Ghost Brigade interview (08/2008)
|With:||Wille Naukkarinen (guitars)|
|Conducted by:||Darkside Momo (in person)|
A new and promising band, with so far only one album (Guided By Fire, released in 2007), Ghost Brigade came to Hellfest this year to play on the small Discovery Stage on sunday.
The interview itself took place saturday evening, just after the band's arrival on the festival grounds…
Darkside Momo: I'll start first with a classical question: What's the history of the band, what bands did you belong to first? Can you describe how you formed this band, Ghost Brigade?
Wille Naukkarinen: We formed the band in 2005, and at first it was more like a project band. We had other bands that we played in at the time and then, you know… I don't know what the hell happened, it got more serious all of a sudden and we just noticed that we had a bunch of good songs, and we should definitely at least do a demo or something, then see how it goes… Everyone wanted to sign us then, and that took us by surprise, also. It was like, three labels (er, four actually) wanted to sign us after the demo was released! We got the first offer actually in less than 24 hours from when we put the demo on the website! So it was the point when we realised that we might have something special here going on because, you know, none of our old bands did that well, compared to this. As I said it was just a project at first, then pretty soon all our other bands were split, or whatever, put on a break or something. Now we're only playing in Ghost Brigade.
And I have to say a little bit about the music, because we never… As I said it was a project, and so we didn't really have a specific thing that we wanted to do. It was more about forming a project for good trips…
Just a rehearsal band to play with friends…
Yeah, to play with old friends and just do good music, not caring about how it might sound like, or if it fits to that song we write there or that one… Just to do good music that pleases us, that was the meaning behind the project.
So I wanted to ask you, the sound of the album, it's a mix of different styles, did it came naturally or was it something that you looked for?
We didn't necessary look for anything, it was more like… At first we played in a rock band, the five members all played in rock bands before… And we have background in heavier music, like when we were growing up at 15 - 16 years old we listened to death metal then. I guess, you know, after playing rock'n roll for ten years, you kinda… I always spoke about it, that someday I wanna do a really heavy project band or whatever. And then… I think that's kind of what Ghost Brigade is, in a way, but there's another side to the music as well which is really melodic, there's a lot of melancholic, beautiful stuff. I don't know, we didn't think anything special or… As I said before, we never thought about how we should sound like.
It came that way?
Yeah, yeah, it's very very natural. It's 'play with old friends, and see what comes out of it, what comes out of the guitar'.
What bands do you consider that they influenced you, not in the 'I want to sound like them' way, but because you really like them so it might appear in your music?
You know, if I started naming bands that would take all evening! In a way or another, all music we listen to transfers into the music, sometimes you don't even notice. I might play a heavy riff, almost death metal sound, and notice that some little bit is from some pop song. It's like that, I can't really explain it. My answer is that everything we listen to influences us in a way or another. Even music you hear on the radio: on our way here, we listened to some french radio station…
I don't think there's any main bands… I can always say Metallica because that's why I started playing guitar, because of that band. Each kind of music that we listen to, anything from electro to pop to rock to death metal to black metal even, can be an influence.
OK, that a good answer! Next, about the name of the band: where does it came from?
Oh… Well, one time when we didn't have a name yet, me and our bass player we were coming home from rehearsal, thinking about the name for the band, and he just said out of nowhere he really likes the word ghost, and that we should maybe use the word ghost in the name. I went home and I started like 'yeah it sounds good, it's a good sounding word'. Then I was listening to a song called Snow Brigade, which is a song by a Danish pop band called Mew. So I took the 'Brigade' out of that. Ghost Brigade… And I said that to the other guys… And it just seemed to fit the mood of the songs that we had back then.
Ghost sounds quite melancholic.
Yeah, exactly, and also you have to remember this was a project band at first, you can think of it as a ghost band.
At the time it seemed to fit, and I think it still fits. I think the name sounds like we sound. Kind of.
I agree. So your first album has its sound, so will the next album sound the same way, or will you write music again as it come, ending maybe in a different sound?
Well, as far as the new songs go (we've done a lot of new songs), there's stuff that is… I don't know if you can say yet if something is typical for Ghost Brigade but I think there's songs like that, there's also songs that are much more popier and catchier also; and then there's another extreme which is really heavy stuff, and I've never written such heavy riffs before so… It's gonna be same and it's gonna be different, for sure. But, again, we just do music as it comes, that's why we exist, you know. We try not to think about what people expect, if we should do a similar-sounding album or not. We just do what we do.
Do you know when you will record it, release it…?
No, we're just writing new songs and taking our time. I mean, this first album was released under one year ago, it's not that long. I don't know, I think we're gonna do, maybe take the rest of the year or something, and do even more new songs. We were talking about making thirteen, maybe fourteen songs and…
And then taking only the best for the album??
