Interview with ORANSSI PAZUZU: As Above So Below

Oranssi Pazuzu Valonielu coverOranssi Pazuzu have released last year “Valonielu”, which was undoubtedly one of the most psychedelic heavy records of 2013. We found out more about its conception and the band’s evolution by having a little chat with vocalist/guitarist Jun-His and bass player Ontto.
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Oranssi Pazuzu 2013 by Maija Lahtinen

Legacy Future: “Valonielu” sounds familiar to the Oranssi Pazuzu-friendly ears, yet it is a step further down the unique path that you have chosen. What has happened in the meanwhile since “Kosmonument” was composed? Is this is a conscious, predesigned evolution or a product of interaction, rehearsing and improvisation – or both?

Well, both. We always want to keep the bands evolution on going.  And at the same time we do want to leave room for accidents and improvisation. Clearing the table so to speak, is very important for us after each album. And also to create a new mindset where to start the composing from.

Legacy Future:While in the past somebody could safely nail your style to the non-initiated as “psychedelic black metal”, I now find that most black metal elements are gone from your music and remain floating in the air, as part of the overall atmosphere, and in the vocals. Or maybe we got it all wrong since the beginning, and Oranssi Pazuzu were destined to be from the start a blackened/psychedelic noise rock act?

We have always been after a wider fusion than just black metal with some psychedelic aspects added to it. Don’t get me wrong, we’re very much into black metal, but at the same time it is only a part of a bigger picture. I wouldn’t describe OP as a Black Metal band, that simply gives people the wrong idea. We have never respected genre boarders too much, and I guess when we have referred to some of our main influences, some people have taken it a bit too literally. I don’t know what to call this music, frankly, but on the other hand it’s not my problem really, haha

Oranssi Pazuzu 2013 by Maija LahtinenLegacy Future:Talking about noise rock there’s two excellent bands from Oulu, Haapoja and Hebosagil, who their own thing and definitely have a lot of noise rock going on in their sound. Are you familiar with them?

I know Hebosagil, a great band. Very groovy and rocks like an animal! Haapoja sounds really good too, on the basis of the couple songs I’ve heard, but I’ve never seen them live yet. I bet they are both at least to some degree inspired by a legendary Oulu-based noise rock band called Radiopuhelimet. Cool stuff.

Legacy Future: Being a fan of the underground finnish scene since the early 90’s, I’m very happy that a new breed of bands is around such as yourselves, Candy Cane, Haapoja, Hebosagil, etc. Is it a random fact or is there indeed a fresh wind blowing in your local scene?

I think the same winds are blowing in the underground scene everywhere. Mainstream music has become even more plastic and out of touch. And at the same time the wave of undergound is always reaching to new horizons wanting to sign out from the ever boring norms and reach futher to reach real emotions that the mainstream crap cant usually offer. There are always people who want music to be more than background static. And I believe that when there are good bands and new interesting stuff happening around you, not just somewhere far away, It will bring more and more people in the mood to start making own ambitious music.

Oranssi Pazuzu 2013 by Maija LahtinenLegacy Future: Something common between you and those other cool bands, is that you make good use of your native tongue. As a foreigner it sounds eerie to my ears and objectively it fits perfectly well to hard/extreme music. Are you guys using it because you want to express yourselves in your native tongue, or have you found throughout the years that it has a musicality that it would be a pity not to take advantage of?

For me it feels that it’s simply easier to express complex feelings with your mother tongue without loosing too much nuances. Also, I like the fact that non-finnish speaking audience has a complete freedom in how they interpret the music and the ideas behind that. If you want to know what the lyrics are about, there are some hints in the record sleeve, but if you don’t wanna know, then you have all the freedom in the cosmos to make your own trip. I think it adds to the psychedelic experience if you choose to use that freedom.

Oranssi Pazuzu 2013 by Maija LahtinenLegacy Future: Do you agree that one of the cool things about singing in its native tongue, it that foreigners can hear sentences and words in their other languages? For example, in “Vino Verso” I can clearly hear “God is dead!”

Havent thought of that very much. Its hard to relate that way, cos for me finnish is the only 100’% understandable language. Heh.

Legacy Future: Back to “Valonielu”, it sounds to me as a more moody and filled with dynamics effort. Is this how you feel it?

Yes, it’s more dynamic and more colourful if you compare to our older albums. I also think it’s more prog rock and space rock oriented. When we were writing the songs, some of them grew longer and more varied than we’ve ever had before, and we were very much into that. It gave the album a kind of drama arc that felt fresh. Atmosphere has always been one of the most important things for us, but this time we allowed it more time to develop. We wanted to give the music a liberty to build up slowly and go into new directions, didn’t want spoil things by forcing it too quickly into some predestined form.

Oranssi Pazuzu 2013 by Maija LahtinenLegacy Future: How did you compose it?

After we finished Kosmonument, we were discussing about loose themes that might work as good starting points for a new album. Coming down from cold solitude of Kosmonument back to microcosmic cellular levels of life was one of the most inspiring themes. We started to jam some new riffs and also made some songs and parts straight from jams that we had been recording for some time. Wanted to leave more room for songs to grow on their own on this one. And not try to rush them to be ready too early.

Legacy Future: Tell us a few words about the recording. Why did you do it abroad and not in Finland?

