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PROFANE OMEN: Solid gold in their hands

For the Finnish Death´n´Roll veterans Profane Omen, 2011 is a promising year. After fighting their way up high to the Metal-Olympus for 12 years, releasing 2 official albums (Beaten Into Submission 2006; Inherit The Void 2009) and 1 EP (Disconnected 2007) and being nominated in 2007 the “Newcomer of the Year” at Finnish Metal Awards, they´re now in studio recording their 3rd album, to be released this autumn via Spinefarm Records. STALKER talked with the vocalist Jules Näveri on the phone about the new deal and the recordings. Soon you can check out those guys also live, e.g. at Myötätuulirock Festival in Vantaa (17.-19.6.2011).

Jules, the recordings of your 3rd full-length album is about to be finished, is just missing your vocals, which will be recorded very soon. How do you feel?
I feel like a rat in a cage! The guys have been done with all their part but because of editing and a loose schedule, I had to wait so long to start my own parts. I´ve never been this excited before going to the studio. I think we have solid gold in our hands and I can´t wait to nail it!

So how were the recordings so far?
For what I know, and I have been there during the process, it has never been as relaxed as now. Of course by saying this I´m jinxing my own part, and when I hit the booth all hell breaks loose and files disappear and whatnot! Ok, now that I said it, this won´t happen. I´m sometimes superstitious about some things when it comes to recording. Anyway, we took another kind of approach in recording this album compared to the older ones. We wanted the schedule to be loose, and especially with the guitars, the guys decided to move the studio to our practice room to make everything as relaxed as possible. Probably this is the reason why all the axe-men have been so happy about the recordings. It was a big relief for them to work like this. I guess it took away a lot of the "fear of a red light"-syndrome which always happens when you´re in the studio.

I´ve read in the Studio Diary blog (http://postudio2011.blogspot.com) that you were experimenting with some new elements, recording instruments that are not commonly used in the metal style, like Djembe, Bongos, Tambourine, Claves, Agogo and even banjo. How did this idea come up and what´s your opinion about it?
We wanted to have versatility in the rhythm percussion wise and Samuli brought his percussion-arsenal to the studio so, instead of using just the tambourine, he used as many he could think of. We´re not quite sure which of them will end up actually being on the album, but at least they are recorded! Maybe we´ll publish a percussion version of the album with only acoustic elements, haha! It would be interesting though... We´ve also recorded flygel, which is a totally new element in our music. However, we are 110% that it fits perfectly to the song that it was recorded on. In general, I think is always good to use some new and different elements in order to come up with something fresh. Metal should not be an exception when it comes to using new elements.

Versatility is indeed very important to keep a band fresh and exciting for the fans... Will you be experimenting with your vocals as well?
I´ve always been willing to stretch my limits as a vocalist and I think it is the only way to develop yourself as a better singer. This album will contain my capabilities as a vocalist with full scale, going from one extreme to the other. But there will not be opera singing or that kind of noise coming out, heh! There are some vocal parts, which we are going to try with a different approach production wise. Every vocalist wants to see his level to go up a notch and this is what I also always want when recording. In other words, I have to show myself that I´m a badass vocalist!

Alright! So could you describe the new songs to us, Mr. Badass Näveri? Was there a special inspiration or subject for the lyrics?
The album will contain 9-10 songs, all very different from each other but all very recognizable as ours. At the moment, I experience the songs as a sonic tsunami attack with some breathers in between. We as a band, feel like through this album we are getting our first real chance to show to a wider audience what we are all about. This thing has also been in my mind while writing the lyrics. There are many references to fire, abandoning fear and unity. To spice it up I got some inspiration from the entertainment world, in movies and series but I can´t reveal too much. They will open up when listening.

Do you already have a name for the album?
We have about 20 working titles! We haven´t come up with a killer name yet. We have quite a few good options but we´re still waiting for THE Title... A few funny ones to mention are: "Whores & Slaves", "Syylä" (= wart in English) and my favorite so far, "Sköörds"... As you can see, we still have a lot to do in finding the title!

