How would you describe your band and music to someone not familiar with your works?
O > Oranssi Pazuzuís music is a mix of various different things. We are strongly influenced by the 90ís black metal bands, but are also very much into the 70ís progressive rock and psychedelia. Itís like a journey into new realms of dark space atmospheres and aggressive dream landscapes. We have recorded one album (Muukalainen puhuu) and one split album with Candy Cane. Currently we are working on our second full length album.
"Oranssi Pazuzu makes music that invites all the arsonists and smokers to hold hands." I have been wondering how this description shows in your lyrical side and ideology; do you have any religious views you are "promoting"? You use religious therminology, meaning words such as heresy and holiness, but are these words merely used to describe some more or less self-centric explorations of the mind and the essence beyond, with no more specific religious undertones? It should be noted that you employ some really traditional "trademarks" of black metal (such as goats and ravens) in your lyrics as well, making one exposed to the thought of these themes and words existing in your music just for the sake of keeping up and respecting the tradition.
O > We are definitely not promoting any religious views! I myself am an atheist, and I write lyrics about the consciousness, the mind of the individual and the nature surrounding us. Nature is amazing enough by itself, it does not need any religious boost to make it more interesting. I think religion is a very human-centered way of looking at things. On the other hand Iím interested in the boundaries of the human consciousness. This is a usual topic in the lyrics. Anyway, I think it would be disrespectful to promote religion through black metal, since it would pollute the dark atmosphere of the music. We are not trying to make "true" BM, but nevertheless it is very important to respect the roots and the original idea of the music. Black metal is not a joke.
Whereas the above themes go hand in hand with your black metal -roots, your music is equally much influenced by psychedelic rock. Going back to the previous question, do you have a standing on the use of cannabis or substances comparable to it? Do you have any aims to affect the public's opinion regarding these substances, or do you have a political stand on it?
J-H > We are not a political band. Onttos lyrics deal with some frustration in todays society, but the things that we think are fucked up, go way deeper than just the war on drugs.
Anyways, in my opinion it should be every individuals own decicion which substances they use or dont use. Oranssi Pazuzu band members naturally are never on any other drug than alcohol, because DRUGS are illegal in Finland.
Your band name stands for "Orange Pazuzu." What does the name stand for? Does mythology have more place in your expression in addition to your group's name?
J-H > Well, Pazuzu mostly refers to the movie "Excorcist" and to our black metal influences. Orange for me is the sun, nature, life and cosmos which represent the psychedelic influences.
The debut album is titled "Muukalainen Puhuu," meaning "The Stranger/Alien Speaks." What does the alien have to say?
O > The alien says that there are other worlds and realities we are not aware of and other ways of looking at ourselves, that are not currently "in fashion".
I read an interview in which you said that the band was born after witnessing an Emperor-gig. When you formed the group, you decided to employ some psychedelic elements to the black metal-base in order to keep repeating the same old formula, as well as due to the fact at least most of you were familiar with the genre. I've understood that, despite all this, you don't want to be known as a black metal band. Why not, and what do you see yourself as if it is not some form of black metal?
O > We are not part of any scene, but an individual band that plays music we feel like playing. We are definitely influenced by bands like Burzum and Darkthrone, but we donít have much interest to keep wondering what we should call the music that comes out. In terms of labels black metal is a difficult genre, since it means very different things to different people. This is a good thing because once you eliminate mystery and all the uncertainty, the magic disappears. I think genre labels are not a good artistic starting point if you want to do something new. Thatís why Iíd rather not think about them too much.
Has your line-up remained stable since the beginning? What are they key things that unite you as a group, or are there any aside of creating the music itself?
J-H > Moit came along shortly after we began making music. We realised there was something missing with just one guitar. Moit was the perfect match with his beautiful yet haunting guitarwork.
We all listen and play music without much thinking about the genre of the music and we also share similar philosophies about life and making music.
How did you come to make a split with Candy Cane? I've understood that your promoter Marko plays in the band, do these things relate? CC makes very erratic, unpredictable and genre-defying music; do you think that these things made them a fitting counterpart for your contribution, or what are the things that unite the two bands?
J-H > We got to know Marko Neuman and other Candy Cane members after an internet zine Imperiumi.net did an split interview about OP and CC. We realised our bands had a lot similarities although our style of composing was completely different. Marko asked if we would like to do a split album with them. We said yes and began working on the songs. Both bands composed the songs exclusively for the split album. So the songs are not leftovers from album or anything like that.
Marko has a label called Rabbit Ilsn Records. He started selling shows for us after we discussed the matter over a pint. He`s also been doing some other promotion for the band, so I guess you could call he our manager. He is also a good friend and the producer of our next album.
The CC-split features more violent and cruder material than your debut. Is this a sign of what your upcoming second album will sound like, or merely an exploration of your sound's possibilities?
O > It is a sign of the new direction. Our focus is moving into a darker moods if you compare to the first album.
