First of all, how do you do? Two releases within a very short period. A lot of work to do at present?
I am quite fine right now. Thanks for asking. I am not able to say how it will be tomorrow, but I try to make each day meaningful in some ways. Every day is a new beginning and a new struggle. The last year surely kept me busy. Bit too busy really. I suffered from very serious burn out few times during 2008. This is not too surprising when keeping in mind that I worked in different ways on more than ten different records. Armanenschaft LP, all the Reverend Bizarre' vinyl’s, CDs of The Puritan, Azrael Rising, KLV and March 15, artworks and designs for other bands, and so on. It all became bit too hard. We had some major troubles with The Puritan CD and it almost caused me to quit with the music totally, but now I feel I am coming back. Same time I did not get to really work with music almost at all as all these releases consisted of material recorded earlier. If I remember it right Azrael Rising MCD was the only real studio session I did. Mostly I had to work with artworks and supervising things. It was lots of work.
2009 has started with busy schedule already. I just returned from very intense studio sessions I did with one band, which I still rather keep as a secret. I did vocals and lyrics for a full length album.
I wish we will be able to finish The Puritan's double CD album during this year and I would love to get some solo work done as well. One thing is for sure: I try to avoid the shit I went through the last year. I have to learn to rest and say no every now and then.
I am also writing reviews and articles and should graduate from university. I do not think I will have too big troubles with "having nothing to do". If I just would get paid per hour.
As you pointed out in your last Interview for Metalglory Magazine which you had with my Colleague Chris, you said “I will go on with The Puritan”. You did, and first question about “The Puritan" is quite simple and obvious as well: Our readers might not be familiar with "The Puritan". Could you tell us a little bit about the History of the Band, your Band mates and so on?
Well, I rather avoid telling too much about it, and I like to keep The Puritan separated from my other projects and activities. I can however tell you few basic things. The band was founded in 2005; in March of 2006 we did our first recording sessions. In the end of that year our first 12 inch LP was released. We also started working on before mentioned double CD which is not quite finished yet; in 2007 we recorded The Black Law, which was released in 2008. The drummer of The Puritan, Erkki, has been musically active already in 80's. He was in one of the first Finnish thrash metal band Protected Illusion, and even before that he was vocalist in band called Mayhem, which I believe was found before Norwegian Mayhem had done too much anything. With the guitarist, Marko, I had played already in 1997 when I joined the band which became The Candles Burning Blue. One album was released and the second one almost finished, but then the band called it a day. Everything else is rather unnecessary to know. The music and art is everything we want to offer to the people.
Your actual Album "Lithium Gates" is a Compilation of your previous Releases "The Puritan" and "The Black Law". Did you rearrange the music (in parts, or completely) for this CD Release?
No. It was just re-mastered little bit. We decided to let Spikefarm release this compilation because Ola of I Hate, which whom we had worked on these two records had to have a break from the label work. In honour of his we did not want to do second pressings without him being around. This CD compilation was good idea also because Spikefarm was keen to release the double CD album, but as it became more and more delayed we got some room to breathe when giving these old materials to them.
Somebody who listens too superficial to “Lithium Gates”could associate it with Reverend Bizarre in some way. (Some similarities with your vocals come in mind at first, although it is mostly an Instrumental Journey). Could you describe the music as well in a few Words? - What are the main differences to Reverend Bizarre?
For me it is all together different thing. The whole process and spiritual state is different. Surely it may sound partially the same because I am in both of these bands, or in RB's case was, but I do not hear so much similarities. The Puritan is very hard and even serious sonic trip to levels of existence that may be unfamiliar to many people. Reverend Bizarre was traditional, if unusually fucked up, Doom Metal band. I do not even know if The Puritan is metal, at least it is not Doom. It is its own isolated entity. Of course there are influences. We did not re-invent the wheel in any ways. What I want to say is that we do not have any interest to belong to anything, or be anything particular and pointing out some clear influences or inspirations would be rather impossible. I should list everything that has effected me, or none of them.
What are the reactions on "Lithium Gates” from the Press and the Fans so far?
I do not even know how well the CD has found its audience, but the few comments I have happened to see in the internet have been positive. Same goes with the reviews. I have just been bit unhappy about the comparisons to my past works. But you can’t have it all. Reviewers like to have a larger context and show their personal knowledge.
Ok, switching to some more common topics: What means pure Doom Metal to you?
Way of music I love and respect. It is very honest form of Heavy Metal music. It is all about spirit, and attitude, and purity. I love many kinds of music, but in the field of metal I am probably into the Doom, and other minimalist and slow forms the most.
