Once again it is a band from Finland which has continued to impress us with their live performances, therefore we simply have to introduce them to you. Moreover, their debut album is about to be released very soon…
You have quite a long band history, could you please tell us a bit about how you all met and how the band / your sound has developed?
It all starts from the year 2008 when Eero (guitar) and Jaakko (guitar), two old friends from previous band projects met in a pub. The discussion was about forming a band playing covers – only “the good ones”. When they started playing, the cover songs were just glimpses of past and new song ideas and riffs were flowing in. At the same time around Enrico (drums) contacted the guys through MySpace. The chemistry and base for the band was there. In a short period of time, Jari (bass) they had also known from some previous band projects, joined. Somewhere along came the name – Keoma, since Enrico had always loved western movies.
The band was still missing that one important piece, the vocals. A year later – in 2009 – a lot of song material was ready and on this one hazy night Eero found Jasse (Vocals) from a local karaoke bar. Fearless attitude and strong vocal deliverance – the thing band needed – was found.
We played with this group all the way to the year 2012, when Jari decided to leave the band. At the time, Jasse was also playing in another band and asked their bass player Jaska to join Keoma. The year 2013 started and as a band we felt we still needed something to form unique sound. We already had played one semi-acoustic gig with Sampo (keyboard) and he had played keyboard to all our three EPs. We asked him to join us and gladly he said yes.
2013-2014 our sound really started to form as we were writing new material and started questioning – should we just do a full length album next.
The year 2016 started with unfortunate member change also and Enrico decided to leave Keoma. Luckily, a dear friend Sami (drums), who Jasse has known from childhood, has joined the band. Sami has been in the audience at least 98 % of our shows and has already played couple of gigs with us two years ago when Enrico was away and we needed a replacement.
Jasse – Vocals
Eero – Guitar and backing vocals
Jaska – Bass and backing vocals
Jaakko – Guitar
Sampo – Keyboard
Sami – Drums
What were the bands you have played in before, do you still have other projects too?
We all have played in various bands over the years from pop rock to jazz and rap. Here’s a few to mention: Cavern, Kerpomullets, Kielo, the Liquid System, Circus at Dawn, Lossi T & Juoksut…
How would you describe your sound, in one sentence? I’d come up with “the Death Metal version of Von Hertzen Brothers” 🙂
Haha, that’s one great way to put it ;). Jaska always likes to tell his friends that Keoma plays post-apocalyptic space prog. I don’t know if it’s entirely true, but we like the way it sounds 😉
Your new album is coming out soon, what can people expect from it?
“Synthesis” is our baby, we have spent quite some time making it and it should bring our view of what we love in music for everyone.
What is the difference to your previous releases?
We have recorded three EPs before and by listening to them you can hear our sound developing into where we are now. We started with simple things and ended up with having more complexity in the music as we like to challenge ourselves.
What can you tell us about the new album? For example, are the lyrics connected, telling a story, if yes, which one?
We didn’t come up with a story that would connect the songs lyrically, but we came up with the name “Synthesis”, as this album is combining all these different moods in music we like to play. Playing metal without forgetting the quiet parts and beautiful melodies is the idea for the album.
Eero: When writing music we always try to be open to any kind of influences and try them out.
Bloodstar is the first single – why this song?
We felt that the song represented us the best as it is tricky, lengthy, hard and soft at the same time – like we are.
You offer a free download of all your previous Eps – why is that, has it always been a digital release?
We want to offer different ways and possibilities for everyone. Digital download is one of the options. Of course, we’ve had physical releases too for every EP and will also have for the album but at some point it doesn’t make sense to keep huge reserves of physical CDs anymore. Digitally it’s really easy to keep the music available for people.
Is it in your opinion better to ask for donations than setting a download fee?
It’s always the tricky part since almost everyone is getting their music for free online nowadays. It’s great that people have also donated and when someone does, it really helps!
How important is the internet for a band like you?
The Internet is important for every band – big or small.
Which are the difficulties to face as a band in this country / this genre?
Nothing is difficult, we do what we love 😉 This genre has quite a marginal fan base, so it’s a bit difficult to make this kind of music known for big audiences. The fact that we’re based in a small country such as Finland doesn’t make it any easier either.
You have a variety of influences mentioned on your website – what was the music / song / band that made you decide to pick up an instrument, learn playing and become musicians?
Jasse: Pop rock songs from the radio, maybe ‘the Beatles’ and ‘Sir Elwoodin Hiljaiset Värit’ to be specific.
