Introducing guitarist M. Helle and drummer L. Laaksonen of the Finnish Death/Black Metal band SEAR.
WHAT IS YOUR HOMETOWN AND WHAT WAS IT LIKE GROWING UP THERE?
M.Helle: Yes hello! Hehe we all grew up in Hellsinki (capiltal of Finland)
(I think every town in Finland is basicly the same I dont know how it is in the states?)
But it was great! There is so much friends and people in Helsinki that it has been quite easy to find the right players in the band and find a proper rehearsal place. I think it would been much harder if you would live in the country side!
Laaksonen: Well, I don´t think there are many similar towns in Finland like Helsinki. Turku and Tampere maybe are quite similar but most of Finland is filled with nature and really small towns instead of big cities. Anyway I have enjoyed my stay in Helsinki or atleast I can´t complain that much. I think it would be much harder to live in small town when it comes to finding good players and people with similar interests. Could be worse.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST DECIDE YOU WANTED TO BECOME INVOLVED IN MUSIC?
M.Helle: Im a bit slow starter in the playing side! I was in high school and I had lots of friends there who played in a band and I wanted to play too! My first guitar was my grandfathers acoustic guitar heheh!
I played about 1 month with it and then I bought my first guitar: Squier Stratocaster&15w amp ahahahhaaha its the best!! Then I just played some Black Metal songs from tablatures and after that I started to compose my own songs!
Laaksonen: I don´t know. I´ve made music since little kid. I´ve experimented with different music styles and with bad, technologically ancient devices. When I started playing drums seriously I was quite old actually. Some people start to play different instruments at the age of 4 but I bought my first drums set at the age of uuhm
21 I guess. Of course I had played drums before so I didn´t really start that late though
WHEN AND HOW DID YOU DEVELOPE YOUR MUSICAL SKILLS?
Helle: As I said I was in high school. I had few guitar lessons at the start but after that I basicly started to make my own songs and tried to make them as good as I can! I think the most important thing to me is that I formed a band right away when I started to play. I am especially a band player and I think Im quite good at that, Im not the most technical player but I think I can make killer songs and that is my strenght!!!
Laaksonen: Well. The key to everything was interest in music. I mean everything about it: listening, playing, composing, mixing, even analyzing it. Music has always been a very fascinating subject for me. I have developed naturally, without even noticing by doing and playing with music. I had one drum lesson from a teacher but it didn´t really inspire me. I am a lazy trainer so I have never really done any real practises like playing single strokes in funny order for 30 minutes. It just bores the hell out of me.
WHAT ALBUMS OR CD'S COULD WE FIND YOU LISTENING TO REGULARLY SAY...TEN YEARS AGO?
Helle: Hehehe I was just a kid 10 years ago and those were the first years when I got touched with the metal scene!
The first metal bands that I liked 10 years ago were Napalm Death and Fear Factory but after those I got stuck very deep in to the UG black metal scene!
Laaksonen: I guess it was something like Amorphis and Marduk, Arcturus and .. I don´t remember. Lot´s of stuff. I was just starting to buy Cds seriously at that age (you see, we are quite young even now, haha) so I quite frankly was a junkie to everything good and heavy shit. I have hard times remembering what CDs was released + -10 years ago but I´d say that Marduk did the biggest impact that time.
WAS RELIGION AN INFLUENTIAL PART OF YOUR UPBRINGING?
Helle: Yes and no hehe! Our lyrics etc. are very big part of our music but it was not the reason why we formed Sear!
We want to just make killer songs and blow everybodys asses away, but in the same time we want to make our message clear with these lyrics!
Laaksonen: I´d say no. I had to play metal after few years of break (I didn´t play anything for couple of years) and I joined Sear that time. If I´d like to preach more than play I´d be on the streets shouting stuff and writing articles or
HOW AND WHEN DID SEAR FIRST COME TOGETHER AS A BAND?
Helle: Hehe its quite a long story but basicly we formed Sear with T. Kuusela in 2001 after our BM band had split up, it was just a demo band. We wanted to make more technical and brutal song and thats why we formed Sear! It took almost 2 years to find the right band members and in that time we made one demo but the style wasnt quite the same that it is nowadays! We didnt have the right players who could play my songs the way they needed to be played! But 2003 we found L. Laaksonen to play the battery and the guy just blew our minds he was so good! And after that everything has gone very well! We made one demo and with that we had a record deal!
Laaksonen: I wasn´t that good, come on. Maybe I was more interested in blasting the shit out of drum kit than your previous drummers. But anyway, from the day I joined Sear everything has been quite naturally.
TELL ME ABOUT THE DEBUT CD "BEGIN THE CELEBRATIONS OF SIN"; THE WRITING, THE MUSIC ETC..HOW DID IT ALL COME TOGETHER?
Helle:The album contains four tracks from our demo! (DAR wanted to release them) We made them with L. Laaksonen. Few tracks are made like Laaksonen played bunch of drum patterns to computer and then we made good song structures in home and then I recorded guitar tracks afterwards. This was very interesting way to make songs, I heard the whole song with all the leads etc. immediately so it was very easy to make killer songs!
So we had made this demo and then DAR wanted to make a deal with us so we made 5 songs more in 3 months. It was quite easy but we had a quite a hassle with the vocal compositions before we went to studio! We recorded demo versions in our home studio before we entered the studio
but we recorded the last demo vocals just few days before we went in to the studio!
