Not too long ago I noticed that Antti Karhu, formerly The Man Eating Tree, had a new band, named Post Pulse. I found their just released first album named “Halls of the Damned” and listened to it. It is quite different from The Man Eating Tree, of course. It is aggressive stuff! Straightforward, honest and pure. Interesting. As they listed Helsinki as the band’s base I got in touch.
|We had agreed to meet somehow at some time during the Tuska weekend. That was in the end not as easy as it seemed. First of all: there is no spot on the whole venue at which you could speak in quiet. Then, of course, there is the program and some more appointments. Lucky me, I met Sam Roon, the bassist, in the pit! So suddenly everything was terribly easy. In the end Sam, Tapani “Doe” Rantanen (vocal) and Anttoni Välimaa (drums) met in my apartment being only a few paces from the venue but quiet. Already on our walk there, we were laughing most of the time. The photo gives away immediately; Anttoni is a good deal younger than the rest. And so the other band members are kind of teaching him some more self-esteem by poking and joking on him. Perhaps not the most traditional approach in classical education but a working one, as we will see. One thing was very clear when we arrived: the chemistry in this band couldn’t be any better. Absolutely.|
Fun and heavy as hell
With all the laughing and joking, I found it a tough thing (just as tough as to sit on a biting dog) to make a cut and start asking about the aggressive style of their music. And yet I had to go for it. But first we needed to democratically agree on the fact that an interview without questions will not work. Ok. Back to the music then: I mention that the music is somewhat more aggressive than the atmosphere just now. Anttoni confirms: “It’s ok. We like it aggressive.” We’re laughing out loudly yet again.
Calming down I try to start and mention that I read the album was considered death metal. But when listened it for the first time I found somehow industrial influences. Not that I’d consider the music all industrial. No. But on top of whatever genre people being fond of classifying music in genres will find fitting, I have this impression. “Industrial influences?” Doe asks. Then it is Sam who replies: “That’s pretty interesting, because Antti would have wanted to take it there.” – “Yeah”, I hear the others murmur. “If we had not like put our feet on the brakes”, Sam continues. “So maybe, so it’s really possible that without like the really obvious industrial elements that might exist, that you might still get that impression, if you are a fan of industrial music.” – “Well, I am not exactly a fan. It is perhaps more a feeling.” Doe says: “It could be so. Antti, he is so versatile in his music. He is so wide like his music taste. So wide! And he takes influences from everywhere in his music. So it is quite possible. The industrial might come.”
“Then what was your aim? What did you want your music to be like?” Anttoni says: “I think we aimed to make a groovy and very aggressive record in my opinion.” He speaks slowly and carefully forms his sentences, appears a bit nervous. “I was hoping to make something a bit more unique, not just something that would fit into a certain subcategory or anything. Just making music that we like making and that’s not something that’s every one making”, explains Doe so that Sam simply adds: “Yeah, that’s true.” Then he goes on: “I think, at least in my personal perspective, my goal and aim was to be in something that was easy and fun to play and super aggressive at the same time, and so it gets like this kind of really heavy kind of feeling. I wanted this band to be fun. We have all been in bands in the past, and I think they were sounding experience that we have all with our different bands is like ‘Oh it’s a little serious and a little technical, and focused on these weird aspects’. And I think that we kind of came together that we had this similar feeling about ‘let’s make that easy and fun and heavy as hell.’ At least from my perspective that is kind of how I approached.” Doe and Anttoni agree. Then Anttoni explains “And we don’t use a song if someone is uncomfortable playing it. Then we throw it in a thrash can or we make it better.”
