GG: Well, in my opinion we're a good mix of neat guys and enjoy playing music and boozing together! We're close friends and share quite a similar view of metal styles we want to present in our music.Myself and Kife have been playing in a punk band around 2004 or so and after that band broke up, we wanted to create something cool as our playing ability developed during the years. So, as self-taught musicians our style developed hand in hand with our own abilities.
J.I: Grave Violator is for me something that keeps me sane by providing me the space to tell stories with my friends. We all like similar music, and we also all have different tastes so it creates a good dynamic. I do not think we fit into any one corner of heavy metal, and mostly what we do is write fast evil songs for Orvator Gali.
2.You have your first full length coming out towards the end of March, musically how does it differ from your previous ep and demo's?
GG: In our first full length album we are presenting many older songs that never got recorded or released. One might say it is a collection of good unreleased songs that fit together album wise. It also has 2 songs that are quite new. I don't want to say which one is old and which one is newer, so that people listening to our album would enjoy it as an actual album. We wanted to do an actual album instead of releasing another demo or an EP.
J.I.: In my point of view, with this album we recorded the last or best of the unrecorded old era Grave Violator stuff, and hinted at the next step with some newer songs that sort of introduce a larger story. To be fair, this is the first release with all four of us in our rightful places and so of course it is perhaps the most wholistic so far. Not better or worse than the previous stuff just different.
3.The band has been around since 2007 and while there has been ep and demo releases you waited until 2019 to release the first full length, can you tell us a little bit more about it?
GG: I think this is because only a bit over 2 years ago our band has existed with these current members. We have finally found our best line-up so far and I don't think it can even get better. Our 2 first demos and the Ghoul Call EP featured only myself, Kife and Slade and therefore we were stuck what comes to developing as a band. And only since from the end of 2016 I feel we have an actual line-up. Not to take anything away from our previous members.
J.I.: Well, ups and downs. For a while one of us was away living in the States, then Japan. At another point one of us was in Thailand for a period. At one point we were a five piece, bass player at that time did not really fit. Good bassist, but not for us. After he left we thought about finding someone else to play bass, but really did not want a fifth member. The band decided I would have to do it. So it is that we were only ready with this album when we were ready with it. I am personally very satisfied with it and look forward to the next.
4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band has explored over the years with its music?
GG: Haha, this is a good one. My favourite one is sex. Not in a fucking romantic way, but much in a very disrespectful, violent, desecrating and morbid way. I also like ghouls, grave robbing, spirits, alcohol, the infinity of space and its mysteries, sleazy acts, filth in general, violation of stuff and so on. Not so much satanic stuff, even though satan and jesus are a good source for lyrics. But if I would write lyrics for a song about christianity, it would most likely be about Vatican and choir boys and nuns getting raped. Political stuff does not have a place in our lyrics, I think only Bad Religion is allowed to sing about that shit.
Slade: There's three of us writing lyrics, so it's always cool to see what others have come up with. Sometimes its a collaborated effort. Topics vary a lot, truth is stranger than fiction so between living and unliving worlds is a cornucopia of inspiration.
J.I.: Lyrical elements that deal with the nasty nature of the human experience I guess. There is rarely any human pleasure that does not come without destroying or consuming a bit of someone or something else. All social acts are acts of consumption, and I think a lot of our lyrics have been built around that notion. Lately however the direction of our songs has changed lyrically speaking. I have vivid dreams every night and these days a lot of my writing comes from that place. However, before it was coming from the angle of what we thought Grave Violator should be, we were not wrong but it was a different approach. So, what ever the story is if Grave Violator talks about sexual perversions, violence, the cosmos, drugs, shitty people, incorporeal bog dwelling entities, etc whatever... I think we are talking about being human, trying to understand and deal with reality. Our stories are usually good if you know how to follow them.
5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Grave Violator'?
GG: Yasuyuki Suzuki of Barbatos and his great contributions to metal world.
J.I.: Necro sodomy, necro slut.
6.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the album cover?
GG: The 3 black priests are the essence of our stories. You can see them standing by the river, watching the a person being doomed into everlasting suffering. What should be understood here, is that in the picture is being presented darkness, nature, Orvator Gali and mysterious spells. Like fragments from different lyrical topics being painted in one picture. I very much appreciate Malakias for the idea and Roni Ärling finishing the artwork. Thanks, dudes!
J.I.: What you see is the one known as 4 making a ritual sacrifice to the Necromancer Orvator Gali. The Three Black Priests are overseeing this Ritual of Sähköinen Kuun Shamaani, also called the summoning of the Diamond Organism a collective subservient to Orvator Gali. The cosmic winds sing his dreams, the stars the eyes of his secret watchers.
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?
GG: I think our second gig in Russia in 2017 was a very good one. Seems we have a decent following there and I sure do appreciate that. What comes to stage performance, we don't play sober. I enjoy partying and so I wanna get boozed up before, during and after the gig. I doesn't affect our performance. Much, anyway, haha.
