Hello guys! Congratulations with the amazing new album `Lights Flashing In Mute Scenery`! How are you doing at the moment?
Everything is fairly good, thanks for asking! New songs, new album! Excited to see what this brings along.
Since this happens to be the first interview with you for Lords of Metal, let us start with some questions about the past. How did you guys meet each other and finally decided to form a band?
Oh well, original lineup have met in kindergarten and in elementary school. It just took some time to bump into same rehearsal room.
Since Oceanwake can be described as progressive doom/death metal with any post metal flavours, there is a wide range of musical possibilities for you. But what was influencing your musical direction in the first place when starting up?
I would say nothing. There was an idea to make music that feels good and natural, with no pressures to create something inside some genre. Of course there is strong doom, death and post -metal base, but around that we wonÂ´t think too much.
As we all know, the progressive and experimental tendencies increased when time went by. Can you tell a bit more about this musical evolution of yours?
There is more than one thing, but the main thing is that music evolves itself, there are always new ideas to try. Jussi joined the band soon after `Earthen` was out, and brought his own ideas with him too, which was fascinating, since Jussi was outside of "slow music" genre. To my opinion, it would be quite boring to do four same albums.
The first two albums `Kingdom` (2013) and `Sunless` (2015) got you a proper fan-base. Please tell us about the reception of these first signs of life and the activities of the band around that time?
Main idea was old friends playing something that feels good, so we did just that. We did not have any record labels or even live shows on our minds at that point. After that everything has gone in its own weight, and without any bigger pressure. I think reception of these albums were joy of create something new, without any pressure, same as nowadays.
I liked `Earthen` as well, but it included only two very long tracks. How do you look back at it now? Wasn`t it too tricky or experimental for the fans?
It may be, but it is always nice to challenge the listener. These days, people struggle to listen even one song, not to speak of a whole album, so that was kind of a demonstration against that. There is also another reason to number of songs, that you can find if you compare albums from `Kingdom` to `Earthen`, but you can figure that out by yourself, haha!
You hail from a small coastal town, Luvia in Finland. What about this place? What are the characteristics and how is it to grow up and now, to live there?
Childhood was safe, there was plenty of kids to play with and much to do all the time, although / because it was the time before video games and computer. Luvia is like Twin Peaks, with huge sawmill and near the water, excluding FBI agents and murders. All of us have moved away from there, but we still have strong bond there. Jussi and Tommi are originally from the other side of Finland, far east, city called Lappeenranta, but they have learned the spirit of Luvia quite well, hehe!
Do you think this environment has an influence on your art, music and lyrics, or is it for you a matter of inspiration coming from the inner self?
Well, yeah it would be wrong to say that it would not influence at all, but most of our art comes from inner self. These are stories influenced by stupidity and greed of people, reflections from real life.
Please tell us some thoughts about the title of the record and can you go deeper into the lyrical topics that inspired you this time?
Main topics were the end of all life as we know it and trying escaping it. Title is the end; only lights flashing in perfectly mute scenery left.
One song I`d like to mention separately in this respect. Is `Season Of The Rain` about concerns for the planet we are destroying?
A shot in a bull`s eye. Actually that song is influenced by human actions of this planet.
`Travelogue` is another exceptional song that really left me in awe. Can you, as creator, tell us a bit more about this composition?
The song is one of the last compositions to the album. From the start it was obvious that this song needs to breathe properly, and will not grow much from first note.
What can you tell about the recording process this time? I guess Jonne Jarvela was involved again?
You guessed right! Jonne is big part of Oceanwake sound, and Jonne has evolved with us and this time Jonne took care of vocal and additional guitar recordings and he mixed the album again. Drums, guitars and bass were recorded in Pori with our old acquaintance Aki Peltonen.
Now some questions about the line-up. As far as I can find out, V.V. who did the clean singing and guitars in the past must have been gone before you created the new record. And the bassist is gone too and replaced. So who is singing the clean vocals on the record and doing the bass parts?
There have been some false belief, that Ville-Veikko has sung clean parts, but that is not the case. I am singing all the parts with some JarkkoÂ´s harmonies and additional parts. Most of the harmonies is also made by me. Ville-Veikko sung one song in `Kingdom`, so that might be the reason for that belief.
Why did V.V. and Jarkko quit and can you tell a bit more about their replacement and how you found new guys? (Jussi and Tommi)
I guess there is a time for everything. There was no fight or any drama, we are still good friends as we have been for a very long time. Jarkko and V.V. both have their own bands and projects now, which they focus now on. Tommi and Jussi are friends with Jarkko and V.V. also, so everything is good here.
Jussi and I play in Korpiklaani frontman Jonne JarvelaÂ´s project called Jonne, so after Ville-Veikko left the band, I instantly proposed Jussi to be our new guitarist. Tommi toured with us as our sound engineer, but after Jarkko left the band, Tommi was obvious choice to grab a bass. Fine gentlemen and brilliant artists.
What about live experiences of the band until now? Do you often play live? What were the highlights until now? I see you did a Baltic tour for instance.
We have toured rather lightly thru our existence. There has been few setbacks with the touring. For example, we supposed to be on European tour right about now, but it moved to fall. Then there was some medical issues, and other issues that kept us away from stages. Now I can say that there will be some touring later this year but more from that later. One of the highlight was European tour with Draconian, Omnium Gatherum and Year Of The Goat, and of course first longer tour was fun also in 2015.
The lyric video for `Radiant Nightbreak` with beautiful sceneries is ace!!! Are you planning to create music videos for new songs as well?
Thank you for your kind words! That trophy goes to Jussi who made that video, and IÂ´m happy to inform that more is to come!
I remember you used a striking photo of Chris Luckhardt for `Earthen`, but who did the artwork this time and can you tell a bit more about its symbolism?
This fine artist is called Anna Kiljunen. We fell in love with AnnaÂ´s very unique style of represent humanÂ´s in her art. I think the symbolism is inside the viewer eyes.
What are the plans for the near future and for playing gigs or go on tour?
There is quite a few tour plans, but more of that soon.
If there is anything you`d like to add, please feel free to do it right here...
Hope to see you all on future tours!
Thanks a lot for your time!
Thank you Vera, I am sure our path will cross some day!