Greetings and welcome to Damned by Light. How is it going?
GM > I am doing fine at the moment, and so is the rest of the band, thanks for asking. Last week we decided to continue on our path without Goat Tormentor and in the weekend we had our first rehearsals with Thasmorg doing the vocals again. So there is definitely a scent of change in the air but luckily it's a pleasant one.
Congratulations, your new album ”Vinum Intus” has received very good feedback. But how satisfied you're when it's been out couple of months? Would you change anything if you could?
GM > There isn't really anything big we'd like to change. Of course there are always these minor things that start to bug you afterwards, but that's always the case to some extent and we don't really take such things that seriously when assessing the big picture. We are still very pleased with the end result, and we consider it to be our best release thus far. I know that bands always say that, but that also happens to be the truth. The song material is strong, the over-all sound is cold and the artwork is great. We're very satisfied with how it all turned out in the end.
How long it took to record this album? Did you have any big problems with recording?
GM > The whole process of recording and mixing the album took over eight months to complete but naturally we didn't spend every day working on the album during that long period. We worked very randomly and took quite long breaks from it all every now and then. This method suits us extremely well because we all hate tight schedules and non-stop studio work. It's a lot more relaxed when you can record your part at, for example, the rehearsal place pretty much whenever you feel like it.
We didn't face any bigger problems with this album. Naturally there were days when nothing seemed to work and the playing wasn't as good as it should be, but it all worked out fine in the end. The mixing of the album was a rather tormenting experience and it was easily the worst part of the whole process. But the end result is pleasing so it most definitely wasn't a waste of time and nerves.
For the first time Alghazanth seem to have same line-up in two albums. Does this have any effect in music composition?
GM > Yes and no. It of course allowed us to focus solely on the writing and rehearsing process when we didn't have to break any new members in. It's also easier to work with each other when you already know their methods and goals, you know. So yes, it helped quite a lot in this respect. On the other hand, it didn't have a straigth effect on the compositions themselves because they were once again done almost entirely by Grimort and Thasmorg, the guitarists of the band.
”Vinum Intus” tracks are very melodic and epic, almost like a soundtrack of some fantasy movie. So are movies inspiration for ”orchestral” parts of Alghazanth? Is there any main reason why did you choose to be highly melodic and symphonic, not only ”raw” Back Metal?
GM > It's not a matter of choosing a style, the style pretty much chooses you. The atmospheric approach to black metal has always been our thing, it just feels natural for us and that's what we prefer to do in the context of this band. Although we enjoy listening to raw black metal and some of us even are or have been involved in such bands as well, Alghazanth is about the more symphonic and melodic side of the same coin. There are no influences from fantasy movies, not conscious ones at least, but I can easily understand why one reaches such a conclusion. At times there are very epic parts in our songs but I still can't fully relate to these comments about our music being soundtrack-like. It doesn't bother me, not at all, I just don't see it that way myself.
You seem to have couple of gigs coming in this summer. Do you have any plans to do bigger tour?
GM > Nothing such is planned yet. Naturally we will embark on such a journey if an opportunity to do so arises, but I'm not getting my hopes too high about this. We'll just have to see what the future will bring.
You have been in Black Metal scene quite long time. Do you think that Black Metal scene in Finland has changed and which direction?
GM > Naturally there are a hell of a lot more bands around than there were fifteen years ago. Luckily not only the quantity has increased but also the quality. Although I see the Finnish black metal scene of the mid-nineties as an extremely strong one, I honestly think that today it's even stronger. Of course there are shitty or meaningless bands in existence, but the majority of those bands that I'm aware of are either good or even great. I also like the fact that more and more are not in the scene just for the music but have a deeper spiritual agenda behind their actions. This is very pleasing in my eyes because to me, personally, black metal is a lot more than just harsh music with a certain "dark" image. It goes deeper than that. Or at least it should.
Do you still think that Black Metal is only a underground activity? Has internet destroyed Black Metal scenes possibilities to be only underground activity?
GM > Well, obviously it isn't just an underground phenomenon any longer. The coming of the internet most definitely marked the end of an era for black metal as it all became so much more accessible to a wider audience. Tape trading, correspondence by regular mail and all that started to die out as people began communicating over the internet more increasingly. This, however, didn't mean the end of the underground itself, it just evolved into something a bit different. There is still some of that old spirit going on, but something new has come to the forefront instead. I don't see this evolution as something completely negative, even though a part of its "magic" has disappeared when you can get whatever release you want so easily. But still, it's better to live in the present and make the most of the current situation instead of longing for a time that will not come back. Now that black metal is no longer just in the underground, the poisonous miasma can spread further and lure in more people true to its values.
What is your opinion about internet and it's possibilities in metal music business? Is internet good or bad thing for metal music business?
GM > I don't know that much about metal music business myself, but from what I've observed, it's like a two-edged sword. Sure, it's easier to make people aware of your releases, but then again it's also easy for them to get the album for free by downloading it. I've heard that downloading has decreased album sales very dramatically, but I can't say which one is more to blame: the possibility to download music or people's general I-want-it-now-and-I-want-it-for-free attitude that has been increasing in the recent years. I personally can't see how someone could prefer a free file of songs over a reasonably priced physical album with, for example, lyrics and artwork included But then again, I'm just old-fashioned...
Lastly I would like to ask something about your past because you aren't any newcomers in Black Metal scene. What is your first memory about Black Metal? And what made you interested about it?
GM > I think the initial contact with black metal happened when I was browsing through Nuclear Blast's mailorder catalogue and saw the album covers of, for instance, Cradle of Filth's and Abigor's debut albums. There was just something very different about them and it all appealed to me a lot so I decided to get the CoF album. When I listened to it for the first time, it just blew me away. I had been listening to Cannibal Corpse, Deicide and such but none of them had this kind of atmosphere that seemed to go so much deeper. Shortly after that album I heard Emperor's "In the Nightside Eclipse" and that pulled me even deeper into the pits of the abyss. Black metal resonated with my innermost being so devastatingly strongly that there was no way I could escape its grasp. And I still haven't.
Thanks for the interview. Any last words?
GM > Thanks for the support!