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Interview - GHASTLY - Ghastly will be always a death metal band with huge amounts of influences from different sources.

Interview with death metal band from Finland - GHASTLY.

Answered Ian J. D’Waters, thank you!

Translated Duzl, thank you!

Ave GHASTLY! Greetings to the Finnish catacombs. I'm listening to your third album "Mercurial Passages" and I feel like I'm wandering through the swamps in the fog. The atmosphere of the album is amazing again. How did the album come about? Where did you want to move since last time? Personally, I find the recording darker, more mysterious.

- Hi Jakub, thank you for your words. The music in-fact became much more darker and ruthless compared to Death Velour. It was just a natural step for us, we didn’t think too much of changing our ways to do music, but for the lyrics we did had a different approach this time.

Every time I do an interview with bands from Finland, I have to ask. You can also feel melancholy, maybe sadness, from your music. I don't know if similar things can be learned, but the fact is that similar moods are really typical for groups in your country. How do you explain that? Is it an environment, a society? Paradoxically, when I met the Finns festival, they had a lot of fun with them with beer☺).

- When you hear bands from different countries, you quite easily can notice bits and pieces that gives you clues where the music is from. I think it’s built in your system where we have grown up and lived, it shapes us and stays with us the whole lifetime. I don’t intentionally try to do music that is melancholic or sad. If I’d try to do something that ain’t natural to me, it will go south and you can hear it from the music if it ain’t real. Can I learn to do music the way (for example) Pokolgép does? Maybe yes, but would I master it, would it be real? Not a chance.

We Finns do possess the introverted thing but that’s not all what life is about here. Festivals and beers go well together and so do Finns and beers.

But let's get to the news. When I received the review board, I immediately noticed it in that flood of daily agendas. The packaging is excellent in one word. It was painted by Riikka Pesonen, just like for the previous album. I haven't looked at the cover in a long time and said to myself that it shows exactly what is going on in the music. How is the cooperation going and how do you choose a new motif? Why were you interested in his work?

- Riikka was asked to paint our first LP “Carrion of Time” back in 2013 when I saw my friends band’s cover done by her. I just loved her style, so it was easy to ask her again to do “Death Velour” on which she executed the way I never could even dreamt of. She was interested on doing our cover again on “Mercurial Passages” which for us is a huge thing. I cannot think of any other artist to present our music in a visual way as Riikka does. Basic lines are such as we have different ideas in our songs and we give those ideas to her and give her artistic freedom after that. This time the layout was done by Chimère Noire, who did a very fine work that works so well with the cover.

You will probably agree with me that without good sound there would be no death metal. The album has a cold, dark sound that hurts. In addition, you have psychedelic moods in the songs. Which, in my opinion, makes the situation much more difficult, because everything must be legible at the same time. Where did you record, who is signed under the mix and mastering? As I wrote, the album seems darker to me, was that a purpose? Have you changed the recording procedure in any way?

- I recorded & mixed the album at Parasite Dune Studios and Magnus Lindberg did the mastering at Redmount Studios. I wanted the sound to be more darker and rawer than last time. I had better equipment to use and much more time (thanks to corona) to finalise the album. Recording albums is always a learning process for me, it’s time-consuming and pain in the ass sometimes but it still something I want to do. Ghastly has always had it’s own way to record albums and I think presenting our albums with Sunlight or Morrisound studios sound would take something off of the atmosphere. Don’t get me wrong, I love their sounds but it’s not for us at the moment. I adore bands that has their own signature there with the sounds, like Negative Plane or Obliteration for example.

I like when the band doesn't forget about the lyrics. I always see the album as a whole. But I am preparing the questions at a time when I do not yet have the original record in my hand. Please tell us what the lyrics to "Mercurial Passages" are about? Where did you get your inspiration for?

- You’re in for a mental ride this time. We didn’t want to take inspiration from the basic death metal textbook anymore, so we went to explore our minds and space this time. Andy Gordon who has always written our lyrics took our journey into surrealism, stream of consciousness, Mercury (planet & element), post apocalyptic sceneries and pressuring darkness.

I admit that I have loved your Finnish scene since the 1990s. In recent years, it seems to me that a wave of new bands has risen again. I liked WORTHLESS, LIE IN RUINS, WRATHRONE, DEATHGOAT, NERWE SAW, SPIRITUAL HOLOCAUST, DECAYING and more. I love old NECROPSY and of course a lot of other classics like PURTENANCE. Looks like you're really a metal country because of your population. Does it really live that much for you? What about clubs, fans, the scene as a whole?

