(KevinP brings us another installment in his ongoing series of brief interviews, and today he puts questions to Ontto, the bassist of Finland’s Oranssi Pazuzu, who have a new double-album named Värähtelijä headed our way.)
K: The first time I listened to Värähtelijä it did not feel nearly as “immediate” when compared to Valonielu. But after 3-4 full spins of the new album it is much weirder yet more memorable at the same time.
O: Yeah, Värähtelijä is a bit more of an introvert album. The idea was to create a dark and hypnotic fog that you can get lost in, instead of going after instantly catchy riffs. We used lots of polyrhythms on this one, so many times there are two riffs playing simultaneously. Also, since it’s a double album, I get that it might need a bit more chewing. Didn’t try to make it intentionally weird, though. Rather I think it’s more “free”.
K: You and Jun-His started the band in 2007, but you’ve had a stable recording lineup since the first release in 2009. I find that refreshing since your music is by no means easy to digest. Normally I think it would be difficult to keep 5 people in that same mindset.
O: We were friends with the guys already when we started the band, so that helps a lot. The reason why the band sounds like it sounds is that each one of us adds their own thing into the mix. Sometimes that sounds schizophrenic, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing when you’re searching for psychedelic effects.
K: Your music is not composed around “riffs” in the traditional sense, where a band would have a few “hooks” and then build off that to create a song. So where is the starting point for the material you create and how do you ultimately piece it together?
O: Yeah. Sure we like good riffs too, but sometimes it’s just more fun to float around in the ambience. This time we recorded a lot of jams in ‘Wastement’ , our practice place, and some of those formed into songs as we played with them. The majority of material on the new album was done like that. A couple of songs were initially based on riffs by Jun-His and me, but the core of the album is in the jams.
K: Let’s talk about lyrical content. What are you talking about in this one? What are you trying to convey? Anything different than last time? Was that on purpose?
O: As the songs started to build, we played them over and over with Jun-His screaming this kind of cathartic ritual vocal over the jams. We recorded those jams, and afterwards when I got home, I put earphones on and got into the right mood. Then I just listened to the songs and wrote down what the voice told me. It was basically all already there, I just had to interpret that into words. It turned out that each song was a vision and a part of a larger trip, and the visions deal with some aspects of reality that probably have had a subconscious effect in my thinking.
K: At the beginning there is the sacrifice of ego, and the willingness to dive into the unknown. Then, in the middle part of the album, the focus turns outside, to the reality, and there’s a couple of songs dealing with some of today’s common thinking patterns. At the end the focus comes back inside the mind, as the final side of the album deals with the death of the mind and the return to a non-thinking part of the nature.
O: So the album “concept”, if you can even call it that, was not planned, it basically formed itself. Of course I had to work the text some to make it fit in. I wouldn’t say there’s a “story” on the album. It’s more like individual flashbacks, that together are trying to tell you something, but in the end it’s up to you to figure out what the hell it all means.
Värähtelijä will be releasd on February 26 by 20 Buck Spin and can be pre-ordered via the Bandcamp links below: