Tuesday, August 20, 2013

...an epic aggression for the heaviest : Interview with SOLOTHUS!!!

SOLOTHUS is a young - yet very talented and promising Death/Doom band from Finland, pretty different of what usually comes from those devastating lands of frost too... "Summoned from the Void" is a devastating aural mammoth plenty of crushingly slow tempos, deep growls, somber harmonies, mid-paced heaviness and epic atmospheres ; finally released a few weeks ago by Memento Mori rds, you need to check it out after reading the following interview I did with vocalist Kari Kankaanpää !!!

Hey, thanx for answering the following questions… Throughout different interviews over the last couple of years, I was always intrigued by your band’s name that you never explained clearly, you even said once that it would not be revealed before you become an old band ! then recently in Terrorizer you said it  comes from an harsh infecting bacteria called “solothus maleficium” that people can catch in northern finnish forests…. How did Kat succeed to change your mind ? was it the best  moment and media to finally   give its origins ?!!!

Greetings! Well, to tell the truth, there are a lot of different words where the name actually comes from. There is actually a lot more to the name… I remember there was this old writer in Finland who had this long saga of books. In these books there was this language he had made up called “jallurillion”. In said language there is word “solothus” which means both “glorious” and “victorious”.

Your demo “the ritual of the horned skull” got a very good response with stunning reviews from death/doom zines and magazines (even including an interview with Decibel mag !), but you guys took your time to craft new stuff, strengthtened the line-up… it really  looks like you didn’t want to hurry things up too much but prefered to  gather all conditions ultimately to propose a very accomplished debut ? did you fix a kind of schedule in time and were you all ok with this way of doing things ?
Well, we were supposed to make a split album with Cataleptic. We even had a label willing to put it out, but it never came out. Everything was ready, but then suddenly the label pulled out of the deal. So we didn’t really have any plans other than that, but then Raul from Memento Mori offered us a record deal and we took it. We already had material for the debut album. We wanted to take things slow and do a proper album, so we didn’t rush it at all. We always have certain goals in the horizon what we want to accomplish and time tables. I think we managed to get the album out at a perfect time.

Speaking about the new line-up for the album, I think the drumming is tighter and the addition of a 2nd guitar gives a thicker sound and value more soloing… Have they been fruitful changes  as expected ?
Extremely fruitful! Our new drummer Juha is propably the best doom metal drummer in southern Finland, so we are really happy! With the addition of second guitar the compositions can have more variations and more room for leads and solos. Also with the second guitar we added a tons of more heaviness into the music!

Both those new members play in Cataleptic but I guess things were clear between you and them that SOLOTHUS is the highest priority for everyone in the band …. ?
For them, Cataleptic is the number one band, for they have played in that always, but it does not affect their motivation and dedication for Solothus. There has been no conflicts.

Nihilistic rds has re-released the “ritual of the horned skull” demo tape with a bonus song, was this one from the original recording session or recorded later specifically for this special edition ?
We recorded two songs for the split with Cataleptic, A Call to War and Magus of Doom. The split never happened and we wanted to re-record Magus of Doom for the debut album. So A Call to War didn’t really have no use and it was recorded already. Then Gabriel contacted us and asked if we had any bonus material for the re-release. So we decided to use that song! It fits really well on the tape!

How did you get in touch with Memento Mori  records ? They ‘re actually releasing very good material but were not that reknown back one year ago when you signed… were you confident from the 1st contact in their abilities to be THE label to deal with ?
Raul contacted us and his offer was really good for us! I think they have seriously good bands in their line up and he is adding more awesome bands all the time! Raul’s enthusiasm, personality and professionalism really made a good impression on us. He has so much respect for bands and he puts a lot of heart and work into his label. I can’t say a single bad word about Memento Mori!

Did you enter in contact with some label mates yet ? Have you heard tracks from the awesome forthcoming album of Uncofinned ?
I haven’t really been that much in contact with label-mates. Kat from Uncoffined I have been in touch a little, really nice gal! Also newer addition to Memento Mori roster Altar of Betelgeuze’s Matias I have been in touch a lot lately. I even got to share some drinks with him at this years Hammer Open Air. I think there will be more co-operation with said bands in the future.

