Born in 1973 in Vaasa, Finland, Kai started playing the drums at the age of 6. His mother and father saw him hitting on all pots and pans in the kitchen since he was 3 years old, so they decided to buy him a real drum kit. He started practicing along with Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Twisted Sister, Kiss, etc. style of bands on the 80’s Heavy Metal music, but also searching his father’s record collection including all kinds of music from Finnish folk music to Elvis, Jazz etc..
Since he was 13 years old, he played in local bands until the late 80’s when he formed Cartilage with a couple of his friends. The band was heavily influenced by early 90’s Death Metal and the band became very popular in the underground
After Cartilage broke up, Kai played and recorded in many bands during the 90’s: Vomiturition, Misantropia, Rotten Sound, Wings, Enochian Crescent, to name a few. Most of them were more metal-oriented bands, but Kai also joined groups like Max on the Rox, which was more Blues/Rock and Wasa Dixie Tigers, who played more early 1900’s Dixieland / Street Jazz music.
In 1999, Kai joined a French band called Agressor and recorded one album, “Medieval Rites”. He also did his first European tour with them later in the same year.
Following the 1999 tour with Agressor, Rotten Sound started touring more in Europe and North America. Since Kai also wanted to expand his technical abilities on the drums, he moved to New York for one Summer in 2002. Kai’s teachers Freddy Gruber, Joe Morello, Jim Chapin and John Riley gave him a new direction in technique and drum set control.
In 2004, Kai met Jari Mäenpää, which marked a new chapter in his life and the birth of Wintersun. After the release of their self-titled album “Wintersun”, the band toured mostly in Europe. Two years later, Kai left Rotten Sound to focus more on different things as well as on Wintersun, as they started recording the second studio album “Time”.
In 2009, Kai got a call from Swallow the Sun to play on their North American tour. Shortly after, Kai got asked to be the permanent member of the band, recording the studio albums “New Moon” (2009) and “Emerald Forest and the Blackbird” (2012). Kai to play hundreds of shows around the world.
In between touring, Kai has also been very active in the studio as a drum tech / tuning guy for bands like Nightwish, Children of Bodom, Ensiferum, Indica, Sotajumala, Throes of Dawn, Nicole, Waltari, Sturm und Drang and Katatonia, to name a few.
This leads us to 2014 when Kai was called by Jukka Nevalainen from Nightwish to play on their new album “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” and the upcoming tour.
Kai has been involved as a drum tech / drum tuning guy on “Dark Passion Play” and “Imaginaerum” before.
Since 1990 Kai has played with bands/artists like: Cartilage, Misantropia, Wings, Rotten Sound, Vomiturition, Enochian Crescent, Throes of Dawn, Vaasa City symphony orchestra, Vaasa big band, Vesku Jokinen, Wasa Dixie Tigers, Bianca Morales. Antti Sarpila, Tauski, Joe Lynn Turner, Paul Di´anno, Northern Kings, Guitar Heroes, Max on the Rox, Agressor, Tiny Tones, Pepe de Luxe, Kai Hahto group, Metallica tribute, Dimebag beyond forever (Pantera tribute band), Wintersun, Swallow the Sun, Mattias IA Eklundh, Jonas Hellborg, Paul Oxley band, Prockiss, Ape’s Planet, Trees of Eternity, Mr. Fastfinger, and counting…
Kai is a happy endorser of Pearl Drums. Meinl cymbals, Balbex drumsticks, Roland electronics, Evans drumheads and Finfonic hearing protection system, Band-Art and has done a lot of Clinics, Masterclasses etc. on the side of his live/ studio and teaching work.