Yet another remarkable band from Finland that combines tough Thrash sound and catchy melodies, and we have already been following their live shows. Now as their debut album „Ignoramus“ is about to be released and being presented live at On The Rocks Helsinki on April 25 , we took the chance to chat with band mastermind, drummer and vocalist of Misterer, Mikko Herranen, about the album, apes and – body odors:
How long did it take to record the Ignoramus album, and was it a team effort, or was only one person the main song writer?
Misterer was originally meant to be my solo project. I made some very rough demos where I sang the demo guitars since they were technically too challenging for my guitar skills. The building where my studio was in was about to be torn apart and I thought I’d record drums for the demos so that I would be able to continue the project somewhere else. Juhani Flinck is and has been for years my favorite guitar player when it comes to harder and more extreme stuff. At some point we had had an idea of a Thrash Metal band with him so I asked him to play the guitars for my “project songs”. We had two or three demo sessions. In every session we recorded and arranged one song. Everything just felt so good and natural that we decided to turn the project into a real band.
It all started with my demos and ideas but actually three of us four have done songs for Misterer so far and everybody’s ideas and songs are welcome also in the future. In a funny way a solo project has turned into one of the most democratic (and still flawlessly working) band I’ve ever been in.
From music production point of view Ignoramus was a team effort. I had recorded the drums at my old studios and then we had a one-day drum session at Sonic Pump studios to record a bit more. Juhani and Timo recorded their parts at their home studios and Beavis did some parts with me, some parts with Juhani. I recorded the vocals and mixed the songs at my new Noise Floor studio.
It’s hard to say how long did it take since I had to interrupt the project many times because of my work as a music producer and mixing engineer. I would say that if we had done the album in one long session, it would have taken two months.
Who is the “Ignoramus”? How does it connect to the ape on the cover?
We all are, the whole human race.
What is the concept behind the album / the lyrics? Is there a story that connects all the songs? I hear some social criticism in e.g. Ignorance?
Well. The original idea was a kind of “war songs” theme. A war song about destroying mother earth, a war song about people destroying each other, a war song about money, a war song about religion etc. We all have our little wars going on all the time, some more visible and destructive than the others.
So the stories are about us human beings and our problems. I feel war is a part of the true Thrash Metal ideology.
I had the impression Money is a bit of a parody of Abba’s Money song?
Well, it depends. It might have some familiar echoes of that :). The main difference is the lyrics. Abba sings “must be funny in the rich man’s world” but I sing “So much funny in the rich man’s world”, there’s a difference. People fancy money but I’ve mostly had the experience of rich people being more selfish and brute “single players” than us all who have to fight to survive our lives. That’s why I find rich man’s world funny and even cornish. Many people seem to lose social skills when they get big money.
You are a well known singer and drummer – how did you come up with the idea to combine both? There are not so many bands with a singing drummer …
I think that’s because it is quite difficult :). Well, I had the same idea when I released my solo albums but the time wasn’t right back then, now it is. I don’t know why but it just felt clear to me to do them both now, put the drums on the place of the lead singer on the stage and see how it goes. One of the best decisions during my whole career. Being a lead singing drummer rules big time!
What is more difficult – singing and drumming or singing and playing guitar (what people in Rock/Metal bands usually do)?
My guitar skills would never be enough for Misterer. I’ve been a bass playing lead singer and a lead singer who plays keyboards. Of those three, the drumming lead singer is the toughest one. But I like challenges, that’s what a big part of life is about anyway.
Thrash Metal seems to be very popular again, more young Thrash acts (e.g. Teenage act Alien Weaponry from New Zealand) and reunions of “vintage bands” (e.g. The Hirvi). What is the reason for the Thrash revival in your opinion?
I don’t know. Maybe it’s because many of us Thrash heads are coming to an age where we have to return to our roots. That’s at least why I love playing Thrash now. Younger folks search for new trends and cool new music all the time. It’s natural many find the power and possibilities of Thrash and start to make their own.
What’s coming up for Misterer after the record release gig?
Gigs, tours, new albums, new gigs, new tours, parties, good life. I think we are one of the last messengers for real metal and rock ‘n’ roll. In a world of modeled guitars, backing tracks, drum triggers and all that plastic fortune of nowadays. Not too many dare to be what they really are.
In my other work as a music producer, I’ve run into situations where people overdub and fix even their live albums since the technology makes it possible. When you hear live albums, most of the time you can’t be sure what’s live and what’s fake. We are the real shit! We make mistakes, we smell bad, we swear and party like men, but at the same time we are a talented tough band that knows and does its shit better than the others. That’s what rock ‘n’ roll means to me, giving your 100% and being real!
Band photo: Tapio Wilska, live photos: K. Weber