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Interview: BLIND STARE
Title: Majestic surrealism

1999 both Finnish guitarists Anders Öström and Heikki Raisio established this formation.

Initially yet actively as developable Melodic Metal outfit, tendencies were gone to a wider musical focus of the boys later there to variant Melodic Death Metal.

As with Zacharias E. Aarnio a high skilled keyboarder was added finally, the hammer seems fell for the Scandinavian quintet. The musical vision drew itself extremely sharply off before the mental eyes of the participants.

After various demo outputs and an EP Blind Stare therefore now let follow with „Symphony Of Delusions“ a just as facet-full as well as high-carat debut album. Axeman Anders Öström answers the questions about the new release.

Hey Anders, how do you do these days?

„We are doing fine, thanks! Unless you don't count the mandatory military service, that 4/6 Blind Stare members have to go through this year. Timo, Kalle and Zacharias are already there, and Jaska is going this July. It's six months minimum and 12 months maximum here in Finland. As for myself, I have been in navy about 2 years ago and don't have to worry about that anymore. I am composing some new Blind Stare material, trying to manage with my studies at the same time. We are looking forward to have the guys out of the military service, and start to practice for upcoming live-shows, and new songs too. Well we can do a few shows at the moment, but they are heavily limited because it takes effort to arrange the guys an extra break from the military.”

Where was the new work produced?

„The "Symphony Of Delusions" was produced at the Nosecamp/Musamuusa studios in our home city, with Kari Nieminen and Esa Orjatsalo. The studio was very nice, and we had good spirit during the whole time we were making the album, I mean no arguing and a good atmosphere overall. Within the Noisecamp, there's a pre-production studio, which is a little smaller than the actual recording studio. We spent there some time before the recordings of the album, doing the pre-production of our songs. I think it was very educational experiment for us all, in songwriting and arranging songs.”

Are you satisfied with the result?

„Yeah! For the music itself, I'm very satisfied for the result. The melodies and the riffs cand be heard when they are needed, and the balance is good throughout the whole album. The production and sounds, mostly thanks to Kari, are made with good taste in my opinion, and I the band's wishes were listened and implemented too. The mixing and instrument balances supports the atmosphere quite well that we are trying to reach with the songs, so I think the whole album is emotionally and atmospherically successful.” How long did last the time period for the complete songwriting of „Symphony Of Delusions“?

„The thing is that the tracks of the new album are both new and old songs, the oldest one, "Ender" has been composed in 2002 and the newest one has been composed just a few weeks before the recordings of the album itself. The album contains songs from our three previous demos, we have chosen the ones that suits best for the musical direction of the album. There's also completely new songs, that has been created just before the recordings, and some songs from the past that we haven't released in any demo or promo. All the older songs are pre-produced, and re-arranged so that their musical direction matches with the current one. The composing of the first version of a completely new song takes about a month, and arranging it takes approximately a week or two.”

How would you describe your music to new listeners in advance?

„It's all about emotions, and feeling – new atmospheres and new worlds to take the listener to. I hope the listeners can find the music exciting like we do, and found some interesting new melodies from the songs. Ever watched a movie with very touching and intensive plot? That is the feeling that we want to create with our music: some majestic and surreal imaginary world that you can picture yourself into: let your imagination flow and see it yourself! There's many-sided melodies and musical hooks in our album, symphonic, not-so-symphonic, fast and slow, epic, straight or just bare madness...”

Your own opinion about the new album of Blind Stare?

„I can say we are all very proud about what we have done, and we like the sound of our album. It has taken effort both emotional and physical to get the record in the shape as it is now, and we are happy of the work that we have done. I think we have managed to catch quite well the atmosphere in our songs that our lyrics are about; the musical world that we wanted to create. What comes to the the mixing and the balances of the album, I think they supports our melodies and the overall picture of the content of our album, just the way we wanted it. So we are 100 % satisfied with the new album, and the next one is going to kick ass even more!”

How were the reactions and media feedback about „Symphony Of Delusions“ to date?

„Actually, at the moment I'm answering this interview, the promotional copies of the album has not yet been released, so there's not much to speak about those yet. But, I can tell you about our demo reviews and the reactions about those. Our two previous demos have had very good reviews from media, for example our last demo, "The Reborn Genius", had the title of "Demo Of The Month" from the well-known Finnish Metal media Imperiumi, and the title of "most promising newcomer band" has been heard more than once. Feedback for our demos has been very good and promising from the medias all around world, so that kind of reactions we hope for the actual album too, regardless of the fact that the objection point is slightly different in reviewing full albums than demos.”

Are there any bands as influences for your songs to mention?

