This tends to be the first question I ask of any band; how'd you describe your music to someone unfamiliar with it? I recently labelled it as "party music for the socially and mentally ill," but that doesn't really say a lot, now does it.
JM > Actually, I'd say your description is one of the best I've heard so far! I guess I'd describe Throat as something along the lines of loud and noisy rock music with influences from 90s noise rock and sludge. I'd prefer to use your description, though.
There aren't that many noise rock-bands in Finland that would've aroused any major attention, but more bands seem to slowly be appearing. What was it that got you to form Throat, and how did you find the right men for the job?
JM > Originally it was me and the second guitarist Aleksis who started talking about putting together a new band influenced by some (mostly 90s) bands that we were heavily into at the time. After a while we actually decided to put words into action and recorded a raw demo of a couple of songs we had. We knew Tomi (bass) and Jani (drums) from a band I was earlier singing in and they were interested in making things happen with this new line-up. Since then it's been the four of us making a big racket and doing whatever we feel like doing.
Where do you draw your influences, both musically and otherwise? The world's a twisted place if you can or want to see it, so I'd guess even watching the news can be inspiring for creating sounds of frustration and anger.
JM > Musically, I guess everything we listen to makes its way to our material one way or another. Obviously there's a lot of classic noise rock stuff in there as that's what inspired us to form this band in the first place, but anything from harsh noise to AOR could be listed as influences as well. We have a pretty good idea nowadays of the sort of riffs, ideas etc. that fit Throat, so we just do what comes naturally to us, although every now and then it's nice to think outside the box and challenge ourselves a bit, maybe trying out some ideas that at first would just sound dumb.
Regarding other influences, like you said, it's not that difficult to find inspiration just by keeping your eyes open. We definitely have a fetish for the darker, perverted and unhealthy side of the society and world today. We're not taking sides or telling anyone what is right or wrong, just dealing with the subject matters from our own perspective and whatever people make of it, that's their choice.
Are there some bands your sound could rightfully be compared with, in your opinion?
JM > I really wouldn't want to compare our sound to any other bands. At times we embed some conscious nods in our songs to the direction of bands we admire, but they're not necessarily bands that would sound anything like us.
I think the bands we get compared to the most are Unsane, Helmet and Fudge Tunnel, and while they're definitely bands we have a lot of respect for, I guess they're usually mentioned because they're the best known bands from this genre. In fact, I told Chris Spencer of Unsane when we supported them in Helsinki how we always get compared to them and in his opinion we sounded more like Killdozer or Shorty, so go figure.
Why the name throat, and how does it fit into and describe your concept and music?
JM > The name Throat originally came from the TAD song, ”Throat Locust”. We thought it was a crude and catchy name, and a tribute to one of the best 90s bands ever. How it fits to our concept and music is up to other people to decide, I guess.
To be honest, this is one of those things we never put that much thought into. We just chose the name as fitting for our band and whatever we do in the future or however people want to interpret the name, we'll stick to it.
... regarding which, what is your concept, in your own words? What kind of (inner and/or outer) a world are the songs describing?
JM > To be blunt, I'd say we are just a rock band and don't really want to restrict ourselves to any fancy (and more often pretentious) concepts. I think analysing one's own doings too much always spoils the fun.
On the other hand, it's possible to say we do tend to make music of a somewhat violent nature and the lyrics often deal with ”the rectal side” of life in general, so if that makes for a concept then so be it.
How are the songs generally born; do the lyrics come first, or the riffs? Are the songs born of a certain right feel, mental image and abrasion, or is it the riffs that pave the way?
JM > The songs come first about 99,9% of the time. There might be some pieces of lyrics or ideas for them beforehand, but they're used only when a song with a suitable feeling comes along. The ideas for songs can come from a single riff, rhythm or bass line, or even just a certain kind of accidental noise coming from an instrument. It's a very loose process and the development of songs usually doesn't stop even when they're recorded, if a good idea for a specific song occurs, we'll use it.
Your releases have a very twisted and compelling visual side. Close-ups of faces with bizarre colourscapes to photos of feet to magazine clippings, everything is in plain sight but somehow bizarre, even morbid. What kind of an effect or a brain-scar are you trying to create with the visual side? Is it meant to describe your music; playing rock with the usual instruments, but with a perverse twist?
JM > We definitely want the artwork to go hand-in-hand with the music and all artwork with the exception of the Throat/Fleshpress split 7” and the upcoming Throat/Black Sun split 7” has been designed by the band, mostly using stolen/found images together with some band photos etc.
It has somehow become a part of Throat's aesthetics to use imagery with hardly anything explicit or ”dirty” in them and it's actually quite interesting how people always tend to find the most disturbing meanings for them. Obviously we have no problem with people doing so and I don't see us using any less ambiguous artwork in the future either.
Further, none of your releases include the lyrics. The song titles tend to be single words that don't really say anything, yet force you to sicken yourself by wondering what the band's been going for with them. Is this why the lyrics aren't included; to force the listener to think and imagine their content for themselves?
JM > Basically the reason for not including the lyrics on the record sleeves has been due to how the artwork has turned out. There just hasn't been a nice enough way to include lyrics, so we've just left them out. On the other hand I don't think it's too difficult to make out the lyrics just by listening to the vocals.
Regarding the lyrics, they are very important for us or at least for myself, having written all of them, but I hardly have any interest in whether someone ”gets” the meaning behind them or not. First and foremost they're written to fit the music and to carry a personal meaning for each song, but there's hardly any grand message in them, so I don't necessarily see the importance of other people getting to read them. Having said that, it's not impossible that we'll print lyrics (or at least parts of them) on future releases.
