How would you describe the music of CCG to someone who's not familiar with it? Are there some bands you could be compared with, in one way or other?
Hauptmann D > It’s hard to describe your music to others, but I would say: hard industrial punk rock with dark melodies and a taste of a twisted mind of a human being. We haven’t been compared too much to any particular band. Somebody has said that Cold Cold Ground is like Misfits meets The Prodigy. It’s not that simple, but it’s a good guess, though.
What does the name "Cold Cold Ground" stand for, or how is it connected to your musical, atmospheric and/or lyrical side?
Nooz > When gathering the band together few years ago we had several different name suggestions and we really were trying hard to find a name which would describe the feeling of the whole concept in a best possible way. If I remember right, one day Mr.Bunny game in with “Cold Cold Ground” and it felt so good already from the beginning. We believe that it arouses the same kind of mood that our songs do, dark lyrics combined together with our harsh sound.
How did the founding members originally come together to form CCG? I've understood that the band was originally a creation by your vocalist Hauptmann D, am I correct? Was expanding the lineup into a full band just a necessity in order to be able to perform live?
NooZ > That´s right. In the beginning it was Hauptmann´s idea to make this kind of music. We got to know each other through work and noticed soon that we share same passion for industrial music genre and also saw the world around us kind of similar way, wicked, absurd and at the same time kind of...unfair. Hauptmann played me some early demos of his songs and I knew immediately that I wanna be part of that. I guess since the first steps it was quite clear that songs would need a real band around them. Also not at least because we planned the visual aspects of the concept already at the beginning and therefore it was quite necessity to gather band together. We tried it with several guys and different instrument combinations before we luckily met Mr.Bunny. Since then only occasional problem we´ve had as a band has been with drummers, before we got the fabulous H.Dine behind the set last year.
Nowdays, how is the responsibility for your lyrics, compositions and visual side spread between all the band members? Does your band have a leading figure or a dictator in any of these fields, or is it a matter of anyone doing what they want to?
Hauptmann D > Well, in past years we have quite a much built frames for our band that define our expression. Inside those frames everybody in the band has their own responsibility to play the same game.
NooZ > We have quite clear roles for everybody which doesn´t mean that we would have our hands tied in any way. Hauptmann D and Mr.Bunny have the main responsbility on making songs and lyrics at the moment but if any of us has suggestions on music, lyrics, costumes, performance etc. we´re free to letting them out.
It was just a short while after releasing your debut album that you announced your new drummer. Would you like to comment on what were the reasons for Mr. Beau leaving the band, and how has the new drummer found his place within the group?
Hauptmann D > The reason for Mr. Beau left the band I don’t want too much comment, but have to say that it was a very good decision all in all. There’s nothing big drama behind it and we are still good friends.
NooZ > It really was hard decision for everyone and we were thinking about it for a long time from many different angles. Mr: Beau is a great guy with all his very special skills but somehow we had increasing feeling that we would need a new drummer, with whom we could get the band to the level which would be more natural for us in musical way and also in addition to get our live performance more effective. Luckily we found H.Dine who immediately understood our artistic “language”.
Just out of curiosity: have you ever though if you're (or if you want to be) more of a mainstream or an underground act, or do you care about such matters?
Hauptmann D > We don’t care as long we have an opportunity to play and perform, we’ll do it even there was only one person at the crowd. If it becomes mainstream someday (what I doubt), that’s something it’s not so much up to us. In history there’s examples where unexpected underground things have become mainstream, it’s possible, but we don’t have enough time to think about such matters.
Do you have some certain influential artists or other authors that you'd like to mention as them having a great impact on your themes, sound, visual side, aims or such?
Hauptmann D > There’s such bands as Ministry, The Jesus Lizard, Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson and also David Bowie that have inspired us but of course we are heavily inspired by movies, books, and all the inner dirt of a human being.
You released three EPs before your recent debut album "This Side of Depravity." Looking back on those EPs, what kind of emotions do they evoke in you today? Do you still feel you're more or less the same band as you were in the beginning?
