Some of you might remember this blasting Death Metal commando that fit perfectly especially to the Voices-pages with their demo “Moulded In Clay” and their debut album “Pain Amplifier”. This debut album was released on CD only through Evil Omen Records back then. Finally a vinyl-release of MYTHOS “Pain Amplifier” through Greek Nuclear Winter Records saw the light of day. We took the opportunity to talk to former drummer Teemu Hautaniemi about his band MYTHOS and some things around it. The result is a nice “little” chat with intelligent and honest answers. Thanks to you, Teemu, for your time with those helluva lot questions, haha. Enjoy this interview and check out the vinyl-version of “Pain Amplifier” as it is available since beginning of August 2010 according to Nuclear Winter’s myspace-page www.myspace.com/nuclearwinterrecords
Hi there Teemu, how are you? Anything important to say to the Voices readers?
"Hell-o all ! It’s time for a blast from the past with a vinyl release bang - if you missed any one the old brutal MYTHOS releases, get them while the stocks last!"
How does it feel to answer an interview about your old band MYTHOS which is dead and buried since ~10 years now?
"It's obviously been a while since interviews concerning this band, but now it is a good time to do at least one interview as we have some interesting going on in ~10yrs."
Do you wonder about the interest in the MYTHOS releases, especially the “Moulded In Clay” demo and the “Pain Amplifier” full-length? Were you involved in those vinyl-releases and what do you think about the idea behind it and about the label Nuclear Winter Records, too? Are you familiar with some of Nuclear Winter’s releases?
"The music styles go round in cycles and it seems that once in a decade new people pick up the old stuff and maybe the old fans pick up at least one last time the CD / vinyl and reminiscence the album, how it was - was it really that good or bad. Been there, gone that path as well with my old CDs and tapes (my cat destroyed the vinyl player and some vinyls since he liked the spinning so much… so I don't have a player anymore). I'm not really familiar with the NWR catalogue bands, just know the names and of course Anastasis, he's a very enterprising person and I like the guy a lot."
“Moulded In Clay” and “Pain Amplifier” first time on vinyl. How does this feel?
"With "Pain Amplifier" I am relieved actually, this is probably ultimately the way it should've been released originally. By releasing the demo on 10" MLP was exceptional and frankly I’m honored but, I really didn't ever expect these re-releases. The original press of the cassette version of "Moulded In Clay" was so small that I think this re-release is very justified! Also the 2nd time release finally presents "Pain Amplifier" with a great album cover which I'm very happy about."
MYTHOS is dead, that’s a fact, nevertheless there’s actually much going on around your former band. Your demo “Moulded In Clay” was, as mentioned above, recently reissued by Nuclear Winter Records and the same goes for your “Pain Amplifier” CD. Did you recognize this “older is better” movement in the current Death Metal scene with the revival of oldschool Death Metal sounds and so on?
"Sure, it’s been noticed, like I said earlier it’s the cycle of music styles etc. trends in general, people check back what could be learned and maybe pick up from what’s been done earlier and mix it with their own musical roots."
Turning the time now back to the beginning of the nineties. Your guitarplayer Jukka Valppu was involved in the Death Metal band BELIAL before MYTHOS. Was he the founder of MYTHOS and do you see (or was there) a connection between BELIAL and MYTHOS from the beginning? Besides that, what’s your opinion about BELIAL?
"Jukka came to me about starting a new band, which was then named "MYTHOS", we started adding guys to the line-up as they managed to arrive at the rehearsal place. The obvious connection there was the songwritership - Jukka did the trademark "BELIAL" riffs on their early releases and once he was out of BELIAL and we created songs, it sounded like BELIAL. Of course everyone can hear the direction BELIAL continued to with their latter releases. I went to the first BELIAL gigs, sure I enjoyed the songs and bought the demo, I befriended the other BELIAL guys at that time and we still say Hi! when bump into each other."
MYTHOS was one of those bands coming a little bit late. “Moulded In Clay” was released in 1993 and your debut album in 1995. Both rather late as the Death Metal boom was already over at this time and Black Metal was the hype. How did you see this development back then?
"The change then was to more theatrical and rawer with the Black Metal masks, musical style and recordings. Lots of good came out of that but at that time as we progressed slowly with our material and incorporated Thrash elements and other stuff, it clearly was a different path what was not taken. In the band we all enjoyed DARKTHRONE etc. but didn't actually want to play that kind of stuff with MYTHOS."