- As usual, scenes are small but still strong here. We all could use good metal shows now that no one has been able to enjoy live music in months. I’d like to see more bands to emerge and make an album that has the old school foundation there but done in a innovative way that it won’t be a carbon copy of a classic.

Finland is smaller than the Czech Republic in terms of population, and when someone does an underground concert in our country, it's like on a swing. Sometimes 10 people come, sometimes a hundred. How is it with you? And how do GHASTLYs do with concerts? Do you like playing and do you play often? And what about a tour that doesn't attract you?

- It depends where the gig is organised, who organises it and what bands play for the crowd to come and support. Tough game. We do play shows but haven’t done in ages, hopefully could do some this year as the album is out. It’s awesome to play live and it makes you to try your best every time better and better. Oh, we do want to be on a tour but it hasn’t been anything we could’ve done yet.

When you started with music, who was your role model? When I say Finnish band, I imagine the film Heavy trip. It was similar to everyone, but when did you first decide to start playing? And how did GHASTLY get together? Would you reminisce for us.

- I haven’t seen that film and I bet it sucks as quite many films done here. I just cannot understand Finnish film industry how they do so much crap. Well, probably it is because people need to make money and art is secondary. Good movies done here are from the sixties & seventies. But the music, I think it was Dave Murray and James Hetfield that kind of were my first inspirations to want to have a guitar. It was around 5th grade but the band thing started at 7th grade by trying to play Impaled Nazarene’s easy riffs, talk about downgrade there. After that I started playing drums and bass guitar too, so it has been easy for me to record all instruments on our albums. I think the biggest bands that have influenced me from the start are Iron Maiden, King Diamond / Mercyful Fate, Morbid Angel and early Amorphis.

Ghastly was formed in 2011 with only me and Gassy Sam as we just bought ourselves a 4-track cassette recorder and we wanted to try it out. Gassy pushed me on finally doing few death metal songs ready so we could record a demo and that’s what happened. It went well and we decided to do more which has still been going on, almost ten years already.

Are you a musician, but you are also a collector, do you support other bands? Do you go to concerts, collect CDs, vinyls? Are there any bands that have fascinated you lately that you like and often listen to? I try to watch your scene in detail, but I definitely missed something. Can you recommend someone to us?

- Yeah, totally. We are collectors and concert fans. First cancelled concert by corona was Jethro Tull’s which is one of my favourite bands and I was looking forward to it. Last one were I was at was Amorphis’ 90’s show in Helsinki and that was in October. Lately I’ve been listening to Morbid Angel, Jefferson Airplane, Manowar (first 3 albums as other ones are crap), Fabio Frizzi, Manilla Road, psychedelic rock & also avantgarde stuff from the mid 1900’s. To be honest, I haven’t been checking the scene much lately or even bought many records during the last year, so I might’ve been missing out on bands.

How do you perceive death metal as a musical style? What does it mean to you, why did you choose, do you play this style? You can easily look at this question from a philosophical point of view.

- Death metal came to my knowledge straight after heavy metal and has stayed with me ever since. Death metal for me stands as the most powerful genre of metal, but I do not like all death metal and you can hear clearly in my music what bands have influenced me. Mid-tempo, melodies (not the Göteborg kind), progressive touch and weirdness have been something I’ve been familiar with and forming this band was the opportunity for me to combine all of these in a death metal form. Ghastly will be always a death metal band with huge amounts of influences from different sources, but we won’t start rocking and rolling or producing ambient albums for the sake of changing or growing up. If there won’t be any death metal riffs to come, then there won’t be any Ghastly albums to be released, simple as that. This is how much I love the genre that I won’t toss the death metal legacy to trash.

What are GHASTLY planning in the coming months and what can we look forward to with other fans?

- Our goal is to rehearse, rehearse and rehearse before we can do shows again. Really excited about the release as it has been in the making for quite a long time. Awesome to get it out and hope death metal freaks will give it a chance.

Thank you so much for the interview. When I came up with the questions, I replayed your new "Mercurial Passages" several times and made sure again that it was excellent. I wish you a good sale and that you have packed concerts. Good luck in your private lives!

- Thank you for this interview, Jakub. All the best to you and hopefully we’ll raise a glass at a festival or a gig in Czech sometime and you’ll see how introverted we are after few pints of pilsners.

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