NooZ > Yes, we have walked quite long way already but our path has been quite clear in our heads since beginning and therefore we haven´t done musical compromises that would feel uncomfortable afterwards. Although, to be honest, those early recordings don´t really sound like today´s Cold Cold Ground anymore, since our skills as songwriters and as a band have taken so huge step ahead.
As said, you released your debut album a while ago. How has it been received this far? Did the album come out the way you wanted it to, or would you change something it now that you've had some time to digest and explore it?
Hauptmann D > What comes to journalists, the album has really split their opinions, but on the “field” people has received the album mostly positive. We ourselves think that the album did not come out as good as we wanted to. But we learned a lot and on the next album, that we have already started to record, we have made things differently.
What were your uttermost and most important goals that you wanted to achieve through the debut album, and what kind of an impression did you want it to create? The album is a rather fast and a short-ish one, and to me it seemed as if you aimed for a tight and compact package with no unnecessary gimmicks.
Hauptmann D > We wanted to get rid off making demos after demos. We wanted to put an album out because we thought we are done with the demo-scene and we knew that we have good enough songs that should be recorded
NooZ > It´s true that there has been critics that the album is quite “shortish”, although I wouldn´t really say so. It has anyway 10 songs, which is rather normal amount in a rock album, I´d say. Also it felt like, that we should rather make compact and intense debut album, which a listener can quite easily jump into and take a view on our music, rather than put out 70 minutes long album full of our wildest ideas.
Some of the album's songs are already familiar ones from your older EPs. How did you come to re-record some of these tunes, was it to "clear the table" to make room for your future creations, to get them out of the way so to speak? It's always a risk to record songs that paint an image of the band that's not current even on the day when the album comes out; you can too easily give an out-of-date image of your music. Did this not frighten you?
NooZ > We did think about it very carefully, although quite soon it was clear to everybody that we really should re-record those songs, which had became quite a hits among our fans. We weren´t fully satisfied with earlier versions and have to say that the risk really was worth to take. For example version of DIYM (which we originally recorded already on our first EP) succeeded to get such a brooding atmosphere this time.
What's your relation to the world of mental illnesses, which is also a prominent theme of yours? It seems that there are more and more depressed and distressed people by the day.
NooZ > Yes, this is a sick world we´re living in, that´s for sure. I think people today are suffering loneliness and other huge social problems more than never before in history of human beings. Our lyrics however are more like journey to inner world of human. Rather than taking a look on society around us our purpose is more to help listener to see his or her own darker side, the side that everybody has. At the same time it´s one way of therapy for ourselves also. From my point of view people could get more happiness in their lives and be much more stabilized living in this wicked world if they have possibility to get known themselves better, also the darker thoughts in their minds. It takes courage to meet all those devious monsters but it´ll make you stronger at the same time.
I hope seeing Cold Cold Ground live encourages audience to search a way to release also their own repressions, some way or another, when they see us releasing ours.
One thing that's very prominent in your visual side up to your logo is the bunny-costume worn by your guitarist Mr. Bunny. I remember seeing an old promotional picture of him without the costume (he had a blade in his hand instead), but it's still been a part of your band for a long time. How did you originally come to employ this asset; was it originally a joke, a way to stand out from the mass, or what?
NooZ > It definitely wasn´t a joke or somehow calculated trick for arousing attention. We were talking a lot about our visual ideas in the beginning (like we still are, very enthusiastically) and then just one day Mr.Bunny (who actually got his name at the same day) walked into our rehearsal room with this bunny costume on and said he´s going to wear that on the stage for now on. We others went to nuts immediatly, that looked so twisted and suitable for our band since the beginning. The bunnies and rabbits have lots of symbolic meanings in many cultures, anything from the messanger of death to cute happy pappy spring bringers, but we haven´t wanted to get people to think any particular aspect when seeing Mr.Bunny. He´s just mistreated bastard who´s for some reason wearing bunny mask. People can certainly have their own associations on this.
