When asked, how do you describe Refusal to people unfamiliar with your demos? Are there some bands you could be compared with? It seems that many people hear your music to be similar with newer Napalm Death.
R > We would describe it as fast paced death metal, with a mix of grind elements. Napalm death could be a good example, but we've also heard that we resemble Deicide which we don't agree on too much. People should listen to us themselves and draw their own opinions.
What are the bands that've influenced you the most?
R > We all have our own bands which influence us but Napalm Death has influenced us the most. Of course we like different bands at different times so our influental bands change all the time.
What does the name "Refusal" stand for, and how did it originate? And, of course, how did the band itself come to be?
R > Tero and Timo wanted to form a real band and started to look for members. Aleksi and our first solo guitarist Sophie was found from internet, and Timo asked his old friend Niikka to perform vocals. We started active rehearsing as soon as the band was formed.
The name was selected, because it was short and we thought it sounded good. It's taken from Krisiun's song 'Refusal'.
How are your songs born, in general? Do you have a main composer or lyricist?
R > Timo and Tero compose the songs and the band listens them and gives ideas. Aleksi does drums after the riffs are ready. The songs take shape slowly in rehearsals and Kim throws in some lead ideas. Lyrics are mostly written by our singer Niikka when the song structure is ready.
You've existed since '08, and you've made five demos since. Do you feel that the band has changed or "matured" during this time, or are you still the same people on the same quest as you were in the beginning? You've had some changes in the guitar-department and your first demo was thrash metal instead of your current style, but otherwise it seems that not much has changed. Was the switch from thrash to death metal a conscious one?
R > The whole project has been pretty much the same since the beginning. We've struggled finding a suitable guitarist on the way, but now we seem to have a good and stable line-up. Change from thrash to death wasn't conscious, we just noticed that we're doing faster and more brutal songs which suit us more. The band has matured along the way, now we have more experience in a lot of things which help us perform us a band. The main point of the band hasn't changed, it's still about having fun.
You're still a relatively young and small band, but you've nonetheless done a good amount of gigs - and in quite a company, as you've played with bands such as Medeia, Omnium Gatherum, GAF, Cause For Effect, and other bands with a bigger following. How do you find the gig opportunities, and is it difficult to get to play live?
R > It's hard to get gigs if you expect to get money from it. We get our gigs by being active by ourselves and sending millions of e-mails every day. We have been arranging lots of gigs with the 'big ones' and we've got a couple of counter offers from them, which is always nice. It's all about how much effort we put in it. We are always eager for opportunities to play gigs.
I noticed that you've played with bands ranging from opently Satanic black metal to grindcore, psychedelic sludge and more modern metal. Do you have any bands or genres you wouldn't want to share a stage with?
R > Different genre or music style isn't a problem. Only criteria is we don't want to play with assholes because we want to enjoy our gigs.
Noting the amount of your demos and gigs, you seem to be a rather active band. How often do you rehearse?
R > We are very devoted to the band. We have been rehearsing 3 times a week since the very beginning. Rehearsing pays off.
Would you like to keep the band small or do you aim to hit a record deal, make longer tours and so on? Or, in other words, what do you want to achieve with Refusal?
R > The point of the band is to have fun. Of course it would be nice to get a contract but it's not the point of the band. Touring, playing in different and bigger places and also to different audiences is what we'd like to do.
Do the band members have other bands running parallel to Refusal?
R > No. Refusal takes lots of our time.
Your demos' artwork ranges from a guy holding a pitchfork standing on a field, to a giant frog devouring a person, to one with bullets and blood and one with a hand holding a severed heart in an empty hallway. They're pretty stylish, one could say, but overall they make little to no sense. How do you design or choose the artwork for each release?
R > What?! People don't like them? No really, that's an awkward question. We try to get some idea from the lyrics and we make the artwork always too late. We really don't put enough effort on them although we should. Who knows, maybe our next artwork is actually cool.
Your lyrics make me equally confused as your visual side. On the cover their titles seem rather usual in death metal, but the lyrics themselves are rather humouristic (of the darker kind, admittedly). Zombies on Mars, an annoyed farmer killing youngsters, making tobacco and handbags of corpses, priests drowning infants in acid... Hell, there's even a couple of Godzilla-type monsters thrown in. What's the meaning of your lyrics? Are they there just for the vocalist to have something to shout out, or are you trying to bring something new to the genre, or..?
R > They're not so serious type of lyrics. We want to stand out a bit because basic death metal lyrics can be a bit boring. We try to be a bit provocative against the music purists. We want to put lyrics you wouldn't expect in the songs. It's always fun to hear that someone has actually read them. And of course, they are also there so Niikka has something to shout.
Unless I over-analyzed the lyrics, I'm fairly certain that they hold some critique towards the modern, materialistic way of life, along with other annoyances. Do you, as a band, have some shared viewpoints, an ideology or a belief that you have (or have planned to) share through your lyrics? You use some religious terminology in the lyrics, but they don't seem to carry belief behind them.
R > Some songs contain a real message about something that irritates us. We try to provoke people but it doesn't work. Maybe we have to try harder! We really don't have any beliefs in common except the excellent sense of humor.
Many (if not all) of your five demos include the following line: "Feel free to copy this CD." How come you're encouraging people to spread your music that way? As a broader question, what's your view on music piracy?
R > The more people hear our music the better. It's better for people to download music and come to our gigs, rather than not buying the record and not knowing about us. The band itself has a divided opinion about piracy in music business.
How have your gigs and demos been received overall? Have you been criticized on making so many releases during Refusal's relatively short time in existence?
R > Every demo has gotten better reviews than their predecessors so we must be going somewhere. Our first demo was made too early and maybe it shouldn't have been released at all. After that we haven't had any complaints about our releasing frequency.
What does the future hold for Refusal?
R > We are hoping that we could be ready for an full-length album in the future. And of course more gigs in new places!
You've made two music videos; one humouristic one and a more traditional one. Do you have plans on making more, and if yes, will you follow in Medeia's footsteps and make another joke-video?
R > The first humoristic video was made as a school project and it doesn't really mean much to us. At the moment we don't have any plans for making music videos but if we do, it will be a more traditional one.
That's all for now. The word is free for you to speak out, or to throw counter-questions at us, heh. Thank you for your time.
R > Come to see us to the gigs and see how awesome we are live. We'll give you the time of your lives! Thanks for the interview and keep up the good work with DBL.