Ank (vocal, guitar)
1. Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days?
In 2014, we released our latest album “Ülestõus”. We are already working on new material.
2.A year back you had released a new album, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
This is definitely our most well-tuned and professional album but still like “classical” Tharaphita. While “Raev” (1998) was our first, raw and primitive but still melodic black-metal album, which is still the favourite of many of our fans, I really enjoyed making the last album the most. I had a clear vision on how each instrument should sound. “Primeval Force” (2005) was an experiment in English and sounded different from the previous stuff. Tumedate tunnete kütkeis (2001) is our most heavy metal influenced album, we will re-release it next year. With “Iidsetel sünkjatel radadel” (2007) we came closer to our “roots” again. Listen to our albums and decide yourself!
3.This was the first full length to be released in 7 years, can you tell us a little bit more about what has been going on during that time frame?
We had important changes in our personal lives which gave us a new wave of inspiration. Me and the drummer both had our first children, the guitar player with his wife had their second child. The previous bass player moved to Finland. The band has always been a hobby for us and we all have other jobs for living. We live in different places in Estonia and did not have enough time to rehearse. During the time, I wrote new songs but had no time to devote for the band. Tharaphita's next album will hopefully be released in 2016.
4.Originally the band started out as a solo project, what was the decision behind hiring a full line line up?
Friends wanted to play in my band. They never asked for money. The band has been a hobby to us and the Estonian scene is very small. A band from Estonia can become professional musicians but this requires touring a lot and investing much time in promotion. It is very hard if some band members need to go to work every day.
5.Originally the band was known as 'Ancestral Damnation', what as the decision behind the name change?
According to a legend, Tharaphita was the Estonian war and thunder god - the mightiest of all gods. Ancient Estonians called Tharaphita for help while fighting against the Christian crusaders.
6.With the band name and lyrics the music is very heavily rooted in Estonian Paganism, can you tell us a little bit more about how you got interested in the Paganism of your own country?
I truly respect nature and the history of my homeland has always inspired me. I think that leaders within many organized religions are too much dedicated to gaining power over people using manipulations and fear. For me, being a pagan means honesty and respect to other living beings. I am also very interested in the Scandinavian mythology. During centuries, many events were described and much knowledge forwarded through mythological concepts. It is possible that legends of fire gods are related to falling meteorites seen by people, who could not explain these events scientifically and started to worship the fire in the sky. Others believe that the legends were born due to ancient beliefs about aliens visiting Earth. It is believed that Tharaphita was a modification of the story of Thor, as well as a god also worshipped far in the East. The vikings travelled a lot and cultural influences of both the West and the East were noticeable. The vikings established contacts along the Eastern Way, bargaining with goods and slaves. Of course, I would never say that everything done by our ancestors was admirable.
7.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
We had a really nice gig in Ukraine last summer. The festival place was high in the Carpathian mountains. In our homeland, we've played at the Hard Rock Laager festival, which is the most important Estonian metal event with about 1500 visitors.
8.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
We have a few gigs booked in Estonia. The next one will take place in my hometown Rakvere at 24.04.2015. Actually, we are very interested in playing outside Estonia and we will try to arrange some concerts soon.
9.The new album was released on Vaarang Records, can you tell us a little bit more about this label?
I wanted to maintain the copyright of the album „Ülestõus” and I also wanted to know how it feels to be in metal business. Vaarang Records belongs to me and my wife. We will put effort in promoting this album. Perhaps in the future we will start releasing other bands, too.
10. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of pagan and black metal?
We have received mostly positive feedback to both „Ülestõus” (2014) and „Iidsetel Sünkjatel Radadel” (2007). We really hope to gather more attention worldwide now. As hobby musicians, we have not had enough time for promotion work before now. This time we will really try to spread our music worldwide.
11.What is going on with some of the other bands or musical projects these days that some of the band members are a part off?
The guitar player Benton has a side project PWA and the bass player Brutalis plays in Ainus Seadus. Neither of these are metal but I am sure that these projects help to inspire these guys while creating music for Tharaphita.
12.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
You´ll never know what the future shall bring. I just need to feel inspired and enjoy what I do. It is sure that Tharaphita will always be metal and probably it won´t get softer in the near future.
13.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
My great favourites are still Bathory, Burzum, Celtic Frost, Root and the good old heavy from Accept, UDO, Wasp and Manowar. There are many more bands that have inspired me for years. I guess that the favourites of my youth will always stay important to me. But from the latest discoveries for me I would mention Myrkur, Sorcerer, Myrkgrav, King of Asgaard.
14.What are some of your non musical interests?
I own a farm and I am currently studying gardening at Räpina School of Horticulture. I am also very interested in reading and watching documentaries about historical events and archeology.
15.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Visit our Facebook: www.facebook.com/Tharaphita, our webshop: www.tharaphita.ee, our distributor´s webshop: www.nailboard.org/ or download the latest album via CD Baby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/tharaphita.