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"...there has been no news from them since a split-release with Pale Divine in 2011...but here we have a fresh interview with Teemu and Jussi to talk about Spiritus Mortis..."

Interview with Spiritus Mortis.
"This damned lot's Doom Metal band was formed in 1987 by the brothers Maijala – Jussi (guitars) and Teemu (bass, vocals). Their road to the first full length album was long: the 'Spiritus Mortis' LP was not released until 2004. Lineup changes (including the appearance of ex-Reverend Bizarre frontman Sami Hynninen in 2009), two more albums and half a dozen splits marked the further journey of this band, but then this Doom colossus seemed to fall into a slumber - there has been no news from them since a split-release with Pale Divine in 2011. It took some time, but here we have a fresh interview with Teemu and Jussi to talk about Spiritus Mortis' past, present and future."

The band: Jussi Maijala (Guitars), Sami Hynninen (Vocals), Jarkko Seppälä (Drums), Teemu Maijala (Bass), Kari Lavila (Guitars).

Terve Jussi! Terve Teemu! How are you? How does the process of the new album recording go?

Jussi: Ave Aleksey! Business as usual - painful process.

Teemu: Slow but progressing. Basic tracks, drums, bass & guitars recorded Christmas 2012, vocals this summer. Next weekend some mixing and then hopefully done...

Jussi: And now in mastering "final polishing".

How many songs will be included in this album, and what's it's working title?

Jussi: Working title was "Mark IV", but true title will be "The Year is One". "Octacon", 8 pieces, length 4-10 minutes each.

Are you recording the album with the same lineup as before?

Teemu: Yes. Bros Mayala, Kartsa Lavila, Seppo Seppälä and Samppa.

Jussi: AKA Maijala bros, solo guitar Kari Lavila, Jarkko Seppälä and Sami Hynninen - Albert Witchfinder.

The brothers Maijala: Jussi and Teemu.

Can you share some general details of this record?

Teemu: No "superfast" songs this time, like "The Man of Steel" on previous record. Some longer songs made by Kartsa. Basic tracks recorded at usual place, Pop-artikkeli studios and Sammy did vocals at Joona Lukala's studio.

Jussi: I made most of the riffs and for the first time Kari made some songs (good ones) for this album too. I do not know if you can tell difference "who made who" when you listen new songs.

Do you see any space for experiments in Spiritus Mortis?

Jussi: We will do whatever we like to do and what sounds good to us.

Teemu: Yeah, just like Jussi said. We do anything we want.

By the way, do you have authentic elements in your songs, or do you seek for traditional doom and only traditional doom?

Jussi: Do you mean "have to sound original!" or "true followers of old school doom"? Either of them is right or correct to Spiritus Mortis; usually it is nice to find and make something new, but we do not have an obsession in this issue. Second one is even more wrong "have to play or sound like this, because old ones play and sound this way".

You do not have any development if you stay in the shadow of the Old Ones. Spiritus Mortis is organic thing like old oak or pine. Sometime you could say it is like Tiger tank; goes slowly like indestructible beast.

Teemu: Heh, we do anything we want. Some puritans don't like keyboards but all have grown with Deep Purple/Rainbow in our ears so we like to put some Hammond when there is a chance.

Spiritus Mortis - 'Rotting Trophy':

Jussi, you have two guitars in Spiritus Mortis - how do you share parts with Kari?

Jussi: Yes, that`s correct. My main task is rhythm, Kari takes care of solos. Not so much solos in this album.

Spiritus Mortis vocalist Sami Hynninen has a lot of his own personal projects, how did you work with him in studio?

Teemu: We didn't. We made a demo in "rehearsals barn" and send it so Sami so he could make lyrics. So, we heard the vocals first time a few months ago... On his own projects, he does everything by himself. Except drums and recording, obviously!

Is it difficult to work with Sami at a distance?

Jussi: Not really, we are professional and all this new technology helps us a lot.

Teemu: Yes and no. We are all, at least semi, pro's so we know what we are doing. Having said this, we have rehearsed as a whole band just about one time during all these years with Sami... And we heard the vocals first time (on this album and previous) after Sammy had laid them, this was actually really cool, it gave me "wow" - effect, like "this can be done like this!"

How did you usually record vocals before?

Jussi: Just here in our local studio: first drums, bass, rhythm guitar, solo guitar, "guest star" like hammond or accordion. For this album we have even stranger guest, instrument usually not suitable for the music. After that vocals and maybe some more spices.

Do you plan to do a tour when the album is done?

Jussi: Some dreams and hopes, hopefully yes. Tour in Eastern Europe would be great : ). Teemu: Hopefully yes, gigs & tours are usually really cool!

Your last album "The God Behind The God" was released by Firebox Records, I guess that the label doesn't exist anymore. Who will release your new album?

Teemu: No they don't. Svart records will release this one.

I'd like to dig deeper into Spiritus Mortis' roots, so I wonder how did the band exist for the first years from 1987? You were somewhere about the Finnish Doom scene for a damned long time, but the first self-titled album was only released in 2004. What kind of obstacles did you meet on your way to it?

Teemu: Plain laziness... Lack of spark.

Jussi: Just guess how many times people have asked this question. Well, slow in music, slow in music business, heh. When we started, there was no big Metal scene in Finland (which might surprise Metalheads all over the world). Everybody just wondered "what those boys doing, music is so slow and brutal, it does not sound like Iron Maiden". Now time is right for Spiritus Mortis (O tempora! O mores!). Modern stuff like internet and e-mail are helped us a lot.

