Loits interview (04/2008)
|Conducted by:||destroyah (in person)|
When we heard that Loits were planning to unveil their newest video on April 10th, we were of course curious. The band's brilliant „Must Album" has been out for a year now and until quite recently there had only been rumors about the upcoming video. So when we got the invite to the ceremony, we knew we'd just have to get a glimpse of the new baby.
We went, we saw, we conquered.
The video got a great response from the crowd and the accompanying „Making of…" documentary piece offered relieving contrast to the video's melancholic tone, triggering spontaneous and hysterical bursts of laughter within the audience. It was, in it's good natured clumsiness, rather adorable.
After the presentation, Metal Storm pulled Lembetu over for living life in the fast lane, to hand him a speeding ticket, and possibly grab an interview:
First off, let me congratulate you on the new video - it was very special, very emotional. And of course, congrats go to all these people who made the video happen. But I wonder, whence the idea of making a video to this particular track, „Haavad uulitsal", that isn't even featured on the original „Must Album"?
- Well, as Kessu (the art director) just said in that „Making of" film, this song was the first one ever to emerge from the („Must Album") studio sessions. It was a kind of a test-track, the very first thing that all those involved heard. So the song kind of stuck with these people and they probably enjoy this one the most to this day. The track stuck inside Kessu's head until she, uh, saw the script in her dreams. And evidently the screen-version is quite an accurate portrayal of it…
So is there a chance that the „Mustad laulud EP" material will be released as a stand-alone package, now that the video is out there? I imagine people would like to hear it, independently…
- Well, the EP came with the limited version of the album, and it'll stay that way…
So there will be no stand-alone version?
- No, that would be cheating fans, I'd never do that.
Not quite sure how that would be cheating, but OK…
- We planned the EP as an extra CD for the „Must Album Ltd.", so that's that…
So, it's just a bonus thing?
- Purely a bonus. It'll also feature on a vinyl soon, and that one will be extremely limited as well.
All these things we've seen here today, all that material will be featured on the upcoming DVD, due in summer, I presume?
- Except for the last film, that is…
Except for the one that was already included on „Must Album"?
- Exactly, it was on that bonus EP. That DVD will feature a longer cut of the interview-flick. It'll have all that „reality" material, showing what went on during the video's shooting in Matsalu. Those shots will be like an extra.
It'll include all that stuff that wasn't shown to the audience here tonight, right?
- Yes, it would've dragged on for too long… It would have been a long movie, hehe…
„Must Album" has been out for a year now, or at least, close to a year…
- Last May, so yeah, about a year…
What has the reception been like?
- Extremely good, we have a lot of great news coming up shortly. Unfortunately I cannot reveal these news, not just yet…
You definitely cannot, not even…?
- International-kind of news.
International kind… in relation to that - in Estonia Loits is pretty popular, everybody seems to know the band. But how's the reception been abroad? Have you attracted new fans or has your material aroused elevated interest in the band after „Must Album" came out?
- First of all, more happened for Loits in Estonia last weekend, or the weekend before that actually, than has ever happened before.
Lembetu chuckles cunningly - and with good reason. On April 1st, Loits took part in the Estonian Music Awards show, where they also played a live gig. The band was nominated for the „Metal/punk album of the Year" award, which, as fate would have it, Finish Me Off won instead. That didn't stop the grenadiers of Loits, however, and together with a scandalous Estonian writer Sven Kivisildnik, who was supposed to hand over the award, they devised a devilish scheme to ruin the rather commercial show and shock the organizers. Mr. Kivisildnik, much to the dismay of the event's staff, announced Loits as the winners. What exactly caused this act of protest remains unknown, but word around the campfire is that it had something to do with the Awards being „fixed" - talk about a news-flash. We hoped Lembetu would fill us in on the matter:
- Well, uh… Kivisildnik and us decided to „steal" the Estonian Music Awards show.
So I've heard - care to enlighten us as to what went on?
- It went like this - we were backstage and we heard…
At the Awards Show?
- Yeah, well there's always some bonding going on back there and we as musicians, we were just socializing. So suddenly one dirty deed followed another - in fact, a lot more happened than what has made it to the media so far. For the time being I'd rather not reveal any details concerning these dirty games that went on there…
Let it boil, huh?
- Yeah, let it boil. And should the need arise then we have a couple of cards up our sleeves and we'll lay them out there… What went on there just pissed us off tremendously. Anyways, we had this unique opportunity (to protest), plus it was April 1st and all. Also we had one of the most scandalous writers here as a companion - I think if we hadn't done what we did, we would've regretted it for the rest of our lives.
All that raises a question - how do you get along with the guys from Finish Me Off now. Were they very disappointed?
- First of all we couldn't tell anyone about the plan, otherwise we might have caused trouble for the staff members, camera operators etc., maybe costing someone their job…
- So yes, we kept it to ourselves. After the act we went and specifically talked to the guys from Finish Me Off and at that time, at least, we got along great, the respect is mutual. We asked them to join us here tonight for the presentation as well. Sadly they couldn't make it though.
Fair enough. EMA is behind you and as it was, you didn't win. I imagine Radio Mania's award to you for „Album of the Year" compensated for that. But the biggest surprise came when Loits was nominated for the „Areen" magazine cultural award. Did that come as a surprise to you?
- It was a total surprise. It's the biggest recognition we've received so far. The best moment for us was when we learned that we came second after Andrus Kivirähk (a writer) by votes. In my opinion the people's support was really important. And we saw that here today as well. That is the most important thing to us.
