(In this post Evita Hofmane of the Latvian e-zine P3LICAN interviews Jani Koskela of Finland’s 0 X í S T. Music from the band’s live performances and their forthcoming second album is also included with this interview.)
The Finnish band 0 X í S T, for “zero exist”, was formed in 2008. The band aim to create dark metal that stands truthfully for the description in their name. Therefore, 0 X í S T perform music that is menacing, heavy, and dark.
0 X í S T completed their first recording, the Unveiling the Shadow World CD-EP in September 2009. The EP was released in April 2010 by the French extreme doom metal label Ostra Records. After releasing a two-track demo in October 2010, the band started to concentrate on producing their debut album Nil. Nil was released in December 2012 as a joint effort by Ostra Records and Cold Void Emanations. It includes six doomy tracks of dark metal.
The band recorded their second album One Eon during the summer of 2014 and has announced that it will be published as a CD and digital release on the 4th of February 2015. A limited edition picture vinyl print will follow in March. One Eon will feature six works of slow and heavy Dark Metal, with cover art made by Hungarian artist Péter Takács. The album was recorded at D-Studio and partly recorded and mixed at 0 X í S T’s private studio. The band will self-release the album on Death Shrine Offerings (www.deathshrineofferings.net). The CD and digital versions are now available for pre-ordering at http://0xist.bandcamp.com.
In this interview the band’s leader Jani Koskela speaks about their new album, touring, and music itself.
It is one of the largest parts of life. It is a job for an alchemist. It’s about going to the eternal source of all that is nothing and about turning the nonexistent into its full potential — to its highest form.
To become a musician in Finland, where almost everybody plays some musical instrument and has three bands at least, is it a challenge or is it something you Finns are predisposed to at birth? What is the toughest part if you want to be a musician in Finland?
The only thing that you should challenge is yourself — to make music that you need to do, by using the best potential out of yourself. Once that has been accomplished, nothing else really matters. If you want to be a musician anywhere, the toughest and the most essential part is to be able to impress yourself when you create something new.
If you had to rank the best bands of all time that originated from the Riihimäki area, what would it be?
Considering the small size of our hometown Riihimäki, it has been blessed with many great musical projects. To mention only a few of them is always great ignorance, so here we go: Yearning, Embassy of Silence, Absent Silence, Autumn Verses/Dead Beginners, Skepticism, Endstand, Deepsix, Death Hawks, Syven, Thromdarr, and so on.
Please, some words next about your other projects? Your band members have other bands as well, so it is a good opportunity to spread the word about ‘em!
I am a member in Saattue (doomy metal with Finnish lyrics) and Cynabare Urne (Death metal). Mikael was the drummer for Saattue and is now also in Mr. Black & 5000 Cadillacs (’50s rock’n’roll). Juhani is a member of Apocryphal Voice (dark avant-garde metal). Apocryphal Voice has released their new album Pain & Pleasure on CD, Saattue has a new album in the works, and Cynabare Urne is recording its first 7” vinyl release.
Your first full-length was released in 2012. How was it met by critics and listeners?
We are still extremely happy with Nil and all the critics were good as well. It has gained some listeners, but I do think that there are a great many out there who haven’t discovered the record yet.
Can you mention a review or opinion about your music that impressed you the most and got stuck in your mind?
Once your music awakes something deeper in the listener it is extremely flattering, since that is also where the ultimate source of it is. Unfortunately these days, instead of reading impressive reviews, you rather have to seek if the release gets reviewed at all.
What mood are you in when you are creating music?
It depends. Usually I am alone at home trying out new riffs, or working on arrangements. I do listen to my home demos quite a lot, just to be sure that the recorded arrangements can deliver the right feeling and that all the ideas are good enough. Personally I am often in a kind of creative euphoria when I write new music. It is as easy to lose yourself in there, and to go on a wrong track, as it is to come up with something truly astonishing and intended.
As a writer, which song for you best sums up 0 X í S T?
In a way it has to be each song that comes into creation and chooses to be completed. If I should pick one song from each release, then it’s often the most dynamic one: “Unveil the Shadow World” from the first CD-EP, “Shrivel” from the first album, and “No Life to Bother” from the forthcoming album.
What’s the story behind “No Life To Bother”?
It’s the first song that we wrote after completing our debut album Nil. At first we arranged it with Ossi and Henrik (from the Nil line-up) and in the end completed it with Sameli and Juhani. It is a 13-minutes-long monster track that has very heavy parts, melodic passages, and also some clean guitar parts. Lyrically it is about the fact that you should live your life in the way that pleases you and not to bother worrying about what kind of expectations others might have set for you.
How does the new album One Eon sound? What subjects did you find yourself writing about?
