An Interview with Margaret of Seven Gates Of Hell magazine
1. Aarni isn't rather well-known band in my country so please tell me something about Aarni's origins.
MW: Aarni has always existed, but we started making recordings only around 5998 Anno Luminae (1998 EV). I had quit a local 'gothic metal' band and was soon joined by Count Saint-Germain. We began composing slow-paced metal and tried for some reason to resurrect Moominpapa in order to use it as a vocalist in Aarni. Our little ritual apparently failed and we got Doomintroll instead, which in hindsight turned out to be quite fortunate as he has proven very valuable to us. Alas, he cannot sing.
2. You've been asked this question many times probably but please disclose once again what 'Aarni' means?
MW: In Finnish it means 'treasure' and/or the spirit entity guarding it. It also signifies a heroic group of imaginary musicians fighting bloodily against religions, governments and other slavers and forms of ignorance using every weapon available. There probably are other meanings as well, but I forget them. Consult the Aarni website or failing that, your pineal gland.
3. On Demo'01 you've placed the track called 'Persona Mortuae Cutis' which is your rendition of Slayer's 'Dead Skin Mask'. Why did you do this?
MW: It seemed like a good idea at the time, because we like the Slayer song...groovy riffs and solid lyrics. Somehow I feel the song inexplicably strikes a strange chord in me personally. The Aarni version has probably all the hallmarks of an underground production...
4. Unfortunately I haven't had a chance to listen to your promo "Duumipeikon paluu" yet. Could you tell something more about it?
MW: Yes: you can order both demos from us as a special double feature re-remastered cdr. The songs on DP may be slightly better than on the very first demo. Actually you can listen to almost all of the tracks in full online at Mikseri.net and MySpace.com. Despite its rather low technical quality (at least in my opinion) the "promo" in question got Aarni the record contract we presently have with Firebox Records. I made the material in my usual pleasantly obsessed state of mind; intuitive outpouring without much rational analysis. That has always been our favourite approach to making music.
5. I like the cover of the promo 'Duumipeikon paluu'. It's similar to the picture placed in the booklet of 'Bathos'. Who is the author of these pictures?
MW: Nobody knows apparently. Scholars debate who or what is their author and to what purpose they were originally made. The pictures were published as illustrations to an edition of Rabelais' splendid 'Gargantua et Pantagruel' in the 17th century and I merely coloured them. We like the images as we enjoy all things delightful, surreal and absurd. By the way, here is a lovely suggestion for gaining some hidden data: look at any of the images closely and pay special attention to their postural alignments, bodily proportions and such.
6. Well, I'm looking at it and I can't see anything unusual. Could you tell something more about this hidden data?
MW: Maybe you are not looking hard enough. Or maybe you haven't studied enough "sacred geometry" to appreciate the proportions. Or maybe you are not stoned enough. Or maybe I am just fucking with you. Or maybe...?
7. Tell me about the musical content of the Split CD by Aarni with Umbra Nihil. Is this music much different from 'Bathos'?
MW: Not that much perhaps, but I think it is somehow darker, slower and technically more 'underground'. Bathos can be viewed as slightly more of a sell-out recording. The Split also has some Cthulhoid themes while Bathos has none. I made that decision consciously because I wanted to save all the Cthulhu stuff for our second album, which probably features a few such songs as well as a number of other topics.
8. A propos Umbra Nihil, you play the guitar there. Are you Umbra's permanent member? And are you involved in the process of composing?
MW: Yes, I suspect I am indeed a permanent member for longer than I live. So far at least I haven't involved myself in composing for Umbrella, as the band is very much Vilpir's personal brainchild and he rules Umbrella as a demented, yet gentle, heinous and loving tyrant.
9. You point to the works of Carl Gustav Jung as one of the sources of your inspiration. Why him? What was particular in his philosophy that inspired you?
MW: I wouldn't describe it as a philosophy, as that term equals idle unscientific speculation to me. Jung's work could perhaps more accurately be described as theories of analytical psychology. I became interested in his theories many years ago partly by a series of interesting 'coincidences'. Also I and my friends & allies think we have been personally able to verify his theories for ourselves, particularily concerning the workings of archetypes of the personal and collective unconscious. But having said that, currently I feel I have progressed past what Jung has to offer and moved to further illuminations. Wishful thinking or mere sagacity on my part? Anyway, there seems to be danger in restricting yourself to just a single model or reality tunnel. If you enter the Jungian reality tunnel, everything you experience and encounter in life seems to verify the validity of Jung's theories. The same goes if you enter for example the Freudian tunnel. Or the Christian one. Or the Pagan, Islamic, Judaistic, Buddhist, Satanist etc. religious/metaphysical models. It seems that the subconscious mind, whatever it may be, behaves more or less as we expect it to. So this all becomes a question of selecting the reality tunnel that has the most benefical effects for you. It appears important to change from one tunnel to another every now and then, just to keep your sense of perspective and not be misguided into thinking you have found an 'absolute truth' in one of the models. I would suggest mainly sticking to a tunnel that enhances your quality of life, for example an Optimist tunnel. If you think you need to have a 'supernatural' element in your worldview, I'd suggest selecting a polytheistic, pantheistic and/or animistic model - monotheistic models tend to be very unhealthy and lead to mental unbalance, monomania and monotony. Just witness the state of the world, with all the fanatical true believers following the three most atrocious subhuman desert religions.
10. And what about Lovecraft? I'm curious about one thing. Lovecraft was a child prodigy and then a distinguished writer. However, during all his life he struggled with depression and financial problems and finally he died in oblivion at the age of 47. This kind of fate was characteristic of many famous painters, writers or composers. How do you think why it was happen?
