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...and Oceans - simple Art

Discussion in 'Metal Interviews' started by Perkele, Sep 12, 2002.

  1. Perkele

    Perkele Myself

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    “ 'art•ist \'ärt- est\ n 1: one who is able by virtue of imagination and talent or skill to create works of aesthetic value, especially in the fine arts, 2: a person whose work shows exceptional creative ability or skill.' Exceedingly creative people who embody the very definitions of "artist" are never predictable. Neither can the inherent beauty of their creations be classified. Welcome to the bizarre world of Finland's ...and Oceans, where song titles boast up to 62 characters, where everything runs in the opposite direction, and where life never gets boring.” – as it is written on the site of the band’s label. And it is the best way to describe them and their music.
    ...and Oceans was formed in 1995 as a death metal band. With four albums behind them they got very far from their roots till today. After listening to Cypher, I felt it was really time to get to know a little about the people who make ...and Oceans. I emailed the band and their singer, Kenny answered my questions.


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    The new album Cypher has been out for two months now in Europe. What are the responses like so far, first of all from the fans? And from the media, the press?
    - So far so good, but haven’t had any concrete contact. Seems like a lot of non-metal people have opened their eyes for this new album, and it’s good to broaden your views once in a while. I definitely know that those who like the first albums won’t like Cypher, but what can I do. We change constantly and do it in the future as well if it feels right.

    What is the difference between Cypher and your previous album AM GOD? How would you describe the difference youself?
    - A lot of things have changed, but still there are similarities to the older form and seems like everything has changed and been in motion, but still everything remains the same. Cypher is more like the other side of the same coin. And yes musically the new album is a bit different compared to Am God or any other previous album and the reason to this is that we need to be in constant motion and not repeat the same patterns over and over again. We don’t want to fall into the “recycle” –category and suffer from stagnation like most of the bands seem to do nowadays. We wanted climb further on the spiral and develop as musicians and I think it’s pretty much about the persons behind the band that grows mentally and that way the music rotates into different forms at the same time. I don’t think natural development is a vice, more likely a virtue.

    Did the fans do you think get what they had expected after AM GOD?
    - I don’t really know, but seems like people in general like Cypher more than Am God, but that differs from one person to the other. At least Cypher is more prominent and compact in all aspects.

    You posted on your website that the title ‘Cypher’ has several meanings(ci·pher also cy·pher: a) a secret code, b) Latin = empty, c) the mathematical symbol (0) denoting absence of quantity; zero, d) a person and thing which has no importance, no influence or value - a nonentity). Which describes the best the album itself?
    - Cypher has several meanings and most of its nuances are implanted behind the lyrical curtain, but one of the meanings stands more concretely out and bears a certain value, and that is “a person or thing of little importance” because it reflects the different perspectives in the lyrics. After reading the lyrics one will comprehend the actual meaning of the title. The word Cypher is so versatile so we decided to use it, as it reflects the different nuances in man and the presence of man. But what I was striving for with this title, in a more concrete form, of course, was the relevance of man’s unimportance. I don’t think I have ever made such “down to earth” lyrics as on Cypher and I think it’s pretty obvious what the, so called message is, but of course I have left some gaps for the personal interpretation on the mental level as well.
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    I think the lyrics are a very important part of `Cypher`. Would you tell us a few words about every song? I mean, we can make our own thoughts about them, but I would like to hear your explanation.
    1. Fragile: Picture of Silence: Melting The Skies
    2. Picturesque: Cataclysm Savour: And The Little Things That Make Us Smile
    3. Angelina: Chthonian Earth: Her Face Forms Worms
    4. Halycon: The Heavy Silence: In Silent Rain
    5. Aphelion: Light Evanescence: Into Extinction
    6. Opaque: The Morning I Woke Up Dead: Today Is The Day
    7. Aphid: Devil Flower: Fruits Of Lunacy
    8. Voyage: Lost Between Horizons Eaten By The Distance
    9. Catharsis: End Of Organisms: Absolute Purification Of Sins
    10. Silhouette: In White Rooms: Vacant Bodies
    11. Comatose: The World Amnesia: Planet Dead
    12. Debris: The Magenta Harvest: Liquid Flesh
    13. Nail: A Odyssey In Flesh: Celebrate The New Skin
    -Each and every song is divided into three sections, but one of them stands as the profound title (as written above). The ones in cursive are the actual titles for each song, but it wasn’t correct on the promo version. On the actual CD the titles are in bold and those are the correct titles. Making a concept album has been floating deep down in the corners of the mind for a while and as the music for Cypher turned out pretty compact, I chose to write the lyrics to go hand in hand with the music. The music is not complex and neither are the lyrics this time. The basics are pretty much the same throughout the whole album and decadence is under focus, but there are lots of different small nuances with different insights of what some people call reality. I have never been too concrete about anything and I never probably will because I always leave some space for the personal interpretation. It’s like with any book, movie or painting: the first impression is your own interpretation. I can’t see any relevance in the concrete forms before you have worked on it in your own personal way. It’s better to formulate your own thoughts and if you then later on come to the same conclusion you feel much lighter and you can just sit back and enjoy with a tiny smile on your face. The lyrics on Cypher are covered in simplicity compared to the previous lyrics, but sure I have left some symbolic segments for the mind to chew on. It’s not much different from the music itself, they are compact and therefore there are connections to one another. It’s the same theme throughout the whole album and one can surely find the linking patterns, which the whole lyrical content is built upon. I’m not here to analyze my own circulating thoughts and physical textures.

