poniedziałek, 13 czerwca 2016

Interview with Oula and Tomi/ Death Toll 80k!

      Death Toll 80k shows harsh realities with sensitive, raw and brutal grindcore attitude. Zoltan made my day with news about this interview, because bands like DK80k needs attention and support./ Andy

      Hi Oula and Tomi, how are you, are you ready to answer my questions? How often receive Death Toll 80K interview- requests, and do you like answering more and more stupid questions haha? Do you know anything about my country, Hungary?
      O: Hello! We haven’t done that many interviews actually, but lately it seems that we’ve got more requests in quite a short period of time. I’ve been to Hungary once, but that was just driving through it on a tour some years ago so I can’t say I know too much about it. Lately I’ve mostly followed how the government these is trying to close the borders from the refugees. What is happening there right now is just horrible.
      T: I know Ferenc Puscas and that finnish and hungarian languages are related to each other.
      As far as I know this is the first hungarian Death Toll 80K interview, so I’d like to start with a short background info. How did you get together, who’s idea was to form this band, did you already know each other? So, can you summarize the band’s history for us?
      O: Me and Tomi started the band in early 2005 after our previous death metal broke up. We had got to know each other maybe a couple of years before that through some mutual friends, it was that time when you met someone with a similar taste in music you pretty much became friends instantly. I think I finally wanted to start singing then and was really into goregrind at that time while Tomi’s idea was to play Brazilian thrash metal. We asked some friends to join in, and the first stage of the want was some kind of mix between primitive grind and Celtic Frost. Our first bass player quit pretty soon, and my brother replaced him for the next few years, but it was after Jori became our drummer in 2007 (he had actually played in that previously mentioned death metal band before and I was in a goregrind band called Marttyyrioperaatio with him) that DT80k became what it is today, it was almost a totally different band before that.
      We made our first European tour in 2008, and after that we have made three longer tours there (with Sakatat, Powercup and Perikato) and a couple shorter trips. Maryland Deathfest in 2014 was our first and this far only gig outside Europe. In 2009 our current bass player Ville joined the band after filling in for a couple of shows, but that was also a really easy line-up change as he also was our friend long before that.
Death Toll 80k shreddin' on OEF!

       How did you came up with the band's name? Is there any special meaning or symbol behind the name? Did you have any other alternatives or ideas for band name, before you choosed the current one?
      T: We thought about the name for a long time and we had a lot of different suggestions for it- some bad, some worse. I think it was Oula who came up with the this one. It points to the one of the most horrible event’s in mankind’s history: the bombing of Hiroshima, where approximately 80 000 people died immediately after the explosion.
      What's your story about how you started to get all this extreme music? Which ones were your very first CDs, maybe Slumber of Sullen Eyes from Demigod, perhaps World Without God from Convulse? Do you like this kind of good old, penetrated finnish death metal?
      O: Hah, not like that. Actually when I was younger I knew a lot more about old foreign than finnish bands just because I didn’t yet know where to look or who to ask. For me getting into metal started with power metal when I was a kid (I think Stratovarius’ Destiny was my first metal CD), and from there it went first into melodic death metal and folk/ viking metal. After that I got really into brutal death metal and black metal, and discovering grindcore was just a matter of time in the search of faster and faster music. I like some of that stuff but wouldn’t call myself a huge fan, mostly it’s just Rippikoulu’s Musta Seremonia and the first two Amorphis LPs for me.
      Do you remember what bands or records originally made you want to pick up an instrument and start writing your own music?
      O: Peer Günt, it’s an old finnish rock band in which my uncle used to play and he was later working as their soundguy. But because of that my parents had all their records and my first actual CD was PG’s Don’t Mess With The Countryboys that I got from on my fifth birthday. I remember having the idea of wanting to play in a band since that time, but it took quite a long time for it to become more serious. I don’t think there was any particular record that was a turning point, more important was that I started going to these all-ages DIY shows that were happening in my hometown and actually saw all these smaller hardcore/ punk/ metal bands playing there instead of just seeing some bigger bands now and then. I’m pretty sure those DIY shows are one of the reasons we’re still doing this in the same way.
      What appeals to you in grindcore? Why this kind of music is different for you, than the other genres? How did you first get into contact with this type of music? What bands influenced you earlier on?