What made you to form a band like MYTHOS. What were your biggest influences and recordings which drove you to form MYTHOS?
"I speak for myself when I say ENTOMBED "Left Hand Path", DEATH "Leprosy", AUTOPSY "Severed Survival", OBITUARY "Cause Of Death"."
Why did you choose MYTHOS as the bandname and did you ever got problems with the Greek beer-brand with the same name, haha? A quite good beer by the way...
"I was and still am a fan of H.P. Lovecraft and also Greek beer too, haha.. You know it’s very hard to come up with a short and catchy band name that doesn't label or restrict you too much. MYTHOS was picked up from a paperback I bought at a bookstore, it was a collection of Lovecrafts novels called "Cthulhu Mythos" (I still have to book). Never had any problems concerning the name or its usage. Later at the internet-age I discovered there was a German Electro-Scheisse duo (band?) called MYTHOS as well, but their music is way different."
Your first output was the already mentioned “Moulded In Clay” demo in 1993. A 5-song recording (plus intro) in a perfect soundquality and top notch songs and musicianship, played ultra tight in mostly highest speed. Please tell something about this first release. Is it correct that it was limited to 250 copies? How were the reactions?
"Ultra tight? I disagree, it is quite sloppy when I listen to it nowadays! (That’s just your opinion, Teem, haha – Thomas) The reaction was nice, it didn't got ripped from our hands but didn't lay too long in the shelves as well. There was only 1 pressing and it was 250pcs. I doubt I have my own copy, or have given it to my mother for safekeeping. She has a box of all my recordings throughout all these years."
At this very beginning I had the huge impression that MYTHOS were some kind of Death Metal version of IMPALED NAZARENE, especially considering the guitar- and drumwork. Perhaps a mix between IMPALED NAZARENE’s Black Metal and BELIAL’s Death Metal from their first recordings. How do you see the musical path MYTHOS followed at the beginning?
"Let's go little bit deeper in the history than earlier with BELIAL… Jukka Valppu played and composed music with IMPALED NAZARENE guys in the pre-IMPALED NAZARENE band MUTILATION - thats where the BELIAL / IMPALED NAZARENE comparisons come, esp. with the first album "Tol Crompt Norz Norz Norz". I suppose one of the songs on the album was co-written with Jukka Valppu but not credited? Can't remember…"
How long did you play the drums at those years? You seemed quite skilled already (I know you will disagree here, haha).
"At the time of "Moulded In Clay" I had played for about 5+ yrs. As usual, I tried my best. Few years back I helped out friends Death / Thrash band who rehearse at the same room with my current band, TARPITORCHEASTRA, I got comments that they like my playing because its oldschool brutal drumming. No blastbeats or fancy techniques, just some color and variety. Nobody said I was skilled, thanks!"
Who was responsible for the awesome, but almost completely unreadable logo?
"It was done by a good friend, Mika Vuoto, who later also did photos for "Dark Material". Mika is an old band mate and is a graphics wizard as the other person, Samuli Alapuranen, who also did a lot of MYTHOS stuff from the beginning till "Dark Materlal". Both are from the same schools and from Kempele, like Kimmo Korkala ("Moulded In Clay" - vocalist & guitarist) as well. A year ago we reconnected with Samuli after 10yrs. Both guys were asked to design the re-issue "Pain Amplifier" cover but either one didn't have time."
What about the lyrical direction of the songs? You were responsible for most of the lyrics, if I’m right? Dark stories or brutal gore lyrics? What were the lyrical contents of the songs all about? And how did this change during the years?
"Well the lyrics weren't actually a product of brainstorming or such, pretty much followed the Lovecraftian myths and pondering on what lies lurking there in the dark etc. Later on the lyrics developed more into reflecting frustration and disappointment partly reflecting growing up to adulthood. Definitely not the kind of stuff to take too literally or take as coffee table talk topic since there’s really not that much depth in them haha..."
How do you see the importance of lyrics on a Death Metal album? Are lyrics important?
"Depending on the singer style of outlet, being gargling or barking, I really think the lyrics don't play much part and too sophisticated thoughts get thrown out the window and forgotten easily. If you can make out the lyrics from the singer's outlet it becomes an instrument instead of just a steamroller train plowing through with full force destroying everything. You can do good with both styles, it becomes meaningful if you make out anything of them."
