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Comrade Aleks marks the release of Finnish Epic Doom band The Lone Madman's debut full-length by way of a chat with two of the quartet, Juuso (guitars) and Turkka (guitars and vocals).

Interview with The Lone Madman.
"Epic Doom isn't the most widespread genre in the world: you need to obtain a charismatic vocalist and, well, decent ambitions for a start. Also, now, when the scene is overcrowded, new bands should put extra effort into pushing themselves steadily further and further if they have no big label behind them. Helsinki-based The Lone Madman was formed in 2014, and since then they've slowly moved onward - single 'Soul Stillborn' and EP 'Dreary Task' were released in 2016, while their debut full-length 'Let The Night Come' saw the light of day on 25th October 2019 thanks to their collaboration with Saturnal Records. We can argue about The Lone Madman's scale of "epicness", but they're certainly gifted musicians and they have very good taste towards Doom-related things. Their official videos on 'Soul Stillborn' and 'Haxan' songs are eloquent evidence of their good grasp of the aesthetics. And, hey! - there is a flute in their songs! We've managed to do this interview with Juuso Raunio (guitars) and Turkka Inkilä (guitars, vocals), and I'm happy how it's turned out."


The Lone Madman: Veera Vallinkoski (Bass), Juuso Raunio (Guitars), Leevi Lönnrot (Drums), Turkka Inkilä (Guitars, Vocals). (Photo: Perttu Inkilä).


The Lone Madman was formed in 2014. How old were you? What made you gather in the name of the Doom cult?

JR: We were approximately in our mid-20's at that time. I had been getting more and more intensively into doom metal for some years, and recorded some demos of songs that eventually made up the Dreary Task EP. Those songs just came very naturally, and I started to look for people to record them with. The forming of the band also happened very naturally and worked well from the beginning.

What formed your feeling and perception of doom? How did you see the necessary elements of the band's aesthetic back then?

JR: Actually, my initial idea was to have a band that would be rather strict "genre-wise". To play traditional doom, period. I was listening to a lot of Reverend Bizarre at that time, and the idea of operating tightly within specific restrictions felt somehow appealing. In reality however, things went a bit differently very quickly. You can hear strong Reverend Bizarre influences on the first EP, but still the material doesn't exactly stay 100% within your typical "traditional doom metal" boundaries. So you could say that my initial idea never really worked out as such, since from the beginning we have wanted to do things our own way - to do what comes naturally, and what feels honest. That being said, our foundation is definitely in traditional doom metal, and I don't see a change in that happening in the future either.

TI: I used to listen to a lot of Candlemass and the "Peacevilleans" in the beginning of the 2000s, but when it comes to "traditional doom", I was a late bloomer. I came about Reverend Bizarre quite late, around 2010 or so, when the band had already disbanded but RB is The Band I listen to, when I want to listen to this type of music. I have always felt like an outsider to the trad genre; that is to say, that the "genre-typical tropes" (if there are such) are in a way easy for me to mimic, but "the personal involvement" is hard to find in my bloodstream. Whenever I try to write a "trad doom" song, it always feels phony, like "OK, here I have this Obsessed-riff, and here I can do Vitus-vocals", but it never gets anywhere beyond that. Usually when I bring ideas to the table (whether arrangement- or composition-wise), the best ones are usually those, whose basic concept is outside the typical margin. Maybe that speaks of the force of the aforementioned bands, that they are easy to ape, but difficult to grasp.


(Photo: Tuomas Kohvakka).


You recorded the 'Soul Stillborn' single and 'Dreary Task' EP in 2016. Both were produced DIY - did you distribute the CDs yourself? How were you active in this period concerning self-promotion?

JR: Yes, all promotion and distribution was done by ourselves. It was quite an exhausting experience to take care of everything, from playing to production to distribution, and I must admit that the promotion we did (or had energy left for...) was pretty small-scale. I was glad to notice that people still managed to find our music and the response we got was mostly very positive.

How do you value those songs nowadays? Do you feel it was a proper start?

JR: I definitely feel it was a proper start. The songs are good, the music video for "Soul Stillborn" is good, and I feel many of the elements that were refined later on the debut album, were already present there.

TI: I think it was a proper start, although the refinement is something that we can keep working on indefinitely. When it comes to what some would consider simple music, there are oh so many nuances that make the music breathe, which one just has to explore, if not for anyone else, then maybe just for oneself.

The Lone Madman - 'Soul Stillborn' (Official, 2016):


The Lone Madman's debut album 'Let The Night Come' was released just a few days ago. How much time has passed since you finished the album recording?

JR: The whole process took about a year. The recordings were done in the summer and fall 2018, and we got the final masters ready in the summer 2019. Again, we did most of the production ourselves, and these things just take time.

Where did you record the songs? As I understand you have no other musical background besides The Lone Madman, but the album sounds very competent and powerful. Did you work with a sound producer in the studio?