When playing live, you don't really take any contact with the audience. Is this for similar reasons - to give the attendees their own space to think and experience your music?
JM > I'm not really sure how our gigs would improve from one of us constantly telling the audience to ”wave their hands in the air” or ”scream”, if that's the sort of audience contact you mean? Maybe it comes down to none of us really being that extroverted, so we prefer to perform our songs in the best way possible and the audience is free to do whatever they want, be it acting violent or leaving outside for a smoke.
All your releases this far have been EPs and singles in different formats. Why? Are you perhaps trying out different sounds, and different approaches?
JM > There are a couple of reasons for this, the simplest one being that we just haven't felt ready to do a full length release yet. That's something a lot of bands should think about these days, judging by the massive amount of mediocre albums coming out all the time. Another reason is our love for the way a lot of 90s bands did things by often releasing a bunch of split and 7” records before doing a full length album.
Our approach to recording has remained pretty much the same right from the start, but now that we have solidified our own sound, we've done our best to capture it on our recorded works as well, lately using people outside the band to help us out with the recordings etc. Ilpo Heikkinen has been a huge help in making this happen and we hope to work with him in the future as well.
Are you still trying to find the right soundscape and attitude that would make a full-length album function, or do you have any plans on making one at all? One could say that an album-length of your music might be too "too much at once," but on the other hand your 7"-releases might already be just that for some people.
JM > As a matter of fact, we're working towards a full length album as we speak. We already have enough material for it, but need to do a bit of tweaking here and there to really get it working as a whole. I'm definitely hoping it will be too much for some people!
You've made one split this far, with the band Fleshpress. How did this split come to be, and do you have other splits in the works - or in your dreams?
JM > We are good friends with the Fleshpress guys in personal life as well, so the split release came naturally. For me, they're definitely the best band in Finland, so it was an honour to do a release with them.
We have a split 7” with Black Sun coming out in a 7” series on the Irish Hell Comes Home label. There has been talk about a few split releases with other bands, but nothing I can talk about just yet. Naturally, it would be dreamy to do a split with TAD, Unsane or the Melvins to mention a few, but I guess it's best to keep such wet dreams for private wank sessions.
This split in particular has fascinating cover artwork. May I ask where did you find the image and why was it chosen for the split? By the way, I was a bit surprised that the split had no marked sides or song titles at all, even though I'm familiar with your tendency to favour minimalism.
JM > Actually, the artwork for this release was designed by Marko of Fleshpress/Kult of Nihilow and he did a magnificent job! The original idea was to make a real old school style sleeve with cut-and-paste artwork and no computer graphics and it worked out perfectly. Throat and Fleshpress share a strong ”fuck everyone” attitude and sense of aesthetics, so basically that's the reason for leaving out all unnecessary information from the sleeve. It shouldn't be too hard to figure out which band is on which side and who gives a fuck about song titles anyway?
If we're honest, you've made two splits; your split with Hebosagil just was exclusive sold on a couple of gigs, and hasn't been available since. How'd the idea for this split come to be? Are you personally a fan of similarly limited editions and tour-exclusive releases? One would assume you are fond of some kind of limited and exclusive releases, since your music's available only in one format per release, and none of it has been released as a CD.
JM > Much like with Fleshpress, we're friends with the Hebosagil kiddies and just wanted to do something special for that two-day easter tour we did. They did an amazing version of our ”Soft Rogue” song and we raped their ”Big Sun” song.
I'm not a huge fan of tour-only releases, mostly because the bands I'd be interested in never come to Finland and getting a hold of those releases is a pain in the ass. On the other hand I understand why bands make such releases as merch/record sales are very important to bands doing longer tours and exclusive releases tend to get more interest from people compared to stuff you can go pick up from your local record store.
I don't think the editions of our releases have been too limited, we've pretty much done enough copies for all the people wanting to buy them being able to do so. Formats have been chosen as the ones that fit each release the best and since CDs are useless anyway, we've kept from releasing them. Nevertheless there seem to be a bunch of people still lacking a turntable and constantly asking for CD releases, so maybe we'll do a small CD edition of the upcoming album, but nothing has been decided about that just yet.
How've the releases been received this far, if you've followed the attention and comments they've aroused? At least their respective pressing amounts have seemed to sell rather well.
JM > Most of the feedback has been positive although at times it's clear that the people reviewing the releases have no idea what they're talking about, for example comparing us to traditional doom bands etc. Everything has been selling quite well and there's constantly new people discovering the band and asking to buy older releases, so I guess we should be happy.
What are your future plans with Throat? Is there something specific you want to achieve with the band in, say, five years from now?
JM > No need to make any five year plans, but it would be cool to get some releases out and having them reach people interested in hearing them. We'll continue playing gigs and at some point it would be nice to be able to do a longer tour outside Finland. We're not in a hurry and don't have hopes for huge success, it's obvious that 99,99% of people don't give a shit about what we do and the feeling is mutual.
I've understood that at least some of you have some other bands as well. Would you like to share a word about them, and their possible news?
JM > Tomi has a band called Smokebender and me and Aleksis activate Solar Horn on an infrequent basis. Not sure if Jani wants me to reveal anything about his mystikal projects here. There's always some on/off projects happening, but there's hardly any need to discuss them in relation to Throat. Oh yeah, The Paskas needs to be mentioned as well!
Anything you'd like to add, advertise or discuss further?
JM > Thanks a lot for the great interview! People should keep an eye on our website (www.ihatethroat.com) for upcoming shows and releases.
Thank you for your time, and for your music.