Later on, in 1994, the demosongs were included on the compilation CD “Vociferous & Machiavellian Hate” through Evil Omen Records. On this CD the other bands were EXPULSION, MYSTHICAL and UNEXPECTED. What do you think about this release and the other bands included here? Was this release a good promotion for your band?
"It was mainly good promotion but lacked serious artistic discipline, the intro / outro crossfading was not a good idea, however, a bold try I must admit, since most of the compilation albums are quite boring and reek of quick money rip-off. The other bands raised little interested, that doesn't mean I think we were the best band on the compilation, but there was no single OH! moment - nothing new under the sky at that time."
Chris Moyen took care of the coverartwork. What’s your opinion about the quite colourful cover of this compilation CD?
"I like colours! I don't depend on black being the only color, color was basic Moyen - art, good and suited well to the compilation."
Ludo of Evil Omen Records contributed all intros on this compilation CD. What do you think about this part and were you already at this time signed to Evil Omen Records?
"The concept was only roughly explained and the deal was only for the compilation CD then. As everything with Ludo was - he did try but failed since it’s not a band thing if the band doesn't approve."
In 1995 you released your one and only CD “Pain Amplifier” through the mentioned Evil Omen Records. A killer recording and a perfect follower to the godly demotape. What’s your impression on “Pain Amplifier” with a distance of 15 years now?
"Well, only thought now is relief, considering the cover and format it was originally presented. From the album liner notes you can pick up the main thoughts considering the time of rehearsing, recording and releasing the album. I haven't listened to the album in maybe 5 yrs now. Have to let it simmer a bit more, dunno, could be that I pick up a case of beer and go next door with the album and listen to it?"
Can you tell something about the contract between MYTHOS and Ludo / Evil Omen Records?
"Basically it was difficult, complex and frustrating… If I’d knew it'd be like the way it was then, I'd jump on different path. Main driver behind all this was that Osmose was distributing it, all guys in the band looked up that as a huge factor and expected it to be a stepping stone to record for Osmose. But as far as I know - Herve, whom we did not keep contact with, never was interested in having us - it was always Ludo. It was only Ludo's passion."
During those years were you an active live band, too? Did you play some (smallers) tours or just single concerts here and there? How was the concert-infrastructure in Finland at those days?
"Yes we played wherever we could, sadly too much in the Oulu area. Gigs in the south were too far for us financially and not much money could be spent on gas or car charges nevertheless equipment as we were students or jobless."
After the “Pain Amplifier” CD you recorded the “The Tide Has Turned” CD with the Doomsters GOD FORSAKEN. Was there some kind of break in MYTHOS at this time or did you look out for something different, as MYTHOS so far were ultra blasting and GOD FORSAKEN slow and groovy?
"Hmm.. I did not record any music with GOD FORSAKEN (Really? Shame on me. Bad research, haha – Thomas), you can hear me play the album songs on Youtube clips from this tour I did with them in 1994. I got to know the GOD FORSAKEN guys way before MYTHOS so when they asked me to come and help them around, I did. I've always liked the slow and groovy stuff as well."
Your impression about “The Tide Has Turned”? Are you satisfied with it? I have to admit that I loved GOD FORSAKEN at their “Dismal Gleams Of Desolation”- days, this 2nd release wasn’t my cup of tea that much.
"It was different, but it lacks certain depth in the production, not heavy enough not much depth. I wish it would've had clean vocals… The production is too clean and mainstream. Yeah I loved the "Dismal Gleams Of Desolation" album as well..."
How long did you play together with GOD FORSAKEN?
"On two occasions, first helping them out on ANATHEMA / PYOGENESIS / GOD FORSAKEN tour in Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Austria - we were on road for a week. And then the band got Juha Pohto back on the drums and did "The Tide Has Turned" when I was asked again when both Juha's (Köykkä on bass and Pohto) left the band. We played summer festival Provinssirock and some odd 5+ shows. It then withered slowly since the distance between Oulu where I live and Seinäjoki is some odd 400km and I could not make it each weekend for rehearsals. MYTHOS was not the reason me stopping playing with GOD FORSAKEN."
Asking you as the drummer in MYTHOS and in GOD FORSAKEN – how does it suit to play ultrafast in the earliest releases in MYTHOS and pretty slow in GOD FORSAKEN. What makes more fun, what’s the style you prefer to play?
"Both styles are enjoyable to a certain point as it is with everything. Both are hard to keep in time if there’s just the beat without no accents or hooks."
