Thursday, April 30, 2009
TORTURE KILLER are back with „Sewers“! Without Chris Barnes this time as you all know, but with a lot of great songs and fresh joy of playing. So lets hear what Jari has to tell about the new album and T.K. in general.
Hi Jari, how are you man? Are you one of that dudes who drink that disgusting Finnish licorice booze? Whats up in the Finnish backwoods?
Hey man how´s it going? Glad to be doing the interview and talking through the new album... You propably mean SALMIAKKI which is one of our national goodies...hehe...it´s not that bad, i kinda like it but i usually stick to beer and don´t do shots that much. Funny story with that, i went to see my dear friends in Misery Index a few years back and asked what could i bring with me from here, one of the guys mentioned Salmiakki and i brought a bottle of that with me - i thought it was only his thing since he´s been familiarized with that during his visits over here, usually foreign people HATE that stuff, so it was a huge surprise that once i got there, everyone was freaking out about that one bottle...if i´d known people in the states love that stuff i wouldn´t have brought anything else with me, i couldve changed a bag of those candies to a pair of socks and underwear and t-shirts wherever i went...they even like it better than Jägermeister and think that could be the next big import in the metal scene..hehe.
How is the new release doing? Tell me something about “Sewers”!
It´s the TK 3. album and were quite pleased with it, i think the album ain´t out yet apart from our homecountry though, but over here it´s doing really well - people seem to like it, which to be honest is quite surprising considering the change we´ve had with our profile and the re-newed, less known line-up. I think it turned out decent, but i know we still have potential and need to be better in what we do. Finland isn´t exactly known for this kind of metal so all things considered we´re pleased how the reactions have been... it´s still hard coz in your head you compare your own stuff to the ultimate classics of death metal like Obituary and stuff like that and to be honest i think were still a million miles away from that level, but comparing to some other new albums that are released constantly, i think it stands on his own.
There will be always a lot of people who call you SFU clone. How do you handle that? I mean you have never denied what your inspiration is? Do you get tired having to explain yourself again and again?
No were not worried, this is the stuff we want to do, or at least what i want and the influences are obvious...the band name, the history...we´d be pretty blind to deny what we have in common with our influences and i´m not ashamed of it one bit. We don´t do press apart from when a new album is released and i can understand people asking about it so i don´t get tired of it, i just accept it how it is. Our goal is not to be original, it is to be as good as we can and do what we enjoy the most so it´s all good.
Maybe you can really put up with the reproach of a missing identity. Can you proof the opposite?
Nope, like i said we have no problems with that - i have no desire to be anything else than what we are right now... we started the band to pay our tribute, or homage if you will, to bands we liked. Is it original? fuck no, but it is what i want to do.
I like “Sewers”, it is straight and to the point. It connects seamlessly to your last record. Do you see any important changes? What do you think? How long can you exhaust that Death Metal style?
Cool, glad you liked it brother... Yeah i agree it follows the style we had on the previous album, all the elements are still there but there still are a few differences... The first thing people will notice are the vocals of course, but that´s obvious, musicwise i think it´s a bit more solid, or more get-to-the-point type of CD...the focus i a bit more in the faster songs (or faster by our standards) instead of the double-bass-drum driven songs we had on the previous album... all in all i think it´s a decent follower to "Swarm!". We´ll see how long we can come up with ideas, even i don´t know that...i have some new ideas which i like a lot, new riffs etc, but they are still sounding 100% Torture Killer... as long as you can come up with decent material, all is well, when you run out of good songs - that´s when you have a problem, i don´t see sticking to one style of approach a problem at all if you can come up with good songs.
Tell me the Story of Chris Barnes – probably for the 1000th time now.
Hehehe...sure, just before our 2004 european tour we lost our vocalist and because of that all the plans we had for our second album were put on hold... then one day we just got an e-mail from Chris saying he´s been watching us and feeling honoured about our style and homage to his music and said if we needed, he could help us out with the next record. I was sure one of my friends was playing a prank on me until i got Chris over the phone... pretty overwhelming and a huge compliment, we were absolutely stoked and honoured. I think we did a good album with him and it was a unique experience we feel super priviledged about. A script of a hollywood movie.