Eero: I didn’t have an urge to play any instrument before a friend of mine asked me to play bass in a school band. I didn’t even know how many strings a bass has. But that pretty much changed everything and playing music became a huge part of me. First riff I learned was Smoke on the water. Played it wrong of course 😀
Sami: In primary school we had a substitute teacher to whom I told my interest in playing drums. He happened to be a professional drummer and gave me some classes. He was the inspiration to me.
Jaakko: It was probably my mum who had an old Landola when we were kids. She was playing and singing songs like Tom Dooley and Woman in Black. Then later at age of 11 me and my classmates went to this band school that had just been formed in Suutarila where I naturally picked up the guitar.
Jaska: I have to say that Pekka Pohjola was the reason I originally decided to start playing bass. Pretty soon afterwards I stumbled across a couple of great bands that made me want to sharpen my skills as a bass player. For example: Dream Theater, Slipknot and Tool to name a few.
Sampo: I was playing piano in junior high school and after I started listening to Metallica and Nirvana, I changed to guitar and started a band.
How do you create your music and lyrics, is it teamwork?
We do everything as a team. We have a democratic structure – when someone has an idea, we give it a try. Most of our music comes from jamming together.
Describe how a song is created.
Usually, writing process starts from a riff but we’ve also come up to writing a song from lyrical idea. When the first idea is introduced to everyone, we start figuring out together how to make it bigger and how to create substance around it. By tossing ideas around with each other we ultimately discover something new, something big and something that will ultimately develop into a new song.
What is the inspiration for your lyrics?
Jasse: There are lots of things involved as inspiration – the best of them all is our music. Some of the lyrics have been written based on what I’ve seen in my dreams. I could say that mystical things in life also inspire and when ‘giving them some colour’ with nature, space and time travelling – It’s there.
What is the most obscure piece of music (album, tape, vinyl) you own?
Jasse: Fantômas – The Director’s Cut. It’s the most vicious and haunting album I’ve heard.
Eero: Might not be so obscure, but I have Frames’ in Via and Cloudkicker’s Beacons as vinyls. Still waiting to get a vinyl player…
Sami: I don’t own any weird records, but the one that came to my mind is ‘Karnivool – Asymmetry’. Compared to their previous albums, it’s a little bit different and there’s enough of that diversity with something beautiful in it.
Jaakko: Back in the 90´s I bought this demo tape from my high school friend. They had just formed a band called Tenhi and they had made some recordings in our school hall called “kertomuksia”. That tape had quite buzzy sound and had B&W swan in the cover, but they managed to get a three albums record deal from Germany. So that hizzy tape might be quite valuable nowadays 🙂
Jaska: Mr. Bungle – Disco Volante. It’s an album full of strange, weird and even scary ideas. It bends the basic elements of music and still, or maybe because of that, it’s one of the coolest things I’ve heard.
Sampo: It’s probably the “Cafe Veijon Baari” compilation CD full of Finnish “alternative schlager”, which I bought because there’s an endorsement on the back to CD describing the album as “scary”.
How difficult is it to get abroad, does internet presence help to get gigs outside Finland?
Since there is six of us, it’s not too easy to schedule everything but we’ll get there (abroad) for sure!
What are you doing when you are not making / performing music?
Jaska: I’m an environmental researcher, made my M. Sc in the University of Helsinki in 2011. A perfect combination of science and music makes me who I am and it keeps me going.
Eero: I’m a father of two and work as an Security Architect. I’m also in to Capoeira and actually there’s a berimbau on one song of Synthesis that was played by my capoeira teacher.
Jaakko: Im a cg-artist focusing on 3D. I also have 2 kids but still I manage somehow to rock with these dudes, it must be addictive!
Sami: Probably working or relaxing and meeting friends. I work as a Customer Service Specialist.
Jasse: Hunting the best burgers in Helsinki with my wife of course! I work as a Lifecycle Services Coordinator in IT field during day time
Sampo: I’m an R&D engineer during daytime on weekdays, which complements my role as an R&B engineer when playing music with Keoma.
What are your plans for this year?
We will release our debut album “Synthesis” and play some shows. The best way to get in touch with us is to follow us on Facebook. We’ll let everyone know when something happens… So hit us a like and stay tuned!
DOWNLOAD OUR EP’S FOR FREE AT: http://keoma.bandcamp.com
FOLLOW US AT: http://instagram.com/keomafinland