Σάββατο 7 Απριλίου 2012

EVIL-LŸN INTERVIEW - The sound of battle cry in the night of delusions...

Evil-lÿn is definitely one of the best newcomers in the Heavy Metal world for this year. Hailing from Finland, their recent debut release is a mini CD entitled “The Night of Delusions” and after their stunning appearance in Up The Hammers festival in March 2, I had to interview the band and present it to you. So, have a sit, press HERE if you haven’t heard anything from Evil-lÿn yet, read the detailed interview with Anssi Salonen (guitars), Marko Niemi (bass), and Johanna Rutto (vocals), and then go and grab “The Night of Delusions”.

First of all, what does Evil-lÿn means?

Anssi: Haha, well, Evil-lÿn is a character in Masters of the Universe comics / cartoons / movie. An evil sorceress. I am huge fan of Masters of the Universe. At first it seemed weird to name the band after a female character, but then again names like Alice Cooper and Lizzy Borden work like charm.

Let’s go back in time. What’s the story of Evil-lÿn?

Anssi: Well, we started as a hard rock band. Me and Lasse have been in the band since the beginning. We played at the garage for a few years which were a bit problematic during winters. We also went through quite a many line-up changes. The nice part was that with each change we moved forward. Of course there were times when it felt like we were going nowhere, but you just have to keep your cool and work hard. With the current line up, things clicked right away.

-How old are the songs of “The Night Of Delusions” and when were they recorded? Do you have other compositions?

Anssi: 2-3 years old. We recorded the EP last summer (summer of 2011). Jani Niemelä, our drummer, did the engineering, recording, mixing and so on. We used outside help only for the mastering. Yes, we do have some other compositions and I think we will put one older song on the first full length; 13th Hour, the one that has been opening song of our shows.

You came in touch with Iron On Iron Records from Greece to release your first official album (a mini CD). Did you have any demo recordings before that and how did you come with this deal?

Marko: Yes, we did record a couple of songs back in 2009 with intent do create a demo and send it to record labels and gig promoters etc. But after all it didn't go as planned, since we were doing it ourselves without proper knowhow (and time) and we never finalized it properly. Things changed a lot when Jani joined the band in the beginning 2011. He is experienced and talented in recording, editing and mixing. This time we had better material so started to record five songs with a purpose to select three best fitting songs for demo. This time we put some raw versions of “Four Horsemen” and “Last of my Kind” into MySpace and our webpage. And instantly we got attention from some record labels. Iron On Iron wanted to release all five songs as MCD and we found them fitting for us, so selected them.

In March you played at Up The Hammers Festival in Athens. Which are your impressions from the festival?

Marko: It was awesome! It was so great to notice that even if the crowds didn't know our own music beforehand, they took us well. They were banging their heads, making a lot of noise and stage diving throughout the show. Excellent audience and excellent opportunity for us to play! We had the best time over there. People were so open, polite and helpful all the time and we got a lot of new friends out there. From the other bands, but from the crowd as well. Memory of that trip will stay in our metal hearts forever.

Anssi: Amazing festival and amazing audience! I really liked the atmosphere and the setting; small club in the middle of the city. For me it was probably the best festival experience besides my first visit to Keep It True. People at the UTH were very friendly and open minded, I made a lot of new friends, which is always nice!

Johanna: Up The Hammers was an amazing festival! It was our first gig outside of Finland, and I was really surprised how the audience was so involved. You won't see
that kind of energized audience in Finland so often. Best gig I've been this far!

I saw you guys with t-shirts from Sortilège, Stormwitch and Crimson Glory in your last concert. Which are your main influences?

Anssi: Hard to say, there's so many. Mercyful Fate and King Diamond have shaped this band a lot, but their influence might not be that audible anymore. Maiden and Running Wild are two pretty obvious, but there's so many. Some of the “Maiden-influences” actually come from vanadium etc. so there's a lot influences and they're mixed in mysterious ways. This is actually a topic of which I could speak for hours, but let's leave it here. If someone is interested I'm always happy to chat about this subject at festivals etc.