“Well, that sounds so harsh”, I say not fully intentionally. But then again I am curious how the band members are related to their creative output. “I mean someone came up with it, put all the effort and heart blood into it and then the other say ‘No, it’s not good and …’” – “It’s interesting”, Sam starts, “because the way that we create music is we don’t get emotionally attached to a song. We are emotionally attached to writing music. So when we have an idea, even if it is a weird idea, we kind of have this rule to explore this idea till the end of it, and then see what happens. If we’re playing something, and one of us is like ‘Well I don’t know it is so weird’ we would all say: ‘Let’s just try it and see where it ends.’ And sometimes you’ll take it quite far and some you just try for ten minutes, you know. And then you know it doesn’t work. And then we’ll try something like just very recently a song that we have been working on for four months. All right?” He looks for confirmation from the others and Doe supports “Yeah around that.” –“And then we just cut it”, Sam explains. “You know, we tried, and tried and tried, explored it to the end and it didn’t work. And maybe one day some of the riffs will come out of it and create something new. But we, we like writing music, and we write really fast. So it’s not like now that we throw away a song, now there is some a piece that doesn’t get created. It’s kind of like maybe in the future we’ll take riffs from this and use it to inspire other things. But Antti brings something to the table almost every week. So …”
An “Oh my goodness” slips my mouth although Sam was still speaking. “Yeah”, he replies to me before he continues: “So it’s a lot to work on.” Anttoni confirms “Yeah” with a sigh making sure there is a hell lot of material. “We got to pick the whole big picture of the sound”, Anttoni tells me.
I wonder: “You have just come up with the first album and it seems to me the second is nearly done as well.” They all agree happily: “Almost” – “Yeah.” – “Nearly.” I shake my head and think ‘weird’- Sam then explains: “Actually before we decided to cut that one song, we were saying that the album is done.” – “No?!” – “And that was before this album came out!” Sam highlights. “So, but now we have a new song we’re kind of in love with.” Doe points out: “Once we nail that down, the next album is done!” Sam agrees. “But we write music very fast. And the music is evolving. I know you can’t see that like based on one album that just came out but we’re evolving quite quickly and we’re writing quite quickly. I think the band is inspired and excited. So…” – “Very obviously it is”, I just say. “Yeah. So that makes it easy to keep creating”, Sam says. “And we got pretty good chemistry between the members”, Anttoni points out. I wonder if they leave me anything to ask with a smile but I don’t mention it. “We communicate pretty much everyday through WhatsApp”, Anttoni continues, “and see once a week in the rehearsals.” – “And than the group hugs”, Sam adds quietly only to leave us all laughing out loudly yet again while ‘little’ Anttoni says: “Yeah! Team spirit!!! Hei!” – “That’s right, that’s right”, Sam says still laughing. “Ok, ok, no group hugs”, Sam explains trying to calm down. “We got a good team spirit”, Anttoni repeats and this time Sam simply agrees: “Yes.”
“Obviously. Because otherwise you were not meeting besides the rehearsals to attend something like this festival today.” – “Yeah”, is Doe’s simple reply, while Sam confirms like “That’s true. And our guitar player would be here if he wasn’t going to Guns’n’Roses tomorrow”, Sam explains. I wonder that he got a ticket as I had heard just that day that the tickets had been sold out so quickly and photographers were hardly admitted but asked to write instead. “Yeah, he bought tickets like the day they came out as a present to his wife. So, yeah. He was like ‘I’m just going as fan, hang out and …’, so there was no Tuska for him. That’s alright though.” Just the moment I try to get to the next question Sam adds “But yes that’s the comradery. We go to shows all the time together, not just Tuska. If there is other bands playing like Decapitated or somebody comes to town. We go.” – “We buy tickets and go see them”, Doe says “Yeah, exactly” says Sam. “Writing on WhatsApp ‘Who is going to this? Are we going to meet beforehand? Have some beers?’”
