Sami Tenetz (Thy Serpent; KVLT) interviewed

** When Decibel released our December 2015 (order HERE) issue (aka Finland is the World’s Most Metal Country), many noted the glaring omission of black metal as part of Finland’s rise as a worldwide metal power. Well, Decibel reached out to many of Finland’s black metal stakeholders, only to receive silence in return. That is until we hit up Thy Serpent mainman, current Beherit guitarist, and former Spikefarm chief Sami Tenetz. Due to the unavailability of the other Finnish horde, we couldn’t case a wide enough story arc to include it entirely in our story. So, here’s our conversation with master Tenetz to connect some of Finland’s black metal infernal dots, as part of our Finland is the World’s Most Metal Country story. The KVLT is alive!

What were the early days of Finnish black metal like?
Sami Tenetz: Interesting, fresh, and dedicated. Not as strong as in Sweden, Norway, and Greece, but Finnish bands had their own sounds and styles. And they did not copy each other.

I remember there was some kind of conflict with the Norwegians. Who was involved and what was that about?
Sami Tenetz: It was nothing serious, couple of rude correspondences. Do you need any reason if you’ve angry young men and individualists spreading terror by playing black metal and worshiping Satan?

When you formed Thy Serpent what were your goals?
Sami Tenetz: I formed it in 1992. My goals were to make the album I’d be satisfied with myself, even if I didn’t play or compose anything in my life before that. It took four years before Spinefarm released the Thy Serpent debut. And It needed only a pinch of decisiveness, self-distance, but lots of work. It’s just a matter of fact of the very basic rule, ”Do what you will, others do what they can.”

Is there new music from Thy Serpent on the horizon? Death was a long time ago.
Sami Tenetz: We’ve recorded three new songs, half an hour material two years ago and we are gonna release those maybe next year. The Death MCD were released 15 years ago, so as you can see we’re not a band in a hurry.

How did Spikefarm start?
Sami Tenetz: After working 10 years in construction and renovation, I got fed up and wanted to start to work with music in full-time. So, I started Spikefarm in 1999. It went smoothly, as Spinefarm knew me and I knew them because they had released all the Thy Serpent albums.

What was the Spikefarm vision? More black metal or underground than Spinefarm?
Sami Tenetz: It was meant for more marginal and more extreme bands than Spinefarm used to be release. It was also kind of good try out and a possible springboard for new bands.

Were you surprised at the reaction to Rapture, Shape of Despair, Ajattara, Reverend Bizarre, et al.?
Sami Tenetz: Not at all. All bands had talented players, composers and realistic approaches for music.

You’re no longer with Spikefarm. What are you doing these days?
Sami Tenetz: Drinking beer, listening black metal and worshiping Satan. After working 10 years with Spinefarm I decided to go even more deeper. What I like to do in real life. So, I quit Spikefarm in 2009 and formed a black metal record label called KVLT (abbreviation from words, Knowledge, Victory, Leadership and Tradition) with my friend. KVLT is also has a black metal record store [Decibel has visited and it’s fantastic!] and mail-order in downtown Helsinki, and two other labels we bought some years ago called Hammer of Hate Records and No Sign of Life Records. Welcome to visit at us if you’re in Helsinki. You’ll not get customer service.

** When in Helsinki, visit KVLT here. To order the Decibel 2015 issue, click HERE.