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Deathlike Silence: Horror and the occasional otter

The finnish band Deathlike Silence from Turku has since 2003 not only the hearts of Horror movie Fans beat faster with their own so-called Gravedigger Metal. After the first Album “Vigor Mortis” they are now back with a new Line-Up and a new record, “Saturday Night Evil”. On their cruise on this year´s Spinefeast on Sea they found some time to answer STALKER´s questions.

Hello together how are you doing? I hope you had a good start - are you ready for the year 2009?
Mr Ward Hell yeah we are! We’ve all been enjoying the holiday season, and we’re ready to take on 2009. Hopefully it will bring lots and lots of gigs, and other nice things.

You released your new Album “Saturday Night Evil”in January 2009 in Finland, can you tell us what fans in Europe can expect and how the producing work was going, where you recorded and so on?
Mr Ward You can expect a heavy and melodic album, with rich sounds and dark lyrics. Saturday Night Evil differs from our first album Vigor Mortis in a couple of refreshing ways, while still staying true to the fundamentals of it. The actual production started in early June 2008, with most of the tracks written in the spring of 2008. All vocals and instruments were recorded in Noisecamp studio in Turku, except for the drums that were recorded in Soundtrack studio in Helsinki. The album was mixed by the brilliant Mikko Karmila and was mastered as late as September 2008 by Svante Forsbäck at Chartmakers.

Do you already have plans to release the album in rest of Europe?
Mr Ward Yes indeed. It will be released through Spinefarm UK, although it’s still unclear to what extent. Hopefully it will be available in as many places and countries as possible, of course. It will appear on the European market as of early March.

Who writes the songs/lyrics, are you all responsible for it?
Mr Ward Mr. Catafalque is more or less single-handedly responsible for composing the music. Perhaps with the exception of some arrangement issues, and the lead guitar solos, naturally. When it comes to lyrics there has been more collaboration between the band members than on the previous album, with most of us contributing with lyrics and ideas.

Are your lyrics from your personal life or only fiction?
Mr Cerberuss I don’t really know where they come from. I haven’t really been hunted by evil trees or other malevolent beings lately. Some bits in the lyrics are things that I have been thinking about, or things that make me angry or some such thing. Mostly however they’re just as mysterious to me as to the listener.
Mr Ward I think it’s safe to say it’s all fiction, what with the horror theme and all. Naturally, we get ideas from events happening around us, and from books we read, movies we watch and so forth. But essentially, and obviously, they are just tales and stories of horror.

Which song are you most proud of and why?
Mr Cerberuss Burning flesh is a favourite. Partly because of the lyrics, which I think were quite good, and because of some silly and good guitar playing. It’s also one of my favourite songs to play. Another one is Till Death Tears Apart. I really like the lead guitar on that one.

Can you tell the people who yet don’t know who you are, when you were founded and where you from?
Mr Ward We hail from the city of Turku, on the western coast of Finland. The band was originally formed back in 2003 by Mr. Catafalque, and has seen some line-up changes since then. The current line-up has been playing together since the summer of 2008, when Mr. Lethargy replaced former keyboard player Ms. Erna who decided to focus on her family.

Why did you choose the Bandname “Deathlike Silence”?
Mr Ward The name is shamelessly taken from a line in a movie, namely Dracula.

Your first Album “Vigor Mortis” was released in 2007, you have also released this record in US and Russia how come that we didn’t heard that much about this band in the central Europe area I didn’t found your record anywhere?
Mr Ward Vigor Mortis was released in Russia, yes, but it was quite limited, and we didn’t honestly expect it to sell even as much as it did over there. Regarding the US we didn’t actually release the record per se, but there was one record shop that agreed to import a limited amount of the album, and then sold it in their online shop. So I’m afraid it might exaggerating a bit to say the record was released as such in Russia and the US, but there was a limited distribution of it, and hopefully it was enough to provoke interest in the coming album as well.

Maya has a very special voice compared to for example Simone Simmons of Epica or Anette Olzon of Nightwish, her voice is full of power and very strong. Why did you choose Maya as Singer? And what do you think about the usual Ladys with their high voices?
Mr Ward The choice of Maya as a singer was a quite natural one, seeing as she knew
Catafalque back in the old demo days. He knew she was a great singer, and as such there was no big question whether to involve her in the project or not. And I think it’s safe to say we’re all thankful things turned out the way they did.

And regarding ladies in heavy metal and hard rock, I think it’s safe to say there has been a growing trend of female vocalists in the scene. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, I won’t – and can’t - say. But I don’t think it’s fair to put all the bands with female singers into one group, and stick one label on them. For instance, there is quite a difference in say Arch Enemy and Within Temptation. Likewise, Maya has a very powerful and personal voice, and I think it serves nothing to automatically compare her with the other ladies in the biz, just on the basis of being a woman. Although I do realize this is quite inevitable.