Marko: I think the main influences are still bands like Iron Maiden, Manilla Road, King Diamond/Mercyful Fate, Judas Priest and Running Wild. There is still a punch of other bands that we listen to. Even if I like to wear my Maiden/Trooper or Running Wild T-shirt, I sometimes like to put something else on.

Johanna: Our songs are mainly written by Marco and Anssi, so the influence in our music comes mostly through them. I think many of our fans can hear sounds of
Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and many others 80's heavy metal legends. Personally I can't name my influences particularly as a singer. I like to listen very extensively
Heavy Metal, and it does not really matter if it's singed by female singer or not. Strong voice and good spirit is the most important things for a vocalist and of course great charisma on stage. One great example of great female fronted bands is Finnish Battle Beast.

You step in the band in early 2011. Did you participate in another band before and how did you join Evil-lÿn?

Johanna: I've been singing in many projects over the years before I joined in Evil-lÿn, last of them was doom/sludge band called Slug Lord. I moved in Tampere in summer of 2010, and after a few months I talked with Lasse over the internet, and he told me that they are looking for a new singer for their band. After I told that I've singed in a few bands before I moved in Tampere, he asked me if I would come to their rehearsals and sing some of their songs, and of course I said yes! After rehearsals guys decided to take me for their new lead singer.

And that was a great choice! Which are you other memorable moments from your live shows until now?

Johanna: Most memorable gig this far is of course our show in Up The Hammers festival because of the things I listed before. But after that comes our gig in Metal Warning festival in Finland last autumn. We played on same stage with so many great bands. There were lots of energy and the audience was great. Our show was energetic, and we played our gig by full throttle, even though I had terrible sore throat. I was sick but it didn't matter, because the atmosphere was so amazing. I also like to remember our first bigger festival gig at Jalometalli festival in northern Finland last summer. There were also big names of metal like Sepultura, Sodom, Napalm Death, Oz, Evil Dead etc

Anssi: “Heavy Metal Angels” at UTH! Best moment ever. Each time someone in the audience is singing one of my songs is a memorable moment for me. Also the little things can be quite memorable; at one Finnish festival, Jalometalli, I was going to switch on my amp before our show, but the festival staff had already switched it on and also bought towels and water on stage. That was weird for a small band like us and as such was quite memorable; a little taste of the bigger circuits, haha.

Marko: Meeting guys from the bands, like for example Metalucifer, Pagan Altar, Oz and having fun with them is one side of the coin. And the other side is how audience has taken us. We have had memorable moments (before Up The Hammers) on stage for example in Jalometalli, Sauna Open Air festival after party last year, Metal Warning IV festival in Helsinki. Some other smaller shows where the crowds did go wild, maybe supporting Helvetets Port in Tampere last November needs to be mentioned. The rest of the shows have been fun as well, but these listed, have been the most memorable shows. But, Up The Hammers festival topped this list instantly and clearly. I still can't fully believe it happened for real, it was so awesome show and great journey to Greece in all!

How are things in Finland for Heavy Metal music? Does it get publicity in more mainstream or commercial media?

Marko: Heavy Metal is getting a lot of attention in Finland. Heavy Metal music is getting a lot of radio play, there are solid printed media for Heavy Metal and we have a lot of metal festivals if you consider the population of Finland. But we also have highest density of Heavy Metal bands in the world. It means one smaller band like us don't get much attention. But our direction is good at the moment, so I can't wait seeing our picture in the front cover of the Inferno magazine some day, haha...

