By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Friday, March 1st, 2013
Early in 2011, I was floored by a band I had never heard before making noise I never knew I always wanted to hear. They’re from Finland, so, yeah. Duh. At this point I expect sweet Finnish lullabies to kick my ass and melt my face.
The phrase “Wisdom through Agony into Illumination and Lunacy” (W.A.I.L.) does triple duty as band moniker, album title and song names, and shortly became one of my favorite releases of that year. I’m not sure I succeeded in bringing as many people up onto the blackened-doom-hate-death bandwagon as I had hoped, but we’re givin’er another go here at the Deciblog. W.A.I.L. have just wrapped recording sessions for the next full-length, which this writer is so stoked to hear he’s digging out an old tape player for the occasion. (No, he does not listen to tapes on a regular basis; yes, he understands this unmasks him as a limp poseur dildo who can’t be trusted.)
When queried by Decibel, guitarist/vocalist A.E. responded with grace and easy candor about W.A.I.L.’s influences, musical processes, and current direction. While you immerse yourself in the illuminations of wisdom and agony that he provides, don’t forget to check out “Lunacy” off their last record. I fervently hope it’s the new standard for Finnish lullabies. Sweet dreams.
How did W.A.I.L. form? How did your chosen style of music take shape?
A.E.: W.A.I.L. was given birth to by the same exciting way I would imagine many other bands have also been born: three youngsters who knew each other and went to the same school formed a new band from the ashes of their previous one. If I remember correctly, we just got together and started to further architect the vision we had of a concept-like band name and in the same evening our acronym was born. I think P.R. named some improvisation we had recorded before as “wail” and that’s where the name derived.
I don’t think we have a sound we just chose but that it came more as a result of our “natural playing chemistry”. It was, and is, basically three young guys each diving deeper into their interests which include music, the soil from which we spring from, the blood flowing through our veins, occultism, Highland Bird, philosophy, history, psychology, etc. making Metal without any specific plans to pay tribute to or follow in the footsteps of some band(s)/style/era. But, also without any neurotic compulsion to try to sound “like nobody else”. Sillai syntyy meinaan vaan kusisia lapsia.
“Wisdom” and “Agony” appeared on your demo tape as well as the full-length. Did the songs change at all between the releases?
A.E.: Yeah, some lyrics and vocal lines were changed plus probably some other stuff I can’t remember right now. People interested in this though can check it out themselves. Both demos and the full-length are available through Ahdistuksen Aihio Productions and if buying a physical copy isn’t your thing I am fairly sure it’s quite easy to download all of our material anyway.
How precisely does your band name describe your musical goals? Can you elaborate on the philosophical or emotional drive behind your music?
A.E.: Tough and great question that first one, and to tell you the truth, haven’t really given much thought to it before either. It seems at least that many think I somehow calculate my compositions much more when making them and/or have a grand scheme of sorts right from the beginning of making a new release but in reality I/we leave pretty much room [for] “accidents” and improvisation; making things up as we go along and trusting the present, immanent gut feeling of the moment. But I also have, that I see as a both blessing and a curse, a habit of returning to said past “accidents” and improvisations to try to mold them into some new ideas that I may get. So, I wouldn’t really say I/we have any clear musical goals to begin with but that the goal is in the making of itself; the vision of a monument has come alive without compromises, i.e. our acronym is our music and vice versa, when every part of the album has its individual story to tell but at the same time is nothing without the other. The unity of all within; ascension to the centre of the wheel.
The philosophical and/or emotional drive can be summed up the same way I think. A common thread I have found afterwards when analyzing W.A.I.L. is that (also) through it I am trying to understand the All; to destroy, to create, to submit and hopefully eventually to unite.
How have the recent recording sessions been? Easy? Frustrating? Revelatory?
A.E.: All of the above at some point. The recording and writing process has definitely been [easy the least often] and frustrating perhaps the most, but the word describing the whole process most accurately would probably be “arduous”. There were times I thought on giving up the whole project right when being in the middle of it because I just couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel (i.e. couldn’t see finishing the record without compromising the vision) and the topics I [was] studying alongside and for the full-length were becoming too heavy on my shoulders but the sudden bursts of inspiration, ecstasy, relief and/or revelation always kept me going.
Are you including any guest musicians on your new record?
Yup, some female acquaintance of our drummer played violin on the record. Oh and, while he did not record or compose any music, a friend of mine wrote two short essays that will appear on the release among the lyrics. Those two essays helped me to understand better and place the final pieces of the puzzle together after which the last lyrics I was struggling with came pouring down on paper. Eli kiitos ja kumarrus Mika teikälle!
How does the new record differ from WAIL? Does the music take an alternate path, or does it follow a similar path more deeply?
A.E.: It’s hard to “step outside” of what has just been created not to mention to start to dissect and contrast it with the previous creations, it isn’t very fruitful either, but I’ll give it a try.
