Finland is most known for Melodic Death Metal like Children of Bodom and many a likes that followed within the last decade or Goth'n'Roll from The 69 Eyes or others.
One genre to be something one would hardly expect to come out of this nothern European Country has to be Retro Rock and Doom.
Sounding like they came traveling right from the Mid 60s Vinum Sabbatum seem to fit right into the presently ongoing wave of Rock/Metal Bands that prefer the analoque decades, vintage equipment and somewhat Hippie-like clothing.
MP=Mika Pajula (bass)
JS=Janne Salo (lead vocals)
First of all please tell us how you came together as a Band.
MP: Our guitarist Juha Köykkä and I used to play in another band before this one, basic doom-oriented band called Funeral Planet. We did some demos and few gigs in Finland but there wasn't any real effort to evolve our songs or the direction. We talked quite often about putting up a band that we would really like to hear, a more old fashioned kind of group, and finally we decided jump off and start from the scratch. First few months of 2009 it was just myself, Juha and our drummer Marko Jylhä-Ollila jamming instrumentally and fooling around with riffs. So it kind of grew from there, every rehearsal went better and more ideas came up.
Then we decided to get a lead singer, not just anybody but someone who could really sing. One advert in a webpage gave just one reply - thankfully it was Janne, who liked our sound and his style of singing really lifted the songs up perfectly. We did some new songs and Janne ended up doing some organs to some raw demos we recorded at the rehearsals. We all realised right there that it would be a right choice to add Hammond-organ to the mix and if we could find just one person in Finland to do it, we can really make this band happen. Juha found out that there was a Uriah Heep-coverband playing nearby Helsinki area, so he called to keyboardist Tomi Korpela and he was more than willing to join when he heard what we were doing. So in September 2009 the line-up was completed.
JS: Yeah, their ad caught my eye. In it was a picture of Juha, this bald guy in Lemmy-style whiskers playing Gibson Flying V. I thought this is promising. The band style and name was also cool. Great plus was that they had rehearsals in my home town, so I contacted them. Last time I had been in a ”serious” band was the year 2005, so I was thinking to get back in rock 'n' roll again anyway. So I very much hit the jackpot.
How come you have this certain sound so much unlike most popular Bands from
Finland – was that an intentional decision or something that just
JS: Mentionable is the guitar sound, which is quite vintage and natural. Not much distortion. Clear signal that we are not any kind of a metal band. Metal has become mainstream in Finland, at least I am quite fed up with the scene.
MP: As we started to jam as three-piece, the focus to do this kind of stuff was already there. Since we are quite old dogs already, we just prefer to play and listen old stuff; Black Sabbath obviously, Pentagram and all of this old proto-doom style of music and since we got the Hammond in, why not add some Purple/Heep-vibes to give it a little bit more groove too.
Speaking of which, what would you name as your main influences?
MP: Everyone is into Sabbath a big way, me and Juha always praise about Pentagram but there's some influences really even from the 60's; Jimi Hendrix, Cream, The Doors and all of that. Deep Purple and Uriah Heep quite naturally are big favourites and so on. And there's tons of more obscure ones like Iron Claw, Atomic Rooster, Supernaut, Warhorse... A lot of great music which have inspired sound and mindwise.
JS: Progressive rock is very influential as well. There were great prog bands back in the 70’s. I started to listen more of that genre when Tomi joined the band, I want to get inspiration from that side when it comes to song writing. Monolithic 10-15 minute songs with bone crushing doom moments are great music when created with care and good taste. We play a great mixture of music. There are these slow songs and then the groovy rockers. We can actually hit different kind of stages just selecting most suitable songs to our setlist. Gigs tend to happen in rock bars with diverse audience so we mostly play live our more rocking stuff and just maybe one or two doom monsters.
Currently works on the first full-length Album is in progress – how are
you working on songs, all together or everyone for themselves?
MP: Since we all live in different locations and can't do as much rehearsing together as we would like to do, I prefer to do raw demos and riffs at home and then bring it to the guys. We also record most of our rehearsals, so everyone can go through the tapes at home and rehearse and prepare those basic ideas to complete songs.
JS: I also do some vocal overdubbings and arrangement suggestions to Mika’s riffs in my home studio and present those to the guys. If they think it’s cool then we use that as a scetch in rehersals to write it anew. Best stuff usually comes though by jamming and by letting your mind flow do the trick. It’s such a mistery how that works so well.
Do you allready have a Release Date set?
MP: There's no exact date yet but I'm sure it will see the light around January/February 2012.
There will also be a Re-Release of the first EP „ Songs From The
Convent“ - how did that came about?
MP: Well, the idea of releasing it officially came strictly from the record label. Since the first full-lenght is coming out in 2012, they want to put something out before that. I did some remixing to cover up minor flaws that was left on the original independent release and there's going to be two extra tracks on it also, so with new artwork and all it should be a nice release. But all effort is put to the full-lenght so it can be as good as possible.
Any plans so far to tour outside Finland in the near future?
MP: That would be great but I don't think there's really a good point to do it before we can get the album out. But if everything goes as visioned, we will do some gigs here and there in Europe.
JS: We recently had one invitation from Ireland to play in some small doom happening taking place in September. Unfortunately we cannot make it since it came with quite a short notice. The invitation still counts if the event takes place next year, so let’s see. There was also discussions with one guy from Germany who knows someone who arranges such gigs. We joke that the ultimate goal of this band is to play one day in Roadburn festival in Holland, then we can split up, heh. With this style of music it would be the peak of career.. But as Mika said, let’s do the album first and see what kind of feedback it receives, then we know better about the future plans.
You are working together with a German Record Label (Eyes Like Snow) –
how are chances to get you over here soon???
JS: I consider as well Germany our main foreign target. It is known that Finnish rock and metal is appreciated there, so it would be easy to get at least some kind of reputation. Be it good or bad..
MP: As I mentioned, we would like to get the album out and hopefully it will do good enough to create some interest. We have already had great responses from German listeners and there's some bands we are quite familiar with so maybe someday soon we can arrange a trip over there.
Anything else you would like to say?
MP: Everyone should check out the album next year and say hi to us at www.myspace/vinumsabbatum.
Peace and doom!
Peace and doom!