You're about to read the first interview with a label of this e-zine. It took a long time for me to choose THE label I wanted to give space in these pages as I was looking for a label I hadn't interviewed so far and that could represent my view on Metal. I found the jewel in Finland with NORTHERN HERITAGE. The Finish lad behind the label is really dedicated to his activities and the promotion of bands he thinks they deserve it. His view could sometimes be seen as nihilist or egocentric for the promotion of his bands, but isn't it that a Black Metal label ? Here're answers from a label who doesn't want to spend thousands of bucks in useless advertising and want to keep B.M to the highest possible level. I used the same design than NORTHERN HERITAGE web site : nearly no pcitures
Hail, 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 seen today.

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 ?

How does 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 the opposite.
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 labels ?
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 Black Metal.

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.

Furthermore, 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 truth.

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 printed magazines.

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 one attack.

Let's return 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