Here we have another of these bands that I feel familiar with but can’t decide if it is because I’ve have a record by them or if it is just because I’ve interviewed them right now. No matter what SOULWOUND deserves your attention. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
You have one of these names that tell me that some thought has been involved in the choice. How hard was it to come up with the name?
Janne: Actually, it was surprisingly difficult to come up with a name. This was back in 2005. Every good name we came up with had already been taken and we definitely didn’t want to use someone else’s name. We just compiled a list of possible names and I spotted the song title Soulwound on the back of the digipak edition of the Obsolete album by Fear Factory. The name was both catchy and meaningful, so we decided to use it. Fun fact: another band from Mexico or something actually tried to steal both our name and our logo, but we caught them in the act.
Niko: I realized it would be easy to create a logo for the name because of the shape of the word and the letters. I drew a rough sketch with a pen and we created a digital version based on it.
The competition is a killer these days so please tell us why people should buy your latest album?
-Niko: How about album of the year?
Janne: This shit is as true and honest as it gets. We don’t give half a fuck about any sort of marketing gimmicks or underestimate the listener with any cheap, calculated hooks or trendy, commercially viable elements. The only reason we write the kind of music that we do is that it pleases us. Also, I like to think that our style of metal is pretty timeless, and the small details and variations we use in our arrangements keep the songs interesting to the listener.
Do you notice that there anticipation for you to release an album? Have you built a large enough following for people to eagerly await a new album?
Janne: Nah, we’re such a grass-roots band that we don’t even think about stuff like that. We did, however, believe that the new material is good enough to score some favorable reviews, which it has.
When you started the band did you do so with a clear intent of what kind of music you wanted to play? How hard was it to come up with a sound all your own?
Janne: I suppose it just happens quite naturally as our respective influences come together. The only thing we consciously decided was that the music should be intense and aggressive, and neither too retro nor too modern.
Niko: Before we started writing our own songs, we played covers of songs by Metallica, Slayer, Pantera, Sepultura, Black Sabbath etc. We still occasionally add one classic cover to our setlist.
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?
Janne: I think Corey Taylor of Slipknot hit the nail on the head when he said that metal is like a bastion of rebellion where men basically gather to beat their chests and let off some of that primitive caveman energy. And the proof is in the almost universal sense of camaraderie and belonging between metalheads. The music may be angry and ugly, but the guys playing it tend to be total sweethearts.
Niko: Sometimes in a live situation, there are moments when the band and the audience are completely on the same wavelength. Then you are a part of something great. It’s so rewarding and it keeps us motivated to do this.
When you play the sort of music you play do you feel that you can have whatever you like as art work for the cover of your album? What is a great album cover to you?
Janne: Obviously, the best possible cover is one that creates a visual representation of the music and the lyrics. We gave the artist Escileus, a friend of ours, all the lyrics and some reference pictures for the visual style and just let him work his magic. He did a fantastic job.
I have a great fear that the change in how people consume music today will eventually kill music as we know it. What is your opinion on digital verses physical? Is digital killing music?
Janne: Well, digital services make accessing and listening to music easier and more convenient than ever, so I wouldn’t say they’re killing music, but they are definitely killing physical records and record sales. And the consequence of that is there’s no money in anything anymore. The music industry at large dropped the ball when companies tried to fight digital downloading instead of adapting to it. I just hope that bands and artists don’t abandon the album format in favor of singles and EPs.
Niko: I prefer buying a physical CD or vinyl over using streaming services. I also like to listen to whole albums rather than just a couple of “best songs” from a playlist.
Is the era of great arena tours as thing of yester? What kind live scene is there for bands like yours? What does the touring circuit look like today?
Janne: The bands that play arenas are ones that achieved their success back in the good old days. I seriously doubt there will ever be another band as big as Metallica or Iron Maiden. As for us, the situation in Finland is pretty fucked. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to even get a reply from venues unless you have a booking agency behind you. On the other hand, it’s now really easy to book small-scale club tours in Europe, as there are several agencies providing that service for reasonable prices.
Niko: Many colleagues outside of Finland have asked me if I could arrange some gigs for them here, saying it would be so cool to play in the “promised land of heavy metal”. But it’s not that simple. There are too many bands here and too few venues left for underground bands. Any band hoping to score a gig needs to be huge enough to get people out of their homes.
When you play live is it a happening or do you see it more as a party?
Janne: We take pride in our work ethic. We’re not there to party, but to give the audience the best and most intense show we can. There’s always time for drinking after the show.
What would you like to see the future bring?
Janne: CD sales probably won’t ever see a resurgence, but I’d like to see artists get a fairer cut from streaming services such as Spotify. Also, I hope the Finnish scene will someday be revived and climb out of the slump it’s currently in.
Niko: We have some plans to arrange a European tour and several gigs abroad, but it’s still too early to talk about those. Stay tuned!