Next release for MYTHOS was the MCD “Dark Material” in 1996 through the label KTOK Records. As far as I know this was a label ran by one member of MYTHOS, right? The musical direction changed a lot from the beginning and old fans of MYTHOS must have gotten disappointed. How were the reactions to this release and do you think now, that this was still MYTHOS?
"It surely was MYTHOS then as the logo changed then. Sure it sounded little bit different, but I guess the same shit happened to us recording / mastering as with GOD FORSAKEN's 2nd album. The production (of which ourselves were only to blame of) was too clean, no rough edge etc. Sure everyone was little bit disappointed of the outcome in the band but it was a relief to get something out. But as the time went on, the über brutality was not so appealing. It woulda been boring to release too similar music for several albums. The label was run by Kimmo Korkala, who played guitar and gargled on "Moulded In Clay." But actually there was written material between "Pain Amplifier" and "Dark Material", right after the first full album got released we had a concept for a successor which was dubbed as "Too Evil To Die." There were songs in the same style as "Pain Amplifier" and this was already when we Mikko Laurila switched to vocals and Harri Paasovaara become our bassist. As time went on and prospects for recording or releasing anything, we got bored of playing these songs and wrote new ones. One other reason for this was most of the band guys really thought we'd need to stick trying to get the deal with Osmose and just wait for it. But I knew that was not gonna happen unless the album sales would've rocketed. The difference was Ludo wanted us on his label, Herve just helped with the distribution, not actually interested in having us."
Starting from a brutal grinding Death Metal band to a more melodic even rocking (Death) Metal band is a way usually the early fans don’t support. Did you feel that the interest left with this last release and what was the reason for such a drastic change in style?
"What happened with ENTOMBED back then? Exactly the same. I quit following after "Clandestine" album since the stuff sounded almost like Punk with Metal influences to me. I think it’s just retard to not to progress, I couldn't change the progress, no one in the band ever said we are straying too far away. What about fans then, they shifted towards SENTENCED's rocking "Amok" album, the obvious thought was not to go too far to Rock'n'Roll but incorporate some elements of it."
On this release you skipped your old logo. Any reason behind it? Such things often mean a musically drastic change (just think of bands as SAMAEL, TIAMAT or MOONSPELL)...
"Actually the logo came from Samuli Alapuranen and people really had problems reading the original logo. As the design of the MCD was spot on and clean, why put the old logo?"
A funny thing is that many Finnish bands developed this way, some less some more. Just see bands as CONVULSE, XYSMA, DISGRACE among others. Swedes on the other hand developed in a totally different way; therefore this must be something “typically Finnish”, haha. What’s your opinion about that?
"I haven't thought it like that considering what the Swedes were doing. I think in good and bad; Finnish bands developed and some even are around today, like AMORPHIS! Hats off to them since its totally different band now. In earlier questions I said its retarded not to progress, I still stand behind that, not saying Swedes retarded. Throughout my life listening to music, the most best bands do come from Sweden."
How was the climate between the bandmember in MYTHOS during the band’s lifetime? Were you 4/5 friends from the beginning to its end?
"Usually the guy you bring to the band is someone you know or favor over somebody else’s proposition, so basically it is a friend already. On the latter part of MYTHOS career more and more people outside came and played, played well too. As years go pass and people grow and maybe you put behind disappointments etc. you still might have a friendship, but as in every band I've played with, the relationship is more like a partnership. It’s a rough 3/5 chance you play well together but won't be friends after all. Lesson learned; good friendships are rare and good players as well. What about the past MYTHOS members, well… I'm surprised how most talk about playing together for one more time and especially that one individual would like to dismiss and disassociate himself from all past relation to the band. It's been very hard to get any comment on anything nevertheless participate on anything. Maybe he thinks it could harm his artistic future, dunno. Or he thinks he's way better than the rest of us? Well… everything is said and done and there won't be any questions asked from him anymore. Sad."
What are the other members of MYTHOS doing now and do you still have contact to them?
"Jukka Valppu just moved back from Kuusamo closer to Oulu again, my guess is he is unemployed and with his wife and kids. He's still active. Toni Pekkala plays with NORDIC FROST, a CELTIC FROST cover band, lives in Tampere. Kimmo Korkala is in Oulu, too. Plays with TORTURE PULSE. About Mikko Laurila I can't really say whats going on, not quite the same jolly "Palli-Mikko" he used to be. Harri Paasovaara lives in Koskenkorva with his wife and newborn baby (congrats!) I won't go into what ALL the ex-MYTHOS players are doing and I don't actually have any idea what most do. Yeah I see most of the guys maybe 1-2 times a year or in 10yrs haha. To some I say "Hi!" and to some not, depends on what the guys face looks like, if it looks like an elephant vagina I dismiss…"
What were the goals you had with MYTHOS from the beginning? Death Metal was getting big around 1991 - 94 and did you have the impression that you can make some kind of living with a Death Metal band or as a musician in general? Or are those thoughts just childish dreams and rather unrealistic?