You have three producers working on the album: Mikko Herranen, Ville Sorvali (Moonsorrow) and Aksu Hanttu. Why three? How´s the interaction between them and the band?
The interaction between everyone has been great. Mikko is the executive producer and the one responsible for the sound, Ville is with us because we wanted him to be helping us to work with new people in the studio. He has been with us since the first album, so he is there more or less as a social support. Aksu Hanttu will record and produce the vocals.

Everybody knows exactly what they are doing so it really doesn´t feel like there´s too many cooks in the kitchen. We had the privilege in choosing the guys with whom we want to work with, so we teamed up with people who we think can interact the best way with the band, and by choosing these guys, we also kept in mind our instruments. Mikko is a multitalented musician/sound engineer, Ville is an overall musical workhorse and knows a lot from different methods how to do things, and Aksu is a hell of guy to get the best out from a vocalist. It´s a team well thought. We are glad that we had the songs pretty much ready when we started to do the pre-production so basically we need these guys to get the best out from us in the studio.

Tomppa Saarenketo, PO´s bassist for 7 years, left the band in the end of last year. What happened?
We begun to notice last year that his motivation wasn´t on the same level with the rest of us. We decided to have a sit down with him because we didn´t want the band to continue like that. It felt that something was bringing down everyone´s enthusiasm. We were in the middle of the negotiations with Spinefarm and we simply didn´t want to put our names in the contract in a situation where we feel that not everybody is 110% with this band.
Therefore, we had a good conversation with Tomppa and he chose to leave the band. I think it was a relief to both parties. After this, we were in a situation where we could concentrate fully on making the best album that we can without any other stress. We also thought about who would play the bass in the album if we couldn´t find a guy to replace Tomppa. There was no panic in the air at any point. We are still all friends and this is a win-win situation for all of us.

But you did find a guy to replace him, at least for now, since you´ve engaged the young 4 strings player Antti Seroff for the recordings of the album. How did you got to him?
We didn´t post any "looking for a bassdude"-sign anywhere because we simply didn´t have too much time to go through the auditions. We decided to ask around from friends and if someone interesting would come across, we would try him out. So this jungle drum helped us to find Antti "Sheriff" Seroff. We heard only good stuff about this kid and wanted to see/hear how he was. He came to the practice room and proved himself. He is a very talented young bass player who will one day be extraordinary. Everything felt very easy with him so we decided to do the album with him. He is in the band at the moment as a session musician but he just might be the guy we want as a regular dude. We are going to take him on the road and see what he is made of!

Last month you´ve announced the new deal with Spinefarm. How do you feel about this new partnership and what are your expectations?
We are very happy to be a part of the Spinefarm family. We feel that through Spinefarm we are now getting the chance we always wanted. A chance to show our band to a wider audience in many countries. We believe that we´ll get good support from Spinefarm in getting our band forward. In the end, it´s always about making a great album and killer live shows, and I´m sure we are able to do these things. I´m sure people at Spinefarm have confidence in this as well. We are hoping to get good exposure enough to get the chance to go touring in Europe and of course, anywhere else we might be invited to play.

So you´re ready to take the world?
We are armed to the teeth, so lock up your mothers, here´s PROFANE OMEN!

Please answer this questions having in mind your expectations about the new album: "What the fuck did you expect? How did you think it was going to end?" ( PO song “Dodge”)
Never expected anything, had my jacket wide open and ran to the fires screaming "GERONIMO!!!". This is not the end; this is where it all begins.

Please leave a message to all STALKER readers!
Hey you all stalkers out there!!!! Go stalk our WebPages, social networks, mailboxes and whatnots because we are about to release a one hell of an album!


Author: Fernanda Nunes, photos: Band, Terhi Ylimäinen
Date: 2011-03-16

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