It has its own characteristics and it sounds like a pure 0 X í S T release should sound like. It is definitely a heavy and dark recording and it has elements on it that the previous releases didn’t have. Lyrically it is about observing the darker shades of life.
Can you tell us a little bit more about those new elements and lyrics?
There are two members — Juhani and Sameli — who are playing on One Eon but didn’t play on the previous releases. Both of them also wrote music for the album, and Juhani did additional lead vocals and wrote lyrics to one of the songs. That naturally adds new input to our repertoire. Some of their rhythm solutions are quite different from mine. Lyrically the album has various topics that are observing us or human ways in general. Some of the lyrics can have multiple – perhaps even spiritual, psycho- or sociological meanings. It all depends on the one who is giving a thought on them.
And now about the design of your new album, which is also an important part of the message you give to your listeners. How do you choose the persons who do this?
The essential parts are the dragon seal made by Péter Takács and logos designed in the traditional 0xíst style by Petri Kapanen. Both of them symbolize, reflect, and feed the inner strength, energy, and flame that are essential forces behind 0xíst and our creations. Both artists came up with their ideas on their own. We happened to be able to relate to those ideas and also knew how to develop them further to our own use.
Petri made the sun eclipse / 0 symbol around the same time as the band name and concept came into existence in 2008. I saw the symbol and asked if he could create our band logo around that theme. Péter on the other hand contacted us at the time when we were preparing the release of Nil. The dragon seal that he had made matched with the ideas that we had for the second album. Two more years passed until the album was ready, but the dragon seal remained as the first album cover candidate until the end.
0 X í S T have played in different countries. Tell us about most impressive gig – where it took place, the time when it happened, and the audience!
There have been several shows that stand out. My favorite ones have been in Lithuania, Belgium, Germany, and Finland. If the show creates reactions in the audience, then it has done its purpose. It’s hard to say what would have been the most impressive moment; each gig has its own flavor.
Do you ever feel kind of uncomfortable or vulnerable when performing a particular song live that you have a very personal connection to?
No. However, if you manage to find a way to inspire yourself to get deeper into a song, through the environment that you are playing in, it can be quite rewarding for the show.
When you’re performing on stage, do you feel like you’re channeling someone else outside of your normal self or are you always the same you?
No. It’s all part of myself, but music truly is a tool that helps me to channel myself in a very special way.
What are your best and worst memories about touring?
One of the worst parts is to deal with bookers, who for some reason — in a tragic moment — suddenly stop providing you with information. Luckily it does not happen too often, and the world of today is informative enough to find your way to go around such blocks by studying indirect information. The best part is to meet new people and to perform in an environment that gives some extra spice to the performance.
How did your Baltic mini-tour of 2014 go? Impressions, insights? You passed through some beautiful cities.
Yes. “Via Baltica” is already quite familiar to us. We have been to Estonia and Lithuania before and taken this route when we went on our first European tour. We like Baltic countries a lot and they have been good to 0xíst. We had good shows in Lithuania in 2012, when we played there with Inquisitor and Manslaughter (Pl). This time we went to Kaunas to play on our own and had no idea how it would turn out. Even though it was a quite small venue, we were surprised that we got to play for a full house. We liked Riga as well. It was our first show in Latvia and met our expectations fully. We would definitely like to return to the Baltics at some point.
<center><iframe width=”480″ height=”360″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/Rv81sgea-Os” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe></center>
Did you get to actually see those places?
Not much really. We wanted to walk around in Riga a bit and maybe to eat somewhere in quiet. Well, guess what — in the end we lost the extra time on the road and had to go for a quick one at McDonalds… but that is the way how it sometimes is, when you are doing hectic traveling in places that you don’t know that well.
What’s next for your band? What does 2015 hold?
The new album and hopefully shows and tours in places where we haven’t been to, or wish to go back.
What do you feel the state of metal music is nowadays?
I think that there are great new bands out there, like there always has been. Discovering them might take some extra effort, but then again when you know what you are looking for, you will also find it. Now that the professional recording and music industry is slowly vanishing, I think that a lot of “Do It Yourself” spirit will be present in the future. Bands will do a lot of things by themselves. Metal is on its way back to the underground, and that’s where its true essence has always been “hiding”.
Wrapping up – what is the main conclusion you have learned during these years about life and music being two inseparable things?
Well, there is no music unless you are alive. Then again, life shouldn’t be just about music. Life should be about exploring, and music is one of the worlds that is perfect for that purpose.
For More Info Visit:
Band contact | Interviews & booking:
Record company contact:
http://www.deathshrineofferings.net | email@example.com
www.ostra-records.com | firstname.lastname@example.org
coldvoidemanations.net | email@example.com