"No, not to make a living… just play good music and drink beers. Play live and get some name, maybe tour further. To make a record. After the "Pain Amplifier" everything became one notch harder. Maybe a possibility for learning your instrument properly and then try living off what you could if fate was that a good opportunity followed. You never know life, it’s full of chances."
Finland offers since the early nineties high-quality Metal music, and there are many names around which made it. Even in the Death and Black Metal genre are some big names from Finland active for many many years. What's so special about Finland and its musicians and which are some names that you followed since their start (friends of yours probably)?
"I liked ABHORRENCE (didn't know the guys), XYSMA (them neither), TENEBRAE / SOULGRIND (I was in contact with Jussi back then), SENTENCED (of course, they were from the same city and drink in the same local bars), Taneli Jarva, IMPALED NAZARENE (Mika Luttinen + first line-up guys), BELIAL, DEMILICH (just saw them live, too bad they had very bad muddy live sound, couldn't make much out of it), THERGOTHON and maybe many more…"
If I’m right the first releases were all recorded in Tico-Tico studios. Can you tell something about this recording studio? Some of the most professional Finnish Death Metal recordings were recorded there and besides that it was, at least at the beginning something like the “house-studio” of IMPALED NAZARENE, right?
"It’s the most pro studio for Metal bands with affordable price and a studio guy, Ahti, who is very likable. IMPALED NAZARENE maybe used the studio too much for their own good. Well cannot say really since haven't listened to most of their recent albums. The studio is very very popular and is booked year round, you possibly couldn't squeeze a weekend session until 6 months or more in the future. Haven't been there since the last session of "Pain Amplifier", however I got the DAT materials recovered to a CDR from Ahti few years back."
Next for MYTHOS was the “Revenge” promo in 1998. Honestly spoken I thought that MYTHOS disbanded after the last MCD. What did the band MYTHOS do during those years and what was the reason for putting out another release with again even more different musical material?
"Well we kept playing and writing new stuff… not so much live shows back then, it was not so good time considering the line-up and towards the end around year 2000 the band truly was done for."
Last release for MYTHOS was another promo in 1999. Did you release those demos official or were those recordings meant for labels? Again, your opinion about this recording?
"This Promo 1999 actually was a furious comeback to power, decent studio work and fast stuff with good musicianship. I still like this promo very much. I think it's a little bit sad since this was the last line-up for me to try to make it with MYTHOS and finally there's guys who were such good & pro. But for me there was too much past baggage: MYTHOS disappointments and kind of - over and done for - feeling in the air. I kept hanging on too long. Then again my expectations were too high for what was the direction then was going to be and, I later recognized I was very difficult person back then because of all that. There was a lot of stuff going on at that time and MYTHOS didn't look as the only path, I just didn't get it figured out in my head. Everything was officially released and sometimes sold if requests came. CDR was sent to record labels but back then I was tired of doing everything in the band all the time, every time. However the studio work at that era all sounded like this, they sort of manufactured all stuff from some studio software sablon maybe? My other band called BODIES - whom which played Power / Heavy Metal recorded there at the same time and the sound landscape is identical though very very different material etc."
Please tell your honest opinion about the musical direction the band MYTHOS followed from the beginning to its end and which part in the history of your band was the one you enjoyed the most.
"Yeah, first it was like in all beginnings - rough and it got finessed to what was the last promo in 1999. The last recording was the most enjoyable, I like the songs diversity and tempos."
Do you think MYTHOS is still a name in the Death Metal world and what made MYTHOS special?
"I think it is in the new generation(s) that find the band, they look up. If one didn't like us then, the opinions not gonna change now. Maybe then if you're willing to turn your other cheek and give the material a decent fresh listen."
Hidden tracks seem to be some kind of joke in the MYTHOS history, right? On “Pain Amplifier” you had the awesome ‘Reek Of Putrefaction’ cover and on the vinyl release of “Moulded In Clay” you put (not less awesome) ‘Dead Shall Rise’ from TERRORIZER. Was there any deeper meaning behind those hidden tracks or is it more or less some copyright-issue? Are you satisfied with those coversongs and is there another one to come for the “Pain Amplifier” re-issue?
