Interview by Arto Lehtinen
The Estonian black thrashers impressed me with their raw and skilled stuff some time ago. I am entirely blown away by their Celtic Frost influenced sound so the interview with them was more than obvious. I came across the band’s drummer Suss and agreed to do an interview with Must Missa to cover several details about the band. Their latest output is called TARGET OF HATE and is a must own for every old school metal freak. After the interview there are a few mp3 files included… Enjoy
Hail to Estonia, what’s up there down there in the southern neighbour country of Finland ?!
We are waiting for you to visit us, bring beers!
Must Missa is an unknown outfit hailing from Estonia for most of readers of Metal-Rules.Com even though Must Missa has been around for five / six years by now. Starting out the whole interview with quite an fundamental question regarding the introduction of the band is a little bit dull, but I am afraid that you could shed some light on the past of Must Missa and how the band got started.
From the early ages we know that Missa started with their dirty deeds around 1996 in one small town in Estonia. They practised 4 years in their drumers sauna before they ended up recording their first demo called SEX BEYOND THE GRAVE that was later released by Beverina (Latvia) and Ketzer (Germany). It received a warm welcome in western Europe and in quite a short time they sold out 1000 copies. After that there were negotiations with different labels and they ended up under DEATH TO MANKIND who eventually released Missa’s first real album called MA EI TALU VALGUST. I personally wasn’t with Missa when it was born. I joined the band in 2003 when they started looking for new members. When I joined, I brought our current guitarist with me. Because I have been in the scene for quite some time I also used my experience and oportunities to get the band going full speed. This is probably the reason why we have had so many line-up changes. Then again now once we have managed to achieve something, we can be proud of hard work we have done. With that short time we have released couple of promos and one THE TARGET OF HATE album.
UNSTABLE LINE-UP / PIDEVALT MUUTUV KOOSSEIS
The band’s line-up has undergone a number of changes during the whole existence, has there been some sort of inflamed atmosphere and a different vision of how the music should sound and which direction it should be taken between these former and current member, resulting these departure or have the former guys run out of both the interest and passion to carry on playing the old school metal ?!
The reasons are different. BERG left because he moved to England, but he still has contact with us. He helps out how he can, writing lyrics, doing some promo work etc. I think it’s not bad that we have the current line-up. Now we have guys who think the same way and who’s understanding of band making is the same. And having three members, is a cool classic thrash-metal line-up. At the moment we are satisfied how things turned out.
When the long time vocalist Berg pulled out of Must Missa to pursue other things in his life, was it a logical choice for Viking to take over the vocal duties as he was the founding member and been involved in Must Missa since 1996 or did you ever consider searching a new frontman !?
We were considering many options for new singer. But we didn’t spent much time trying to figure things out. It just happened, that one time Viki ended up being behind the mic and started screaming. Well, and then it was settled. Of course every beginning is hard, so was his. It took quite some time before he was satisfied enough. At one point me and Ank joined on to help out with singing. And that turned out to be really good move. At the moment Missa has three singing musicians and we successfully tested that out when we recorded THE TARGET… It was breathtaking when three guys are screaming their lungs out on chorus. It gives me such a powerful feeling behind the drums, I could just die! It is working and you just have to see with your own eyes.
Presumably the Estonian metal scene ain’t that huge as all of the Must Missa members are involved in other bands like you, SUSS, also playing the drums for the Estonian dark metallers Manatark. Is it easy to lure other bands’ members to team up with another band ?! In general how are you able to share the time between two bands ?!
Actually considering how many people are living in Estonia our scene is quite big. Last five years have seen birth of many metal bands. Bands play music from one wall to another and people know what is going on outside Estonia. What we lack, are good and determinded musicians. Within that lies the answer to your question, why I am playing in other bands as well. I would play with even more bands but I just don’t have enough time, because I am closely connected to our local HARD ROCK CLUB (www.hardrockclub.ee) that is organizing gigs and working hard in any other way to make our scene better, so I just don’t have enough free time. Also we have a lot of gigs and festivals taking place. The biggest is HARD ROCK LAAGER (www.hardrocklaager.ee) that takes place in summer and is grown to a huge beast. I’m one the organizers of that festival. Also we have couple of rock pubs that have seen bands from all over the world, so we have things to do.
LONG LIVE OLD SCHOOL/PIKKA IGA VANA-KOOLILE
Must Missa’s music wasn’t that so called old schoolish in the early stage of the band’s career as if I have understand the style was quite different, more in the dismal, melancholic and a little bit blackish metal oriented.. How did the musical evolution of Must Missa start in the first place ending up to the current more like schoolish thrash approach ?!
I wouldn’t say Missa has changed that much over the years. Style has changed towards thrash, indeed. But if you compare old Missa to new one, you can still see those things that define Missa. If people go and new guys take their place, well it is inevitable that bands will sound a bit differently. But we don’t take notice from storiest about how we once were like this and now we are like that. Every band envolves and I think Missa is just starting to find it’s right place in the scene.
