GOD DISEASE interview
This band is a killer combo from Finland (damn, another after Galvanizer, band from Suomi I show here!!). You have to check my two reviews, which I've written for this website and support GOD DISEASE. Soon they should do an album for F.D.A., and I am already certain that it will be a shredder!
Greetings. I’m so glad to have a chance to speak to you and ask some questions. Hope you’re OK there in fuckin Finlandia??!!! Hahah!
Hello Marcin! This is Ilkka speaking! I´m the vocalist. All good in the land of thousand lakes. Thanks for the opportunity to tell you some Tales From… Hah! Seriously though things are quite well. Just yesterday we played the best show in our history so far with Sepulchral Curse and Cryptic Brood in Helsinki! Set included one completely new song. People seemed to like it. Maybe it´s going to be on the album. All I need is winter now and things would be perfect.
I wanna really start from the end… because I wrote in my review that I wanna see God Disease signed to good death metal label. And it happened! You just signed a contract with F.D.A. Rekotz! Great, I like this label a lot and they were among those, which I hoped will be interested in God Disease. Tell me, how did it then happened that you ended up on this label?
The traditional way. We were searching a label and I sent some “Rebirth Of Horror” CDs to labels around the world. We had talked about that FDA would be THE label we want to be on. We thought that maybe they won´t take us, since they don´t have much of Finnish bands on their roster. But then one summer evening at my cabin (I was in Sauna and drinking craft beer...) I got a message from Rico that he is interested of us and sometime later we signed to FDA. Still, signing to a label guarantees nothing. We still need to deliver a great album and a solid live performance.
F.D.A. Rekotz is known for their great roster of old school death metal, they released many young bands that play this great music. Do you have some favourites among them? I personally love such Skeletal Remains, Chapel of Disease, Slaughterday, Obscure Infinity and Derogatory. And many more!
Chapel Of Disease and Skeletal Remains are my favourites. Slaughterday is damn great too and Lifeless, Endseeker, Considered Dead, Master, Nerlich and Revolting. All these are on my player.
So, what plans do you have now, when the contract is signed? Obviously I am hoping to see an album out rather sooner than later, so the question is what and when haha! And vinyl release will be essential!
Album is under work right now, but it´s going to be some time until it sees daylight. We have two shows remaining this year, both in Finland. Other in Pori with black metal acts Author and Kalmankantaja at least and other in Helsinki with Denominate and our label mates Refusal. After these we will put our heads down and concentrate on the album. We want to make it the best we can, since you get to do your debut album just once. I would love to see some God Disease vinyls too and maybe...
Your last recording is the fantastic EP “Rebirth of Horror”. You know my opinion on this excellent music, I truly loved it. Tell me though how was the feedback from other maniacs? This EP was self released, so I wonder how many copies did you manage to spread around?
We have sold about a 100 copies of 200 as a CD and almost other 100 as a tape. It seems that people have liked it. So far I have not heard much negative of it. It feels weird, since when we recorded it I was thinking that this is not good enough, we can´t release this, but my band mates calmed me down and here we are. After the release, I started to like it too and I like performing all the songs live. I set the standards high for us and especially myself on this EP since it was first release with the new guitarists and I wanted it to be the best so far. And it is.
I also saw a cassette version, released by Lycanthropic Chants. I am really astonished to see cassettes available and labels that only do tapes. How do you feel about it? Are we so nostalgic that even this smallest and most breakable format is in our interest haha? Obviously some may call it another fashion thing, but who cares. I always liked to see a proper cassette demo or cassette EP, it has the right underground, traditional feeling.
The most inconvenient format, haha. I think Lycanthropic Chants is going to do vinyl also, but they just started so give them time. Personally I do buy tapes, but only those releases that come only in that format. I got like 7 tapes on my collection so far. I have no way to listen to them at the moment though… haha. I agree with you on the underground feeling. Tape trading is something I never did, I was too young, but how people talk about it, I can understand why there´s tape releases this day too. It´s crazy but the “Rebirth Of Horror” tape release grew our reputation more than any other release so far, so thanks to Steffen Brandes from Lycanthropic Chants and Cryptic Brood for that! And it´s almost sold out! Our first EP came out as a tape also. 100 copies was sold in few months and repressing was sold fast too. I guess that for some, tape is still king. Tape is somewhat obscure format these days, but I came across some label that was releasing music on a diskette! Probably like half a song on one diskette… Waiting for minidisc to return… hahaha.
