Jul 24, 2012
Riding Down the Miskatonic on a Dead Thing: Interview with the Mainman from Aarni ...
Hail mister Warjomaa! How are you doing? What kind of sinister plans do you hold in your extraordinary head?
Hullo Aleks! I'm getting by, thanks. I may have some extraordinary plans in my sinister head. Or perhaps you could say my head is dexter and the plans are merely ordinary. Currently I slowly work on 'Lovecraftian' and also another Aarni album, plus a top secret project. When and if I get those finished, we shall make the sorely needed 'Tohcoth Redux', meaning completely remixing and largely re-recording that album, so that it will suck less and on the whole be more like what we originally intended. As always I have lots of plans and chaotic ideas, but precious little to show for them.
It's not a secret that you release a split-CD with extreme doom project Persistence In Mourning via Witch Sermon Productions. Firstly I thought that collaboration of such opposite bands was idea of label, but suddenly I've remembered that you told it yourself - about work between Aarni and Persistence. So how did it happen that two different band with different sound and sound’s quality appear in one release?
Andy (PiM main man) had the idea. Because he runs Witch Sermon you could say it was also the label's idea. This release happened because we have done some collaboration in the past; Andy contributed some guest vocals for 'Lovecraftian' and I to his 'The Undead Shall Rise' album.
Anyway, generally I think the bands on a split album should not sound too similar – it could get quite boring for the listener. But I feel that Aarni and PiM are not too dissimilar either, as both probably come under the broad "doom metal" umbrella. It's not like one band plays tango and the other gangsta rap, or something along those lines.
Comrade Warjomaa, what is your progress with third Aarni's full-length "Lovecraftian"? And do you still feel that tag "Lovecraftian" is actual one? I'm asking because I see that a number of "lovecraftian" bands didn't increase through the time.
The process seems about 63 % complete at this point, and like I mentioned earlier Aarni simultaneously works on another album - the main reason being that we grew bored with concentrating on just a single theme, and so needed to balance it with more varied musick. The irritating thing with theme albums appears to be that the idea sounds great in theory, but in practice it can prove to be annoyingly labourious when it comes to actual songwriting. So, Aarni works on two releases and switches between them when the relevant mood/inspiration possesses us. In a sense I guess that this other album can be seen as a follow-up to 'Bathos'. Or can it?
Yes, I feel the title 'Lovecraftian' still applies, for when I first had the idea "I'll start a band by myself!" back in 1998 e.v., my second idea was "I'll make a Lovecraftian theme album!" I know there's been loads of supposedly Cthulhoid releases especially in the metal genre in recent years, but so what? I have heard none that I would personally describe as sounding Lovecraftian to me. The subjective feeling and atmosphere I get from reading HPL doesn't come across to me from these puerile releases, so as a Tr00 elitist and eldritch scholar I natural believe only my own vision is pure enough. It's just a question of capturing it in recording. Lovecraftian music should be akin to HPL's ideas expressed in his stories and letters: alienation, cosmic horror, futilitarism, inhuman, nonhuman etc. dissociations from "ordinary" human states in general. How do you realize "alien" music? That's the challenge, because it could lead to the whole album being a discordant, monotonous, maddeningly cacophonous collage of noise. Which Aarni's album isn't except occasionally. For HPL was more diverse than just the tentacles-up-your-ass stuff.
Comrade, you’ve told about preparing of fourth Aarni’s album – how much songs do you already have for it and what kind of conception want you put in it? If “Lovecraftian” has to contain unique mood and atmosphere then what’s about another release?
The fourth (or will it be third?) album will be the opposite of a theme album. In other words, no underlying theme for all of the songs; every one of them shall be an independent whole…although they probably share some themes in common. There will be the occult stuff, maybe a folky track or two, I don’t know yet. So far I’ve got 4 or 5 song ideas and have even recorded some of them. Currently the album seems to contain both traditional and non-traditional doomy stuff, plus material from the prog, avantgarde and wossname genres. Possibly I’ll release it as an exclusively digital album in various audio file formats, with the artwork etc. as pdf files. Like I’ve done with ‘Bathos’ and ‘Omnimantia’ on the Bandcamp website. Because making CD’s doesn’t pay…there’s the manufacturing cost and probably only a handful of people buy them directly from the band, so it isn’t worth all the effort and costs involved.
And are you really so disappointed by 'Tohcoth' sound that you’re going to re-release it? What will be different in the re-issued copy from the original one?
Yea, we do feel very disappointed with the original. Something mysterious happened during the production stage…maybe I didn’t take enough breaks when mixing it and became deaf to all the shittiness. Also I intentionally experimented with unconventional panning settings etc., which in retrospect I feel was not such a good idea.
So, the “redux” version shall correct those things, plus I want to add more layered guitar tracks, synth parts and better percussion and drums, improved vocals etc. and make the mixes clearer, at least.
Your works are very diverse: there aren't similar tracks in each album. But don't you think that it release loses some of integrity through that?
