Heart of Steel: Interviews

Carnal Forge Interview With Guitarist Jari Kuusisto

Interview by EvilG
Transcription by Ronnie


First out I wanted to ask you about the band name. Where did it come from and what is a Carnal Forge?

The story behind the group name is actually pretty silly. We actually took it from the Carcass album HEARTWORK. We figured out what we should name the band when we were listening to that album. We just came up with that. Pretty shameful, we took it from another group actually.

Allot of bands have done that. Are you still a big Carcass fan then?

Yeah. I love all the work that they have done up until the HEARTWORK album.


Not a fan of SWANSONG eh? [nah] So what, or who, did you have in mind for the new album title "PLEASE…DIE!"?.

There were some people who have made life hard for Carnal Forge and there was a statement from our side that goes out to those people and also we want the title to be easy to remember and if you see it it's pretty hard to forget what the album was called.


Any particular people you'd like to name?

From my point of view it goes out to our old record label.

So you guys weren't too happy with the support that that label gave you?

No and he did allot more stuff that made life hard for the band.



Regarding the album cover art, does the cover art at all reflect the title?

I think it goes together because the cover actually shows a guy who is about to be executed. So I think the picture and the title fit together.

So is this guy based on someone at the old label?? hahaha

haha no..he's a good friend of ours on the cover.

Is it a photograph or a painting?

It's a photograph that we added some different colours to and stuff like that on the computer.


JariThe album was recorded and mixed in Studio Underground whereas the vocals were done at your vocalists' own Black Lounge Studio. I was wondering why you didn't just do the whole thing at your vocalists' studio?

We liked to record in Studio Underground and the reason we recorded the vocals in the vocalists' studio was that every time before we have done a recording we have done it all in one day. We wanted to give him more time to relax and so he can experiment with the vocals a lot more and try out some stuff that he felt he hadn't had time for before. And also that was a break for us for like two weeks so we can go home and listen to what we recorded while he was putting down the vocals.


Did you only record the 12 songs (I believe it is) for the album or did you record more than that later maybe?

No...we had like 15 or 16 songs before we went in the studio and we picked out the 12 songs that we really liked. So we just recorded those 12 songs.


I noticed a little bit more melody creeps into some of the songs on this new album. Mainly I guess I would say it's in the lead guitar department. Do you think melody can take away from the heaviness or does it add to it?

I think it adds to it because you can have melody on the new album but it's still not a melodic album. It turned out that way when my brother switched from bass to his main instrument, guitar. He's a little bit more to the melodic stuff and I'm pretty much to the really hard stuff. When we do the songs together he comes with the melodies and I come with the heavy stuff. The material is a little more varied now than it was before because before it was only aggressive with a lot of cool riffs doubled on top of each other and now the songs have more personality. I think it's pretty cool but it's not a melodic album, it's added a lot to it.


So do you still call yourselves a Thrash Metal band or do you prefer to avoid those types of labels?

That's always hard because people put you in specific stuff and we the band always say we play extreme metal. It's really up to the listener to decide what kind of music it is, because I don't think it's just thrash metal or death metal or hardcore metal. I think it includes everything from different kinds of styles and that's why we call it extreme metal.


On the new album there is something that sounds like a scream at the beginning of the song "Hand of Doom". I was wondering what was that from, it sounds way sick!!!!

It was an idea that our vocalist got. It's actually his scream that he added with some distortion. He screams his lungs out on that part. (laughs) He thought it would be cool to start out a song without a really really loud, long scream.


Yeah it was very cool. So what is your favourite song over all or from the new album?

I think that "Butchered, Slaughtered, Strangled, Hanged" is a really strong song and it contains most parts of what Carnal Forge is about. [Yes it has a nice Cannibal Corpse ring to it]. (laughs) You have heavy parts, really fast parts, high vocals, low vocals. If I could pick one of the new slower songs, I really like "Becoming Dust."