It was a helluva achievement…
- Yeah, it's… compared to the EMA's, that one's a cultural event. That one's about culture, hehe…
Uhuh, that's a good point… but let's return to „Must Album". The previous record, „Vere Kutse Kohustab", was perhaps more straightforward, as far as the music goes. It didn't offer that much variety. „Must Album" however astonished me with it's soundscape a lot. What were the influences for that one, what bands influenced you at the creative process?
- I think it's not so much the bands, but rather life itself. A large portion of the entire concept and music came from our bass player this time. He just went through the, umm…
(for a brief second we fall under the sway of the giggle-loop, which strikes, as always, at the worst possible time.)
torment, hehe…He just kind of struggled with life and all of that, physically. He just went through a rough period. A person who suffers, always makes the most beautiful art.
During the next thirty seconds I try to remember what I wanted to ask about the album's concept, attempt to pose it as a reasonable question and fail miserably. The giggle-loop is taking it's toll on my wits and I'm generally just not making much sense:
I suppose you could write about that, you know… uh… considering that the previous album was about… full of rather naive marches. it was good, you know, but also something completely different…
Amazingly, Lembetu actually manages to grasp the rogue question:
- Well I think that's all just interconnected, cause look - if a person gets caught up in some situation, he sees these related aspects all around him, in other daily things.
I could only give some robust examples here…
OK… (the giggle-loop strikes again)
- If you own a Saab, then you suddenly see a lot of Saab's… driving around the city… and so forth…
It's a very shady example but okay, I'll let it go. Another thing is, have you thought about the next Loits' album yet by any chance? It's been a year since the last one - what does the future hold?
- I know that the other band-members are thinking about it. As for me, I'm tied down with the promotion of this album. I don't have a single spare moment thanks to my record label and all. Plus I'm helping out Metsatöll as well, so I'm basically working all the time. I don't even have a spare second. I cut these from sleep time. I think there should be a cooling-off period coming up after this presentation, though. So from here on, we'll start thinking about the new album. The themes are beginning to settle in, in a sense…
But the themes will still be connected to Estonia, generally speaking?
So, for example, could we expect an album about the Singing Revolution?
- I wouldn't say that, but… we do have a few things coming up this year, in relation to that.
Let this be a small hint…
Of surprises to come?
- Yeah, surprises to come, but… you see, Loits is rather unpredictable, even for the members themselves, so I can answer this question adequately only when we finally enter the studio.
Allright, we'll be waiting. One intriguing subject that's been around ever since „Must Album" was released is the personnell changes. Shortly after the album's release, Gates (former guitarist) took off. You replaced him with Karmo. At one point Lauri Kuriks (Nitrous) joined Loits for a brief period and now, as a bit of a surprise move, Draconic (Manatark) was hauled in. Why him?
- Karmo played already on „Must Album"…
Oh yeah, so he did…
- All these things kicked off with Gates' moves - his desire to quit the band and then to come back again…
I think that thing had been going on for a while, or something.
- Yeah. I don't know, I suppose I may have been unwanted company, maybe. Plus his family affairs and life in general were more important at that time, I guess.
Okay, but let's talk about Draconic for a second. Do I detect a slight desire to turn Loits into this Estonian metal supergroup in a way, to bring all the best musicians together into one band?
- OK, I will finish the subject first…
- First of all, we took Kuriks in as a friend, as a comrade and we had this deal all along that he might have to go at some point. And well, god help him with all his projects, he's got a lot to do. His band Nitrous is about to release a new album, which will probably blow people away. He also had a child recently, plus it's an important year in motorized sport…
(Lauri Kuriks is a man of many trades - in addition to playing guitar in the thrash metal act Nitrous, he's also the reigning Estonian drag race champion.)
…As for recruiting Kaido (Draconic), I don't think it really came as a surprise for the Loits fans…
Well, he has played with you before, right?
- Yeah, precisely. He's helped us out with the keyboards when Kaire was pregnant with Simo, whom we've seen on the silver screen before, heh… He also helped us out with the guitars when I broke my hand. So he's always stood very close to the band and worked with us. It was just a matter of making it formal, his inclusion to the band, that is…
Umm, supergoup… I wouldn't say that, cause the people involved with the music form a tightly-knit community… I've played in Tharaphita, for example. I've even joked about Manatark, cause when I started out with Loits, Gates and Mantas still played in Manatark. First I grabbed Mantas, our bass player, then I got Gates and now I've finally taken Draconic as well. That's their entire original line-up, so… Basically I might as well have made a contract five years ago…
Aha, I see…
- …that in five years, it's gonna be like…
<chuckles break out, as the devious plan emerges>
- „give it up, there's nothing you can do."
Hands up! Surrender, or…
- Yeah, exactly.
I peek over Lembetu's shoulder and there's a reporter from Kanal 2 waiting for his turn. I decide to wrap things up with a question about a possible tour in the near-future, since I've always felt that Loits is the most actively touring band in the local metal scene, maybe even in the entire country:
- Manatark has definitely been out more, and Metsatöll will tour more in the future. We do have the according contracts with various agencies, but I have the feeling that they're not exactly the best contracts…
The touring isn't caught up because we're not ready, but rather because these contracts haven't suited well for us…
So you're basically waiting for the opportune time, or a chance?
- Yeah, we're looking out for a better moment, maybe even a better band to collaborate with, cause as experience tells us, things work better when you work with bands, instead of agencies.
Right. I'd like to finish with this - well, nothing lasts forever, right? Ashes to ashes and dust to dust. What would the famous last words of Loits be?
Take your time…
- Yyyea… There'd probably be no words at all. The end would probably be swift.
Quick and painless?
- I think so.
OK, thank you for your time, the video was super. Good luck with everything!
- Thanks to you too.
The new video: Loits - "Haavad uulitsal"
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