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FINNISH DEATH METAL FROM THE PAST

 My Pal Julien being in Touch with Antti from DEMILICH, he offered me the possibility to interview the guitarist of the once Finnish sarcastic Death metal grave desecrators, a possibility that immediately turned me on! So we gathered a bunch of questions, and few months later we received the putrid christmas gift in our mailboxes. DEMILICH isn't really back from the past, contrary to what some "informative" webzines claimed, they are only reanimated to finnish their things decently and play few gigs, as it seems. It's now time for your to read and plunge into an old past of morbid symphonies and horrific schizophrenia... even if the exhuming side of the old school has became quite trendy...
and might be over-abused by all these strawberry-milk turncoats...

 

1. Hi Antti, could you give us an introduction to your band: Demilich? (Do not hesitate to cut and paste a long biography since most of your readers probably don’t know about the band! Shame on them… but it’s never too late to die! Ah ah)

I don't even have a biography written, so I cannot cut and paste. To get through this quickly, here's a timeline:
– Demilich was formed in 1990
– Various demos between 1991 and 1992
– The album “Nespithe” in 1993
– The band died in 1993
– In 2005, we came back for recording songs for our demo based CD and LP, and to throw a couple of gigs before dying for good

 

2. Why is Demilich back from the dead?

I've seen the fame of the band grow between these 12 years. We thought of getting back together in 2002, but it just didn't feel good. Last year, though, I received proposals for putting out CD's and LP's with our demos, and as I'm against mere demo releases, we thought of trying to get the band together to record a couple of new songs for them. As it seemed to work out, we also decided to throw some gigs, and that's what we're doing at the moment. Still, this won't last long. The band will be gone in the spring 2006, if not earlier.

 

3. What did you do on a musical point of view between the split of Demilich and its reunion? Is there something released? Can we listen to this on an hidden webiste, or is it supposed to remain totally top secret and heard by none?

Right after splitting up I experimented with guitar/computer music, and I used to call the project “the in-god camera”. It was okay, but when I started a day job I kind of forgot about everything.

I saw the rise of the interest in Demilich in 1998, but I wasn't interested in putting the band together. I assume I had the feeling everything was too late for things like that. So, I formed another type of band with my friends, which went down but still continues as a new project with the bassist. Mikko of Demilich plays drums in it. Nothing's been released, yet.

I also went back to building up from the remains of “the in-god camera", and that project is not a quick one. I may drop out the computers completely, but you won't hear anything about it until there's a full album of material to put out. Lots of it has been planned already.
Also, the Demilich death will be a start for a new DM band that continues the style, or at least has lots of hints of it.
All in all, yes, I've done things, but no, there's nothing to hear now.

 

4. Every time I hear” Nespithe”, it makes me think of some Lovecraft’s short stories. I imagine myself lost in a cyclopean lost city being deserted for ages. What were your influences (not only musically) for Nespithe and its lyrics?

I've been interested in horror, but mainly of the newer authors like Clive Barker. I'm also a sci-fi fan, so I kind of mixed those two genres together. And then I have my own imagination which tops the cake. Those formed the lyrical ideas, but naturally they affected the outcome of the music. Still, the musical influences like Voivod, Pestilence and Atheist made me do the kind of music I did (and still do). I don't read lyrics, in general, so it's their music and the feelings it gives that has influenced me. Still, I want to point out I've never wanted to copy anyone, not even if it comes to tying your shoe laces. The need to do it all my own way is sometimes even perverted.

 

5. Even though your music is quite technical, your death metal sounds abstract and out of this world… So our question is: Did you use use any kind of drugs or forbidden and forgotten substances to get high before the composition, or are you generally quite “space” guys?

The only drug that has fit me well is ethanol. Sometimes a bit too well. Of course, I've tested some drugs, but I don't like the feeling of not being in control they create. I'm actually numb when I'm on something, compared to being totally sober. So, the answer is no. I once made a riff when stoned, and even though it sounded good when I was high, it was total crap in the morning.

 

6. Is there a special reason for the lenght of some song-titles in Nespithe, like “The Putrefying Road In The Nineteenth Extremity (...somewhere Inside The Bowels Of Endlessness...) »? Those who do not try to understand it could think it’s only gore or pathological title, but it’s far beyond the flesh!

