Another representative of what could be called “Gothic” in Finland, raised STALKER´s attention recently – Black Light Discipline, with their CD “Empire” and also with a pretty cool club gig. In their own words, their sound is “a kind of renaissance of electro-metal, if you will.” Yet – typically Finnish? – besides those words there is not so much more to be found about BLD, even on the band website… Therefore it became a logical decision to try to get some more words out of the band members. And indeed, Janne (synths) and Antti (guitars) accepted the interview challenge …
If there was a competition for the shortest band biography, you´d be a candidate… Could you perhaps tell a bit more about BLD, how it all started?
Janne: The shorter the better..heh.. It started about three years ago when me, Toni (voc), Veikka (dr) and Antti (guit) were asked to play in one band which never made longer than about five to ten training sessions. I started to work with one electro-industrial song on the side and asked Toni to try out some vocals to it, since I was really impressed about Toni´s singing. Me and Toni got excited about the song (“Your World Is Falling”) and soon we discovered that this kind of music was more in that style which we were interested in.
I asked Veikka and Antti to join this project since the original project seemed to be going nowhere (the songwriter was moving to Australia). In half a year we did our first gig and recorded our first EP “Same Story – Different People”. Our bassist Iiro joined the band about a month before the first gig.
The BLD members – I understand that they all come from different band&music backgrounds, which ones? And are you still active in other projects?
Janne: Me and Veikka played together in metal-gothic band Ancient Drive which was dumped many years ago. Toni has a couple of other band-projects; “The Closed” and “New Dawn Foundation” which are both active.
I´m not sure how many band-projects Iiro has, but I´d say about five which are to my understanding metal-rock-gothic genre.
Antti has had other bands earlier and is active at the moment in an rock/electro -band named Glenncoe.
If you were a tourist guide, how would you describe your home-town?
Janne: Nice place at summertime, so I´d advise people to visit Kuopio when it´s warm and sunny.
What is the (music/Metal/Goth) scene in Kuopio like?
Janne: Quite good, actually Kuopio is not a very big city but anyway there are lots of bands originated from Kuopio which are big names at least in Finland; Turmion Kätilöt, Deathchain, Tarot, Verjnuarmu ..to mention some.
Antti: The city is surprisingly active in producing rock and metal bands to take over Finnish music scene. Every year something new is emerging.
How was the gig with Mortiis?
Janne: Gig itself went well although there was quite a small crowd. We met the members of Mortiis after our show and had some drinks together at backstage, really nice crew.
Which bands would you like to play / tour with?
Janne: We´d like to play with the kind of bands which members are down-to-earth people and easy to tour with. Also some bands according to their music for example Samael, Nine Inch Nails, Pain, Mortiis, Proteus, Turmion Kätilöt (last two we have already been touring with)..
In my review I wrote that the closest comparison I could think of was Die Krupps in their Metal-phase, would you agree?
Janne: I think that´s a good comparison. Maybe Die Krupps´ material is not as melodic as ours..
Another band that we have been compared a lot is Pain. I´d say that bands such as Rammstein, Nine Inch Nails, Pain, Marilyn Manson, David Bowie, Ulver, Die Krupps etc have had some influence to our songwriting.
You don´t play so many gigs – what´s the reason? Your jobs, or business with other bands?
Janne: I think the main reason is that we just aren´t really well known yet even in Finland and it makes it difficult for us to get live gigs. Luckily things seem to be getting some boost and there has been quite a lot of positive response from organizers. One reason is also the fact that we haven´t been very active in selling our gigs.
What are you actually doing besides the band (working, studying)?
Janne: All of us have normal day jobs, except Iiro who is still studying.
What´s your “plan b”, in case the music career doesn´t take off?
Janne: Actually music is maybe the plan B. We have never really imagined to do this as full-time job but that´s a dream for all of us I guess!
Antti: I think it has somehow been easier to deal with the slow progress since we´ve all had some other plans for our futures before this band.
What exactly is Osasto-A, as it seems to be more than just a record label?
Janne: Mainly it is a record label and BLD was the first band they signed. Now they have few more bands signed and it´s growing slowly but firmly.
Osasto-A is a company that works with anything music related things such as studio-services, composing music etc.
How did you get MC Raaka Pee as producer?
Janne: MC Raaka P is the other owner of Osasto-A and a friend of us. We did some gigs with Turmion Kätilöt and during that time we got the idea to record the next EP “Humanography” in MC Raaka P´s studio. We asked him to record and mix it.
The co-operation went so smoothly that I guess he saw the potential in us and signed us to Osasto-A.
