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Finland – the best breeding ground for reindeer, and Metal bands, and really good ones. This act from the further North, the city of Oulu near the Arctic circle, is one of them, and they will release their second album “Degeneration” pretty soon. Mika Lammassaari, guitarist and mastermind of Mors Subita, tells us more about it.
Hey Mika, the new Mors Subita album will be out pretty soon (March 20), and I heard you are the man who wrote all the songs - can u tell us more about it, e.g. what it is that inspires you? What are the lyrics about, what comes first, music or text etc? Just spill it all out :D
Hmm.. a curve ball right at the start.. Well, I´m inspired by music of course - good and bad, movies, nature and life in general. Things that happen in my life and the lives of people around me. Everything affects to the music I write in some way. Usually I try to capture some emotion in a song, but it´s really like walking in the dark and just trying to get a hold of something. Most of the time it doesn´t work, but when it does, we start rehearsing the song :)
The music usually comes first and lyrics and vocal arrangements follow afterwords. Eemeli writes all the lyrics nowadays, so I think I´ll pass this guestion at this moment.
Could you introduce the band and the band members a bit - e.g. have there been line up changes, in which other bands u have been playing / are still playing, what you do besides making music?
Besides me in the band is playing Mika "June" Junttila - Bass, Eemeli Bodde - Vocals and Ville Miinala - Drums. We have also a rhythm guitarist, a friend of ours, coming to help us in the live gigs. He´s an amazingly talented guitarist and riffmaster, Jari Haipus, who also plays in Vermivore.
Besides the music, we go to work - often too much, eat and drink, go to sauna and just generally try to survive every day life :)
How did you meet each other to form this band, and who came up with the name (who of u studied Latin?)
The roots of Mors Subita go way back to 1999. We started playing with my cousin and the former drummer, Haapala. Other musicians kinda just came along naturally through school or the during the military service, or through a friend. Eemeli is the only musician nowadays who came along with none of us knowing him before hand.
We came up with the name by just going through a medical dictionary. It sounded cool to us and it fit the music.
(Some of you readers might recognise Mika also as member of Wolfheart, the ed.)
Although the band name means "sudden death", I think the music is actually not so bad to inflict this fate onto listeners :D - so what were your major influences when u started this band?
Haha, happy to hear that. In the beginning I think everyone had their own twist in influences, the variety was vast from Helloween to Marduk. Some of the uniting bands we all really liked were At the Gates, Pantera, Sepultura, Death, In Flames, Carcass etc.
Judging the teaser material https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1RGzx0uUrs, the new album seems to combine Melodic Death / Thrash elements but still with a lot of groove - so what can fans expect? What is different to the first album?
Yes, definitely lots of groove. I´d also say more aggression and melodies. Eemeli and Ville also bring a nice twist to the sound that´s familiar from the debut. Faster, harder, groovier and very cool songs that will stick to your ear and never leave :) If you liked the debut, I´d say this one is worth your money, and more, for sure!
What´s the record company situation, as Violent Journey has quit?
Yes, Violent Journey had to end their business because of the bad situation in the industry. That was really unfortunate because Vesa Ruokangas, the co. was really good to work with and he helped our band a lot. We´re releasing DEGENERATION through One Man Army, which is run by Tuomas Saukkonen. We were really glad he was interested in helping us release the album, because his knowledge and contacts in the industry is priceless these days. At this point we had the album mastered, most of the artwork done and music videos ready, so it was a good point to start the collaboration for the release.
How was the recording process, who was responsible for what in the studio?
The recording process was quite painless. We recorded the drums in TicoTico with the engineer Ahti Kortelainen. After the drums were done, I pretty much handled all the rest of the recordings at my home studio. We had the same situation as while recording our debut, we didn´t have a 2nd guitarist in the band, so I played all the guitars myself. Then we recorded June´s basstracks and Eemeli´s vocals. I added some synth on top and that was it pretty much it. The dudes performed really over my highest expectations. Everything went really smoothly, I just pressed play and the guys nailed their parts :)
What´s more fun for you, being on stage or working in a studio?
I like both, but those are totally different worlds. We´re on stage for a fairly short amount of time, and in the studio I can be searching for a guitar tone for many days. In the end, I´d have to pick playing live, because there you can interact with other people more and really get the sensation how the music affects people. And of course we´re having a good time on stage - in studio you´re alone most of the time.. crying :)
Why did you want to become a musician in first place? What inspired you as a kid to pick up the guitar (or the instrument you started making music with)? What was the first song you wrote about?
The first time I saw my cousin playing electric guitar LOUD, I was hooked. The same happened with drums at my schoolfriends house, I just felt like I coudn´t hold myself. Learning the first rhythms on drums and riffs with the guitar, man o man, that was undescribable feeling. Especially with drums, it was so freaking cool, beating the hell out of them. Maybe it was some unreleased aggression, haha. I didn´t really decide I was going to be a musician, I just had to play, that´s all I knew. I could not stop, haha.
I did a few lyrics in the beginning (before I realized I was shit at writing), embarrassing ones of course, with typing errors obviously. Those were about darkness and pain of course, and hate.. like any other teenagers, haha.
Oulu seems to be a nice place to breed tough Metal stuff :D So which other (new-ish) bands from Oulu are to be checked out?
To be quite honest, there´s not so many new metal bands, at least not as many as there used to be a few years back. It seems like metal is not that popular among young people anymore. There´s a bigger scene of eating-disorder-where´s my organic food-pop bands. It´s quite sad really. But there´s few metal bands still kicking it, like Dark Flood and a new band (in which Eemeli also plays) called Funeral For The Masses and Vermivore of course. Those ones are really worth checking!
For people who would like to visit Oulu, what are the must-visit-sightseeing spots? What is the new "in" place for Metal people now after Lentävä Lautanen was shut down?
Yes, Lentävä Lautanen was closed a few years back, but recently a very vibrant live venue called Nuclear Nightclub shut its doors also. That was a real bummer to be honest, but we still have a few venues alive, like Hevimesta and 45-Special. Those are good places, if you´re looking for live music, especially Hevimesta for metal music.
You will present the new album at PRKL Helsinki soon (March 20) - any more gigs planned?
Yes, we´re also playing a release party gig in Hevimesta, Oulu in 21.03.2015. We´re negotiating some festival gigs for the upcoming summer, so lets hope for the best. At least we´re back in the clubs in the fall when we throw a bit larger tour in Finland. So, see you there!
The worst / the best MS gig so far - what happened?
This was during our Finnish tour with Maple Cross in 2007. The gig was at a small place called Veijo in Kuusamo.
Everything seemed wrong from the get go, just.. wrong. Our backstage was in the kitchen, I played behind the DJ booth.. the list goes on. But a gig is a gig, we we´re not going to back down obviously.
We went on stage and played and during the set, a dude who looked like he was awake but no one was home, came in front of the stage and squirted a huge fountain of beer and spit on our vocalists face. Thank Jebus, he wasn´t a fiery persona, we just kept going and took it like nothing happened. I guess this dude didn´t appreciate our music performance that much.
Last question - would you participate at Eurovision contest, if you got the chance to do so?