Musculus hail from Helsinki, Finland, which had caught my ear (and eye) on several occasions when I got to see them live – so let’s simply start the conversation:
Who are you – could you introduce yourself and all of the band members?
WE ARE MUSCULUS. Roope-Drums, Erno-Bass, Juho and Joona-Guitars, Keith-Vocals.
How did you meet each other, and when and why did you form this band?
Four of us had already been playing with each other for a while when we met this cute English guy in a bar. After some time drinking in a sauna together, we invited him back to our rehearsal room to make sweet, sweet music together…
How would you describe your musical style, and how did this style develop? What are your musical roots and influences?
Heavy, Sweaty, Freddie Mercury.
Was it a particular incident or song that inspired you to become a musician?
In which bands have you played before? Do you all still have other side projects?
MUSCULUS was kinda born out of the ashes of Finnish punk band Jyrki Käteinen, which Juho and Erno both played in, Joona was a friend from way back and had a gig with them with his project at the time, and Roope’s band Vauva broke up just in time to steal him for a new band! Back in England, Keith had been singing in bands from his teens, including Naked Weapon, and Cyber-Grindcore band Chainsawrapecrew. Erno & Joona currently have an experimental rock musica side project named HERRA, which utilises the talents of many local musicians, including our very own Keith Thompson and have just released an EP. Roope is also rocking out on guitar in Helsinki-based pop/funk/rap band MC Intoleranssi & Strutsin Munat.
How do you write your music and lyrics, is it teamwork?
Is there a particular philosophy behind your works, or where do you get your inspiration from?
For the most part, we try to keep everything as open as possible, with no real limits on musical style, genre etc. Butt, MUSCULUS’ lyrics, music videos, live performances, and other theatrical elements are focused on f*cking with, parodying or pastiching ideas and stereotypes around masculinity/gender/male bravado, the golden eras of horror and 80s action movies, with a healthy dose of gay erotica. On our debut EP, ‘Six Pack’ we go from heavy/doomy/stoner metal all the way to 1980s montage rock anthems, with songs about alien invasions, transgender strippers and taking flight as a straight-up, ass-kicking badass!
How did you come up with the band name – is there a story behind it?
We needed something manly, short and memorable. That’s when Juho came across the Latin word ‘mus musculus’ which is actually the name for the common house mouse. The irony in there still entertains us all, and quite well reflects our general philosophy as a band.
What is it like in your home country to be a Rock / Metal band (playing the particular style you are playing)?
Finland has the most heavy metal bands per capita in the whole world, but Finnish audiences are notoriously tough to get moving and partying. It feels great to get them away from the bar counter and into the mosh pit, with over-the-top shows, a shit-ton of energy and just enough glitter and bodily fluids.
What are you doing ”in real life”, when you are not making music?
Juho is a construction worker, Keith is in the army, Erno is an unemployed leather-lover, Roope a native American spirit animal and Joona is a cowboy.
Are you looking for a record company or would you prefer to stay in the DoItYourself mode?
It would be nice for the right company to find us, but we would have to be able to keep our thing, ‘our thing.’ We aren’t willing to sacrifice the madness just for a deal.
What are your live shows like? What´s the perfect venue/show for you?
Our shows are a sensory overload of awesomeness. We always decide upon a theme before a gig, and go balls deep into it. We’ve had Joona give birth to Keith as the Antichrist at a Christmas show, Juho dressed as a Japanese Schoolgirl during an ‘80s porn’ theme, and played to over 600 people at a fabulous, glitzy post-apocalyptic ‘Gay Mad Max’ extravaganza. In the future it would be amazing to run around bigger and bigger stages, hopefully around the world, and have massive explosions and pyrotechnics and special effects built into our shows.
Do you have a weird /absurd story to tell, e.g. about mishaps at a gig/tour?
MUSCULUS is one, continuing weird and absurd story.
If you could freely choose a band to tour with, who would it be, and why?
We would hire a Voodoo witchdoctor to resurrect Elvis, so that he could warm up the crowd for us…
What are your plans in the (near) future?
Our latest music video for ‘Shake Your Moneymaker’ we shot in an ‘adult entertainment dance club’ with some very talented pole-dancers. We are in discussions about having them come and perform with us at live shows as well, which is exciting. We are always writing new songs, trying to play better and tighter, and working towards the next music video.
Although technically MUSCULUS won’t be playing the next Night of Insanity (May 7, Dubrovnik Club Helsinki), our Country cover band alter egos ‘KT & the Moonshine Band’ will be playing that show.
A propos video – your videos are quite entertaining, where do you get the ideas, and is there any film expert in the band, as it all looks pretty professional?
Both our music videos for ‘Scorned’ (2014) and ‘Shake Your Moneymaker’ (2015) were written, produced and directed by our vocalist Keith, so you can blame his sick, twisted mind for a lot of what you see. Everything is done super DIY, and on practically zero budget, but we are incredibly lucky to have worked with Mikael and the guys at Finnish independent film company Finfinitum. Their actual talent mixed with our ‘talents’ are why the videos have such a high production value and look so damn sexy!
photos: Band, K.Weber