We think that at that moment it was actually the best deal we could imagine to get because now we could work with our friends and there is no bureaucracy of big labels in between. We produced the album together and no one was telling us that you should sound like this and you should not do that, in my opinion that´s the best way to work in the studio.
How did you enjoy the show (some time ago) at Torture Torstai / Kuudes Linja Helsinki? Do audiences in other places usually dance?
Janne: Well let´s say that it was not one of the best gigs! I guess the fact that it was on Thursday had a big influence on the size of the audience and to the percentage of alcohol in their veins. Usually there are people dancing and also people with their fists up banging their heads. I like the fact that our music can easily be experienced in different ways.
Your video “Tides” , who did it, who´s idea was it, how long did the shooting take – and, err, did you really feel sick on that ship?
Janne: It was done by Finnish director Jesse Jokela and his crew. The videoshoot took two long and cold days in Helsinki. We are really pleased to the result and thankful for the whole videocrew who did a lot bigger job with this project than we did! We had so good catering with about ten different kind of cakes etc that there was a good change to feel a bit sick after eating all that!
Why did you pick this particular track? In my opinion “Tides” is not as catchy as e.g. the CD opening track “For All You Heavy-Hearted”…
Janne: We chose it because in our opinion “Tides” combines the metal and dancefloor-style together quite well. We feel that it´s easy to listen for many people. We knew that many people from metal-genre will think this as a bad choice..but well, you can´t please everyone. Also at that moment “Tides” was a song we all were really excited about.
Although you get quite a lot of TV time with your “Tides” video, it seems that there´s not such a big fuzz around the band yet. You mention only few reviews on your homepage… How come?
Janne: We just ain´t really well known even in Finland yet. Maybe we are a bit lazy with our promotion! I think we are a bit too tempted to only concentrate in making music when we should start acting more professional with our promotion.
Antti: Yes, this is probably one of the down sides in having the band as a secondary source of income. You really don´t have a dire need to put that much effort into promotion and let´s say other “boring” aspects of music. You can just let yourself lay back and enjoy playing and writing.
What’s in general the situation in Finland for – lets say “Gothic” music in the widest sense? ((For me, in comparison with Germany it´s REALLY small and seems to be much more going Techno & Japanese Manga style, outfit-wise)).
Janne: Yes that´s our opinion also. The scene for this kind of music is quite small.
Apropos outfit – who came up with your more casual clothes, but the real dramatic make-up?
Janne: It has been developing during the band´s history. On the couple of our first show we had some black latex etc embedded to our costume. Later when we were looking at our live pics we realised that we looked more like a black metal band and decided to mold it some more. Make-up has been always with our live shows in some form. We like to try different things and try not to look the same every time we play live.
As I can see in the booklet, 3 people are involved in writing the lyrics (Janne, Antti, Toni), so how do you write the music?
Janne: For me it´s easier to write lyrics when there´s something interesting happening to me. I like to write really feeling based lyrics, kind of “In the moment”.
Antti: For me it´s also important to have some interest in the subject at hand but I really like the lyrics to have more than one meaning. To give the reader the freedom to feel the lyric as one wants.
The lyrics – is there a particular concept behind it, or do you sort-of comment on what´s around you, in the news etc.?
Janne: Yes they are based strongly on the things happening around us and to the people around us.
Well, usually I pick bands for interviews that I really like, and the ones did in the last couple of weeks were with the Finns Before The Dawn, Black Sun Aeon, Beyond the Dream, and now Black Light Discipline … errrr…. perhaps you noticed something, too – your comment on that?
Antti: Well, maybe Finnish musicians have a need to come up with difficult and long band names with a B.
Apropos band name – somehow my brain has problems to keep yours saved&stored, you have any tips for me like “how to memorize Black Light Discipline”?
Janne: The name was based on to the lightning of our training room. We like to leave it a little vague and let people interpret it by themselves.
We have such a strong trust to human nature and intellect that we believe everyone is able to learn three words combined together!
What’s the most embarrassing item in your personal record collection, and which item are you most proud of?
Janne: Maybe I´m most embarrassed and also most proud of my first band´s tape “Ancient Drive – Romantic Funeral”..haha!
Antti: I still own my first Lp (and album in general) which was Still Loving You by Scorpions! That´s something, I think.
Which of your own songs are you most proud of?
Janne: I´d say “For all you heavy-hearted”. It´s the newest song on Empire and I like it´s heavy feeling.
Antti: Difficult to say… Maybe Same story – different people is one of my favourites. It´s got a bit of punk in it and it´s really energetic.
What do you plan in the near future?
Janne: To do more gigs *) and to arrange our music to be distributed more widely. We are also planning to start recording new material. We will probably make a new album within one year.
Any last words/comments?
Janne: Spread out the good word, thanks!