Necromancer's Juha Mattila
Interview by Luxi
In the late ´80s / early ´90s, the Finnish metal scene really
started blooming and growing strongly. This was a few years later than
everywhere else in every other corner of world, but it was coming
together anyway. Back in those ´glorious´ days there were many very
skilled, somewhat young, very ambitious metal bands full of passion and
burning with a drive for playing ´Metal´, as Tarot, A.R.G. (also known
for its longer name Ancient Rotten Graveguards), Mengele, National
Napalm Syndicate (or just N.N.S.), Sacred Crucifix, Stone, Airdash,
Prestige, Oppression, Protected Illusion, The Hirvi, etc. etc. made a
relatively effective and indelible impact on a great bunch of metal fans
all around the world… Yet more successful and better times for the
Finnish metal bands were yet to come.
For me personally, the Finnish Speed/Thrash merchants Necromancer
were without a bloody doubt the one that made the strongest impact on
me. This was probably a result of them sounding nearest to my all time
favorite band, Slayer. The band undeniably had a very strong Slayer
influence in their sound since they started. Such songs from them as an
undying evergreen classic number "Malicious Death",
"Cross of Hate", "Enforced to Kill", "Violence
Show" and so on, just screamed their huge Slayer worship and the
band literally made a fuckload of metalheads crazy at their gigs by
filling up the encores with some Slayer cover songs including the godly
"Black Magic" and "Hell Awaits" as very good
But nothing lasts forever. Necromancer went into hiding under a
different moniker in the early half of ´91 due to a lame label interest
(amongst other things that can be read from the interview…) and the
guys took a whole different musical approach and continued jamming and
making music together under a couple of other bands, but none of them
were close to Necromancer´s relentless aggression and heaviness
It´s 2003… and who could have ever believed in their wildest
dreams that they are here amongst us again. The idea of getting the band
together again - after being buried in its silent and dusty tomb,
started taking shape back in late 2002 - and this is where my curiosity
toward them burst into flames again.
Dear ladies and gentlemen… an exclusive interview of Juha Mattila
of Necromancer for Metal-Rules.com only!!! Read it and learn more about
this ´hidden gem´ of the past Finnish underground metal scene. I
guarantee the whole interview will surely be very much of your undivided
First of all, I guess it doesn´t matter even if it´s only me who
has always rated the Finnish high-quality Speed / Thrash grenades
Necromancer as the most innovative and simply the best metal band coming
out from Finland… ever!! Just no matter how hard I would scream my
lungs out for you, trying to prove your superiority and excellence to
the masses, most of them apparently wouldn't believe me ´coz apparently
they haven´t heard of you ever before. So, to straighten some facts for
the readers of Metal-Rules.com, you guys existed in the late half of the
´80s / the beginning of the ´90s; now keeping in our minds that we
have went through a change of generation once or twice already, I bet
none of these fellows who have sworn into the name of metal, have gotten
any idea who you were, and what you did do and so on. So, in order to
give people some sort of an insight about the band, would you kindly
enlighten all of us about the whole lifespan of ´the Necromancers´,
how and when you got started and split up in the first place - then
coming back right up to this day, telling us where you got this
brand-new spark again to dig the ol´ corpse out of its rotten grave and
re-animate it once again? Lights on… the stage has been prepared for
you Juha now…
Luxi... So, it all started in early 1986. Me and Max have been playing
together since 1984, Ana and Niko (RIP) were doing the same in their own
direction. We were quite young then and got to know each other in high
school. We had very similar thoughts and ambitions, and were all bitten
by a band called Slayer with their debut album SHOW NO MERCY which was
introduced to us back in 1984. We had also been inspired by Metallica
and all the legendary Heavy Metal acts such as Iron Maiden, Judas
Priest, Dio, Black Sabbath, etc.
In August 1986 Necromancer was finally formed. The original line-up
was: Niko - bass/vocals, Ana - guitars, Juha - guitars and Max - drums.
We immediately started to write our own songs, and after a few months
our first real "hit", "Malicious Death", was born.
That song directed us to the first demo release in 1987. (We changed our
name to Necrotomic for a brief time, but returned back to Necromancer
again after a while). We were really surprised how much people liked our
first demo, PROLICIDE, even though we were not at all skilled players
during that time, and that you can hear of it. However, we wrote new
songs, played local gigs and rehearsed up to 20 hours every week and did
the hard work for it.
