Fall Of The Idols interview (03/2016)
|Conducted by:||Bad English (e-mail)|
Fall Of The Idols
Vesa Karppinen of Fall Of The Idols and Wolfshead took the time to answer some questions; check it out below.
Fall Of The Idols
Bad English: Hi. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us at Metal Storm. Can you introduce yourself, and tell us how you started to listen to metal and play instruments?
Vesa: I am Vesa Karppinen, best known in the metal scene as the bassist in Fall Of The Idols and Wolfshead. I was born in November 1978 and like many young kids was first introduced to the world of hard rock and heavy metal around 1984-85 by bands like KISS, W.A.S.P. and Twisted Sister. I was a huge KISS fan until around '87 when they released that steaming pile of shit known as Crazy Nights album and I moved on to such bands as Guns N' Roses, Alice Cooper, Metallica, etc. I discovered Black Sabbath around the age of 16 through a friend who then a bit later coaxed me to pick up the bass and join a band he was playing in with a certain Jyrki Hakomäki. That's how it all began.
Bad English: If I understand correctly, you are from Kemi, right? In the pre-internet days, how hard was it to get new or underground metal bands, albums and information about metal in general so far north?
Vesa: I certainly AM NOT from Kemi, banish that thought! Ha ha! I was born in Rovaniemi and moved to Tornio when I was 3 months old. I didn't follow the underground scene much when I started, but even though Tornio was a small town there was a great little record store which had a great selection of metal albums - cheers to Tony Rebel if you read this! Later on when the bands were good enough I started to look around what is happening in the underground elsewhere and by then internet had made its breakthrough. I got late into playing metal and kinda missed the tape trading scene.
Bad English: In the past, you were also a member of Adder (FI), Blodsoffer, March 15, Tre Kronor and Von Stront. Could you tell us a little bit about those bands, and what kind of music they played?
Vesa: My first band was Tre Kronor which played rather eclectic punk rock - we might've had a song with a reggae-ish beat and suddenly we'd burst into "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" riff. The line-up when I joined had drums, vocals, a distorted lead bass and clean bass - the lead bass player was Peter who got me into this thing and he switched to guitar rather soon after I joined. Jyrki played the drums in that band. This was in late '96 to mid-'97.
Then I switched to rhythm guitar and me, Jyrki and Peter started Von Stront with another bass player. Von Stront played punkish metal. That lasted about a year before I took the bass again and Adder begun - again with Jyrki and Peter. Adder was more metallic and lasted until mid-2000 when me, Jyrki and Tommi Turunen, who had joined the band, were fed up with Peter's megalomania and alcohol and drug abuse.
Fall Of The Idols begun on December 6th, 2000, with me, Jyrki and Tommi. Not much recordings survived from those previous bands which is good since they were frankly rather terrible - the enthusiasm was there, but required skills or self-critique certainly wasn't. March 15 was an electronics/noise project with Sami Hynninen with one session taking place on Valentine's Day 2004.
Bad English: Nordic Finland is rich with metal bands. But if we look at Norway and Sweden, at least the Nordic parts, all is dead there: only a few bands come around once per year, the local scene with homegrown bands is pretty dead, etc. Do you have any thoughts on why Nordic Finland enjoys such success?
Vesa: There was not much else to do for young men, either to drink or pick up an instrument I guess. It is an often-mentioned cliché that Finland is the promised land of metal music, but like all clichés there's a kernel of truth in there.
Bad English: As a man from the north, you will understand what I mean by this: how does life close to the Arctic Circle inspire you? Would Fall Of The Idols exist at all if you had been born in Spain, for example?
Vesa: Of course Finnish mentality shows a lot in Fall Of The Idols's music - it's hard to imagine any other surroundings than Tornio in Northern Finland to give birth to such music. In a land inhabited by suicidal alcoholics who are surrounded by darkness by half of the year playing some Van Halen-ish party metal would feel insincere, at least to me it would be.