I guess that you’re impatiently waiting for your 1st gigs abroad ? Is there something in the works for a tour ?
Indeed we are! Would be great to get to play abroad, but at the moment, no offers has been done really. We have been doing a lot of gigs in Finland for past year. It’s all good. I love to play gigs where ever it is!

Logically or not, people almost systematically  refer to Hooded Menace when speaking about Solothus… basically there’s some common elements for sure but I feel you’re more brutal and melodic at the same time and don’t have those horror-like moods, after all don’t you think that if they were American or Chinese, the comparison  would be different or inexistant?
Well yes, there is a lot of that. I think Hooded Menace is brilliant band! Really like their stuff, but I think we have different thing going on. I find lot of differences but there are also similiarities. Of course the fact that we are both from Finland and that we play Death/Doom Metal plays a part. I still don’t mind! We even played a tour with them, which was awesome!

On the other hand I’m a bit surprised that you never name finnish bands as influences/references while your country has been hyper productive during the last two decades in doom/death departments, is that you’re more into swedish legacy with Candlemass and Lake of Tears (surprising !) ?
Hmmm that is true. We tend to favor our neigbours, hehe. The fact is that when we put Solothus up, we were really into Candlemass and still are. Me and Veli (lead guitars, composer, original member) grew up listening to Lake of Tears. It was the first heavy metal bands we were into. Those are the major ones. But easily a lot of finnish bands have influenced us! Reverend Bizarre, Fall of the Idols, Spiritus Mortis, Rippikoulu, Abhorrence, Funebre, Convulse… List goes on and on.

What do you think of a band like Purtenance coming back more than 20 years after their (brief) 1st existence and getting just 20 metalheads for their 1st reunion gig ??? Aren’t young people interested by old names like Purtenance, Demigod, Demilich, Adramelech, Phlegethon, etc… ?
I love the fact that they are back! As long as they make kick ass material, I don’t mind! Well, the gig they had at Tuhdimmat Tahdit was a festival for all kinds of people, it was not a metal festival and they played the first slot or something like that, hence the low number of people. If they would have played at a proper gig place with some other bands, I think there would have been a lot of people there. Certain younger folk are into old school death metal, but majority of finnish people are into all this plastic metal that comes from all corners of the earth. All this folk metal/melodic/metalcore bullshit. People are too lazy to look up for the real killer bands!

It is definitely not something obvious to catch attention of both  fans from Candlemass and Autopsy ...  but Solothus has instantaneously done it without sounding too old-school, do you feel more close Doom or Death metal  or you make no distinction and just enjoy your music heavy , ugly and epic at the same time ?
That is a good question. I myself grew up with doom metal, but been into death metal also my whole life. I have always viewed Solothus as a doom metal band since a lot of our riffs are pure doom metal. We have added more death metal elements to the music too. We try to be a bit of both! The songs just come up that way, they have uglier bits with more epic stuff too. Just natural creation!

Your lyrics are dealing with dark fantasy and occult stuff,  do you blend them in the lyrical content or does it give two distinct type of lyrics ?
They blend and sometimes they are two distinct songs. Depends on the things I write about. For me, fantasy literature has always been the number one thing. I am not that into horror/gore stuff myself. Another difference between us and a lot of other bands, hehe.

What’s next for Solothus for this 2nd part of 2013 ? Are you already working on new material?
We try to do as many gigs as we can. We have already started with new material for next album. I think you can wait for our second album somewhere in 2015. We wanna take things slow and do even better album than Summoned from the Void!

Thanx guys, please remind us which merchandise is actually available and add something if you wish…
Our debut album is out and you can get it from us, Memento Mori or selected distros. The tape is still available from Nihilistic Holocaust. We just pressed more t-shirts, so if you want to join the Cult of Death and Doom, you can order your shirt from us real soon!
It was an honour to do this interview! Temple of Perdition was the first media to ever review anything by Solothus, so in that way too, very important for us!

Cheers and DOOM ON!

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