Nodding Sky comes from Turku, the oldest city and former capital of Finland, situated on the southwest coast. In this vivid city lives a bunch of guys, who couple of years ago decided to form a band. Their main idea was to play whatever came naturally out of their five-thumbed hands … and the result was quite surprising! To describe their music, it’s some kind of moody, mid-tempo, melodic and folkish/doomish/whateverish metal in vein of 90’s… This is Nodding Sky! But let’s know more about what runs in their head …
Q: Hi Nodding Sky! Your band has an interesting name … can you tell me about how you game up to this choice?
O-P: Hi Tarja! Ok, we threw some name candidates in the air and picked the one we felt most comfortable with. As soon as this one came up, we felt it inspired our imagination more than the other more “common and typical” name proposals we had. We like the gloomy and melancholic vibe it has and think that it stirs up some curiosity as it’s open to multiple interpretations.
Q: The band was formed in 2008, how all began?
O-P: It’s quite an ordinary story: Three of us, namely me, Sammy and Jyrä were neighbours back in the 2008 and we used to hang out together every once in a while. Since each of us happened to play a different instrument than the other, we shared music taste similar enough and no one had any active bands at the moment (and since we had enjoyed some beverages), birth of a new band was quite inevitable. We had it coming.
Jyrä: When you throw together a bunch of guys with passion for music and no active bands this is what happens. Pretty spontaneous thing though, somebody just threw out the idea and next thing you know you’re drunk and playing bass in the rehearsal space.
O-P: Well, that was the original idea to test our ensemble. However, we tried out our own compositions first and happened to like them so much that we decided to concentrate on them instead.
Jyrä: The idea of playing covers was ditched pretty soon. It was an unanimous decision as we realized the potential of our own material.
Q: How would you describe your genre? And from where you take your influences?
O-P: This may be a totally worn out common answer, but it’s also true as clichés tend to be: I don’t see that our music would fit in any specific genre. But since I have to describe it somehow, I’d say that our music is a blend of melodic death and doom metal, more in vein of the 90’s than 2000’s, with a hint of atmospheric black metal also from that era. I think we also have a progressive flow in our song structures as none of our current songs clocks less than 5 minutes, even though we have quite straightforward and rock influenced material too -in addition to the moody side of us. Atmosphere is the most important ingredient, followed closely by natural flow and rocking groove.
Q: Can you tell us about Pasi’s and Ville’s entering to the band as the 4th and 5th member?
Ville: In my case the planets were in the right position and the Gods were favourable, because if someone would have said 2 years ago that “you are going to sing in a metal band”, I would have laughed my pants wet. Not to mention that the band is from Turku.
So I came to the band in the early 2009 and we could say, that it was the moment I let my first tones in to the microphone, ever! (well, I’m counting off a couple of drunken karaoke acts). Right from the first rehearsals, I was completely sold. The songs sounded incredibly tense and I must admit, that I thought in my mind “What the hell am I doing here?”. And yes, I was totally lost in the beginning, but I must say that I quickly realized what this was all about and found my own style suitable for this band. Well, at least so well that the boys called me to the next rehearsals too. Maybe a month later they told me that they were no longer searching for a singer. This is what I want and will want in the future too. I believe so because we are more friends than band mates. And I’m truly honoured to be surrounded by these talented musicians and to be one link in the party of Nodding Sky.
Pasi: Sammy called me one day and asked if I were interested to come and play some music with couple of guys. Since I didn’t have any band or projects at that time, I was interested to try out. But to be noted, at that time I wasn’t interested to get involved into any “serious” band, I was just thinking it would be fun to play some music now and then instead.
After few rehearsals I got some idea what kind of music this is and found myself thinking about some new arrangements and rhythm patterns for the drums. What I liked, was the “old school” vibe the songs and ideas had, and I also liked the idea of concentrating mostly on the atmosphere.
So here I am, enjoying playing and doing gigs with these people.
Jyrä: Both guys took their place easily in the band and it all seemed to click after we had “a full band”. Things became more focused.
Q: How is your songwriting in the band? what are your lyrics handling about?
Sammy: I have done mostly rock songs before and I found hard to understand how to compose a metal song. I had done few heavy riffs, but they didn’t sound like songs that O-P wrote. Since then I’ve realized the meaning of our music and am able to write songs that sounds like Nodding Sky. I’m not sure if I can write rock songs any more..heh..
O-P: Yeah, I think that we have found our common way to compose music. Well, at least sort of. I’d see our different influences and ways to approach music as our strength rather than weakness; It brings a whole lot more dynamics in our songwriting process and improves our songs overall when we manage to unite our visions. Of course sometimes we’re not able to do that, and end up having a minor conflict between us, but at least until now we’ve always managed to overcome those and focus on perfecting our songs without having to make compromises.