    What are your motivations to write lyrics like these? Where does the inspiration come from?
    - I don’t think I have any particular influences, except for the conventional moments in the grey life we are floating in. If any fragments that lie in the subconscious of the mind has influenced in a certain way is impossible to say because that bears no prominent value in the process of creating the music and lyrics. Of course we all have different prospects that affect each and every one in a certain way, but it doesn’t necessary mean that we are influenced of it. The environment and culture has its role and in that sense the negative energy is present. Everything in general plays a role and works as a prosperous influence for the mind to gnaw on, even if some segments are diverted into a different kind of energy in ones own personal way.

    The song titles are divided into 3 parts. Why?
    - As this is a concept album I thought making the lyrics fit in the environment of the music would stand out more complete and compact this way. The track titles are divided into three different segments and having therefore three different titles the cohesion is very close at hand. And if you read the lyrics you will find that the topic is reflected from different angels and certain words and phrases are repeated in the physical textual forms. It’s like chewing gum you have to chew and chew to get the best juices out of it before you spit it out. Even if the lyrics have long titles each track title has one section which stands out as the actual title, and that can’t be seen on the promo version, but it’s correct on the actual CD. One needs both the negative and positive perspectives in order to keep one’s mind in balance. It’s all about emotions that we the people have misinterpreted and used in a wrong matter. The lyrics and song titles are all connected to one another. The same topic is depicted into different images and forms in all the lyrics. It’s all about the same things that never were and never will be again. I think it’s important that people think for themselves and therefore people should interpret the lyrics in their own personal way. We are not a band of propaganda we just spread the disease of freedom ignorance. We don’t want to change anything in you; you have to comprehend the facts of changing yourself. The lyrics are important, but the individual interpretation is more important.

    You changed the title of the album from `Insect Angles & Devil Worms` but you kept it as the title of the double vinyl verison. Why?
    - The CD version is titled Cypher and its subtitle is still Insect Angels & Devil Worms, but this particular subtitle will more directly be used for the double vinyl version because as it is a double version we thought the bipartite title suited better the vinyl version. The original title Insect Angels... is taken from my forthcoming book which consists of the same topic and the title melted nicely into this theme of this new concept album. We also changed the title due to the fact that the cover artwork changed from its original form. We could of course have used the same title for both of the releases because they both represent the same idea and purpose, but we still wanted to divide these two formats from each other. And as the vinyl will be pretty exclusive why not make the title as divergent as the releases. The vinyl will be limited to 500 copies and released by www.woodcutrecords.com and the first 50 copies will all have different hand made artworks.

    Can you tell us what is your book about? Will it be published in English?
    - The working title is Insect Angels… and will be published as soon as I get my life in a bit better order. We are probably also creating a soundtrack for that book I am writing with a friend of mine, but when it will be released is uncertain yet. There will be some collaboration with other artists for that soundtrack and the book itself is more of a photo book of the momentary grey life we are floating in. There will of course be some poetry, maxims, aphorisms included in the book as well as epitaphs and other views on life. Yes, the book is in English because that particular language is more flamboyant than Finnish or Swedish.

    Let’s talk about the music now. We can hear different styles and different influences in your music. How would you categorize your own music?
    - I really don’t like categorizing music at all, but I kind of understand why it needs to be done, not only in the sense of putting music into different boxes, but that’s what we people do: compare and associate one thing with another. It’s damn difficult to describe any music with just a term because if the music itself contains elements from more than just one regular formula, the description will be misleading. Even if you give it a term, people will still find their counterparts within another artist. So maybe we are just the future sound of the past because everything goes in circles anyway. In one aspect we are another shape of an ebm band, but then again we also have a lot of metal elements in the music. I don’t care if people call us cyberpunk, industrial metal, electronic based metal or post-metal, as long as they comprehend the facts and values of …andOceans not being just metal oriented.

    What are the main influences in ...And Oceans’ music (other bands, life, ... etc)?
    - We have never been inspired of any certain bands. It’s pretty much all about the trivial grey life we are floating in, in a certain period of time, but of course the environment affects you, at least subconsciously. And as we are 6 members in the band and each and every one listens to different kind of music the music just fluctuates to different forms. Everyone brings his own salt to the soup so to say and this kind of blend of sounds is the result, at least this time.

    What kind of music do you listen at home?
    - I listen to all kind of shit. I’m very open for new styles and mixtures, so practically I consume almost everything. Sometimes I listen to metal sometimes I just watch MTV, but lately I’ve been listening to Helmet, Alice In Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, FNM, but mostly I listen to pe, industrial, techno, death-noise and that kind of stuff. It all depends on the mood what I listen to. Sometimes I listen to metal, even if that isn’t very often nowadays. The new Messhuggah and The Dillinger Escape Plan were great though.

