Interview – Solothus

In a recent dB article (issue #92), author Jeff Wagner opined that “there are too many death/doom bands out there these days.” Upon reading such a flagrantly deranged statement, I gagged on my mouthful of burrito, my left arm went all limp and tingly, and I blacked out for what might have been hours but probably didn’t even happen at all. In that moment, I resolved to burn my copy of Wagner’s fairly essential dissertation on the history of progressive metal (called Mean Deviation), or at least make a statement by telling people I burned it, then simply wrap it in some innocuous book jacket so I could leave it on my shelf and not have to buy it again later, which I would inevitably do because it’s pretty great.
Still, the sentiment should be silenced hard, and its originator should be assigned a penance of 50 Esoterics, inserting a Morgion at the end of each decade and finishing with 3 diSEMBOWELMENTs. The steady flow of corroded grime at the pace of a reanimated corpse is the only way to keep sane in a world where tuneless party trash can become hip radio hits when a girl with a nonsense name inserts a motherfucking dollar sign all up in her bull$hit. Vomiting up coagulated riffs thick with the chunks of self-digested gastrointestinal material should not only be allowed but applauded by you, me, and every other limp-armed, burrito-clogged, faux-blackout victim with a working pair of ears.

But I digress. Can I interest you in some death/doom? From motherfucking Finland? That’s like asking if you’d like some beer from Germany, cannoli from Sicily, or a wife from Thailand. Where else could it possibly come from? Solothus have only graced the world with a demo (Ritual of the Horned Skull) and a split containing the song that you can stream rightchere, but it’s enough for me to know that I want to hear more. Cuz who gives a damn what Wagner has to say? (Just playin’, Jeff – call me, okay?)

How did the band members get together and become Solothus?

Me and our drummer Santeri were in the same school, so we knew each other from there. I have known Veli-Matti, our guitarist, my whole life. One night at a local pub, me and Santeri were talking about metal and came to the conclusion that we must start a band. His little brother had drums that he didn’t use, so Santeri started playing with them. Veli-Matti was also in the first line up, but he lived far away,

so rehearsals were pretty hard to organize. We had numerous line ups through 2007 to 2010. In 2010 Veli-Matti moved to the same city where we live and Solothus got really serious. Early in the year 2011 Dario joined us as a bassist, making the line up solid. We knew Dario through some of our friends and he was actually a guitarist, but we needed a bassist. I used to play bass, so I loaned my stuff to him, so he could rehearse.


What did Solothus do in the years leading up to recording the Ritual of the Horned Skull demo?

Drink and jam. We had numerous line ups and mostly we would go to our rehearsal place and drink or just try to jam some cover songs, usually it didn’t work out at all. Like I earlier said, we weren’t that serious back then, me and Santeri aren’t musically genius at all… I always loved to write lyrics, but musically, I am pretty hopeless. But when Veli-Matti came to the picture, things changed dramatically. He had such a strong vision of what he wanted to do and all the riffs and music come out so naturally. After a few months of rehearsals we already had material for the demo. So we rehearsed the songs and went to the studio.

An American friend of mine recently visited Finland. Why doesn’t he now speak only in grim death growls? Are there people native to Finland who also don’t speak in continual death growls? If so, what the hell?

It is just the chosen few of us who can speak in “örinä” (grim death growls). At least the last time I checked in the local super market, they didn’t respond well to my death growls at the counter… Don’t know why really.

Who are you releasing a split with?

The other band is called Cataleptic. Brilliant band also from Finland. Both bands have two songs on the split. Cataleptic’s bassist Harri recorded and mixed our debut demo. He also recorded and mixed the whole split. A true genius in that kind of stuff and a pleasant guy! I have known the singer/guitarist Sami for some time already and we started talking about a split at some gig or something. Then it evolved into actually happening. We have always viewed Cataleptic as a sort of “big brother” band to us. We will also try to organize gigs where we both play when the split is out. It will be released through Witchhammer Productions later this year. No specific date yet.

What music/movies/books/art/whatever are you into right now? How is it affecting your creative process?

Our main composer Veli-Matti doesn’t acknowledge any outer inspiration really. There may be times when he watches a band play live and says something like, “that’s a cool thing to do, maybe we could make that thing a bit differently.” Mostly he just picks up a guitar and lets the inspiration come. Mostly he writes at night. Pretty cliché!

On the lyrical side I can be more specific. I first fell in love with heavy metal when I found the connection with fantasy literature and music. I am an avid reader of all kinds of fantasy literature, be it Howard’s Conan or Salvatore’s Forgotten Realms. First the lyrics of Solothus were pretty average gore stuff. Me and Veli-Matti had a conversation about what got us into loving this kind of music and metal in general, so I decided to write my lyrics in a more “fantasy” or “sword and sorcery” kind of way. I think it has worked really well with us, at least the other guys in the band don’t mind. At the moment, I listen to a lot of stuff I have always listened to: death, black and doom metal. Can’t really grow out of it, heh. I am a pretty “unchanging” man, if you will. What I have found good will not change.

Can you think of any current pop music that would be waaaayyyy better with super-grim Finnish death growls?

Hmm… Not really. I think I know more current pop music that should be dead though.

How often do you perform Solothus songs live?

As often as we can! We have had a bunch of awesome gigs and a tour with Coffins and Hooded Menace. It was one of the greatest things I have done in my life so far. We have already some gigs for the future and we try to have many more! We have only covered one song live and that was Manilla Road’s Veils of Negative Existence. Up the Hammers!

Do Solothus members focus on doom, or do you enjoy playing other music as well?

At the moment none of the members have any other bands than Solothus. We have decided that we can have side projects as long as they don’t interfere with Solothus. It must the main band at all times. Me and Dario have been planning to put up this black metal band and probably it will happen, but don’t know yet if it will be anything serious or not. I was also asked to sing in this grindcore project, but more on that when they have some material. But we do enjoy other kinds of metal as well, not just doom.

If any other countries adopted super-grim Finnish death growls for their own everyday use, which countries would you hope they would be?

Hmm, I think Sweden could adopt the death growls – they have so much awesome music! Of course it wouldn’t be as grim and frostbitten us our Finnish growls, eh?

What are your plans for the future of Solothus?

Solothus has great plans for the future. We have new material and will go to the studio to record an EP in the coming winter. Also, another split is not out of the picture, if some good band would join with us.

We will try and look for a label to release the EP. If we don’t find one, we will release it ourselves as a demo/promo. We try to get lots of gigs in the future too! Onwards to countless battlefields!

 Let Solothus death/doom you deeper at their bandcamp site.