It's not like that either. In our band, if we do fourteen songs, I think everyone of them could end up on an album, it's not like the best. I mean, out of the new songs that we have now, I can't say which is best and which is going to the album, which is not, because I think they're equally good. So, I don't now what we'll do, I think we'll put like ten on the album, and then definitively do something with the rest.
Ok, they won't be left somewhere, forgotten on a hard drive or something…
They will be released, everything will be released. If the recording is a success, we'll release everything.
That's good news too!
Now, about Hellfest: you will play tomorrow, what are your feeling about it?
I'm really looking forward to it. It is the first big festival that we play. We played some festivals with our previous band, but with this band, we haven't actually toured that much, yet.
Wille Naukkarinen during the show
Not even in Finland?
We played some small indoor festivals, we played some shows… Now that we came from Finland to France, we've been playing some shows on the way here, and we're gonna play some more before going back to Finland. But this is the first bigger festival that we ever play… I'm really looking forward to it. I don't really now what to expect, so I hope everything goes OK.
I hope too! And, will you do other festivals this summer in Europe, or United States maybe?
After this, we're doing a couple of club shows on our way to Finland, and next week we're going to play Tuska Festival in Finland. It's equal to Hellfest and…
It's the one in the center of Helsinki?
Yeah, yeah, that's the one! And then, we're gonna play some more indoor festivals during the autumn, we're gonna play in Finland one festival show, then in the summer another smaller festival in Finland, and one indoor festival in October in the Netherlands. That's about it, I think.
In another interview, I don't know if it's you personally, one of you said you really wanted to listen to some of your songs remixed by other artists. Has it been done already, or no?
Oh, no, but we're constanly thinking about it.We have to find some, you know, er… There's an electro band called Uncle, if they for example he wanted to remix one of our songs, to a kind of moody electro version of it, I would definitely say yes. I always have thought that this kind of music could work like that. If you know bands like Massive Attack, I mean there's a lot of actually same kind of moods and notes in their music, and in our too. It's just done differently, it would be just something to try out, but so far we haven't really found anyone who we would think that this would be the right guy to do it. But when we do we'll do it.
So you haven't asked anyone now?
No, no… We were speaking to a guy in London, I can't remember the band's name, he plays in an electro band but, I can't remember the name. We asked him and he was supposed to do it but, I don't know, something got in the way. I think I'm gonna ask the guy again. That was when we were recording the first album, when I asked him, and he said 'yeah yeah I'm gonna do it, first I'm gonna do my own band's CD first, then I could do it'. I don't know… I guess we've been lazy or something, cos' it never happened. I'm gonna ask him again.
OK! The last question will be about Hellfest again: will you go and see other bands' shows, if you have time, and which ones?
I gonna see Cavalera Conspiracy, because I was a huge Sepultura fan when I was growing up, when I was seventeen, I had all the shirts and stuff… I thought they were the coolest band of Earth! So it will be nice to see them. I've seen Soufly perform in Helsinki once, but still this is different because actually I like the new songs. I'm gonna check that, and maybe Ministry if we have time; Watain, I really like their stuff even if I heard one or two songs. I don't know who else, I think we missed a lot of bands, because we just got here…
You missed Carcass, for example…
Yeah, but I'm gonna see Carcass at Tuska festival… And tomorrow of course, I can't remember which bands play, but I'm definitely gonna see At The Gates, which is I think one of the best death metal bands that ever existed, way, way underrated at the time. I'm also gonna see My Dying Bride, then a band from Germany called The Ocean, they are really good, one of the best albums I've heard in a while (I actually bought the album). What else… Obituary, and Morbid Angel if I catch them… And Primordial maybe, Motörhead, Envy but I maybe won't have the time. So definitely At The Gates, Morbid Angel, The Ocean, maybe Rotten Sound, they are our friends from Finland… I don't know, there are too many good bands!
You're experiencing the problem of all festival-goers I think!
Yeah, I mean the whole bill is great! I've been reading on the internet that Finnish people are going to ride to the festival, you know, it's like a paradise to heavy metal people.
So, that's all, if you have any last words to say…
Let's see: Come to the shows if we come to France, we're constantly trying to find some possibilities to go on longer tour, and then we'll definitely come to France. If it happens, I hope people who read this will come to the show.
Many thanks again to Guillaume of Season Of Mist, and to Wille of course!
||Posted on 18.08.2008 by Once your regular Hellfest reporter, now retired. I (strangely enough) listen to a lot of metal. And enjoy good beers, comics, novels and role-playing games.|
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