Singer Mattias Palm – Domination Black
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Birgitt Schwanke at GerMusica PR for setting up the interview.
Thanks to Pride and Joy Music for the promo pictures of the band.
Domination Black comes from Finland and the band have been active since 2003 with some off and on’s through the years. Now the band is back and here comes a shorter interview with singer Mattias Palm who joined forces with the band back in 2010.
Their previous, third, album DIMENSION DEATH came out in 2012 and now it’s time for a follow up with JUDGMENT IV which was just released at the end of July. We look at why it has taken the band so long to follow up the album, as well as why there have been member changes in the band, and so on, we discuss it all in the interview. Happy reading.
Hi Matias, how are you doing? Are you ready to take on metal-rules.com and some questions today? And how is the covid situation where you are and in general in Finland?
Hello there! Doing fine, thanks and definitely ready for some serious interview time! I’m currently having my summer vacation in the middle of Finland and as far as I know, no covid cases have appeared here since a long time, so things are getting better all the way.
The band went on a hiatus for a couple of years, what were you up to then?
Well, we released a single in 2014 and then the plan was to continue with arranging songs and recording them for an album. But pretty soon it turned out that it wasn’t happening and slowly it became clear that nothing was happening. We tried to revive the band by booking some shows and having meetings planning the things out but eventually nothing happened.
A few members left the band, were their departures expected and how did things end, and now new drummer Wiren and guitarist Laitinen in the band, are you old friends?
Well, the departure of one member was expected as we made the decision for him. The other one finally made up his mind too and decided he just didn’t have the time anymore. So very quickly we got Ville Nissinen as a new drummer then. We’ve known him for years already since we’ve played some shows together with his old band. I’d say we were very lucky to get him on board. Otherwise we couldn’t have started recording the new album. Guitarist Juuso Laitinen joined us a year later when we had most of the recordings done for the album. We didn’t know him previously as well as we knew Ville so he did a couple of live shows as a stand-in guitarist with us. After a few gigs it became apparent that he’s the right guy and luckily he could play lots of solos and leads on the new album, too.
When did you start to work on material to the new album JUDGEMENT IV?
Some stuff is old and goes back years. And then there’s some stuff we wrote and completed just before we started recordings. A few songs also contain some riffs and ideas of the old guitarist Vill Viren since we started working on them when he was still in the band. Therefore the timeline is quite long but it was around year before starting the recordings when we kinda started collecting all the ideas and songs together and decided what should be on the album.
How was it to play live with the new line up and what did fans think of the newcomers?
It was very relieving because we kind of proved to everybody that we can still go on strong with the new members and they are of course fabulous musicians! The new line-up was very well-received right from the start and we got very encouraging feedback from the audience.
The bands previous album DIMENSION DEATH came out back in 2012, did you experience any pressure on delivering something extraordinary for the fans now that it has taken you quite a while to release the follow-up JUDGEMENT IV?
We didn’t really aim to put out anything extraordinary, so to speak, but more like wanted create a solid and fresh new album. We certainly didn’t want it to sound the same as Dimension: Death. So with Judgement IV we’ve made some progress again, just like we did with Dimension: Death compared to the previous albums. I think, production-wise, it’s certainly an improvement.
Who in the band writes the music and the lyrics and what are the lyrics about this time?
Usually most of the riffs and song ideas have come from the guitarists and then Juuso the keyboardist always writes something too. I wrote a couple of riffs for this album and did a lot of arranging. Almost all lyrics are written by me. I’ve tried to persuade the others to write lyrics too but so far not much has happened, hah! This time there was one song where I got some help in lyric-writing from Juuso Elminen. Basically anybody in the band is free to write anything, we just collect the best ideas for the songs.
How come you named the album JUDGEMENT IV, what’s the story behind the title?
We wanted it to be something like “coming back with a vengeance”. It feels like a comeback album – which it basically is. So we had a song called “The Judgement” that has its lyrics dealing with this subject too so therefore since this is our 4th album it became “Judgement IV”.
Center Of The Universe (Official Video)
Is it correct you began to record the album during the summer of 2018?
