same principle to torrents, as well.

I bought whichever version of the CD had the most tracks (usually the Japanese version). I enjoy looking through the booklets. :-) Afterwards, I rip the CD to wav and listen to it on my computer from that point onward. :headbang:

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Re: Finally meeting Strato

Post by robocop » Fri Dec 20, 2019 9:19 pm

ZenithMC wrote:
Fri Dec 20, 2019 3:53 pm
Afterwards, I rip the CD to wav and listen to it on my computer from that point onward. :headbang:
Brutal!! Do you have a 420 terabyte hard drive? :lol:
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Re: Finally meeting Strato

Post by ZenithMC » Sat Dec 21, 2019 12:17 am

robocop wrote:
Fri Dec 20, 2019 9:19 pm
ZenithMC wrote:
Fri Dec 20, 2019 3:53 pm
Afterwards, I rip the CD to wav and listen to it on my computer from that point onward. :headbang:
Brutal!! Do you have a 420 terabyte hard drive? :lol:
I wish. :lol: But I do have a 10 terabyte hard drive which I use for recording. I should probably losslessly compress my music collection, someday. When I experimented a while ago, I remember that WavPack compresses slightly better than FLAC, but at a much greater cost of time.

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Re: Finally meeting Strato

Post by robocop » Sat Dec 21, 2019 11:30 am

Never heard of wavpack, awesome shit. The worst is some older strato albums, unless they are ripped at the highest quality, they just don’t sound right to me. I don’t know if they were exported in a higher sample rate than all other music. And by compressing it all and changing the rate it distorts it? There is just a noticeable difference to me. Who knows? It was very rare to find a good ripped discography at 320 kbps that sounded fine to me. I am a audio snob. Maybe not as much as some people. Still, quality will ruin it for me. For some, it all adds to the experience. :lol: I’m sure there are private torrent tracker sites that have it all in FLAC, etc.
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Re: Finally meeting Strato

Post by ZenithMC » Sat Dec 21, 2019 8:36 pm

Have you heard of opus? It's a lossy audio codec that has the best quality / size ratio that I know of. It's been a while since I last tested it, but I remember getting the bit rate down to 112 kbps without audible compression artifacts. Since then, others have claimed that 96 kbps sounds lossless, but I would need to hear it to believe it.

Changing the sample rate by itself shouldn't produce audible distortion, but some (older? cheaper?) audio systems might have trouble faithfully reproducing audio at a sample rate greater than 44100Hz, which in turn might produce distortion or artifacts.

Another thing to note is that not all encoders are the same "flavor". mp3, for example, nobody uses MPEG's reference encoder from 1993, or the first commercial mp3 encoder developed by Fraunhofer in 1994, l3enc, anymore. Most people use LAME nowadays, and LAME is far improved from the reference encoder. Other flavors of mp3 encoders exist, which produce different results because of improved compression algorithms being employed. Of course, the encoder has to be based on the reference encoder, otherwise it would no longer be an mp3 encoder.

Older mp3 encoders could only encode in a constant bit rate (CBR), whereas modern mp3 encoders were capable of variable bit rate (VBR). VBR allows regions of audio that are simple to compress (like silence) to use a much lower bit rate, and regions of complex audio (like noise) to use much higher bit rates. Because of this, VBR audio can potentially reduce the file size greatly over CBR audio.

So maybe that can help explain why some 320 kbps rips sound unlike others. If not, then I just went into lalaland for a while. :lol:

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Re: Finally meeting Strato

Post by robocop » Sun Dec 22, 2019 12:25 am

Yeah. You should do a video lecture on YouTube. Welcome to my ted talk. :lol: I’ve been at it since the 90s so I am aware of things, except I forgot a lot of stuff. The people ripping the albums at 320 probably used the options for it to say 320 and it really was a horseshit encoder with the settings set to save the most space. (Whatever it would say. Like, this is the fastest to rip and is not that great and this other setting is the best quality but slower.) Also, never looked up opus before. I do know the Guthrie Govan album I bought on Amazon is NOT 320. It’s some VBR like you said probably with the DRM. Except I had no problem putting it on my old ass iPhone, no problems there so when I’m driving and connect it to Apple car play and just say, HEY SIRIIII PLAY GUTHRIE GOVAN!!! It’ll play. :lol:
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Re: Finally meeting Strato

Post by Motha-faka » Sun Dec 22, 2019 3:12 am

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Re: Finally meeting Strato

Post by robocop » Sun Dec 22, 2019 10:51 am

My first MP3 player was that rio bullshit.

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Re: Finally meeting Strato

Post by ZenithMC » Mon Dec 23, 2019 2:28 am

I don't believe I ever had a portable MP3 player. I would, and still sometimes do, listen to CDs on my parents' 80's audio system. It looked like this, except it was also housed in a wooden cabinet with shelves.

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