“That sounds really cool”, I comment, however, I hear a voice echoing in my mind ‘not just a metal band’, but a band of friends, I think. I say: “It sounds like a band that could last for a long time. Because I have come to the point to see that bands often have a communication problem, being put together by someone being extremely passionate when suddenly it turns out that something in the band chemistry is not working. And that will pile up over some time or years never getting really sorted out until it leads to something that cannot be solved anymore.” Sam points out that “Motivation has to be equal between everybody. You don’t have to want the same things but you need the same motivator like in the end. We all wanna be playing live shows. We all want to …” – “We all got the same goal, playing in a band”, Anttoni supports. “And actually that was part of the conversations when we were like finding band members. You know when we were like interviewing each other. That was one of the questions. Are you the motivated guy? Like, what do you bring to the table besides playing your instrument? What can you do? How can you help push the band? These are really important things. And are you going to push the band because we have interviewed people who are not sitting here simply because ‘I sing. That’s what I do. I sing.’ – ‘Well. Ok that’s great, but you’re not motivated enough.’ You know?” – “Of course”, I utter. “You might be the greatest singer on the planet. But we’re not looking for just a singer. You know maybe some big, established band would be very happy take singer. But for us, we’re nobody. So in order to get it to anywhere from nothing you need everybody to be equally motivated.” Sam explained calm but engaged.
“How did you make sure the chemistry is ok?” I would like to know, as this is one of the absolute essentials. “With beers”, Doe simply throws in. And while we’re all still laughing, Anttoni tries to explain, “We’re not really thinking that way. We have the same goal and we have talked about things. And we can say things like straight to face. Someone doesn’t like something. And we are just cool with it because every one has a right to his own opinion.” – “To me”, Doe begins, “it was quite obvious already at the point when there was Sam, and other people who are not in the band anymore, when they were interviewing with me as the singer of the band. And it became quite obvious to me that the chemistry was right already at that point. I knew that it was all right and you could do stuff with these guys. Because the way we did the interview it was somewhat more relaxed. Ok it was in a bar and we had a beer. But, yeah. It was quite obvious at that moment to me at least. I felt it’s easy to work with this kind of people. That’s how I felt.” – “Pretty much the same”, Anttoni adds to Doe’s statement. “But I got a little bit pressure because the other guys were so much like experienced than I have.” Anttoni says very slowly. He is a bit nervous but does great. “And I got the pressure that ‘ok, time Anttoni, show what you got.’” We laugh to ease bit up. Anttoni continues: “When we wrote the first album, I was like overplaying my parts. And when we were doing the pre ….” – “Preproduction.” – “Yes, preproduction, Antti said to me like: ‘Calm down. Calm down. Just play the beat. Flow with it.’ And I was like …” Imitating his situation, his voice comes from very low to a carefully expressed: “Okeeeeiiiii” from Anttoni. “I felt really insecure. Because I wasn’t quite showing my skill off or anything, but then I understood what Antti told me. And I just played the beat. And that’s it.” He laughs a bit to distract from being excited. But there is no need, of course. The three of them have shown their commitment for each other and the band already. And the atmosphere is very calm and relaxed, felt very thoughtful, as I think of it. No one is hurrying to utter statements or to prove his position. No. They have all the time in the world and so naturally they hear each other out, take time to think. Sam: “Yeah Anttoni is like a … he is quite young. But he has a lot of talent.” – “Thank you”, Anttoni says politely.
That would be another question of mine. Actually Post Pulse is only one of a rising number of bands coming up with remarkably younger drummers. It seemed to me that there must be some kind of abundance of very good, young drummers. But Sam opposes: ”That is definitely only your impression. Because the truth is, there are very few skilled drummers in the world. And finding them is incredibly hard. And I have this experience both from New Jersey, New York and now from Finland. And it’s very hard to find highly skilled drummers. And when you find them, they’re usually in five or six bands, you know. And that’s totally the norm.“ – “And the commitment isn’t very … quite certain”, Anttoni says. “Yeah”, Sam agrees and adds: “So at least from my experience, there are very few, highly qualified drummers. There are many drummers. But good drummers? That’s not that many. You have to imagine that there are less drummers than bass players. There are less drummers than singers. There are less drummers than guitar players. Imagine how many shitty guitar players you know. Or terrible bass players. Or bass players you just don’t find interesting. Or how many bad singers do you know? Everybody’s trying but there are so many bad ones. Now imagine the pool of them down to something much smaller. Now you have like the amount of drummers. Now imagine that in that pool of drummers there is a lot of shitty ones. So the ones that are left it’s like … It’s much harder to find those. So with Anttoni, we had a very conscious decision. We know that he doesn’t have the same experience as the rest of the band. And we understand and maybe there will be some hurdles along the way but that’s ok with us because the talent is there. And we want to be part of you know his legacy as a drummer. You know, we want Post Pulse to be like the band that really like became this awesome thing. I get excited just being part of that.” – Once more a quiet and shy “Thank you” comes from Anttoni’s direction. “I feel like I have grown as a musician and drummer in this band” and he adds after a couple of seconds smiling “in the last ten years.”