Yeah, it was June 2018 when we recorded the drums and then everybody went on their summer vacations and we recorded rhythm guitars in September 2018.
Why has it taken you so long to release it?
Because it took us more then 1,5 years to get the album finished. Unfortunately, we’re not in a state where we could book a studio for 2 months and work there everyday. We all have day-jobs and most of us have families. This leads to the fact that we record whenever we can. For example, I recorded all the bass guitars in maybe 5 parts whenever Lauri could pay me a visit and play them on tape. The vocals recordings started in autumn of 2019 and were completed in January 2020. It takes time when you have your own schedules and then you have the schedules of the recording engineer and last but not least you have the schedules of the recording studio.
Do you think old hardcore Domination Black fans are going to like the new album?
Hmm, hard to say. We don’t even try to please some hardcore fans from the times of the first album. It’s more interesting to try to find new fans and try to reach new musical frontiers. So far the feedback has been good in general, from those who’ve followed us for years, too.
How would you like to describe what kind of music the band play?
Mighty basic metal! It’s a genre that our keyboardist Juuso came up with. But the funny thing is that it actually sums up our thing pretty well. I usually say we just play heavy metal but heavy metal as a genre is incredibly wide. I’d say it’s melodic metal and we get influences from everywhere, not just from metal.
Were there any songs that didn’t made it on to the final edition of the album?
Yes, there’s one more song that we recorded but didn’t finish. It can be used as a bonus track at some point maybe. We don’t know yet when and how to release it – if we’re gonna release it at all.
What are the longest songs “Beyond The Shadows” (7.11) and “Empire Of Lunacy” (5.54) about?
Well, that would be two completely different songs dealing with different subjects. Many of the lyrics have a link to the real world and are dealing with kind of everyday-subjects like human behaviour or the dark side of the human mind or maybe even societal subjects. Empire Of Lunacy is more like a conspiracy thing. It has the classic battle between good and evil with the covernments being the evil ones. Beyond The Shadows, however, is just fantasy, more like complete nonsense, hahah! It has absolutely nothing to do with anything, not anything real or something you can describe. Maybe it’s about some invisible evil force you have to fight but you don’t know what it is.
Are you happy with the work your label Pride and Joy put into the album and the band so far?
I’d say we are. One of the things we didn’t want to do was all this promotion hassle and dealing with getting your music to stores and available to people and we’re happy to have Pride & Joy Music to do it since they can do it better. Also we couldn’t reach that many people if we did it all by ourselves.
Due to the pandemic many bands and artists are doing live stream-shows, is that something for Domination Black to do?
I could see us doing something like that at some point. This time we didn’t have time to think about it since we didn’t have too much time for live shows anyway during the pandemic. The album is out in July and now we can already play live shows to audiences in Finland.
Is the band eager to hit the road and play the new songs for the fans, any plans on heading out on tour when things get back to usual?
Sure! Our next show is already in August and we cannot wait to play some new stuff to the fans! We’re getting some more shows booked as time goes by and things start to get better everywhere. Or that’s what we hope.
VAT (Official Video)
The biography say that fans of Stratovarius, Thunderstone and Dynazty is going to like your music, can you agree with that?
Heheh, I have no idea, I hope so! I don’t know anything about
Dynazty, I’ve heard some Thunderstone songs and Stratovarius was a big thing for me back in the ’90s. I don’t know if there are that many similarities in the music styles. But, yeah, maybe it’s possible that the fans of those bands could find Domination Black too. If someone asked me what’s a similar band to DB, I couldn’t answer. Some people have compared us to Helloween.
Well, that was all I had for now, stay safe and healthy and take care!! Thanks for taking the time making the interview and I’d love to see you on a stage in Sweden in the near future, do you have any final words of wisdom to share with fans and readers?
You take care too and thanks! We actually played a Swedish rock cruise when Dimension: Death album was out and would be more than happy to return to Sweden again! My words of wisdom? I ain’t a wise man so I’ll just say: Do what you like as soon as it doesn’t hurt the others. Listening to Domination Black definitely falls into that category!