The Interview. Done on behalf of Damnesty by Tomi. R (vocals)
The artwork of an album is very important, perhaps the first approach for a future fan. What do you want to infuse with the yours?
The artwork sets a certain mood for the album, so it should be a visual continuation of the musical side. On the new album, the Grand Delusion, the cover goes hand in hand with the lyrical themes: war, turmoil, political/religious-issues etc.
Which bands have inspired you to put on a group? In which kind of sounds you were involved when you’ve decided to have your band?
The majority of the guys grew up in the 90’s, so the metal-scene of that era is still very present in what we do today. Bands like Sepultura, Pantera, Megadeth, Machine Head, Crowbar are to some degree, the foundation of our sound. But of course there’s a variety of bands that have influenced us like Alice in Chains, Entombed, even grindcore bands like Napalm Death etc. When we formed back in the day, we envisioned Damnesty to be more of a death metal band with a rock edge, but the music naturally evolved to what we do these days.
Do you have similar or different music background?
I’d say us older geezers, Joona(gtr), Petri(gtr), Tomi(voc) share a very similar background musically, even though there are a lot of so called personal favourites that the other guys might not be that fond of. Markus is very into jazz etc. and Juuso comes from more of an alternative background. I think this mixture of influences keeps things interesting, for us and for the listener.
What do you think of the bands that fit political thoughts in their lyrics? Do you think that political idea but also the religious one can influence the natural evolution of a band that looks out into the underground world and then into the mainstream?
We grew up with music and bands that were always dealing with political and religious issues in their lyrics, so it was a natural thing for us to take that same path. What we do musically is very aggressive, and the issues that fuel the aggression are often about politics, so it goes hand in hand.
Strong political points of view etc. can alienate some listeners, for sure, but for us, staying true to ourselves and standing our ground in things we believe in, the integrity, is more important than mainstream exposure. However there have been very succesfull bands with strong political sides to them, like Rage Against the Machine, System of a Down and so on, so it can be done if the music is good enough.
How much important is the production? Do you think it’s a factor to consider as the music is considered itself, since it’s increasingly rare to find bands with clear ideas?
Production has become a competition in itself, since it is the first thing that the potential listener hears when scrolling through songs online. It is true that there are bands these days that put way too much energy to the production side of things, while neglecting the most important thing, which is the music itself, great songs etc. It’s easy to download drum-samples, guitar presets etc. thus making every band sound the same. But as great production values are available for even the smaller bands, it is possible to get the full potential out of groups lesser fortunate on the financial side of things, so it really is a double-edged sword.
How do you promote your music on the web? Do you have ideas to suggest to other bands?
Social media sites like Facebook, instagram etc. are where the promotion is focused on these days. Message boards are great ways to promote the band as well. For us it has always been about quality, not quantity. At least for the smaller bands, post things when something cool happens, focus on those, as opposed to posting a lot of pictures from band practices and so on.
Who do you like to go on tour with?
This is a tough one, since there are so many killer bands out there. But well, lets say Sepultura, Deftones, Carcass, Machine Head, Gojira to name a few.
In your opinion, how much the music is changed in the Internet age?
Don’t you think that we have lost the listener's approach to the music itself?
I think the music itself hasn’t changed all that much, but the way people consume it, has seen a dramatic change. I try not to go on a nostalgia-trip, but I remember back in the day saving money to buy an album, and if I didn’t instantly like it, I’d keep listening to it since I have paid good money for it, haha. A lot of those albums that were hard to get into are still my favourites, because great music needs time to grow on you.
These days, people are way too ad/hd to focus on songs let alone albums. The average listener might give a song a chance for 30 seconds, if it didn’t hit a homerun, that’s it, next band. Of course there’s still a great demand for underground music with 5 minute intros, but the attention span of an average ”mainstream” listener has changed radically. And since bands have that 30 seconds to make a musical point, it easily leads to songs that are very easy to digest and void of any meaning. But I think there is still hope, since a lot of people seem to be tired of mainstream music, and I have seen a rise of progressive bands etc. because of that.
It’s known from a few years to nowadays the decrease public at concerts, whether they are music lovers or real musicians. In your opinion, why with the time is failed "to go to concerts" that once was so stronger?
In my view it has a lot to do with the fact that since bands don’t sell a lot of albums anymore, they need to make a living by playing gigs and selling merch. This leads to a situation where a big part of the scene is constantly on tour and the fans get very picky on who they are going to see live. So in a nutshell, too many shows, not as much demand. A lot of fans tend to save their money for bigger festivals like Wacken etc.
In these days, it's still worth making records? Now they always sell less. I often see bands forced into debt to record. What do you think about it?
It’s a very sad situation, especially for very talented bands that are not able to make their masterpieces because of it. I personally see making an album these days more as a form of artistic expression than a business move, something that you just have to get out of your system no matter what it costs. The metal fans still support the bands by buying the albums though, which I think is amazing.
How did you meet?
Actually Joona(gtr) and Juuso(bass) are brothers, so that’s basically how they met back in the day. Joona and Petri(gtr) also go back long time to the school days and I (Tomi, voc.) met the guys some years later when we still were in our teens and we have been involved in the same projects etc. ever since. Joona and Petri actually played in the same death/thrash band for years before the formation of Damnesty. Since that, Markus(drums) we actually found through an ad on a musicians webpage when we were starting out. To make a long story short.
How and when have you felt to love metal music?
Of course I can only speak for myself, but for me it was getting Iron Maiden’s Powerslave on tape when I was still a little kid. Since that day, I was hooked.
To conclude the interview:
Hope to see all you guys on tour in the future, stay tuned to what’s going on in the Damnesty-camp at www.facebook.com/damnesty ! Horns up and keep that pit going!
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