Ville: We are all capable of writing lyrics and each individual has his own style. O-P has his “poetic” and very elegant way of writing, Sammy has done more down to earth type of texts, Jyrä does the mad, fucked up ones and I guess I write something that’s in between. Our lyrics deal with everything that is under the dim and nodding sky; grief, sorrow, lost, madness, perdition, doom. Something emotional, atmospheric and dark. Yeah, typical metal rubbish.
Q: You made your first demo in 2009. Can you tell us about how it was born?
O-P: That demo is still in the making process. We have recorded all instruments at our rehearsal space, some of them several times, and the songs are approaching the mixing stage slowly but surely. All kind of hassle and equipment changes etc. have slowed it down, but since we’re recording it on our own, we don’t have any financial pressure to complete it in certain time.
What we HAVE published instead, is a studio recording of one song that we had chance to record after taking part in Turku Bandstand (a contest for bands without a record deal). From the same contest we gained couple of live recordings in audio quality better than average. All of those are available for listening i.e. via our MySpace and Last.fm profiles.
The song itself – “We Are Losing Her (Until All The Light Is Gone)” – is a mixture of old material from my desk drawer and of some newer stuff I composed for this band. The arrangements were completed during our rehearsals by the whole band. Idea for the lyrics came from Ville.
Q: How was your debut live performance in December 2009?
Jyrä: We were asked by couple of friends to have a gig with them. I hadn’t been playing live since the beginning of 2007 so I was little nervous before the gig. But it all worked out and the general feeling was great. We got good feedback from the audience and we all felt confident about the future.
Sammy: Many of our friends had heard about our band but never exactly heard our band. We practiced hard before our first gig at Rokkibaari, Turku and it was well worth it. The place is small but in the same time really intense as it was almost sold out. Nodding Sky kicked ass back then and the audience seemed to think so too. It was a cool way to start performing live and it gave so much confidence for the future.
Ville: It was also my first live performance ever! So if the guys were a bit nervous, I was all around the place! I didn’t sleep in a week and all I could think of was the lyrics and how I will forget them. So yeah, it was quite horrible actually! But when the gig was over I was the happiest man alive! I think we all were.
Q: This year you’ve concentrated e.g. for new gigs, demos and songwritings. But what about your debut full-length album? can we expect it to be released soon?
Sammy: Our first goal is to get our first EP including four tracks out this year. After that we are going to work hard for a record deal and maybe then we are able to release full-length album someday. But now we are just focusing on getting some new material out for the audience and hopefully they will like it.
O-P: Yes, we’ve booked the studio for couple of days in the latter half of October to record those tracks for the planned EP. Meanwhile and after that we’re also going to record more stuff during our rehearsals and maybe manage to get some material ready for publishing alongside with the studio EP.
Q: How you see the Finnish musical situation of today?
Ville: Metal is alive and doing very well in Finland. You could say, that there’s a bit of oversupply in the metal scene of Finland, but the grains are being separated from the chaff and many potential metal bands get their chance to be in the limelight. Of course you need a lot of effort and a little luck.
Jyrä: Unfortunately it seems that the metal scene is more shattered nowadays. It’s more about different genres and people just following bands in one or two specific genres. I think it narrows your musical horizon.
Q: In your live performances, what is your message to the audience?
Sammy: We are doing this because it’s fun. We are trying to send same kind of vibes to the audience and still playing tight and keeping up the atmosphere in our music. Positive feedback is something you like to hear and and it’s always nice to know that someone else likes your music too.
Ville: Yeah, bang your head, dance like an idiot, yell, cry or what ever! Let the steam out! There is something for everybody I think, so you can go through many different emotions in our gigs.
Q: At the beginning of this year you partecipated to Turku Bandstand-Demo contest. How was it?
Jyrä: At that point we had only done two gigs so I think it was good experience. We had two more gigs with better sound quality and mixing. We also received some comments from the people in the music business. Some positive some negative but all in all it gave us confidence and we also got some video footage and a chance to record one song in the studio. So though we didn’t win the contest it was still all worth it.
Q: What are your future’s plans?
Jyrä: First we’re going to record the EP. Naturally the next step would be trying to get a record deal and more gigs. We do have plans for some gigs in the near future and we’re building on our contact network. Main thing is still the chance to have a good time playing our music and meeting great new people.
Q: What are your greeting to readers of Metal Shock Finland?
Jyrä: Trends come and go but metal scene will always survive thanks to the people supporting bands they like.
Ville: Keep supporting metal and stay true!
Thanks Ville, Sammy, O-P, Jyrä and Pasi, about this interview! Hope to see and hear you someday around. Keep us informed!
Ville Teräs – Harsh and clean vocals, Sammy Harjula – Guitar and clean vocals, O-P Suhonen – Guitar, Jyrä Jyrinki – Bass, Pasi Kärkkäinen – Drums
For more info: http://www.myspace.com/noddingsky
Live photos: copyright Laura Teràs – photo below: copyright Lilli Haapala