what's up today ?
Same as usual. Just sent next NH release to pressing, "Ride For Revenge"
debut full lenght CD.
Let's start this interview with a short
introduction, how did you create you label and why did you want to be
behind a Metal label ? By the way, why did you choose Northern Heritage
as label name ?
I had been already doing 'zines & comp. tapes since '92 and running
industrial-noise label before NH. Clandestine Blaze started in '98 and
when time of debute LP came, for me logical step instead of finding label,
was to release it by myself. When NORTHERN HERITAGE was formed, my intention
was to do the same what I was doing with my noise label, and aim was just
do limited small vinyl editions for small crowd. I had very easy task
of just asking all the best Finnish bands what no labels gave a fuck back
then and who I all knew personally. Most of the stuff was something that
any "real label" (bigger ones) back then would have rejected
instantly due cruel "demo sound" and material that could not
be marketed to the bigger audience. There was small interest from labels
(many didn't care of vinyl back then) and small interest from people buying
the stuff and it was enough, since there was no other goals than break
even from costs of pressing the releases.
I don't remember anymore when exactly name was chosen, but it refers to
the good old knife stabbing as means of fight or revenge and homicide.
How and when did you get into Metal
for the first time ? Were you into early Heavy and Thrash Metal scenes
in the beginning ? Which bands showed you the Black Metal path with their
albums or demos ?
At first I was into AC/DC, Guns'n'Roses, Alice Cooper and other big Heavy/Rock
bands. I got into Thrash Metal by introduction to Kreator's "Extreme
Aggression" album. After that there was no return. By the 92 I was
already doing own zine with Thrash/Doom/Death/Grind stuff and compilation
tapes. First Black Metal bands I got to know was Unholy, Beherit, Bathory,
Impaled Nazarene, Darkthrone, Samael, Goatlord, etc. Especially "A
Blaze In The Northern Sky" was the biggest influence at that time,
and was contantly played over and over again, being easily the most listened
Metal recording I even owned, played through literally hundreds of times.
My early days in Metal was like the most of metalheads, that "everything
goes". Black Metal was just one of many things.
Were you into Black Metal in the very
early days of the Finish scene and bands such as Impaled Nazarene, Arch
Goat, Beherit, Belial ? According to me that scene was way more brutal
and evil than the Swedish or Norwegian ones, I mean these bands had an
extremely cruel imagery and their materials were fucking row in comparison
to Burzum, Dissection, Darkthrone, Mayhem. The Finish bands played with
the total insane image, like mad men, do you agree with me ?
I was not involved too much until 1992. Not in touch with any of these
people personally even then. I was just listening for the records –
or more accurately tape dubs, what I was getting through tape trades.
Each of the mentioned bands I was familiar with and especially first studio
demo of Impaled Nazarene, demo 92 of Beherit was highly enjoyed after
first shock of the brutality of music was digested... We had very good
radio show in Finland back then, playing all the significant new albums
as well as tracks from even nastiest sounding 4-track demo bands.
Finnish BM definitely has huge variety as well as completely unique music,
and most of that was done already before hardly any of the Norwegians
had published their legendary albums and before most of people even called
this sound "Black Metal".
There's something that has always astonished
me about the first days of the Finish Black/Death Metal scene, all the
bands were very savage and nihilist in their attitude, while Finish people
are know as kind fellows, nearly like shadows. Have you ever noticed that
and what's your view on that point ?
At least you can see that barely any of the bands suffer for egomania
and what seems to be common in several other scenes. It belongs more to
the down the earth approach in Metal of death, where people do what they
do and don't give a fuck about the rest, especially artificial hype. In
same way there was never such a "classic" bands in wide scale
as many bands from Sweden, Norway, USA, etc. when most of stuff here is
not really easily marketable due above mentioned fact. Same can be still
Furthermore, how would you explain
this Satanic rising in your land, as Christianity isn't/wasn't as strong
as in the Southern countries such as Portugal, Spain or even Italy ? Even
though all the previously mentioned bands from Finland were nearly teenagers
when they started they had established impressing satanic views….
