Heart of Steel: Interviews

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Interview With Demigod
Interview By Luxi Lahtinen

I guess some of you have been wondering what´s been going on with Demigod lately, as it feels nearly like an eternity since we have heard from them, right dear folks?

Well, one thing is for sure; the Demigod dudes haven´t been resting on their laurels, doing nothing, since the band´s 2nd full-length album SHADOW MECHANICS was released on Spikefarm Records more than two years ago. In fact, the guys have (slowly) been writing new material for their next yet untitled album all that time and doing a few one-off gigs here in Finland. There´s also a few other things what these fine´n´ old chaps wanted to reveal about Demigod and things around the band - and all you need to do in order to find out the rest, is to read this interview which I just recently did nearly with the whole band.

Seems like Demigod are ready for a real battle again...

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It´s been quite awhile since you have been some noise around you, so would you basically give us some updates what´s been going in the Demigod camp as of late?

Jussi: We’ve been writing some new tunes and there’s been a few gigs as well. And as you know Luxi we’ve always been really slow when it comes to the song-writing process! Things are looking up though, ‘cos we have a few quite strong songs ready and more is on the way!

 

 

As it already was heard somewhat clearly from your last album, you have been heading heavily toward a relatively technical, but damn catchy Thrash Metal direction constantly - and your new material just doesn´t make any exception to this rule. This goes only for the songs, tho. However, would you even claim that with your next album, there will hardly be any elements from Death Metal in your songs (except for some vocal parts) as Thrash Metal as its own single genre, is still much closer to your hearts nowadays than Death Metal?

Sami: Well, we don’t really think about what particular genre our music represents. It’s true that we have drifted more towards Thrash Metal, but those Death Metal -based Demigod elements will always be somewhere in our music no matter if we wanted it or not.

Jussi: It’s a little difficult for me to analyze what’s what in our music ‘cos I just don’t think about those things that much… However, since you demand (?) an answer, how’s this. We’re a Death-Thrash -oriented musical orchestra, with an emphasis to stand tall on the ´thrashier´ side of things.

 

 

Do you find playing Thrash Metal a more challenging yet more pleasing thing than playing Death Metal nowadays as we all can still rather well remember Demigod actually started out as a really heavy and brutal Death Metal band?

Jussi: I find it quite pleasing to play a little more technical stuff at least when we get it just right. Although our older and simpler material is also great to play live, I mean, there’s just more room to get really wild on stage and stuff, y´know.

Tero: We have also tuned our guitars to ´d´ because it's better to play. The sound is better and clearer now, but still heavy enough.

 

 

If you even told a bit for the readers of Metal-Rules.com by a few descriptive words how your new songs sound like musically, it would be very nice from (each of) you? Are there actually some bands which you could compare your new tunes musically to? I honestly have to admit that for me Obliveon´s NEMESIS album -era came to my mind kinda peculiar way out of some of your new songs, especially riff-wise, and maybe even some Forbidden -stuff as well?

Jussi: Yes, sir!! Obliveon’s NEMESIS has had a huge impact on us and our song-writing, and for sure we’ve picked a few things from them along the way. Bands like Metallica, Forbidden and Nevermore should also be mentioned here especially when it comes to Demigod´s guitar stuff! Obviously there’s loads more bands and music styles that influence us, too.

Sami: You scored it well when you mentioned those two bands Luxi! Those are the bands that we all have praised all these years.

Tuomas: There are many kinds of musical influences in our new stuff. In my opinion all the songs differ from each other quite a lot.

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Not only your music has changed quite drastically since you started Demigod, but you also have grown apart from the standard ´death, killing and destruction´ concepts lyrically that at least partly dominated your past lyrics in your songs as it did for many other Death Metal band back in the day. What kind of themes or topics do interest you lyrically these days and do you think that you are even able to express better Demigod lyrically nowadays than in the past what the band is all about and so on? Do you feel like your lyrics support your music even relatively well if we keep the focus on some of your latest lyrics you have done for the band?

Tero: Yep, lyrical side has changed over the years as well. Early Demigod lyrics were quite often from the same mold. Now, I think we have more sense in them. We put more thought in them as we don't write about one or two topics only. Now we write about stuff like sick people, diseases, fears and other funny topics that go on in this nice world. It is also very important that lyrics fit to the song you know. If you got an angry song you must have angry lyrics as well.

Tuomas: Political and fantasy topics are out of fashion for us. We are not healing the world anyway. We also listen to each others opinions during the writing process, so there won´t be much so-called ´wimpy stuff´ in the end. A guitar riff can sometimes give inspiration to the lyrics and vice versa.

 

 

As you currently have like 6 new finished or almost finished tunes, do you believe that all these 6 Demigod songs will most probably end up being on you forth-coming 3rd album as well as they certainly should represent Demigod of 2004 a somewhat splendid way music-wise?

