How would you describe the sound of Noituus to someone unfamiliar with your music? What would you compare your sound with, be it either an another band or something else?
Mögälix > We ourselves describe us as "mögä" [a play on the Finnish word for a loud and continuous racket], but it might be a bit difficult to explain to someone who hasn't already heard of us. After our first gig in Rovaniemi, December 2005, we were called washing machine crust, which is probably more descriptive.
Noituus was formed in 2005, and your line-up has stayed the same since. Why and how was Noituus formed, and how did you find the line-up?
Mögälix > Crustix [bassist] moved to Finland in the autumn of 2005. We had already had some talks in the summer that when he's moved, we'll form a band or at least make noise at a rehearsal place. However, initially Crustix and D-beatix [drummer] were noisy as a duo, but in the autumn/winter I joined in. So the line-up was formed easily, as Crustix and D-beatix have known each other almost since the stone age, and me and D-beatix were both in the band Dissect around the time of forming Noituus.
And on why the band was founded, well, why are bands founded in general. You're kept away from TV at least for the rehearsals' length, and I guess an adult man needs more hobbies than just twiddling his pee-pee.
What bands influenced you in the band's early stages, and are you influenced by the same names today?
Mögälix > Crudity back then, and now NWOBHM-bands of course. And many other ones, but whether you can or can't hear these influences in our music is a different story.
Was there any special reason for leaving out the guitar, or was the drums-bass-vocals-formation just the way things turned out?
Mögälix > A bit of both. In France, where Crustix and D-beatix are from, it's normal that a band doesn't have a guitar. They say it's easier to find a drummer and a bassist than a guitarist, and no-one wants to play guitar. We thought about adding a guitarist to our line-up, but we couldn't find one, nor had the energy to keep on searching. So, we remained a trio.
We did have a guitarist made out of cardboard on one gig, because we kept on hearing the question "so where's your guitarist?" We of course advertised the gig as "Noituus with a guitarist," but for some reason the joke wasn't funny to anyone but ourselves. We also had two extra vocalists and a bagpipe-player on our gig at Hässäkkäpäivät-festival, 2010.
Anyway, the "official" line-up is:
And on the other hand, now that this line-up has learned to know each other quite well, it might be difficult to join in as a new guy.
Why did you choose the name Noituus (Witchery/Witchcraft), what does it stand for? It follows the long list of Finnish punk-bands baptised with a name ending in -us, so the name is a pretty traditional one in some sense.
Mögälix > The name comes from an old English horror movie. I don't remember its name though, but I saw it in the fall of 2005 at a movie-registry's display. At some point during the movie the word Noituus popped up in the subtitles, and it left a mark on my brain. I suggested that name to the others, and they agreed to it. It does fit our primitive loudness.
Back then we didn't know that there had been a Finnish black metal band with the same name a while earlier. I've later met with a guy that played in that band. We bemoaned that this BM-Noituus had left no recordings behind, as it would've been grand to do a Noituus/Noituus-split.
That -us-ending was also a good thing, it belongs there. There's too much crying about there being too many bands ending in -us, as usually they're striking names and stick to one's mind. Or perhaps I'm just so old that I'm stuck in the past with the -us-endings. On the other hand, I've myself been in bands that don't end in -us, so it wasn't a necessity in that sense. Umm, this is becoming incoherent rambling, next question.
Noituus is musically a rather total experience, but you don't hold back with the lyrical side either. Just as some examples, they consist of harsh criticism regarding overpopulation, religion, war, patriotism, animal rights, vegetarian lifestyle, mundane annoyances such as nosy neighbours, and other things. Yet, you have some more or less humorous lyrics as well, such as "S.M.F." What is it that inspires you when writing the lyrics; watching the news, perhaps? In your own words, what is the message and/or ideology of Noituus? What should change, and how? How do the more humorous lyrics fit in the picture?
