Finland Promised Land of Metal Part 1

Throughout the history Metal strongly influence people’s  lives. I’m one of the huge fan of metal. Lately it declines its popularity and become unappealing to the masses. A lot of people thought that metal years are over, But not when I stumble upon the country Finland. Metal is so much alive here. Bands are inroad relentlessly touring while reaping success in their neighboring countries. In Finland you can see the greatest band ever assembled that really storm the stage with every performance. Now I take pride to introduce you one of my friend in music scene, I’m so thankful that he was kind enough to share us their band’s interesting story. Here is The interview with the bassist of Karelian Warcry. Read on

Karelian Warcry

Current Line-Up
(vocals & guitar) Matti Mikkonen
(guitar & backing vocals) Jussi Kousa
(drums) Antipekka Heiskanen
(bass) Henrik Järvinen

Dove Kickinger Can you give me a brief rundown of your band’s history and the story behind the name of your band.

Henrik Järvinen “Bands name is Karelian Warcry and we are a Black / Death Metal band from Finland. The band was founded in late 2002 by Matti Mikkonen, Sami Ukkonen and Anttipekka Heiskanen. The name Karelian Warcry was Samis idea and it’s an indication of the region nearby where our band is from (South Karelia). In 2003 there was an urgent need for a lead-guitarist so Matti could concentrate on vocals better. Jussi Kousa joined the band in the summer and he started to compose songs with Sami and Matti. Sami left the band in the end of the year to concentrate on his other band projects. I (Henrik Järvinen) took Samis place after he left. I had played with these guys before so it was an easy choice for me.”

Dove KickingerDo you have same musical style? If not, who incorporated the idea that you will be labeled as a Death Metal band?

Henrik Järvinen “We all have different taste in music and it seems that it’s the strength of our band. We work as a democratic unit and everyone gives their contribution to music and lyrics. It is hard to put a one label to our music but Black Metal and Death Metal would be one of the biggest influences. I guess it depends on the listener where he/she want’s to categorize us. Our style comes from combining the elements each of us like separately.”

Dove KickingerIs there any fellow artist that you admire?

Henrik Järvinen “Like I said in the previous question we have a different taste in music. Of course there are many bands we all like but there aren’t really any that we admire so much that it would affect our music. Maybe most of our influences comes from Norwegian and Swedish music scenes”

Dove Kickinger- Your band got a record label now, How is it different? Do you feel any pressure after signing the contract?

Henrik Järvinen “After signing the contract things haven’t changed too much. We recorded the album on our own and didn’t receive financial help at that time. With a proper record label it is naturally easier to get visibility in the media. The label helps us to reach people we couldn’t reach before. We really don’t take too much pressure of what we are doing. We play music because it’s something we really like to do and if we can provide other people music that they like also then it’s a really big bonus. We aren’t searching for economic benefit. We play music because it is so important for us. It’s always exciting to see how people react to our music but I guess that can’t be described as pressure.”

Dove Kickinger What can your fans expect from your new album? Is there any favorite songs? Any memories?

Henrik Järvinen “The album “verinen taival, päättymätön tie” is packed with fast paced tracks but also some calmer parts that really give a contrast inside tracks and the whole album. There is a lot of variation in the overall material. The lyrics reflect the structures of the songs and there are a lot of multiple meanings in them. We are going to put translations of our Finnish lyrics in our web page so also other than Finns can see what we sing about. Of course there are always things lost in translation and many things just can’t be said as well in English as it is said in Finnish. But we hope it gives people a small window to look inside the world of Karelian Warcry.

It is hard to give any favourite song because this album has been with us much longer than it has been available to anyone else. So you kind of start to see it as a one portrait of that past time. We had difficulties after it was recorded almost three years ago. The first mixing didn’t result as good as we hoped and many other setbacks occurred. Many of the best memories are from the long nights we did with trying to get the sounds right with very poor conditions. It was difficult and we really didn’t get to the level we hoped but it was also fun at times.”

Dove KickingerWhere do you draw your inspiration when writing songs? Well this question goes mainly to the lyricist of the band

Henrik Järvinen “This question should be answered by all of us because we all write lyrics. But I guess I can speak for the others here. We have a lot of lyrics about war. War is something that brings out the worst in humans but sometimes the best from them too. It is interesting to dive inside the mind of a soldier who turns back to save a friend and risk his own in the process. But it’s also interesting to try to think how you can kill other people with cold blood. There are also themes about religion and culture. We always have a story in our songs and many times there aren’t only one way to interpret it. There are always multiple meanings and how the listener interpret the lyrics also tells something about the listener.”

Dove KickingerYour music is  Anti-Christian, Do you think it will please religious people?

Henrik Järvinen “We represent anti-christian ideologies too and everyone in our band are against religions. Black Metal in general only opposes to Christianity but we equally oppose any kind of religions. I’m sure not many religious people listen to Metal anyway… If someone buys our album and is offended by our lyrics we can’t be held responsible. We have freedom of speech and religion is not above criticism.”

Dove KickingerDid you receive a good feedback from your fans with this new album?

Henrik Järvinen “The album hasn’t been available for too long so we haven’t seen too many reviews yet. But the feedback from fans has been only positive this far. We’ll see what the future feedback will be…”

Dove KickingerI think drugs are pretty pervasive in the music industry, I want to know if drugs went into your scene?

Henrik Järvinen “I haven’t really seen too much drugs in the metal scene. What I have heard is that there are more drugs in the electronic music scene than in the metal scene. Mild drugs like cannabis is very widely spread so you see that almost everywhere you go. So in that sense you could say it is in the metal scene too. On the other hand I know people in the scene that don’t even use alcohol or tobacco. In Finland the most common intoxicant is alcohol and Finland is known from it’s massive alcohol use. Atleast the Finnish metal scene is more alcohol positive than drug positive. I don’t really know about other countries.”

Dove Kickinger–  Where do you see your band going from here?

Henrik Järvinen “Now we just play as much gigs as we can and try get more people to know Karelian Warcry. Later this year we will start preparing our next album. Maybe make few demo tapes and try to refine our new songs. Maybe also a music video in the near future.”

Dove KickingerThanks for taking the time, Any parting words for the readers?

Henrik Järvinen “Please check us out in MySpace and add us to your friends if you like our songs. You can find us in www.myspace.com/karelianwarcry and www.karelianwarcry.net/. If you want our new album just google “Verinen taival, päättymätön tie” and find the record shop nearest you.”

Thanks for the interview, it was a blast!

Henrik Järvinen / Karelian Warcry