Can you tell us something more about the musical background of the band members?
Mr Cerberuss I’ve been heavily influenced by the usual guitar wanking suspects, like Vai and Malmsteen. A couple of other names would have to include Devin Townsend, Genesis and Zappa, Steve Lukather, Pekka Pohjola and Gary Moore. There are many more parties out there who are guilty of inspiring my musical idiocy. All Hail The New Flesh!
Mr Ward We all come from different backgrounds, musically speaking. Some of us have classical training, and some of us just happened to stumble over our instruments, and started playing. Regarding common interests, I’d say most of us share at least one or two major influence. Most of us listen to a lot of different type of heavy metal, ranging from old hard rock to the occasional black metal track. And I think that diversity in musical interest and background is a healthy thing, as it helps us create our own sound. On the other hand, I think it’s safe to say you can hear clear influences of older stuff in our music, like for instance Iron Maiden and old Rainbow, Deep Purple… that kind of stuff.

Do you have next to Deathlike Silence other projects or Bands? If yes what kind of and what are their names?
Mr Cerberuss I often project my thoughts into the future. I also play the odd gig for money to finance my ever growing arsenal of string instruments.

If I saw this right there have also been some line up changes right? I think Ms. Erna is no longer in the Band right? What happened?
Mr Cerberuss She had a bizarre gardening accident.
Mr WardMs. Erna got pregnant. And in early 2008, after some discussions about the future plans of the band, we decided that it was for the best to let her focus on her family, and neither she nor we could see a future where she would be actively involved in the band, with her firstborn appearing into the world in late 2008. There was no drama involved whatsoever, and we’re all still good friends, and she actually plays the keyboards on one track on the new album. So that’s where Mr. Lethargy stepped into the picture, and he’s been handling the keyboard duties since then. Hopefully this is the last of changes in the line-up for awhile now.

Ok then back to the new stuff, do you already have plans for a Tour in Europe?
Mr Ward We’d really like to have plans for touring Europe, but at the moment we only have plans of having plans of touring Europe. Hopefully there will be interest in having us out touring Europe (and who knows where else) after Saturday Night Evil is released on the European market. But for now the only thing we can do is hope the record is received well, and that the possibilities for European gigs will come. Needless to say, we’d all be excited by the prospect of doing a European tour.

You had a nice Video for your Song “Six Feet Under the Ground” is there one planed for a new song too?
Mr Ward Thank you. The video for Six Feet Under the Ground was actually just a “promo video” that was shot with a normal handheld camera, and the whole project had a budget of about 50 Euros and an apple. We were happy with the result, but needless to say we hope we can take a few steps up on the ladder now with the new album. And a video is actually coming. The whole project is at the moment only in the planning stage, but I think it’s safe to say there’s going to be a video at some point. I’m afraid that’s all that can be said about that so far.
(Here you can see now the new video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XCxAVtyQ1E the ed.)

What are your dreams where do you see the band in 5 years?
Mr Cerberuss Wembley?
Mr Ward Well, we see ourselves with at least a third album on the market. What we want to do is create music, and play shows. And regardless of how well Saturday Night Evil is received (or not) in Finland and Europe, I know we’ll still be creating music and, maybe even more importantly, playing gigs. I guess I could say we see ourselves playing at a sold-out Wembley, and all the major festivals of Europe and maybe even crossing the pond to the Americas. But taking a band – any band - to that point is a long process, and we’re just going to see how far Saturday Night Evil takes us for now, and enjoy the ride and the gigs that come with it.

Do you have any idols?
Mr Cerberuss In addition to those already mentioned: David Hume, Monty Python, Peter Sellers, Eric Cantona and cats (because those furry little creatures really know how to enjoy a nap).
Mr Ward Like earlier mentioned, we all have lots of bands and artists we look up to and admire. It would be a far too long list to namedrop all the favourites of all six of us, but if I’d have to find a common denominator, I’d perhaps say that Iron Maiden is a band that has had some effect on us all. At least it’s a band we all have opinions of.

Where from do you take your motivation?
Mr Cerberuss John Donne, Christopher Hitchens, music (both good and bad), the early morning mist that gently strokes the grassy meadows of my homeland, and the occasional otter.
Mr Ward The motivation for doing this, I think, comes from the prospect of playing for live crowds. That is, at least for me personally, the main thing about playing music and playing in this band. Of course the creating process is a part of what drives us all forward, but once the recording process and the production is done, what really sets us off is doing gigs and performing live. Regarding the music and lyrics in itself, the motivation we get to create comes – and I think this is no secret by now – from all different kinds of tales about horror. Films, books, even other music.

Do you have some final words for the Stalker readers?
Mr Cerberuss Buy our t-shirt

Thank you very much for the interview and good luck with the new record!

Author: Sandy Mahrer, photos. Deathlike Silence
Date: 2009-03-08

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