TOR builds up from three laid back men from North of Finland. Band’s name has a great mystery behind it has been active since the guys were just only young lads. We interviewed this straight forward band from the cold and harsh environment of “The North”.
1. HI guys, how are you?
Hi Metalshock Finland and hello to your readers. It´s been very busy time for us with the band and other projects as well as in the personal work and studies. None of us band members are full time musicians and all of us have personal life also. In top of all that we all happen to be members of the board in Melu, the live music association of Muhos. So there is no worry of how to spend the free time.
We have been writing new songs and started to record them. New EP is on the way and few drum and bass tracks have already been recorded. We have our own studio equipment so there is really no strict workflow and record making process. Recordings can be made when there is time and inspiration.
We have been asked to make the brand new Heavy Tiernapojat*) christmas show for the heavy music Christmas festival but it is not yet decided where it´s held. It is now fourth time in row that we are making this show and every year it has been different. The basic concept is to take the frame of the traditional Tiernapojat and explode the whole thing, mop up the bloody mess and resurrect the unholy bastard son of tiernapojat.
The group has been changing over the years, but this year propably heavy Tiernapojat consists of TOR, Pekka Huovinen known from many famous bands in northern parts on Finland for example Kozaks Of Metallishtan, a brilliant music mind and multitalent. Also Petri Aho is the working horse of Melu, the man who keeps the wheels turning, professional musician from the finnish defence forces. Petri has more projects than a man has shirts.
*For more information about Tiernapojat, please visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Boys%27_Singing_Procession
2. Can you tell us a little bit about your band?
Well the name of the band is TOR. Don’t ask where it comes from. That is to be left in the shroud of mystery. That’s for sure that the name has nothing to do with the Viking mythology. The band consists of three guys: Rane Männikkö, Ville Mäkelä and Vesku Mäkelä. Rane plays guitar and sings. Vesku plays the drums and I, Ville play the bass.
We play metal music that takes its inspiration from finnish melancholy and real life misery. The lyrics are made from the same inspiration. Rane is the mastermind of the band who makes all the lyrics and most of the songs. All of us make the riffs but Rane usually finalizes the songs. The categorizing of our music is not what we want to do; every listener can do it themselves.
We have recorded songs since the beginning of the band in 2002. We are not the traditional band who makes demo in some studio and sends it to the record companies. Then make every record in strict guidance of experienced producer. We have made all by ourselves, the songs, recording, mixing, producing and mastering. I want to believe that all of the work is somehow to be heard in the music. I am not saying that the producer wouldn’t make the music better but the approach to the music making is a bit different in our view.
4. During our previous chat on your gig at Melu festival at Muhos, Finland, you mentioned that you are currently unsigned. What made you decide it works better for you?
At this point where we make music as a hobby, better solution is to keep the strings to ourselves. At this point it´s more fun to just make music when it suits to us. However I think that someday we should start expanding and we’ll see where it goes from there. I think that our way of doing things is not to make plans too much ahead. We want to keep this thing fun at least for the time being.
5. who do you see as your idols?
I want to see that we have no idols who we take every move out of. In the earlier years of the band we watched gigs from CMX, Kotiteollisuus, Mokoma, Metallica and other bands from where we took influences. Nowadays we don’t want to mimic anyone. We are who we are and hopefully it keeps that way. It might be that those early influences is heard in the music somehow, but I don´t notice that. We listen to lots of different music and don’t really look at only one genre in the music. Everything goes but shitty music. For example I don’t usually listen to generic Black metal bands because it’s all about the dark atmosphere, not so much about the sounds and music. Always the influences come from somewhere at least subconsciously.
6. what inspires you to make music?
Inspiration is hard to explain. When the stars are aligned just right the inspiration comes, and it´s really not all about the inspiration. Inspiration gives the spark to the music making process, then it´s just hard work. We make different songs in the jam sessions than at home. When playing songs together they are shaped more like live songs and a bit more fun to play and when writing songs at home by yourself, the songs tend to get darker tones because you can sink yourself in the dark atmosphere and fade away the surrounding world.
7. How is it for a band from north Finland to climb up in the world of harder music?
In the world of harder music is relatively harder to climb than other genres because Oulu is very strongly harder music area and there is a lot of competition. We have also pop music and other not so heavy bands. I think it´s more generally acceptable to play heavy music than pop. And I don’t even know any hiphop bands from Oulu. It is harder for a band from northern parts of Finland to climb up. All the record companies are in Helsinki and it would be best solution to move there. But then again the competition is even harder in Helsinki. The origin of band has become more irrelevant because of the Internet and I hope in few years it will become even more so…
8. Where would you like to be in next few years?
The best would be to make it to the level where our albums would be available for everyone and we could have more than five gigs a year all over Finland. A record company would be good so we wouldn’t have to do everything by ourselves. We can do the musical part but the marketing is something that we don’t have very much experience. It would be great if we could concentrate to just making music and gigs. As I said earlier it’s great at this point to do everything but in the future it might be a restricting factor.
9. You seem to be pretty laid back guys. What is your band’s motto?
Primarily make songs for yourself and just then to the others.
I think that is the line that has been along with the whole nine years of the band. We have always been playing for our own joy and to the harm of the others. What comes to the laid back part, when doing business the stress taking is almost mandatory but when doing things for fun stress has to be left to the others. When you met us in the Melu festival, we were actually part of the organizers of the festival. It is not profit making big festival so the main thing to be considered is for everyone to enjoy themselves, including the organizers. I´m glad it all went well.
10. Now the last question, what would you like to say to our readers?
Readers of Metal Shock Finland, In the winter when light is not to be seen. You just have to enjoy the darkness and listen to heavy music and of course TOR.
Thank you for the interview guys and “metal” start of autumn!
Interview by Nelli “MissNelliSofia” Perkkiö