HOME STYLE SURGERY is a Finnish thrash metal band that I am so bloody glad came my way. Read what they have to say. Anders Ekdahl ©2018
We live in a world where there are literally millions of bands to check out. What do you have that sets you apart?
Jussi: Usually people mention the name but some reviewers have also said our take on thrash is somewhat unique or “refreshing”. At the moment we also have a label which has released some of the best new thrash metal albums in past five years (Chronosphere and Running Death albums to name a few) which might help us gain recognition and set us apart from other bands.
Joonas: It’s also worth mentioning that we all have a bit different taste when it comes to music we like to listen – For example our vocalist, Joel, has taken a lot influences from hardcore punk and I’ve taken a lot influences from guitarists like Al DiMeola and Jan Akkermann, so even though it is a bit cliché to say that “our music takes influences from a lot of different genres” i really think that in our case it is very true. We have also put thought into our sound – we want to sound different than other modern metal bands and our upcoming album Trauma Gallery sounds pretty damn good, in my opinion. It is not too oldschool and not too modern and ‘digital sounding’ but something from between.
How hard was it for you guys to pick a name? What had that name have to have to fit your music?
Jussi: At first we were called Slasher since we liked slasher movies and Slayer. Yeah I know but we were 13-14 years old at the time so you can’t really expect originality. So because there exists probably thousand thrash metal bands called Slasher, we did like many of our colleagues: stole a name from a thrash metal album. “Home” and “Style” are not words you see often in metal and we have gotten some good and bad recognition from it. In addition of being nasty sounding the name implies how for 10 years now we have done almost everything we can ourselves.
What band(s) was it that turned you on to the kind of music you play? What inspires you today?
Jussi: Most of us started with Iron Maiden but soon after came Venom, Kreator and so on. But it was my uncle’s Stone – No Anaesthesia cassette that made the biggest impact for me. It is still probably my favorite album. Each song has tons of little well thought details but all the beautiful yet heavy guitar harmonies and progressive segments are the things that continue to influence me till this day.
Joel: In the early days when HSS was still Slasher I listened to lots of GWAR which was also my introduction to metal music. Iron Maiden and Venom soon followed but the real game changer here was, like Jussi mentioned, Stone’s No Anaesthesia! From that moment on I think we’ve been on a path of lots of riffs and complex songwriting. Over the years the vocal performance has got it’s influences from vocalists like Chuck Billy (Testament), Ardian Hahn (Grinder), Dave Brockie (GWAR) and H.R. (Bad Brains). These days I’m inspired by a variety of genres such as Depressive Black Metal, Post-Punk and Hardcore Punk so those things will give their flavors to our music as well.
What is the advantages/disadvantages of CD and vinyl these days of internet promotion where digital seems to be king?
Joonas: I think that people who like music also like to get their hands on physical releases. I for one enjoy the feeling of owning a physical copy of an album I like. It’s nice to go to a gig where there is some physical material available for sale, and not just the band requesting the audience to go listen to their music on streaming services and to follow them on social media. Buying a physical copy feels more substantial than following someone on social media. There’s also the factor of longevity. How can I be sure music will be available on streaming services a number of years from now?
I use Spotify and Deezer but only as compliment to buying CDS (it’s easier to just have your phone or pad when your out) but I fear that soon music as we know it will be dead and buried. What are your worries as a band?
Jussi: Today physical music formats are not bought by consumers but collectors. Collecting rare music is a scene of it’s own. Today regular music consumer doesn’t even consider buying music unless they want to collect items from their very favorite bands. I own over 800 CDs and keep buying, and when my hobby comes up in a conversation I get weird looks. I also use spotify and Bandcamp which are both good platforms to find new music but when I really dig the album I buy it. I’m not sure if I’m worried about the situation because digital is easily portable and people don’t want to own too much material.
