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STALKERs Fresh Act - April 2007
As announced, here a detailed portrait of the Finnish band "Exsecratus" who already stood their ground as openers for Ensiferum (check out our St. Petersburg-Special). And this marks another beginning in the band´s quite stormy history: They just parted with guitarist Kimi Rautiainen...
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Who are you? Please introduce all band members, well, the rest of them, with all their characteristics, spleens etc.
Hi, my name is Olli Mattila, I play the guitar and I do most of the backing vocals. Some would say that I´m the leader of the band or something, but I like to use the word asshole =D ...just kidding... I also make the songs and write the lyrics, so that kinda makes me something like a chairman of the government or something.
Then there´s Jussi Raatikainen, the drummer. Oldest member of the band and you kinda hear that one from the way he speaks and does things. Well, actually he speaks a lot.......... a LOT.... but sometimes he has a point.....sometimes...
Emmi Silvennoinen the keyboard player / mom of the band. She´s always looking after us and taking care of us. Amazing girl. Tough as a brick. She played nine gigs in five days in January.... I mean wow... And she´s also my shrink... If I have some problems with girls (which happens quite often btw) I go to her. She´s kinda like the mental backbone in this band.
Leeni-Maria Hovila, the singer. Well, nothing much to say there. Blond female, soprano.
Great singer and a friend, but she can be a bit out there sometimes =D
Timo Kauhajärvi. Ummm... Bass and backing growls... He´s a work addict. I mean, whatever you ask him to do, he has probably already done it. Lame jokes also come as a perk.
Where are you from?
We all live near Helsinki or in Helsinki.
What kind of music do you play?
Melodic Metal with a little spice. Main influences come from bands like C.O.B., Sonata Arctica, Norther and like that. But I´ve managed to add a little flavour in our music from bands like Ensiferum and Moonsorrow. A bit folkish touch never hurts anyone... or at least me ;)
Who do you want to reach, or what do you want to achieve with your
We all have our own things that we want.. I personally have already accomplished a few of my dreams. And this summer we head to the studio to make an album, and that´s one of my goals too. There are those lame achievements that you hear every band say like "I want to be the headliner of Wacken Open Air" or something. And I wouldn´t fight it if it would be an option, that´s for sure.
But my personal goals are just to make music and play it as much as possible, and to as many people and in as many places that is possible.
How did it all begin?
In a huge hangover in 2004 when I had an idea to make my own band. Asked few of my friends to tag along and they did. Then things just got rolling and people got separate ways. And after a huge battle against karma, here we are.
Who are your musical idols, what are your most important musical influences?
Don´t know much about the other guys but my personal hero is Tuomas Holopainen. He´s THE man in my book. And then there are many people who have different things about the that I admire. Like Jari Mäenpää from Wintersun, amazing guitar player, and the bastard sings at the same time when he plays these fucked up riffs. And the same goes to Alexi Laiho. Then there´s Roope Latvala. Living legend. And if we go to less known musicians, I would say Tiina Honkanen from Thraciar. Man she has a great voice. But I have mention Markus Toivonen, too. He´s my hero. The man has worked his ass off to get Ensiferum where it is today. And I respect that more than anything.
His commitment I mean.
Who writes the music /lyrics, or are all in the band responsible?
As I mentioned above, I do. Nowadays when I make a new song, I show it to Emmi and she works her magic in it. And after she has done her thing, I take a look and then we arrange the whole thing together. And usually at that point I´ve written the lyrics. Sometimes if a song is difficult, it might take longer to write the lyrics. Like the song For You was a piece of cake. And on the opposite, Fallen was a bitch! That song just kept coming to my face like a damn wife! But after hours and hours of work I got it together.
What do you do if you are not in the band (studying, working)?
Not a goddamn thing. I´m a no-life. I usually sit in front of my computer =D I was working fulltime earlier, but I had to give it up ´cause time got too tight with all these things that has to be done before we hit the studio.
Create a slogan for your band!
Damn, this is a tough one. If it would be about the band members it would be something like "oh my fucking god, they´re coming again!! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!" =D
But something about the band itself or the music... maybe I´ll just stick with the "So dark is the web of lies" part. It kinda represents all the things that has been around. A lot of shit has happened since the beginning, so let´s go with that one.
Would you sell your soul to the devil to become famous?
Do I still have one? Don´t know.... but if I still have one, never. People should never quit being themselves. I mean, what´s the point in being famous if you´re something that someone else has created. Like these fucking Idols. They have done absolutely nothing to get there. They have all the record labels and management offices that have created them way before they became famous.
What would you pick if you had to choose between sex, drugs and Rock´n´Roll?
