I wonder how many bands there really are in Finland that I don’t know of. Many I would say based on MARIANAS REST being another one I had no idea existed. All questions answered by Jaakko Mäntymaa, vocals. Anders Ekdahl ©2016
Do you notice that there is an anticipation for you to release an album? Have you built a large enough following for people to eagerly await a new album?
-Well, we are really at the very start of this whole thing. Not a lot of people have heard of us, yet. But you know, gotta start from somewhere. Hopefully there will be much bigger buzz by the time we release our next album.
Is it important for you that a new album picks up where the previous left off? How important is continuity??
-I think it is important to evolve and get better, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pick up from where you left. We have some ideas of how the next record will sound, but it is definitely too early to get into that now.
Was it hard for you to come up with a sound for this album that you all could agree on?
-Yeah, we had some trouble. I think it was partly because we are such a young band still. We wanted it to sound heavy but not in the most typical way. It had to have a lot of air but it in the same time sound deep and kind of oppressive. It was not an easy job for Teemu Aalto, who produced and mixed Horror Vacui, but I think he pulled it off in a great way. It’s got this recognizable sound to it. We are very happy with the results.
How important are the lyrics to you? What kind of topics do you deal with?
-Well to me the lyrics are of course a priority because it’s my job to write them. Generally I think people should listen (or read) more to what is said in metal. I think many miss the extra level good lyrics can bring to a song. On the other hand, bad lyrics can ruin the whole thing.
Our songs mostly deal with the feeling of futility and desolation in a modern world. This album is about the cyclical nature of the actions we humans tend to do as a race. It seems we repeat the same mistakes though basically everything seems to progress.
How important is the cover art work for you? How much do you decide in choosing art work?
-In the time of MP3’s and internet streams it’s more important than ever. For people to buy a physical album you have to offer something extra. Artwork is a huge part of it.
Of course we had our say in the artwork, because it had to support the story and mood of the album. We planned the whole thing with Jari Heino who was in charge of the artwork. In the end it is of course the artist who has the final say. I think the art really captures the feeling of the album.
How important is having a label to back you up today when you can just release your music on any sort of platform online? Are there any negative consequences to music being too readily available to fans?
-A label is important, because they have the connections and they know how the industry works. Yes, you can do everything by yourself, but there is a good chance no one will ever hear of you no matter how good your stuff is. That being said, having a label behind you does not change the fact that you have to work your ass off to get peoples attention. There is so much music out there for the listeners to choose from.
I think it’s useless to fight against windmills. It’s better to try to take advantage of todays platforms. For relatively unknown bands such as us, internet is a great way to spread the word. 30 years backwards you’d had to pay a shitload of money in advertising to spread your music wordlwide. We really don’t care if you pirated our album. It’s all good.
I guess that today’s music climate makes it harder for a band to sell mega platinum. How do you tackle the fact that downloading has changed how people consume music?
-I think it’s great that people have easier access to music. For the music industry, this is a period when the whole earning logic has to be thought all over again. I am sure there are several ways for the bands to get a living and for the record companies to have their share without gouging every penny from the audience. Streaming music instead of downloading it illegally might solve part of the problem, but the share bands get from music streams needs to get bigger.
Does nationality matter today when it comes to breaking big. Does nationality play a part in if or not you will make it big internationally?
-I think it can matter. For example, if your band is from an exotic country you are bound to have some response if you are any good. For us I think it helps that we come from Finland because our country has a good metal brand. But the competition is fierce… And that is the way it should be!
I use Spotify and Deezer but only as compliment to buying CDS (it’s easier to just have your phone or pad when you’re out) but I fear that soon music as we know it will be dead and buried. What are your worries as a band?
-You are a metal guy aren’t you? If so, I wouldn’t worry too much. There are more good bands to choose from than ever and I don’t think this genre is so easily affected by trends than chart oriented pop music. Vinyl is selling again and music is still packed in album format. We just need to pass some rebellious attitude to the next generation to keep this ship afloat.
What does the future hold for you?
-We are hoping to get to play the album live as much as possible. It’s the best part of this whole thing to meet new people and see new places. In the meantime we have slowly started to make new songs for our next album. We are also making a new video during the winter, so there’s plenty to look for!