After more than ten years since their debut, the finnish band NOWEN are ready to return with their new album called “Essence of Fear” that will be released i the January 2012, via Violent Journey Records.
Hi guys, I’m Sylvi from MSFinland, how are you?
Lappis(Guitarist, vocals): I’m fine, or we’re fine, thanks for asking. Little busy at work but that’s just life.
Jarno(Bass): It seems we’re both fine, thank you for asking!
1. So, soon your new album will be released. How do you feel about it? Are you nervous?
Lappis: I feel very confident about our new album. It’s a strong and powerful record with lots of different kind of emotions and senses. It’s fast, it’s heavy, it’s dark, it’s agressive, it’s diverse and it’s tight as hell. The album also sounds great, very natural sounds on drums. No triggers or samples were used on this records so it’s pretty damn dynamic album. Our drummer also played the whole album live without timer or click, whatever you want to call it, so there is a lot of groove in this album. So no, I am not nervous at all. Hopefully people will like it as much as we do. There must be something wrong with their heads and ears if they won’t like this record!
Jarno: The album is great in my opinion and I believe it will have good responses among listeners. I’m not nervous at all as I am quite confident too with the content of the album. I only have good feelings about it.
2. I read that the lyrics of this album will be very deep. And, for me, the title of the album suggests something very “spiritual”. Am I wrong?
Lappis: That’s the beauty of metal music and lyrics; You have the possibility to understand lyrics just the way you wanted. And yes, there is some profound stuff there. When I write lyrics, I just let my mind flow and somehow those words just start to come. Usually I just need somekind of inspiration. That inspiration can be daily news, movies, something that has just happened to me Etc. For example, there is this song called ” The Inner Beast ” And the lyrics are about my personal demons. It can be damn scary when you find out you don’t really know yourself as well as you may think. On our previous album there was song called “Fragile” and that song is also about my fights against myself. Before that there were songs like “With Pain” and “Where hell Begins” so as you can see I really like this soulsearching-stuff. I love to search my inner self and I would like to get to know me better. I love doing that but at the same time I don’t, you know?
And then there is couple of songs about religions. I despise religions and people, who waste their lifes believing something that doesn’t exist. Most of the people on this planet are too stupid and too weak to realize that they should take their lifes on their own hands and make their own fate. So I guess it’s easy to put your faith somewhere like church, God, Jesus or cartoons. What a pathetic way of living. But on the other hand, people can do their lives what they want so…it’s not my business. I also rewrote the last painful minutes of Christ on “Sacrifice for Nothing”. He practically denies his “father” in this song. Maybe he wasn’t the son of a God, maybe he was. I really don’t care and that is not the point.
Religions are and will be the very Essence of fear, the biggest plague and cancer on this planet. Just a way to manipulate people and make them do what is best to…For whom? Churches? Priests? Pope? That is the point of the album and the title.
Jarno: Some lyrics are deep and some are less or something in between. Of course when dealing with the personal level of the lyrics there are some aspects that have been spawned from the deeper depths of humanity. Then there’s also a song like Deadly Force that is not really personal and not that deep but just something less serious as life is not just about inner demons and struggle. I do oppose the church and the manipulative power-hungry aspect of all religions. But of course there are exceptions. The thing is that people should always maintain their individuality and intelligence even when they might have something to believe in. And I know there truly is something great within us all but that can’t be found from churches that are just the dead corpse of christ. Monotheistic and exoteric religions have gone into disgusting directions of worshiping something that is not worth the respect. The whole concept of “believe or you’ll burn in hell” is wrong and untrue and that’s what is mostly criticized on the album. Actually I think that all fundamental views are equally false, be it religious, non-religious, atheistic, scientific, profane, mundane or whatever.
3. Do you think that this album will be like an human and musically growth?
Lappis: I’m not sure I’m the right person to say anything about this subject ’cause I’m the main songwriter. Musically we have been doing this same thing since we started so…hard to say. Let the listeners be the judge of that.
Jarno: Songs are tighter as well as the band but of course some will disagree. It might seem like only a slight change and small development from some point of view but I think we have gone a lot forward after the first album. We haven’t changed our musical style or anything like that but you will surely hear what has changed when you listen to the album and let it flow inside you.
4. How much time did you spend for the recording of the album?
Lappis: We took our time with this record. We did usually about 4 hour/evening so as you can imagine, the album took its time to finish. We actually recorded the whole summer but there was long break (1 month) from the studio. We had a lot of fun while recording and we did enjoy all the time that we spent in the studio. When we actually did record we did that quite fast. Drums took about 16 hours from start to finish (11 songs) but our drummer (Ville Vehviläinen, also known from Waltari) is a word-class drummer. So we didn’t waste any time when we actually did record. But it was summer and of course we had our holidays and stuff like that so that is the reason for those breaks and delays we had. But the result is awesome so mission complished.
5. There have been many misunderstandings within the band that led to some changes in your lineup. now you feel more united with this new lineup?
Lappis: I find this question quite odd but I’m happy to rectify your piece of information; Our lineup has been exactly the same since 2005. Lappis on guitars and vocals, Markus “Kusmar Rotten” Taipale on guitars, Jarno Nurmi on bass and Ville Vehviläinen on drums. So one could say that our lineup is steady. Has been steady for over 7 years and hopefully this lineup will last to the end.