Diskette haha! Speaking of the latest EP, I love that you can write such different songs like “Catacombs” on one hand and then “Deeper Into Flames”, which is a beast!!! How much is such diversity important to you, when writing new material? Obviously such aspects as having memorable riffs, some good melodies and more importantly a proper dark, gloomy atmosphere are something that all your tracks need to have?!
I think it´s good to have some diversity on your songs so it won´t get boring to listen on album or live, and yes, it would not be a God Disease song if it would not have dark and gloomy atmosphere. I haven´t written any music since “Abyss Cathedral” EP and I don´t even have to. Other guys are so productive and much better composers than I am. I concentrate on the lyrics. God Disease songs take their form in rehearsals. Someone brings more or less ready song structure and we play it out many times and the song forms through trial and error. We tend to do things as a band so it takes time to make one God Disease song. Speaking of “Deeper Into Flames”, it really shares opinions. Some think it´s really good and evil track and some say that it´s made just to make a long song and it gets boring. Well. It was not made just to make a long song. I don´t see why we would do that.
So, which of these classic doom / death metal bands mean the most to you? And which do you think influence your style the most? I suppose it could equally be the good old Paradise Lost as well as the Swedish scene (Eternal Darkness for example) and so on. But doom death metal is in quite great health these days and also many new bands kill with their sound, like Hooded Menace, Encoffination or Uncoffined. Any favourites among them?
I started with bands like My Dying Bride, Swallow The Sun and old Katatonia. Paradise Lost soon followed and Hooded Menace has been in my life since their first full-length. I also like a lot of the early Anathema stuff and of course because I´m Finnish, Amorphis’ death metal era records play a huge part in my life. I used to listen to the “Tales From The Thousand Lakes” over and over again and “Black Winter Day” had the biggest impact on me back in the day. Encoffination is something I found just few months ago and they are unbelievably dark! Got to love them. Then there´s Solothus of these newer Finnish bands. Their new album is absolutely fantastic.
Oh yeah, I still need to find new Solothus, cheers for reminding me about that haha! I seriously think that Paradise Lost’s “Beneath Broken Earth” belongs to the best, if not the best, doom death metal tracks that were written recently. I am shocked they managed to compose something so heavy and dark! What do you think of this song?
When I first heard it, I was almost shitting my pants. Paradise Lost finally sounded like they were supposed to sound! I think this song and the whole album is pure gold! It´s great to see that those guys finally realized that death metal is what they were meant to do. I had my hopes high, when Vallenfyre released their first album and when Nick Holmes joined Bloodbath, that some of these death metal influences would flow back to Paradise Lost too and now we have it!
Going back to your beginning, I saw on Metal Archives that God Disease split up in 2013 and then reformed. Supposedly you even did one demo before the split up. Tell me more on that demo, on the circumstances, which led to band’s end of existence and then a quick rebirth. Was the line up still the same in both periods?
That demo… people sometimes ask if we could send them the tracks or something. The truth is that I deleted them from existence long ago. It was a horrific display of guys who did not know shit and were too eager forming a band that was not even a band back then. Sample drums and the worst plastic guitar sound you can imagine. Our beginning was the hardest possible. At first we did not find players at all. Then we did not find players who wanted to play death metal. This was back in 2010 when death metal was not a fashionable choice and everyone wanted to play some viking shit. We actually had one “viking” song with the very first line up. Never recorded anything with that line up. At this point we “broke up” since we had started another band with different guys and different name and then God Disease died for a moment. Then we changed the other bands name to God Disease… hahaha. The demo was made with this “other” band and released under God Disease name, unfortunately. Only one who´s left from the day one with me is our bassist Henry. We actually had “band practices” with just the two of us. There´s been three drummers and about 11 guitar players in the band´s history… Some left themselves, some needed to be booted. Things started to work out once Mika, our current drummer joined the band. Soon after that Matias Autio joined and with him we did the first proper releases “Abyss Cathedral” and “Doom Howler” EPs. He then went on to join Barathrum and we first tried to live with that but soon discovered it impossible and when Matias left we were without a guitar player for like six months. We still played one show with replacement guitarist. Matias rejoined to play few gigs with us and we started talking about new material but eventually things fell apart again. This time I told Henry that this is it. The band is over. No more. Week after that we had our first practice with our current guitar players Ville and Jesse. It´s funny when you think of it. You try your hardest to find some proper people and you fail to find them. You quit searching and they find you. With this line up we did “Rebirth Of Horror”, yes, the title represents the rebirth of God Disease and with this line up we shall keep going until the grave calls. May this be a lesson to anyone who dreams of forming a band. It requires a lot of hard work and determination to reach even a level where you can have a practice with full line up. Prepare to lose some “friends.”