We had our disputes and I was kicked out of the band in 1987, but
rejoined just after 6 months in Feb/March of 1988. When I was away with
my own project, the guys threw their first big success gig at "Lepakko
Metal Massacre I" in Helsinki and recorded the second demo in late
1987 with re-release of "Malicious Death" followed by
super-speed songs "Rapid Fire" and "Head Hunter".
Niko left the band in early 1988 and Calm joined us as a new bassist. We
then continued writing new material and released our third demo in
October 1988 with songs like "Violence show" and "Days of
Fury". The final line up was: Ana - guitars/vocals, Calm - bass,
Juha - lead guitars and Max - drums.
The metal scene was rising in Finland. Stone had released their
successful debut album, followed by bands like Airdash and Prestige. We
were selling demos, doing more gigs and gained more attention via
interviews on local radio stations in Finland and indie magazines in
Finland, Norway, Poland, Germany, Italy and even Brazil. Things were
going pretty well, demos received good reviews, but there still was no
record deal in sight, despite of some negotiations taking place. We got
private financing and went to the studio in December 1989 and released
the 12" single DOWNFALL/LIQUID SKY in early 1990. The single sold
out in local record shops, but nothing happened with record companies.
We began turning to different direction in music, and late 1990/early
1991 Necromancer had been buried after 5 years of metal.
We continued with a progressive-influenced Heavy Metal/Hard Rock and
the band was renamed X-RED. We recorded the "Firedance"-demo
in the fall of 1991 and played some gigs in the Southern Finland. Ana
left the band in 1992 and was replaced by Lehtinen in vocals. Calm took
over rhythm guitar and Mikko joined as new bass player. A new demo
release was called "River" in 1993 and it introduced more a
dark, grunge-ish approach to the sound. Following year brought gigs and
supports, mainly within the Helsinki region. In 1994 X-RED came to its
end, resulting the departure of Lehtinen and Calm.
Me, Max and Mikko continued playing and formed a new band Starfish in
February 1995 and Mauro took over vocals. Mikko left the band in 2000.
The band had an inactive period for nearly 2 years. In 2002 Jarkko
joined us as a new bass player. Starfish has been active until this day
and is still going strong with a progressive Rock style music. Starfish
has played gigs, released 3 demos and appeared on one compilation-CD
during the past 7 years. New studio dates are scheduled for spring 2003.
Striving for perfection here too...
This fall, after nearly 12 years, Necromancer has gathered to bring
back life to the long time buried but still undead...The rejoining event
was most satisfactory and the good old tunes emerged from the collective
spine, very alive and headbanging, spiced by elapsed time and gained
experience. This is the reunion of the '88 final line-up with Ana on
vocals/rhythm guitar, Calm on bass, Juha on lead guitar and Max on
drums. We are quite thrilled about all this and yes, we can confirm the
rumors that we are planning a reunion concert in the future...the hunger
for blood is still there!!!
What then lead us to reunion? It all started when Ana was contacted
from many directions: Gas Lipstick from HIM made inquiries whether we
could rejoin for Tuska festival, the Finnish band Forca Macabra covered
"Malicious Death" on their album, one die-hard fan from
Germany who wants to make vinyl releases of our demos for the local
neo-thrashers, and of course, there is Luxi with his awesome Necromancer
rarities & a collection-CD, always flagging for Necromancer... after
15 years...the hardest Necromancer fan ever! ! !
Well, (-eh!?)… first off, I´m very flattered about this
comparison for being ´the hardest´ Necromancer fan ever; I guess you
honestly made me blush a bit as I´m not used to that kind of compliment
at all. But thank you anyway…
However, let´s keep on talking about this re-union thing just a
bit more, shall we? Let´s face some facts first - You guys have been
away from ´the scene´ for more than 10 years which, as far as I can
see, means there may be only a fistful of people out there who actually
still has your name in their minds at least as some sort of a
´flashback´. There´s obviously a huge bunch of young metalheads out
there who haven´t the slightest idea about the existence of your fine
band. So, two things come to my mind:
1.) How to convince record labels that it may well be a worthwhile
effort to get you signed up, release an album (or albums!) with you and
grow your profile as a band in terms of a marketing value and all
2.) How to convince new generations of metalheads that if they are ever
going to run into some record store, your album could be right on the
very top of their ´shopping lists´ instead of some recently
established and doing well (metal) bands?
