E-mail interview: Ivana Sataić i Vedrana Mastela
Photo: Vesa Ranta
Finnish band Charon was founded in 1992. But when they’ve released their first album “Sorrowburn” in 1998 it became clear Charon will crystallize themselves into one of the most perspective bands aligned in gothic rock/metal category.
This is why isn’t surprise Charon is today, with five released albums, one of the most known bands from Finland.
Short before the beginning of the European tour when they will introduce their actual album “Songs for the Sinners”, that will also include the show in club Bastion in Osijek on 4th March 2006, Charon’s bass player Teemu Hautamäki is through the e-mail answered some questions for Venia-Mag.
VENIA: How would you introduce your band to the people who still don’t know about it well? Can you introduce the band members?
TEEMU: This is always the hard one… Charon is something smooth yet sharp edged, atmospheric blight in the joys of solitude, balanced between extremities. Writing about music is like blind describing painting… Listen and let the music talk the talking. Me, Pasi and Antti are the founder members. Three hard-headed individuals who around ’92 felt the urge to impress ourselves music-wise. J-P is a childhood friend of mine and he joined our socially distorted group around ’94. He’s enthusiastic and has a charming (reads LOUD!) personality. Lauri is the last born in this orphanage and is maybe even too sincere.
VENIA: “Songs For The Sinners” is your fourth album, what was the biggest problem and the biggest satisfaction the band has experienced during composing and recording the album?
TEEMU: Actually “Songs For The Sinners” is our fifth album, but who cares to count except me, heh. Well, we had quite lot of material ready before we went to studio although few songs went straight to the garbage bin so composing was quite nice and we thought that everything is in place but, as always, some arrangements changed in the studio. So for both, the satisfactory part and the problematic part, I have to answer the recording.
VENIA: What inspired this album, did you wrote some songs during the last tour or when you’re returned in Finland?
TEEMU: Being on tour is so hectic that it’s almost impossible to concentrate seriously on songwriting. Well, maybe the only calm moments for composing on tour are those hangover mornings and you could end up with some seriously mental stuff on your albums afterwards…
Personal issues are always the main source of inspiration. It’s hard to say at this moment which events or things influenced your work most… After a while you can find new aspects which were too close to you to recognize them. Some wounds never heal but they get less painful in time.
VENIA: Between your previous album “The Dying Daylights” and “Songs For The Sinners” your guitarist Jasse left the band. How that affected the band and the whole writing process?
TEEMU: Of course it was a big change, almost like a divorce mentally. We knew this was a change for something new and better because Jasse was feeling that he didn’t have anything to give to the band anymore.
VENIA: What would you describe as the greatest value your new guitarist Lauri brought on the album and generally in the band?
TEEMU: Lauri has brought so much new energy in every aspect of our band! Fresh ideas and overall contribution boosts us all forward. He’s a talented musician, charming person and fits in our misfit group like a fist to the eye socket. F. ex. his live vocals are breath taking and give new depth to the older songs also.
VENIA: “Songs For The Sinners” includes some guest musicians like the Amorphis band members. What can you tell about this co-operation?
TEEMU: When we were wondering about the arrangements we had a pretty clear vision what we wanted on the album. Fortunately guys from Amorphis had few moments to spare in their frantic timetables before tour so everything went well and without any effort. Basically we just had a laugh and got all the necessary elements recorded. There’s also great Hammond solo by Kari Tornack from Thunderstone and the gloomy cello by Marko Hänninen from Alamaailman Vasarat. Cheers to you all!
VENIA: On your previous releases the artwork is done by Travis Smith and Niklas Sundin. On this album artwork is made by Vesa Ranta who was the Sentenced’s drummer. How happened this co-operation?
TEEMU: Vesa is talented artist and we love his previous work so it was only reasonable that when he shot the band photos he would also do the cover art and layout. Although earlier covers are great we were so fed up with these multi-layer covers and wanted something simple and clear yet someway sinister so Vesa’s style was perfect for us. And because he lives almost next door it was so easy to change ideas and opinions.
VENIA: You’ve been touring with Sentenced and you’re probably friends ‘out of the music business’. What do you think how would their ‘dismiss’ reflect on Finnish and European scene?
TEEMU: They are all nice guys and optimal beer buddies! It’s still hard to understand that there will no longer be a new Sentened song to sing-a-long completely blasted. Seriously speaking, no one can fill that empty space Sentenced left but their albums won’t disappear anywhere.
VENIA: Some put Charon in the category with the bands like Anathema and Paradise Lost, the other will say you fit more with Sentenced, Tiamat or Moonspell. Which faction do you associate Charon and why?
TEEMU: Well actually we don’t put ourselves in any category, that’s something the critics will do don’t matter what we think. I like all those bands you mentioned above. I think we fit in with all those names and I could add to the soup bands like the Cult, Sisters of Mercy, Fields of the Nephilim etc.
VENIA: Your new single, “Colder” is recently released in Finland. Why did you choose “Colder” it for your new single?
TEEMU: It’s a catchy tune, if you can say so… Colder gives a good and solid statement what kind of emotions our music includes if you’re hearing us for the first time.
VENIA: You’re coming in Croatia in March for the first time, what do you expect?
TEEMU: Few of my friends were playing there last year and if I believe their stories I’m expecting a helluva good time and crazy but charming people! Of course I would like to see some scenery around but our time tables are always so tight that it probably is going to be just a fantasy.
VENIA: Is there something you’d like to add? Do you have some message for your fans in Croatia?
TEEMU: Thank you for interesting questions and taking a time to check us out! Let’s have a blast at our gigs and then get blasted!