It doesn’t need a smart person to understand the meaning of your band’s name. it surely is a good moniker and one, which tells a lot about your views on religion. And we talk about all religion I suppose, not just Catholic, especially as the real threat comes from Islam these days. I wonder though how much room do you have for anti-religious lyrics, especially if it feels like a lot of them is about fuckin horror haha?!
All religions should be destroyed. Finland is actually not a catholic country or very religious country. Most of the people are Lutheran. Yet still our leaders are hardcore Jesus freaks and christianity has showed it´s ugly face more and more, since the refugees started to flood in. I won´t write any anti-Islam lyrics since people would purposefully get offended and take them as racism and neo-nazism these days. I don´t need that shit in my life or that stamp on my forehead and since Bolt Thrower and Hail Of Bullets are taking all the war themes, what can I do than horror themed lyrics then? hahahah. We have just one song with religion theme, at least where religion would be the main subject. “Crush The Believer”. I have used some christian darkness in my lyrics and identified God as an enemy in some, though. I have some unused “fuck religion” lyrics but yes, horror has been more inspiring lately. Speaking of horror. Penny Dreadful, the TV show, really speaks to me… I don´t like much of horror movies like Evil Dead or any other zombie themed movie or TV show, I know that now that I said it I lost some Death Metal Maniac points hahaha. I like my horror more on a spiritual level. Demons and ghosts, mental illness and mysticism.
Yes, you just lost your chance to get famous on old school death metal scene, they will let zombies to eat you now haha! “Rebirth of Horror” was killer, but I also really liked the compilation of “Doom Howler / Abyss Cathedral” EPs. This CD was released by South from Here Records from France. With songs like “Abyss Cathedral”, “Doom Howler”, “Sepulchral Swamp” it’s a fantastic material, I am quite sad though that it didn’t maybe catch enough attention. You didn’t carry on working with this label, I didn’t even see them releasing anything after “Doom Howler…”.
I am still talking with Vincent from South From Here every now and then. We were supposed to do a split sometime ago but suitable band was not found. I hope he´s still going to release something because he did such a good work with us. What comes to the attention… I don´t know. I sent it to many places and South From Here sent it to many places to be reviewed and listened, but it was widely overlooked. I don´t know why, but I don´t care. We have our sights to what´s coming. The compilation is still available from South From Here store. Go there if you don´t have it.
All your EPs were first released as digital files. Well, my tolerance for such “releases” is quite low, but it doesn’t matter. Do you think that a new band can exist these days without strong promotional help from such websites like bandcamp, youtube or facebook?
New bands can exist without internet, but then you have to have done something so fucking kvlt shit that it spreads like a plague without internet… I have never bought digital files myself and never will. I don´t have spotify and never will. It´s important to me that we have a physical version available. Facebook surely is an important tool of the trade nowadays. I would have to do huge adjustments on my own promotional work for God Disease if I would not have it. Youtube… Well… Most of the God Disease material there is not uploaded by us. But it´s helpful of course. Bandcamp is quite artist friendly. I think it´s a good platform for new bands to showcase their talent.
Or complete lack of it haha! How was your time at Helsinki Death Fest? Damn, it must have been a cool event! How do you like such gathering of underground bands and how was this particular small fest?
It was actually arranged by me and my friends. It was very nice day. We got some rare acts like Corpse Molester Cult and Oksennus. Then there was fucking Instant and Galvanizer, the future of Finnish death metal scene. The most special thing was that Atretic Intestine played their last show ever there! Our idea was to bring some bands together that don´t play live that much and have a day full of death. Everything went well and we are planning another event for 2017. For some atmosphere pictures, check out Helsinki Death Fest FB page! There will also be some video of the whole fest sometime soon.
OK, let’s finish here. Time for some beers! But promise me that I won’t have to wait long for new music from God Disease haha!
I promise that we´ll make it worth the wait! hahaha. Thanks for this interview! By the way, I noticed you were involved in the third coming of Compilation Of Death! Nice one! Cheers and kippis! (Yes, I was involved a bit In COD#3. Hope that my laziness will not prevail and I will catch up with material for the issue #4 also! Hails!)