Riku Hopeakoski and O.J. Mustonen of Catamenia interviewed
Hey Riku and O.J., how is everything going for you?
Riku: Everything’s going well - Drunk and satisfied...(Laughs). Everything's going well around Catamenia. Great reviews and great feedback on Winternight Tragedies.
O.J.: ”Winternight Tragedies” was just released and the whole band is really satisfied to the album. And just like Riku said, the feedback by the fans and press has been great.
Cool, well I wanted to start off by talking about the new album Winternight Tragedies.... what is the inspiration behind the title and the songs within the album?
Riku: Well Sam, example the Finnish songs on the album are dedicated for the Finnish soldiers and veterans who fought against Russians in the Winter War. They are kind of tributes for them, how much we respect them. Other songs are different kind of stories of winter, dark and cold from different aspects.
O.J.: I joined the band after all songs were composed and recorded so I didn’t have any part in that process. But I think that the main themes for Catamenia always come from things that Riku already mentioned. It’s always winter, dark or cold here in Finland. Even in the summer (laughs)
That's killer.... hearing that kind of ties the album and the song meanings together and goes to the next question - can you translate the Finnish song titles to English for us?
Riku: Verikansa means 'Blood Nation' or 'Blood People'. Depends the view where you're looking / hearing it. Perintö Pohjolan means 'Heritage of Northland'. Both tell about Finnish Winter War.
Though I cannot interpret the rest of the song due to the language barrier I have to say these are probably the 2 personal favourites off of the album.... just incredible atmosphere in both and also almost a "folk" feeling to both of them
Riku: Thank you. And we think so too. But despite the Finnish clearly fits on our music, we'll probably never make a completely Finnish album. But on this case we have to knock on the wood, cause you cannot know what happens on the next album.
O.J.: For some reason even the people who don’t understand Finnish language seem to like the Finnish songs the most. Maybe it’s somewhat “exotic” to people who haven’t heard Finnish anywhere else. Also our language sounds more rough and sharp than English so it fits pretty well in aggressive music.
Sure, and back on that subject I really have to say that this album though a little more aggressive and progressed from the previous albums; really solidified a sound for Catamenia. I feel as if this album separates the band from any of the others in the same genre. As well - I think is just an all around killer album.
Riku: I think this is a result already from the previous album 'ChaosBorn'. After 'ChaosBorn' we wanted to have the same producer and the same studio. So I think that's the main thing on this. Of course the songs are way more aggressive and raw, and O.J.'s voice does not make it any softer (laughs). But I had this vision already in my mind after 'ChaosBorn'.
O.J.: I totally agree about this being the most aggressive album for so far. The guitars are now more in front and the keyboard arrangements aren´t as dominating as in the previous albums. I can also hear lots of more attitude in the playing on this album.
That kind of falls into my next question.....there were some changes and complications going into this recording correct?
Riku: Yes. And the line-up changes were not easy. Our bassist Timo was replaced by Mikko, and that was cause of Timo having no time to rehearse with Catamenia. He had his own things and so on. And then to vocalist Mika. I see only one reason for changing him to O.J. Mika did not rehearse at all. When he came to studio, was time to record the vocals. He went to the 'booth' and the voice he gave us was awful. We gave him 2 weeks to rehearse. Nothing happened during those 2 expensive weeks, so we had to make decision to replace the vocalist. And our rhythm guitarist was the one I asked, “are we crazy or what?” But after hearing O.J. we realize we're not crazy. Previous vocals sound so lame in comparison to O.J. Really no offence to Mika, cause he had a great voice, but something just happened to it. And also Dawn of Relic noticed the same thing.
What band did OJ come from?
O.J.: I came from Dorotha, the same band that I was in with Tero and Veikko. So half of Dorotha are now members of Catamenia.
Riku: We should change our name to Catatha, right?! (Laughs)
Yeah it seems that way! And what band did the bassist Mikko come from?
Riku: From the band called Unwrap. It was a project band of Ari and me. Also Veikko played on that. Unwrap is inactive band nowadays, cause everyone who played on Unwrap is now on Catamenia also. So what would have been the point to continue? Thou the music was different.
It seems that there is a pretty tight scene in Finland -was there any animosity from the other band for losing what is obviously a killer vocalist in O.J?
O.J.: We hadn’t rehearsed with Dorotha for quite a while and two other from Dorotha were in Catamenia already so there were no problems at all.
Riku: No there were no any of that, cause Dorotha's inactive band.
Well is always tough to bounce back sometimes when things are not working out but to me O.J. is a great asset to the band so it seems to be a blessing. How much did the writing change with new members?
Riku: None at all, cause the member change’s happened so late in the studio session. Of course the arrangements of the songs changed a little bit. O.J. did amazing job on arranging the songs sound more into his 'throat'.
O.J.: We’ll see if I participate in the writing of lyrics for the next album.
Wow...that is amazing when a vocalist comes in at the stage in the game and handles things so well. The clean vocals are amazing as well on this album.... does Tero (Keyboards) handle all of these vocals?
Riku: Yeah...Tero sings the clean vocals live, but on the album the clean vocals are sang by Kakke, our producer. We wanted to have Kakke's voice on this album also as on the previous album 'ChaosBorn', cause it damn fits great on our music.
There was female vocals on the new album wasn’t there?
Riku: Yes there are some female vocals on the album. They are sung by Heidi Sainio.
There is also a cover song "Fuel for Hatred" By Satyricon...which was right on the money by the way - Why did the band choose this song?
Riku: Simple. Satyricon's 'Fuel For Hatred' is absolutely a great song, and we wanted to make a cover song from it. But when we were at studio we told Veikko to play the drums on the track just in case, cause still we were not sure would the song fit on Catamenia's album. After adding the guitars we knew this is going to work. And no, we do not care that it is quite a new song (Laughs)
Oh sure...well new or old is a fucking killer song and you guys definitely nailed it!
Riku: Thank you. Thou everyone say that Frost play it better than Moottorisaha and Satyricon's version sound better. Of course this is always a matter of opinion and taste, but I think Veikko plays the song great also. And that's no news that almost every time the original version is better. But I think also we have done good job when covering this song.
O.J.: As Riku mentioned, it’s always a matter of opinion what sounds good and what doesn’t. But I think we did a great job on that song, we got the Catamenia –sound to it and that’s the most important thing when making a cover song.
Well just like you said you have to always take the good and the band when you cover a song.... but I think you guys nailed it and again a great song to cover. Does Satyricon know of this covering?
Riku: We would be anxious to know what they think of our version. Maybe someday they'll tell us.
O.J.: I’d like to hear too someday what Satyr and Frost have to say about it. Hopefully they like it or we’ll have to kick their Ass! (Laughs).
- CHILDREN OF BODOM: German iM1 TV Special Posted Online
- NIGHTWISH Mainman Interviewed At Switzerland's GREENFIELD Festival (Video)
- NIGHTWISH: Eletronic Remix Of 'Bye Bye Beautiful' Available For Free Download
- NIGHTWISH: More Footage From Russian Imaginaerum Film Premiere Posted
- CHILDREN OF BODOM's 'Halo Of Blood' Cracks German Top 20
- CHILDREN OF BODOM Frontman Interviewed By Finland's KAAOS TV (Video)