I think all the early Metal bands were teenagers when they established
their satanic views. There are many studies of rise of "youth satanism"
in Finland. Often done by the people connected to religious groups. Metal
has almost always been quite mainstream in Finland, and while in old days
you would have no problem to find WASP, Iron Maiden, and many other bands
flirting with devil and other dark subjects, now it's even so much bigger.
From Finland, you could find mailorder selling black bible or satanic
books already before Black Metal existed (that mailorder run by Fuhrer
Pekka Siitoin also influenced Quorthon to choose Bathory for name of his
project ! It was told in one of his interviews) and due country being
so small, it's relatively easy to sooner or later get in contact with
those things. These days it's not even amazing to see Impaled Nazare "Pro
Patria Finland" getting into top-40 charts, when even bands like
Hellbox can reach singles top-2. Any Finnish Metal bands with little more
acceptable sound goes immediately to top-3, over all the r&b, hip
hop or mainstream pop… No matter how safe & polished these bands
are, it's first step towards real Metal and one step closer to "dark
side". Influence by music is one of the easiest and strongest way
to promote views and ideas. For example satanism would be far less know/popular
without Heavy Metal.. or white power movement would be in hand of old
bearded klans men and military history admirers unless RAC movement wouldn't
have been there to give kickstart for more active worldwide racialist
skinhead movement. You can't say neither is depending on the music, and
it might even hurt the actual cause due tendency of subcultures to forge
things for its own use. Some could even ask if "Black Metal satanism"
or "Heavy Metal satanism" has more validity as for example church
of satan could ever dream of ?
it happen you nearly refuse all interviews with your band Clandestine
Blaze ? Are you bore to death with the same questions on and on ? Don't
you think that interview is a great way to promote your baby ?
I don't want to promote Clandestine Blaze too much. That is the main issue.
If there is not interesting questions what would make me think or clear
my head, there is no reason to do something just for sake of "promotion".
I did actually send few promo copies of latest album, simply because I
had to send promos of Diaboli CD, therefore they went easily with no extra
efforts. I have yet to see any results of promotion, though. LP sold out
month before promos was mailed. Also, almost exclusively I give interviews
for printed Black Metal magazines, so when you mostly get contacts from
websites, it's very easy to turn down offers.
According to your web site, you suffer
from bootleg CDs of your catalogue. You are angry against the lads who
print CDs without your agreement. Is this bootleg problem so huge for
you ? Do you lost lot of money because of that ? Bootlegs have always
existed in the Metal scene, especially in "poor" countries from
Eastern Europe, South America and Asia, so why is that so important now
I don't think I lost any money on them. Problem is based on principle
of something getting involved with things what is none of his business.
Bootlegs done in old days in "poor" countries is completely
different thing compared to situation today, where most of bootlegs seems
to be done by the western soulseek downloaders. Burn crappy tape dubs
or mp3's on CD/CDr's and make bullshit covers nothing to do with band,
and auction them for highest price on ebay. This has nothing to do with
poor countries or people wish to access music. Real reasons are completely
Anyone who wants to dub copies of my albums to their poor friends –
please go ahead ! Home dubbing for personal use and tape trades is encouraged
strongly ! Just don't go and make your own "releases" with pretending
as if you have something to do with this.
What is your
regard on the today Death Metal scene ? Were you into the early Death
Metal scene and bands such as Dismember, Entombed, Carnage, Morbid Angel,
Obituary and so on ? Looking now to that scene it's obvious that even
though some of those bands had a satanic image, their philosophy was pretty
far from being satanic, they seemed to be more some kind of kids who wanted
to get fun than anything else, don't you think so ? Thence, don't you
think that the early Scandinavian B.M wave was a bit the same when it
comes to Satanism ?
I listen to a lot of old Death Metal, but I must say that besides Necros
Christos, I haven't really heard much interesting Death Metal during 2000's.
Even if it is important that bands would be serious in what they sing
and write, you can't deny the importance of influence what their music
/ lyrics has on the listener anyway. Even if many of those bands could
easily reject any "negative influence" they gave to this world,
claiming "it was just music", it can be case that something
bigger was channeled through them to become what it is. Most of the bands
were able to do only couple good albums, and never able to repeat it again.
That special moment could be unexplained spontaneous possession, very
similar to the some Black Metal bands who manage to create masterpieces
of black art just before falling into pit of average nothingness.