Jussi: Yes ma’am, I do believe the 6 tunes you mentioned will end up on our next album. We have actually made a few more songs but we only told you about those 6 songs ‘cos those songs are worth mentioning.

Sami: I just checked out what kind of stuff we have put together after the SHADOW MECHANICS album and I noticed that we have thrown away 5 complete songs plus several almost complete tunes because in time they didn’t sound good enough for us anymore. Those 6 six songs have survived, so they will definitely be heard on the next album.

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Your song writing process for the band has also been changing quite drastically during these past few months. Now you guys don´t have to rehearse the same way like you used to rehearse in the past, having the whole band being gathered to your rehearsal place as it seemed to be quite hard to organize for you guys every now and then in the first place. Enter a modern technology... it has offered you a helping hand for this lil´ dilemma, but as I somehow assume you may want to go on from this...

Jussi: HEY DUDE, COMPUTERS KICK ASS!!!! Seriously though, you’re right about the helping hand thing. It’s easier to concentrate on the actual song writing when you don’t have to worry about getting the other guys to interrupt you at certain points and also not having to teach each riff to everyone when you’re trying to figure out a structure of a song! When we started to use computers on our song-writing process, we became much more ambitious towards our music.

Sami: Yes, we had to figure out some new ways to keep things going. So basically we just book every idea down into a computer in order to not forget them by next rehearsals. Dementia is always lurking right behind the corner, you know. We also use computer to try different drum tracks on those ideas. That’s basically it, we haven’t turned into computer nerds or anything like that, tho -hah!

 

 

Now if we could look back in times a little bit, your 2nd full-length album titled SHADOW MECHANICS was released in 2002 on Spikefarm Records. My question is, what do you honestly think of that album nowadays, in the beginning of 2004? Do you still feel it´s a great album and kind of represents what Demigod is all about musically?

Jussi: Well, I just have to say a few things here… Above everything SHADOW MECHANICS is a sort of a ‘document’ that we made to give an idea of what’s been going on with Demigod over the years. So, there are a few musical experiments that we tried and there are old songs, new songs, weird vocal arrangements and all kinds of funny stuff on that album. It was also Seppo´s last piece of work with us, so SHADOW MECHANICS is also sort of a ‘testament’ for him if thinking this way… SHADOW MECHANICS was made at a point when we had two possibilities… make the record or let the band wither and die!!! So we decided to give this band one more chance, and as it turned out… we are having a LOT of fun with it! Okay, that’s enough with why we did what we did. The actual answer comes here, SHADOW MECHANICS was never the greatest album as such, but we have a lot love for it nevertheless!! And finally, let me assure you my friend, the next Demigod album will wipe the fucking floor with S.M., just count on that!!!

Sami: Basically the idea behind the album was to choose best songs from the past ten years and get them to people to hear. After all we had put a lot of time and energy for those songs. The thought that nobody would ever hear them was very frustrating. So our main goal was achieved and I think we had no chance to do it any better than we did. So my answer is: I’m still happy with the album and I’m proud that we did it because otherwise Demigod would have been history for good.

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When it finally came out and people got a chance to buy it for themselves, how was people´s response for it? Did you (guys) receive lots of feedback about the album? How did people overall like it?

Jussi: Some people love the album and some people hate it! Someone even said that we’re in it for the money????????? What fucking money?????

Sami: All in all there hasn’t been very much feedback at all. And the feedback that we have been given has been very diverse although most of it has been positive. It’s true that it’s not the easiest record because of its diversity, so people have probably been very confused and probably don’t know what to think about it.

 

 

As far as I know, the selling for your 2nd album wasn´t exactly something as I originally hoped it to be. In fact, at least for my big surprise, SHADOW MECHANICS has been one of the worst selling album on the Spikefarm -roster, so can you tell us what happened with it? Do you think that a new generation of metal fans simply didn´t know who you were or even what kind of metal you were churning out? Let´s now keep in our minds that your debut album was released in 1992 already through Spanish Drowned Productions, so there´s over 10 years between the debut and your latest album. Things have this bad tendency to sink into oblivion if you don´t keep enough noise about your existence, so I guess that´s exactly what might have happened to Demigod, do you agree with me?

Jussi: I totally agree with you!! In 10 years time almost any band would be forgotten, let alone a small underground band like Demigod! To be honest, though, we didn’t expect huge sales for this album in the first place. Maybe just a little more though! We knew we were in a place where any other “new comer” is with a debut album?

 

 

Are you completely happy how Spikefarm Records did all the promotion for SHADOW MECHANICS prior to it came out on the label? I don´t know if I´m alone with my observation, but I hardly saw any decent promotional campaign done for this particular album by them, so probably it should have been promoted a little better then than was done for it? What do you honestly think of this?