Well, it depends on how you define the term "integrity". If you mean "all tracks on an album have the same drum, bass, guitar sound, mic placement, effects, mixing settings etc.", then yes, Aarni releases probably don't have much integrity. I like to start from a clean slate every time I record a song, even if I do like e.g. the rhythm guitar sound from a previous recording. But it cannot be helped, I still dial in new amp settings and the like for each new track I work on, and try to find a combination of sounds that fit together for each featured instrument. In the creative sense I regard Aarni as having very high musical integrity, in other words not filtering our output by unwholesome and pompous ideas like "giving the audience what it wants" or such nonsense. Entertainment isn't art, but art can entertain…er, what?
For example you could compose a complete album using themes from such track as new "49 Angeli Boni" with its doom layers, deep "shamanic" vocal lines and moderate key lines. I found not lyrics of this song - what was it? Enochian once again? That's why my eyes start to bleeding yet adjna shines brighter, is it?
That would be the cheap beer repeating on you, mate. "49" does not feature the Enochian tongue, but something closely related to it, actually a form of proto-Enochian probably. The lyrics can be found on the Aarni webshite as usual! It's that wheel-like thing on the song's lyrics page. The first verse of the song starts with the section labelled "1" in the picture and proceeds clockwise until the cycle is completed. On the FAQ page of the website has been included a breakdown of the whole album, track-by-track, and also of our other albums. Yet I see we haven't included "Omnimantia", maybe we should correct that in the near future.
Probably Aarni won't make a whole album of songs like "49", as it would prove too boring even for doom metal.
Yet, it would be suitable for drone stuff, and quality drone has its good primordial vibe which sometimes takes listener to a ritualistic essence of music, your low “shamanic” chants would be good there too. Didn’t you try to develop Aarni in that direction?
No…I don’t much care for the drone genre, at least if it features lots of static amp buzz, feedback noises and such. I like music that takes you into trance states, but for me drone doesn’t do it well – more ambient and atmospheric stuff does.
What about folkish binder track "Emuu"? Is it you - Emuu ?
Yes, you've found it! You can even spot a reference to the initials "MW" on that site.
I’ve seen it that’s why I’m asking… Thanks for your "mainstreamy experiment" which name is "Land beyond the Night", you've said about this track "success is a failure" for it's bloody catchy tune, yet I don't believe that you could record a song which you don't like. What did drive you to write down tunes like this? It's a good soundtrack for successful astral voyage; I bet that Charles Leadbeater would be satisfied.
Unfortunately the Theosophists seem never satisfied, unless by their own hand. But we didn't make the song for them. I included the song as an experiment in a more mainstream/generic pop style just for the hell of it. I don't think I'll be doing another anytime soon...the track itself is
basically a tune I developed back in '97 while playing in our local little "gothic metal" band Inevitable. We recorded a three-song demo back then, but didn't include that particular track, perhaps because the other songs were even more melodic, simple and catchy.
For some reason I decided to rescue the tune from total oblivion for the split CD. I made the parts somewhat more complex than the original and wrote a bassline and vocal line whilst rewriting the lyrics...once again for the first time they feature some references to the material of various influential bands, for example the title itself has been taken from Camel and the lyrics contain little nods to Sabbath, Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride.
All in all we intended the song to be upbeat, positive and empowering or wossname. Of course the chord progressions, melodies etc. can be seen as being pretty generic and corny, in other words unoriginal & uninspired by the extremely high Aarni standards...I certainly tend to feel that way most of the time, so now I aim to make music which is more unconventionally corny.
I'm glad that your secret twin Sampo Marjomaa aka Genius Albert Frankenstein has retuned to add his vocal in "Land Beyond the Night" as he did with two songs on your first CD "Bathos". Where does he sing besides Aarni?
He's an independent artist and you can find some of his music on Youtube and the like. He also sings on 'Logos' from 'Tohcoth' and on 'Lovecraftian' too.
Mate I test google translator onto your fourth track from split ("Lemminkainens Tempel"), but it doesn't help to decipher your evocations. Looks chaotic - really, you can check it. Oh, yes, and the question is: is it necessary for you to be so unserious in some songs?
Absolutely, especially with this song because of its subject. Don't blame us, blame Ior Bock. Actually you cannot, because he was murdered shortly after Aarni finished recording the song. Coincidence? I don't think so. You are right, Google cannot translate the outro lyrics of the track, for they are not really in Swedish but Atlantean. Google of course doesn't know any Atlantean because they are evil.
Do your colleagues from Umbra Nihil think about any creative activity in forthcoming future?
I don't know, for they only speak to interviewers. I think it would be a huge service to humanity if you would contact the band and ask them some pretty hard questions! They deserve it.
Thanks for important information, comrade Warjomaa. We’ll contact you when we need more. Words of repentance are not necessary at this time. Good luck in your metaphysical searches. Emperor preserves and so on…
Have a happy singularity in December and in preparation for it buy Aarni’s music directly from us. That way you support all the scatomadness, and can take personal credit/blame if Aarni continues to release stuff! Giving support to a band makes you feel almost as good as letting a fish pee on you for hours.
Interview By Aleks Evdokimov.
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