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Summer: it is to hot, the sun is burning from the sky and people are feeling to much joy. It is obvious that cold, darkness and misery are desperately needed, and what would be better for that purpose than choosing the Black Metal Band GRAVEBORNE from Finland as our Fresh Act of August. STALKER met the two band members Raato and Kalmo to talk about GRAVEBORNE and Black Metal in general.
Hello! Please introduce yourselves and tell us, what is your role in the band GRAVEBORNE? Raato:Hi, I am singer Raato. Kalmo: Kalmo, bass player. Raato:He is also writing the music, so he is a vital multi-talent. Kalmo: Well, some of them, but all the band members are writing songs.
Can you also tell something about the other band members who are not here today? Raato:Our guitarist Brutalust also writes quite a lot, and than we have the two „old“ guys, who are the founders of the band, Marchosias and Pentele - drummer and the other guitarist. Kalmo: The band was found three years ago by these two guys, Brutalust and I joined two years ago. We had then our first demo, still with a different singer, and Raato joined the band one and half years ago.
Are or were you also involved in other music projects? Kalmo: Yes, in some projects. Our guitarist Marchosias is playing in Black Crucifixion. Raato:Our drummer was once a tour drummer also for Black Crucifixion. Kalmo: I was involved in a different Black-Metal project. Raato:I played bass in the Band Snowgarden, but then I decided to go with my passion which is Black Metal, auditioned to GRAVEBORNE and got in. Kalmo: However, for all the guys GRAVEBORNE is their main project.
How would you describe the music of GRAVEBORNE and what are your musical influences? Kalmo: Of course Black Metal but I think more you could say hate and energy are our influences. All of the guys listen and play very much music. There are influences from any kind of music. We just try to play something we like and that is usually fast and melancholic. Raato:Since the start we have been compared to bands like Gorgoroth, Impaled Nazarene or described as something like Black Metal with a groove in it. We also listen to Progressive music and I am a big Blues fan. Kalmo: However we keep it raw, groovy and simple and not very progressive with GRAVEBORNE. Raato:The main thing is the emotion and power of music, so I think we are quite unique in that way that we combine all these influences, not only musically but also lyrically. I don´t want to sound self-important, but we are musically very talented people.
Kalmo, you said you are writing some of the songs. Can you tell something about the songwriting process? Kalmo: With me it is often like that, that I take a guitar, play some riffs, play them a week later again and a week after that play them in the rehearsal room and add some other riffs to it. Eventually it starts to form a song. But others may write more determined than I do. Raato:It is always a collective effort in every word. Someone always starts the process, but then everyone has a say to it and the song just evolves by everyone building it. Kalmo: In the end the songs sometimes happens to be really different from what I first thought, but also better. That is the good thing with making music together.
Raato, you write the lyrics. What are they about? You mentioned melancholy before and at your concert recently I had also few times the impression of it heading a bit towards Depressive Black Metal. Raato:I think first and foremost we are just an Extreme Metal band, so I would not like to define us in a certain way but if, lyrically, Black Metal isn´t depressive, what is? Have you ever heard positive Black Metal? I think it just comes from the basic human experience of loneliness, disappointment, anger, misery and reality. It is a big influence on me now. If you are black hearted, you tend to focus on the bad things of life, but it is definitely not about putting yourself down and depressive. It is about looking around, seeing things that are really fucked up and about things I hate, which unfortunately there are many. That is what I think art is about. It is about reflecting your feelings on a musical, visual or whatever perspective, and they happen to be more the bad things in life. It is quite natural that your lyrics, or whatever you do, echo that kind of atmosphere.
We have mentioned already that you performed in PRKL club in Helsinki some weeks ago. Have you played somewhere else already, and what was your biggest success so far? Kalmo: Our biggest success was last year at the Nummirock Festival. Raato:Yeah, I would say the same, because it is one of the most legendary Metal and Rock festivals in Finland. We got there by a contest. It was really great that Six Feet Under was warming up for GRAVEBORNE (both laugh). We were the last band on Friday. It was really magnificent. I would say this was our biggest win so far, but every concert is important. Last gig was just as important or even more important. Things just getting bigger and bigger all the time - at least emotionally.
Are there already plans for the future? Are more gigs coming? Raato:Not concerts but our first Album “Pure Negativity” will be released hopefully this year. Kalmo: Actually the master tape is ready since December. It is finished already so long we just want to release it. Raato:We had quite a big deal on our way from a certain label which i won´t name, but we were kind of let down by it, so we had to go for an other one. At the moment we wait for the cover art to unfold. It is almost ready so the album should come out pretty soon. Kalmo: Coming soon!
Let us talk a bit more about Black Metal on general. As an Middle-European I always experienced that Black Metal is more a Norwegian or Swedish thing, and Finland, in my perception at least, seemingly does not play such a big role in the scene. Is there a reason for that or am I just wrong? Both You are wrong (laughing). Kalmo: It depends on who you ask. Of course the Norwegian Black Metal is all around the world the “original” Black Metal. However in Finland there were Black Metal bands like Barathrum which have been active since things started to roam. Raato:I think it was not just a Norwegian thing but more a Scandinavian invention. I mean we have bands which are really recognized and valued, like Impaled Nazarene among others, but it always needs this one special band, like Bathory or Mayhem, who put in the next gear. What Mayhem did for the Scandinavian zone by bringing out the whole idea what Black Metal is, which is unpredictability, insanity, complete understanding of your surroundings and what is happening around you and reflecting that in the most violent way possible. That´s why the Norwegians have accomplished so much, and also many other influential bands were from Norway, for example Dimmu Borgir. Musically however I think the quality is the same in every country. In Sweden we had Dissection, Marduk and now Watain. Kalmo: Maybe there are just more rivals than in Finland. Raato:Yeah, probably. The scene is quite small here. I don´t think people really believe that you can make money here with it.. Kalmo:...It´s true, you can´t make money here with it... Raato:...Yeah true, you can´t. So that might be the reason but qualitative we are just as good as the others.
Some last words to the STALKER readers? Raato:To all the people, dead, living or still dying slowly - rest in peace. Keep listening extreme music! Kalmo: Keep raising hell and come to gigs!
Author: Andreas Fuchs, photos: Band Date: 2011-08-01