Love at first sight
“So many compliments on both sides”, I find. “But how did you get the band started anyway? Like two of you sitting together for a beer and …” Sam laughs. So it was apparently different. “Sam can start. He actually is the original”, Anttoni explains. “Yeah, I was friends with a guitar player from a completely separate band before I moved to Finland”, Sam begins to tell the tale. “So when I moved he was helping me getting started with my own band. And I put these adds out there. And I was like ‘hei let’s go create this badass band’ and I posted online. And famous musicians in Finland were helping me share it. And the comments were like ‘who the fuck does this guy think who he is?’ ‘Why should anybody join his band?’” I swallow. And Sam says: “And I was like ‘Ok, tough crowd.’” Doe is laughing time and again. “You know, so that didn’t work. And I pushed for many months. And I was writing songs and I was just throwing them out there. And a bass player writing songs, you can imagine how good they are. But like, I tried. Right?”
I am laughing. And Sam joins me. “Well, but there are very talented composers among bass players, I think” and Sam replies: “Maybe I am not one of those. But anyway that guitar player, and his band, he broke up because he and his fellow guitar player in that band were the only two motivated people. So their bass player, their singer and their drummer were all kind of like ‘yeah maybe’ …” For a moment I thought one of those guitar players could be Antti. But Sam explains that’s not the case and that he was giving me the long story. “Those two motivated individuals from this band wanted to create new music. And so they decided to ask me to team up with them. And it was at that point we wrote a couple of songs and found Doe. And that’s the same time when we also found Anttoni.” “Oh, I remember you told me some guy whose name was Doe” … “Yah, yah. So it was with those two guys that I found these guys.” Sam points at Doe and Anttoni. “And then we started kind of shifting our focus. We were very motivated. And they were very motivated. But one of the guys didn’t have the same end goal. And didn’t have the same ways in doing things. So we parted ways with him. And then there was one guy left, going through a rough time in life and” –“Shit happens” – “Yeah, shit happens. And he was like a hard time committing to the band, we also let him go. And then we started our search for a guitar player. And we were playing cover songs in a studio for months.” – “Yeah, I was playing guitar”, Doe says. “And that was terrible” he adds laughing as we all do. But still laughing Sam points out “Now that was a fun time”. Doe, Anttoni and Sam drift into the discussion of the essential question if there are any recordings of those sessions. In the end they agree there might be some prove of this but hurry to go on with the story. “Oh, we were having a good time”, Sam sums up “and we were far from what you’ve heard from Post Pulse today. So we were searching for a guitar player and then finally Antti applied. So he flew from Oulu to Helsinki. We sat down in a bar and within like 30 seconds the guys were like: ‘You are our guy!’ It was instant”, he points out. “Love at first sight”, Anttoni commends the sunny image. “Oh that was wonderful. We had a moment”, Sam is romanticising in his memory with only a slight cynical undertone in his voice. “And for the first band practise he came with us, he had wrote already a song”, Anttoni tells me. “Wow.” – “Yeah.” “Was it ‘The Gates’?” – “Yeah” – “Was it?” – “Yah.” “It’s the first track of the album!” Anttoni highlights but also explains: “Quite different than the album version was.” – “Yah.” – “Yah.” – “That’s how it all started.” It must have been an exciting experience because it is one of the very times they all speak in the same moment. “I am really glad. A lot of times a band will really start like, the first song they ever write, you will never hear it and it never makes it anywhere. Our first song we wrote is our first song on our first album! You get to hear …” – “We didn’t even throw any songs out for the first album”, says Anttoni. “That’s true. Yeah. That’s how we met. It was just one by one.” – “Is Antti now in Helsinki?”— “Yes. He moved here.” Here them speaking of Antti, I have the impression that they put him a bit on a stand. Well, at least he has an outstanding position in the band, as we shall see.