      O: There is just something in grindcore that no other kind of music can provide, some kind of really strong “feel alive” type of thing. Rotten Sound was the first grindcore band that I found, I had heard some stuff like Anal Cunt before and was really into bands like Vader and Marduk but when I first heard Murderworks the energy was just so much more, it just instantly clicked with me. After that I quickly discovered bands like Nasum, Pig Destroyer and newer Napalm Death, but it was with Scum that I discovered the more punk side of grindcore. Around the same time I also got into goregrind with bands like Disgorge and Last Days Of Humanity, and of course old Carcass. Even though my taste in grindcore has changed a lot since the beginning and I don’t get much out of some of those records anymore, I still remember how imporant they were to me back then.
Death Toll 80k shreddin'
      Can you explain a bit detailed your lyrical themes and topics? What is the main message of the band and how important are the lyrics to you?
      O: For me the lyrics have always been an important part of grindcore, and definitely one of the things that set it apart from metal and later goregrind. There was just something about finding the that the most extreme bands often had something to say as well, especially when I compared that to most of the death/ black metal I was listening to. I enjoy a lot of bands that have stupid or no lyrics at all, but when I do something I find it very difficult to avoid being at least somehow political. The main message is just trying to point out different forms of inequality and oppression that’s happening, and also dealing with some more personal frustrations about life and the society around me.
      The first record I had from Death Toll 80K was the split 7” with Hermann Schenker. How did this split came to be? What do we have to know about Hermann Schenker? I didn’t found too much information about this band on the internet, are they still active?
      T: Hermann Schenker was a band from our home town and we wanted to co-release a split 7”. The band is not active anymore but we are still good friends with the guys. Some members of Hermann Schenker play in such bands like Perikato and Lurk these days.
      This split is also an Angernoise release, like the Archagathus split, or self-released? I didn’t found this info on the cover and the booklet of the 7” EP.
      T: It was released by the bands.
      You also have a split with the mighty Archagathus, How did you get in contact with the prince of mince, Dan. How did this split came to be? What do you think about Dan’s music, which one is your favorite Archagathus material? Do you love Violent Gorge too?
      O: Hah, Jan Ag actually copied the first Archagathus demo to me as a part of a trade we did almost ten years ago. After that I got into touch with Dan and at some point the idea of doing a split just came up. It took some time to find labels to do it, but I’m still really happy with that release. Dan is a really nice guy and it’s been really nice to spend time with him and the other guys during the years. The first demo is still my favourite, and honestly I don’t think that all Archagathus releases have been that great, but lately there has also been some really good stuff like the splits with Violent Gorge, Dead Issue, Hyperemesis and Nak’ay. I really like Violent Gorge too, they have a really unique sound.
      T: Violent Gorge is awesome.
      Your first album, Harsh Realities came out in 2011 through FDA Rekotz (I have the CD version in my collection). This one is a very intensive, killer record in my opinion, what was the overall reaction among fans and critics around the world? Was it difficult to create such an intensive, brutal album?
      T: Harsh Realities is actually mix of all songs that we had made and not released between 2008 and 2011. So it was not very well thought entirety in that perspective. Some of the songs were so new that we hadn’t really had too much time to even practise them and few can be found on 2008 demo CD-R. It was recorded by a friend of ours in a rehearsal room studio. How ever we did put a lot of time to think about the song order and all the timings between the songs and small stuff like that. We wanted it to hold the tension from start to finish, with no dull moments in between. The reaction for the record has been really positive and sometimes even overflowing. It’s nice to know that people have liked it.
      Do you have a multiple-album deal with FDA Rekotz, or a contract for just one album? Why have the CD and vinly versions different covers?
      O: It was just for one album. I can’t remember for sure, but I think it was about the quality of the first picture (the CD) being too bad for the LP so Ville made a new one for it.
Death Toll 80k shreddin'
       It doesn't belong entirely to the subject of the interview, but I'd like to know what is your opinion about FDA Rekotz, how was working with them; do you follow their death metal bands like Obscure Infinity, Chapel Of Disease, Lifeless, Harm, etc?