 

The reasons for the long names were that I had fun coming up with them, and as I don't really love writing lyrics, I wanted to include the idea of the song in the title. I like playing with ideas. Otherwise, the titles/lyrics don't really have any bigger meaning in them. They are just stories.

 

7. Can you tell me what are/were the band-members’ side projects if there were some? If so was there something recorded or even released? Hope it isn’t meant to remain top secret and ignored by most!!!

The old line-up lived a quite quiet life, music-wise, so there's nothing to tell about the era. Be assured that if there's anything that needs to be released, it will be released.

 

8. What was at the very origin of DEMILICH? Why did you form a band and what kind of music did you play at this time? Was it Death metal or did you begin with some Thrash metal, speed metal or punk? Was DEMILICH your first band or were you playing in rock cover bands (who might have done it only to fuck girls easily hé hé).

I had a three cord pop band when I was 13 or 14, but apart from that, Demilich was my first one. Some people I knew were looking for a guitarist for the death metal band that they were forming, and I went in. I didn't get along with the other guitarist, whose idea the band was, so I left and told the other members I'm willing to take them with me. They joined in, we played shortly as Deformity, and when the things stabilized, I changed it to Demilich.

Our style doesn't drag chicks, and I absolutely despise cover bands. If you're in a cover band, you're much lower than those shitty kid bands that still try to make their own music, whether it sucks or sucks even more. And if you're a groupie to a cover band, get a wrist cut.
Sorry, had to let it flow.

 

9. Fucking hell! Those who dig a bit in the past of old school Death metal have probably realized Finland had quite a lot of old school Death metal bands playing it obscure! Some forgotten outfits of Death such as PURTENANCE, DEMIGOD/ ADRAMELECH, FUNEBRE, DEPRAVITY, ABHORRENCE, NECROPSY, INTERMENT, LUBRICANT, MORDICUS, VOMITURITION... Do you know all these bands? Is there something cool or exciting you can tell us about it? Do you know what some of the bands members are doing nowadays? It seems the Finnish scene of the 90's was as productive in obscure Death metal as the Swedish one, but it didn't get as much success and rewards! Can you tell us why?

I was friends with most of those bands, but as with people in general, there was nothing too exciting going on. We had parties, played gigs, and so on.
When I stepped out f the scene in 1993/1994, I quit corresponding with everyone. We're going to play with Demigod in a week, but Tero is the only member from those times that's still left in the band. The scene has died, at least in my view.

About the success of Swedish scene; I think the main reason was that they did their music in a more popular vein. I loved Swedish bands due to the great rhythms and riffs, whereas Finnish bands recordings (and production) were pretty obscure and harder to get into. Naturally, in the long run, it pays off to listen to them.
Nowadays, I don't think there's a real separation anymore. Most bands do music for the masses with no real exploration in it.

 

10. I think some of the old Finnish Death metal bands had some quite strange sounding names such as DEMILICH, ADRAMELECH, DEMIGOD, PURTENANCE, LUBRICANT… Some have these sonorities no other band name could have… Do you think it’s a metallic tradition? Or is there a link with your language? Your  cultural background?

There's no connection to the language, but maybe the cultural connection lies there. Finns have just come out of woods, and were just released from the possession of Sweden and Russia, so the need to avoid imitation, even with names of the bands, may exist. I have no facts of this, as I've never studied anything that concerns our culture, but you raised a point worth digging into!

 

11. When telling it with a loud voice, the band name DEMILICH could sound like “Demi leech” or something like that… Do you think it’s cool as you may be hidden porn-perverts, or would it sound misplaced as pornogore fans can fuck off? Hé hé. By the way what does DEMILICH mean and why did you choose this name?

I pronounce it like Demi-lick. Which is even more pervert. Still, I had my share of porn/sex linked with music back in 80's, and I think it was merely stupid, so I try to avoid it. I don't have anything against porn, but if in music, it's just a small step out of the very dull genre that most music represents, love. I hate songs about love.
Demilich is simply taken out of role playing games. I didn't play them, but some of my friends did and had those AD&D books full of great pictures and the name popped out of there. I hadn't heard of Demigod, yet, so you cannot blame me for trying to “demi-fy” the Finnish scene.