“This is something I really find hard to understand”; I start to explain the situation of many bands being spread over the whole country if not over half of Europe and still make it somehow.” Sam says “I think, once you’ve been in a band for many years, you have an established fan base and instead of doing shows you do tours, you know once you’ve reached that point, I think it’s ok to be able to be separated. Because basically, ok, I’ve got a tour, a 30-day tour through the US in October, so let’s get together and then two weeks before the tour we sit down, polish all of our songs, get our show together and then we’re doing our tour. So you don’t need to practise because you know how to play with each other. You got all of your songs. You just gonna need to decide what to do on that tour. And it’s the same with writing an album. You can live wherever. Maybe you are emailing ideas around. A lot of bands will get together, stay in the same place for a month. And write. And then will go into the studio. Or a lot of bands will just write in the studio. And a lot of bands are working with producers today“ Sam explains.
Folk Metal from The Woods?
“Are you one of these bands going into a cabin together?” “Nnnnnooooo”, they say laughing imaging already what it would end up like: “We haven’t been there yet”, say Doe. “I wish”; Anttoni says and repeats it while Sam highlights: “That would be fun”. And the others agree. “But I think, we were not writing music. We would just be drinking”, Sam admits. “Having sauna.” – “Possible!” Laughing some more words and terms are uttered before Anttoni focuses on the music again: “Maybe Antti would bring his acoustic guitar or something.” Then they discuss if the results would be more Bon Jovi-like or if they would have as album No 3 “Post Pulse – Folk Metal from The Woods”. I admit that this would bring a total new Post Pulse experience to me, which only fuels the laughing. But Sam points out than “There is an evolution of the band. The first album was kind of us finding ourselves. And I think, what made it to the album is a cohesive sound, all the instruments and everything. But like we’ve taken the elements that we like of the first album and have kept those and are now taking it further on the second album. It will be very different. It will still sound like the same band but there will be a noticeable difference.” Anttoni: “I think you can hear from the new songs that we … I am not say that we are not enjoying the ‘Halls of the Damned’ but we are more relaxed and enjoying more playing the songs. I don’t know if you got what I mean but … “ he fades into laughing. And Sam takes the idea and says: “That sounds really bad. Go on.” – “I mean.” Somehow we end up laughing again. “I’m trying to get my shit together”, Anttoni says defending but also laughs again. Then he says, “Well, for me I took more courage to like to step into song writing. And throwing some of my own ideas here and there more than on the first album.” He speaks very slowly and after a short break admits being a bit excited. I think, he’s done great so far and return, “it’s ok.”
“So do you play other instruments as well”, I ask Anttoni. “No. Just like drum ideas I’ve been doing. Because Antti makes a whole song ready, pretty much but he gives me the freedom to make my own feels and beats. But he wants some accents and nuances to be there. So that’s how I like …”
“So you’re not sticking to one system but every idea anybody has you just put it in and see …” I sum up. “Yeah.!” “We try everything”, Doe says. “… even if it is a small thing and you give it try and if it is a bigger thing than it might take a little longer?” – “So Antti will write a whole guitar track. But he also writes an entire drum track. So we end up getting from him will be the whole guitar and the whole drum track. Right? And I think with the first album you follow the drum track very closely.” Sam says looking to Anttoni. “Pretty much. I took some freedom at some parts”, Anttoni adds. “There were some important parts, some really like the hits that you came actually up with on the first album. But I think really the point is not to follow, what he writes but to get the whole things started. And I think Anttoni is really starting to get like doing like ‘that’s cool but I can also do this.’ And we are like: ‘Oh that’s an interesting idea.’ But I think Antti is having a hard time communicating the feeling of a song without providing us a drum track. So we see that as well.” – “He gives the idea what he wants to be in the song”, describes Anttoni the situation in his words.”
