Interview with Jules, Williami, Samuli
1. Alright, let me get this kicked off by thanking you guys for taking the time out and letting 'Finnish Men In Music' get into your heads. Now can you tell me something about Profane Omen? Perhaps a short story of how you guys became Profane Omen?
Profane Omen: It’s impossible to make it short with seven years of history and lots of turning points on the way. Besides, who would want to read 6 pages of biography in an interview. The band was originally founded by guys that haven’t been “around” for few years now. Profane Omen has maybe represented determination and long-term evolution for us and we have been seeking our musical path for a relatively long time, considering the fact that “Beaten Into Submission” is our debut album. Somehow we have just found the right people during these years, and now when the time and the band chemistry seems “the right one”, and the bits and pieces are finally fallen into place, it’s very comforting to know that all the goddamn hard work, sweat, blood and tears haven’t gone to waste.
Profane Omen has always been about playing the kind of music that our minds can and want to create, not about “making it”. Maybe that explains the long road until now.
Some biography in a nutshell. The band was founded in 1999 by Janne Tolonen (ex-guitarist, currently in Misery Inc.) and Sami Varjola (ex-drummer, currently in Burning Empire) who both no longer have anything to do with Profane Omen. At the beginning guitars were played by “Bönde” Pöllänen (replaced by Williami in 2000) and Janne (replaced by Antti in 2002).
Only Jules is left of the original line up. Since then we’ve had one bass player before Tomppa and one drummer between Sami and Samuli (Mika, who left the band in mutual understanding because of his own band Kill The Romance).
We’ve made about 600 demos (at least it feels like it) from which some are worth mentioning, some not so much, but that has only been a part of the evolution this band has gone through. Musically and personally.
2. So you guys are coming out with your debut album this September, "Beaten Into Submission". Are there currently any songs off that album that have already become your favorite and have some sort of meaning for you?
Williami: Favorites change almost daily, but as for myself, every single note on that album has somekind of meaning to me. I guess writing and playing material is the best and only way for me to express my twisted and troubled mind. When playing live, some songs are just simply more “fun” to play. Can’t name any, it’s too hard to put your own feelings and thoughts in a ruling order.
Jules: In a live situation my favourite song depends on the reaction of the audience. I love all the songs so much that it’s very hard to think about a favourite one or two, or ten. It’s different when I’m listening to the album. There are songs that I think I really found something new from myself and it shows that I am making progress in what I do. I like the more diverse songs like FMH, Pit Of My Thoughts, Damaged Justice etc…
3. You guys have played with a ton of awesome bands; is there any chance of you each telling me which ones you've have the most fun rocking with?
Williami: Oh, crap…too many to mention. I myself have had so much fun with so many people, that the list would be at least a mile long. I must say I miss the Spearhead Inc. guys… It was the first tour for us, when we played with them in 2003 and 2004, and that was great.
Jules: The best gigs are usually the ones where you are playing with bands that are friends to your own band. I also have to say that touring/fooling around with Spearhead Inc. was one of the best times in my life (hey you österreich-homos!). Also had fun times with Before The Dawn, Amoral, Kill The Romance and tons of other awesome groups.
4. Where would you say your influences come from as a band?
Profane Omen: As a band? Profane Omen consists of 5 different individuals with the strategic similarities, so everyone brings his own musical influences to this soup of ours, but if we have taken influences as a band, we have done something wrong. Of course we like lots of the same bands and so on, but we have tried in every way to avoid ripping off any of them knowingly.
If you can’t build a band that stands on its own, don’t ******* start a band. Almost everything has been already done in the field of metal, and so, of course some similarities can be heard in every bands music, if one really wants to, but that’s just the way it is.
5. And while creating a song, lyrics wise, do you guys ever go back on them and rewrite? Or have you ever had moments, after creating a song, where you guys just think, "What was I thinking"?
Williami: The few lyrics I’ve written have been more like sudden bursts of anger, aggression or such. Of course the arranging may change some parts, but the point to write for me is to materialize the feeling at the moment of writing. Trying to clean it up or being fancy usually only makes the result worse or takes off the edge.
Jules: Lyrics wise I try to be as thorough as I can nowadays. The lyrics of the debut album were ready for a pretty long time before we went to record the album. We spent much time with our producer finalizing the lyrics and that’s why I think that I wouldn’t want to change any of them. Of course there are demos in the past that I listen with a certain kind of grin on my face but they bring back some nice memories so it doesn’t matter to me. The lyrical work on this album was focused on me and Williami and we also did some lyrics just by ourselves. It’s a good way to work because we’ve known each other for so long now. If he or I get in a dead end with some lyrics we ask for some consulting help from each other and usually it delivers.
6. Jules, have you had any singing lessons, or did you just self teach yourself how to sing? Because I, as a fan, must say that your vocals are genius! May metal live on with you!!