Laaksonen: It´s very good for us to record rehearsal demos. This way we can hear the song how it really sounds and think of better structures and such. If the song doesnt work, we'll change some parts and record it again. If it still doesn´t work, we´ll do it again and again until we are satisfied with the result. That´s why we don´t get any unpleasant surprises when we record songs in studio.
THE ALBUM IS PURE SATANISM. WHAT IS THE GENERAL STATE OF SATANISM IN FINLAND AND IN YOUR INDIVIDUAL LIVES?
Helle: I think that people dont talk and show satanism in Finland so much. There are quite small circles in Finland so basicly everyone in the scene knows each other, especially in music business and bands who have record deals. From time to time you can read from the magazines that some group has knocked some tombstones and then every paper writes that there are Satan worshippers in town hehehehe! Every time when all clears up its been some teen rappers who had knocked the tombstones! But few years ago there was a Cut up murder in Finland and Satanism was part of this murder, then it was quite strange to walk in the streets because every normal hehe people was staring and thinking is that guy one of them hehehehe!
Thats the state of Satanism in Finland :D
Laaksonen: Yeah. If the press wants more readers they write BUNCH OF SATAN WORSHIPPING CHILD MOLESTORS RAPED HUNDREDS OF KIDS! while the truth is 28 year old gave 15 year old girl alcohol and they had sex. The guy hit her once. He had few albums from HIM and Marilyn Manson. Girl is too ashamed to tell her parents that she actually did everything voluntarily. Hahahaha.
DESCRIBE THE MUSIC SCENE IN FINLAND TODAY.
Helle: Nowadays there so much metal bands in Finland and the quality is stunning!
Almost every band has killer sounds in their albums even in demos and the players are so fucking technical
but still 95% are crap!! hehehe!!! Its been great to see that there is more metalheads in Finland than few years ago! You can see lots of metalbands in our top ten list and its great!
I think that there is also a huge trend to make Finnish rap music!! Its so fucking disgusting, we should blow them all up!!!hehehe!!!
Laaksonen: Yes, the recording technology has leaped miles forward from 80´s or 90´s. That gives almost everyone opportunities to record good, professional sounding stuff. The fact still is that good sound doesn´t mean shit if the music itself sucks ass.
WHAT ALBUMS OR CD'S CAN WE FIND PLAYING ON YOUR STEREOS TODAY?
Helle:I have listened lots of death metal for example: Hate Eternal/I Monarch and new Nile album also!
The new Opeth album is also very great!!! And of course good old Strapping Young Lad!!!!!!
Laaksonen: Err.. Opeth. And Opeth. They had a gig in here last weekend so I had to listen to their back catalog beforehand. I´ve been listening to latest Deathbound album quite a lot and too much mediocre death- and blackmetal. Also new Primordial is fucking good as their every album.
HAVE YOU DONE ANY LIVE PERFORMANCES AND IF SO, TELL ME ABOUT THE LIVE 'SHOW'.
Helle: We made few gigs in Finland at the summer but now we are going to European tour at the start of next year!
We dont have any special live show... We just kick ass!!!
HAVE YOU FOUND A PERMANENT HOME WITH DYNAMIC ARTS RECORDS?
Helle: Yes. We have 3 album deal with them! They have promoted us very well and we are 100% satisfied about their work!!! And after those albums I dont see any reason not to carry on our deal! We are also good friends with the DAR guys!
Laaksonen: Yeah if THEY want to continue with us hahaha. Yeah they are very easy to deal with because they are similar jerks like us in the band, haha.
IF YOU COULD TOUR WITH ANYBODY, WHO WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO GO ON THE ROAD WITH?
Helle: Hehehe Im just dreaming but: Strapping Young Lad or Hypocrisy!!!
WITH AN AWESOME DEBUT UNDER YOUR BELTS, WHAT ARE SOME THINGS THAT SEAR WOULD LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH OVER THE NEXT FEW YEARS?
Helle: Lots of gigs in different countries and hopefully few new albums!
Laaksonen: 2nd album. That is better than the first. Actually this is going to happen, har harhar.
IF YOU COULD PLAY ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD, WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO PERFORM?
Helle: It would be some warm country and few days off!!! heheh! I dont really know! Hawaii???
Laaksonen: I don´t know. I wonder, how´s Hawaiian metal scene, hehe ? Lot´s of metal bands with ukulele ?
HOW LONG UNTIL TGOD GETS TO SEE YOU PERFORM LIVE IN THE STATES?
Helle: When are you inviting us? We would come straight ahead but its quite expensive to come there. Is there no sold out stadium waiting heheh!
Laaksonen: And we will never play a stadium gig so
No, seriously we don´t know. When the circumstances are right and we have opportunity to get out of our work.
WHAT IS YOUR OPINION OF THE AMERICAN METAL SCENE VS. THE EUROPEAN METAL SCENE?
Helle: Both scenes are great but I think that the European scene is more feeling based and is better in the autumn!
But if everything is going straight to hell then its great to listen to some good American Blastbeat hehe! So both are good!
Laaksonen: Hard to say. I hate this typical Gothenburg sound, that´s what I know. Both scenes spawn many great and different sounding bands.
Tgod: I hope to see you guys over here soon. I think you'll love the audiences here. We're pretty freakin' crazy!!! If there is anything at all that you'd like to add please feel free.
Thanks and Keep kickin' ass!!
Thanks!! It would be great to come over and beat some American ass!!! heh!
And Buy our album then we can make even better second album its going to be a killer!!!