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Famous Firsts: Apocalyptica

The firsts of Eicca Toppinen

We caught up with Apocalyptica cello superstar Eicca Toppinen to talk about discovering rockabilly by accident, touring with Metallica and splitting up back in the '90s.

What was the first album that you ever bought?

"The first album I got was a cassette tape in 1982, when I was seven years old. My father was working for this company, and the people who worked there had this special store where they could get food and all this kind of stuff, and I saw this cassette there. On the cover there was only a flag of the southern part of the United States. I thought it was cool because I lived in a suburb of Helsinki and there were all these big, bad guys who had those flags on their jackets, and as I was only seven years old I didn’t know what it meant. I just thought it looked cool so I bought it. The music inside was rockabilly. I can’t remember exactly the feeling that I had when I played it for the first time, but I remember I liked at least two of the tracks and that’s about it. I couldn’t even tell you who or what it was. I was so young, you know. The first CD I got was classical, surprisingly. It was a recording of the 7th Symphony by Dmitri Shostakovich and it was some kind of Russian recording – really nice. I still have that CD, I think I actually still have that cassette as well. Maybe I should check and see who it was, so next time I know ha ha. But as it goes, I haven’t seen the tape for over 20 years."

What was the first single that you ever bought?

"I have never actually bought a single in my life. The only individual songs I’ve ever bought digitally have been our own songs, so I know we’ve sold at least three copies. That’s how I choose to spend my money ha ha. But in the suburb I grew up, we didn’t actually have any place to buy records. Nowhere. So I was lucky I found that rockabilly tape to be honest, otherwise I’d have had nothing. I didn’t go to the downtown of Helsinki by myself at all whilst I was a kid. All the music that I listened to really was records that my parents owned, and also what my older sister was listening to. So when I was a kid I was very much depending on the music of the people around me. And then when I did start buying my own, I would always buy the full albums. But I didn’t have the money to do that until much later in life."

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