Mögälix > For me, it was clear from the beginning that the songs would have lyrics, at least some hasty drafts if nothing else. I don't think I would've done this for six years if all I was shouting was "AAAARRRGGGH" and "BLEEEAAARRRGGH." Maybe. Where the lyrics come from, well it's surely influenced by what you read, what you're interested in, and sometimes even what you're listening to. For example, "Siks" got its lyrics because the chorus of Iron Maiden's "The Number of the Beast" sounds so great that I had to make a chorus where I can shout "siks, siks siks." Some of the lyrics were inspired by comics (Teräsmies, Vitsi, Ansassa). Our hometown, Turku, has also sparked a couple of lyrics, especially the local building policy.
Some things cause me to feel sick, which is then transferred to some of the lyrics. Since I'm not too handy with euphemisms, it's easy to spot what's been annoying me.
S.M.F. [Sairas MögäFriikki, "Sick NoiseFreak"] is dedicated to all the people who've been encouraging us during the years - all the sick mögä-freaks, that is. It was, of course, inspired by Twisted Sister's S.M.F.-song, as I thought that surely we've got to have a song for our "fans" as well. It did become slightly humouristic, but I guess it's occasionally ok to loosen one's grip and even laugh a bit. It gives one more strength that's needed when facing the real world again.
I don't know whether Noituus has a message or an ideology or not. I make (or partly "steal") the lyrics, and they're about things that are important to myself. Or about things that annoy me and piss me off. But the other members haven't really been mocking them, just occasionally some parts need a bit of clarification.
So my way of making lyrics is kinda stuck to its place, or what. I've been making 'em since the year 1990 or so, and the topics haven't changed a lot. Am I a little stuck to where I am, or haven't the world's grievances changed? Well now this is drifting away from the original question.
How are the Noituus-songs generally born? Do the lyrics come first, or the riffs? You can use some specific songs as examples, if you want to.
Mögälix > Well I already told something about the lyrics' birth in the previous question. The riffs are most often brough by Crustix. Then he and D-beatix get the song together, while I go through my lyrics archive. There usually are a couple of them ready, or at least they can somehow be made to fit. Then we think a little about how many times the riffs are repeated. We occasionally did some intros and breaks to the songs, but now we've mostly left them out. Some old songs have been revived by cutting 'em up, as an example "Taivas Ei Vastaa." You can listen to the version on the Alkukantaista Alkuvoimaa-demo and compare it to the version on the new 7".
When seeing you play live, I've noticed that many people don't take Noituus seriously due to your noisy and chaotic sound. Does it ever frustrate you when people don't pay attention to your lyrics and so on, or have you accepted the way people react to your music? What is Noituus's place in the Finnish punk scene, if you familiarize yourself in that context - or do you familiarize more with noisecore?
Mögälix > Some folk want to see and hear just that: the chaos. For some we're such a surprise that they don't know how to react. Sure we get the kind of feedback that "you can't play, you're breaking the equipment" and whiney stuff like that. But pretty often someone comes to explain that "now that was a great experience." Maybe the most annoying kind of feedback is when people don't react at all, they don't jump or mosh or go away to have a pee or a smoke when we play. They just sit there like zombies. Admittedly I'm sometimes so deeply in my own world during the set that I don't even notice what's going on.
Yes we are a part of the punk scene, although we've played on metal-gigs and hippie-gigs a couple of times. If we need to be categorized like that. Still, we're probably too musical for the noise-crew, I think.
Regarding the above, what is it that keeps Noituus alive & kicking today? Frustration, joys of playing live, spitting out the lyrical message to your listeners, or what? Do you ever face some moments of questioning the band's meaning and existence, or is Noituus something that absolutely has to be and happen?
Mögälix > We must embarrass and disgrace ourself publicly as a punishment for our part in the nature's destruction.
People with tastes mainly for lighter and more chorus/composition-reliant punk and hc might have trouble understanding what you're going for. Does Noituus have a "target audience," so to say? Have you noticed any trend in what kind of people attend your gigs and buy your records? Noise-freaks, punks, or both?
Mögälix > Of course we're a surprise and a shock to people who're used to traditions. Some of them do go have piss and/or a smoke when we take the stage, or persistently keep on talking with their friends. I guess they foresee that we won't be a long-lasting bother. But almost always there's been someone who's liked us. I think our only target audience are Sick NoiseFreaks.