Jussi: Don’t really know what they did or didn’t do as far as the promotion goes? I guess it wasn’t the most massive campaign of all times for it, tho. I kind of have this naive idea that the coolest “promotion” would be the word spreading from person to person! So you realize I’m really stupid with this kind of stuff…

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I´m also kinda curious to know whether there has actually been any other label interest out there for Demigod since SHADOW MECHANICS was put out?

Jussi: Nope...

 

Have you ever planned to warm up some of your older Death Metal tracks, turn them into more Thrash -orientated songs and actually record at least one or two of them for your next album or something? Just think about how a song like “Slumber of Sullen Eyes” would sound like if it went through your ´Thrash -treatment´, over 13 years later since it was created?

Jussi: There’s been a few songs that we have considered to give a Thrash-treatment! But so far there are no actual plans for recording any of them…

Tuomas: I think that we play the older tunes quite traditional way, as they were meant to be played and they still seem to fit well in our set list.

 

 

Do you ever honestly miss those past times when your previous vocalist Esa Lindén and drummer Seppo Taatila were official members of the Demigod line-up? Wouldn´t it be kinda, let´s just say, ´nostalgic´ or whatever if you got a chance to play even one gig with those fellows some day again, now only playing songs from your old demo/reh songs up to the excellent SLUMBER OF SULLEN EYES album for a small amount of those people who were there supporting and digging Demigod since the beginning? Like an old-school Death Metal gig for old-school Death Metal fans, y´know?

Tero: The present line-up is very good to play with and we sure have a lot of fun playing together. Surely it would be a nice idea to play a gig with the old geezers to the old geezers, but it probably won't happen. The old days were good and we remember them that way as well, but I see no reason why should we weep about them. It´s history and everyone should go on with their lives. However we sometimes jam with Seppo at our rehearsal place and play old tunes with him, that’s nostalgia enough for us.

 

 

So, what´s up with Demigod gig-wise? I have seen you guys doing a few gigs around the South of Finland; these one-off gigs, but for some reason or the other you haven´t done any more extensive tour-like things since SHADOW MECHANICS was released? I just wonder why?

Sami: We got things rolling several months after the recordings and that was a little bit too late. But we have done all the gigs that we have been asked to play. Now it has been quiet just because we want to write the rest of the material for the next album and then activate the band on that sector.

 

Back in the day when your debut album SLUMBER OF SULLEN EYES was put out on Drowned Productions, you even happened made some gigs outside of Finland like in Germany and Sweden. I was just thinking that it would be cool if you got a decent gig organizer for yourself so that you could seriously start considering to play outside of Finland once again. Shouldn´t be that difficult, I guess...

Jussi: Wanna be our manager? There's no pay and we'll drink your beer and slap you around, bitch! Yes, it would be nice to play gigs all over the world and in Finland, too!

 

 

Are the some bands you would like to make even some gigs nowadays? I somehow doubt that playing with some Death Metal bands wouldn´t be as cool for you nowadays as doing some gigs with some more Thrash Metal -orientated bands. I was just thinking of such bands as Exodus, Infernäl Mäjesty, Dark Angel and bands alike; I mean, specifically all these old-school Thrash Metal acts!

Tero: Would be an honor to play with any of those bands you mentioned, but we have totally nothing against Death Metal oriented gigs either. Just nothing against Death Metal generally... In conclusion; we don't have any specific band in mind that we'd like to play with at the moment. Anything goes...

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Now talking a bit about one of my favorite topics ever refering to my last question... namely an old-school Thrash Metal to be more specific with you. How do you personally feel that some of these once dead and buried Thrash Metal heroes that pretty much used to dominate the Thrash Metal scene in the past, have all made their comebacks and some of them have even signed multi-album deals with some most known international record labels. Now I was pointing my finger to bands like Exodus, Death Angel, Dark Angel, Nuclear Assault, Heathen, etc. Do you honestly believe they can still live up their past glorious and prime days and churn out some quality Thrash -shit as they all used to on their earlier albums?

Sami: It's hard to say on behalf of other bands. Surely some comebacks succeed and some don't. I haven't heard the new material from the bands you mentioned, but I surely like to listen to their old stuff.

Tero: My world doesn't collapse if some one´s comeback sucks ass or not. I don’t particularly follow the scene that much, but it’s always nice to hear what kinda shit the old dudes have put together.

 

 

While were at it, talking about the past ´giants´ of a pleasingly ´deathrashing´ metal, also some relatively known and popular Finnish metal combos have made their comebacks. For example such Finnish metal bands that were formed sometimes around the ´80s as National Napalm Syndicate, Sacred Crucifix and Necromancer have been dug out of their cold graves to bring some noise for metalheads again which I think it just great. How do you personally feel this whole revival of some of these particular Finnish metal acts? Do you still believe that some of these bands even will manage to find themselves under the same limelights where they used to be in the prime of their whole career?