Was it obvious that the collaboration ran its course?
Well none of us knew how things would work out, we knew along with the attention came a lot of things that would be very hard to materialize and that they were... we knew SFU was his priority and that´s the way it should be so getting on tours would be very hard. Also recordings etc. would have to first match with SFU schedules but at that point we didn´t worry about it too much, back then we didn´t have a line-up and with him we did, so it was either that or doing nothing. Now, looking back i think it was pretty obvious how things would work but i´m still very proud what we did together and grateful for Chris he was there to give us the experience.
Was it an personal setback when he left? I mean you had to cancel your upcoming tour. How has it affected the band?
Well actually that tour was meant to be done with our session live vocalist, Juri, who is now our official frontman so actually none of that had anything to do with Chris´s departure...that tour was cancelled coz the promoter backed out. I guess now were getting to the point where you can propably see one of the reasons why we chose to go on our separate ways, the confusion with two different line-ups was something we didn´t want. Also we got a word that we would have to wait for at least a year to complete the third album coz SFU was doing tours and starting their Death Rituals CD writing... also for some months we kinda felt that this wasn´t "fun" anymore, we needed to get the "band" feel back. To us this is a hobby, an important hobby that makes us feel good, and if you can´t do that - where´s the fun? so actually we brought the thing up that maybe we should continue on our own and Chris agreed, i think he also realized he didn´t have the time to go deeper into this and we were on the same page with everything... so there was no drama at all, just mutual understanding and agreement that "OK, we tried how it will turn out" and after realizing it wouldn´t, we shouldn´t waste our energies to something that wasn´t working... He was cool to us all this time and i have nothing bad to say about him, we got along great and we wish him the best of luck! We´re not a professional band and we wanted to go back to smaller, down-to-earth band activities and were happy where we are right now, not regretting anything we´ve done, but happy things are back to normal now.
It seems to be a TORTURE KILLER habit, to loose their singer ( M. Luke- Blast your violence tour). Are you such limelight hogs, that they shitting in her pants for fear?
Yeah the line-up has been disrupted with vocalist changes but now i think we can finally have some continuation with it and hope those days are behind us... The first guy we had was a mistake we should´ve never got involved with, a misjudgement on our behalf... The second one, Chris, on the other hand was something totally un-planned and un-prepared and like i said there was no bad blood at any stage. So in my books there has been only one really bad call, and the rest have worked out really well. I think were easy people to get along with, we´ve only done a few wrong decisions that may seem to an outsider we have a line-up problem.
Barnes part in TORTURE KILLER was a stroke of luck, I think. You became bigger in the eyes of the public. Without him it could be harder, don't you think? ( Don't get me wrong, your music is still cool no
Yeah totally, without him we wouldn´t have been signed to Metal Blade and get all the attention we got, so having him was a huge push for us attention wise and we never would´ve had the exposure we have now, if it wasn´t for him and his time spent with the band. So to this date, his reputation is still giving us press and exposure - we hope to stand on our own someday, and just try to do the best we can, like you said - i think we also have something good going on and hopefully some people will agree.
How did you handle the intensity of the attention at that time? I'm sure you gave a million interviews for “Swarm”. Is the life more quiet now?
Yeah it´s more quiet and i like it that way, MB gave us great support promoting and getting us tons and tons of interviews over the phone and e-mail and the months surrounding the "Swarm!" release were very busy... It was kinda cool for a while, but to tell you the truth i don´t miss that too much... i mean we appreciate all the interviews we can give and i don´t mind doing them, but i´d rather go to see a hockey game with my friends than sit at home waiting for phone-interviews...hehehe...
Barnes was off- Metal Blade away- now you have to "bake smaller buns", or am I wrong? Was this new situation frustrating or do you see it as a new challenge?
