Hi Teemu. Congratulations, your new album kicked my ass. The official release date is June, 27th, but are there any reactions from the press and media so far?
Thanks. There have been some interviews and reviews in our homecountry and in other parts of Europe. Also we have had some media attention from Japan as we did a showcasegig a few months ago in there.
You seem to be interested in the old northern mythology. Please tell us something about the god Ukko and the meaning of your lyrics in general.
All mythologies are very interesting, especially the ones that date back further to the past, to the times before christianity arrived to Finland. Ukko is the ancient supreme god of the Finns, he is the biggest chief in the Finnish gods pantheon, the big Kahuna if you will. He was worshipped first mainly as the god of weather and crops but later on he became the most supreme of gods. He was feared and respected especially by hunters and warriors. The name derives from the finnish word ukkonen which means thunderstorm and the ancient Finns believed that when Ukko was angry he threw bolts of lightning onto the ground. Ukko is quite like the scandinavian god Thor, he also wields an axe or a hammer to be precise called Ukonvasara which he uses to create lightning and so forth.
Do you think that the experiences of the old northern mythology should be more respected by mankind of today?
Sure. And in some ways I think that the Finnish people have never truly forgotten those ancient gods. Nature and the countryside play a significant role even in nowadays peoples minds, we try to be close to the nature even in the cities. Almost every finn loves sauna and the possibility to go to the countryside, maybe only for a weeks to a summercottage somewhere just to leave the urban enviroments. And hell, people should learn more to appreciate the simplicity and hardship of the early days. Some people seem to whine and complain about everything these days... Lock them somewhere remote and deserted settlings without any technology or progress and throw away the key I say! Wonder if they appreciate what they've got now after or if they survive it!
My favourite is "Warrior Soul". Can you tell us something about this song, it's lyrics and it's history?
Warrior Soul is a bit older song that our guitarplayer/master mind behind Kiuas wrote a few back. It's first appearance was on a demo which later got us the recording deal. The song has been recorded now three times and dare I say finally we made it perfect. Even though the song is written in a way that seems to describe the old days when times were hard it actually tells about the current times. It's a metaphor that tells about the hardships and battles we all must face everyday, how we must remain strong and to believe in what we do and such things. Sounds kind of clicheic but thats the underlying plot that is in that song.
Which one is vour favorite song from the album and why?
Actually my favorite song from the album is "And the NorthStar Cried". It has most beautiful strings and arrangements in it, a lot of dynamic structures which I think are too rare in metal, good vocals and good lyrics and I just love to play it live. But thats just me. I don't know what songs are other band members favorites but that one if definitely my favorite.
Please tell us some bands that have influenced you and where you get your inspirations from?
Whoah. I believe if you ask this question from another member of Kiuas and you get a totally different answer from him. I listen to music quite a lot from different styles and if I think a song is good enough I'll listen to it regardless what genre or style it represent, and I think all the band members could sign that statement. My inspirations come from many sources but if I have name but a few bands I'd name Pantera, System of a Down, Meshuggah, Opeth, Rage Against the Machine etc etc. But I try to listen all kinds of music and keep my judgement unprejudiced.
Any plans for some further stuff of "The Spirit Of Ukko" like singles, Video, DVD etc.?
At the moment not really. We probably make singles and videos and stuff like that from the next album, but I have found that nothing is absolutely certain in this world so who knows?
How would you describe your own music?
Another tough one. Our music is something that defies categories quite well but something like traditional metal mixed with elements from the more extreme branches and with ethnical influences.
What do you think: How will KIUAS sound like in let's say five years?
Hard to say. We are in a quite happy situation at the moment as we have a lot of options which direction we could be heading to. There have been some discussion inside the band which way should we lean towards or should we just make a lot of songs and let the music sort it out for us. But in other words, currently there is no masterplan but personally I rather like the possibility to do the kind of music that is evolving inside our souls at the present.
Please name some lately released CDs that you like to listen to at home.
Well "Mesmerize" from System of a Down is quite marvellous, I'm quite a huge fan at the moment and waiting eagerly their next release. "Alien" from Strapping Young Lad is quite good also. Last Opeth albums "Damnation/Deliverance" are something that I like to listen at home. Finnish bands such as Stamina, Mokoma and Amoral also get a lot of play time in my cd-player.
Do you still visit gigs from other bands? Have there been some shows lately that impressed you?
Of course. I love to watch good shows and I especially love bands that seem to love playing to the audience. I just saw Megadeth in a finnish metal-festival at Sauna Open Air and I rather liked it. I've seen them a few times already but they seemed to be in good shape, well, Dave at least. Slipknot was excellent the last time I watched their show. Fear Factory was very good at last years Tuska-Festival in Helsinki.
What makes the difference between KIUAS and other finnish Metal bands?
I don't know if all the bands say the same things but I think the main difference between us and the others is that when we do our songs we don't think "does this fit here? Can we do this or is it somehow wrong to the style/genre/whatever". We might use the same ingredients as the other bands but we mix them quite differentily. I don't know does this make sense to any other person than myself.
We'd like to know something about the underground in your hometown. Are you still in touch? And if so: Where do you hang out? Are there some yet unknown bands that you like?
Well, it's quite hard to say whats underground and what's not. There are a lot of bands in Helsinki and there are a lot of bands outside Helsinki, especially in the larger towns. But there are a lot of musicians that play in several, sometimes very different from each other, bands. And in my opinion there is not a great deal of who's who and doing what. There is no separation between for example the black metallists and death metallists. The best places to find metal musicians would be the Tavastia club or Corner Bar- metal bar. And as there are a lot of bands in Finland I'm quite sure there are a lot of potential Iron Maidens somewhere, or maybe the next Nightwish.
What about the finnish Metal Scene in general? Do you know some bands, and if so, is there friendship, rivalry or more or less nothing special?
The scene in Finland is very friendly. As we are a small country the scene is also quite small. The metal scene is relatively big compared to the size of Finland though. But as there are only quite a few "important" persons in Finland, and most of them play in some of the bigger bands you can't act as the king of the hill all the time, you're only going to anger the wrong persons. The Mötley Crew mentality "If you don't like someone, you can always kick his ass" will get you nowhere in here. Besides, most of the musicians or other band members I've met have been very good guys. Ofcourse there is rivalry but it is done with good sportmanship. We have many bands that we like to hang out with, meet at the bars or to play gigs with.
Is it important for you to play live on stage?
Most important. One of the best things you can do without getting your trousers off.
Okay Teemu, thanks for the interview. We are looking forward seeing you in Germany. Best wishes to you all. Any last words?
Stay metal, eat meat and may Ukko bless you're journeys!