Profane Omen interviewed for Metal Reviews
All right, hombres of Profane Omen – Welcome! The readership here at Metalreviews is quite varied, spanning across the globe. You are probably a very new name to most of them. So, who are you – musically, physically, mentally, historically, spiritually – whatever you wish to bring out and plug? The stage is yours.
- (Williami) Well, the biography of this band is so goddamn long, and relatively irrelevant at this point that we’re in, that writing it here would be only such a bore to us and the readers of this interview. You can find it from our homepage if you’re interested in it. We are Profane Omen, 5 different guys with same kind of interests concerning music. Profane Omen is a band in a traditional meaning of the word. This is NOT a project band , we are all equal and everyone contributes to the band, no one makes decisions alone and no one gets more credit than the next man. We love to kick the shit out of our audiences as well as ourselves when on stage, and playing live is the soul of this band. It’s all about shitty transportation, shitty floors to sleep on and the few euros that we get from playing gigs. Making albums is of course fun, and it has its good sides, but I guess we all were born with a tour shirt on.
Profane Omen has been grinding in clubs and the demo-scene since the late 1990s. What has been your experience of churning in the Finnish underground for such a long period?
- (Williami) We’ve enjoyed it. Of course, how the hell would we have been doing this for so long if we didn’t? We’ve been on so many stages in so many places experiencing many kinds of circumstances. I guess the most important thing that we got from our “underground” (yeah, like we’re so goddamn hip at the moment…) –years, is that now the ground is tough under this band. We’ve seen so much together and had a lot of fun, but also so many fights, discussions and trouble that we can take a lot of shit and still manage. Also the Austrian and German gigs gave us things that we’re thankful of.
You finally acquired a record deal this year from Dethrone Music. Has it changed your experiences in any way? Or to go even further, has your attitude towards the music and playing changed in any way?
- (Williami )I guess not too much. Maybe the biggest change of attitude has happened in the boring part of this thing we’re doing. Business. I mean, we’ve been playing, drinking, hurting ourselves and getting lost without too much plans or goals to achieve. It’s never been about money or glory (and it still isn’t!), but about having fun on this hellride called Profane Omen. After signing the deal and recording the album more people have been involved, so it’s natural that we’ve been getting a bit more grip of all the stuff that is not playing or making new songs. We have a label , a promoter, a webmaster and the technic people to communicate with and it’s very important that information flows to all directions and everyone has a clear vision of the stuff that does not actually have anything to do with the music itself. I hate to say, but I guess we’ve gone a quite big bit more “pro” during the last year. You live, you learn.
The music business is quite the risky business with several uncertainties. Being a newcomer in the bigger leagues, what is your take on the business side, that is inevitable if one wants to get any further than the local pubs?
- (Williami) See above. I still have to say that there’s not necessarily anything wrong with local pubs. But seriously: of course everyone of us wants to see how far can we take this thing and is willing to learn and understand also the business side. The comforting thing is that we’ve taken a lot of shit and been ripped off (or at least tried) for so many times that our eyes aren’t so blue anymore. Plus we now have at least some reliable people around us, who have know-how and evidently honest motives to support us, for example our promoter, Teemu Suominen from Metalhead Promotions and the producer Ville Sorvali.
Your music is quite the melting pot of different styles. Based on just the Beaten Into Submission-record, one can hear dirty death metal, Pantera-like grooving, thrash riffing, punk, bit of hard rock, mellow acoustics and God (or Satan, whichever you prefer) knows what. What is the basis of your music in your eyes – what are the ingredients, if we get culinary here? Does the whole band contribute to the songs or do you have specific songwriters?
- (Williami) For me it’s always funny to try to analyze the musical style of ours (because I totally suck at it). It’s not too conscious. I mean, the songs mostly just “happen”. Usually the base of the song comes from me but together we make it a song via jamming and trying different things. Usually it begins simply with a riff. Antti and Tomppa have also written more and more stuff and for that I am glad, because it gives more variation to our songs. Lyrics are mostly Jules’ responsibility, sometimes I write some if I have an idea that’s worth writing. But as I said earlier, these are not my or Jules’ songs, we made them together as Profane Omen, and that’s what this band is all about.
Singer Jules, your output is also very multifaceted. Growling, screaming, crooning, going softer – top notch. Is there any style of vocals you couldn’t handle? The only thing I’m missing here is a Halford-esque wail to the skies. Any possibilities of getting that soon?