"Actually we were jokers all right but as for songs being hidden, they're mostly because of the record label bosses have included the songs and decided to mention them on the covers or not. That being said, buy the re-issue vinyl and check the songs out haha…. I am happy with them, they're pretty much one-shot recordings so there's some mistakes in them but who cares haha…"
Talking about labels. As far as I know you didn’t have the best luck with the label Evil Omen Records. What were your most negative experiences you had? What were the mistakes you were responsible for in this belongings and what can you tell to other bands to be aware of for their contracts?
"First of all the re-issue vinyl liner notes pretty much cover the entire experience back then. The main problem with Evil Omen Records was the language and attitude barrier with Ludo. Not so good at all with his kindergarten English and his French strong attitude "he is in all control." That is the road to instant collision with the Finnish - "do what you promised, what was written is your law" - mentality. It’s like Kimi Räikkönen in motor sports, say less, say only what’s important. And you could trust what the other side said. Ludo came up with all kind of ideas and most of them were presented to us, which always got turned down - but with each rejection I sent our proposition or ideas for changes. At first the attitude was to communicate creatively with counter propositions so that the process would just flow from end to beginning. But as it turned out, there was too strong opposition on both ends and the language barrier… I got fed being nice and as it turned out the album covers and t-shirt design were what Ludo proposed, he didn't pay attention to what we said anymore. Well, I don't think I'm not quite the person to advice anyone on album deals, if it smells like shit don't sign it. When you're young you easily are attracted by the chance to record an album, today the deals labels propose, I think, are much complicated because of digital music rights etc. If I'd get a record deal today I'd had it read by an independent lawyer who understands music industry. The "Pain Amplifier" deal paper and "Vociferous…" were just simple A4 papers claiming on both parties responsibilities and our signatures. Re-issues were negotiated via email and on signed paper anywhere. Anastasis did a good job with the "Moulded In Clay" and proved to be a very good man, no need then to hassle with paperwork as it was a simple deal."
I wonder about your negative opinion about Evil Omen. I thought Ludo’s label was in a way related to Osmose Productions, therefore the whole situation didn’t look that bad... But then I remember a sentence in one of your emails: “Out of all the printed / sold albums, the only thing we've got were 677 € (4000 old Finnish marks) for the studio and 50 CDs + 5 longsleeve shirts. Wow !”. Well...
"Well actually we got some receipts of the individual prints but the actual biggest and only income was the money for studio. By the way some of the shirts were so poor quality that when you put the shirt on and try to get your hand out of the armpit hole (?) the shirt fabric just gave thru and the shirt was done for. We weren't expecting a steady money flow - good would come in time, but all the money made with "Pain Amplifier" went on to Evil Omen Record's next release; DEMONIAC album. If I remember correctly, Ludo treated DEMONIAC the very same way."
All this “no royalities at all” made you to put all your songs online for free download at www.lastfm.de/label/MYTHOS. How are the reactions so far from the fans / downloaders and did you get any response / reaction from your former labelboss because of this?
"Well, the music already was downloadable everywhere on the internet. Nobody has responded in any way, no reaction. Last.fm provides some direction to who owns the music and purchase links. In my opinion, no harm done. Also our initial album contract didn't say nothing about digital rights, so, as were not given up them in written or gotten paid in all, my understation is that we still own the masters (DAT + reels) along with the rights. For the re-issue I told Anastasis to lookup Ludo or Evil Omen for letting them know what we are thinking of doing. No way we weren't gonna just release the re-issue without asking how they feel about it. Ludo was not available and no answer was not gotten from him, instead, Herve of Osmose shed some light on the Evil Omen catalogue ownership. Evil Omen Records is no more and all the catalog is now under ownership of Osmose. Herve was pro and there was only discussion where he approved the re-issue without any claims etc."
Do you know what Ludo is doing now?
"No idea, no interest what so ever. Hopefully he's somewhere sitting comfortably with a pineapple up his ass." (Autsch – Thomas)
Teemu, we were in a (in my opinion) very good contact during the years 1993-1995 if I’m right. What happened to you afterwards? Did your hunger in Death Metal disappear and did you look out for new musical challenges?
