PART 1: The Great Escape
To begin with a bang my part, I got answers to your questions:
- "WTF is SickTwins."
- "What does it mean to be an independent music artist".
- "Why free digital distribution and limited hand-numbered editions"
- "Thoughts about record deals and talent show".
And what would have been a better way to do it,
than to interview the founder himself.
To hell with the formalities and security guards.
I went straight to the door that said Houre Noir.
Easy and fast.
It required only three hours,
two liters of blood and several broken bones,
but now I have the first page of the interview.
Unfortunately, I lost the rest of the pages
when I escaped through the penthouse window
and ran to this public toilet to hide.
Nothing to worry about I'll get them back
and post them as I find them,
Here's the first part.
SL: Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview with me.
HN: WHAT interview, how did you get out of the mental hospital !?
SL: I'm not sure what you mean, I am perfectly sane.
HN: Of course you are, just keep your hands where I can see them.
SL: Sit down, relax and tell me how your life as a musician began.
HN: *Sigh*, I have a feeling that I will regret this...
The seed of devil's music was planted in me back in the 1986 when Europe's Final Countdown came out. I played it along with other neighborhood kids with wooden toy guitars.
Ever since Metallica's Black Album came out in 1991 I wanted to learn the opening riff of Enter Sandman with real guitar. The guitarist of Torment tough me that in 1993 I think.
Once I managed to play it right, I knew there was no turning back.
SL: So your ﬁrst instrument was the guitar?
HN: Yes and no. I was nine when I received “spellbound guitar with stickers” as
heritage. I had no clue how to play it. When I was twelve my mom bough me drums, but they were more like a louder alternative for my table tapping.
Sorry folks and neighbors!
In many ways game changed one year later, when I learned Enter Sandman riff
and my dad bought me my ﬁrst electric guitar. I count it to be my ﬁrst real instrument.
I did play it day and night, because I wanted to learn everything about Metal rhythm guitar.
I studied carefully ﬁrst ﬁve Metallica albums with ofﬁcial tabs and everything. I still recommend those albums to anyone who wants to learn how to play awesome headbanging METAL.
I did accidentally recomposed whole Kill’em All album dozens of times
when I was on my teens. Such a inspiring and great album!
SL: Do you play other instruments as well?
HN: I have learned the nature of bass guitar, drums & keyboards well enough to use them along with guitars and vocals on my own music. I'm not virtuoso by any means, but I do understand their part in the big picture.
It has nothing to do with how many notes you can play in 10 seconds, even though that seems to be the today’s direction. Shredding basic pentatonic scale up and down in 260bpm doesn't make you a good guitarist, no matter what they say on YouTube’s comment section. It’s all about the matter of taste and how to make the song better with band playing as a unit.
SL: Who have been your influences over the years?
HN: There's so many of them...ah...well clearly all the big names of '80s & '90s thrash and death metal bands like Metallica, Sepultura, Obituary & Cannibal Corpse. Early releases of Finnish bands Amorphis, Sentenced and similar. '90s Gothic Doom bands like Paradise Lost & My Dying Bride and so on.
I also secretly enjoy "forbidden" '80s Italo Disco and same era Stadium Rock.
I like the combination of big snare sound and '80s keyboards with larger than life
PART 2: Eco-friendly Guitar Solos
SL: What style of music you like to compose?
HN: Basically any sub-genre of Metal. I like the sound of distorted guitar wall
mixed with epic lead melodies. Something similar to Paradise Lost, you know.
I usually don't like the actual guitar solos per se,
because they rarely bring any value to the song.
They always seem to be like a public masturbation moment
of band's so called guitar hero.
Nothing wrong with that, but it’s just not my cup of tea.
SL: You seem to love metal, but do you compose other genres of music as well?
HN: Sure I do. For example we have done Pop Rock with Harri & Houre past 15 years. I'm not just metal musician. I like to experiment with all kinds of styles, sounds, instruments and arrangements.
As long as the music stands on its own and it has interesting angle,
for me it's all the same what genre it represents.
SL: I read in the forums that you are not true metal head if you do pop music.
HN: Sure thing and you are not truly an asshole if don't post fucking childish things like that online! I actually did wrote about this on my article The Planet Of Mighty Rock Polices (read it here).
SL: How many bands have you been involved in?
HN: More than I can count with my toes and fingers.
SL: Being a member several musical projects, does the constant work ever
become overwhelming for you?
HN: Sure it does. I make music because I have to. It's not like I have a choice.
I do not know how I could describe it better.
SL: This CD cover does not taste the same as before.
HN: That's Nekroverse's debut album, which is made from 100% Green Forestry Practices board stock. We want to be more Eco-friendly, so we will try to find materials which are more greener and unique.
That looks nice on the shelf by the way.
SL: This is not made of plastic?
SL: Damn, I don't like the taste of it.
HN: Good, because the first press of our physical copies will be
limited hand-numbered editions. There is not enough of them to be eaten.
They are intended only for the true fans, so put it down.
SL: Fine, but why limited hand-numbered editions?
HN: We support our fans to spread our music digitally.