As you surely can at least somehow relate to my suspicious
questions above at some level, being away from ´the picture´ for that
long time without making any albums in the past, surely have had some
kind of effect on all those people behind some certain record labels
that without a doubt always consider and think things out very carefully
if they are about to sign a totally unknown band - even if a great
reputation for a band could have been built up in the past and they
could have been a relatively known band back in the day. Any ideas or
thoughts about the matters I just presented you here…?
Well, let's keep you all on your toes about this... It is still too
early to give you any celebrating comments about any of those subjects
right now, because this whole thing is still very new for all of us, so
let's see what happens. About convincing someone: Guys like us that have
been playing different kinds of music for about 17 years cannot be that
bad in terms of making or performing music, technically, or in terms of
experience, perspective and character. This could sound a little bit
arrogant to someone, but I'll take the chance.
Why do you honestly think Necromancer never landed to any record
deal with any label in the past? I guess it just cannot only be
explained about a ´bad timing´ or ´in a wrong place in a wrong time´
kind of thing, can it?
I think there are mainly two reasons for that. I am talking about what
happened during a time period between 1987- 1990. Speed / Thrash Metal
had just been introduced to a wider audience in Finland by a growing
popularity of genre lead byl Slayer, Metallica, Anthrax, etc.
The Finnish Speed / Thrash outfit Stone was very successful with
their debut album and opened doors for others as well. Most Finnish
record companies back then had only the old and outdated managers
publishing Finnish ´hitpop / tango / basic rock / funnyjokeschlager -
hahaha´ - artists performing traditional Finnish music in Finnish and
only for the Finnish people, so they had absolutely no idea what to do
with this strange and new genre, apart from finding out some way for
ripping off some easy money.
We faced the demented comments at record companies such as Finnlevy
when they called us for a meeting in '88/'89: "Guys, we are looking
for a Finnish metal band selling debut album equally to the new
Metallica release (that was ...AND JUSTICE FOR ALL, -ha-ha!!). Once or
twice we were offered a small record deal, but the album was supposed to
be recorded in an 8-track demo studio, so we declined for we did not
want to release an album with a bad recording quality. Wrong thinking or
not, for others to decide.
We always strived for perfection, there was only one way of doing
things. Every single note and punch was carefully thought of, nothing
was done "humorously", or anything such, that was often
typical for some Finnish bands of that time, who were making fun of
themselves just like apologizing the people for being there...Other
principle was and has always been that we never write songs about
political criticism or such. That is something for others to do. We
always had a story, good or evil, a scene of imagination or other. I'd
rather write 100 songs only about beer and women than even one
"kill the politics" - type of hypocritical and immature crap.
With us the music always overrides lyrics. In our opinion music is meant
for entertainment and experiences, not for whining. Sorry.
The market was quickly filled with the few bands that managed to get
the deal. By 1990 the record companies told us that this new genre had
already gone out of trend (!) and new artists would not be signed
anymore for the current ones were quitting the business too (!!). Well,
look at the genre now... thanks to the hard work of some bands,
independent record companies with open-minded professionals, and people
like Luxi... he did lots of good work for us back then, and still keeps
up the spirit!
This was not the only reason. The other thing I think was that we
never pursued the deal with 100%. We did not want to make it at any
possible cost. We had certain idealism, that was probably not always too
realistic, and maybe we should have had more effort on marketing
ourselves, who knows... We were always better musicians than marketing
men. Anyway, things went as they did. A bit sad is that I still think we
had lots of pretty good material for release and were quite experienced
and disciplined players in the late 80's... still are... (gag).
You indeed had lots of killer material for a full-length release. So
that makes me ask from you - why didn´t you release a Necromancer album
of your own?! I know it could have cost a small fortune, but I bet it was a rather tempting idea for you at some point in the
later part of your career and surely crossed your mind more than once
or twice, didn´t it? Namely you eventually self-financed that 12"
EP from your own pockets as probably one of your last things to become
recognized a bit more amongst the metal community, so it made me very
curious that with a fair amount of more money, a full-length album could
well have been possible for you guys if you would have given your very
last serious shot for that thing, at least in theory. How is it Juha?
Yes, we did think of self-financing an album back in those days, but
really, the 12" EP was all we could do with the money available.
Again, it was, and still is, a matter of principle. Yes, we could have
had the money to record and publish one full-length album, but we
decided to make two songs with the best quality possible instead of an
album with poor recording and printing quality. I know that some bands
actually released albums using the same amount of money we had for the
12", but listen and look at the difference there is… Honestly, I
think you cannot find an artist who still can sound good and convincing
if the recording quality is shitty. And I don't like Bob Dylan if it
comes to that (ha-ha!!). I don't mean you should have a million dollars
for production, but a decent level of quality anyway.