JR: We have long musical backgrounds actually. All of us have played and worked in various projects throughout the years, and with many different styles. But yes, we did work with a sound engineer - Niko Laasonen was in charge of the first recording session where we did the drums and bass. The rest were recorded by our bass player Veera and myself. The first session was held at Finnvox Studios, which is actually probably the most legendary recording studio in Finland. Guitars and vocals were done in a studio called JKB, and the choir parts in a church in Helsinki. Veera also mixed the album.

Finnvox? Really? That should be quite expensive for the debut! Did you aim to use that studio from the start? What attracted you to the idea to do a record there?

JR: Well actually it was mostly a matter of practicality. We wanted to have a strong drum sound, recorded well in a good sounding space. We luckily have some school- and work-related connections there, and held the session during a time when Finnvox wasn't that fully booked; so in the end it wasn't even particularly expensive. But yes, overall, releasing the debut album is an important stage for a band, and of course we wanted to do everything with great dedication and effort. To make an impressive and unapologetic entrance, so to speak. This has to do with many things, the sound, the artwork, everything.


(Photo: Tuomas Kohvakka).


Nowadays there are few really strong and active Epic Doom bands. And I guess more than ever, it's no easy task to find something new inside the Epic genre. How do you see the band's features?

JR: Well, I'd say that in a way we are not even trying deliberately to "find something new", nor are we deliberately trying to stay within some strict boundaries. Honesty is the key, and I consider us lucky to have found a style of our own, that is at the same time traditional as well as distinctive. I don't know how to describe it more precisely - it's a cliché to say that we just do what feels right, but hell, that's how it is. I hope our style keeps on refining in the future.

TI: I don't like genre distinctions of the internet age. What I mean by that, is that during the early 2000s, when sites like Encyclopedia Metallum, Prog Archives and such were gaining a lot of momentum, there came this strong incentive to start labeling bands and pinpointing the particularities of every genre. When it comes to finding something new in a particular genre, I don't like to think in objective terms, but in what I personally consider as a fresh approach.

Don't you care about The Lone Madman's individuality? The band has some hooks to keep listeners, for example a cool band name - that's already something, as it really made me watch your progress until the album release.

JR: I care about it, for sure, and I think it's something that is needed to keep the band vital. But what I was trying to say is that it seems that this "individuality" also seems to come naturally. It's not something that we need to plan rationally or anything... I don't think it would be even possible to "calculate" such things. The band name is a good example - it came very quickly and intuitively around the time we were forming the band, and was never analyzed that much. Still even myself, I seem to find new layers and meanings in it all the time.

TI: I believe that limitations can be catalysts for great art, whether they come about through necessity, or through personal choice. Maybe I'm splitting hairs, but the effort towards individuality doesn't necessarily correlate with the individuality of a band as such.

The Lone Madman - 'Häxan' (Official, 2019):


How carefully do you consider The Lone Madman's lyrics? What are the general topics you explore through 'Let The Night Come'?

JR: For my part, they represent certain kinds of moods and "outlooks" in a world that often just seems hopeless and bleak. It's not only pessimism though, since facing all that is "wrong" in the world - as well as coming to terms with one's own "darkness" - often paves way for a new kind of hope. Still, to me it's clear that for The Lone Madman the music comes first, and the main aim of the lyrics is to accompany the music. Of course that doesn't mean that we would take them lightly either, and for example the lyrics on 'House of Mourning' are very personal to me.

TI: As a lyricist, (even though we have only few of those instances in the TLM discography) I would consider my approach to be more on the conceptual side. Juuso is the one who feels the feels, I narrate. Overall I feel that the lyrical side of TLM is slowly but surely growing towards something very intriguing… Juuso is more of an esotericist than he has let the world to know...

Have you already played live as a band? And do you plan to play a short tour to support the release?

JR: We have played live a few times, and we are planning to play one or two gigs around Helsinki later this year. There are more plans for the future, but nothing I can say for certain for now. It's something that we're definitely interested in, and we'll work to have more shows, hopefully abroad as well.


(Photo: Tuomas Kohvakka).


What kind of gigs have you done already? How do you like this experience of playing your songs live?

JR: A few club gigs in Helsinki. Good experiences, and also quite big crowds already. The last one we did was during the week, and it was a very good night, lots of people. I'm pretty nervous always when performing live, but I enjoy it nevertheless.

Do you have any bands in mind with whom you would like to tour?

JR: Sure, if I could just choose, I would gladly open for some of the legends that have inspired us, be it Candlemass or Saint Vitus or Finnish bands like Spiritus Mortis, Lord Vicar... Then again, it could be interesting also to play with bands that come from a very different genre. We are not too picky, if it just feels right.

Do you have a plan for The Lone Madman? Do you want to keep it active as far as it's possible? Do you have ambitions?

JR: In the near future I believe we'll be busy rehearsing, writing new material and organizing gigs. I wish to keep the band active as long as there is real passion for it, so I believe we'll stick around for some time. About ambitions - I want to stay true to our vision and follow fearlessly wherever it will lead. I want to make "quality over quantity" releases and play memorable shows.


Click HERE to discuss this interview on the doom-metal forum.


Visit the The Lone Madman bandpage.

Interviewed on 2019-11-05 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
A Dream Of Poe - The Wraith Uncrowned
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