From your previous album FIREDEMON, I believe my favorite song from that album was "I Smell Like Death". Maybe half the reason was because it sounded like a cool song title haha….I was wondering where it came from because it's pretty original.

It's our vocalist does all the lyrics and decides what the songs should be called, he just has a really vivid imagination (laughs). I don't actually know where he got the title from. He writes pretty weird stuff sometimes that sounds like that.


Another thing I was noticing with the new album, a lot of the songs clock in at under the three-minute mark. There's a few that go over three minutes but your songs are pretty much direct and to the point. When you first write them are they always that structured or do you speed them up after playing them so long that a five-minute song all of a sudden becomes a three-minute song?

No, we try to keep the songs pretty short because the songs are often so fast and so intense all the time. We just feel it wouldn't make sense to do Carnal Forge songs that are four and five minutes, and that was like twelve songs, I don't know if even I can manage to listen to forty to five minutes of Carnal Forge. That's too much. We try to keep the songs between two and a half and three and a half minutes, and I think that's pretty good.


Did you guys have any pressure from your record label to create a certain type of album this time around or did they just let you guys do what you do best?

 No, we have been told we can do what we want, they trust us. They know we're not going to do something that doesn't sound like Carnal Forge. They have to tolerate it, The only thing is just before we go to the studio we send them a preview tape on how the songs are going to be, and so far no problem at all. They say 'Yeah, that's great, go to the studio and record it. It's going to be killer'


I read from your record label's bio and they say something along the lines of Carnal Forge being like a heavier version of The Haunted. Do you agree with that type of statement?

It's always hard to compare Carnal Forge with The Haunted. I think The Haunted is a little bit more to the melodies and they play a little bit slower, but I still think The Haunted is a really aggressive band and really heavy band. We are trying to do what we think is sounding cool for Carnal Forge. If some things turn out a little bit like The Haunted or someone else they have done something that impressed us. I think you can say Carnal Forge is pretty much in the same vein as The Haunted, but we are a little bit more aggressive.


The other thing that caught my eye in the bio was something about, why wait for the old heroes of yesteryear to rise from their rocking chairs and play heavy thrash again. Is that your feeling on what has happened to older heavy thrash bands who have watered it down or simplified their music a little bit?

No, actually not because that's always the same speech from Century Media. That's their way to get eyes opened for Carnal Forge. They always do this kind of stuff when you come with a new album they write something that sounds really cool but nothing that we had said. It's just a sales pitch.


What bands have been an influence upon your playing and song writing?

Well, Slayer have always been one really big influence for Carnal Forge. It was bands like Slayer, Forbidden, Exodus and Exhorder which I was listening to lots of those bands when I was young. I would definitely say all those bay area thrash bands. Kreator and bands like that have been a big influence on Carnal Forge.


So what are your thoughts on the new Slayer album 'God Hates Us All'?

First of all when I bought it I said 'Yeah that was pretty cool', but after five, six or seven listens it keeps getting better and better and now I actually think it's the best album they've done, after REIGN IN BLOOD.

At least you said AFTER Reign in Blood! :-)

Yeah, I think it's real killer this new Slayer album. I listen to it a lot and like it.


Here's a different type of question that I'd like you to clarify for me. There is some sort of connection between Carnal Forge and the band Steel Attack. Can you explain what the connection was in the past between the two? I know there's some sort of shared members originally.

Our drummer in Carnal Forge actually played the bass guitar and did the vocals in Steel Attack. He was one of the formers of that band. That's pretty much the connection. Also my brother helped out adding some synthesizers and stuff.

So that's Steve, or as he's labeled on your album as Stefan, right?

Yeah, he quit that band now and is focused 100% on Carnal Forge.

Is that why he left the band, because of time constraints?

Yeah, he felt Carnal Forge was what he really wanted to do. It doesn't make sense to want to do Carnal Forge 100%, and the other band 50%. If you do something, do it 100% or don't do it at all.