Just think of what the best of our demo quality songs could sound
like when recorded in a real studio with some true effort given. This is
something for the record companies to think of, it's not my job. Again,
don't take me as arrogant, but I think this is reality. And what comes
to printing and publishing: good quality and pre-planned album covers
and leaflets mean the essential extra that belongs to anyone who buy
Along with such Finnish metal bands as Stone, Airdash, Oppression,
A.R.G., National Napalm Syndicate, Sacred Crucifix, Mengele and a few
other bands, you were definitely on the top of the Finnish metal scene
back in the day, making your own unique - without denying or hiding it a
bit, a relatively strong ´slayeresque´ Speed / Thrash Metal and
winning a great number of Necromancer -fans from all around Finland
behind you. Can you still remember some of the highlights out of those
days and even share some of them with the readers of Metal-Rules.com?
Highlights…hmm…there are too many to mention. We had a great time
with the band and our friends and playing gigs & aftermath :) with
other bands such as ones you mentioned above, not to forget bands like
Dethrone and Prestige whom with we shared the stage more than once
during those days.
Most memorable things were associated with some of our best gigs such
as the legendary full-booked "Metal Massacre II" at the late
Lepakko in Helsinki back in 1988. The atmosphere was loaded with
excitement as we climbed to the stage... the audience roared, shouted
and welcomed us so loud I felt almost pushed back by the wall of
noise... a little nervousness... and then we hit the first chords and
the crowd went mad... moshing, stage diving, headbanging... it was
unbelievable!!! We had similar great gigs in Turku at the old Aura -
brewery (thanx Laura), in Tampere, one other good session at Lepakko
supporting Candlemass back in 1989 (stole their Slayer backstage
passes, - haha!), just to name a few. Those were really good times.
Our rehearsing room was legendary, a 20m2 room within an old wool
factory area, with always 20 people in drinking beer and the room
temperature was always over 20°C even if the outside weather was -20°C! Great parties, great friends! Lots of Spinal Tap-type episodes...
Worst gig ever was sometime in 1989 in Lieto, near Turku. We were
invited to a festival and went there on short notice without knowing
much of the nature of the happening... It was 75 punk bands and us...
their instruments broke down after two songs and almost had to kick the
shit out of the organizer to get our expenses paid... oh shit. Punk
festivals were of the worst kind, definitively! Once we played in a
place where the top floor of the building had collapsed down, the
"stage" was built in the middle of all rubble, it was -10 °C
inside and we had to play with pullovers on for it was so damn cold, and
at "backstage" there were some nice´ punky´ ladies playing
with real test rats :( - and planning demonstrations against the Finnish
We also have always enjoyed the time at studios recording demos, and
the exclusive release of the 12" "Downfall/Liquid Sky"
single. It was always exciting, bringing out something new and getting
the feedback and reviews. The scene was new, fresh and unexplored, and
had that unique feeling, that I think can never be reached again... But,
this happens always when you look back to the past. Anyway, it has now
been more than 15 years since we released our first demo anyway!!! We
were also much younger of course, and we are not too old now either...
One of the greatest parties to mention took place in Oulu back in summer
of 1987, remember? :)
How could I possibly forget all that excitement we had there - with
all that crazy headbanging, insane yet heavy drinking sessions,
bullshitting, just having fun, etc., but definitely on the very top of
all that, witnessing the relentless Bay Area thrashers Death Angel live
and meeting the guys after their gig full of a pure excellence for the
first time, really crowned the whole evening!!
Ah…(!), those truly were ´the times…´
Did Death Angel work out as any sort of an influence or inspiration
for Necromancer in the past ´coz I believe their absolutely classic
debut album titled "The Ultra Violence" wasn´t totally
ignored in the Necromancer camp either? And could you also mention what
other particular albums made your hearts burn toward more of those
relentless and brutal things in metal music in general - if there were
any at that time for you that you could openly confess as great
inspirations for your band?
Yes, Death Angel did have an influence on us. Young guys giving a
real killer and convincing touch to the genre with their debut output
THE ULTRA VIOLENCE. FROLIC THROUGH THE PARK was an album I did not
understand very well, but "Act III" I liked again. There were
some definitive highlight albums that stroke us deeply and deadly... and
here are a few more absolute best metal albums that I know:
Slayer - SHOW NO MERCY: This is black magic. The first Thrash album I
ever bought in 1984.