This full-length is even more conceptual than the first one and it is built around, to cite the written concept, “on a seeming dualism”; two long tracks, both containing four shorter tracks/passages, studying the notion of oneness from different angles through our acronym.
Musically this album came out to be a little more diverse and “adventurous” but at the same time the songs build up more gradually I think. It has a circa 7-minute long grand piano song/passage but also much of our more “standard” Doom/Black/Death/Heavy Metal mishmash, or whatever one calls it, laced with the tribal-ish sounding bits of our sound (found in “Nostalgia” or “Initiation”). I understand completely if, or rather when, some or many who are interested in us will find this album to be “too much of everything” but I stand firm by the belief that all the different parts fit together and are crucial to the whole.
When do you expect the new album to be available?
A.E.: I would guess that our second full-length will be released at some point during spring/early summer via Ahdistuksen Aihio Productions. Depends largely on how long it will take for our illustrator to paint the artworks. Or actually if he will even work with us anymore heh. If he chooses not to, we’ll have to find a new talented painter and that might take some time.
Can you suggest some non-traditional, maybe non-extreme records that you feel have influenced the music you create?
A.E.: You mean non-metal records? Extremity or what is traditional can certainly vary in the eye of the beholder but fuck off to that blabbering right now and here’s some “non-extreme” and “non-traditional” records that might have influenced my songwriting and/or lyrics simply because I listen to them much from time to time: Kingston Wall – All three albums but especially II; Mana Mana – Totuus Palaa (must say that this is much more “extreme” than plenty of Metal though); Tenhi – Kauan; Bohren & der Club of Gore – Black Earth; Clubroot – “III – MMX”; Ulver – Shadows of the Sun & Perdition City; Julma Henri & RPK – HENRI etc.
Can you update us on the movies, books, or other non-musical stuff you’re into now?
A.E.: I would strongly recommend David Duke’s “Jewish Supremacism” (as well as every video he has on here: http://www.youtube.com/user/drdduke) to anyone who still hasn’t heard from it. And to the more sensitive readers; try to not be put off by the numerous rumors and accusations and, on the other hand, by the cheesiness of many of those videos, and that the man is a Christian. Read the book and/or watch those videos, concentrate on the content and then form your opinion.
[At this point, we would like to point out that Decibel is a music magazine that has no affiliation with any political agenda. This should be obvious, but hey, maybe it's not to everybody. Duke's point of view stirs up a controversy with a whole lot of historical and emotional baggage, which Decibel Magazine does not endorse.]
On a whole different subject, while I myself haven’t read but a few snippets from it, I’ll still recommend wholeheartedly to everyone interested in Satanism, Occultism, Philosophy etc. to get a work named “Fosforos” when it will be released in English (through IXAXAAR) this year. Another work from the same author(s) called “Magna Mater” at least certainly influenced our new full-length’s verbal material at some level.
I once described W.A.I.L.’s music as “wickedawesome”. What other lesser known bands are also “wickedawesome”?
A.E.: Don’t know about that but Satan’s Satyrs album [Wild Beyond Belief! (?)] was killer so if you sir reading this now haven’t heard it, be certain to give it a go. Same goes to Vemods “Venter På Stormene” which is in many ways the opposite of SS but equally excellent; meditative and ethereal Norway-esque Metal. And if one craves some acoustic and/or ritual-like stuff go to http://www.animaarctica.fi/ and order “KALMONSÄIE” by Tervahäät. As for demos, Bölzer’s “Roman Acupuncture” sounded great. Will try to grab the re-press. Or is there still some available somewhere haha?
Any strange stories from your WAIL experience?
A.E.: We once rehearsed and to top it off, drank beer, cheap whiskey and smoked alongside. How strange and cool is that?
[After the interview, we had some small discussion of ego and A.E.'s personal pride in what he has accomplished musically. He gave Decibel permission to include his response here:]
A.E.: Wouldn’t it be just as harmful to try to violently shun ones “mundane ego” as to agressively hold on to (what one think is) it? The [one] equals the other by negation. And even more I think it is in [a] certain way very dualistic to think in strict terms of “ego” or “no ego” and thus harmful to ones spiritual developement. Instead, what I would see as a more constructive way of thinking, is that there is only the ego. But, the ego is really realized to it’s fullest potential when it’s stripped away of it’s imaginary separatist boundaries; instead of thinking that W.A.I.L. is the sole creation of my supposedly subjective genius (and thus being proud of it in a very self-important way) I think it is ultimately the manifestation of “greater domain of consciousness” that is already latently everything that is, and ever will be, the genius in present “I” ( and thus also everyhting that is not and in between). In other words when I have succeeded in making what I think is killer music, The All, the absolute oneness, reflects itself from one of it’s angles. And I’m humbled and glad that this particular angle is W.A.I.L.