Keep up with Aki here:
I began playing in 2005 with Human Mind, moved on to Tromsø (Norway) to play with Necrolatry, but finally landed in Oslo to play with the awesome Shot At Dawn. My first two gigs with ´em was to support Sepultura and Suicidal Tendencies. It was freakin´ sweet. I was a short while in The Scourger in Helsinki, Finland, but had to end that commitment due to financial issues.
I became Norway´s officially fastest drummer in 2011-2012 and can play beyond 1200 strokes/min or 20 strokes/second. I´m trying to join Summer NAMM and break Manginis record in 2013! Nevertheless, my main goal is to be a melodically technical drummer with a freaky groove.
Furthermore, I´m trying to complete several projects during 2013: going to play hip hop with some upcoming Norwegian artists, session gigs with band of all genres, launch several youtube-videos and I´ll be touring the world with Shot At Dawn in 2013.
Aki Viitala Interview:
SDM: How old were you when you started playing?
Aki: It was in 2005, so I must have been approximately 17 years old! Wow, why did I start drumming so late? The weirdest thing was ; I bought my first kit in 2004, but the interest for drumming didn´t ignite ´till late 2005. But I catched up by playing 10h/day, haha. No wonder I had no friends…
SDM: Did you play in a school band or any drum corps?
Aki: Does two weeks count? Today I regret that I didn´t stay ´cause it would be amazing to read drum sheets/notes perfectly. It would make my road easier if I´d choose to play in TV-productions etc.
SDM: Who are your top 5 metal influences?
Aki: Daaaamn, this one is hard. First of all I get mostly inspired by drummers who aren´t metal drummers! But we can mention those in the next question. Anyway; Huge influences have been drummers such as Mike Portnoy, Daniel Erlandsson, Kai Hahto, Marthus from Cradle of Filth and Nicholas Barker when he played in Dimmu Borgir.
SDM: Who are some other of your favorites?
Aki: As mentioned above; I love to search through Youtube in search of new inspiration. Some of the biggest names I can think of are Tony Royster Jr, Aaron Spears, Dennis Chambers, Steve Gadd…. You can learn or duplicate technical drumming, but flow´n´rhythm is something you have to be born with.
SDM: Let us know 5 CD's that are in your current rotation
Aki: Death (everything), As I Lay Dying – Awakened, Amon Amarth – Surtur Rising, Arch Enemy – Khaos Legions and Baptized in Blood – Baptized in Blood
SDM: What do you do to warm up before a show?
Aki: High Five all of my band mates and do some athletic fitness exercises! Not even kidding, haha! When I´m done screwing around I pick up my metronome, headphones and a pad. Start warming up with quarter notes on each hand and increase to 8th, 16th and 32nd notes on each hand. Start with 150bpm, and end with whatever feels good. Maybe end my warm up with some short rolls in 250bpm 10min before I go on stage. Usually I had some other warm up routines with my legs, but now I just take ballerina squats to warm up the muscles. Do it for 10 min and you´re ready to fly! Btw: I fuel up by drinking a shitload of Monster Energy drinks.
SDM: Do you read music? Regardless of answering yes or no, please tell us how it might have effected your playing?
Aki: I play by ear, but we write music in Guitar Pro. I often go to the sheet music to find out how the breakdowns should be on the bass drum etc. Someday I´ll be able to read everything! I hope…maybe….
SDM: Can you tell us about the gear you use?
Aki: Of course!
- Pork Pie drums: 2 x 22" bass drums, 10, 12, 13, 14 and 16" toms
- Pearl Demon Drive pedals (2x single)
- Tama Ian Paice signature snare
- ddrum pro trigger (bass drums)
- Wincent Mikkey Dee signature sticks
- Cymbals of every kind, but soon to be exclusively TRX
- Evans, clear heads
- Starkey In Ear
- Shure SE535 in ear
- Gibraltar rack
SDM: If you could give one piece of advice to young drummers, it would be…
Aki: Buy a metronome and practice with it every day. All the time. Wherever, whenever.
SDM: Who gave the best live performance you've ever seen?
Aki: Suicidal Tendencies at GSF, Norway. Holy shit that was some wicked and crazy stuff.
SDM: Aside from drumming, what else do you like to do?
Aki: Lift weights, study law, hang out with my friends in Shot At Dawn, high five people. Actually I hear that I´m quite goofy and say a lot of bad jokes. I disagree. Haha!