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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Apocryphal Voice Interview

1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band these days?

- We have finalised the release of Pain & Pleasure with Inverse, after going through lenghty negotiation rounds with lots of labels. Our priority was to keep the copyright of the work to ourselves, which in today's music industry climate requires bands themselves to take the financial risk of release. We were also busy creating the cover artwork, which the drummer Ville ended up doing three versions of, although even the first version looked good to me.

And there's all these other bands we are involved in, such as 0xist and Sata Kaskelottia. Both of which have been doing number of live shows, and are preparing releases for new albums.

2.So far you have released a demo and 2 full length's, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recordings?

- All releases have a different personality from one another. At least, that's our intention. When an album during its writing process reveals its direction it wants to head to, we explore that direction as far as we can. Of course, there will be unavoidable similarities between them. For example, in type of song structures, chords, and playing feel. But we have never chosen any particular "band concept" and stuck to it, perhaps a little to our detriment. Making music just for the sake of making music has never appealed to me.

Our first work, the demo/MiniCD The Sickening was all about unleashing all the musical weirdness I was getting into that time. The result is jagged uncomfortable oddball of an EP. The sound production, although done in a proper studio, ended up sounding very sterile digital and harsh, partly to my own blame. I nowadays get uncomfortable when anyone compliments the sound production on that release.

The full-lenght Stilltrapped is a bit easier on the ear on surface, but musically it's one of the most depressive albums ever made. That sounds like a big statement, but sitting through it really sucks the life force out of you. However, that was never the intention unto itself, but rather reflects the slow downward spiral I was personally trapped in. The sound production on it is somewhat interesting. We still didn't quite know what we were doing, but the sound ended up having this snow-storm-sweeping-over-desolate-field type of feel to it, which I have rarely heard in a non-black metal release.

Compared to Stilltrapped, this latest one, Pain & Pleasure, has a lot more energy and warmth to it. Both musically and sonically. There's some death metal influences which we previously didn't have, and all in all there's just more riffs going on. Sound is sought out to be earthy and muscular, although keeping the guitars tuned in standard E, as they were before. Still, the production sounds nicely different from the majority of modern metal production. Not so super clean and in-your-face, but more subtle and luring, letting the music do the talking.

3.The band has been around since 1999  but  so far only  has  a  demo  and  2  album's, can you tell us a little bit more about the gap between releases?

- Like I said, I have never sought out activity just for the sake of activity, like so many other bands do. I want the musical ideas to be strong and timeless. For that, I have to allow them time, I cannot force them out.

Also we have full-time jobs in order to survive. And as there's only 2 members in the band, there's a lot of aspects of band activity to be learned and maintained just for the two of us. And every now and then life throws a curveball that forces the band on a short hiatus. The list goes on. Someone might view these as excuses, but in this world of metal where there's clearly an overabundance of just-another-releases, I want every Apocryphal Voice release to something special and substantial. So I feel no guilt over our apparent slowness, even though it might make us get lost in the noise.

4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?

- They can be anything that speaks to me. Venting inner daemons to achieve catharsis and to get some weight off my shoulders, texts open and fertile to different interpretations whether it originally meant something to me and I then hid the original meaning or or just being stream of thoughts, symbolic, even fictional stories... et cetera.

It's really easier to answer which kind of lyrics I'm not interested in writing. Those include anything mundane everyday life stuff, gore just for the sake of gore, anything overtly political or current day topical, urban topics, partying, chest puffing, anything materialistic, and so on.

5.On your last album you had a song about Kali, are the band members interested in Occultism or Eastern Mysticism?

- We have always been interested in anything underneath the surface, more than meets the eye. Though I try to keep a critical approach and not swallow anything unchewed. A lot of esotericism is highly symbolic anyway, and once you study a bit of everything from all over the world you start recognising underlying common truths and archetypes that reoccurr in different sources.

Kali also can, and should, be taken symbolically as a force of perpetual flux of change and renewal. She is the goddess of chaos after all, and you can't have creation without chaos, without dying of all things stagnated thus giving room for something new and progression.

6.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Apocryphal Voice'?

- A voice that isn't recognised as a part of canonical mainstream "truth" by the established powers that be. A voice of dissent. The name can apply to pretty much any musical direction we might take, although it has proven not to roll off your tongue very nicely, unfortunately.

7.Currently there are only 2 members in the band, are you planning on expanding the line up in the future, or do you chose to remain a duo?

- We are planning to add a third member for possible live shows. Most likely a bassist, since I have developed very unique style of guitar playing. The bass has always been an important instrument in our music, very melodic and thus should be fun to play. The main core of the band as far as the delicate process of creating and recording new music will still be us two.

8.Recently Inverse Records, re-issued your 2013 album, what are your thoughts on the final product?

- It always was the intention to have a physical release, not just a Bandcamp release. We view that the streamable release was just a showcase for the proper album.

9.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of avant garde and black metal?

- From the day one it's always been love-it-or-hate-it by those who have encountered our music. The exposure itself has been quite limited. It's very difficult get a word out there unless your band has a marketable "story", or rather an extramusical gimmick. We on the other hand, are just interested in exploring fresh angles to metal music itself.

10.Are any of the band members also involved with any other bands or musical projects these days?

- I play second guitar in 0xist (a.k.a. Zero Exist). It's very much a vehicle of Jani Koskela, formerly from Let Me Dream, and plays a bit in the vein of Triptykon

Ville has been involved in number of bands, most famously Black Crucifixion, but nowadays plays drums in Sata Kaskelottia, metal/rock a bit in the vein of Mastodon in finnish language. I helped the guys record their upcoming album with the same equipment as with Apocryphal Voice's Pain & Pleasure. The equipment itself is nothing fancy, but I'm pleased with the result which proves that if you're unafraid of the learning curve you can these days have a nice enough production without renting time from a big studio.

Also throughout all these years I have had a number of personal side projects recorded in demo quality just for the fun of it. I don't know yet if I'm going to release any of it. But if I do, they will be free downloads.

11.When can we expect new music and also where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

- Let's let the dust from the release of Pain & Pleasure settle down first. I'm entertaining the ideas of someday making a not so extreme album with a deep in the pine forest feel to it, and a more prog death metal album with an interstellar space feel to it, but I can't tell which will be made sooner. All in all, I always have very large recorded riff library as pool to draw ideas for further development from. Right now I think it contains literally hundreds of riffs in varying styles, and simply going through them will be a lot of work unto itself.

12.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

- It's difficult to self-analyse, which bands have been how much influence. I have always listened to widely varying styles of artists. But there are a couple of important musical revelations that have blown my mind and charged me with "I've got to something like that too!" -feeling. Emperor when I was about 16, Ved Buens Ende when I was about 20, and Gorguts around the age of 28-30.

13.What are some of your non musical interests?

- I'm very much into latest scientific discoveries in cosmology, particle physics, biology... The more mind-boggling, the better! I also enjoy nature documentaries, especially on big cats such as tigers and leopards, etc.

14.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

- Not really. I hope everyone reading this had a nice Yule (I'm finishing this interview on the Christmas Day).

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