Bloodred Hourglass: Live like Kings, Die Like Heroes
Bloodred Hourglass - a quintet ”formerly known as BRHG” from Mikkeli, Finland, formed in 2005; after a few self-released demos, e.g. “Deviant Grace”, their debut album “Lifebound” was released in April 2012 via Spinefarm Records ( review here ). That´s pretty much the complete official band biography…But because this CD, their groovy mixture of Thrash and Melodic Metal as well as their live performance captivated the STALKER crew, we just had to find out more – and vocalist Jarkko Koukonen faced the challenge to answer our questions…
Mikkeli is a bit "far out" from the "Finnish Metal Universe" we know - can you describe your hometown and the Metal /the music scene there?
It´s fairly quiet in here as you might assume. There aren´t really many decent acts to mention, and because everyone basically knows each other here, it´s mostly like playing to your friends when it comes to live. Makes it easy to get up on the stage here but doesn´t really help in the country - or worldwide competition, of course. So if you want to visit a city with a Metal culture, I suggest you do not come here! It´s a fairly ok city to live and do this though.
Any special "must-see" in Mikkeli / "must-try" food or drink – something you would recommend to tourists visiting town?
Wish we had something special, but, ehhh, no. Just go to McDonald´s.
Have you noticed any peculiar difference between Mikkeli scene and other places where you played (e.g. Helsinki)? If yes, what was it?
It´s still a bit hard to compare the differences, as it seems that sometimes there is a pure mayhem going on in a certain city or venue, and the next time you come there it´s a total freezing-fucking-died-on-your-feet-zombie-styled silence all the way through the set. So it varies a lot. The common line seems to be, surprisingly, that wherever there is enough alcohol and drunken warriors, it´s a guaranteed crowd. Tampere, Jyväskylä and Kuopio here have been awesome, together with our hometown of course, whereas Helsinki maybe has had a bit more rock-police-styled approach against us.
Your official band bio is pretty short - so could you please introduce the band in a bit more detail? And how did you end up with Spinefarm?
Well, we are pretty regular guys when we´re not on stage or working on the music in general. We have a few construction workers, a grocery-store vendor, a high educated trainee and a business student. We know each other from the childhood or early school years, and somehow this shit has just built up together, more or less accidentally. It´s a group of friends doing what everyone have the very same passion about, getting it somewhere with the help of Spinefarm. We sent the master of the debut album and they made an offer. It was fairly simple.
How would you describe your musical style, and how did this style develop?
It´s the creational sum up of everything we listen to the most, with our own unique touch of course. Not exactly like re-inventing a wheel or something, but who gives a shit if it works the level it seems to do. We really don´t like genre-definitions, it´s just Metal, for us at least.
How do you write your music and lyrics, is it teamwork?
Antti usually brings in the riffs and we start planning the song together at the rehearsals. Sometimes he just delivers a complete song with sample drums and it´s the learn-to-play-this-shit time for the others. It´s the basic way we guess. Lyrics come mostly from me with some assistance from Hyvönen (drummer Jarkko Hyvönen, the ed.).
Is there a particular philosophy behind your works, where do you get your inspiration from?
Life. At least when it comes to lyrics. It´s up´s and down´s, and if it feels too good sometimes, you just have to figure out something that really fucks your mind up. It´s very down to earth, in your face, based on realism and the things you go through. We´ve all been there. It´s just about the fact that I happen to like pussy more than the LOTR type of stuff. The record starts with ”We Lived Like Kings” and ends with ”We Die Like Heroes”, there´s the philosophy what it´s all about.
How did you come up with the band name – is there a story behind it? And do I get it right, you "extended" the band name from BRHG to Bloodred Hourglass - usually it´s the other way round…
When the whole project hadn´t even started properly, we had it as a preliminary song name. We needed a name for the act at that situation, and when there were no better options dropping down, we just went with it. It´s a bit ´hellish´ to pronounce, but the BRHG letters have made it pretty cool actually and it´s getting better over the years. The logo has a huge effect in this too, so thanks Mr. Juha Jukarainen. The name is not extended though, it´s the other way around!
The reactions to your debut album seem to be very good - have you expected that, were you surprised, how do you feel about it?
We had a very strong confidence about it, and to be honest expected even more hype around it. The reviews have been decent, but we need more people! There are way too many potential listeners there who just haven´t heard of us yet. Share the word, plague the world with us people!
We watched your gig with Blake in Helsinki and were surprised to see a Bass player being the "showman" in the band (a rare thing) ;D Is it always like this or did it just happen on this very evening?
Well, at least he is the constantly shit-talking showman off the stage, haven´t really noticed that on the stage though, but nice you did! I think our concept is pretty even, so I don´t really know if there is any special showman or ´Mr. Funny Guy´ on stage.
By the way, we had almost ended up in ”partnerlook” that evening with this very Black Light Discipline shirt, yet last minute I decided to wear something else :D - so is there a special connection with those guys?
I love their new record, it´s one of the best albums I´ve came across lately, and the guys seem awesome too, we´re good friends with their guitar player Joonas. We will be doing a few gigs together next year and I am personally going to fanboy those guys to death, that´s for sure!
It seems you all have tattoos - are there some stories behind those you would like to share with us?
Couple of band logos, Jose has got a lot of stuff going on, there are dragons and shit covering his back, barcodes, etc. Tiilikainen has got some CFH and other stuff too. Nenonen & Hyvönen ain´t actually got a single one, because they are pussies afraid of needles hurting their princess-skin. Muhaha, fags!
What are your goals, dreams, what do you want to achieve with your music?
We want to go worldwide. Tour the shit out of this globe. Play the big festivals. See the world and be proud of it, how our hard work pays off by giving us what we´ve wanted to do with our lives. I guess that pretty much covers it.
Do you have a weird /absurd story to tell, e.g. about mishaps at a gig/tour?
Well, there are some random incidents and a lot what we have laughed at together, nights spent in a tent full of mosquitos on a parking lot behind the pizzeria-type venues, broken cars, even hostility between the members, etc, but nothing really THAT spectacular has ever happened that would be worth getting into details with. Needless to say a lot of stuff happens when we´re living through this, and mostly it´s awesomeness, if you take away the hangovers.
What are your plans in the (near) future (gigs, tour, video shoot)?
We´ll wait for the US release now that´s set for November, a tour around Finland and see how things get going. At the same time we´re making new material for the next album and at some point next year, hopefully, start the studio sessions for it. Interesting times, so join the ride with us! Thanks!