    What is the process of making an album? Do you write the music or the lyrics first? How do you put together your ideas?
    - I always carry a notebook on me, so I write down some thoughts and ideas all the time, but mostly the complete textual form is completed after the music is done because it depends a lot on the mood the particular track has. The music mostly takes is form by having some loose ideas of a sound or pattern and later on we all participate with ideas to the whole sound by adding our own ideas, riffs, patterns, sounds etc to the whole.
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    The band members are taking part in other bands too. Is ... And Oceans the main band for all of you? How can you share your time among all these bands, don`t you ever have problem from this? Do these other bands have effect on the music of ...And Oceans?
    - We do have side bands going on as well, but we consider every band as the first priority when the particular band is creating, recording or touring for that moment. So far we have not had any problems because it’s all about organizing things in the right way. One band’s music does not affect the other in any way it’s all about keeping everything in balance and all the bands have totally different music it is not very difficult to separate them form one another.

    You worked in the Abyss Studio again, where you recorded `AM GOD` before. Are you so satisfied with the studio or did you want to work with a producer who already knew you? Or do you think it is good for a band to work with the same producer on every album or can it be refreshing to work with a producer who doesn`t know you?
    - We tried out Abyss for Am God just for the sake of renewing ourselves, we had already made three albums here in Finland in a studio called Tico-Tico and it was about time to move on to new sectors. We were actually thinking of several different studios, but after all we decided to try Abyss and Tommy, and I must say everything worked out very smoothly with Tommy the first time. I’ve been in contact with him every now and then and we’ve been discussing all kinds of details via phone and email and this time it was even easier to work there because Tommy new what kind of a sound we were looking for and we knew what kind of a sound he could provide us. We also had the chance to do whatever we wanted during the nights, which gave us a lot of freedom on our own hands. We practically recorded some guitars and vocals during nights and the whole album was more or less completed in a week’s time. We could’ve never made it more smoothly anywhere else. It’s better for a band to enter a studio where you know for sure that the sound you are looking for is at your reach, instead of entering a studio with a feeling of scepticism. We also needed a more bass-oriented sound for this album and we knew from before that in Abyss this could be possible. Maybe next time we will enter another studio it all depends on what kind of material we will come up with next time. When we worked with Tommy it wasn’t like he needed to tell us what to do, we knew pretty much what we were looking for and he helped us make it possible, and that’s called collaboration. Who, where and how is not the question, more important is if it’s possible to get the sound you are looking for.

    Would you change anything on Cypher if you could?
    - Of course there are some things that we would make differently now, but I guess that’s the case with every band. You can’t bee too satisfied of any of your outcomes. I mean you can make it as good as possible, but later on you will anyway find things and parts that could have been even more properly and differently done. Seems like the case is the same in all issues based on artificial art-form called life.

    Do you have favourite song, songs on Cypher?
    - It varies from time to time and at the moment, at least at the rehearsal room The Magenta Harvest seems to be a track of attraction to me.

    Which is your favourite ... And Oceans album?
    - I really don’t sit back home and listen to our own material, but of course the latest one is always the most appealing, so I guess Cypheris the favorite one at the moment. And that’s mostly because of the fact that the album’s music is most proper one at the moment by its construction, sound and divergent emotions involved.

    What is the future plan? Working on a new album, touring, resting or concentrate on something else?
    - At the moment we are going to focus on making the limited double vinyl version of Cypher, rehearse a bit and hopefully head out for a European tour. After that we have to focus a bit on other projects: bands, videos, website etc.

    Where do you think will be the band in 5 years?
    - It’s impossible to say, we might be lying on the ground like the autumn leaves or just alive and kicking. Don’t really plan too much, just taking step by step, one day at the time and see in which direction life evolves.
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    Every band member has an interesting nickname. Would you tell us what are these nick means, where do they come from?
    - The pseudonyms we have used on our previous albums reflect the mental state, personality, physical structure and so on, but on Cypherwe are actually using our really names or shortened versions of our real names, nothing really special about that.

    Due to the music many young people show interest in Finland lately. Can you recommend us some Finnish authors, who has novels about Finland and from those we could get to know a bit more from the spirit of your country and from the people who live there?
    - I’m not really into Finnish authors, but of course there are dome good ones. But there’s not much you need to know about Finland. Buy some potatoes and a bottle of vodka and that’s about all you need to know about this country.

    You are writing a book yourself, do you have favourite writer(s), poet(s)?
    - Yes, I do, but the list would be too long. I think it’s more important to construct your own images and ideas of your own before reading any massive works that will affect you. That way you can just sit back and smile afterwards when you notice that some other person has had the same thoughts as you before you even read his/her work.

    That’s all I could come up now, thank you very much for your time!
    Last words are yours.

    - Thanks for the interview and keep on watering the flowers before the leaves of autumn fall.

    ...and Oceans Official Homepage

    You can read an UM review about ...andOceans:AMGOD album Here
     

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