CONVULSE – Interview
Hello and thank you for you are open to do this interview. At the first, I want for you to go back to the beginnings of the band Convulse.How did you meet and how did you decide to form a band?What has you determined to sing death metal?
Hi to you! We met each other when we were 12-14 year old kids. We were at same school and figured out that we share same music taste. The origin of Convulse was in a speed/thrash band called S.D.S. with the same line up as Convulse later. After we find bands like Bolt Thrower, Death, Autopsy and so on, we started to play death metal in 1990.
You are considered being among the founders of the Finnish metal scene.How was the Finnish metal scene in the late 80s and how is it now?Which are the differences?
The death metal scene was very active back in the beginning of 90´s. We wrote letters weekly to other death metal bands, fans, traded demo tapes, flyers, zines and in Finland we organized also gigs for each others. I don´t know is the scene in Finland so active today, at least my contacts are almost all to abroad. Somehow things are easier today, but I also miss hand written letters, tapes and enthusiasm of early days of death metal.
You had and still have many great metal bands in Finland.What do you think is the secret?
It´s hard to say. Perhaps we have simply ability to create unique death metal. Maybe you know it better?
What style of metal music has the most fans in your country and what do you think should be the reason?
There are fans for all kind of metal music in Finland. Death metal is still in underground and I think melodic metal like Amorphis and Sonata Arctica are the most popular metal here in Finland.
Let’s go back to the beginnings of Convulse, namely to the debut album. How long it took to compose songs for the album and where have you recorded?How did you come to sign with the label Thrash Records?
It took about 9 months to compose tracks to World without god album. We recorded and mixed WWG near Tampere (Lempäälä) at MSL-studio in july 1991 during one week.
I had followed Thrash Records releases for a while and we asked also opinion of Sentecenced. They recommended Thrash Records and I sent our “Resuscitation of evilness” demo to Thrash Recs. and we got signed pretty soon.
What were the reactions you received for the album “World Without God”? Were you satisfied with how this album came out, or by looking in the past, now you wish you did something different?
WWG got some good reviews, but the promotion was quite negligible. Also the production was far away from perfect due to very limited studio budget. But after all we were and still are very satisfied with WWG. The atmosphere of WWG is very gloomy and depressing and I think that is the main reason why it´s still considered one of the cult releases.
In 1994 you released the album number two, “Reflections”. In my opinion, in terms of style, is a pretty big difference between this album and the debut one. What did cause this change of style?
I think it was normal evolution of our band. I have listened music always very open minded. I remember listening back in 1991-92 a lot of Black Sabbath, Doors, Pink Floyd and even Red Hot Chili Peppers. Of course it leaves an influence in song writing also.
How was this album received, in comparison with the debut album?
We recorded “Reflections” at the end of 1992 and went straight after it to military service and it lasted the whole 1993 year. Reflections came out 1994 and Convulse was practically split up already. I wasn´t so keen on death metal scene at 1994 and didn´t even follow how people reacted to Reflections, so quite hard to say about the response.
Also with the release of this album you signed to Relapse Records label.Why did you make this move?You were unhappy with something about Thrash Records?
We didn´t get any contact to Pat/Thrash Records after they released second edition of WWG. No royalty payment (we paid half of the studio costs), no CD version as promised in agreement etc. So we had to find a new label for our second album. Fortunately we found Relapse Records.
You had many concerts and tours after the release of the first two albums?What do you think was the most successful concert/tour?
We had gigs only in Finland occasionally and one show in Sweden. But all the gigs were great happenings, because it was also our chance to meet other finnish death metal bands.
In 1994 the band has splited up.What did it lead to this decision?Are you sorry now that you have not kept the band alive back then?
We tried to gather together 1994 after we had served our mandatory military service. It was difficult to get all the band members to rehearsals and so on. For me it´s always sign of lack of motivation. Gradually band just withered away. Nothing dramatic..I decided to move on and founded a new band with Toni (member of Convulse).
Slowly but surely we reach the present, namely in 2012, when you decided to reform the band. What was the reason that led to this reform?I was overjoyed on hearing the news!
We were asked to play one gig at metal festival in our hometown Nokia. I started to think about it, when our original Bass player Juha called to me and told he is interested. We could´t get more original members, so I asked my old friend Rolle to drums (I have played with him from 1997) and Kristian to second guitar.