That is why all of our albums will be available for free download.
If you like our bands and want to share it with others do not think twice,
upload it to whatever sharing site you are using.
But for the pioneer fans we offer a collector's version of the CD with exclusive material which is limited to one hundred copies.
Be one of them or be without.
SL: You take the matter seriously. What does music mean to you?
HN: I ﬁnd myself very quiet and private person and I rarely open up in everyday life. I have built invisible stone wall in front of me for my own protection.
It has led to very fucked up situations, because people tend to misunderstand me.
Like it or not, we ALL do judge book by its cover. If the guy in front of you often
looks like he has been eaten ton of horse shit, what would you think about him?
He is angry, pissed off, weirdo, depressed, or my favorite:
he doesn’t like me, because I am the center of the universe
and everything is involved around me.
Look, maybe he is just serious person without any hidden agendas nor anything against you. Or maybe he actually eats horse shit for breakfast.
Hard to tell, but usually the simplest answer is the right answer.
Seriously, with music I have opportunity to share my deepest thoughts without
any outset boundaries. For me it's the most honest way to communicate and to express myself. When people listen to my songs they rarely misunderstand
my point, at least from emotional perspective.
The cover of the book is now opened as an invitation to join the ride.
It’s up to you to keep on reading and deciding does it have something to
offer you or not. Sometimes the message is hidden between the lines,
but you can always concentrate on guitar melodies.
I can assure you, they will tell you more than a thousand words ever could.
PART 3: A Doctor's Order: Zoom H4n
SL: I ate the CD covers and noticed the words Studio of the dead. What is it?
HN: After recording two Torment and one Harri & Houre demo tapes on
Sound Ateljee studio between 1996-1997, I really wanted to master
the secrets of audio production. It’s like combination of building a house
and ﬁxing a car, but with knobs of mixing console.
I think it was 1998 when a bough my ﬁrst digital 8-track recording device.
Harri was with me on that day. He actually bargained the price down by accidentally lying. It was hilarious moment, when we did get out of store
and I told Harri what he just did.
He said to the seller that we did get better offer from the store next door.
No we certainly didn't. The other seller gave us exactly the same price,
but Harri remembered it wrong. We did both laugh out loud,
but I think Harri felt guilty inside.
Anyways, in a very short time after that episode I bought all the essential
recording equipment to my parent’s garage. Then I gave name to my studio:
Garage Sound! Hahahaa, what a imagination!
SL: Are you calling this ugly painting an art.
HN: What? no, that is called a mirror.
SL: How fascinating, oh sorry I did not listen to your story at all.
What did you say?
HN: I'm not going to repeat you have a voice recorder.
SL: I have what?
HN: That thing on your hand, H4n Zoom. Where did you get it?
SL: This device? It was a farewell gift from my doctor.
HN: A strange gift.
SL: I thought the same, but she threw it at me.
HN: Threw it at you ?
HN: Why on earth would she do that?!
SL: I don't know, I just told her that I'm leaving.
HN: And she just suddenly threw her Zoom at you.
SL: No,no,no... right after I broke my limb restraints.
HN: I'm not sure I want to even know.
SL: Never mind, let's go back to the topic.
Studio of the dead, what was the ﬁrst thing that you recorded there?
HN: I think it was my own old school Gothic Metal song
Whore In The Devil's Chess. I'm pretty sure I'll post it on
Backstage Area someday.
We also did lots of Harri & Houre recordings on that era.
We will post those as well when the time is right.
SL: How did your small home studio Garage Sound grow to
Studio Of The Dead? Was it something you had planned for a long time?
HN: In some point it was really obvious that I need more space for all the equipment and also better sounding rooms.
I built a house for Studio Of The Dead with my father,
or actually I just helped all that I could.
He did all the hard work. Thanks dad!
For all and all, it took about ten years to grew from home studio to real studio, build the house, buy more professional equipment,
experiment with acoustics and so on. Time well spent.
I have to say I'm very pleased to current situation.
I have done some commercial releases on SOTD, but now that
SickTwins Production is launched, I no longer have enough time for clients.
I have to concentrate all my energy to STP-releases.
We have so much interesting stuff coming up!
PART 4: Untied Artistic Freedom
SL: Where did you get the idea to start SickTwins and what is it?
HN: I wanted to create a publishing channel to all the musical work I have done past 20 years. Since nowadays I'm doing most of my stuff with the same guys, I asked them all to join the SickTwins Production team.
We refine every member’s musical ideas to release-ready final products,
not just my stuff. We help each others out in every way. Once the album or whatever we are working on is done, we release and distribute it worldwide.
Basically we are combination of DIY artists, producers and record label.
SL: Where the name SickTwins comes from?
HN: In the very beginning SickTwins meant my and Zacob's cooperation in Tyrannia and Silence After Funeral.
Since we are like twin brothers when it comes to making music and a little bit twisted in the head, the name SickTwins was an obvious choice.
SL: Twisted in the head...I have heard that before.
HN: Not much of a surprise.
SL: What do you mean?