About your second album. What is its situation at the moment? Are there any things you can reveal to us about it yet, thematically or musically, and do you yet have a label to release it?
O > We are now finalizing the songs and are going to record them in March-April. The next album will have very epic, dark and futuristic space atmosphere. Thematics of apocalypse and cosmos will be strongly present in the music and in the lyrics. Iím very excited about it.
Do you have any other splits coming up or being planned?
O > No, nothing at the moment. Maybe sometime in the future.
Regarding the above, if you could choose any split- or collaboration partner for OP, what group or artist would it be? You can name both live- and album collaborators, as well as visual artists. Are there some specific themes you're looking to explore in the future, but don't have the resources or what-not for?
J-H > There is this band in Finland called Mr. Peter Hayden who would be an interesting split partner. Their sound is not as heavy as ours but they have these amazing song structures that are minimalistic but have also small layers upon layers of psychedelic guitars and percussions. Long songs that somehow remind me of classical music. It would be interresting to compose long thematic songs like that with Oranssi Pazuzu. But of course with our own style.
The visual collaboration with the artist who did the cover art for the split album is going to continue. The same artist (Olli Kiviluoto) will also do the art for the next album. His art pretty much has the same elements that our art has. Cold cynical darkness and death, but with a tiny chance of life. His cover art is not done by computer. He really paints the whole thing.
Your visual side has elements from dark psychedelia and space, and you've made your band pictures crude, simple and down-to-earth, with the settings being a lot closer to dead than alive. The end result is cold and distant, but still has life in it. Is this what you're aiming for; something distant and a bit difficult to grasp and understand, but something still warm and oddly familiar?
J-H > Yeah, like I said above. I think our music tries to create a musical picture of the reality. The world is unforgiving and everything dies. One smart ape species is also doing its best to speed up the dying part. But still, nature and evolution are beatutiful things that we have barely even started to understand.
Where do you fall on this scale when it comes to live gigs? What kind of a performance are you trying to create live, be it visually or aurally? On a related note, how often do you rehearse?
J-H > Lights are important for our live sets. We usually use our own light engineer, who is almost like a member of the band. We want to keep the band in the shades and let the smoke and the lights together with the music create an atmosphere that will hopefully take audience to a journey to the dark corners of their mind. We practice a lot when we compose new material.
It seems you haven't yet made a music video. Have you had any plans on making one?
O > We havenít thought of that much, but maybe it would be interesting to make a video for the next album.
Your debut was released as a CD by Violent Journey Records, as a tape by Diveliz Rex and soon as an LP by Svart records, and the split-CD was released as a joint effort between Vendura Records and Firebox Records. Was it your intention to get different labels to release the albums, for wider popularity for example, and to get the album out in all the three formats? Will the split be out as a vinyl and tape, too?
O > It wasnít planned, it just turned out that way. Not for any practical reason. We have been struggling to get the first album on vinyl for a long time, and finally it is coming out in late March. Thanks to Svart! The tape thing is great also, you can order those from Diveliz Rex blog site with exclusive cover art. We are trying to get a vinyl release for the split also, and itís looking very promising. I think vinyl is the best format for this kind of music.
Aside of recording and publishing your upcoming second full-lenght, what other plans do you have for Oranssi Pazuzu?
O > We are going to do some gigs in Europe. Itís refreshing to play outside Finland also. It would be great to do a proper tour, but weíll see how things go.
One of you is said to have played in the band Kuolleet Intiaanit back when they were active. Have there been any plans of bringing the group back to life?
J-H > No.
Relating to the above: do any of you have any active projects operating parallel with Oranssi Pazuzu?
J-H > We all have had/have other projects and bands, but I dont want to discuss them in this context.
Some general questions. What is your view on music piracy and digital-only releases?
O > Internet piracy is a great way to find out about new music. There are massive amounts of good stuff out there and it has never been easier to get into it. But there is also the downside. Underground bands like us just donít swim in money. Itís important for people to understand, that record labels that release underground music are not some greedy multinational corporations, but small labels run by one or two music lovers who want to publish stuff that otherwise would not be published. If people wonít support this kind of music, then the underground music publishing culture will soon fade away. Of course bands will make music, but they will not go to proper studio, use a professional mixing engineer, get a proper distribution etc. And it is extremely hard to put out vinyl albums, that are the ultimate format for this music. So, if you like a band, then buy their albums and support their music! This way they will get to make more of that stuff.
What are your thoughts about these words/things: human, music, god?
O > Human: an extraordinarily skilled mammal. Music: information waves interpreted by the brain. God: imaginary friend for adults.
If you had the power to change one or two things of your choosing in the world, what would they be?
J-H > Capitalism would never have been invented and from now on every single human being would close their TV, start using their brain and stop acting like a bunch of fucking lambs.
This paragraph is for whatever you might want to say. Do speak up, please.
J-H > Nice questions. Thanks!
That is all. Thanks for taking your time to answer our questions.