Cruel distorted midpaced beat of Dismember, glorious & amazing compositions
of Entombed, blood hungry deranged attack of Carnage, dissonant thundering
sound of Morbid Angel, ultimate heaviness of Obituary, beyond the insane
structures of Immolation, lethal reek of perversion of Autopsy, pathological
sickness of Carcass, frustrations from decaying empire by Napalm Death,…
and and… list is basically countless. Almost any Death Metal prior
1993 is worth of listening and many worth of worship. When you play these
albums, no matter what bands intentions might have been, you can taste
blood in your mouth and smell the death.
Several of the key figures of early 90's Black Metal confirm that above
all Black Metal was counter reaction towards popularization & cleansing
of all the raw edge of the Death Metal. There is hardly any Black Metal
bands in early 90's what would include any religious or deeply philosphical
"satanism" in their lyrics beyond being element in there just
like any other "horrors". If you read any of the old interviews,
you don't really get impression of people being into occult or devil worship,
but dwelling in overall dark themes – which is fine, if they don't
even claim otherwise. It took quite long time until bands actually started
to become very focused in only one special doctrine they'd honestly follow.
Most of the biggest Metal labels such
as Nuclear Blast, Century Media, Earache started with the D.M wave then
turned to be very important and dealt with thousands of copies of the
same album, is the aim of Northern Heritage being as big as the mentioned
No aim to become "big". Label has always been one man operation
and most likely will stay so. That's why becoming such a big company is
even physically impossible.
Even though that
Northern Heritage is very dedicated to the scene and bands you sign, don't
you sometimes suffer from a lack of financial means. I mean, the sells
of your releases probably never reached more than 2/3000 thousands of
copies, which prevent you from investing in larger projects. So, aren't
you sometimes wondering to sign a band and promote it until you sell thousands
of copies to reach a larger public and get strong finances ?
Many of the smaller bands sell basically one pressing: 1000 copies. Bigger
bands sell up to 5000 and continue selling still today. Others fall somewhere
between. I have no bigger projects in mind. Only thing basically what
would demand bigger budget is promotion, and I have no interest buying
ad space in mainstream Metal magazines due music I release in underground
When reading about label policy you
want the buyer to get a clear idea about your ideology and the reason
why the label exists. Even though you wrote such kind of words there're
probably plenty of people who order your productions you would not even
see side to side. So, according to you, what is the best customer for
NORTHERN HERITAGE ?
When you run a record label and public distribution service, you have
to accept fact that plenty of people buy music just for sake of music.
I want to make distance from labels who are music for sake of music or
music for sake of money type of things. I'd hope people who buy the material
are the ones who at least remotely hold similar ideals & world view
as the music represents or at least strong interest in it. I believe it's
music by Black Metallers to Black Metallers and not just any "openminded"
music fan, who will like the sound but oppose anything bm stands for.
don't you think that too many people in the B.M scene spend time judging
who's who and who's the true instead on focusing about the real aim of
that kind of music ? I sometime feel like B.M scene is a school playground
with children shitting on each others, what's a puerile attitude and how
can they get so much time to spend on useless speeches….
Maybe, but even more there are people who are spending time on thinking
about people who judge others or laughing at the "true" Black
Metallers. I think it is very healthy for scene to have high level of
intolerance or at least debate against outsiders, but not to the point
when peoples vision of their own superiority is clearly far away from
Let's keep on
that topic, according to you, who are the bands that have an adult view
on Satanism and B.M ideologies in the scene today ? You know when reading
stupid interviews in fanzine or on line and a member explains how cruel
he's and what kind of strong lad he can be, then in reality you know he
lives at parent's house, is unemployed and can't even use on his ten fingers…..
Adult view ? You mean something what makes sense in wider scale and can
be understood as intelligent ? (indeed-ed) Fortunately fact is that illogical
madness is often the key answer. Not all people are the priest of satan,
but their role as advocates and worshippers of atrocity shouldn't be considered
less worthy. Most of these bands only project the divine touch in form
they can, and even the nicest surface and most clever university taught
theological content may not be as strong as simple and primitive drool
of worshipper of goat.