You have used both Estonia and English in your lyrics, but why do you prefer using Estonia to English instead on the first two full length albums ?! Did it turn out to be a lot easier to express yourself in your own mother language ?!
Like I said before, I wasn’t with the band in early years. But I know around that time it was very popular to sing in Estonian. I assume they used same tactics. Actually our next release will have Estonian lyrics. We just need it ourselves. And I have to say quite few songs sound better in Estonian.
What kind of topics are you keen on penning in your lyrics however ?!
Actually there are no certain topics. We sing about whatever is on our minds. To be honest texts come to us quite weird ways. At some point we just have lyrics for the song and when we work on final version of the song, we also do more work on lyrics. Usually it ends in laughter. We like irony, and that’s what our lyrics talk about.
As for bands having influenced Must Missa musically, it would be easy quite easy to point Celtic Frost out as one of the most important bands having had a relatively major influence on you. I guess you won’t deny that fact that aforementioned Swiss avantgarde legends as one of the biggest influences, but which other band could be named as important ones having had an influential factor on Must Missa’s soundworld ?!
It’s important what bands are influenced us personally from the time we began to listen to metal. Yes, indeed, Celtic Frost, Kreator, Stone and Slayer are one of these bands we have listened to since we were kids. We honor these bands a lot and I’m personally very thankful that I know what good music sounds like thanks to them. Because of that we sound like them, but we are not copying anyone deliberately. And if someone says we sound damn a lot like Celtic, then here’s our answer – that’s the way it should be! If we can do music good enough to be compared to Slayer then everything is like it should, it means we are good band.
You have put a lot of effort into the visual look of the band by having bullet belts, spikes etc. I assume visual and the whole image for the whole three piece is an extremely important factor, cos you can’t dress up to a normal t-shirt and ripped pants ?!
Personally I don’t like when band goes on stage with random outfit. If these clothes were fine for going to work, they are fine to go on stage is just not the case with us. A band has to look extravagant and suitable for the style they play. We just like to wear all these spikes on stage and get maximum out from our equipment. This kind of music just needs us to look good.
You seem to have quite interesting extra visual things arranged on the stage, namely hot looking go-go dancegirls… Where did you get an idea to add them to your show ?!
Again I have to say that because of the music style, it is better if beside the music there is something else coming from the stage. We have found two really good friends who help us to bring that nuclear war to audience. Nice chicks and heavy music have always walked hand in hand, and that’s what we are offering to you from the stage. And after all, why couldn’t extreme band offer something exciting?
Must Missa did some gigs with the Polish extreme death metal squad Behemoth, I can’t help asking how it was to open up for them ?!
Behemoth have been to Estonia twice and no doubt they are a really good band. We get along well and they liked our music. They even contacted us few weeks after the gig and asked for our album.
You seem to have done a number of gigs in Baltic countries, besides Estonia, but also in Lithuania, and Latvia. How does the crowd differ in a way on gigs of Musta Missa in other Baltic countries or even in Finland ?! What has been the most memorable gig done so far ?!
The most memorable gig was a few year ago in Lithuania, where a crowd of 300 went really wild. Almost everyone was moshing. This was power. Actually in Lithuania we have been always warmly welcomed. Then again metalheads are mostly same everywhere. Who has seen more, who less, this determines their attitude towards the band on the stage.
What kind of feedback have you received from the people on the gigs and other bands as well ?!
I’ll answer shortly: extremely positive!
Have you tried to sort out gigs in Central European countries, especially in Germany or Sweden to have a more experienced about performing in front of die hard metal heads ?!
Like every metal band, we are interested in playing a lot abroad. And we are working hard at the moment towards that. And results are not far. We get quite a lot offers. I have to say every gig gives something and we love to play live. If someone should be interested in getting us play live for their gig, it’s not that difficult. We can organize other bands gigs in Estonia for return, so just let us know!
RELEASES / V2LJAANDED
As for the MA EI TALU VALGUST release, originally the same titled tape came out as a demo, but later it was released by the Spanish label Death To Mankind, did you re-record every track of the demo release all over again for that, were those demo songs re-mixed ?!
Actually you are not correct. On the tape Missa released only SEX BEYOND THE GRAVE, debut has been released only on CD. By now demo has been released also on CD.
The newest output titled THE TARGET OF HATE was put out by NailBoard Rec being an entire new and unknown label to me, how did you end putting the album out via them, not for example thru the Death To Mankind rec ?!
Relationship with Death To Mankind was hard and complicated. Nailboard is new Estonian label that has released 10 albums from local bands. And the are working on realeasing older Estonian stuff. Their work and attitude suited us and so we agreed to work with them. We are extremely satisfied with the outcome. They have put some hard work to our band.
Were you 100% satisfied with the achieved results on THE TARGET OF HATE, cos do you think there were some details or things which should have been carried out in other way ?!