      O: Working with FDA was really easy, I think Rico did a great job with the album. But no, I really haven’t followed what else he has been releasing after that (with the exception of the Blood reissue!) as I don’t follow the death metal scene that much.
      Give Praise Records re-released the Harsh Realities LP in 2014. Did the Rödel Records version sold out, or it was difficult to obtain the first pressing? Are you pleased with the Give Praise version?
      T: So far there’s been two vinyl pressings by Roedel in Europe, but we wanted to have a US release also so it would be easier to achieve on that side of Atlantic also.
      I think your fastest, most intensive and noisiest songs are appeared on the split with Sete Star Sept. Do you agree? The sound is much more noisy and raw, than on Harsh Realities. Was this ruthless attitude intentional?
      T: Harsh realities has bit more polished sound and we wanted to do something different this time. We wanted to do this also because the record was released by Bringer of Gore who specialize in the raw and noisier side of grindcore. Fast and raw is what grindcore is about.
Death Toll 80k shreddin' on OEF!
       Continuing this sound-theme, what do you think about scandinavian grindcore bands using the Sunlight / Boss HM-2 sound? Do you love, when grindcore bands sounding like Dismember or Entombed?
      O: No, hah. I think in grindcore that sound just makes the riffs lose their force, it just doesn’t work for me especially when the production is more clean. Also with the original swedish bands I really prefer the sound of for example Nihilist’s demos to that of Left Hand Path.
      Which were the most memorable, or the best moments in the past of Death Toll 80K for you? I think your show at the Maryland Deathfest was one of them, haha. What are your overall experiences about that festival, and the best moments? And what was the worst moment in Death Toll 80K’s history so far?
      O: The tours have definitely been the highlights in so many ways, playing great shows in new places, getting to know a lot of great people and meeting old friends again. Especially the first one we did, because that showed that you can really do it in a DIY way even though you’re just four young boys with just a demo CD-R out driving around Europe in your parents car, hah. MDF was also great, there were some really great shows like Dropdead and Unholy Grave. It was awesome to see Unholy Grave twice during that trip because I’ve never thought I’d see them live. First time I was there was with Hooded Menace in 2011, and in just a few years the festival had changed a lot, now it was a lot bigger and more like a usual metal fest. Back then all the stages were in the same venue, now there was one huge festival area and two smaller clubs in another place so it felt really different.
      The worst moment has probably been on the tour with Powercup, we had been driving 1000 km through the night to get from France to Germany, and 100 km before Dresden we get stopped by the police as they often harass cars with polish licence plates. We have to get all our stuff out of the car, they keep us standing there for a couple of hours while waiting for a dog to search the car for drugs, after that they tell us that they suspect the car is stolen and we have to wait even more for some kind of “expert” to arrive. After a couple of more hours the cops tell us that we’re free to go, but they’re going to take the van. So, there we are with a full backline at the side of a motorway without a car and it looks like it’s starting to rain soon. That was also one of those moments when you notice you’re touring with some really great people as there was no point in getting angry or start arguing, we just shared the only warm beer we had and started calling our friends at the venue for help. In the end we got our driver from the police station, played a great show, travelled by train to the next show (the guy we had rented the van and backline came to get his gear back in the morning) and then found a guy who was willing to drive us from Leipzig to OEF and then to Berlin for free because his car was running on used cooking oil. So in the end everything went really well, hah. I think the guy we rented the car from had in the end actually bought a van that had been stolen at some point or had some parts taken from a stolen van, but obviously he had no idea about that.
Death Toll 80k shreddin' on OEF!
       How often can you play live at home, and is there a possibility to do longer tours outside Finland?
      O: We don’t play very often, it’s really difficult for us to find time for gigs and rehearsals because of living in different cities, other bands, work/ studies etc. This year we’ve only played three shows here in Finland, but we also made a week long tour in the UK with Whoresnation. I think it was already back in 2009 on our second tour when we had played more shows abroad than in Finland, and now I think it’s something like three times more. It’s usually easier for us to take a couple of weeks for a tour than to play single shows during the rest of the year. It would be nice to play more often, but on the other hand especially during the last couple of years when we only have played a few shows they have all been just awesome and more special to me.
      How is your songwriting process like?