The producer of the album Jaime Gomez Arellano approached us and we had already been chekingout his work earlier since he had been mixing Hexvessel’s albums and making buch of other really cool stuff. It was something we both really wanted to do and it made a lot more sense to got there to his studio than to bring him to Finland and rent a studio. It felt like the right choice from day one. Jaime is a very likeminded guy with us and is into experimenting with sounds, using analog equipment that we couldnt  have get anywhere near in Finland(Mellotron etc.), and he made us feel very relaxed and got us to focus 100% on playing the album with a good vibe.

Oranssi Pazuzu 2013 by Maija LahtinenLegacy Future: Would you say that the keyboards play this time a more proeminent role?

I think so. The mix brings Evill’s synths more to the foreground at times, and also pushes them back when their purpose is to create more subdued layers to the music. We recorded a lot of synth parts on this album, Moit and me did some parts too. We wanted to indulge ourselves with keyboards and it worked surprisingly well!

Legacy Future: Any special/vintage gear that you’ve used at the studio?

Lots of! That’s one of the many reasons why working with Gomez was great. We used Hammond organ, real Mellotron, Moog, autoharp, older amps and so on. Gomez is crazy about cool vintage stuff and he also has good contacts in case you need more. Nowadays you might be able to model a lot of that stuff with studio plug-ins, but it’s still a very different thing to actually get to play it with real instruments, they bring a more organic touch to the whole thing.

Legacy Future: What sort of musical influences would you credit as influences to your music, metal and noise rock excluded?

Electronic music, Trip hop, Kraut rock, 60-70`s prog, meditative jazz & free jazz, experimental pop music, New wave, and almost anything that feels it has the genuine emotion and if the music just adjusts to a certain feeling for a certain time and mood.

Oranssi Pazuzu 2013 by Maija Lahtinen (9) (web)Legacy Future: Ontto, who are your favorite bass players anyway?

I dig Geezer Butler a lot. John Wetton from King Crimson is great, and of course Circle’s Jussi Lehtisalo. Also, I’m really into Fela Kuti & Afrika ‘70’s afrobeat stuff, where the bass player plays only a few notes but makes them so insanely groovy you are forced to feel it in your ass. In general, I like musicians who don’t try to impress with über technique style, but play even the more difficult stuff musically and supporting the song.

Legacy Future:  As I’ve told you last time on the occasion of the “Kosmonument” interview, I’m a big fan of your concept and aesthetics. Therefore I’m extremely curious to know what it’s going on this time, what’s the story? “Kosmonument” was about somebody drifting away into space and eventually becoming one with the cosmos. The artwork and the photo session at the forest suggest that we’re down to a more earthy, planetary level this time? Is it also more a work of light, as opposed to “Kosmonument”’s darkness? Oranssi Pazuzu Valonielu cover

Yeah you’re right! I think I explained most of the stuff earlier, but there was a more loose theme involved this time. Of course, there are many interpretations, but some inspiring themes for us were: Microcosmos. Evolution of life. Human consciousness colliding with the reality and causing minds expectations of reality to fall to pieces.

Legacy Future: What about the artwork? Has it been done by the same artist? Did you want it more minimal this time?

The artwork was made by Costin Chioreanu, whom we met at Roadburn festival and then again in Dark Bombastic festival, Romania at his exhibition. Costin has a style of his own, we just talked about the philosophy behind the songs, sent him some demos, and he made his art based on his interpretations about the music. I think he did great job in visualizing the themes on the album.

Legacy Future: Are you satisfied by the reception that the audience reserved to “Kosmonument”?

I’m satisfied that some people could relate to that album on a personal level. That is always rewarding. We knew from the beginning that “Kosmonument” is pretty disturbed, and that it will not and should not be to everybody’s liking. The album is how it is simply because we needed to make it so in order to evolve. I have my own personal feelings about it, and when it comes down to it, they are the thing that matters to me.

Legacy Future: How was the gig at Roadburn?

Great! It probably wasn’t our best show ever, cos we didn’t hear all the instruments that good on stage (Festivals tend to be like that), but had been there as a customer for many years before and since the first time I imagined how nicely we would fit there. Wouldn’t have thought that this would happen so fast. The people, bands and the atmosphere there is just suberb!

Legacy Future: What comes next?

Doing lots of great shows, hopefully in many countries. And to start slowly exploring new horizons for the next OP recording.Thanks for the Interview, man!

DISCLAIMER: Interview originally conducted by Panos Agoros for a feature printed in Metal Hammer Greece‘s issue of November 2013. Used with kind permission.


Posted on by panos.agoros in black metal, Music, noise rock, psych rock

About panos.agoros

Music and computers. The same two passions that Panos has ever since he was a kid, have defined the path that he would follow in life. He studied computer science in Paris-France in the early/mid 90's and is an IT engineer, providing since 1999 Mission Critiical support for enterprise environments. He is also known to be a retro hardware scavenger and old computer collector. His love for music pushed him to become actively involved in the scene. From November 1995 until the early 00's he ran Chaotik Webzine, a pioneering music webzine and the first to provide coverage for both the metal & hardcore underground. He is for the last 15 years an editor of Metal Hammer Greece, the biggest music magazine in the country. He rans a small record label and distro, Blastbeat Mailmurder, and is also the vocalist/lyricist of critically and fan acclaimed astrogrind outfit Dephosphorus. In his lost hours he does field recordings and manipulates sound waves for his experimental noise/ambient Kommpound.

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