HN: Nothing, let me ask you a question.
HN: Have we met before?
SL: I don't think so.
HN: So, you do not remember anything?
SL: I remember my own room. I liked it, it had soft walls and all.
HN: Before that.
SL: I guess not.
HN: What do these words mean to you: Hail of Napalm.
SL: I don't know... a bomber?
HN: There is still hope. How did you find me?
SL: What's it like being an independent music artist?
HN: Do not try to change the subject.
SL: But that's the next question.
HN: You did not answer my question.
SL: Yes I did.
SL: No, the one after that.
SL: I know, but he is so mean.
SL: I'm the interviewer.
SL: are you?
HN: You do realize you are arguing with yourself.
SL: I think I have a solution to this problem.
HN: Is that a rope?
SL: What's it like being an independent music artist?
HN: A million things to do, long days and momentary burn outs.
BUT, it also means total freedom to do whatever the heart desires.
No one tells you what to do. But if they do, you can just tell them to
shut the fuck up and eat more popcorn! It's our rules, our decisions,
our vision and no one else’s! For all and all it gives more than it takes.
SL: Have you ever thought about working with outside producers,
audio engineers or record labels?
HN: Of course I have. It main beneﬁts would be reduced workload and I could concentrate on composing. But here is the down side; since I'm a little bit control freak when it comes to my music, it’s pretty clear that I couldn’t work with regular producers or even with audio engineers.
It’s better to learn how to produce the sound you want by yourself, than start pointing ﬁngers to professionals who don’t know how to satisfy your artistic needs. Without doubt they know how to make things sound good, but that’s not necessarily good in the right way. This all equals to artwork, promotion and especially to imago.
I found it very unlikely that any record label would let me release raw Black Metal, Gothic Rock and acoustic Pop during the same year,
or at all in the matter of a fact. You just can’t do them all, right?
Audience gets confused,their thinking pattern of tiny boxes are challenged,
so the company isn’t making any money. Well, hasta la vista Mr. corporate suit, I’ll do whatever I want!
If SickTwins Production fails, it fails with its own terms.
Now with that being said, I'm open to any suggestions as long as I have 100% artistic freedom.
PART 5: Superpowers And Wingsuits
The last page has been really hard to find,
but a promise is a promise.
I've been here for six days of which five,
I have not seen the light of day.
I do not think I will ever forget this smell.
These damn rats and their damn sewer.
Wait a second, can it be...
Yes, yes it is.
I found it,
I FOUND IT !
A green can full of wierd liquid.
Very elegant flavor actually.
Acidic, bright and a hint of earwax.
Oh yeah, I found the last page before I came here.
Hmm... I feel strange,
SL: What things in the music business you absolutely despise?
HN: When it's only about making money or becoming famous.
In the other words making soulless shit for the people
who don't know any better.
High stake music business seems to be more about selling artist’s sex appeal than his or hers musical talent. High budget music videos used to be extinction of artistic vision, but now they are just cheap imitation of softcore porn clips.
If you want to be an artist involved with that,
here’s the secret how to make it in the music business:
Suck the right guy’s dick to get the deal, sing through auto-tune on the studio, expose your body and move it like a porn star on music videos.
Once you have made millions of dollars for the investors you are quickly abounded after your second artsy CD, because you are no longer making money for them. One year later no one remembers you.
Ten years afterwards you find your picture from the pages of yellow press.
It’s taken in the mall’s parking lot. There you stand, fat and ugly, with pack of cheapest toilet paper in your hand and dirty t-shirt on. Headline above your picture asks: “WTF happened to sex symbol”.
Okay, maybe that was too gritty and over the top, but you get the point hahahhaa...
SL: I guess you don’t appreciate singing contests and talent shows then?
What are your thoughts, are they a good way to make a breakthrough?
HN: Well, if you are charismatic person and talented singer, but you don’t know how to compose good songs, than by all means go for it.
Who am I to judge.
Look, I know went too far on my previous answer, but I did have a point.
All I’m saying is that you should be careful
that no one takes advantage of you.
At the end of the day, companies just want to make money.
That’s what they do, it’s their business.
Everyone knows that sex sells.
It’s fucking cheap, but it works nine times of ten.
Why fix something that isn’t broken.
If you are already making music on your own, then you don’t even NEED record deal anymore. Today record companies usually show their interest only if you have already succeed in some level. They just want their cut. They better have some damn valuable thing to offer,
if they want to get their share.
Don’t sell your freedom for nothing!
It’s all about you, your dreams and your artistic vision.
Don’t give it away for free!
SL: Any final words for the readers?
HN: Keep it real and stay away from the elevator music. That’s all folks!
SL: Hmm...I can not come up with any more questions.
It´s been a pleasure talking to you.
HN: Really a great pleasure, you tied me to a fucking chair.
SL: You leave me no choice....wait a minute, is that a dog barking?
HN: Yes, a police dog.
SL: So long sir !
HN: Wait, that is a window and we are on the top floor!
SL: Muhahaha...you underestimate the power of my wingsuit.
HN: What wingsuit, that's a straitjacket !