      O: It depends, me and Tomi make songs together as we now live in the same city, and sometimes someone writes a whole song by themselves. It’s easier when you can throw ideas around, and also because I always have to explain how I think the song should go to someone else because I can’t play guitar or bass at all. Sometimes the process is really fast and spontaneous, sometimes you spend hours and hours to get that 30 second song just right. Sometimes we also write stuff at rehearsals, but because have changes to play together so rarely we usually just practice the songs we have written before and make some changes to them depending on what seems to work. Being able to rehearse more often would be even better than playing shows more often, now everything is just happening so slowly because we’re only able to play together a couple times a year.
      Oula and Jori played in Hooded Menace in the past. How did they get in contact with that band and why decided to leave?
      O: Lasse, the main guy lives in the same city where Jori lives and where I also used to live. It’s a small city, and we get to know each other through buying records from each other and going to the same shows. At some point he asked Jori to play drums for Hooded Menace, and when he decided that he only wants to play guitar live he asked if I would be interested in doing vocals for the shows. Nothing dramatic happened with us leaving the band, for me it was just that I wanted to use the time I have for bands for Death Toll and I think it was the same for Jori. Also, Hooded Menace never felt like my own band in a way Death Toll does and I felt a lot more at home playing small punk shows than big metal events. It was really nice to finally see them live this spring at Heavy Days in Doomtown.
      At the moment what other bands or side projects do the members of Death Toll 80K have? Can you please summarize them and introduce with a few words?
      T: At the moment me and Oula play in a mincecore band called RUST. Oula also has two noisecore bands Meatwash and Beer Terror. Jori and Ville play in heavy/speed metal band Speedtrap. Ville is also involved in Perikato which plays hardcore punk and Kohti Tuhoa which plays d-beat and Hard action that plays hard rock.
      Some Death Toll 80K members are involved in Rust, a new mincecore band, and you have a split with Agathocles. Can you please introduce this band and share all info with us? This is only a side-project, or a full-time band?
      T: RUST started as two-man project in 2009. Oula plays drums, I play guitar and last year Urho (ex-Arroyo) joined to play bass. Everybody does vocals. We want to do raw old school mincecore with very political lyrics. New mince bands are too much about having fun and drinking beer, we want to remind what it used to be about. Right now I think RUST trains more often than Death Toll 80k, but that’s only because it is easier since me and Oula live nearby each other and Jori and Ville live in different cities.
      O: When we started Rust there were two trends we wanted to oppose. Most grindcore that came from Finland was really clean and polished, and most people had the idea that you had to be a really good musician to play it. Also, at the same time the punk scene going partly into a more anti-PC direction.
Death Toll 80k shreddin' on OEF!
       What are the future plans with Rust? Can we expect an Agathocles- like avalanche of new and new releases and splits from Rust in the future?
      T: There will be splits but we are not very fast in recording new material. Next two releases will be RUST/ ARROYO split tape repress and RUST/ ARCHAGATUS live split tape. Both released by Bringer of Gore.
      Continuing the previous questions a bit, what is the difference between grindcore and mincecore in your opinion? Possible to separate this two subgenre by music characteristics, or lyrical themes?
      O: Nowadays is seems that mincecore is just about the sound, this sloppy and simple old school grindcore. All the political aspect that once defined it has pretty much disappeared. A lot of these new mincecore bands don’t really interest me, there is some good stuff but often it’s just intentionally silly sounding songs about mincecore and mincing. But I’m not sure if there is point in calling Rust mincecore, it’s just political old school DIY grind.
      Rust logo is very similar to the logo of ROT, haha. Who created your logo? Is this band (ROT) a huge influence to you?
      T: I drew the logo straight over ROT logo with thick black permanent marker. For me ROT is definitely one of the all time best grind/ mince bands. I doubt that RUST would exist without them. They have been big influence on DT80k also and you can find song patterns typical to ROT in Death Toll 80k songs.
      O: Yeah, Rot is one of my all time favourites also. The idea for the name came many years before we started when I had a long conversation with a drunken crust at some gig about how he also loved “Rust” and had many of their record while I’m trying to explain to him that the name of the band on my backpatch is Rot. Agathocles is obviously another huge influence for Rust as well.
      How is the finnish grindcore scene today? Everybody knows Rotten Sound, Feastem, the now defunct Deathbound, Cut To Fit or the old Xysma, for example. But what other new grind/mince/noise bands can you mention to us?
