I keep stumbling upon new Finnish band every week it seems. PEARLY GATES being my latest Finnish discovery. Anders Ekdahl ©2016
You have one of these names that does not really tell what kind of metal you play. How hard was it to come up with the name?
Andy: Coming up with a good band name is difficult. Our band name got stuck with us from our first line up more than ten years ago. We have a bit mixed feelings about the name within the band. Other people in Finland seem to think it’s pretty cool but people abroad makes easily connections with the name to gospel music. We wan’t to spread the gospel of rock n’ roll, not any religious bullshit.
Could you give us a short introduction to the band?
-Andy: Pearly Gates is a rock band from Helsinki, Finland. Band has been together since 2005. We released our latest EP called Unchained on august 2015 with couple of music videos. The band plays shows in Finland constantly and we have done couple of European tours too.
Musically we have two sides: we mix heavy riffs, grunge growl, dark lyrics and Finnish melancholy in most of our songs. Still we love to start our shows usually playing blues influenced material with more acoustic sounds to bring dynamics to the set.
What would you say have been the single greatest influence on your sound?
Jonne: There is no one thing that I can mention. Probably just our collective music taste and communal spirit.
What is the scene like in your area? Do you feel that you are a part of a scene?
Andy: There is pretty vibrant music scene in Helsinki. A lot of bands and artists. It means a lot of competition from the gig slots and not that much of collaboration in my opinion unfortunately. Pearly Gates have had the headquarters in Helsinki just couple of years now (our band is originally from small city called Joensuu), so maybe it takes time to meet the right people.
Something I have often wondered about is if you feel that you are part of something bigger and greater when you play in a band, that you are part of a movement sort of?
Jonne: Well I don’t know. You have to do something with your life so why not music. At least you’ll have something to reminisce on when you’re old.
When you play the sort of music you play I guess you cannot have birds and bees on the cover of your album? What is a great album cover to you?
Jonne: Something that tells a story and is instantly recognisable. Of course it also has to reflect the mood of the music on the album. Like the cover of Slow, Deep and Hard by ToN. Or anything by Cannibal Corpse.
What is your opinion on digital verses physical? Is digital killing music?
Andy: Internet is amazing music library and great platform for releasing your own stuff.
Digital technology has its downsides like the loudness wars but also upsides like making home studios possible. Digital is not killing music but maybe listeners don’t appreciate the hard work of the artists enough anymore because you can hear it all free and with couple of mouse clicks.
When we were teenagers we had to find new music form the actual library, listen to our parents’ old cassette mix tapes and tune in to hear the radio shows specialised to rock music. That was pretty magical and really unpractical.
What kind of live scene is there for bands like yours?
Jonne: Since we’re not very big(yet) we only get to play shows about once a month on average. Also the market in Finland is pretty small and over saturated with underground bands so it makes everything pretty tough for bands like us.
When you play live is it a happening or do you see it more as a party?
Jonne: We try to put some effort in our live set, but in small clubs you usually don’t have the resources to look and sound as big as Pink Floyd so a party is good enough.
What would you like to see the future bring?
Jonne: Just to keep the band moving forward, more shows and more fans etc. For us not to fade in to obscurity.