Bad English: You also played bass in a band called Black Christ, under the pseudonym of Irwyn W. Squadron. Can you confirm this, and perhaps tell us a bit more about that band?
Vesa: Yes, I play bass in Black Christ, which is mostly the brainchild of certain Von Beast. Black Christ is a tongue-in-cheek band, a bit of fun really with its own mythology.
Bad English: How was Fall Of The Idols born? Could you tell us a little about the early demo years of that band?
Vesa: For the first 2 years or so Fall Of The Idols was more or less a therapy project - we just played sporadically and wrote some weird songs - some of which were later rearranged for the albums. Things started to become more focused when Rami Moilanen joined in late 2002.
Bad English: I don't consider myself a person who has favorite bands; I like good metal in general. But somehow, FOTI came to impress me a lot, and now I can proudly say that they are one of my favorite bands. What do you see as the best aspects of the band's style?
Vesa: I would say the guitar arrangements which were influenced by Mana Mana. I think we managed to combine influences from many different directions and make it work within doom metal framework.
Bad English: You stated that the recording of FOTI's last album had begun, and later, that only the vocals were left. What is the status of the process now? Will a final FOTI album see the light, or remain in darkness?
Vesa: Vocals are still unfinished. Since FOTI has ceased to be practically speaking the process has been on the back-burner for a while - but I am sure it will be finished and released at some point through some channels. I have doubts we will ever play together live as a band.
Bad English: How many live gigs have you played with FOTI?
Vesa: Perhaps 40 or so, from 2004 to 2010. Most gigs in 2006 and 2008 when we did our European tours and played in Jalometalli. We managed to play gigs in Finland, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria and Czech Republic - not a bad run in my opinion.
Bad English: Who came up with the idea for your new band, Wolfshead?
Vesa: In 1999 I decided that someday I will start a band with that name. In the Summer of 2011 things in FOTI started to feel too dark and hopeless when Hannu died and I decided that if I ever want to enjoy playing again I need a new framework for that. I talked with guitarist Ari Rajaniemi, whom I had known for a long time, in April 2011 in Helsinki (we were witnessing the mighty Pentagram on their first gig in Finland) of starting a band with that name when I'm moving to Oulu later that year. And after I had done so we invited drummer Jussi Risto to jam with us and lo and behold, Wolfshead was a reality. The goal was, and is, to play classic heavy metal the way we see it should be played. Wolfshead has two demos and one EP so far.
Bad English: Do you have any plans to work on a full-length, or play any shows?
Vesa: We've played about a dozen shows so far, and our next recording sessions will be for our first full-length. And we try to play live as much as we can. Of course all of us having families, jobs or full-time studies set their limitations, but that is the situation with most metal bands anyway. Music is of course very important to us, but it is a hobby - very fulfilling though.
Bad English: The eternal question: what are your thoughts about the internet, illegal downloads, Spotify, and such things?
Vesa: I don't partake in Spotify, Netflix and what have you. Internet is a fine promotional tool, but there's a lot to dislike - Spotify isn't much better to an underground artist than illegal bootlegging.
Bad English: How do your bands write music: the old school jamming way or at home using computers?
Vesa: Old school jamming. We've created a good part of our material by just starting to play something which has stuck. And many times if I've had something written at home it has radically changed when we've played it as a band.
Bad English: As a bass player, which setup do you prefer: a cable plugged into an amp or a modern sound transmitter?
Vesa: It depends on the project, but with Wolfshead it's cable to the amp and go! We like to keep studio trickery/wankery to the minimum.
Bad English: What would you like to achieve in music?
Vesa: I've never seriously considered music to be a means of making a living for me. I just want to keep on playing and making music since it is something I simply have to do. I would like to do a few albums and few European treks with Wolfshead - I guess those achievements aren't too unrealistic I would think. In Wolfshead we're not kids dreaming of some rock stardom, but weathered gentlemen in service of the music.
Bad English: Do you have any last words for our readers?
Vesa: Thank you so much for the interview! Stay true to yourself and to the music!
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