Slayer - HELL AWAITS: Well, you know it. Not the best quality
production, but hell, it was scary...
Slayer - REIGN IN BLOOD: Best Thrash Metal album ever!! Do I need say
Metallica -MASTER OF PUPPETS, RIDE THE LIGHTNING and ...AND JUSTICE
FOR ALL: Riding to perfection in the songs, sounds and talent. They were
very very sharp those days, we definitively liked that. They were always
able to put in some great melodies too, which was not a common approach
Megadeth - PEACE SELLS...: Mr. Mustaine and friends really kicked ass
with that. I liked the band´s line-up best on that album. I saw them
live on "So Far… So Good" tour in '88, but it didn't sound
so good anymore. The tightness was a bit lost afterwards. I like the SO
FAR… album - it is great, although the production is quite bad. Well,
this could be a rare example for an album that is good even if the
Exodus - BONDED BY BLOOD and PLEASURES OF THE FLESH: Both legendary
albums of the genre. Kick ass metal for true bangers. They also have
talent & sharpness.
Then I could also mention Testament, Destruction and Anthrax with
their mid-end 80's releases.
How was the Finnish metal scene since you started and eventually
ceased to exist from your own point of view? What were some of your
favorite bands from Finland at that time and could you say they even had
some impact on your playing style back then?
I guess you find my point of view from the previous answers... Yes,
things got very different even when we compare 1986 with 1991. And after
that the 90's was not easy for bands, I think. Fortunately during past
two or three years, the respect for bands, instrumental skills,
musicianship and real live performances have restored their respect
after an era of dull ´Xerox´ artists considered just industrial
products with a short life span and pre-calculated efficiency figures. I
am a bit strict with these opinions, but I reserve my right to say so...
It is not about being all over original, but about philosophy and
What comes to being influenced by other Finnish bands: Sure, we got
some kicks out of some bands and even managed to kick some of their
asses, but I still would consider this influence quite marginal. I think
each band still had their own visions and stood out as themselves. The
greatest impact in the genre came from Slayer and Metallica, this is
true. Also, we have always been influenced by artists and bands other
than ´metal´ itself or Heavy Rock such as Progressive Rock, 60's and
70's, Pop, Rock, Indie, Rap, Industrial, whatever really depending on
every individual´s personal tastes.
Well, actually your interest toward other genres than metal can be
heard through the evolution of the Necromancer´s own sound. When you
started out, one can quite easily say that you guys were ´Finnish
answer to Slayer´. Later on, you adapted more influences into your
sound - and most of these influences came from outside of Metal music;
probably Rush being one of those most influential and inspirational
bands for you backing those days. Did you ever feel like you should have
stayed with your very ´roots´ - giving an extra kick or two toward
more of that ´slayeresque´ sound and even starting to rip them off
shamelessly ´coz Slayer was really making a huge impact on the scene
globally by the release of their SOUTH OF HEAVEN album in 1988-89 - and
they indeed we the only band that had their own, very distinctive and
highly original sound back in the day? I wonder if people had bothered
too much if there would have been ´Slayer junior´ coming from far up
North, Hyvinkaa, Finland…
Well, I like being influenced by Rush... and still do. If we were to
release an album, it probably would mainly consist of the songs written
in the 80's and early 90's, so it would actually sound like the 80's
kick ass metal, I think (wow, did I say that!). What comes to the terms
of making metal songs, the 80's way is the only way I know... If I write
other stuff, that's another thing. This answer is given, if you ask me.
Staying in the topic of Slayer for a little longer, what are your
all time favorite Slayer songs then? Could you give us some
well-grounded reasons why you feel so strongly about those songs then
"Evil Has no Boundaries" - The very first Slayer song I
ever heard... not remarkable in musical sense, but the nostalgia is
"Black Magic" - Really needs no introduction for anyone I
"Hell Awaits" - I love long and great album/song intros
(such as "Black Magic" as well) and this is hell, evil and
bombastic... the song gives you the shivers although the production
quality of this is not good.
"Angel of Death", "Postmortem/Raining Blood" -
The hardest & tightest composed and played metal songs ever!! The
message of the song has never been an important thing to me with any
artist really, but when it fits, it really fits there. I am not into
satanistic mystique at all, but the songs are simply great!!! Everything
is so tight, logical, the guitar riffs and all intermediate dual guitar
theme parts are true masterpieces. Dave Lombardo is an excellent drummer
and had his brightest moments with this album. Araya´s vocal style
pleases me the most also here.