We are happy how our latest release turned out and we wouldn’t change anything on there. The whole recording session was darkened by trying to adjust to new settings but by the end of the day it didn’t stoped us to work with full force. We could use really good studio and the best sound enginer. Also our label gave us freedom for both album design and our music. The product is the best that we could achive.
According to the info sheet, all the tracks were composed during May 2003 and February 2005, that is a quite long timeline indeed, but “You Filthy Pig” was re-written and re-composed for the album, why ?! But in general did it take a lot of time from you to get songs together ?!
This release is kind of a little summary of so called new era. Line-up has changed a lot and there has been other crap we have had to deal with. Because of that we didn’t had stability for quite some time. This is why songs are so different from each other. We could enter studio 6 months after our bass player left. Now everything is OL and we write more and more new material. New album will be more stable and we already have written a lot of material for it.
How did you start processing and working on new songs for THE TARGET OF HATE in the first place, jamming in your rehearsal place to find catchy riffs, or everyone molests their own instruments at home and then bring good riffs to a rehearsal place ?!
It’s different every time. Missa prefers not to force songs to paper. The best songs we have never needed much work on them. Just playing our instruments, moshing a lot and getting into the right mood and songs will be created quickly. We have tried to work really hard on songs and these songs have always ended up in the recycle bin. Our moto is – open the beer, take your instrument and shoot!
GOAT OF SIN was a self released promo, could you tell a little bit more about this release cos as far as I know it contains some video material ?!
GOAT OF SIN is the only material in Missas history that features 5 members. It contains couple of live recordins, 1 studio track and some of the songs are recorded in the morning before gig, kind of a sound check thing really. There is one video which was recorded our winter time festival, properly named WINTERFEST, it is from year 2004. GOAT OF SIN was ment more for promoting our band outside Estonia. One main reason was in our change of style and we needed fast to introduce our new face. I think all was well done and GOAT OF SIN has received very positive feedback.
How much has the internet helped Must Missa to promote and spread the name all around and advertise your albums in the band’s official site and find new people interested in picking up for example THE TARGET OF HATE ?!
Well, without internet it’s impoissible to do anything, on professional level anyway. I think it is almost impossible to achive something with the band that doesn’t have professional website. Internet is huge and convenient to promote your band fast and effectivly. It’s also good way to communicate with labels and gig organizers. I think sending flyers through regular post is finaly the thing from the past.
Will you be re-recording some of older songs from the old demo releases for forthcoming full length albums ?!
Yes, like I mentioned earlier, our next release will be in Estonian and we will re-record the first SEX BEYOND THE GRAVE demo for that.
ESTONIAN GROWNING METAL SCENE !
As already stated above you are involved in other Estonian metal bands, therefore I can’t help inquiring a little bit more about the local metal scene which seems to have growing tremendously during the last few years. Manatark toured with Mayhem, Horricane got the debut album, Loist and of course I remember the old, but now defunct Aggressor, what else could you recommend from your scene ?!
There are a lot of good bands in Estonia. People can visit www.estonianmetal.com if they are interested in more details, this site has about 75% of Estonian scene covered. Every band has indroduction, pictures, mp3s and contacts. For me the most interesting side of the site is that it also features bands that have split up. I would sugsest people to listen to these things, there are a lot of interesting stuff for every taste.
Even bigger bands seem to visit Estonia as you recently had Exodus, Candlemass, Judas Priest, Anathema… How much do you have to arrange all the gigs on your own ?!
Because I am gig organizer myself, I don’t have to re-arrange my schedule much, because I have to be on most of these gigs because of my duties anyway. In Estonia we have quite few agencies that are working on gigs. We are working together with many of them and so we are present on most of the big gigs. Smaller local gigs take place all over Estonia and we possible can’t visit them all. It’s kind of a inside joke, but if we want to see some new young bands in Estonia, we ask them to play on our gigs.
I am pretty much sure there will be a legion of interesting people willing to get a hold of the stuff of Must Missa, where could they order or buy your albums ?!
It is really easy. Visit our website www.mustmissa.com and send us your order and we will send out the release. For stuff like shirts etc. I’d sugsest to see what our labels website www.nailboard.org has to offer. Also we usually sell our stuff on the gigs that we play.
If you got an unexpected opportunity of selecting bands with whom you would dream about touring or playing together, who would be that ?!
Any band really until they are metal. The important thing is that they wouldn’t be some joke bands but really serious about what they are doing. Because Missa isn’t one of these joke bands therefor we can’t stand when people fool around with bands. I personally would like to play with a band that unfortunately doesn’t exist anymore. It’s STONE!
All right I for one thank you for your time to answer the interview and I hope to see Must Missa on the stage soon somewhere….
A couple of essential MUST MISSA related links :
A few mp3 files taken from the latest MUST MISSA album called “The Target Of Hate” :