ThisIsNotAScene‘s own Chris Ward got the chance to catch up with Ilkka Vekka of the psychedelic Finnish band Seremonia. They talked about the eponymous album, singing in Finnish, influences and much more…
Fantastic album, guys. Was there ever a point where you contemplated singing in English or was it always going to be in your native Finnish?
Thanks. Glad you like it! It was clear from the beginning we would sing in Finnish. There are no other bands like us who sing in Finnish.
Do you think that singing in Finnish will restrict your appeal? I thought album was so strong musically that, no offence, it didn’t really matter what was being said as the whole vibe and feeling took me somewhere else without needing to always know what was being said.
To some people, maybe. I listen fluently to any good music despite the language and I guess many music fans are like that. But it is always interesting to know what a band/artist is singing about, and that’s why we included English translations of the lyrics with the album.
That said, not speaking Finnish I obviously don’t know what your lyrics mean but song titles like ’Antikristus 666’ and ’Rock n’ Rollin’ Maailma’ are pretty self explanatory. Can you shed some light on your lyrics and the subjects the album covers?
The lyrics are mainly about mankind destroying the environment/itself and insanity. There are also occult themes but they’re mostly used as a metaphor.
My favourite track on the album is ’Uhrijuhla’, mainly because it just kicks in with a full-on rocking riff from the outset and just seems to perfectly capture that garage-rock feel. Can you tell me some more about that track and how it came about?
That was one of the first lyrics I wrote and it’s the perfect opener as it kinda sums up the whole vibe of the album. Our guitarist Ville (Pirinen) had the riffs, we rehearsed the song a couple of times and then recorded it. The idea was to do a more uptempo rocker and we thought it would be a good way to start the album – eerie synth intro first and then BOOM!
The album’s sound is squarely rooted in late-60s underground rock. How did you manage to capture that authentic vibe that many bands try to and don’t always achieve?
Maybe the trick is not to try too hard? We don’t have cool/expensive vintage gear but we make the most of the stuff we have. Also, we recorded the album in a mouldy old mansion and I guess the vibe of the house somehow made it to the recordings.
Listening to the album there are a few references that leap out – I’m guessing at Iron Butterfly, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath – but could you in your own words tell us more about where your influences lie?
Our main influences are Black Sabbath, Haikara and Ainigma. We love all the 60’s/70’s proto-metal no-hit wonders, Black Sabbath-soundalike-also-rans and B-list psych/hard rock. Longhairs making a racket in a garage, music born out of an inner necessity to create something, make a noise, get it out of one’s system.
The video for ’Rock n’ Rollin’ Maailma’ seems to be a warning about not messing with things you don’t really understand – can you expand on the concept and how it came about?
’Rock’n’Rollin maailma’ (”The World of Rock’n’Roll”) is an old tape about the dangers of rock music, released by Finnish fundamentalist Christians in the 80’s. The tape is totally hilarious, full of mistakes, crap translations etc. The song is more a critique towards the narrow-mindedness of organised religion/Christianity. Religion is responsible for more horrible things than rock music, ever.
Tell me about your future plans? Any live dates that we can look forward to?
There’s been some inquiries about shows abroad, but nothing’s certain yet. We have some shows booked in Finland though. We’re also going to start rehearsing the material for our second album soon. Thanks for the interview!