DATE OF INTERVIEW:
26th April 2017
JONI PALMROTH; VILLE VIITANEN
METAL DISCOVERY: There are a lot of heavy grooves on the album, as well… is there any particular influence that’s inspired you to include a lot of groove in the songs?
JONI: I guess Meshuggah is one of the obvious ones, but I think one that people don’t know is… Ville is very influenced by Korn.
(Ville Viitanen on previous band names for Oddland)
"The best one was... Shit Fuck Satan Rules! "
Ville and Joni outside The Bodega, Nottingham, UK, 26th April 2017
Photograph copyright © 2017 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
Interview & Photography by Mark Holmes
Thanks to Karl Demata for arranging the interview
JONI: Yeah, and I feel you can hear it. If you know it, you can hear it. We have a lot of parts where me and Ville are grooving together. In Korn, there are a lot of parts where bass will do rhythm things, and we have a lot of that. So, I think, some of that, Ville has got from Korn.
MD: Are you both big Korn fans?
JONI: I’m not that much, but Ville used to be.
VILLE: In my youth. The ‘Issues’ album is the one for me. It has a strong emphasis on bass and drums. I haven’t thought about it but, yeah, I think it has stuck on me.
MD: There’s a nice touch in the CD booklet, where a different piece of dark and minimalist artwork accompanies each song. I gather these pieces were the artist’s own interpretations of your songs. Were you surprised by what he came up with? Did any closely match your own visualisations of the songs?
JONI: Yes and no, I guess. We spent a lot of time searching for the right artist and we sent a lot of messages to a lot of different artists. Mohammed Essam was the one we chose and we gave him freedom… he got really deep into the album and really tried to understand the lyrics.
VILLE: Yeah, and we had a budget of 500 Euros and we told him that we wanted a back and front cover… that’s it. But, Mohammed liked the music so much, he said, “I’ll do every song.”
MD: You’ve worked with two heavy duty producers now - Dan Swanö for the debut and Daniel Bergstrand for ‘Origin’ – were they your first choice for each album? And do you have a dream list of producers to work with in the future?
JONI: For ‘The Treachery of Senses’, I remember that somebody from Century Media suggested we should use Dan; they said, “you should use Dan Swanö”. But, for the second album… one of them was Dan, but we had Daniel and ten others that we were thinking of what would be the best. I can’t remember why we chose Daniel. There were some references that impressed us, like Meshuggah’s ‘Koloss’ and Soilwork’s ‘Stabbing the Drama’.
MD: What about the future? Who’s your dream producer; who would you ideally want to work with?
VILLE: I have a few. There’s this Serbian producer/musician called David Maxim Micic… he’s just brilliant. The other one… I think it would be good to work with Nolly…
JONI: Yeah, from Periphery. But I think it will be Dan Swanö again, because we really loved to work with him. He’s such an easy-going guy.
MD: If you look at his CV, it’s just incredible, all the stuff he’s done. And a great musician, too.
MD: How about bands and artists to tour with? Whose tour would you ideally like to jump on to get maximum exposure for the band?
JONI: My dream tour would be with Black Crown Initiate. I just love that band. Have you heard them?
MD: I haven’t at all, no. What kind of stuff do they do?
JONI: It’s kind of progressive metal, but better than ordinary progressive metal… I just love that band.
MD: [To Ville] What about yourself? Are you gonna say Korn?
MD: Obviously, you wouldn’t turn that down, though, if Korn asked you!
VILLE: No, that would be awesome. I don’t know an answer for that…
MD: What about someone like Devin Townsend?
VILLE: Yeah, that would be cool.
MD: I can hear a little bit of Devin in your music, particularly in the layers…
JONI: Yeah, we can’t deny it!
MD: Are you fans of Devin, at all?
JONI: I wouldn’t say fans, but we dig some of his stuff.
MD: Have you had any peculiar Spinal Tap moments on the road in the history of the band, thus far? I’ve read some sort of bizarre story about Lithuania…
JONI: The whole trip to Lithuania was like one Spinal Tap moment!
VILLE: The good thing about that gig was that I hate flying and our flight was on Sunday, the day after, and I binged all night, so I fell asleep on the plane… so that was great! I dread flying.
MD: The final thing, then… as per song titles on the latest album, what’s one thing you’ve read about the band that’s completely ‘untrue’, and what’s one interesting fact about the band that’s generally ‘unknown’?
JONI: I’ve recently read some stories… but I can’t remember what they are. One thing is that when we won the competition in 2011, many people thought, and still think, that it was some kind of ‘X Factor’ or ‘Pop Idol’ thing. And it wasn’t anything like that. And that’s not often, but sometimes you have to read that; that it was that kind of competition. But that’s not true.
MD: How about an unknown fact? What’s an interesting fact about the band that people might not know?
JONI: Maybe that… I don’t know. [To Ville]… Do you have any dark secrets?
VILLE: Yeah! I used to play bass!
JONI: That’s kind of lame!
MD: Did the band used to have a different name, maybe, back in the day?
JONI: Oh fuck, yeah!
VILLE: The best one was [something said in Finnish]… which means, Shit Fuck Satan Rules!
JONI: Before Oddland, we were El Matador. And we were also Voodoo Temple. Remember?
VILLE: All kinds of crap!