"South of Heaven" - This falls into the same category with
"Hell Awaits" and "Black Magic" what comes to the
intro - magnificent!!! Their trade marked dual guitar elements and riffs
are there again, strong and powerful. After this album their style and
approach has changed so much that any of their album after these four
albums has unfortunately not addressed me in any way since.
Necromancer have come
back and are obviously full of excitement and a sparkling hunger for possibly
playing some gigs again. Also, may I say, finally and hopefully,
able to record your first ever full-length album. Some of us have
desperately been waiting for years and years for this! Now when this
opportunity will be given to you, could you already pull out of the hat
what songs that debut Necromancer album would contain for sure? Do
you believe you could be able to maintain the same energetic and
aggressive vibe that you had back in the day when your sound was at its
roughest and most brutal shape - and most similar to early Slayer
If and when we do gigs, we will still kick serious ass. What comes to
album style considerations, you have my answer already. Again, let's
just keep you guys on your toes...
When we will hopefully witness Necromancer live again, could you
imagine a set list of what songs your comeback gig may contain? Why do you think this or that certain Necromancer song will find its
place amongst ´must-play´ live songs? Now just go ahead now Juha and
give your best shot for this…
Well, I guess you would hear a selection of our best songs that had
the biggest effect on fans and us as well. Such as "Violence
Show", which has been more than once the gig opener...Deadly couple
"Downfall" and "Liquid Sky" have always created a
certain atmosphere on stage. What would reflect better the early days'
attitude and through the wall´ -mentality of the band than the somewhat
´legendary´ "Malicious Death". Just to name a few. I am not
going to tell about all of our plans, still keeping you on your toes,
guys... (*smiling with a deadly grin in the face*)
Have you guys ever discussed about making new Necromancer songs
thus far, let´s say, possibly as a little ´extra thing´ for your
comeback gig just to tease all your die-hard followers a bit more and
give them a good enough reason to believe that if you will come
back ´full force with your Marshalls thundering out loud at the
highest volumes´, your fans won´t have be disappointed by any
means at all; on the contrary, they can count on you as they ever did in
There have been some thoughts in the air about making a brand new
Necromancer song. Tempting idea indeed... Also we have thought of
repossessing one or two of the very last ever made Necromancer songs
that never reached the public´s ear except the people witnessing our
very final gigs back in 1990/1991.
And those songs are…?
I don't think these songs ever got into their final forms due to
followed break up of the band, so I don't recall any official names for
them. Some name was probably given for gig purposes but I don't remember
those names anymore, only the music. The fact that the songs need some
finalizing work to do, makes the whole idea tempting.
Realistically, how much do you count on the future with your
forth-coming efforts with Necromancer´s ´new coming´? If we can
talk about so-called ´new coming´ in the very 1st place? I mean, if
you were offered a record deal, a chance to start gigging again around
the country (which may be impossible due to all of you daily jobs…)
and talking basically all the resources would be there for you, how many
of you would be fully ready for sacrificing some of that ´spare´ time
each of you have nowadays for all this - possibly giving up something
Now, again I would too much speculate the future if I gave any direct
answers to this. I just cannot. Surely we all have daily jobs, duties
and families but who knows how far a good feeling would really go? I
cannot tell anything more, it depends on how things start going with
this. All of us more or less have rehearsed, been in studio and played
gigs all these years in different bands after Necromancer split up. This
tells maybe something of our attitude of never really giving up on
anything, does it? Yes, I think so…
Would you say anyway that having a chance to record all of you
´classic evergreen Thrash cuts´ for an album, could be to each of you
Yes, I surely would like that. I don't think any of us would
disagree. If things were to go that far, we all would surely give our
100+% for that effort to be worthy of it and for all of our forever fans
Let´s touch the future a little bit closer and predict where you guys
may find yourselves in a situation when you
would have no more than two or three days before entering a studio to
record your 1st ever debut full-length album. Can you already say what
studio would be the most ideal studio for you in order to get the right
sound, atmosphere, etc. to be captured for a Necromancer debut? Who would be
at the producer´s helm for this? I know, this is all too early speculation yet, but you can
always play this lil´, harmless game with me, can´t you…?!
Yes, it is very clear, and I know perfectly well who would take the
helm, and these two gentlemen I would trust fully to do the utmost
greatest work for it. To be honest, I wouldn't want to go elsewhere at
all. The place and atmosphere is great, we know these guys well and have
visited the place before in studio sessions previously. I am not going
to tell you any names, but as I told you, it would be clear...a game
If you had had a chance to record your debut first-born, full-length
´Thrash -baby´ in the beginning of the ´90s, how do you honestly
believe it possibly would have differed from the one (both content and
sound-wise) that you probably and hopefully may well record during this
new millennium? It´s again all plain speculating, but I still demand
you politely to answer to this question, he-he!!
