How would you describe your brand of punk? Are there some bands Terska could be compared with? What influences you to make your music?
Tero > Hardcore. I'm perfectly happy with terms like punk and hardcore. If it makes me a fool, so be it. Seeing this certain c-word over and over again makes me want to claw my eyes out. The cover songs I've chosen to play are all very interesting to me. I don't feel like the bands are distant in any way. I suppose I'd like to think that I'm in the same category. Terveet Kädet changed my life when I was little. But I don't think I'm going to play cover versions of my ultimate favourites like old Terveet Kädet and Discharge.
The first thing one will likely notice when listening to Terska is the rather personal soundscape. You've made the guitars rather static and even electronic-sounding, and your vocals are closer to growling than in most hc around. Why did you choose such an unconventional solution, and how do you create these sounds?
Tero > Are you familiar with Japanese hardcore from the 80s? You can tell that I love equalizers and distortion. The sound is already raw when I play with the amplifier. I own only one cheap microphone. At first the guitar tracks sound quite muffled and distant. Then I equalize the fuck out of them. Or rather the fuck into them. For the first album I wanted a sharp buzz. The new one sounds ear-grating. L.E. also has two basses: the lighter one and the blown-up track. I made the insane bass distortion with a Japanese program called Sound Engine. Track nr 20 (”Kysymys”) was also modified with that program.
Some of my favourite guitar sounds: the crude 1960s distortion, like in ”I wanna be your dog” by Stooges, ”Preaching violence” by Third World War and ”Kirjoita postikorttiin” by Muska. Some EPs: Anti-Pasti: ”Four sore points”, Revenge: ”Our generation”, Chaos UK: ”Burning britain”, Shitlickers: ”Spräckta snutskallar”, Insane: first EP, Kuro: ”Who the helpless”. And my idea of the boring, basic guitar sound: the new CD of Terveet Kädet.
It's hard when you can't tell anyone else to sing. Sometimes I feel like my vocals stink.
Why did you choose such a, say, interesting name for this project? Is it simply due to your own name, or does it have some meaning in the music itself? Do you have any other (musical) projects?
Tero > I wouldn't call these ”projects”. But anyway, coming up with a name for a band is a shitty task. Kids called me Terska in elementary school. They probably meant to insult me but I've never thought of it as an insult. I come from a small village in Ostrobothnia, and I think the Ostrobothnian sense of humour has a lot to do with teasing. If you get genuinely upset after some teasing, it means that you're an idiot.
Before the army I wrote some moody keyboard music inspired by nature and folk. I made an album in 2007 (that was after the army). In 2006 I made a soundtrack to an imaginary film that also sounds moody but it's basically jazz / fusion (inspired by Pekka Pohjola etc.).
What are your goals or aims with this project? What are you trying to achieve?
Tero > I'm just planning releases in my head and creating them.
Have you got any plans for expanding the lineup or performing live?
Tero > No.
Your lyrics gave me a lot of questions about your views. Here's a few of them. You seem to really put weight on the lyrics. Do you have an opinion about music with less- or not-meaningful lyrics?
Tero > Well, for example, if you're in a hardcore band and you're screaming about the horrors of war, you'd better mean it. Otherwise it sounds fucking grotesque. We all believe in something. Even if you're indifferent. I can tolerate silliness to some extent too.
Extreme Noise Terror had a song called ”If you're only in it for the music... S.O.D. off”. I agree with it. I've met some indifferent people who listen to nazi bands just because they sound cool. I don't give a fuck what it sounds like, you're still supporting the band.
You released your second album "Lopullinen Epäsointu" recently, so congratulations for the release. The album is mostly really straightforward criticism towards the world and it's inhabitants, whereas the first album has a lot more complex lyrics with not-so direct criticism. What is the message or the point of the previous album "Orgasmoottori"? It seemed a lot more personal, even philosophical, something not so usual with hardcore. What is the meaning of the woman on the cover?
Tero > I'm not criticizing all of the world's inhabitants. Stylistically L.E. was just something I wanted to do. ”Orgasmoottori” had many songs that were about using your brains and imagination. Orgasm was also a recurring motif. There were some lyrics that contained specific moods and hardcore aesthetics. For example the lyrics to ”Musta koti” are probably closest to my favourite style of writing. If you think about the Finnish hardcore bands from the 80s, the bands from the north usually had deeper and less literal lyrics. For example Terveet Kädet, KTMK, CMX.
The woman on the cover is a character from a film called Tetsuo (1989). Every frame of that film is interesting. I had two frames of the nightmare rapist woman, and I drew the picture with an old eye pencil (kajali) that I found. I think the cover and the title sort of fit together.