Doesn´t rock´n´roll include sex and drugs? ;) ...tough one... The love of a good woman is a good completion, but I think I´d go with the music on this one. Don´t know. Maybe if I find the perfect woman some day I might reconsider...
What is your dream, where does your motivation come from?
Absolutely no idea. I´ve asked myself that a million times. I really don´t know. Sure it would be nice to be as good as these big bands that can finance themselves with their music, but I don´t know... next!
What will you do if you don´t get to have a career in music business?
I´d do the same thing my mom did... Turn 55 and start going to school and study to be a nurse =D
What was the most exciting/the most disappointing moment in your band history?
Ummm... you ask a lot of tough questions =D ...There have been so many highlights in the past that have happened way before our first gigs and all this. But I´d go with the Nosturi gig last December. There were almost 900 people listening to us and they seemed to like it... That was truly amazing. And also when Helsinki is our home town so that is a huge factor in this one.
But the biggest low point have been every time when some of the members have been kicked out. That is always a major mental shit to cope with. The feeling you get when you look in the eyes of someone who has been your friend for a long time, and you say that this is it... That situation is always so full of shit. ´Cause you know that it will kill the other one inside. And still you just have to think about what´s best for the band. That´s fucked up.
What was the most absurd thing that happened to you?
HAH! That would be the moment in Turku this January when two amazingly good looking girls came to me, and first of all they knew my name, which was new for me, and asked me to come in a picture with them. I mean DAMN! They were so good looking that I would never even dare to dream about women like that. And they knew my name and wanted to pose with me... First time for everything as they say =D
What happened during your best/your worst live show? And what happened in St. Petersburg? What exactly did you do with Ensiferum on stage?
The two greatest moments in my book happened in Jyväskylä in January 2007. For the first time I heard the audience sing with us. My eyes were closed (as they usually are when I sing) and I started the chorus of Suicide, and I heard these people scream their lungs out: "SUICIDE!!" and I was like "what the fuck...!?" that was the moment in my career that I will never forget. And also this girl I know was in the front row. Nothing special about that, but she´s like 150 cm and she was holding this monster of a man behind her. Man that was cool! =)
It might sound weird but the worst thing that has ever happened to me on stage was when I broke a string in Turku. I had never done that before in my life. I was so furious after that =D ...things happened and that´s just the way it is...
In St. Petersburg Kimi´s guitar plug got busted. Don´t know the details but all of the sudden I looked at him and he had stopped playing and I was like "what the..." and after that song he had to stop playing. There was nothing we could do ´cause we didn´t have our back up guitars with us. Tough luck. Then we tried to do one more song without the leads and the solos, but it sounded so shitty that we had to call it a night.
And on the Ensiferum gig I was minding my own business watching the guys (and Emmi) play and suddenly Jussi came to me and pulled me backstage and asked me to come play the guitar with him to the stage. He was so fucking drunk then and as you can imagine, I was too. And a Finnish idiot does not back down after "few" beers from a chance to make a complete idiot of himself! So then we decided to do this with only our underwear on. That sounded even better in that state of mind. And so we did. Thank god those guys had a sense of humour about that. They laughed their asses off.. And when the song was over and I was looking at Janne, someone pulled my boxers down. And then I thought "what the hell" and showed my bare ass to the audience. Cool thing to do if there would not have been the cameras (for the TV show “Rautaryhmä”, the ed.) rolling...
Obviously I didn´t remember it then, but the Ensiferum show is on Finnish TV in May =D. So now everyone in Finland can see my bare ass hopping around St. Petersburg =D ...
If your song is to be used as soundtrack for a panty liners commercial, would you agree?
It would depend on the song, but hell. Why not. But only if I would get to see the shooting and the underwear models =D
Which song are you most proud of, and why?
Again with these hard ones =D ...I think it would be "My last fight". It has all the things that appear in our music. Folkish leads, acoustic melodies, huge orchestral thingies and it´s still pretty well combined in my opinion. And I think it has pretty nice lyrics, too.
What do you think is cool/totally sucks about being a musician?
When you get to meet people that you would not get the chance to know. Like these guys from Ensiferum. / When you have to meet people that you would not want to know. =D
Would you participate in Eurovision or Idols contest?
How come you came to be on tour with Ensiferum, and how was it? Which band
would you enjoy touring with?
I´ve known Markus for years now, and we´ve been talking about doing gigs together for a long time. And last summer I just made a deal with him about doing it this winter. I would make all the arrangements and they would be our headliner. Nothing more or bigger than that.
Nightwish would be cool. Or Ozzy! =D
What do you plan in the near future?
No we just practise as hard as we can. Few shows in May. Just mainly keeping our focus on the upcoming album.
Thank you for the interview!
Author: Klaudia Weber, Photos: Toni Salminen, Markus Lehto, Kalle Björklid, Exsecratus
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