„As for myself, I listen all sorts of music, but mostly I prefer melodic Metal of all sorts, and movie soundtracks, the symphonic stuff. So the field of influences in our music has been clustered all around the old and the new Metal, and it's hard to mention a certain band that have had an influence to our music. We all have our favourite bands, and I think they are the ones that had given us the most for the composing. We ride on the wave of new direction of Death Metal, and we have added some things that are unique in that concept, so our music can't actually be compared straight to other bands. Similarities there are of course, someone has always done the same thing already, no matter what you try to do. Its amazing actually, sometimes you find someone saying "you copy some band from somewhere", and you have no clue about the band the person is talking about. Well, that's a fact that all musicians just have to live with.”

Which other bands and musisicians do you prefer?

„My favourite musicians at the moment are Hans Zimmer, Geoffrey Alexander, Devin Townsend, Mikael Åkerfeld and their bands. Early In Flames music has introduced the growling vocals for me, so they are one of my favourites. Eino listens to a wide range of stuff, although still mostly band music. He's been listening to rock since a child. Jaakko is a friend of many sorts of Metal. And on behalf of the members who are doing their military service at the moment: Zacharias listens a lot of ambient and classical music, where Timo listens to ”chill” stuff and other sorts of music, not necessary Metal. Kalle is quite puritanic with Metal.“

What meaning is behind the album title „Symphony Of Delusions“?

„We had two name candidates for the album, and after voting we came to understanding that this name reflects better the content of the album than the other name. Our music is about dark things of human soul, and the criticism against the hypocrite thinking and stupidity. So it reflects the weakness of human mind with the delusions, and the word symphony is sarcasm that highlights the thought of the great "farce" that we are living in middle of.”

Which band members composed all the great melodies?

„Thank you, I must say I'm mostly the responsible for the melodies myself, as I have composed all the songs in the album. But we shall not forget Jaakko, who has handled most of the guitar riffs and added some great ideas to the songs. And, we shall not forget the part of the rest of the band and Kari Nimeminen too, and their great contribution for the material at the pre-production house. The orchestrations are made by Joona Lukala, based on the MIDI files that we have first played on keyboards and then handled for him to work with. So we can hear his unique touch on the orchestral parts, mostly in the ending of the last track in the album, which he has done based in a general idea that we gave him.”

Which were the main lyrical influences for „Symphony Of Delusions“?

„In my lyrics, I can say that there are no influences from any other bands. They are based on my own way to watch the world, and they are reflections of my personal philosophy. I'm not saying this is something completely new, but it´s just my way to look things at the moment, and I'm sure all the other members in band agrees with my viewpoints too. My lyrics are things from the real life, often my own life, told in metaphors. They are things that I think over and over many times, and things that troubled me. Often there's irony and sarcasm too. Listeners can found the inner meaning "between the lines" from the lyrics, and I'm not saying which meaning is right, listeners can found their own meaning, and that's the general idea of our lyrical conception.“

Please tell about the lyrics of the new songs!

„The lyrics are about human emotions, and life itself, viewed from the "sky perspective", looking things more complex than we normally would. It’s all about heavy criticism for the stupidness of human itself. Criticism for the fact that people do not see far, only care about themselves, and judge other people just by their own opinions; for the hypocrite people, who think they’re the center of the world. We hate these people, and we want to show with our music and lyrics that everyone who realizes this are no longer blind, and can separate the truth from all the lies. And the people of this kind are found often within some concervative religions, though we still are a band that don't care about religious and political issues.”

Who did the frontcover art?

„The cover art is done by Jan Yrlund. The general idea of the cover art was ours, and we sent him a "home-made" picture how the illustration should look like. The picture sent to him was quite awful, but luckily he saw the thing we were trying to describe, and did the fine cover art based on that.”

Your opinion about the cover picture?

„It turned out to be many times better that I had imagined it to be, and I am very satisfied with the art. In my opinion, it gives colours to our songs, and pictures the actual music too. I think the cover art is quite important, it affects the thoughts of a listener with it's own way, and if it's successful, it can even boost up the emotional influence of the songs! By the way, I have heard there's even a psychological test that link pictures and music together, and gets different emotions out of people (from the music) by just changing the picture! So yeah, I think the cover art is great and it reflects the content of the album well.”

How looks an upcoming live show of Blind Stare?

„We like very much to play live, and it can be seen in our live shows. It compensates a bit with the audience though; if the audience is with us, then we are very energetic and give one hell of a show. But if the people just sitting back there we get the feeling that people are not interested in seeing our live show, it may decrease our stage energy a bit. When we get all the guys off the army, we will do as much gigs as we can get. We are interested to have gigs abroad too, so hopefully we'll see you on the tour some time!”

Plans for the future?

„Blind Stare has came, and Blind Stare will not go easily! We want to do lots of great live shows, and many great albums too. The musical direction of the band we see as clear as a crystal, and we will do music as long as we can. We see the future as a positive thing, and nothing can stop us from conquering the world with Melodic Death Metal! In waiting for that we can just conquer the nearest bar and have a traditional Finnish feast with lots of beer and sausage.”

© Markus Eck, 03.04.2005

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