THARAPHITA might be one of these hidden metal treasures that only a few know of. Hopefully this interview will get them a bit more known. Ank (vocal, guitar) answered my questions. ©2015 Anders Ekdahl
As you might not be that known to most people a short introduction might be in order.
-Tharaphita was created as my solo project in 1995. The first rehearsal demo „Must Viirastus” was recorded during August and September of the same year. At that time we brought a new wave of pagan/black metal to Estonia. Nowadays, our music is a mix of black and heavy metal with a true pagan spirit. We have not toured much. For now, there have been more than 100 gigs, also in other Baltic states, Finland, Norway and Ukraine, besides our homeland Estonia. The stage has been shared with bands like Paradise Lost, Hypocrisy, Katatonia, Rotting Christ, Ensiferum, Arkona, Skyforger, Ancient Rites, Susperia etc. We have released 5 full-length albums and several short releases.
How does this new album compare to the previous ones?
-The new album’s music is a mix of black, heavy and thrash metal. Its style is not very different from the previous album „Iidsetel sünkjatel radadel”. The album before that, „Primeval Force”, was rather an experiment. We have made music for almost 20 years now and the latest album is somehow my favourite. While starting with the band, the music was planned to be raw black metal but we did not want to copy the famous Norwegian bands. During the time, black metal core of our music became complemented by pagan spirit along with some epic elements and influences of heavy and thrash metal.
Was it hard for you to come up with a sound you all could agree on?
-At this time, we are really satisfied with the sound. No one complained. Marko Atso (Metsatöll) and Keijo Koppel did a really good job in the studio.
How important are the lyrics to you? What kind of topics do you deal with?
-Lyrics are mostly inspired by our ancestors’ hard struggle for survival and the freedom of their homeland but also by our respect for nature and environmental ethics. Lyrics are important. It is also a pleasure for me to introduce my native language Estonian.
How important is the cover art work for you? How much do you decide in choosing art work?
-The cover was made by Raivo Ird, an Estonian artist and medieval sword fighting coach. I like his artwork and it was fully my decision. The album is an entirety and each component is important.
Where outside of your country have you had success with your previous albums?
-We are not well known outside Estonia yet. In the end nineties, we had many fans in Latvia and Lithuania.
Why is it that we do not see more metal bands from your country making it big internationally?
-Our most successful metal band is Metsatöll. They have toured around the world and they become more famous every year. Loits has also gathered attention. Actually, there are many great metal bands in Estonia. I recommend to check out Urt, Aghor, Põhjast, Thou Shell of Death, Thrashless, Tankist, Goresoerd. Visit the website www.estonianmetal.com
What is your local metal scene like? What status does your band have in the national metal scene?
-The Estonian metal scene is quite small. But with a population 1.3 million altogether in Estonia, I can say that we have a really nice scene. We are well known in Estonia, because we started with metal music during the time when there were almost no black metal or pagan metal bands here (in 1995). We then became true leaders of our scene.
What is the general populations opinion on metal? Is being a metal musician a respectable choice?
-Of course, different people have different opinions. Metal music is something so special that it is not meant to be understood by everyone. Actually, we don´t care at all what people think. We experience enough mental support from our scene and that is important. Generally, I think that Estonia is a great place for being a hobby metal musician. Just your life can´t depend on it, because the scene is really small. But for example, Metsatöll has lots of fans among people who don´t listen to metal very often.
What does the future hold for you?
-With „Ülestõus” we hope to gather more attention outside Estonia. We have started coopetation with Metalmessage from Germany for promotion and it seems to have a really good perspective. We are also already working on our next album. Visit our Facebook site for the latest news: www.facebook.com/Tharaphita