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Following the recent release of a new single, it looks like melodic Finnish Death/Doom band Kaunis Kuolematon might be stirring again. Comrade Aleks investigates with the help of guitarist Mikko.

Interview with Kaunis Kuolematon.
"The Finnish doom scene is multifaceted, and melodic Death/Doom seems to be one of the local scene features. This wave was started with bands like Rapture, then Swallow The Sun raised it to a new professional level. Kaunis Kuolematon isn't an easily-labelled band: yes, their sound is based on a mix of melodic and, let's say, atmospheric Doom Death, but they have their own individual approach to music and lyrics as well. So, Finnish lyrics, videos telling everyday stories of Doom, and a high level of productivity should be added to the list of Kaunis Kuolematon specifics. The band has recorded two full-length albums during the seven years of its existence, plus seven smaller releases, and I assume something new will be coming our way. Guitarist Mikko Heikkilä clarifies the band's current situation."

Kaunis Kuolematon: Miika Hostikka (drums), Mikko Heikkilä (guitars, clean vocals), Ville Mussalo (guitars), Olli Suvanto (lead vocals), Jarno Uski (bass).

Hello Mikko! Not long ago Kaunis Kuolematon released new single 'Paha Ihminen'. What is it? Is it a forerunner for a new album?

Hi. Yes, we released new single Paha Ihminen in Oct.4. We are part of Vorna's album release tour in Finland and wanted to give something new for the live audience to have interest on. We are also starting to record our third album in December so little foretaste of how it's gonna be like.

Vorna seems to be a more extreme act, why did you choose to tour with them? How tight is your schedule?

We shared the stage earlier this year in JKL and Metal Crane fests. Talked about shows in a future and now the time was right for that. I see the same kind of influences in both of us even a bit different ways. But still good combination and mixture of Finnish melancholy. Our band doesn't fill every part on this tour but still, happy to be along with the journey.

There are few general questions I'd like to clarify for myself, and first of all - Kaunis Kuolematon translates as "beautiful immortal": what kind of meaning did you put in the band's name?

Looking through the Finnish eyes it doesn't feel as simple as it might feel translating words straight to English. I see something very poetic in those two strong words. It's hard to explain but just to make it easier for you: Kaunis (beautiful), that's the word for life. Yes, life can be pretty tough and cruel sometimes but it really depends how you look at. After all in any cases you're able to see the brighter side if you allow and that's the beauty I'm talking about. Also very strong contrast what´s our our music about and how we bring it up. Kuolematon (immortal) is the words that mirrors the creative side of our band and that is the music. We are in this band expressing out our feels into songs and putting ourselves out in vulnerable way. The music, lives forever...

Kaunis Kuolematon - 'En Ole Mitään' (Official, 2014):

Another thing is using lyrics written in your mother tongue. It seems Finnish bands eagerly use their own language, to name Solothus, Vainaja or Kuolemanlaakso as examples. Why did you choose to write lyrics this way? Do you feel it works better with your melodic compositions, or was it just an easier way?

First I wrote lyrics in English, but have to admit that's not a strongest part of mine. Never tried even to write in Finnish tho… When we founded the band in 2012 I was wondering how I should go forward to make things differently to keep it interesting and just started to write in Finnish. Looking at different ways to act on that area. Felt natural all from the beginning even though I've got my weak moments almost on every release. Still feels better for me to work that way, able to go much deeper into meanings I'm aiming for.

Kaunis Kuolematon's music is tagged as melodic Death/Doom, which seems to be a quite accurate description. What are the main components, from your point of view, which complete this genre and your songs?

Personally I bring up the lyrics and melodies. Everyone who's able to understand our language can easily get very close to reach the middle line. Lyrics of the songs are easy to feel within, ´cause you're competent to face those experiences in everyday life. With melodies and chords we can color the atmosphere around. And you have heard the result; sound of life, love and sadness.

What are your influences, music-wise?

Life in itself. I like to keep it simple and write events you face in ordinary life. There's lot of sadness and reflections from darker thoughts. Maybe you're still able to see little bit of brightness while swimming in deep waters.

You came to debut full-length album 'Kylmä Kaunis Maailma' pretty fast. Were you inspired, or were you rather focused on a result working as a professional band?

We all have been playing in several bands before in the past, so working in the band was familiar for all of us. After years seeing ups and downs we wanted to have something we really own. And by that I mean; we decided to make everything like we wanted without bending for anyone. People like or dislike, but if we are working for being honest ourselves, everything's fine and the only aim is to reach higher and higher. So we do what we think we is our best.