Regarding the above, you aim to create a good visual performance when playing live as well. How do you aim to achieve the best possible contact with your audience, and what kind of "gimmicks" or props do you employ? The shock-element and creating spectacles has been very prominent in the industrial scene for a long time, do you aim for the same or do you want to keep things more simple?
NooZ > I wouldn´t say that our aim is to create spectacles but yes, we do think a lot different aspects of live performances and actually that is a expression we´d rather use in our case, instead of “gigs”. During years our performances have become more and more solid and tighter because of the amount of hours we´ve spent practicing, but also because of mental growth we have achieved. Of course the fact is, that the more you practice the more confident you get on stage also, but our concentration on live shows is quite unfaltering nowadays also. I wouldn´t say that our aim anymore is to shock audience. It just gets shocked... We come to stage with our insolent attitude and do our thing, that´s it. Well, of course we do have some visual elements helping us to create atmosphere, like bunny mask, lighted bass guitar, painted faces and bodies etc. But that´s just the cover. After all, it´s just the sound and the songs that counts. Nevertheless if we´d get to the bigger stages the visual elements would of course get bigger as well, I wouldn´t mind that either ;-)
You call your music shock rock, among other things. Where does the shock-value come from, in your opinion? Is it simply due to the real world behind your lyrics, or your live performances, or what? What kind of people would be "the perfect audience" to witness and enjoy your gigs?
NooZ > Well, yes....During the years we have tried hard to find expression that would perfectly and fast describe verbally our music to those who haven´t heard it yet. Sometimes we have used that “industrial shock rock” also, athough I´d say that “Industrial punk” would be more precise definition. The problem is that we don´t really see ourselves as pure “industrial” -band although we of course have gotten strong impulses from that genre also. On the other hand we definatelly aren´t a traditional “rock band” either, since were using lots of machinery in our music. Yes, we do have some shock rock elements, if we are talking about live acts, but then again we don´t want to cover ourselves behind the theatrical curtain either. I suppose were still trying to find the best way to express our music verbally. Nevertheless, people definatelly should see us live and make their own definitions if they want to.
The perfect audience is a gathering of people who are open minded, and have enough courage to see and feel quite unordinary rock show. No matter of their background, dressing or gender. Quite interesting thing is, that our live audience has always been very heterogenic, we have some gorgeous young gothic princess at the front row as well as middle age working class heroes. It really feels good to touch musically as wide repertoire of people at the same time.
Hypothetically, if you had no limits on what kind of a performance you could create, what would the perfect CCG-gig (or tour) be like and what it would consist of? How would you draw the listeners into your world?
NooZ > Well, if no limits on... If you don´t mind I´d put anyway some limits that we would discuss this shorter :-) We´d have to do the show on this planet and based on physical laws of this world, right? Well, anyway I think we´d put much effort on fabulous lights, background videos etc. but also thinking carefully what environmet the performance would take place. I´d love to take CCG-show to some extraordinary place. For example the 150 metres wide stage with enormous video wall could be in the middle of lake, or in rusty old harbour, people gathered around it on the boats... Well, you can always imagine whatever... To be more serious, maybe it´d be maybe more interesting for both parties to keep it as intimate as possible. Would be perfect to build up an awesome performance for example to an old and small theatre stage or to little prothesis factory and invite there, let´s say 100 people to have parties of their lives.
Electronic-based music, or at least the bleaker kind, hasn't really had a breakthrough here in Finland yet, and it seems that there are just a handful of labels and artists working in the mainstream. Are there some names you'd like to raise above others, for people to check out?
NooZ > I think there really are plenty of awesome bands in Finland that haven´t got the success they´d deserve. In Osasto-A roster there are great bands like Black light discipline, Fear of Domination and, not a least our good friends; V for Violence, awesome band on and off stage! And one band I definately would like to raise, from a little bit different genre though, would be Iiwanajulma.