"Yes we were good pen pals then haha… Ok, 1995 I did my civil-service (very quick and obivous choice, no army for me then) - played with GOD FORSAKEN until they disbanded. BODIES - a Power / Heavy Metal band was one project I got to enjoy for several years. I met my girlfriend at that time, still with her, Marjo, thru all these years - thru good and bad, love conquers all haha… There was unemployment and studies in the computer sciences, it was time to do other stuff. I was not playing drums for entire year when first MYTHOS was done for and then the BODIES was left without a decent singer and we buried the band. Around 2003 I picked up rehearsing BLACK LABEL SOCIETY cover songs etc with new band called BARCODE which developed into FIREWALL - this band was Metal with emerging Rock influences and we did 3 recordings in total. DIESELBUNNY asked me to come to drum for them and I agreed, this was fuzz guitar Stoner Rock and we did 3 recordings. It was an experience - as all in life - different, not sure I'd gone some of the paths I did with them. A bit of on / off band. You had to turn off all reason and just do it and to have a put up with not-so-intelligent humor. There was no actual musicianship in the band, you could call it boozed brainstorming. I guess there was a small break with music here as I was concentrating on making a career life. Not long though, since HEIMIA was then asking me to replace their drummer. I jumped in and did 1 recording (Stoner Rock / Metal) and some gigs with them. Now all the guys in the band were much younger than me, too much alcohol and trippy stuff for me. When I left the band after 1 year, also the bassist and rhythm guitarist left as well. You couldn't call it a band, it was individual and an opinion. In everything, execution lacked backbone. TARPITORCHESTRA has been the main thing for me since HEIMIA. Few years younger than me but from same school where I'm from, a Metal guitarist turned to rockin' bluesin' style - Toni Tervonen is a long distance runner - kind of guy. Easy going and easy to play with… We've sticked thru 2 recordings and a recent major line-up change, got things going once again and picking up new songs ready for gigs and new recordings. The outlet is relaxed Rock with bluesy elements played with Bb tuning and by old, seasoned, Metalheads. We have songs on sale on iTunes, check them out. The Death Metal "burn" has not diminished, the only medication has been more cowbell haha… I helped out friend band SOUL TERROR who rehearsed at the same rooms, for 2 gigs few years back. The style was Death-Thrash. Nice variety in the songs and not über brutal stuff. Some of the guys wanted me to continue with them, but they went on a hiatus and later on emerged with different name and line-up, which developed further on."
How does it look now? Is Death Metal still important to you?
"It’s not as important as air I breathe or the pay I got for my IT-consultant work. I listen to what ever sounds good in my taste, be it brutal (new HYPOCRISY stuff! or BLOODBATH!) or fuzzin' buzzin' trippy Space Rock. Sure Death Metal has a special place but I haven't stuck with it, if a good band was missed on purposely - if fate allows, it'll pop out somewhere and I can enjoy it later on."
How did you see the whole tapetrading- and penpal-movement back in those years? I remember you as a person writing incredible long letters and therefore I guess you were quite interested in the whole movement. In the mid-nineties when the movement almost disappeared did you miss those days?
"I childishly were in impression people were interested in what was happening in my life with bands etc. haha (sorry if I bored you!) (Definitely not, those were among the most interesting letters back then – Thomas) Not just send a tape and list of stuff you got. I talk and write if there's interest in saying something. I'm glad I got so many good, especially German, friends to write with. Some of them with I'm stayed in contact through all these years and visited each other. Sure there've been some years without a letter. You know it filled a kind of void in life back then and to try to "make it" or "go somewhere" you had to get connected. When life progresses and other involvements such as a steady job or family fill your time it all got kinda forgotten. I think the internet age along with Metalhead forums and email brought it all back again, and am glad about it."
Coming back to the vinyl releases. I know you are not really responsible for the vinyl version of “Moulded In Clay” and you were not involved either, but how does it feel to hold it between your hands?
"I was stunned actually, you know, I have some old EPs of ABHORRENCE etc. which were multicolored etc. There I was holding my own vinyl which had my playing in it! On clear vinyl! The vinyls with their big album covers have a definite physical attraction. CD means compact and is easier and not so fragile to handle, has its good properties. But I prefer vinyl as media format for MYTHOS releases."
Are you satisfied with the layout? The coverdrawing that was used for it looks awesome. Nevertheless I hoped for more information and liner notes. The lyrics are there, but some introducing words from a bandmember or a “VIP” from the scene would be a “nice to have”.