Metal after Death = Post Pulse
I had wondered about the band name, I admit. I had associations with more recent events and terms I hoped not to find related to the band, such as the new term of ‘alternative facts’. So, I ask for the story behind the band name, and if it is related to those terms. “It came before that”, says Sam, “thankfully.” Doe continues: “What I think is, it was actually Antti’s idea. It is just that Antti is a freaking hipster.” I cannot leave it out: we were all laughing out loudly at this moment. Only Doe tries to continue, “… his hipster idea of telling what kind of a band we are. What happens after the pulse ends? Nothing. You’re dead.” Sam agrees as I think, we all do. “Death. Death Metal”, Doe says in a strongly emphasizing tone. “Post Pulse!” Doe leaves long break between both, harshly pronounced words. “It was just an interesting idea.” Anttoni thinks “it sounds pretty good the way you say it.” Then Sam adds: “It’s creative enough, you know. The whole thing about finding band names is really difficult. We discuss the issue of making sure that the name you finally found for your band is not already used by another perhaps in another place rather popular band. And as Sam points out, the internet and social media are very helpful in this matter. He ends in: “yeah, it took months to find that name.” – I would like to know more about earlier name suggestions. “Oh, I don’t remember any more.” – “Wretched Birth”, Doe says. They agree, “that was before Antti came.” I have – by now – the impression that Antti changed willingly or not the band in each aspect. “But that was just so basic, generic Death Metal, ‘Wretched Birth’”, says Doe with a trace, only a trace of disgust in his voice. “It was a working title, if you want”, Sam explains.
“Speaking of Antti, not being here, it seems to me that it was kind of a re-birth when he came to the band.” They simply agree. “Because he is basically the guy who brings the first version of every song. So his influence in the band, even though he is the last one to join it, is massive, you know. None of us were songwriters. At least not in the sense that we can compose the whole” Sam describes. Anttoni says: “I am more arranging stuff.” And Doe adds his part: “I do all the lyrics and the vocal parts myself, and I bring the first versions to the table after Antti’s done the songs. So I bring my version to the table. But Antti is also very skilful at vocals himself. We then start working on them together. Bring the nuances and stuff together. Yeah. That’s how we work. So he brings the songs to the table. I bring the first version of the vocals, then we’re working together on the vocals.” Anttoni points out that “He is also the producer for the band.”
“I had the idea that he was working in a studio before, doing a lot of stuff there”, I say, “but then I am not really sure.” Sam replies: “He helps out a lot of bands. I don’t think he does it professionally. He does it as favours for friends of his and their friends, generally. But if wanted to have a career in being a producer, I think he were very successful in doing so.” – “It’s funny. There are always these guys being very skilful and ending like helping out everywhere. And in the end they might be crushed between all the kind of projects they’re doing.” But Sam explains. “Yeah, he has a lot of friends. But he also doesn’t mind saying no.” – “That’s good.” – “I think he is excited about this band. He was playing in ‘The Man Eating Tree’, you know?” – “That’s how I came across his name” [actually saw their shows]. – “But he wasn’t the songwriter in this band. So his creative ideas were small pieces. When it comes to Post Pulse, he really enjoys having a lot of control over the whole thing. He is the one who makes it to democracy … his democracy”, he says a bit hesitating which makes me frown in comprehension of the message. “So like he’ll bring a song to the table. We actually never had a conflict about it. Because he is so good, in what he does. So when he makes changes, we’re all like ‘yessss’, ‘fantastic’.” The other two utter agreement. “If he did something that didn’t work we’re like ‘hmmm, doesn’t really work’. But it just always does. He is just quite skilled at this. And I think him having that control in the band really motivates him. It is why he writes so much music.” And as if this is not enough, Anttoni adds: “And he did all the music videos also.” And Sam confirms, “yeah, he is a video editing guy.” Obviously the rest of the band has a great deal of respect for Antti so – at times – he appears a bit surreal. I ask smiling, “Ok, is there anything he can’t?” They catch my idea and Doe says: “I think he is afraid of heights.” The others agree laughing. So we agree that videos containing a downwards perspective will require the use of drones, still laughing.
