With sights set on US shores for the upcoming Maryland Deathfest 2013 and new material in the works, it seems CONVULSE has risen from the grave at the right time; when things are at an almost standstill in terms of true Death Metal that was made to invoke darkness and totally crush all who dared to listen.
CONVULSE have long been hailed as one of the pioneers of the unforgettable Finnish or more specifically ‘Nokia’ Death Metal scene and sound, despite a relatively short lived career which saw them only release one demo and 2 albums. I was interested to see what made CONVULSE join the recent whirlwind of classic reformations and what 2013 will hold for Death Metal from the past in the ‘brave new world’…
Hey Rami, thanks so much for wasting some time on this interview! To begin with, what are the origins of CONVULSE? How did the members of the band meet and form? What was the vision musically for CONVULSE in the beginning and what were your main influences?
We were friends since 12 years old kids and wanted to play heavy metal. As soon as we could play something we formed a band and started to compose own songs. At first heavy and speed metal and later death metal when it arrived year 1989-1990 to Finland.
Main influences of Convulse were at first (and still are) Bolthrower, Death, Sepultura, Black Sabbath, Vader, Slayer, Testament, Benediction, Master, Napalm death, Autopsy, Obituary, Pestilence and so on.
To me it seems like the early Finnish death metal scene was an absolute gold mine of original and abstract death metal and grind bands, including but not limited to some of my favourite bands purtenance/demilich/Rippikoulu/demigod/Lubricant etc etc – and many more classics I’m still discovering to this day! Some of which are from the same town of Nokia I believe?
What was your impression of the scene back in the early days of CONVULSE? What were your favourite bands from this era?
Many legendary bands in Finland Yeah! I think the main reason is that Heavy metal was so big thing in Finland since 1985. Lots of kids played in their own bands. When the DM arrived we had enough skills to play DM and adopt that brutal music. But we surely put something of our own too.
It is finnish dark brutality with courage to make own music. Not just copy of the full package.
My finnish favorites are Abhorrence, Sentenced, Demigod, Purtenance, Disgrace and Funebre, We played also with these bands several times.
Was there much of a live scene then? Were there any specific underground venues you used to frequently play?
There was quite active live scene. Fans and other bands arranged shows in "Youth centres" and places like that. I organized also two death metal parties in Nokia. There was playing bands like Sentenced, Disgrace, Xysma, Beherit, Lubricant, Phlegethon….
How wide spread was Death Metal in general back in these early years? Was it accessible for you guys to get your hands on demos? zines? Instruments?
The whole UG scene was very very active. Tape trading, letters, flyers and zones were the Internet of early 90es. I remember that my parents paid my first guitar and amp, but I also worked after school days to get enough money to get bigger gear.
Where did you record your first demo Resuscitation of Evilness? What was your experience with recording this compared to the World without God and Reflections full lengths? What was the response like when these were both released/re released? We recorded it 24-track study MSL. In the same place 8 months later we recorded WWG-album too. ROE-demo we recorded and mixed in two days and WWG-album in six days. I remember the ROE selling 1000 copies quite fast. And the WWG-album 3000 copies at least. Pretty cool for the 17-18 years old kids playing in the unknown band. So the response was pretty good. We used the same method in our new "Inner Evil" 12" EP. We went to 24-track analog studio. No computers, no pro tools, no triggers etc.Keep it simple. Rehearse enough with your band, go to the studio and concentrate to live feeling. That is my recipe for pure and authentic death metal
CONVULSE has recently reunited, with plans to play Maryland Deathfest 2013 in the USA and new material in the works. Why and how did this reunion occur? What are your plans for the new songs in terms of releases?
My old pal from Nokia asked to play in his Heavy Metal festival 2011. At first I refused. Then original bass player Juha took contact and showed his interest. There was no chance to get more original members with us. So I asked my old band friend Rolle (played together from 1998) and my Friend Kristian to join the Convulse.At first it was thought to play only one show. But soon we marked how brutal and good we sound together and how much joy it gives to play together.I had also lots of new riffs in my head. So we decided to compose new material also. Then finnish Svart Records heard about our reunion and wanted to sign us. And here we are. New "Inner Evil" maxi vinyl comes out 25.1. We are composing new material for the new album also. We will enter to studio in autumn. Beware! Hopefully there will be shows in Europe later too. And of course I am expecting playing in MDF!
Are you surprised by how much interest still exists for CONVULSE? Internationally and within Finland too?Partly yes and not. We were DM pioneers in Finland and we recorded some good stuff that time. Many younger listeners are also starting to find us. We were playing in Jalometalli festival in Oulu Finland. There was punch of kids who wanted to chance words and take photos with them. It is lovely to see that metal is still alive. New generations are coming all the time and we old beards are still strong and very much alive! Generations have changed, but the ritual is the same.
Will this be your first time playing overseas with CONVULSE? Will you be planning on doing any other shows around MDF time?
We done only one show abroad and that was 1992 in Sweden. So this will be a great adventure too. Let´s see what happens. At least we play in MDF, that is for sure.
We talked earlier about your vision for the sound of CONVULSE in the starting days. Do you feel this sound changed over the years? Will your new material be more in the vein of the earlier CONVULSE or the later ‘Reflections’ type sound? I don´t know is the sound changed a lot comparing to World without god album. Of course there is much more experience now than 20 years ago. It makes Convulse much more tighter than early 90´s. The new material is more old school vein like ROE-demo and WWG-album. A little bit more technical, but far away from "Reflections" rock/funk death.
Did you ever expect in the early days that Finnish Death Metal would have a certain ‘signature sound’ to it, like Swedish DM, Norwegian BM etc?
Hard to say. I have always loved finnish death metal. It´s more authentic and brutal comparing to Swedish DM. Maybe that is the reason the value of finnish DM has grown after all these years. Of course I like swedish DM also, but it sounds…hmmm..swedish
Newer bands from Finland like STENCH OF DECAY and SWALLOWED for example seem to be making Death Metal in the same vein and spirit as when CONVULSE started. What do you think about the recent resurgence of interest and appreciation by younger generations in this style?
I am very proud of we have made music that still have strength today. It is cool that new bands discover the power of old school death metal.
Have your tastes changed? Or you mainly listen to the same stuff you did then? When you get older the taste gets wider. I listen to a pretty much also 70´s rock and progressive music like The Who, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Wigwam, Pekka Pohjola, Pink Floyd, Thin Lizzy etc. But I still love the legendary DM/Thrash album of 80´s and 90´s.
Any last words before I close the coffin on this interview? Thanks again, looking forward to watching you destroy MDF in May!
Thanks for your interest for new coming of Convulse. Order our forth coming "Inner Evil" 12" vinyl or mcd from Svart Records. Beware also of the full album in the end of 2013. Hopefully we see you in shows. Thanks for this interview!