There are so many new Bands playing Doom. But they are not able to deliver the Spirit and Atmosphere which is, without any doubt, necessary for this Music. What is the main essence for a real strong Doom Song (and Doom sound)?
I have to repeat myself now as I can find better way to say it: Honesty! You can not play Doom Metal just for the sake of it, or because it would be “cool” or shit like that. You have to have understanding of the traditions and history, but you also have to have your own personal soul there. If you do not know what you are doing, you are probably taking the wrong turn. It is like playing blues. It has to be inside of you.
Which Bands are an Inspiration for you?
You mean in the Doom scene? I guess it is easier for me to say that you should check out our song The Goddess of Doom or booklet of our debut album. Most of those bands are listed there. When it comes to music as a whole...I would need some time to answer this question. I am getting so much from so many different directions... Godflesh, Joy Division, Arvo Pärt, Terveet Kädet, Boris, Venom, Classix Nouveaux... too many to mention really. I am not sure do I get inspiration from all of these artists, but I get something deep from them anyway. One "hobby" of mine is music of China, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and so on.
Finland seems to be a great place for Heavy Metal Music. What’s about the Finnish Doom Scene? Tell us a bit about it?
Statistically it might look like we are great Heavy Metal country, but for people like me to whom Heavy Metal does NOT mean Ari Koivunen, or Lordi, the picture can be bit different, but it is true that Heavy Metal has had a special place here in Finnish music scene right from the 70's. I myself am still reaching for the similar feelings that I had when for the first time getting into bands like Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, W.A.S.P., Venom and Witchfinder General. I avoid Heavy Metal bars and these kinds of circles, because I do not have much in common with most of the metal people of nowadays, but I do have many good friends in bit more old school and esoteric scene. When RB started doing gigs the audience laughed at us calling us out of date. Now there are new bands around and there are quite many Doom-fans here. This is of course positive thing.
Could you also give recommendations which Bands are worth listening to?
Newer bands here in Finland? There are some I still have not really checked out myself, because I have intentionally taken some distance to the Doom Metal scene going on now. I needed that after all these years full of it. So maybe I do more justice to the scene If I do not recommend any band better than some else, but I have heard Wandering Midget and Caskets Open and they surely had something there. Hooded Menace has done pretty great old school slow death metal album which should be mentioned here as well. And as I usually happen to say, people should check out Maria and Loinen. They do not play Doom, and they are far from each other, but they are some of the best bands here in many years. And Spiritus Mortis is still going strong!!! They are the oldest Finnish Doom Metal band.
Ok, last Topic: Reverend Bizarre's latest Release "Death is Glory...Now". It's a Double CD Compilation. I was not able to listen to it in detail until now, but the Tracklist offers that the Tracks are mainly taken from B-Sides but features Cover Songs as well. Could you tell us some more Details about this release?
Well, they are b-sides if you take RB-sides of the splits we did as b-sides *hah hah *... but to cut it short this CD compiles all of our vinyl-only material. For me some of these recordings are among our strongest material. The original vinyls are now hard to find collectors items and very expensive so I believe this is good way for new fans to get to hear these songs.
The Journey of the Reverend ended in 2007. Are you still happy with the decision?
Very much so. I just wait for the day when I am completely done with the band. Maybe I am even waiting for the day when I am totally done with my music activities. I have more than 5 albums worth of material just waiting to be done. It is a burden. I dream about leaving everything behind and disappearing to somewhere in East Asia.
What' are your Band Mates from Reverend Bizarre are doing at present? Are you still in Contact with them?
We never were so much in contact, but our relationships are better now I believe. Void is in Berlin. I do not know what he is really doing there. Peter is busy with his new band Lord Vicar, as well as his Prog Rock band Orne. Lord Vicar’ début album is out and Orne's second album will be coming one day as well. I will do, again, all the vocals for it. Or at least this is the plan.
Before we come to an End: Can we expect to see you Live in Germany with "The Puritan"?
Very hard to say...The band is not that active and I am not too interested in playing live in the first place. BUT, if things go as planned you will be able to see me live in Germany this year.
Thanks for answering our questions. Some finishing Words to our readers?
Thank you! I surely hope this last offering of RB on CD is what our audience would like to see and hear. At least we worked hard to make it perfect. So, I hope you people enjoy it. May this year be better for all of us, even when somewhere deep inside I have my apocalyptic visions and special plans for this world. Take care and control!