Along with touring Finland, you've played gigs in Norway and Sweden as well. How were you received there, was it different than in Finland?
Mögälix > Yep, we went on a Sweden-Norway-tour with Väärinkäsitys in 2009. Five gigs in total, two in Sweden, three in Norway, and a couple of gig-free days. It was a fine trip, worth all the bother and trouble for sure. People were polite, gave us food and drinks, and wished us a safe way home. Anyway, Sick NoiseFreaks can be found in Sweden and Norway, too.
We've been to Sweden a couple of other times too, in Stockholm and Luleå. Luleå's crowd has been especially good to us, for the couple of times we've visited there. Other than that, we've been traveling around Finland only.
The first releases by Noituus were a good bundle of CD-R-demos and -splits, with your contributions being either live- or rehearsal-recordings with a raw, at times even all-out cruddy sound quality. Your two latest releases, however, came out as a tape and as a 7"-vinyl, and both of them were studio-recorded. Was this progression to a relatively more professional (or "consistent and less accidental," to be more precise) sound an intented change, or just something that happened? Will you be releasing any more live- or rehearsal-material?
Mögälix > Initially we recorded everything at our rehearsal place with a tape deck and one mic, and played all the instruments at the same time. Then we transferred it all to a computer. That's why the sounds were pretty brutal, or bad, depending on the listener.
The last couple of times we've visited a "studio" resulting in "Mögäten Maailmanloppuun"-tape and the s/t 7" EP. The first time was a bit of a coincidense. We had a gig in Oulu and the next day's gig in Rovaniemi was cancelled, so then we asked if there'd be a chance to go recording. There was, so we went to Kempele to make a racket. I managed to sleep in a corner when Crustix and D-beatix played their parts. Anyway, the result was the "Mögäten..."-tape. The 7"-EP was recorded in the same place in the summer of 2011, around the Hässäkkäpäivät-festival. In the summer of 2012 we'll do the same again.
I'd guess we'll be releasing some live/rehearsal/something-sessions again at some point, in the form of a split or such. We'll see what happens. Some years back when myspace was usable, it was a good place to find some split-buddies, but now I can't bring myself to browse it even when I'm drunk.
Earlier it was really handy to release a CD-R. Doesn't cost anything really, the sending costs are usually higher than the actual release's cost. Also, you only had to make just the amount you needed and no more. Nowadays no-one wants CD-R's on their record shelf, so that's why there isn't any point in releasing them either. It's better to just put the songs online or make a proper release of them (tape, vinyl, CD?) if it's financially possible. But, knowing our level of activity and our financial situation, it's most probable that if we release something by ourselves it'll be either a CD-R or a net-release.
Of course one must remember that we ain't no Agathocles, we haven't made that many releases :)
How has the feedback been for these two releases?
Mögälix > Moderately praising.
I was very surprised to see that the 7"-covers were actually drawn, as most of your previous releases have had crudely crafted cut'n'paste-covers. How did you find the cover artist, and what kind of pointers did you give him for making the artwork? Did the cover turn out as you hoped? Additionally, do you think the cover describes the record's music well?
Mögälix > The cover was drawn by Aki Kannisto, who plays drums in Tuhkaus. He made the cover for the Tuhkaus 7"-EP, and it was through that EP-cover that I got familiar with and fond of his style of drawing. I immediately started to dream that the Noituus 7" must have a drawn cover, I mean back when we were planning the 7" and received the verification for its release, and neither Crustix or D-beatix had anything against it. The cover became a lot better than we even dared to imagine, especially since we didn't have that good tips to help in designing it. We almost made the cover out of Aki's first sketch, because even that one looked so cool. And yes, I think the cover image describes us well.
As mentioned earlier, you've made some splits as well. How do you choose the bands to do a split with? Is there some specific band you'd like to do a split with?