MW: I can only offer the cliché explanation: like all great innovators, HPL was ahead of his time. Or maybe he just marketted himself poorly? We in Aarni look forward to sharing his fate. I already suffer/enjoy from mental swings, existential perplexity and financial problems. Also my lifestyle can look quite unhealthy to the casual observer.
11. Is 'Kalevala' still one of your sources of inspiration? There were already some bands which based their lyrics on this epic story, i.e. Amorphis. Do you think that Finns are much more attached to their culture and tradition than any other nation?
MW: I have no idea. According to some current research in archaeology and bioanthropology, the Finns (among the other Fenno-Ugric populations) seem to be one the oldest peoples of Europe linguistically and possibly genetically; predating the Indoeuropeans and being physically closest to the Cromagnons (the Swedes come in second). This appears to be very much a result of geographic isolation and the enviromental climate. Maybe that also explains why many Finns seem stubbornly attached to their ancient music-driven culture in both the good and bad. Pity most people seem unable to tell the difference...
As for Aarni, the Kalevala has never been our inspiration. It has been written by a single man (Elias Lönnrot) around the mid-19th century and somewhat loosely based on assorted folk poem-songs. Instead we like to directly use the collected Finnic folklore in some of Aarni's material, as well as make our own. Finland has been lucky enough to have the world's largest body of collected folklore (stemming from the Stone Age to modern times), so that's a nice source of material and likely won't soon be exhausted. Plus I've always been psychologically fascinated with Finnic folk music and its minor/major pentatonic phrasings as well as the most ancient prepentatonic stuff. In fact rumors tell us that the third Aarni album will almost exclusively feature this kind of folky scheisse and shamanistic feel-good shenanigans.
12. Don't you mind that everybody classifies Aarni as a doom metal band even though your music is much more varied and rather hard to pigeonhole?
MW: Everybody? Not according to my experience, but yes, I guess I do mind occasionally if some ignorant and/or pretentious "music journalist" pigeonholes Aarni in such a manner in an album review. I ultimately consider that as their personal problem and I can even offer therapy to them, but it doesn't come cheap.
Unawakened people often tend to label things they don't understand in order not to lose whatever peace their tiny minds have. I think music shouldn't be analysed verbally nor discussed, just listened to or ignored. Words tend to limit the mind. To analyse is to dissociate. Enough witty shitty proverbs?
13. I fully agree with you but I think this is the "role" of "music journalists", who are professionally assigned to take the music to pieces...
MW: I think it tells you much about the nature of "professional assignation" and the taking of roles in general, don't you think?
14. Aarni is your single project but in spite of that on your website and in the booklet of "Bathos" you mention some more people as permanent members of this band. Let's talk about them then. Comte de Saint-German is a vampire, who was born in the year 1665. He's really a long-living creature I must say. Tell me which historical period seemed to be the most interesting for him and why? And what does he think about the contemporary world?
MW: I have asked him the same questions every now and then. He claims not to be a vampire at all, but confesses having completed the Magnum Opus centuries ago and also being a heavy drinker of the Elixir Vitae. I have squeezed from him some obscure references to having deciphered what is nowadays called the Voynich Manuscript. The Count maintains that it has been written in the Enochian tongue, possibly by Eddie Kelley, but using a certain numerical code based on the Hebrew angelic names from the Apocalypse of John. Anyway, he claims the content of the text therein has enabled him to "travel non-locally" over vast distances. The Count counts these years as "having interesting occurances" in his opinion: 1776, 1840, 1888, 1901, 1923, 1945, 1967, 1998 and 2012 EV.
Apparently he likes our current world, because it has "become post-modern in a Medieval sense". He says that the latest crusades and reconquistas will reach their peak by late December 2012 EV, followed by deep silence. Aarni will play a not unimportant role in these events destined to propel the worthy part of humankind to the next evolutionary level.
15. Do you think that Tove Jansson would be proud of Doomintroll? He plays in the band after all and one day he may become even more popular than Moomintroll or Snork Maiden.
MW: Funny you should bring it up, as Tove recently contacted me and told that she feels very proud of Doomintroll. He drinks alcohol, does drugs, refuses to be anyone's slave and practices deviant sexual acts, just like the Moomins in her books and original comic strip. She wasn't happy with the lame Japanese cartoon adaptation of her works, however. Tove also regretted to inform me that some religious ignorants will make a bomb attack in an European city soon.
16. Do you think that the Mistress Palm would agree to clean my bathroom?
MW: Are you kidding? She would love it! Mrs. Palm constantly seeks new scatoculinary experiences. That seems to be the only thing keeping her insane and "helpful" to Aarni's lovely little recordings.
- TARJA TURUNEN: Daughter Naomi Can Be Heard On New Album
- APOCALYPTICA Announce Tour With Classical Orchestra
- APOCALYPTICA Release 'Psalm' Video
- TARJA - Colours In The Dark Album Artwork Revealed
- CHILDREN OF BODOM: 'Transference' Video Released
- HIM - Monster Energy's Rock Allegiance Tour Dates With VOLBEAT, AIRBOURNE, ALL THAT REMAINS Announced
- NIGHTWISH - Imaginaerum Movie Box With Jigsaw Up For Pre-Order; Limited To 250 Pieces
- AMBERIAN DAWN Releases First Video With New Singer, Parts Ways With Bassist
- CHILDREN OF BODOM Premier New Album's Title Track Online
- ENSIFERUM's Markus Toivonen - 'My Hearing Is Better Now...'; Band Back On The Road This Weekend