      O: At the moment Houre is definitely the best one there is, and Unohdettu tulevaisuus is also great, but besides those there are not really many other ones. Tolerance’s first demo is also really good noisy goregrind! Arroyo and Synti were both really great, but sadly they’re both gone now. For those who are into Feastem/Cut To Fit I recommend Spawn From Deceit and Büfo.
      Have you ever heard the split of finnish Necrobiosis with Intense Agonizing from Hungary? It was released long time ago. Do you know maybe some bands from my country?
      O: No, haven’t heard of that one before but now I probably will try. I only know some newer grind/noisecore stuff like Parazitosis, SxOxTxEx, Chappa’ai, Drogded and Human Error. Pokolgep is the only older one I know.
Death Toll 80k shreddin'
       What is your current playlist? And what are the most impactfull and important releases in the history of grindcore to you?
      O: Lately I’ve been enjoying the following records a lot: Cosmic Church - Ylistys, Darkspace - II, Elffor - Into The Dark Forest, Darkthrone - Transilvanian Hunger, Iskra - Ruins, Mortiis - Keiser Av En Dimensjon Ukjent, Dahmer - Dahmerized, Six Brew Bantha - Intravenously Commodified, Meatus - The Triumphant Chariot Of Antimony, A Symphony Of Death Rattles comp., Swallowed - Lunarterial, Chaos Echoes - Transient, Down My Throat - Real Heroes Die, The Assassinators - Sigt Efter Hjertet, Agalloch - The Mantle, Kent - Röd.
      The second part is more difficult, hah. The previously mentioned Murderworks and Scum were the first gateways for me, but the following ones have really made an impact on me when I’ve discovered them:
      Fear Of God - Pneumatic Slaughter (I still remember the first time I heard this, the first blastbeats after the intro just blew me away and I still think this is the best grindcore 7’’ of all time.)
      Rot - Fatality? (Another live 7’’ and I think one of the first records by Rot I ever heard, this just perfectly captures their sound and energy. This one was actually released by Roedel Records who also made the vinyl version of Harsh Realities!)
      Insect Warfare - World Extermination (Can’t deny it, this record made a huge impact for us all in DT80k. When I discovered IW they quickly became of my favourites and I remember thinking how they we’re doing pretty much the same thing we were. And then they released this LP and it was just so mind-blowingly good, just perfect old school grind but played with such an intensity. I listened to it just constantly back then. In a way we decided then that we need to one up this someday, hah.)
      Last Days Of Humanity - Putrefaction In Progress (For me this record is just goregrind taken as far as you can, perfection from start to finish.)
      Excruciating Terror - Expression Of Pain (For me Excruciating Terror has that something not many other grind bands have, and that is this really dark and serious atmosphere they somehow manage do create.)
      Agathocles - Razor Sharp Daggers (Agathocles has been one of my favourites for a long time, and if I have to choose one record of theirs it would be this one. They have some other really amazing records also, but this just works so well as a whole.)
      Arsedestroyer - Teenass Revolt (The thing with this and LDOH is that under all that noise are actually some really good songs. But there is really no other band that comes close to this, maybe my favourite grind LP of all time.)
      Warsore - Open Wound (Warsorewarsorewarsorewarsore! One of the best ever, this is how I get to know them and even though the later stuff is even more intense this is still so good every time.)
      Gore Beyond Necropsy - Sounds Like Shit!!! (Just one of those records that the moment I first heard it I instantly knew it was something I had been looking for, again a band that really has their own sound that no one else has managed to do.)
      Archagathus - Mincecore (When I got this demo I remember thinking how everything about it was just done so right.)
      What are your future plans, are there any upcoming material in progress? When can we expect the second Death Toll 80K full-length?
      O: I hope I could say exatly when the next LP is coming, but I just don’t know right now. We’re thinking of touring Canada in 2017 so the plan is to get it out before that. We’ve been working on it for quite a long time now, but like I said before, everything is happening really slowly. After that there will probably be some smaller releases, but now the focus is just on the LP.
      Ok, I ran out of questions. Thank you very much for this interview, any last words you would like to add?
      O: Thanks to you!


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