Mögälix > Like I already mentioned, in the beginning we found split-companions through myspace. For a couple I've just ask if people are interested, and a couple of times we've been asked. And some splits have just appeared somehow :)
There's a lot of bands with whom it'd be nice to do a split or something with. We're actually working on something already, so let's see how things will go...
What plans do you have for the future of Noituus?
Mögälix > Making a racket & messing about!
I know that your vocalist has at least had some other bands in the past; Dissect, Nallekerho, and Varikset at least. Currently he shouts and screams in Tuhkaus as well. Do the three of you have some other bands or music-related outlets you'd like to mention here? If you want to share a few words about any of these, please do.
Mögälix > Funny that you've dug up Varikset here. It wasn't really even an actual band, we did a few scabby rehearsal demos, but not a single gig. The one band people most often remember is Selkkaus.
In addition to Noituus, at the moment I'm in the bands Tuhkaus (although we can't rehearse or do a lot of gigs because of the long distances between the members) and the new band-foray D-beatles, which just released its first demo.
D-beatix plays in Hisko Detria, which is some kind of kraut-progressive-ufo-music. They've made a demo. He also played in Dissect.
Crustix doesn't have any other bands, yet. In France he was the vocalist of Cross On Your Past, they made one 10"-vinyl.
You have a small distro & label as well. Anything you'd like to mention or advertise regarding it?
Mögälix > My distro is what it is, I mean, I'm pretty lazy with it. If there would've been no Tuhkaus-EP, then I probably wouldn't have a distro. Or who knows, a few have come and gone throughout the years after all. If someone's interested, they can ask me for a distro-list.
But, if you want to get good records, you can more surely find 'em in places such as: Roku Records, Räkä-levyt, Kämäset levyt, Pupu's Bistro.
You have a few booze-related songs, which highlight alcohol's both positive and negative aspects. This brings me to something I've noticed with newer punk-bands; many people seem to be more interested in socializing with the scene, enjoying time with booze and friends, while having next to nothing actual to say in their music. Since you're more familiar with the scene, have you noticed a trend like this, or is it just in my imagination? Are there still more than a few people with actual will and intent to be a positive force regarding where the world's headed? There's hang-arounds in every genre and group possible, so it might be that I've just met too many of them and it's perversed my vision.
Mögälix > Well, first I have to say that we don't turn drinks down either, so it's useless for us to start acting important on this matter.
But anyway, even I, who doesn't usually notice a lot, noticed a while ago that polydrug use seems to be a popular thing to do. I guess people are still doing that, but it isn't announced as much. I don't think it's a scene-reliant thing, I think every scene and sport has its share of those who mess around and the "prudes" who don't. Pentecostals' tent meetings might be a different thing, but I haven't made myself familiar with that scene. I guess it's just that everyone tries to find what makes them feel the best, which of course can result in things getting all shitty and it might become something that's hard to let go of. But anyway, I am not nor am I pretending to be an any sort of guru on this issue.
Even though I often tell people at our gigs to mosh, mess around, freak out, whatever, it can be done when sober, or drunk, or messed up... Choose your own style!
Yeah we do have a few "booze songs." I don't think that it surprises anyone that we have our share of those. If we've done around 50+ songs during these years, there's surely room for a couple of rairai-heyhey's in there.
Partly regarding the above; have you recently ran to any new bands that would be worth mentioning to our readers?
Mögälix > I'll be praising these bands from Turku and the near area, then. Ekaria, Lunar Outpost, Yleislakko, H.A.P.A.N., Eyewitness, Kovaa Rasvaa, Ylivallan Orjat, Reaktor (some Dissect-guys play in this one, if someone didn't know that), Nälkä, Mörk seance... and D-Beatles and Hisko Detria, of course.
So, I'd say the amount of local bands is surprisingly high, even though finding a place to play live is really tricky.
Anything more you'd like to add, advertise, ask..?
Mögälix > If someone wants us somewhere to play, contact us: noituus.moga(at)gmail(dot)com
That is all. Thank you for your time.
Mögälix > Thanks to you, and I wish your Damned By Light-zine a loud and noisy future!
Live photos: Jouni Parkku & Jussi Jänis