The Swedish are nobodies to me, but I liked what I heard and I was interested to learn more about them. So I contacted them and they - actually guitarist Harri Pikka took over the job - were so kind to answer my questions. Here we go!
Please tell us about the beginning of Total Devastation! Why do you choose the name? What does the name mean to you?
In the beginning when the band was formed in 1998 there were only Jaakko Heinonen (vocals) and Lauri Pikka (programming) messing around with computer made music and crazy vocals. Few demos were made with this two men line-up and some interest was caused in the underground scene. In year 2001 I joined the band and as a trio we made the demo Divine-Ecstasy. Gig offers started to pop up and we needed more people to play with us. The new Total Devastation was formed very easily: Jarmo Pikka came to play drums and Hakuli twins Pasi and Saku joined to play bass and guitar. Some gigs were played and in summer 2002 we recorded the demo Left Hand Of The Devil which brought us together with Firebox Records. Debut album Roadmap Of Pain Was recorded in spring 2003 and released in the following summer.
The name was originally stolen from Impaled Nazarene's lyrics or something, afterwards we've heard that Destruction has an album with the same name too. The name reflects our sound and energy in music. We don't literally want to destroy everything and be evil. It gives people a some kind picture of the music even when they haven't heard of us.
And how would you describe your music? And which song gives the best idea Total Devastation?
Intensive music with influences from lots of different kind of bands. Firebox has introduced us to the markets as modern death metal and that is one way to put it. From our album you could take for example two songs, Fleshing and Production Peak, those songs represent totally different kind of moods.
The current line-up is a line-up of brothers, okay plus two others. Seems to be a kind of family-thing. Does it make work easier? Or do you think it makes work hard, coz you know each other too well?
So far everything has worked really well in this family business.
Roadmap Of Pain is your current release. Can you tell us something about the lyrics?
Ville Heiskanen has written all the lyrics on this album. Stress in life, pain obviously mixed with fictional stories is the overall line on the album.
What inspires you in general lyrically? Musically?
Good music and movies gives me kicks and makes me want to write songs.
Which bands influenced you? Metal bands? From other genres?
For me big influences are bands like Entombed, Carcass, Neurosis, Xysma, Danzig. Johnny Cash and Nick Cave have been also spinning a lot on my stereos. Other collective favorite bands among the TD members are bands like Morbid Angel, Iron Monkey, Napalm Death, Björk, Rotten Sound, Mastodon, Burst, Nasum, the list is endless...
Who had the idea for the cover? Booklet?
I think the original idea for the booklet came, when we were watching the movie Papillon while we were recording the album. The idea was then brought to life by artist Teemu Kumpulainen who did almost everything concerning the covers and booklet.
How were the reactions in general? Are there certain territories where Total Devastation are selling better?
Reactions have been really good, after all we are a new band and we have only made one album. Very good reviews has being popping out all the time and more and more people seem to find our music interesting. I think there hasn't formed a certain territory yet where we would be selling more records than elsewhere.
What about touring? The bio said something about touring late 2003 Scandinavia and before that doing about 2 weeks in central Europe. How were the reaction?
The tour mentioned on that bio was cancelled due lack of time for promotion of the gigs. We have been doing lots of gigs in Finland after the release of Roadmap Of Pain. A mini tour with Callisto (Fin), another mini tour with Lullacry and Norther. We also supported Entombed and Crown for one gig each.
Is anything scheduled so far for other countries? Festivals this summer?
No confirmed gigs outside Finland at the time, and there aren't any confirmations for festivals yet either. Hopefully we have the chance to play on some big Finnish festivals.
Which band you would like to tour with?
Danzig / Total Devastation world tour could be fun. If that doesn't work out we have to turn to the plan B which is tour with Finnish band called Rite Around The Bars Of Kymi.
You recorded the album at Sundi Coop Studio under the supervision of Tuomo Valtonen. How come? How was working out with Tuomo?
We had a few studios in mind and a small budget so we had to choose the place where we could have the best result in short period of time. So we chose Sundi Coop, because there was a man with great wisdom of metal behind the studio equipment and he has done great work with different kinds of bands.
Working with Tuomo was very easy and nice, although I had a serious stomach illness going on when we were recording.
The final mastering was done by Mika Jussila at Finnvox Studio. Was it your choice?
Yes, everything that was concerning the album from the music to the covers was in our hands. Finnvox is good studio with great mastering staff.
Will you work with these guys again? Or do you have someone else in mind for the next album?
The album #2 will be done pretty much with the same team concerning the studio work and the artwork.
You had already started writing new songs when Roadmap Of Pain was released. Do you write songs as a band? Or does someone comes up with an almost finished track and then you overdo it as a band?
It varies, sometimes Hakuli brothers or I come up with song that is nearly ready, sometimes we jam and make songs. Song structures have their own life and they take shape after they have gone trough the Total Devastation treatment.
Can you already tell us something about the coming album? Title? Recordings? Etc.?
We have now about 14 songs under work and about 10-12 will end up on the record. There are much richer songs coming up, better in every way. On the first album there were songs that had appeared on our demos too, now every song is fresh and great for us too. The album will be recorded in September 2004 and will be out probably by the end of the year.
Often fans are interested in the demos of a band. Are there any plans to make them available for the fans? Perhaps through the website? As download?
There are some songs available, no bigger plans at this point.
Can the internet help young bands from every corner of the world to get attention? Is a homepage essential for a young band these days? What do you think? How are your experiences?
Homepages are almost a must these days, if band isn't that big name yet. It is the easiest way to get info about bands and discover new interesting acts.
Is the band involved in the website? Or just giving information to the webmaster?
Yes, Lauri Pikka of Total Devastation is responsible of www.totaldevastation.org. We have also few friends who are doing designs and stuff, but mainly Lauri does everything concerning our website.
What makes it worth to surf the web and visit your page? Any special things on your page?
We have now two music videos that can be downloaded from our site. Check them out! The videos are from songs Struggling From Chokehold and Fleshing. There are also sound clips from other songs and more info about the band. Also some beautiful pictures of young bearded boys available. And check links also, great other bands can be found there.
What do you think about a page like www.mp3.com where bands can publish their songs. Would you publishing your songs on www.mp3.com, if you wouldn't have a deal?
It's good that people can find unsigned bands through pages like that. There is loads of good music. I think our songs have been available through mp3.com, at the time that site seems to be down.
Famous last words.... Anything you want to say to the fans?
Visit our website www.totaldevastation.org and check the new music videos that are available there. Listen to good music and have a good time!
I think I have to check out the videos on their page. An interesting band which I'll follow from now on. And I hope that I'll get the chance to see them live one day... If they come around, just go to see them.