 

12. Expect from SLUGATHOR, NERLICH and few thrashing bands I don't know much from the current Finnish metal scene (I mean real metal, no abusively melodic or Goth crap! We want music with balls and an obscure feeling!), tell us more about it! Are there some totally unknown yet good bands haunting the deepest (and voluntary ignored by the feebles) pits of Finland? Is the underground healthy in there?

I heard Nerlich, and it sounded good. Nothing new, though. Not that it's easy to come up with new these days. The new members' projects are worth bringing up. Check out Deathchain (I do some growls on their two albums), Black Death Ritual, Trollheim's Grott and Baptism. Once again, they aren't the most original bands, but they do it all the good way.

Anyway, I don't know about the underground. I think the underground has moved onto the surface due to the internet. Back in the times when phones and letters were the only means of communication, it really required effort to get to know about bands. These days you just follow the links and download.

I have nothing against the current way, it's just that I don't think underground exists. When a band's good enough, it's known already among most of the people.

 

13. I’m not a big fan of the current death metal scene, in my opinion most of the bands think they ought to be professionnal, have a perfect sound and formated artworks… but something important and necessary is lacking! What’s your opinion about it?

You're right. Death metal is trying to get popular. It's okay to hear music with good sounds, but if the music itself is not worth bringing out as it's been brought out multiple times before, I don't love it just because of the sounds. Fortunately, there are still bands that remember that music is about the music itself, not about production, fancy cover art and photos, or wild stage act. Mostly though, they aren't found under the label “death metal”, as evolution in it usually means smaller audience that's interested.

 

14. Do you listen to metal only, or are you into other sides of underground music like punk, hardcore etc? Do you like the main streams of the cash-vagina who likes to pollute our hears with 4-4 pop miousic and other R’n’b crapsiderations?

I don't listen to metal only, although lately I've mainly done it. I used to have a period I didn't even want to hear metal. Still, it seems I automatically get dragged back to my roots, and I like it.
The pop industry, especially the R'n'B and rap, can suck my balls. The big audience is brainless. Fortunately, we have a freedom not to belong to it.

     

15. The «Nespithe »  album was re-released through REPULSE Records, which was the label of Dave Rotten (currently leading Xtreem music and vomiting in AVULSED). Some rip-offs rumors were circulating, as some bands said they wasn’t paid their royalties correctly etc… Did the things occur well with Dave?

As far as I know, Dave paid Necropolis for the licenses, and Necropolis was supposed to pay us, but they didn't. Dave has no obligations towards our direction. I was the one that stole $10 from him. Sorry, Dave. Necropolis, on the other hand, never paid us any royalties. I call people like that « cunts ».

 

16. Why was the album rereleased by Repulse eventhough it was initially released by Necropolis? Maybe Necropolis weren’t big enough at that time? Or weren’t they serious enough?

You'll have to ask Dave about it. I think Dave requested a permission to another, European based, release. I wasn't interested in anything concerning the band back then.

 

17. Two DEMILICH’s « Greatest hits » albums were just released simultaneously. Both have some strange and quite unreadable names with many numbers… Tell us more about it! Is there a limited edition?

Well, they haven't been released, and they aren't the greatest hits. They will mainly be demo collections, with some new recordings. Expect them to be out in the winter 2005-2006. The LP will be limited to 397 copies, all signed by the band. The CD has no such limits.

Basically, the names are « Vanishing of Emptiness » (CD) and « Emptiness of Vanishing » (LP). The real titles (« v34ish6ng 0f emptiness », « em9t2ness of van2s1ing ») include something I'm not willing to tell. If somebody comes out with what I mean by the numbers, that's okay, but otherwise, nobody will ever know.

 

18. Did you know the first name of your drummer sounds like the name of a French ice-cream? Do you feel some embarassement or do you think it will help on a matter of groupies’ debauchery if you play in France ? ;-)

In Finland we tend to say “ei nimi miestä pahenna, jos ei mies nimeä”, which translates as something like “the name doesn't make the man worse, unless the man makes the name worse”. Then again, if a name leads to debauchery, that's totally acceptable.  Let me know where my name gives good vibes and we'll play there.

