Langlois’s journey started 140 days earlier, when he knew just two Finnish towns: Helsinki, the capital, and Kemi, the hometown of Sonata Arctica. For the last few days he has been in Alaveteli, in Kruunupyy, where Sonata have been recording for the past five weeks.
“A lot of people ask if I’m crazy,” says Langlois. “But I just wanted to do something different. When you’re walking you see things differently. And I’ll tell you a secret: I hate walking.”
Langlois has covered around 20 kilometres a day since June, no mean feat for a man who even as a child avoided PE lessons by faking asthma. His nights were spent in his tent, with kindly strangers sometimes taking him in for showers. His main motivation for this arduous journey was simple.
“I really just wanted to have a beer with the band,” explains Langlois.
Keyboardist Klingenberg says that fans knocking on the door of the band’s retreat usually get turned away in order to protect the band’s creative space. But as Langlois had gone to such extraordinary lengths, he got a slightly warmer welcome. He has been able to follow the making of Sonata Arctica’s new album and even taken saunas with his favourite musicians.
From Alaveteli he continued his trip to Kemi to see the band’s hometown. Located close to Lapland, the northern port is one place where it’s possible to view Aurora Borealis, another of Langlois’s passions. His Finnish vocabulary is currently limited to ‘revontulet’, which means ‘Northern Lights’, and ‘iso tuoppi', which is a simple request for ‘a pint of beer’.