"With "Moulded in Clay" it was just a revamped original demo cassette layout. I point my finger at Kimmo Korkala who was responsible for this release. Maybe he felt there is nothing to say anymore. Less is more?"
Now the vinyl-release of “Pain Amplifier” is quite close according to the official MYTHOS-blog http://MYTHOSfin.blogspot.com. On this blog you are using the old logo again, luckily. What can we expect from “Pain Amplifier”’s first time ever on vinyl? As far as I know you are involved in this release now?
"Maybe there’s nice scratchy sound on the back when the songs change? Well, at least there is an appropriate album cover with liner notes. There was a need for a blog and resurrecting the old logo was appropriate since it was the logo under which we did the original. By the way, there is a MYTHOS Facebook fan group "MYTHOS(fin)" with old pictures from different line-ups and some history. There won't be a band site for MYTHOS."
In the current Death Metal movement is some kind of vinyl-revival recognizable – your 2 releases for Nuclear Winter Records are best prove. Labels as Blood Harvest, the mentioned Nuclear Winter or Iron Bonehead are a counter movement to the bigger labels releasing just ordinary CDs. Are you a vinyl fan yourself or the average Ipod-fan now?
"I don't own an Ipod, however my car has a Ipod connection to it. But yes, I prefer digital media as in mp3 and portable players. Vinyls I do have and just couple months ago picked up all them from the basement. I've been thinking of buying a vinyl player once again - just waiting for a right one to surface. I do buy CDs of albums - I just check the release before hand from internet. Record Heaven is a good place. You know vinyl is like good dining and wine, best when enjoyed slowly and the CD / digital media is like fast food with a beer to go with. (Absolutely correct and perfectly verbalized, Teemu – Thomas) Both of them have their enjoyable perfect properties and let's celebrate that we have a chance to choose from. You can go back and forth depending on your mood."
A question about the Finish Metal scene. Everyone is talking about the Swedish Metal scene, some are even writing books about Swedish Death Metal, but it’s by no means a different situation when looking at Finland. This country has so many influential, groundbreaking and successful bands. How do you see your Metal country and when do you think it’s time a book called “Finnish Death Metal” will see the light of day?
"Probably never. But who knows? Maybe in the coming decade(s)? I think the Finns in majority don't appreciate and celebrate other than first places and world champion statuses. A book covering successful Metal / Rock bands exists but, not sub-genre in its details. Too underground. A website does exist, however, www.isten.net/guide/ which presents a short, biased view on an outdated band list. Must've been a crushing effort to compile this much stuff. Hats off to Mattila!"
We are getting closer to the end now, left are some words about some Finish bands now. Please write down your top-5 releases (demos, EPs or albums) in Finish Death / Thrash or Black Metal history. And contrary, what are the 5 most overrated ones?
"TOP 5 in no order: ABHORRENCE 7" EP, SENTENCED "Rotting Misery" demo, TENEBRAE’s first demo, THERGOTHON, XYSMA (these I remember I appreciated at that time.) Phew, overrated ones? Well, without going into any particular band names or their releases, but in general… I guess it’s down to my own personal opinion, feeling and totally different taste in music. In most cases bands are just chewing someone’s old bubble gum without giving any new flavor or present nothing new. Or then it’s just utter meaningless bullshit without any clue. Someone might say the same about MYTHOS, but remember kids - it’s all about the songwriter and under which bandname the writer composes his music, BELIAL<->MYTHOS. KING DIAMOND still sounds like KING DIAMOND with MERCYFUL FATE but with the core sound, the voice is still the same. (Absolutely right, good comparison – Thomas) There's a bone for you to chew on!"
Left should be some space, too, for some funny anecdotes from those early days of Finish Death Metal you very involved in. Have you something in mind?
"Nah, nothing comes to mind now sorry… nothing funny at least. There's some anecdotes on the re-issue liner notes though haha."
Teemu, guess it’s time to end now. Hope you enjoyed this interview and hope it is interesting for the readers to bring some light in some topics. Thanks for your time. As usual the last words are yours!
"Thanks very much, I was honored, however shocked at first of the extent of this interview (No doubt about it, haha – Thomas). I'm thankful for this opportunity to voice out my thoughts and my thanks extend also to Anastasis from Nuclear Winter Records for bringing out the MYTHOS stuff on vinyl, Ketola for his art, design and consultation. Thanks Thomas for your time and questions!" (It was a huge pleasure – Thomas)
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