- (Jules) I try to be as versatile as I can but still in the purpose of serving the song itself. I really like to sing clean vocals but I also like to growl and scream. Our material gives me so much space to try different things, it’s very enjoyable. I consider myself as a lucky loser because I can hit the right note but I haven’t had any vocal lessons. This makes me a total rookie in the field of classical singing. I’ve been saying this to myself over and over again that I should start taking lessons as soon as I get some spare time. That spare time is somewhere very far in the future though. I’ve been lately listening to Biomechanical and the way this dude sings is just out of this planet so I think I try to stretch my voice just to learn a bit from that. So I promise that some far away echoes of Halford are on their way, hah!
After the final song there is silence and one expects the short, blasting hidden song. But instead, there are minutes upon minutes of voices which appear to have been indulging on more than lemonade and chanterelles – what the hell is going on in there?
- (Williami )The whole hidden track you hear is our greeting card to all the people that we’ve had unforgettable times with during these years. The babbling is from all the video material we have taken from these trips to Finland, Austria and Germany, from everywhere, from airports, cars, hotel rooms, friends’ homes, parking lots… The people you hear is us and our friends. Drunk, lost (literally) and as you can hear, having fun. It’s also a statement that even though this is our first official album, we’ve been “around” for a while.
After a while of madness, there actually is a hidden song – tell us about that one, please?
- (Williami) DHC. This is maybe the most personal part of the album. I actually am not too eager to even try to explain the whole deal, but let’s just say that the song is somekind of an anthem of Die Hard Crew, us and our closest friends. We sometimes play that song live at the end of the set, if we feel like it. It’s dedicated to all the people you hear before the actual song, straight from our hearts, as Jules says in Finnish in the beginning. We put it as a hidden track because first of all, it’s not quite the same style than the rest of the album, and second, it’s a one-take-recording just for fun in the studio, and I guess 3 of us were not quite sober when we recorded it.
The lyrical side of the album is appropriately hate-filled and venomous. What fuels your lyrics into the form they are at? Any specific themes you prefer to explore or any agendas you would like to bring forth and push?
- (Jules) Me and Williami are the ones responsible for the lyrics. I always try to write about something I know. I’m not too good about writing fiction but of course I always try to “colour up the truth” a little bit. This way of writing is the best way for me because I don’t want to write anything that really doesn’t back me up. I want to be true to myself and somehow I consider my stuff therapeutic to myself. The stuff I know best is the experiences I have gone through and the emotions with them. That’s what I usually try to write about. It’s not easy to be a complex complete jack ass, so through self exploring I think I will have tons of subjects to write about in the future. We’ve known for a long long time with Williami so I can relate to his subjects by knowing who he is and what he wants to say with his stuff. We also help one another if we get stuck to a dead-end and usually it delivers.
The album charted in the Finnish top 40 upon its release – impressive for an underground band, we must commend and congratulate. Seeing as Finland is beginning to fall under the Omen, who shall be next? The rest of Europe? The United States? Mongolia? Any talks yet of distributing or touring elsewhere?
- (Jules) Thanks! It really was a great surprise! The whole moment was unreal when our promoter called me up and said that our album debuted on the charts. I was lying on my sofa in a fever of 38 and something and I could not believe it! I had to drink myself numb after that. It was totally unbelievable! Anyway, it certainly gave us the best possible start. Now it is very important to us that we will get noticed in Finland. That will give us a good grip for the future plans. We have been talking to some distributors and record companies about some plans but there’s nothing sure yet. We hope that we could find a suitable distributor during spring 2007 and maybe start it from the rest of the Europe. If we’re lucky we will pull this off. As soon as we find a suitable distributor we start planning some sort of tour. But without a proper company to work with it’s pretty useless to go outside Finland. Our plan is to go forward slow but steady.
Speaking of touring, what is your take on the live metal experience. Should a band cut the supreme mustard in the studio or on stage? How would you describe a Profane Omen concert?
- (Jules) We enjoy the live experience very much and it’s all about having fun. When we started the pre-production of “Beaten Into Submission” we already decided to try and have a very authentic live sound on the album. I think this band is served best on stage and that’s why we wanted to have a more live sounding album. Our concert is enjoyable, we want to be an entertaining live experience. People usually want to see a live band instead of a dead one. Of course studio is fun, but playing live is the best thing you can do with your pants on. It’s actually like a drug. Sometimes you can enter a whole different kind of world on stage and once you’ve experienced that you always go for the same fix.
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