Interview with Roni S. (vocals and bass) & Tuomas K. (vocals and guitar)
Interview by Demitri Levantis
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With the release of their third studio album, “Floating in Timeless Streams” coming this month, I caught up with Finnish death metal group, Lie In Ruins to see what the band has been up to.
Thanks for giving us your time, let’s begin with “Floating in Timeless Streams”, what inspired that title?
TK – The title was picked from the lyrics for the song “Drowned” on the album. We had a couple of ideas for the name of the album, but in the end, we decided to go with “Floating in Timeless Streams” as it encapsulates the whole feeling of the album rather well and also summarizes the lyrical content of the album well.
With song titles like “Spectral Realms of Fornication” and “(Becoming) One with the Aether, what do those songs talk about?
TK: Spectral Realms of Fornication lyrics were written by RÄ. That song is about disgust for a world, for which you wish an end and where you want to remove yourself from, by sacrificing yourself to the Master.
(Becoming) One with the Aether is a dreamlike depiction of a barren and desolate world where you eventually depart from and ascend to a higher plane that is the universe itself.
If you were to compare it to your last album, “Towards Divine Death” what are the biggest differences or similarities in how the album sounds?
RS – The most drastic changes were the song structures and the soundscape. On Towards Divine Death there were more everything and now we wanted to do songs that suited better on live situations
TK – As RS said, the song arrangements are more “to the point” on the new album, whereas on “Towards…” we wanted to build up the songs bit by bit and relying more on the atmosphere of the music. Another difference would be the production, this time we wanted to go for a bit clearer and punchy sound, but without sounding too polished. The recipe for the music is pretty much the same on both albums.
Another thing that definitely makes a difference, is the new lineup. Having J-PM on drums has brought the band to a new level, also we share lead vocal duties now with Roni, which makes things quite exciting at least for me. Roni is also now on bass, which was the original plan in 2006 when we first thought about starting to play live, haha!
Why did you wait six years to make a new album?
RS – We had this material ready nearly three years ago, some songs even longer. I had some trouble with the lyrics but the main reason was the lineup change though. The recording process was rather long as well and we can blame ourselves for that but after all, it took the time it needed. I’d like to say we have learned once again something and the next one will come quicker out but every time I’ve stated this before we have failed miserably. So we will see what the future brings.
What have the new additions to your line up as drummer Jussi-Pekka Manner brought to the band?
RS – Stability and a great working attitude come to my mind in the first place. He is a very talented drummer and he brings a lot of his great ideas to the band as well. Now we are all located in the Helsinki area as well so there’s no excuse to hide behind that geological excuse anymore. Cliche or not, this new lineup is the most solid lineup we’ve had. We share the same working attitude and we want to push this band forward
TK – J-PM has also been a friend for a long time, before joining the band. I think all of us prefer to play with people who we consider actual friends, rather than just some guys in the same band.
Overall, how do you think the band has changed in all the years you’ve been together?
RS – Not much actually. It all started as mine and Tuomas’ vision around death metal and when Roni Ä joined the band there were three of us who shared the same vision. Now the first time ever I think we the whole lineup is sharing the same vision and work ethics.
You had the album mixed and mastered at Trollhouse Audio, why did you pick that studio?
RS – We’ve worked with Henri for quite some time now with Lie in Ruins and with our other bands as well and share even longer friends with him. Working with him is easy and the dialogue with him is fruitful. We don’t always share the vision but then we work together to achieve the ultimate goal. On our latest album, he once again outdid himself.
Who did your album artwork and why did you choose them?
RS – Our very own Roni Ä did the cover art with his fiancee. Roni Ä has done all of our artwork after he joined our band and actually some even before that. We like to keep the strings in our own hands in many ways and this is not an exception. This is the way we keep the vision pure.
What bands would you liken yours to for people looking for new music and why?