When we started Spiritus Mortis, we were like "White Rhino", "Elephant man", "what the fuck is this". We were something what people had not listened before. Nowadays metal is mainstream in Finland but then people played stuff like Dire Straits and Iron Maiden was the most evil music... At first there was also this little "obstacle"; `till year 2000 there was not a decent record label for this kind of music, I mean for the band from the Ultima Thule, specially not in Finland. Also there was no doom genre in Finland. Year 2000 some reporter just says "you boys play doom", we were like "well that`s sounds reasonable, we have always wondered how to label our music".

Metal-archives says that Spiritus Mortis is the first Finnish doom band, what do you think about Lyijykomppania considering this title?

Teemu: They can have the title if they want.

Jussi: I have never thought of Lyijykomppania as a doom band, they are their own kind, Lyijykomppania.

'The God Behind The God' was released in 2009, so it took about six years to record a new full-length. Don't you feel excited to make albums regularly?

Teemu: Making songs is so difficult and time taking. And also we all have jobs, family life, other hobbies, you take a pick. And of course, finding another record company, another studio booked...

Jussi: This is regular time table to us : ). It takes time to make good music. There is no point to release one hour rubbish every year. By the way, I think most of albums of today are too long, just think "Reign In Blood" or "Rising" (Rainbow album).

What are your hobbies besides music? It seems that the Land of the Thousand Lakes is a perfect place for fishing!

Jussi: Shooting! Weekend is ruined if we can not shoot semiautomatic rifle or shotgun. This kind of stuff:

Teemu: Yes, shooting. Modelkits. Masturbation : ).

Did you have some turning points in Spiritus Mortis' career? What are your milestones?

Teemu: We have two milestones. First is 2000 when former vox Vesa Lampi joined, it gave at least to me a new spark and I took the band more seriously. And the second is 2010 when Sami joined and we did our best album so far, "The God Behind the God". And also European tour was really cool.

Jussi: Three points. First is The Beginning. It was not so obvious to start playing doom in Finland 27 years ago.

Second point - tours with Reverend Bizarre and Minotauri – Friends of Hell part I & II.

Third and the best is Spiritus Mortis "The God Behind The God 2009" tour (Website tour page) is our first true tour outside Finland. 9 countries, 16 gigs, 19 days and 9000 km. Maybe better this way; people will see Spiritus Mortis at his finest. It took just 9 months and 3000 e-mails etc. to plan it, but it was worth of it!

People like Spiritus Mortis fan in the Austrian Mountains make tour worth of all the trouble when he said that he have driven two hours just see Spiritus Mortis. And we think that nobody knows us in that place called Abtenau! There were 16 gigs in all over the Europe in our tour. All went fine, I get my cheap birthday booze, no gigs were cancelled, we see a lot of nice people, we see interesting sex toys in local toilets (we do not buy any), Torture Museum in Amsterdam was sad and interesting, Belgium food was tasty, German, French and Hungarian women were beautiful, playing in the Hammer of Doom was one of the highlights in my career, Hennessy tastes good (thank you Stuttgart), "craziest" audience was in Budapest (I was scared Sami will get killed in the show with his actions with local lady…), it was nice to play gigs, see fans (first time I heard somebody knows Spiritus Mortis lyrics), you smell and feel funny, when you do not shower in four days. One of the things along with great gigs I remember is that there was freezing cold at tour bus. We called it U-96, you know, after the submarine, because it was so cold, dark and tight place. At one point I thought I got clap or something VD on my nose, because it felt rather funny. Then I understand that it must have been some kinda of frostbite, you know, my nose was the only thing outside of sleeping bag…

The "U-96" in Berlin, 2009.

A lot of bands are influenced by horror movies, since Black Sabbath started this trend. And Spiritus Mortis has a song 'Omen' dedicated to the legendary movie of the same name. What exactly attracted your attention to this film? And do you have other songs with lyrics based on film plots?

Teemu: I "borrowed" the lyrics from Omen because I was, and am, really lazy writing lyrics. "...In Me" was from "Punisher" (1989) movie, "Wasteland" from "MadMax" movies and original version of "Perpetual Motion" from "Terminator" movies.

"Omen" is a great movie and those lyrics were really cool. I don't know about Sami, I suggested him to make lyrics about Foxy Lady 1-9 movies : ).

By the way, who now writes lyrics for Spiritus Mortis? And what are your other influences for lyrics besides the one mentioned above?

Jussi: Nowadays Sami writes all the lyrics. All kind of funny stuff like the end of world, religion, strange sexuality etc.

Spiritus Mortis – 'When the Wind Howled With a Human Voice':

How would you describe the overall musical and lyrical concept of Spiritus Mortis?

Teemu: Difficult question. Really heavy, yet melodic music with lyrics with foggy visions.

Jussi: Previously I made this statement: Doom is not crying, whining or posing. Doom is not just slower than anything else or heavier than Copernicium. How to play or play it right is not so important, the most important thing is attitude. What is right attitude is up to you. For me Doom is kind of biblically "Power and Glory" or "Do what thou Wilt shall be the whole of the Law" is fine if you prefer to walk "left hand path".

Okay, thank you for your time gentlemen! It was a pleasure to talk! How would you like to summarise and finish our conversation?

Jussi: Well, well, well… usual stuff: stay doomed, buy our soon coming album, see you in hell. Or "Watch your back, shoot straight, conserve ammo, and never, ever, cut a deal with a dragon".

Teemu: Thank you! Buy our stuff, contact us!

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

Visit the Spiritus Mortis bandpage.

Interviewed on 2016-01-10 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
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