Johanna: There're lots of metal bands in Finland, and that’s why it's pretty difficult to get publicity for that kind of music because of the oversupply. I could say that there is almost every day some kind of metal gig in some part of Finland, and more gigs at weekends in biggest cities. Most of the metal bands are playing death metal, thrash metal or other melancholic style metal, but there are not so much bands that play old school heavy metal, like we do. It's still pretty rare to hear metal in commercial media, although there are few exceptions. Anyway, Heavy Metal and its by-products are commonly acceptable. There're lots of heavy/rock oriented bars, clubs, record stores, clothing stores etc. so there's no any problems to find other metalheads in Finland.

Anssi: Well, the mainstream metal does get attention. It's a bit complicated; stuff like Nightwish is huge in Finland, even in the mainstream media and gets played in radio, supermarkets, wherever, but stuff like Crimson Glory doesn't. It's a shame. There are so many mainstream metal bands and so much exposure for mainstream metal that a lot of people don't feel the need to dig and find great bands on their own, that's why lot of classic underground bands don't have that great following in Finland although bands like Maiden can sell out stadiums! In a country with only 5 million people… That's crazy.

You have a new mini CD out and maybe it is early to speak for near future plans, but I saw the spark in your eyes, so which are your future plans?

Anssi: Oh yes, we have already set our sights on forthcoming full length. At the moment we are writing and rehearsing new material. I think we will soon start the pre-production; you know, do some demos, see what works and perhaps fix some bits and pieces. Hopefully we can start recording the actual full length this summer.

Marko: Our future plans contain a lot of new songs to be written and starting the recordings for the full length album during the summer 2012. Actually, we have already about 7-8 ready for the album. And both Anssi and I have some other unfinished new ideas that we haven't played with the band yet. So, stay tuned. We have a new release coming. Cannot say any dates yet but maybe the release will be out next winter.
We are taking some time off from live shows on purpose, in order to get that release out. But of course we are willing to do all the festival shows that we are offered, and especially those that are abroad. We have played a lot in Finland, but only once abroad. So, all the shows abroad are welcome. Some are on the plate already but I can't yet tell more about them. And on top of that, we have been discussing about signing a management deal with one European management company that seems to be willing to do a lot work for us to get us a bigger name. While I'm writing this we are just considering about the cons and pros, but it seems that there are no lines on cons side.
So yes, if you saw us hungry for more that is 100% true. We want to feel the same spirit like in Up The Hammers many more times in future. I think our UTH show was what playing in Heavy Metal band is supposed to be about, throw yourself fully in and get something in return from the audience! The best feelings ever... I need more of that adrenaline.

Johanna: We have made some new songs and I can't wait get to record them, and playing them live. We don't yet have precise schedule for the record sessions, but it starts probably in next summer. All five of us are much exited to make a new record, and we wish to get lots of gigs. Hopefully we get some of them in foreign countries also, because Up The Hammers festival showed us how great it could be.

Thank you guys, hope to see you again in Greece, soon.

Live photos by Mika Saloranta.

Evil-lÿn – The Night of Delusions

Iron On Iron Records (2012)

The last years there are lot of bands that return to more traditional heavy metal paths. Some of them return to the glorious days of New Wave Of British Heavy Metal and 80s metal, sounding like Tokyo Blade, early-Iron Maiden and other acts of that time, while others are playing like Mercyful Fate/King Diamond. Evil-Lÿn is definitely a band that respects these names and seems devoted to the real Heavy Metal sound, but they sound fresh and not just a replica of an old famous band. The vocals of Johanna are powerful and fit perfect to the music. They are far from all these boring operatic and symphonic female singers, and are closer to the likes of Leather Leone (Chastain) or Marta Gabriel (Crystal Viper). Apart from the vocals, the rhythm section is solid and works perfect but the element that takes you by storm, is the guitar riffs and solos. They are simply amazing. Just listen to songs like “Four Horsemen” and “Last of my Kind”. It seems that these guys have listen (and study) very well the music of early Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, King Diamond, Stormwitch, Running Wild and Omen. All the great aspects we love in Heavy Metal are here, with crystal clear production, very well constructed compositions, passion and inspiration.


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