This is very hard to answer (but you always ask the questions, ha!),
because we were beginning to pull in a different direction in music back
then. I guess the main sound and themes would have been more in the
style of "Downfall/Liquid Sky" than the older songs but
definitively some of them would probably still have been on that
imaginary double-platinum selling album (hah-hah-ha-ha!!!)....
Talking ´bout ´favorites´ a bit - I was just wondering what are
your own personal all-time Necromancer ´fave´ songs and why?
What makes them so ´special´ for you then - explain in order to ´kill
the cat´ for the readers of Metal-Rules.com. …?
Well, history-wise "Malicious Death" was the first real
"Necromancer -style" song we wrote, so there are some good
memories of the ol' times... (*coughing*). I still am quite proud of
what we did with the DOWNFALL / LIQUID SKY EP. We gave a great effort to
that in terms of writing, rehearsing, studio work and production. I
believe you can sense the true joy of playing music in between all the
aggressive and kick-ass feeling of these songs. I stand for everything
we have made; the evolution of the band is there.
Since you started out under the Necromancer -moniker in early -´86,
your musical influences and inspirations, as you said, pretty much came
from the Bay Area -area with bands like Slayer, Metallica, Exodus, Death
Angel and so forth. It´s been a
long while since those days, so can you honestly say that once that
enormous sea of flames that was burning bright and hot inside each of
you (as I assume), can still be re-flamed and re-awaken the same way
when your asses were burning for real metal the most devoted and wildest
way? As you know and are aware of the simplest things, times have been
changed, you have got older, your main interests in music in general may
have changed during all these years, etc., so to go back to the very
roots of your real start, not necessarily is always the easiest thing to
do if you know what I mean by all this…?
To have a wide range of musical taste is an advantage. Where else
could you bring any new ideas to genre from? Not really from other metal
bands... If you ask me, it is not at all difficult to put in the same
aggression when playing our songs again. Yes, we are older, but being
more than 30 years old does not mean retirement in metal scene, or does
it? (This is not athletics anyway... ha-ha!!). We really don't have to
go to the very roots, the attitude is always there, it is in the spinal
(... tap). We are not embarrassed about anything we have done in the
past. Otherwise we would never have thought of reunion in the first
Heavy Metal with its countless sub-genres is going really strongly
in the world nowadays and especially here in Finland - let the national
album and single charts be more than a good proof for all that. What´s
your own personal take on the Finnish metal scene these days? Have you
been able to follow it the way you probably did in the late ´80s (or in
the beginning of the ´90s) and what do you overall think of some
Finnish metal bands getting successful and gaining great sales all
around the world? Bands like Amorphis, Sentenced, Nightwish, Children of
Bodom, Impaled Nazarene, Waltari, Stratovarius, Sonata Arctica and many
others have been flagging colors of blue & white rather damn
successfully around the globe and that´s fuckin´ cool in my opinion.
However, I´d like to see Necromancer amongst that pile of bands as well…
Yes, it is great that Finnish metal bands have kept the genre growing
and have gained success that was far beyond imagination when we were in
the 80's and early 90's. I think the situation was experienced like
"grunge killed the Heavy Metal", and the whole genre was lost
and aimless for a couple of years. We went the "wrong way",
doing the very ´out-of-current-fashion´ progressive-influenced Hard
Rock/Heavy Metal. We never stood a chance in the market with that in
1991-1993, but I don't care. I think we did some good songs there also.
With all these slacky
´neo-college-three-chord-fun-booze-punk-bands´ and the
´slow-fuzzy-depressed-suicidal-loser-whining-department´ (oh save me
from them!) emerging, the art of musicianship and vision were
depreciated and a band playing tightly and skillfully together was not
required anymore. Many of the great bands suffered a lot from that. As
long as you looked shitty, behaved badly, used drugs, wore
´generation-X-fashion´ clothes and made a lot of noise on stage, it
was cool...??? This is something I never understood. It is just like the
"common" belief that the only good song is a "hit"
song with maximum length of 3-minutes, certain pre-planned structure and
lots of chorus repetition. Well, be my guest and participate in the
Eurovision song contest then…I'll rather never do an album than give
away my principles.