Jarno: Yes, the line-up has remained stable for the last seven years. But that doesn’t mean it has been easy for all of us all the time. There has been ups and downs with some hard moments but I hope and believe that we’ve only gotten stronger even with all our personal problems and arguments. In my opinion, band just like life is always a process. Not just something to do while you’re bored and have nothing else to do.
6. You have programmed some shows outside Finland in the coming months?
Lappis: We would love to do some shows abroad but right now it seems that we will play ours gigs right here in Finland. But of course we will play everywhere if we had that opportunity. Right now playing abroad doesn’t seem unlikely, unfortunately.
7. Can you talk about the cover picture? How did you choose it?
Lappis: I saw this painting about 8 months ago and I fell in love with it right away! The person who made this piece of art, is Noora Ekström, very good friend of mine and our guitar player’s (Markus) fiancee. The colours are just great, so finnish and yet so cold! She is truly an artist. If someone disagrees with that it is not our problem.
Jarno: It might be the only part that is truly art on this album, haha! The cold atmosphere fits the album perfectly as well as the general symbolism in the cover art. In the cover picture I see the freezing fear of death and closed eyes that don’t want to see. But that’s only the connection with the album. The picture itself is not only about these negative things. It’s a beautiful piece of art. It’s cold in a beautiful way that gives good feelings too. I could worship a deity like that while waiting for the freezing winter days and nights that should already be here but are not.
8. When did you understand that the time to write something new had arrived?
Lappis: This is easy for me because I play guitar as much as I am able to play. So I basically create new guitar riffs every day. I have written about 5 or 6 songs already for our third album so I just keep myself busy with my guitar.
Jarno: I think there’s always time to write something new and it usually just happens when the time is right. Now there’s been a longer break during which I haven’t really played. I have some ideas for the third Nowen album but at the moment I also have to concentrate on the next albums of my other bands.
Now we talk about something else…
9. When you are not Nowen, who are you? What do you do in your personal life?
Lappis: You really want to know? I guess I’m just a regular guy who loves music, playing guitar, movies, reading and stuff like that. We all have our daily jobs so there is really not much to tell you about.
Jarno: Of course we all have our own personal lives and other bands too. I am studying a lot of different things and working every now and then but that’s not of any interest.
10. Have you other passion beyond music?
Lappis: Movies, reading, sports and particularly marshall arts and icehockey. And of course, good food, definitely. I just try to enjoy my life as much as I can but it’s not easy all the time. Life has its own ways to make your life difficult sometimes. So one could say I feel passionate about life most of the time.
Jarno: The only passion in my life is the spiritual path of occultism and the struggle for the truth and it swallows all other sides of life within itself. I have no other interests.
11. Do you spend time together when you’re not playing?
Lappis: We try. For example, Markus is my best friend so we spend time together pretty often. But it’s not very easy to get the whole band in the same room ’cause Ville has a child and Jarno suffers really bad hangovers so he doesn’t drink very often, Hah! And we don’t live in the same city. Markus lives in Espoo, Jarno lives in Helsinki and Ville and I, we live in Lahti. But we are good friends and we try to spend time together as always as possible and not just at our rehearsing place or gigs.
Jarno: Of course it’s unfortunate that there are times when it’s difficult to stay in touch but the connection is always there. Friendship is not something that could just be turned off.
12. Who is the most quiet and who is the most lively in the band?
Lappis: Hahhah! I guess me and Markus are the vivid ones and Jarno and Ville are the quiet ones in this band. Me and Markus could party all night long but our rhythm section will pass out usually pretty soon after midnight! But it’s not that simple you know? Jarno can be a real trashtalker if he wants to and so can be Ville also. It depends. Usually Jarno is our philosopher and Ville is…well, he’s a drummer so what can you expect, Hah?! Markus and I…we just usually do or talk something absurd and we just love to had a good laughs. Every one of us.
Jarno: Haha, I never pass out after the midnight while partying! When the heat is on I’ll stay up until the morning and beyond. I talk a lot in the right company and when feeling talkative. I’m not talking that much of utter bullshit like Lappis and Markus. I always have something important to say, haha!
13. Tell me your inspiration, where it came from? What makes you feel good and continue your work?
Lappis: I just love to play. That’s it. I have played 20 years now and it seems that I love playing now even more than many years ago when I started. Playing guitar gives me huge pleasure so that is the main reason why I just keep doing this. And of course, It’s great to hang out with these guys. Gigs are also one thing, I love to play front of an audience. And it’s always great to hear when our new song starts to live its own life at our rehearsing place. This whole band, it is just a way of life to me. I can’t even imagine the situation that Nowen exist no more.
Jarno: I don’t know if there is any other options when you have such gifts (or a curse). Making music is not just a voluntary thing. There is an urge to create and it can not be overlooked.
14. Is arrived the last guys, how you relate with social networks? Do you think that they are useful or dangerous?
Lappis: I think these social networks are useful when you are using these things right. Internet is just a tool but the real life is out there and people should remember that.
Jarno: They seem a little bit useless sometimes but of course they make it easier to hear new music and get to know different people faster than in the “old days”. But it should only be kept as a tool for these things.
I say thank you so much for the answers. I hope to talk with you again after the album released. Good Luck Guys!
Lappis: Thank you and hopefully we will talk again!
Jarno: Thanks a lot and I wish all the best to you and the readers!
Interview by Sylvi Taürie
Nowen – Deadly Force