(We present Latvian music journalist Evita Hofmane’s interview with the Finnish band Re-Armed.)
On September 2016, Saarni Records released The Era of Precarity, the third album by the Finnish Death/Thrash metal band Re-Armed, and in this interview we talk about the new album with Jouni Matilainen (vocals), Jussi Venäläinen (guitars), and Juhana Heinonen (bass).
How would you describe the approach to your new album, compared to your previous albums?
Jouni: This one is a way more solid album than the previous ones. Better songs, better lyrics, etc. We definitely did put all the focus on this album.
How long did it take to put it all together, from writing the lyrics, to practising, to finally putting it all down at the studio?
Jussi: We started writing and practising around August or September 2015 and went to the studio in spring 2016. The album was mixed and mastered in the summertime.
Juhana: We recorded the album within 4 months, piece by piece… We also improvised a lot in the studio, which was a really nice way to find out different kinds of ideas.
Do you have any favorite memories from the sessions?
Jussi: I had the most fun recording with slide guitar, acoustics, and banjo. Something else than playing the same old electric guitar. Playing solos was fun, too, and it was great to work with our studio engineer Harri.
Juhana: It was great to record the new album with Harri.The right man, in the right place, at the right time!
Jouni: Overall we did have fun together in the studio.
Was there anything different in the way you recorded this one?
Jouni: The only different thing was the time and how we managed it during the process. We simply did have more time, and the deadline was totally up to us. A 1000-piece puzzle was built piece by piece. You know, we did have clear guidelines for each song, but we had much more time to think about what’s the next move and how it should be done. I think this is the best way to work with album recordings. I know some bands like to do it differently…
When is the album ready? When is the last note recorded?
Juhana: The Era of Precarity is out now and available on almost every streaming site you can find from the depths of the internet. Physical album can be bought from Record Shop X’s webshop, the Saarni Records webshop, or from our own webshop. Actually the last note was strummed in July 2016 and the album was released in September.
Jouni: Fast and furious! Just like our music and live shows are, hah hah!
Who did the artwork, and is there a story behind how it connects to the album’s themes?
Jouni: The artwork was done by Jarno Lahti / Kaamos. I introduced the theme and idea for the artwork and the guys approved it. Then I sent a raw draft to Jarno and he liked the concept.
The concept behind this album is pretty damn wholesome. The artwork supports the lyrics, songs, and atmosphere, and the packaging style makes it completely whole. A percentage goes to charity, straight to organisations that take care of real people around our hometown area and without commissions. The hidden message behind the lyrics is to respect nature and other living beings on this planet. And if you want to be part of that change, “be the change you wish to see in the world”. Basically, this is our way to do something good and have fun at the same time. So, as you can see, we are hippies, but we are playing some metal music. Heh Heh!
Is there any particular reason why “Evolve Cycle” was chosen to be made into a video apart from the other tracks on the album?
Jouni: Not really. We just thought it is a good and catchy song with an odd structure.
Do you get good feedback from your homeland?
Juhana: Feedback from the Finnish fans has been tremendous.
How has the touring scene changed over the years?
Jouni: Some venues have closed their doors, and I think there are more bands touring around than ever before. We have booked some of our tours on our own, but these days I suggest to use booking agencies…We have done tours with double-deckers, own nightliners, split nightliners, motorhomes, vans, trains, and cars. Basically, it doesn’t matter so much how you do it and where you are touring. Just do it, if you love what you are doing!
How do you see the relationship between sound, space, and performance?
Juhana: Sound, space, and performance are definitely related to each other.
Jouni: Antimatters a lot! Heh!
Do you notice a change in the way extreme metal fans consume music these days?
Jussi: Everybody knows physical copies don’t sell the same numbers as they did a few decades ago, but some people still buy CDs or even vinyls. It’s so easy to just stream music from the internet. I do it a lot, too, though I still try to buy albums when I have enough cash.
Juhana: The consumption of extreme metal is growing constantly, which is understandable in these dark times.
Can you mention a review or opinion about your music that impressed you the most and got stuck in your mind?
Juhana: Nope. We are doing this for ourselves.
What can people expect from forthcoming dates?
Jouni: Our next shows will be done during the spring of 2017. We just did a 14-show tour in Finland, Spain, and the Baltics. So, now it’s time to chill for a while.
Juhana: Our gigs are full of excitement! Fire, hate, rage, shit, piss, alcohol, and candy at the same time in your mouth. And Jussi on the stage…… Heh heh!
What is the main conclusion you have learned during these years about life and music being two inseparable things?
Juhana: Music is a huge part of life!