Soon we noticed that we have a brilliant band together, so It was quite inevitable that we play more shows and write new material also.
For the new album, I saw that you signed with Svart Records.How did you come to sign with them and I want to know if you are satisfied with them so far?
We sent a rehearsal video to Svart Records and pretty soon they offered a reasonable record deal. We are satisfied with them. At least we have got a proper studio budget and it´s big matter at this age.
When have you started to compose songs for the new album and how long did it take?In what studio did you record the album “Evil Prevails” and how was it like to be in the studio again?
It took about 9 months to write and rehearse the songs for the “Evil Prevails” album. We recorded Evil Prevails in Full analog 24-track reel to reel studio (JJ-Studio/Tampere). It was my pleasure to work in a quality old school analog studio with a professional sound engineer Juuso Nordlund.
In what line up you recorded “Evil Prevails”?Who are the new bandmates and how they got in Convulse?
There was original members me in guitar /vocals and Juha in bass guitar. Then Rolle in drums and Kristian in second guitar. As I said before, I have played in various bands with Rolle from 1997. Kristian was a also familiar guy from same rehearsal place. Unfortunately Kristian is not in Convulse anymore. He quit for personal reasons. Now we´ll go on as trio band. It has worked fine in rehearsals and our first gig as trio is in Steelfest at spring.
Could you do a short description of the album “Evil Prevails”?
Evil Prevails is a pure old school death metal album consisting elements that Convulse is familiar from the beginning. Thrashy riffing, some blast beats and doom parts with gloomy melodies. We wanted to to do whole process as we did back in 90´s. We rehearse every song with the band, play songs together in studio, record and mix songs in handwork.
Lyrically it´s a theme album. Evil Prevails, what more can I say.
The new album seems to me a return to the style of “World Without God” album.That wasa planned change or is just how new compositions came out?
First songs turned out like our older style. Soon we realized that we are writing an old school album. Of course we chose the recording method and analog studio with a purpose. I just like to do things as bands did them back in 80/90´s. I have done albums with modern studio technology with other bands and I don´t like editing music. What is the idea that a drummer plays at first his drum tracks and then sound engineer says “ok. It was good enough. We can edit it to sound perfect.” I can´t listen to music that sounds like a inhuman machine without any human touch and groove. Either I can´t listen to abnormal aggressive sound with overloaded high distortion and compression. I want to keep things as organic as I can.
I know you just released the new album, but I’d like to ask you which are the first reactions you have received so far?
Referring to previous question. There are people who have understood the warmth and organic sound of the “Evil Prevails”. They can listen to how the band plays and enjoy the natural production. There are also people who think the production is weak, because it´s not pumping out of your ears. They have used to listen modern metal where is very seldom dynamic, natural groove and organic sound. Our heaviness comes from playing together, not from the sound.
Recently you have returned from an European tour.How was it? How was the band received by the public?
It was great to play in Italy and France and see local fans. Otherwise it was heavy shit. We drove ourselves (me and Rolle). Always sleeping about 4-5 hours per night and then we have to start driving. Sometimes there was 1000 km to drive and after that soundcheck, merchandise and finally show 1 am. or so on. But when you can´t get out from the stage before you had played two encores, it is worth of touring.
Have you played in many new places, during this new tour?Where did you feel best?
We played only once outside of Finland between 1990-1992. So every place is a new place for us. In Rennes (France) was the greatest fans and in Paris (Wolfthrone festival) was the best sound.
Do you plan another tour in the near future?What is the place you have not played before and you would like to sing in the future?
I hope we have a chance to play in other European countries later this year. For example in Germany.
What are the bands that you enjoyed best to share the stage?
Demigod and Cadaveric Fumes.
What future plans has the band CONVULSE?
We have just started to write new material. We will go on as a group of three, it´s not a real problem. At least as long as we found decent guitarist for the second guitar.
I hope we will release new Convulse album in autumn 2015. It is the 25th anniversary of Convulse.
In the end,I would like to thank you again for your time,and I would like to ask if you have anything to add?
Thanks for this very complete interview! Hopefully you enjoyed it as well. See you!