 

19. What does Death metal mean in your eyes? What are the elements being necessary for a band to decently use the monicker « Death metal »? If Death metal was a beer, what would it be? If there wasn’t Death metal… what the fuck would there be???

Death metal means the death metal of the early 90's to me. It's a personal point of view, as it is to everyone. I don't consider our band real Death metal, for example. My DM is 90's Entombed, At the Gates, Obituary, Dismember etc. After that, it has either stayed that way, which means boring, or moved to directions I may like but don't consider DM. Without DM, though, we wouldn't have many good bands that got their roots grown out of it.

 

20. Did you begin working on new tracks and how will it sound? Will it follow the DEMILICH tradition of Death while no new influences will be welcome… or will there be some new elements to make it sounds totally weird and morbid in 2005? After all, each individual of the band has grown, and some new tastes might fit or not in the new cauldron of burning procreation!

I'm working on the final song for the band. The rest of the three songs that we'll record this year will be old rehearsal tracks.
Naturally, the new song will be Demilich. I wouldn't release it if it wasn't. On the other hand, it will be a bridge leading to the next band we'll form, so it will have hints of what's to come. Still, it's not a completely new take on metal, as I don't want to end the band with a song that isn't a song of the band. The next monicker will give me/us the chance to do things I cannot do within the concept of Demilich.

 

21. I see on your website at least one of the previous DEMILICH musicians didn’t take part in the reunion! Can you tell us why? And how did you chose the new musicians? It might not always be easy to find the right musicians (those who do not ring the bell for success or sweat-pussies) since you’re not an unknown band… Is there a special test or something?

Ville was going to take part in our silent reunion in 2002, but he withdrew due to the fact that he lives in another city and has an established relationship and job. He thought it would be better for us. So, when we started putting the band together last year, I had been talking about it with the two new guys, so they ended up replacing the bassist and enhancing the guitar section.

I was going to form the new band with these guys earlier already, so they were « naturally in ». I knew their abilities, so there was no need to test drive them. The real test was when we started practicing. That shows how well people adapt to the band and how quickly they learn.

These two fellows learn quicker than I've seen anyone learn, and they fit in the band very well. I'm not always the easiest dictator to bear, but they know how to work with me.

 

22. Since Finland seems to be a quite cold country, and its weather might be snowy… Tell us more about it: are the days generally long or short? Do the winter last long…Are there nice woods in Finland… and are you able to swim in the sea and lakes during october? Do you think the weather might influence a little bit your music?

We get days when the sun doesn't go down in the summer, and days when the sun doesn't come up at all in the winter. I like the nature here (lots of forests and lakes), but I don't like the long, cold and dark winter, or the short and bright summer.
We can swim in the lakes on October, but the water's damn cold now already. Some people dip in the water when the lakes are frozen. Not my type of pleasure, though.
I'm sure Finnish people, and thus our music, are influenced by the nature and the weather. Making dark music is a good way to escape the darker thoughts in the winter. The other ways are cross-country skiing, and for us that hate it, suicides.

 

23. Allright, tell us about the future DEMILICH’s projects! Will you record an album, a demo… or maybe you will tour !? Did you start negociating with labels?

The number one Demilich project is to end the band. It includes these demo collection albums, some gigs, but no albums with all new material, or extensive tours. We may throw some gigs in the USA, and if somebody's interested, we'll play in Europe, but mainly we want to keep it low. A couple of gigs, the recordings done, and then it's time to end this for good. The labels will hear about the band that continues from the ashes of Demilich.

 

24. Allright (second one), this interview is over! Feel free to conclude it! Please let us know you current postal adress so that the French masculine-groupies can send you their pink underwears (and freshly cut pussies, of corpse)! Ah Ah!

I get more aroused by pixelated pictures, so there's no need to send anything physical. Email's fine, so drop your belongings there. The address can be found on our web pages at http://www.anentity.com/demilich/ . Remember that I've published everything, including the album, on our site, so head there for the downloads.

I'll answer Demilich related questions up to the point when the band ceases to exists, so hurry if you have something to say. Or if you want to get us to play in your country.

Thanks for the interview. And give me back my underwear, you sicko!

 

Website: http://www.anentity.com/demilich

  

 

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