Joel: Inactivity in supporting the local bands and music. If you don’t want to own every release of your local bands and just want to listen to them from digital platforms that’s fine but if you like the band you should come to see the shows and support the bands that way. If you really like that band I believe you’re not gonna be disappointed when you see them live.
What part does art work and lay out play? Any message that you want to bring forth with it?
Jussi: I personally love metal related art and follow several artists on social media. I just
can’t get enough of it! It is nice if sometimes the album art tells something about the album, but sometimes you just want that Dan Seagravish nightmare landscapes, H.P. Lovecraftian tentacle-monsters and all that stuff whatever the message. We actually bought the cover art for Trauma Gallery before we started recording the album. I saw it on facebook and we just had to get it. The skull sculpture nightmare is one of the most beautiful things I have seen. And since it’s fucked up and grim it really relates with our lyrics. I think sometimes the art itself can act as a source of inspiration for the music.
Joel: The artwork works as an inspiration in lyrical side reflecting the anxiety and abandonment in one’s past. It’s like this crooked world inside your head bursting out as a twisted and unrealistic reflection of the horrors within this tormented mind.
The title track (of our new album) tells a story of a young person leaving home where he’s been abused. In some weird way the album art, to me at least, reflects the feeling of confusion. You want to stay because you’d be all alone in this world and you have to face your mind as it is but at the same time you want to leave because you can’t take anymore and you know that it’s not right. That’s kinda what the two heads and a bursting world means to me. It’s a picture of anxious and confused mind trying to keep it all together.
Jussi: and that. what he said.
Joni: Sometimes we do buy albums depending on the cover, so we all have huge appreciation to album covers.
Jussi: Exactly. I remember when as a kid I bought my Iron Maiden albums in “coolness of the cover” based order
Is it a whole different way to promote a band today with all these social media channels? Or do you go about doing promotion the same way? Playing live and word of mouth.
Joonas: Well, we are pretty much born on the digital era so using social media has always been pretty much natural for us. Although we do believe in ‘physical promotion’ like gigging, merch, flyers, physical releases etc. it seems like people are focusing on social media way too much – it’s like, if you don’t post something to Facebook or Instagram all the time, they’ll start to think if you even are an active band. And also Facebook and Instagram algorithms are forcing users to post a lot and often and also using money to advertise so that those posts can even be seen by people.
Joel: I believe that hard work pays off. Of course social media has made it easier to connect with people but the coin has it’s other side too. There are too many bands to follow actively so you really just follow the ones that you’re most interested in (or at least I’m like that). It’s easier to get excited if you see a band play a good live show.
Do you feel like you are a part of a scene, locally, nationally and internationally?
Jussi: Locally yes, we have to thank our local scene for showing up on gigs and supporting. We are grateful for every single person who still attend when we play in our local club. I don’t feel as strongly about the finnish scene even though we have played with several finnish bands. We are not very known internationally but we are going to change that in near future and enter the global scene with our new release.
How much of a touring band are you? Is touring/gigging still a great way of spreading the
word of the band?
Jussi: Touring and doing shows is one of the best methods to gain recognition but for our misfortune booking independent gigs is very hard in Finland. You need this network of club owners and organizations and use them to get gigs. That is something we are starting to grasp thanks to our singer Joel. I think Home Style Surgery is best served in a live setting, enjoyed from the center of the pit. We always give our 110% no matter what the venue is. We played once at a summer camp for teenagers from around the world. They had no idea what was coming.
What will the future bring?
Jussi: We got a bunch of new material which sounds even better than our new album. We haven’t yet reached our full potential so at least you can expect new finnish progressive thrash metal in the years to come! I personally also hope some gigs or tour abroad, somewhere in central Europe and our Nordic neighbours.
Joel: Hit singles, million euros and world domination… Nah, we’ll just have fun and see what happens. New material is definitely gonna be darker and I really like the direction we’re going. I hope to meet some new people at the shows.
Joonas: Hopefully we will get to play more gigs!