I guess the situation in the early 90's could have been perhaps quite
similar to the late 70's when progressive bands suffered greatly from
the rising of punk rock and hardcore. Many people say the roots of metal
are in punk rock but I strongly disagree. To me the real roots are in
the 70's progressive rock and heavy rock genres. I personally have never
appreciated Punk Rock or Hardcore at all (sorry), because I always
looked for talent, vision and some sort of perfectionism in music. We
have never been such virtuosos in technique compared to the musicians of
Children of Bodom, Stratovarius and others, but we have always strived
for our own perfection in music. I don't find any talent or atmosphere
in playing out-of-tune-three chords with bad sounds and protesting
against society. Sorry about that.
Let's say that we had recorded an album in 1987. Cool, but that would
have been a huge mistake, because we were not ready for that then. We
certainly would have sounded very bad and unskilled as a band. In 1990
there could have been a lot more potential, that you can hear of the
DOWNFALL/LIQUID SKY EP. Nowadays we could give even more insight to the
music, because we have gained 12 years more experience, even if we never
actually have made an album yet. We have spent lots of time in
rehearsing rooms, on stage and in studios anyway during that time.
I most definitively appreciate bands like Children of Bodom, Sonata
Arctica, Stratovarius and others that are very talented and
high-technique virtuoso musicians and have made their way through these
tougher times and have evolved and become real professionals and highly
talented musicians. Giving the genre back the image that was lost for a
while. What I like about them, is that all of them have certain rules,
principles and idealism. Giving out their best quality to the public. In
your work you just have to do the best you can. Why leave it half-way?
To know that you have given all you've got, that counts.
However, I think someone being a high-tech player is not an absolute
value itself, you need those principles and insights as well. The
balance between those things always puts you in your place. That's just
how it goes.
How would you say you´ve been developing yourself as a musician through the years when you have been involved with other
bands as well? You have been playing different kinds of music for
many years, so that must have given you lots of different
insights? Insight that you can use within your own musical
exploration through the world of music. To live, learn, breath, shit,
etc. music you need to have an inborn attitude and some talent stuck
somewhere inside you in order to become a great musician - and well… I
guess you at least partly subscribe this as well, don´t you (… -eh!)?
The 12 years passed have brought lots of experience and deeper
insight to things in life in general and that is reflecting to music as
well. The perspective in music has broadened a lot since those days but
also the limits of that sector have become more distinct. Aging,
probably??? :) Since we have continuously been involved with musical
activities, a development in technique and sound is obvious of course.
Moving closer and towards a more personal and recognizable sound, style
and methods has hopefully been a result of all this time. My merit or
value as a musician, I cannot say since we have never made any public
releases to be reviewed of. Anyway, one cannot review himself. We all
are self-taught players and stand at this point now.
Now it´s 12th of January, so would you update us a bit and tell how
many times you have managed to rehearse with Necromancer thus far? Have
you guys made any new ´war plans´ concerning your reunion?
We have gathered a few times and made some overall and basic plans,
but nothing more really yet to give you any news about. It is going slow
Are you all still in the very same great and high spirits since you
jammed together for the very 1st time after many years and believing
firmly and devotedly in the reunited Necromancer? Or have you faced any
setbacks since the reunion?
Sure we are!!! No setbacks have been faced.
What interests me personally a lot - well, for some obvious reasons,
I guess, how has label interest been toward Necromancer thus far? Has
Necromancer´s name been still staying on some people's lips through
the years so that they could still remember how you guys sounded like in
the late ´80s/early ´90s?
We have not been active in that sector yet... we need more time for
ourselves to get things together and well practiced. First things
As far as playing a reunion show is still concerned, I guess and wish
my both toes & fingers tightly crossed that will happen some day,
but I was wondering whether there are gonna be more reunion shows from
you than just that one coming up?
I'll give you just rumors to quench your thirst with... might be...
all actions still in total secrecy :) Maybe we'll let you know... :)
Well, if there´s something else you would like to add to this nice
and very much in-depth chat concerning Necromancer or something
else, then feel free to do so ´coz I have run out of all the questions and wanna thank you for all those hours you may have
sacrificed for my curiosity-filled questions about the band and so on.
Thank you Juha and I hope it was all worth it…
On behalf of all of us I would like to add a special thanx to you,
Luxi, for a great interview!!!! These moments have brought back lots of
great memories and facts as well. The time spent in this has been most
enjoyable and we are very honored to have been interviewed by the
greatest metal magazine on the net!!!