Jussi: Very nice bands I'm sure, I just don't know enough about them to be seriously interested on their revivals. Good luck to them all the same.

 

 

What about this so-called retro-Thrash movement then here in Finland these days with bands like Mokoma, WhereVictimsLie, Jumalation, Malicious Death and so on, leading the troops. Many of these have, however, obtained a familiar Thrash Metal sound for themselves that pays a somewhat great tribute to the old-school Thrash Metal where reminiscences from bands like old Slayer, Kreator, Razor, Destruction, etc. can be relatively effortlessly tracked down. What´s your own honest view about this matter? To me it seems like Thrash Metal as its own single metal genre is making its strong comeback not only internationally, but nationally in Finland as well...

Tero: Personally I don’t follow much what’s going on in the scene today, but it seems like the way you said. Thrash Metal sure has raised its head in the today’s world of metal. It’s hard to say whether this kind of trend is here to stay or will it be forgotten in few years? If I’m correct, the “old-school Death Metal” also made some kind of comeback a few years ago, so who really knows. I’m a big fan of Thrash Metal, have always been and will always be, so I like this kind of trend very much. It’s cool to hear that bands like Exodus, Testament, etc. are back in the game. I can’t say much about these ´retro bands´, ´cause I really haven’t heard their music. I still listen to the old stuff rather than go and buy new records.

 

 

Your drummer also plays drums in a Death Metal band called Deepred. How does that affect your gig plans? Does he still consider Demigod as his main band or is it Deepred? As far as I know, Deepred has been doing quite a lot of gigs both here in Finland and abroad as well - at least compared to Demigod, so is it hard for him to arrange his own schedules in with both of the bands?

Tero: Yeah you got that right, not much gigs for us lately. So, no problems so far... We’re not exactly sure which band he keeps as his main band. He seems to be a bit overworked sometimes. Rehearsals here and there you know. Truth is that we’ll have to organize Demigod rehearsals long ahead to avoid fucked up schedules.

 

 

I checked out your homepage and noticed that it hasn´t been updated for awhile. What´s going on with your site anyway?

Tero: We have no clue what’s happened to our webmaster. We haven’t heard from him in a long time. We’re working on the matter as we speak. If we don’t hear from him soon we’ll probably have to create a totally new homepage for the band. It’s a darn pity ´cause internet seems to be the most important source for everything nowadays and we sure would like to stay on that wagon. On the other hand, there’s not much happening in the band right now to tell about. We’re rehearsing new stuff so that we can be ready for the next album. In case something major happens we’re trying to put in the guestbook of the pages.

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Have you been able to give any thought when you might record your next album? It´s gonna happen before the years end if I can predict this much, correct?

Tero: Hopefully before the end of this year. The sooner the better!! We must rehearse everything to the final shape first, so that we can just press the record button in the studio and play. We had a valuable lesson in not being ready for the studio, when SHADOW... was recorded. We literally wrote some of the songs in the studio. That was a fucked up way to do it I tell ya. Damn stressful and frustrating it was and if that wasn’t enough then Mika Haapasalo’s coffee that was served at his studio, destroyed our stomachs completely. Anyway, things are going forward pretty good rehearsal wise and altogether. Jussi and Sami have been writing some hell of a lot songs lately, so beware!

 

 

Have you been thinking any thought what could be an optimal amount of songs you would like to get done before you enter a studio to record your next output? Would it be kind of cool idea to have some sort of a limited special edition out, too that could contain either some bonus tracks or even live videos from your past years?

Tero: Nine or ten songs might be an optimal amount on the record, I guess.

Jussi: Some sort of a limited edition would be cool, however I don´t think Spikefarm will spend money on that kind of thing.

 

 

What do you believe 2004 will have for Demigod?

Tuomas: Hopefully a new record and some gigs. We are working our hairy arses off to get that stupid record out.

 

 

I want to sincerely thank you again for your time with all these questions and let´s hope that this year will be better for Demigod than the last year was all in all. If there´s still something you would like to add to this very interview, then go ahead and fulfill the rest of the interview with some extra info about Demigod for us...

Jussi: Thanks for the tricky questions “Leroy”!!! We love you, dude…

 

Thanks to Hanna Maunuksela for all Demigod pics.


Band Website: www.neovoid.org/demigod

Our previous Interview With Demigod

Contact info:
Jussi Kiiski demigodjussi@luukku.com
Tero Laitinen demigodtero@luukku.com
Sami Vesanto demigodsami@luukku.com