I've understood that you're already making material for your second album. Would you like to tell us what's its situation at the moment, and what we should or could expect from the album?
Hauptmann D > Yes, that’s right we have a couple of new singles ready to be released soon. I believe the album itself will be released in the first quarter of 2012 - if everything goes as planned..
Your debut featured some songs that were already even four years old. Will your next album feature any older tracks, or will it be all new material?
NooZ > The situation is quite good with the songs already, so probably we´ll have only new shit on upcoming album. Never say never, though. If some older song seems to be fitting into the big picture, then why not.
While on topic, have you thought about re-recording any of your older songs? How about making the three EPs available again, in the form of a compilation for example? "Lamb" from your debut EP is still a very dark piece, despite its corny aspects.
NooZ > Hehee, yeah I agree. One can easily get korny feeling with some of those old recordings. We haven´t really thought putting out a compilation of those older EP´s. Let them rest in peace and little by little become craved rare pieces of finnish music history.
It's getting cold here in the north. Is winter an inspirational time for you, regarding CCG or otherwise?
Mr. Bunny > No, it’s not. Winter in Finland is dark, cold and bleak. The only good thing about it is that you can go skiing if you’re into that kind of thing. I am not.
What is your view on music piracy, is it something you maybe do yourself? I've noticed that you've released digital singles, and your album seems to be sold digitally as well, so it seems you've had some reaction to the downloading "scene."
Mr. Bunny > I view music piracy as something that cannot be stopped. It is a “force of nature” in the same way as economy or religion. Since you cannot make it go away, you might as well try to live with it and maybe even benefit from it. Although it would be nice if people bought our records, I think it is more valuable that they hear our music. If someone downloads our songs illegally, maybe they will like us and come to watch our live show.
The music industry has reacted to piracy in an incredibly childish way. Do you remember copy controlled CDs? Thank god they don’t make them anymore. It is a little frustrating to buy a CD only to find out that it does not play in your CD player because of some stupid copy protection scheme. Fortunately the record industry has grown up a bit and started selling stuff digitally, which is good. I buy most of my new music in digital form these days, because I have no room for new CDs - my apartment is already full of them. And Spotify is a good thing too.
If you could change one or two things in the world, what would they be?
Mr. Bunny > I would make all people realize that we are all in the same boat. It is so absurdly stupid to fight and compete with each other, when we could all work together to make this world a better place for everyone. Sounds naive, right? People are social animals and every significant achievement in human history has been achieved through collaboration.
In stone age every tribe had their own little territory which they defended against invaders. Slowly more people gathered together and they formed villages, then cities, nation-states, and finally nations in the form we know today. Humans have always formed larger and larger groups. The next logical step is the end of nations and world unity. Then there will be no more groups of “others” to fight with.
What are your thoughts about these small words: music, human, perversion, religion, and god?
Mr. Bunny > music: The closest thing to magic that exists in the real world.
human: A very complex and highly intelligent social animal. The dominant species on Earth, at least for now.
perversion: Something that the user of the word does not understand.
religion: A primitive system of laws and moral imperatives. Very resistant to change.
god: A concept which has been invented to enforce religion, in the same way as the police and the prison system enforce law.
The final, and perhaps the most important question as well: why should our readers listen to Cold Cold Ground?
Mr. Bunny > Maybe because they might like it, and it’s always nice to discover new music? I don’t know what we are supposed to say here. What would you say if I asked you “why should our listeners read your publication?” :)
This paragraph is reserved for whatever you want to say. Feel free to speak your mind.
Mr. Bunny > Thanks for the interesting questions. They were fun to answer. Rock musician interviews are usually so boring, it’s always the usual “so how’s your new record, so are you going to tour now, who are your influences” stuff. Some of your questions really made me think.
NooZ > Yeah, I agree thank you for the great questions and all the best to the future. Hope to see you at our gigs!
Live photos: Antti Kirves
Promotional photos: Marek Sabogal