This is what I live for
I ask about their experience in pushing the band on the marketing side in terms of networking, getting gigs and so. “We are trying to get more shows at the moment”, Doe says. “It has been a little bit of a struggle at the moment”, he admits then. But Anttoni says “It was more struggle before in early this spring before the album was released, because we had like 70 Facebook likes, and we were mailing to bars to get shows and nobody answered us. And we didn’t have any music online. I think it will get easier now when the album is out. And it has got attention in smaller metal media already.“ – “We have been talking with things coming in the future. So there are things in plans right now” Doe tells me. Sam illustrates his position: “I think this is something that I was talking about earlier. Like what is everybody bringing to the table, or what is the motivation level. Everybody is quite motivated. So we all are doing something, make something happen. Somebody is reaching out to bars about shows. Somebody is talking to booking agents about tours. Somebody is sending press kits to labels. Somebody is updating social media. Somebody is editing videos. Somebody is doing music. So like everybody is doing like two or three things at the same time. And we’re kind of like pushing. And I think when it comes to networking that’s just like making friends to us. So we don’t mind. Hanging out. Doing interviews like kind of stuff like what we’re doing right now, you know? To me this is fun.” – “It is to me!” – “So it’s not like … I don’t see it as something that is tiring. It’s the one thing I could do all day: Hang out and talking about my own band. Or play music with my own band. Because you know this is what I live for. I don’t mind doing the networking thing at all. At least me.” – “No at some point it will pay back”, Anttoni adds to this. “No, I don’t even know. To me it’s pay back in itself to meet people one on one, and talk about what it is that I’m doing. Saying things out loud even helps you sometimes like with the reception of the band, the whole band. I don’t know but I have a bad taste in my mouth from working with record labels, personally. So I don’t even know, how excited I would be signing like you know a basic 360 deal with a record label that no one has ever heard of before. ‘Here is 500 bucks to do whatever near music. And we’re gonna own your music.’ I’m just not interested in. We’re all adults. We all have jobs. We have a little bit of money. We do all the things, we wanna do by ourselves. We hired Inverse PR to handle our own press. That is the number one thing that bands need. Maybe they don’t realize. It might be the only thing you need. Spend less money even recording your album and spend that money on PR. It is THE most important thing. If you want anybody to know who you are, you need to get out there and have every tiny little blog in the world keep repeating your name. It needs to be there. And so even the small media outlets you have to give a massive amount of respect to because that is the stuff, that makes a band. Every single one of them and there are thousands out there. Like that’s where you need to focus your efforts if you ever want anybody to know who you are. You know?”
“It’s like reaching out for the multiplicators.” – “Yeah! We’re not playing pop music here.” A sharp “Thank you” slips my mouth (no offense to other than metal music meant though!) “We’re not gonna explode into the market and suddenly are super famous and you know” – “Yeah and tomorrow everybody will have forgotten about you.” – “Yeah, exactly. We’re playing Death Metal. The things that matter to us need to be that one on one, small, you know, focus kind of things. When it comes to like, everything that a record label might do for you. If you have a little bit of money on your bank account, you can do all of it and probably better. And the record label, it wants to sign as many bands as possible, and see which one of the thousand they have just signed actually blows and pays for all the rest. That’s what they made it all. And they do very little to help you on the way. So signing one of those record deals is ähhhh”, Sam says disgusted. “You know, I’d rather give my record to, you know like, Century Media. So you can say you’re on Century Media than receive a couple of thousand bucks from a no-name label. It’s at least, that it gets you some creditability. But, yeah. It’s interesting to see.”
“So if there is a good at deal on the table you consider it and might sign it?” – “We will consider it. You have to consider everything.” – “But then you’d go ahead just the way you’ve done before?” – “Yeah!” If something comes along like that I would like the offer should be something we cannot do ourselves. That’s the thing that matters to me. And for us, we can buy PR. I know the best PR people in the world are back in New York and they absolutely fantastic. We need booking. In order to get booking you need to have creditability. In order to get creditability for the booking probably you need a label. That’s the path to get me. Then I’d make a record deal. But then you have to decide if you really want to sign with Joe’s Record Label from down the block, you know, who signs all his friends. You know those are all those kind of things we’ve been working with. But when it comes to like networking and hoping to see where things go, and all this.”
