Catamenia have a new album out and they changed a bit... Time to talk to Catamenia. Singer and rhythm guitarist Ari Nissilä and lead guitarist Riku Hopeakoski were so nice to answer a few questions.
With Cavalcade you have a new album out and I guess it surprised many. Even if there are some black metal parts, the album is more melodic... You seems to pursue a different musical path. Just the way it developed? Or have you thought about a change?
Ari: Speaking the truth, after the release of VIII - The Time Unchained we had a period when we all lost this spark of making and enjoying music. We analyzed the situation and realized that with the same style and path we'll just repeat ourselves and there is no point to go around a circle. We decided to try out something new and when Riku brought his first new song to rehearsals, Blood Trails, it was like a boom! New found joy was there and we found lots of new sparks to keep on going. We found out fast that the new style of Catamenia is more than Welcome and it sounds amazing to ourselves. At same point we wanted to renew other things also and let the wolf enjoy it's well earned retirement. Now we are full of energy and the flame of passion for music is lid up again, so these changes that we call as natural evolution and steps were just perfect for us.
The artwork no longer shows a wolf... A deliberate change?
Ari: Yes, like I said we wanted to renew whole pack. One reason why we dumped the wolf was that there is at least ten more bands using wolf as their trademark. We felt that why to start argue about 'we were the first'-shit than we could refresh the whole thing at once. Now there is no clear trademark for us, but maybe later there'll be. Who knows what we discover to be our new 'trademark'. If something comes up, it will definitely be an unique thing like wolf was when we started with that! Now we let those nine other bands keep the wolf and we have no pressure to think what to have next.
The title Cavalcade is easy to remember, but many won't know about it's meaning. As an equestrian it has a meaning to me, but I guess you can enlighten us, why you choose this title, right?
Ari: Yes, we turned the meaning of cavalcade upside down and it has totally different meaning on our album than it's origin. Like on the title song, we wrote everything from the aspect of the beaten and dominated ones, as they are watching Cavalcade of conquerors and on the other hand, there is this small sting in winner's heart growing into their conscience. It is much, much more harder to write and set into side of slave and oppressed one, than these normal 'hail and kill, we rule'- lyrics. Also there is deeper meaning that push you to think all the wrong deeds from the past that are written as glorious moments of civilization by, of course, winner's historians. Example, think those crusaders who destroyed cultures from the veil and by the name of the holy cross.
At the opener Blood Trails Ville Laihiala joined you. Was it easy to convince him?
Riku: We already had the idea to use his vocals on our previous album, but all the bad vibes, troubles with the schedules and problems in the studios caused the result that we postponed his guest vocal sessions into the next album and later time of a period. Now it was the time for that, because this time everything went really fine, no problems what so ever occurred and we had plenty of time left, so we decided to call Ville to sing the chorus on Blood Trails because we knew that his voice will fit there perfectly!
Ari: Nice thing to see was how surprised Ville was about our music. He told that he didn't expect so much from us and had some serious doubts knowing our black metal past and backround. But when he heard our new stuff, he asked can he hang out with us in the studio and kept asking to hear a song after another all the time. He really loved the new style and the new songs! He is really cool company and we had great time with him. Hope that we can do more co-operation with him in the future.
At The Vulture's Feast your black metal roots are almost gone, is this the direction you will head? Or was it just a one-time trip off the beaten track?
Riku: This song is really personal and close to me. It has many different aspects and point of views from my own life here. I would not say that it's one-time trip because we already included same kind of a song into our previous album VIII – The Time Unchained. This The Vulture's Feast is kind of a part 2 for the song Fallen, but still it's not and has a completely own story behind it. But surely, this is not the main direction where we'll be heading. I think the whole album in general shows our way. To have a wide variety of different kind of songs different from each others, but still keeping it tightly together and not losing the thin red line between the songs. They all are somehow connected to each others musically and lyrically. If you take this song out of the album, the whole picture could easily be disturbed and the general picture could be easily lost, you know. You can assume any song instead of The Vulture's Feast and the answer will remain the same.
Are you satisfied with the feedback you got so far? I guess not everybody is happy with the 'new' Catamenia...