Jules: Thank you very very much. I haven’t had any lessons and I’m fuckin’ mad about it! I never seem to have the time for it and I’d really need them. There is a lot of things on my technique that I have to pay attention such as my breathing and my posture. I’ve made a promise to myself that when I have time, I’ll go for some lessons and try to improve. Now I’m self learned but I have had some advice from some friends who have really studied singing. I really need to find a technique suitable for me because I need to sing clean vocals and I also need to growl. I’m sure metal lives on with or without me :…
7. I've been a fan of your music since the day my good friend Mika Tanttu introduced me to you guys. But why don't you guys create songs that are in Finnish?
Profane Omen: So thanks to Mika then! Back in the day when we started with bands it was more natural to make the lyrics in English. English is the language of rock ‘n roll and rock ‘n roll doesn’t have any borders. But if the lyrics are in Finnish then it creates a language barrier. English just seems the natural way for us.
8. Samuli, as the new drummer for Profane Omen, how have the guys been treating you? And, also, how did PO fans first react towards you when you first hit the stage with the guys?
Samuli: Well actually I wasn’t planning seriously to even join the band when I was asked to come to test-sessions. I listened their new demo songs and thought maybe I could do this different and that with another style. So I went to play to give the lads something to think about.. When we started to play things clicked right away with the guitar department and we had the most inspiring jam that lasted a half an hour I think. It was the connection we had right away rhythm- and music-wise that made us sure it was meant to be! Also the guys were cool and ugly so I blended in easily! The over-all mood in the band has been great and I haven’t felt as an outsider even a second.
I haven’t seen or heard any negative reactions because I’m "a new guy" in the band from the fans. That’s great and let’s hope it stays that way. The spot Mika left me was just right for me because we both are small fellows. Actually, it was Mika himself who had told the others to take me into the drum-sessions. To sum this: I’m grateful that I had this chance and I’m sure that me and the boys are ready to bring Profane Omen to a new level.
9. Okay, in one word, can you each describe yourselves for me?
Williami: A giant turtle. Thick skin and seen a lot.
10. And what are you most looking forward to with the release of "Beaten Into Submission"?
Profane Omen: One word. It begins with a “G” and ends in “–igs”. It’s just so much ******* fun. Of course there’s so much stuff that we are looking forward to. Hopefully finding more people who dig our music and can find a small “dhc” tattooed in their hearts. And the release of the first album also clears the table for writing new material for the second one. We’d be lying if we said that we don’t wait for at least some kind of recognition and attention since we’ve been doing this for so long, but that’s not the main point. Has never been and never will be.
11. Out of all of your gigs, have you ever experienced any embarrassing moments on stage?
Williami: Before answering this question, someone should come to our training place and slowly explain the meaning of word “embarrassed” to us. Stuff happens (like Jules landing on his face/***/whatever on Samuli’s drum set or me hitting Antti’s head with my guitar resulting a quite heavily bleeding wound), but even if we should ,we just don’t give a ****. As long as you’re having a good time, why should you be embarrassed? Hell, we played our last gig on the Austrian tour in our underwear…
12. And have you guys had any outrageous fans before, during, and or after a gig?
Profane Omen: Maybe some, but not in a frightening scale. Girls can sometimes be aggressive, no bullshit. Arr, those crazy bitches… Jules has been forced to a kiss by ripping his hair off his head and stuff like this, but these are the negative sides of the coin.
During the gigs the pits can sometimes be something awesome, but that’s the way we like it. Evidently someone has left his search operation for his lost tooth because of the next song and of course some bleeding and bruising has been done. No creeps mailing us parts of their slaughtered pets or such.
14. What has been the best gift a fan has given you to date?
Williami: Gift? Every crazy ************ bringing their asses to the pit. Other kinds of gifts are for Christmas and such. An offered beer has never hurt anybody, though…
Jules: As a material kind of gift, one of the coolest was given by a 12 year old guy handing me a A3 sized poster of our band which he had drawn by himself. I also have to agree with Williami that the best gift is always the guy in a front row banging his head into oblivion...
15. And what would you like for your fans to gain from listening to your music?
Profane Omen: A channel for (sometimes also positive) aggression, a way out of everything for a while, sense of hope, a spit of perseverance on their faces, an even huger mojo in their pants :
16. Final question, and make sure to bring me home with this one, loves. Is there anything you would like to share with all your lady fans?
Williami: Ladies or not, if you see me face down in the gutter, take me home (yours or mine), feed me and put me to sleep.
Jules: I know I’m not a smart man but I do know what love is.
Profane Omen: Run Forrest, run!
Thank you so much for taking time out with me for this Finnish Men In Music interview.
Profane Omen: We thank you. Make sure to visit www.profaneomen.net.