“After all the horror stories I have heard of labels, it sounds a really good plan.” – “Yeah.” “Go slowly and if not than just go ahead, and with all the online media and options, we have compared to like 10 years ago your options are a lot better to achieve something here.” – “That’s the truth.”
Superheroes on my couch
As the “banana incident” from the video blog seems to be long forgotten by the band, I come to my final question. This time I go once more for the superhero question. “But it will be no odd question to you because actually you are superheroes. But I wonder which superheroes are sitting here on the couch?” After a second of silence, Sam buys a little time by declaring it an interesting question. “Superhero?” Doe asks a little surprised while a dry answer comes actually from Anttoni: “The embodiment of sex.” The guys laugh and I swallow my laughing to reply to the shyest of the group: “That would be you than.” He wins the ‘cool contest’ by saying simply and calmly: “Yes.” So I have to laugh as well. I utter something like “No need to ask why, of course.” Sam supports me explaining: “It should be obvious!” Somewhere in the laughing, I admit to Anttoni how tough it has been for me sitting so close to him all the time and holding myself back … But he is in a good shape and repeats confident (no without laughing himself): “I feel getting used to it.” A valuable advice from the somewhat more experienced bass player follows: “You have to control your super powers, man!” And I put on top that considering that he is ‘only the drummer’ of the band his super powers might fade quickly and he drop to his ‘normal position’ in the perception of female fans (which means for a drummer not being considered the sex symbol of the band). Doe and Sam confirm this turn of events. Time for me to remind the others: “There more superheroes here, I ‘ve heard.” Sam mentions not being totally comfy with the question only to put things upside down: “To me, personally, the superhero would be the person on the other side of the interview. Because really, it’s people like you that we get any kind of exposure at all. People who take the time and sit with bands who no one has ever heard of and most people would never even spend the time ask questions, researching questions, thinking what we might want to talk about, and the interview is really important to us at this early stage. And not anybody would care. So to me, you are the superhero in the room.” I am not too fond of compliments … especially of such big ones. I utter a half loud “Thank you” and hope for Doe to come up with his superhero character. “A superhero?” Sam’s suggestion of Wonderwoman seems not to fit Doe’s self-image. “Ah?” He looks hesitantly at Sam. “I’ve never been in superhero comics. So …” he considers sighing. And once more Anttoni hits the bull’s eye: “You start sounding like Batman.” And by the sound of his voice one could have the idea that this is not only meant a compliment. But Doe takes a second but then agrees: “Hei, probably … you got a point there.” After laughing with us all he says again: “You just have a point there. He just goes back to his cave and is like ….”, making a grumpy face and sounds. “He stays there just until … and he is ‘I’m just fucking dark and stay in my fucking dark place’ Ok, let’s say that.”
I start to sum up “So ok, we have here, Mr Sexbomb, then Batman …” – “and you”, Doe adds. “But I am just me then!” I thank the guys for all the fun and information and for a hell of a good time! They thank me and as it has been a long day at the festival getting even longer on the forthcoming Aftershow party, we part soon.
It must be part of my superpower that let me refuse the temptation of Mr Sexbomb next to me, I think later that evening frowning. Doe, of course, is not as grumpy as they sold here. They want this band to be fun making music and the very least they achieved is the fun of spending time together. Their passion and enthusiasm are adorable.
Speaking of superheroes, I can’t leave the situation as it is, of course. As dear Sam ducks associating himself with a superhero, I feel the urge to do so instead of him. I thought of the classical top superheroes first: Captain America and as he is also into media of Superman himself. But after consulting Agent J, my secret comic expert, I agree that he is far better to be associated with Lobo – I mean, we’re speaking of a Death Metal band! And I like the idea of him being some kind of intercontinental metal mercenary for Post Pulse.
Photos: Promotional photos with courtesy from Post Pulse.
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