So what did you think of the band Steel Attack? I know they're quite different than Carnal Forge. I've got their album FALL INTO MADNESS and I liked it a lot anyway.

I think it's pretty cool. It's not the type of album that I would buy, but they're doing it pretty good and it sounds like it should sound, like Helloween and Gamma Ray. If they want to do that, it's all right with me.


Do you listen to the same stuff you were influenced by like Kreator or Forbidden - that kind of music, or do you listen to a wider range of material now?

No, I listen to pretty much just metal music, the more aggressive kinds of metal perhaps. I always listen to that, but of course I can appreciate other music too. I can appreciate a good pop song if I hear it on TV but I wouldn't buy a record.

Yeah, neither would I. So I've read something on your web site about an arrest at the 2000 Decibel Festival. What is the story behind that?

(Laughs) That was pretty sick actually, because it was when I was standing watching The Haunted doing a show. We had just played, with Carnal Forge, and after watching The Haunted with an old friend of mine, and suddenly some guy came up and punched him and broke the nose. So I went to the guy and asked him what the Hell he was doing, and the security people came up and saw that I was the big guy there, and I looked pretty mad, so they thought it was me who punched my friend. So they arrested me. I had to go to the police station and start explaining what had happened. I said "No but it wasn't me!". And then the promoter for the festival called and said "You have taken the wrong guy. He plays in the band. God damn, get him back here!". So they drove me back and said sorry it was a misunderstanding. It was totally sick, they wrestled me down to the ground, put me in handcuffs and stuff.

Was that in full view of the audience?

Yeah, it was pretty crowded there because The Haunted were just playing and people started to watch and wonder what was happening.


That must have been interesting. Something else I read that I got a good laugh at was, I know a number of members of the band work in, not reside in, a mental institution. Do you get inspiration from working there for songs maybe?

No actually not, because you put on a different role when you're at work. The people at work are so sick. You really don't have time to think it would be a cool thing to have in a lyric. You don't have time to think like that. I thought of it at the beginning when I started to work there. It really might be a cool inspiration for the lyrics and stuff, but it never became that.


So everyone in the band still has the day job? The band has not come to the point where it's your job yet?

No, we still have regular jobs.


How much importance has the internet had in promoting the band, and please tell us how one goes from being the bands web master to a full time member?

I think the internet is pretty important for bands that are still building up a name. You can easily find information about bands on the internet without paying too much for it. I think it's pretty cool that it exists.

Also these things with Lars. He's an old friend of ours, we knew that he did some cover art, we asked him at the time of the FIREDEMON album, if he was interested in doing a web site for us and also the cover art. And also record us. When Petri switched from bass guitar to guitar, the obvious choice was to also ask, because he was a good friend of ours and we knew that he had played some bass guitar before, and he was already so involved with the band, so the chemistry was right from the beginning. It saved allot of time and it wasn't like for two or three months that we had to get to know him. It was the only choice for us and he was like "Yeah I'm already doing the web site, I'm doing the cover art, I can play in the band too".

I thought that was pretty cool - from web master to bass player in the band. (laughter)

I was wondering about your tour plans for this new album and if you think is there any talk about the band making it's way to North America?

In January we're going on a European tour for 29 days with Mortician as headlining act. Then we also have to discuss with Century Media the possibility to get Carnal Forge to the US to do some gigs or festivals next year. Hopefully if everything goes as planned we will come next year.


Is there any other information or news about the band that you wanted me to pass along to the people?

Right now we are taking it easy because we have this upcoming tour now so we're pretty much not doing anything right now. We have started to look at some new songs and stuff like that because now is the time to make new songs. Next year will be pretty tough as we are going to allot of festivals and stuff like that. Right at this moment we are taking it cool.


That's all the questions I had. Good luck with the album's release over here on the 22nd of January.

Ok, thank you!

Band: www.carnalforge.com

Label: www.centurymedia.com

Metal-Rules.com CD Reviews for Carnal Forge