Why do you refer to the conquerors and state heads as 'little kids'?
Tero > I assume you picked this up from the drawing in L.E. Well, I think with these conquerors you mentioned it's quite obvious. Some politicians turn into childish, bloodthirsty monsters if they crack under pressure. Some have always been like that. Or maybe if you scratch away the surface, sometimes that same monster becomes visible.
Why do you criticise the army? Have you gone through military training yourself? Isn't it a 'necessary evil' as some seem to think?
Tero > Because it's bullshit. Necessary evil my ass. The background for the back cover of L.E. is from my military passport or whatever it's called in English. I was there for six months. I had never seen so many morons in one place. Time and time again soldiers are being praised as glorious warriors. Makes me want to puke my fucking brains out.
Your lyrics present a really nihilistic view of the world, where people are basically referred to as blind sheep with no care about the world and shallow concerns. What should people do differently, and why?
Tero > I'm not the nihilist here. Obviously I'm criticizing certain people and attitudes. I'm not saying that the whole world is just a pointless shithole. The fact that I'm being creative is enough to prove that I believe in humanity. But I don't like manifestos. Some people always want simple answers to everything. My lyrics are usually more complex because I want them to be stimulating. You have to use your head and actually come up with something yourself. You're part of the creative process. I respect creativity and patience.
What is important to you in life? Do you see yourself as a nihilist or an antisocial person?
Tero > Love, art and a sense of humour. I am not a nihilist. I appreciate the calmness of the countryside, and I suppose I'm not that sociable. It depends. I get annoyed easily.
You also criticise christianity for the christians hiding behind god and jesus' teachings. What is your view on religions in general, are there any 'logical' ones, so to say?
Tero > The first thing I would say to a christian would be: We have more in common that you would think. The fact that I would be categorized as an atheist doesn't mean that I'm automatically the exact opposite of something. But I don't believe in the games of christianity. There's a game called good versus evil. I don't want any part in that. Both roles stink. For example I think the so-called satanists have accepted the role of the opposer. They exist in that game. I don't care for religions, but if I have to say something, I'm quite interested in some native traditions. They respect the Earth and usually they have some kind of totems of their animal ancestors.
The second album has finland's lion decapitated on the cover. What is your opinion about Finland's government, and is finland overall a good place to live in in your opinion? Is our safety an illusion?
Tero > It's another icon for me to smash. Actually it's not so much about the government. Of course I'd like there to be less of those right-wing stiffs. Finland has been and still is a conservative country. I don't think anybody's innocent or safe from anything.
Your first album is rocking and even groovy hardcore with a nicely flowing soundscape, whereas the second album has rawer sounds and is overall more simple, aggressive and violent, and also slower. Do you yet have plans for your next record and it's style?
Tero > Groovy, ey. Interesting choice of words. The third one is going to have positive-sounding songs with no criticism whatsoever.
You've self-released both your albums. Do you aim to do so in the future, too? How do you handle the promotion, if you do any?
Tero > There is no promotion. Some random label contacted me in 2008 but I wasn't ready then. But I guess would be ready now.
Now's your chance to tell people a few reasons to listen to Terska, and what separates it from the mass. Go.
Tero > Ha ha. Now's my chance? Well... I suppose if you're fed up with the endless stream of blatant clone bands, you might find this interesting. Maybe it helps if you're Japanese.
Then we get to the regular questions. What do you think about music piracy?
Tero > The word piracy makes me think of random opportunists who sell shit for profit. Downloading old demos, rehearsals and underground releases is perfectly acceptable. And if something is extremely hard to find, like some Japanese releases. Basically I've bought all my favourites (whenever it has been possible). I rarely buy new music (the next Kuolema release is always on my list). Records are not primarily objects to me. I care more about the sound waves, the feelings and the ideas.
I think you've already told about your views of the world, so I'll skip that question and ask you this: If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be? You can name more if one is not enough. What kind of a place will the Earth be 20 years from now?
Tero > No big surprises here. Wars, raping of the Earth, racism, oppression, fascism in all its forms, thinking in black and white, aggressive marketing, indifference. Hopefully a better place.
What thoughts do these words evoke in you when you hear them, or what do they mean to you: music, human, and god.
Tero > Music – Couldn't live without it. Human – A tangle but a great opportunity. God – Divine dictator. We don't need it, we have ourselves.
No more questions. The word is free, so say what you like.
Tero > Puddy cat.
Thanks for the interview.