TK – I would liken Lie in Ruins to many of the bands who were around when we released our demos, around mid 00’s: bands such as Dead Congregation, Kaamos, Drowned, Graveyard (ESP), Vanhelgd, Cruciamentum, Grave Miasma and many, many more. I personally feel a kinship there and many of those guys are friends too. I think all of us draw inspiration from the same source(s) more or less and those bands have definitely inspired our music to some extent.
How has the covid-19 pandemic affected Lie In Ruins?
RS – Because we had our new album underway we didn’t have that many gigs agreed before covid-19 hit the world. So in that sense, we had to cancel just a couple of gigs but then again releasing an album during the epidemic is also a wild card. All the gigs which were cancelled earlier this year just moved to next year and therefore the promotional value of the new album considering the gigs is close to zero. So we’ll see how this situation evolves and see what the effect is.
Were there any performances you had to cancel which you felt particularly disappointed over?
RS – I think every gig we have to cancel, small or big, is a disappointment. Playing live and seeing the crowd’s reaction is the ultimate price you can get when you release new music. Like I said we didn’t have that many gigs lined up for the year but the album release gig and Braincrusher festival in Germany got cancelled/postponed. Hopefully, next year will be better in that sense.
Besides music, what else inspires the band like art, literature, etc?
RS – Probably different things for everyone in the band but for me nature and common life plays the biggest roles. You don’t need any sci-fi or dystopia nowadays because it’s all there in small scales already. I’m not one of those “old days were better” people but we are certainly on a very fragile road right now.
TK – Literature inspires me, both fictional and non-fictional, nature and natural science too.
In your press release, it says you have a “cavernous sound”, can you elaborate on that and explain what gives Lie In Ruins that sound?
RS – I don’t really care about that expression. It’s some sort of “trendy” word of recent years to describe the more traditional sound of death metal. I mean we haven’t changed a lot soundwise but at some point, someone described us as a cavernous sounding band. So basically it means reverb sound which actually isn’t that present on the latest release.
Were there any guest appearances on your latest release and are you thinking of doing any in the future?
RS – Nope, but it’s a weird coincidence that you asked because we had a special guest appearance in the works but the covid situation messed that up. Hopefully, we are going to make that happen in the future though.
What inspired the band in the first place?
RS – The state of death metal in the early 2000s. Of course, there were good bands back then as well but the overall situation with death metal looked quite bad. Melodic death metal has gone viral and some of the once good bands started to flirt with this etc. We wanted to do something more primitive and EVIL.
What made you change the band name from Dissected?
RS – When we formed Lie in Ruins we wanted a fresh start. Nowadays it feels like a mistake that we even mentioned our past in that sense. Now we are categorized as old school veterans or some sort of light-bearers of the old. The decision to change the name was also because of the name originality, it was just too close to Dissection.
When the pandemic is over, where would you like to restart your live performances?
RS – Absolutely! For me, it’s a privilege and a pleasure to play live. Our family situations are pretty challenging because most of us have little children at home but we have always found the time to do one-off gigs and small tours as well. I am looking forward to conquering some new countries in the future and of course, go back there where we have played before. Right now I’m hoping the Braincrusher festival can be held next year and expect to play there. There’s also a slight chance we are able to have some album release gig here in Helsinki before that but it’s all about this yet so boring Covid situation.
When you’re not touring or in the studio, what do you and the rest of the band like to do for fun, any particular pastimes?
RS – Fun, what’s that? Seriously the most time-consuming and also rewarding thing right now for most of us is our families.
TK – When we’re not touring or recording with Lie in Ruins, we’re probably doing the same thing with other bands we are involved in, haha.
What do you enjoy most about being a musician?
RS – Playing live mostly. Of course, these few occasions we play around the new ideas and end up having a great song is also very rewarding.
TK – I enjoy every aspect of it, which directly relates to creating and performing the music itself. For me, nothing beats the feeling when we’ve crafted a new tune and it starts to take its final shape. This might sometimes happen only during the last stages of recording, but nevertheless, it is a strong feeling which makes all this worthwhile.
Finally, do you have anything you’d like to say to our readers?
RS – Thanks for reading! Keep up supporting the underground!
Thanks so much for joining us, all the best to you for the future.