As you're behind
a Black Metal label, I think you might spend time listening to new demos
and analysing the scene to discover the new talents and to better understand
the evolution. For instance since few years the demo tapes and paper fanzines
almost totally disappeared. Thence, how do you see the scene in ten years
both from a musically point of view and from an ideological one ?
I don't spend much on listening to demo/promo tapes for simple reason
that so big % of them suck. I get several promos monthly, but hardly any
of them are listened immediately. Usually few times a year I dig the box
up, and play 2 minutes per CDr just to find out it was just as bad as
I thought it would be. None of the NH bands has been signed because of
demo they send, so it seems kind of pointless to send me any promotional
material. There has been handful of cases where I actually considered
approaching band who sent me demo, but in the end didn't do it and later
one saw it was good choise.
I don't know how scene will be in 10 years. If you asked me same question
back in 97, I could have never guessed things go as they have. I'm quite
sure enthusiasm towards late 90's and early 2000's Black Metal will fade
away and replaced by something new, just as it has happened to every generation,
but will be cultivated by the limited amount of fanatics worldwide, who
will still be listening to tape dubs, vinyl records and browsing through
We all agree
that 99% of the B.M bands from this scene don't even practice 1% of what
they preach. They all write about how they're nihilist, how evil they
can rip angel wings and such bullshit, but at the end they all need Metal
parties to drink with their friends, they've hardly read any bibles, understood
the concept of religions and their historical background. So, my questions
are : aren't you sometime fed up being part of that circus ? And don't
you think that early Heavy Metal or Thrash Metal bands like Venom or Mötorhead
who always claimed that their aims were to drink and fuck as many women
as they can and that's what they did ?
I don't think all bands write about how nihilistic they are. Partying
doesn't necessarily contradict anything. You know that Black Metal bands
hardly ever can be considered as report of your mundane life. It only
projects certain side. Everybody has to eat breakfast or lunch, but there
is no need for any Black Metal bands to write songs about it (sure you
don't life in a fantaisy life, but I meant there are such differenece
between the "scene side and the everyday life side-ed). Same goes
for many other areas of life. If serial killer is caught on smiling and
laughing, will it undermine his credibility ? If pedophile happens to
fuck adult woman, does it make him perfectly "normal" ? If priest
end up shouting curse, does it make him devil worshipper ? Any satanist
or Black Metaller who end up drinking or going into party, only loses
his credibility in eyes of those who want him to lose it, and go into
any extreme to prove they are false.
It seems the
mediocrity in B.M releases from '97 to '01 has nearly disappear. During
these years I couldn't count the number of shitty productions labels unleashed
and how many poor demos invaded the scene. I feel like the situation is
a big better now, do you share my view ?
I think those years also created massive amount of releases what could
be considered even classics. I think now it is much more clear that more
appreciated labels who keep quality up, they rise few steps higher than
the "whatever labels" who can barely manage to sell their small
limited editions. While back in late 90's most of small labels were on
same level, no matter what quality product you would put out.
Do you think
that the aggression against christanity could help other religions from
abroad Europe to take their root here, I mean that the days after the
end of christianity could be worst than what you suffer from today ? Thence,
where is the point for B.M to blaspheme the old continent religion ?
I think that most of people are anti-christian because it is dominant
religion in their countries. But whenever asked, they would be at least
equally hostile towards even more alien religions. I don't think it is
that important to blaspheme on the christianity as it is to blaspheme
the values it represents. It makes no sense to oppose christians and accept
people who replace "christ" with liberal humanism, but hold
the exact same values.
If you ask me, over here need of burning for example synagogues would
be much higher, since it's basically damaging several directions with
and end on NORTHERN HERITAGE, what will be the next productions and is
there any plans to release some DVD in future ? Are you thinking to any
original musical format that could revolution the scene ? Thanks a lot
for your time as I know you're fucking busy
It is possible that there will be Primitive Finland vol II, what would
be CD+DVD set, compilation of audio as well as live videos. I personally
don't watch so much of music videos simply because of unability to sit
still in front of TV set, but for some occasions they work well. Only
problem is fast moving technology and soon DVD will be replaced by HD-DVD
or Blue ray discs, so sticking on doing vinyls seems best option to secure
recordings for future use.
Franang zine 11/02/07