Actually i see it as the way it should be, we´re very pleased where we are now and getting out from MB was also our will... They were also good to us, but let´s face facts: were a small ug-band, not professionals, and we shouldn´t be on a full professional label like MB. Especially the guys in MB -europe were cool as shit and those are the guys i miss the most, but all in all, we were just totally out of our league. I think we would´ve been dropped out eventually now when the strongest sales-point was no longer with us but i´m glad we departed with good terms and wish them luck aswell - Good label, awesome bands. Were not reaching for the stars, and we don´t have dreams or goals to turn into a full-scale-professional band at all, like i said earlier - this is a hobby for us, and i think the most amazing things for this band have already happened to us.
Was having Juri after Chris a hard situation to sell? Would he actually want to be in that position again?
Yeah he was into it right away, when the tour of 2004 was still on with Juri doing the vocals he was only helping us out so we wouldnt have to cancel the tour...so he wasn´t in the band as a member, when we got back from the tour and all this Chris thing happened, we explained that we have him now but we would like to do some random shows nevertheless and with those we would need Juri´s help, and he was ok with that 100%. Now when you look at the releases, you might think he was in the band, then we took a shot with Chris and now he came back but that´s not how it went. The split 7" we did, that was released before "Swarm!" was actually recorded and done after the Swarm! recordings. We were approached and asked to do that split which we really wanted to do, but knew we couldn´t get Chris to do it since he was working on with the album, so that´s when we decided to do it with Juri... it´s a bit confusing how it all went but i hope you get the idea.
You are with Dynamic Arts now. What are your expectations?
"Theyre doing a good job at a level we´re pleased and happy about, like i said we don´t dream about worldwide success anymore, we´re just pleased we can still release albums and over here Dynamic Arts is one of the best national labels, sure their distribution worldwide is nothing like Metal Blade´s but it´s good enough for us and i think we made the right decision to work with them. The only expectations we have is towards ourselves, if we do a good job, good things will happen.
It seems this time you wanna go around properly. Tell me about the upcoming tour!
"Yeah man, were super happy about getting out at last, we didn´t get to tour for "Swarm!" for obvious reasons which is kinda weird since it was the album that has given us the biggest attention so were glad we can finally play those songs to people. The tour starts in mid-may with Demonical headlining, us and Facebreaker from Sweden. Should be a good death metal package and i hope people will come to see us, even if i know there are a lot of really good tours going all over at the same time or in the near future. I know we have a good set-list and the style we play really works live. You have to be careful with your expectations though since it´s a lot harder to compete with audiences over there than it is over here. All you can do is do your best, so many bands have to tour 3-4 times before the word gets out that these guys are good and the people find their way to the shows."
How long did you work on the new recording and how did you decide on the name "Sewers"?
We recorded the basic tracks (meaning the music) over a year ago when all these line-up issues werent solved yet, then we cleared the table from those, got Juri to join the band and used the next year to write the lyrics for the album since we didn´t have a line of lyrics ready because that part was left for Chris at the time. Sewers just felt the best name for the album title, and we thought we could get a cover done for it and it just felt the best, a cool title for a death metal album. The song Sewers is about a russian serial killer Aleksander Pichuskin, whose goal was to kill 64 people - one for each square of the chessboard but was cut short when captured...he used sewers to dumb the bodies he left behind and that´s the main idea of the song.
Is there actually a lot of work behind that special heavy and old school sound? You need a experienced studio for sure.
Well, actually we used a new studio this time and it wasn´t easy, i think it´s ok but we had to struggle with it and the studio hadn´t done a death metal record yet - so it was a struggle but i think it turned out ok...we know what we want and know when the sound is right, but unfortunately we don´t have the knowledge how to get it... so it takes awhile, but were getting better at it. Getting a sound you want is definetily harder than people might think.
One last question. TORTURE KILLER started as “just for fun-cover band”. When have you noticed that you have to work hard and serious. What was your “point of no return”?
The first album was still a lot of fun to do, since we didn´t even think it would be released properly, so i´d say the point when Chris got involved was the point things started to get more serious, that was our point of no return...hehe...
Ok, last crap is yours. Wish you all the best with your killer album and the tour. Maybe we'll se you at Legacy Feast.
"Huge thanks for the interview brother, it was a nice one! All the best and check out www.myspace.com/torturekiller ,for samples of TK death metal."