Ari: Surprisingly people took this change in our style very well and there is only few of these 'trve-blackers' who keep constantly bashing our new album around different forums, etc. But those are individual cases who are so disappointed to our new style. Maybe they feel that we were their secret and underground property which is now taken from them, who knows? There are shit loads of new fans around and that might irritate some individuals. But we are really amazed how great reviews and comments this album has gathered, so we are truly satisfied with the feedback so far.
Riku: Sometimes I feel that whatever you do or whatever you make, nothing's good enough. Come on, of course you cannot please everyone at the same time, it's all about decisions and it's always about the matter of your taste! But let's say, if we would have stick with the same style than before and made only small changes, there would have been people who would have said why we did not we do anything new, this is like the old stuff but in a different package! Well, we'll try to live and learn, heheh.
Not for the first time you cover a song, this time it's Megadeth's Angry Again on the regular edition and Sentenced's Farewell. Sentenced is a more obvious choice, but why these songs?
Riku: I have always wanted to execute my perversion of the best band in the whole wide world, Megadeth. Dave Mustaine is the best damn composer and guitarist out there and I have truly admired him since I was a kid! I have been thinking all the time when the time is mature and right for to do a cover of one of his songs and now it was because the atmosphere in the band's awesome and everyone in the band loves that particular song. I did not want to rape the song, but honor the original one. I only wanted to have a small change on the tempo, so it's now little bit faster and wanted the chorus to flow more with harmony of many guitars and clean vocals.
Ari: The song Farewell is more like a tribute song than just a cover song. It's a tribute to Mr. Tenkula and Sentenced – may you both R.I.P.! Sentenced has given so much to the Finnish scene out there and they have contributed so much for the metal scene in general, so this is our way to express our gratitude for them what they have done with their music around the world!
So, which songs do you think represent Catamenia 2010 best? Any plans to do a video for a song?
Riku: There was an idea to release a video at the same time as the album was released, but depending on unmatching time schedule with the rest of the band, we could not come up with the video ... yet. There'll be a video shot and released sometime around this Spring, but unfortunately you have to wait for it for a while. The video song has been chosen long time ago and it'll be the title song Cavalcade. In my opinion, the songs that represent Catamenia the best today are Blood Trails, Cavalcade and Reincarnation. Well, what the hell I am talking about, the whole new album represents Catamenia what we are today, heheh.
There are some shows in Finland scheduled and 2 festivals - Ragnarök and Czech's Brutal Assault. Anything else on the way?
Ari: There are negotiations for couple of tours in Europe, Russia, South- and North-America and Australia going on and if and hopefully everything goes as planned, this year will be the most active year in history of Catamenia's live performance. That would be just perfect for us, because we truly love to play live and meet up with fans and grab a beer or two with them.
Catamenia is existing now for 15 years, survived line-up changes and somehow you managed without label changes. So what are your aims for the future? Dreams which haven't come true yet?
Ari: We are living our most precious dream all the time. See, we have managed to survive in this business throughout these years and seems like we will be there for some time too, so you're not getting away from us that easily, hehe. That is something we can't underrate, because today it is so hard to stay there more than those glorious 15 minutes of fame. Several bands come and go in one night. Of course there are many goals to do and new ones come all the time. Now what would be great would be that all those plans with tours and gigs will take place and we could enjoy from very active year.
At the moment many bands do anniversary tours / specials... Anything planned for your 15th anniversary? Or do we have to wait until your 20th anniversary?
Ari: I think we'll try to manage something really special in a touring field with release of our tenth album. Years go by without more focus, but our tenth album is a true 'North pole' for us. We have planned some special and extra shit with the album, so it would be the right time to do some special tours then also.
What's next on your schedule?
Ari: To do as many gigs and tours as we possible can! Also soon we'll have to start to plan all the things around that 10th album of ours because it'll be kind of an anniversary album, so there'll be some cool things, so hopefully our label will approve our request for the limited box set including something that anyone has not done before. There's something to chew on for a while as well, heheh. Kippis Perkele!
I have to thank Ari and Riku for enlighening us and I hope to see them soon on tour!