What was feedback like from media and people? Do you feel that Finnish lyrics draw more attention to the band, or was it vice versa?

Media has been treating us better than we were expecting. Even a little bit surprised by that, but in general they have been good to us. Maybe the language as well but more about the whole combination. Many have said it's not easy to put us in any genre, so we have found our own style to work this out.

Did you feel that 'Kylmä Kaunis Maailma' embodies the ultimate Kaunis Kuolematon sound? What was your impression when you listened to the finished material?

In some way yes, but we've been growing up on our every release I think. Kylmä Kaunis Maailma did show the direction where we were going to. Were happy with finals but still felt we have lot to give in the field. Composing songs feels more natural nowadays without any load of pressures how we should sound.

How intensively did you work on the album's promotion? Did you have help from outside?

Would love to have someone to co-operate with us, label I mean. Have had couple of helping hands around during releases but mostly we've been working on our own. Like our EP Elämä Ei Tarvitse Minua and single Paha Ihminen were totally self-released. It's nice to hear when people are saying "You will be the big name some day" but it's not that easy these days if you need to do everything by yourself. Everything costs lots of money and there are so many bands out there, so… not easy.

So self-promotion isn't your strong side, right? Didn't you think to ask someone who works on band promotions to send your digital promos here and there and so on?

Not a strong side at all. Have tried it before but not my cup of tea. On Finnish marketing we have paid for promotions but that's it. Social media is a quite big helping hand for bands these days and people have found our band surprisingly well.

Kaunis Kuolematon - 'Tuhottu Elämä' (Official, 2017):

The band has a few official videos and, for example, 'En Ole Mitään' and 'Tuhottu Elämä' are two parts of one story. It's very realistic - the subject is taken from daily life, it's almost a documentary and that's why it looks atypical as Death/Doom usually deals with more abstract kinds of things. How did you come to the idea to film this story?

Like I earlier told you about the lyrics. Daily life, nothing special… easy to feel, easy to understand. Doesn't need anything else to make you feel what songs stands for. If you don't understand the language, take a look for our vid, sit back and just feel it. Nothing more needed.

What kind of feedback did you receive for these videos?

Touching. Many has wondered how the vids can get your deepest emotions to feel right under your skin. And that's a lot I would say.

It took three years before you returned with the next full-length album 'Vapaus'. Did you aim to work with some new themes this time? Did you have another vision of Kaunis Kuolematon this time?

With those releases, we haven't been focused on any certain theme. It's coming by its own. When we record the demos or first ideas for new songs I'm the one who's listening those like hundred times, after and after… In some point you get a picture where you want to lead ideas in a head and that how it grows. First was only death, after death came freedom and I will open up you a little; next one will be one more step to the darker side...

You recorded 'Vapaus' with the same line-up; how would you compare this recording session with the recording of 'Kylmä Kaunis Maailma'? Can you say what worked more effectively this time?

When we started to work on KKM we got punch of finished songs already so it was pretty easy to work with. But on Vapaus we started from the lowest bottom and naturally it took lot of time to get everything done. Every release has been an instructive journey all the way and every time you learn some new ways how to work with. We have noticed if you work without any deadline, it will take years to get through the process.

Live, 2019. (Photo: Hannu Tiainen Photography).

Did you record in home studios, or was it a professional studio?

On Kylmä Kaunis Maailma we recorded guitars with Ville at his place but everything else were done in professional way. Vapaus album was accomplished by the same form. Elämä Ei Tarvitse Minua with its four tracks, there we put ourselves on a line of fire and recorded everything else except drums. Considering the number of tracks it was kinda rocky road but would do it still again, despite everything.

Did the album change the situation for Kaunis Kuolematon? Can you tell whether the band is popular enough in your region to easily organize gigs in Finland or maybe abroad?

Nowadays we have a manager who deals the most of our gigs we play, so that has been a huge help for us in our journey and considering the future also. We have no "name" enough, so getting us to play like bigger festivals is kinda challenging. So much work on every area, we still have to do for the band success.

You mentioned that the band will start to record the next album in December: I suppose you have most of songs written already. What kind of material do you have now? Do you want to hold to the same direction as on previous records?

We are ready in every area. Just need to put the work mode on. Some of the lyrics are missing but no need to stress on that. On this album we are going into deeper, darker waters than before. You are lucky if you can listen the album on one stand :)

Thanks for your time Mikko! That's all for today, good luck with recording the new album!

Thank you very much, my pleasure :)

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Visit the Kaunis Kuolematon bandpage.

Interviewed on 2019-11-23 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
Aesthetic Death
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