Juho “Jun-His” Vanhanen | Enter the Void

This interview has been published on Radio Metal the 30/11/2017.

Two weeks ago, Oranssi Pazuzu teamed with another band from Tampere, Dark Buddha Rising, for a unique performance named Waste of Space Orchestra at Roadburn. The Finns were playing at the festival for the third year in a row. In 2017, I caught Juho “Jun-His” Vanhanen, guitarist and vocalist of the band, a few hours after their set on the Mainstage of the festival, to know more about the inception of the psychedelic trip into the unknown that is Värähtelijä, their last record. Wild, daring, swirling together krautrock, black metal, and much more, the album left listeners terrified, bewildered, and more often than not, amazed.

Unwrapping the twists and turns of the music but never unveiling its mystery, Jun-His talked about the elaboration of Värähtelijä, his aims as an artist, his views on his own art. “Everything is there and still, you can’t figure the reason behind it, behind existence,” he explained: instead of looking for answers and not afraid to stare into the void, Oranssi Pazuzu chose to embrace the unknown.

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Erik Danielsson | The fire within

This interview has been published on Radio Metal the 24/12/2017.

It seems like nothing can stop Watain: since the beginnings of the band 20 years ago, the success of the diabolical trio grew bigger and bigger, reaching outside of the boundaries of black metal. Picking up where Dissection stopped, they developed their own sound, went on to experiment with the catchiest hooks of rock’n’roll—ruffling a few feathers in the process—, and stuck to their Chaos Gnostic guns all the while. For the release of the sixth full-length of the band, Trident Wolf Eclipse, I got the chance to speak with mastermind Erik Danielsson. Conceiving his art as transcendental, each album being the result of inspiration and circumstances, he remained elusive about his intentions but described carefully the conglomeration of energy that is Watain.

It was also the occasion to talk about the path followed by the band through the years, through success and fury, struggle and wrecked hopes. Indeed, after the triumphant, almost outrageous The Wild Hunt, Trident Wolf Eclipse sounds bilious, burning with anger. In the five years that separate the two albums, both The Devil’s Blood and In Solitude—two like-minded bands very close to Watain—vanished; Selim Lemouchi died. How do you cope with loss when you worship death? By doubling in fire and intensity, Trident Wolf Eclipse seems to prove, in order to carry the flame with renewed passion, for the present and the fallen.

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Mat “Kvohst” McNerney | Song of Kali

This interview has been published on Radio Metal the 25/10/2017.

In only five years of career, Grave Pleasures, previously known as Beastmilk, had a fairly stormy history. Made of thundering debuts (Climax, 2013), line-up changes, infectious hooks, and new identities, it led to the divisive Dreamcrash, a record built on the ashes of Beastmilk, In Solitude and The Oath. It looks like the band, who sings about destruction and creation over infectious death rock melodies, doesn’t hesitate to put theories into practice, enticing both seasoned black metallers and 80s sounds lovers, somewhere between the cover of The Cure’s “A Forest” by Carpathian Forest and Perturbator. In that respect, Motherblood, the band’s new record, is crucial: it’s about strengthening Grave Pleasures in its new incarnation, and for leader Mat “Kvohst” McNerney, about expressing as clearly as possible his take on life.

For the release of this record under the patronage of the fearsome Kali, we talked about all these things with McNerney. A prolific musician whose work is as shape-shifting as it’s coherent, he explained the concepts hiding behind the intoxicating melodies of Motherblood, the rough times Grave Pleasures went through, the status of this project in his whole career, and his vision of music, whether it be in general, live, or his. An enlightening talk with an artist fascinated by humanity’s darkest sides.

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Mike Scheidt | Staying awake

This interview has been published on Radio Metal the 25/02/2017.

For music lovers in general, and doom fans in particular, the release of Clearing The Path To Ascend by YOB in 2014 was one of the highlights of the last few years. Both crushing and elevating, it is also, and above all, an astoundingly beautiful record where the three musicians outdid themselves and took their own brand of carefully crafted, enlightened doom to new heights.  After seeing a  live performance of the band at Desertfest Antwerpen that turned out to be an incredible display of power and grace, I had to find out what kind of magic was at work there.

A few weeks later, I got the chance to talk about this and more with the headmaster of it all: Mike Scheidt, the vocalist, guitar player, and main writer of the band. Inspired and inspiring, he evokes in great details his creative process, his views on live performances, art, life, music, and reality. We also talked about his many other musical endeavors and projects, and if everything must have been put to a halt by the very serious health issues he had to face at the beginning of the year, we can only hope for the best, and to hear about it soon!

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