I also enjoyed very much one gig in Vantaa, when we had the smoke machine fill the venue totally just before our gig. I was still ordering a beer and rest of the guys waiting for me at the stage. I couldn't see them since it was all smoky. We didn't get much delayed. All in all, I don't think we have played a bad gig, I enjoy every moment on stage.
Slade: Shoutout to St. Petersburg people, always a treat to be there. RIP PRKL club.
J.I.: For me, since there ain't been many, I would say playing in Helsinki with Evil Angel and Korrozia Metalla stands out as a good one. But, my favourite show with Grave Violator was my first time playing in Russia. I really enjoyed the energy the crowd had there. As far as stage performance goes, well I love to perform but I can not say are we good or bad or what. Playing live is my favourite part but playing sober is for posers and business men.
Kife: We also played at Puska Metal Festival in 2015 if if 'member correctly. It's a cool diy-style UG metal festival happening outdoors in a park/hill in Helsinki. Good crowd and a nice weather. Always fun with these guys!
8.Do you have any touring or show plans once the new album is released?
GG: Hopefully a gig in Helsinki for celebration of the albums release. Then, there have been talk with our russian friend about a russian tour, but it's still on planning stage. I would love to do shows, or touring, in Europe. We are open for suggestions.
J.I.: I would love to play more shows more often. Playing shows in Helsinki is kind of hit and miss. Yeah, I would love to tour. That is the dream, but I do not think outside of St. Petersburg and Helsinki that too many folks have heard of us, a few friends back in the United States maybe. My dream would be to tour Europe and Japan, South America if we can get there.
9.The album is coming out on 'Reaper Metal Promotions', can you tell us a little bit more about this label?
GG: For what I've understood, they have connections or/and worked with very cool bands including Nunslaughter, Midnight, Fastkill and others. I'm really impressed that they had an interest in us. Craig is a cool dude and very helpful. Good stuff. We'll be doing an interview with them later this week, I'm looking forward on talking to them!
J.I.: Rad shit, solid roster. Personally I am honoured to be label mates with Crucified Mortals and Nekrofilth. Also, Cist from Russia is on the label - a very solid band. Overall, it has been very helpful for us. Good label, good dudes. We are here on Reaper Metal Productions, so I understand that Orvator Gali has willed it to be so.
10.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music by fans of black and thrash metal?
GG: Haha, the reaction hasn't been worldwide yet, but I'm hoping all the promotion will do us good in the future. It is fair to say, that the reviews and fan reactions at gigs have been very flattering. It is also surprising to see that maybe we are not the worst band in the world. Even if it would be so, we would continue doing what we love to do.
J.I.: I have no perspective on this.
11.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
GG: I guess our style itself won't be heading anywhere. Although my personal goal is to develop our band into a point where we can play a heavy metal song or a thrash metal song and still be recognized as the same Grave Violator. I'm interested in making 2-minute songs or even 11-minute songs and having them sound interesting. Having the songs differ from one another in a structural way as well as tempo wise is a good thing and keeps playing interesting.
Slade: We enjoy listening and playing a wide variety of styles, so there isn't just one clear path. Anything goes when we chase new ideas.
J.I.: Next album will be completely different, fast and groovy and I hope folks will be very surprised. As long as the songs are good I do not want to genre fuck our stuff. A good part of it has already taken a hold of us four, like a possession. I hope we are ready for the studio by autumn.
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?
GG: Iron Maiden is the best of them all. My first love and still going. Other "all time favourites" include Bad Religion, Slayer, Cannibal Corpse, Anal Cunt and Scandinavian metal. I'm influenced mostly by great drummers. For example Nicko McBrain, Nicke Andersson, Mark Zonder, Bobby Schayer and Dave Lombardo, to name a few. I don't mind the technical capabilities of musicians, but the groove is important. Nowadays I listen mostly to old heavy metal, speed and thrash metal.
Slade: Chuck Schuldiner, Trey Azagthoth, Randy Rhoads... This list would go on, but gotta add that for me punk has always been a core influencer as well
J.I.: For me, there are so many influences. I have always loved music in all forms. I maybe got hung up on things when I was younger that I am not hung up on any more so now I just like what I like. Big influences for me are DIO, Thin Lizzy, Black Flag, NOFX, Death, Manilla Road, Pink Floyd, Iron Maiden, Dark Throne, Dissection, Bad Religion, Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult, Marduk of course, Waylon Jennings, Carcass, Hank Williams, my list of influences could go on and on. Lately I have been listening to old heavy metal and black metal. I listen to a lot of outlaw country all the time and rock and roll. Slade turned me on to UFO 2 last year which is an amazing record, thanks Slade.
Kife: I grew up listening stuff like Sepultura, Anthrax, Testament, Megadeth and Bad Religion for example. Guitar players like Andreas Kisser and Fast Eddie Clarke. And Roope Latvala from Stone. As my musical taste has been expanding, i've been more in to older rock from the late 60's and 70's.
13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
GG: No. Yeah. Thanks for the interview, man.
Slade: Slade: Shub-gnoð-gnoð
J.I.: Thank you for speaking with us. I hope that folks give the whole record a listen start to finish and if they don't like it they can get out.
Again, thank you for your interest in Grave Violator and for interviewing us.