Interviews

Abstract from: The Finnish Speed and Thrash Metal Special Part 2 (The Scourger: Seppo & Jari), Metal-Rules.com, March 2005

Last year, in January 2004 to be exact, I got an idea to introduce a bunch of upcoming Finnish Speed and Thrash Metal bands to a wider audience via Metal-Rules.com simply because to me it seemed many of these new, yet even quite damn talented I must say, Speed┤n┤Thrash Metal bands deserved more attention that they have managed to receive for themselves at that time.

Without prolonging your burning curiosity about the featured bands any longer, now let┤s get started with the 2nd invasion of Finnish speed merchants & thrash bangers, read on!

First off, would you enlighten our readers how your band got started and took its first steps musically, how has your music been evolving since then, etc.?

Seppo: Yeah, the whole thing got started because Jari and me wanted to play old school Thrash Metal. The next thing was to get hold of some players. When Harri and Stig Evil joined the thing really took off! Kimmo was found later, in a bar, after a gig and a bit drunk and he agreed to join us.

Jari: We actually made our first demo in 2003 with a different lineup. Our music has always been Thrash Metal. I have known Harri and Timo from the Gandalf days.

Did start playing Thrash Metal feel kind of a natural option for you in the first place? What other genres of Metal are you fascinated and interested by expect Speed and Thrash Metal and how do you overall think a variety of different Metal styles have helped you out to understand what┤s really essential and important for your own band how it should sound like in order to give you certain value and name as a flag carrier of the Thrash Metal genre?

Jari: Well, you see, Thrash Metal has always been close to my heart since I first heard Slayer's REIGN IN BLOOD album way back in 1986. I think other styles of Metal are just as important, good stuff is always inspiring. About that flag carrier thing, I don't really know if you want to be the flag carrier 'cause they tend to be shot down first, don't they?

What bands could you consider as your main influences or inspirations (or both) anyway and could you even claim that some of those influences are indeed relatively visible and can be tracked down through music of the band you play in?

Seppo: The biggest influence comes from the bands that had their prime in the 1980's. Bands like Testament, Slayer, Kreator, Exodus and so on. These are by no means the only ones. When it comes down to inspiration, well that I have got from somewhere else than just one particular band. It's hard to say from exactly where it springs from.

Jari: What Seppo says is true, all those are important bands. But for me also the "classic" bands are equally important, you know, bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Queen for example. Inspiration? I think Seppo is right here also, it's kinda hard to put the finger on the things where it all comes from.

Tell us something about your releases you have done with this current band of yours so far and what kind of plans you have as far as your future releases are concerned?

Seppo: With this line-up we have made the mini-CD titled TO THE SLAYGROUND, with the exception that Kimmo was not in the band when we recorded it. The next release will be a single, a song taken from our debut album, which we are writing at the moment.

Speaking of your song writing a little bit next, tho. What do you consider as the most challenging and hardest thing for you as a member of the band in terms of either song or lyric writing (or both!)? I gotta believe that writing itself, either (good enough) songs or lyrics for a band, ain┤t that easy task after all like many seem mistakenly to think. It always takes some time to come up with a complete song that has both well-written lyrics and a well thought-out and crafted song structure.

Do you agree?

Jari: Couldn't agree more. Sometimes it can be frustrating because so much has already been said and done. When talkin' about the music, it can sometimes be challenging to keep the quality of the riffs high. The arrangements of the songs can also be tricky and challenging. On the lyrical side, we are not out to preach or heal the world in five minutes. We deal with serious topics but they are more reflections and comments on the state of things than absolute truths.

When writing new songs for the band, do you always try to keep the main focus on 2-3 as catchy and memorable riffs and rhythms as possible or are you that type of a guy who kind of wants to ┤spice┤ a song with a few ┤extras┤, keeping it constantly on a rather technical and complicated level in order to add some uniqueness and originality into a song and not just only doing so for an utter technicality┤s and complexity┤s sake?

Seppo: We don't follow any formula when writing songs. First I just come up with riffs and show them to the guys at the rehearsal room.If they think they are good we start to put them together and then in some mystical way we end up with songs. Every song is born in a different way.

Jari: Yeah, and then when we have the song structure I start trying out lyrics to the song.

Do you see playing live for your audience kind of as a ┤necessary evil┤ and vital thing to get your band┤s name spred around amongst people or do you more or less consider it just a ┤fun and entertaining thing┤ to do without being worried about its promotional values too much at all?

Jari: Playing live is the salt of the earth. The live experience is something to look forward to. It also has an enormous promotional value due to the visuality and connection to the audience.

Seppo: We have been lucky to get some gigs at great venues and the response has been good. It hasn't yet reached the intensity of a Slayer gig but we have managed to get the pit rolling a few times. Anyway, if the halls are empty of full it doesn't matter, we always give 110 percent when on stage. There you go, damn it!

Can you tell what has been your most memorable and successful gig experience thus far and when and where that happened exactly? What actually made it so memorable and successful to you in the first place?

Jari: "Finnish Metal Expo" was it. The pit was rolling and the band had some serious fun. It was a moment of glory.

Seppo: Yeah, I share Jari's views on this, FME was it for us. I was a showcase for us, we had to perform to a full house at the Expo. There were some 3000 persons in the house on that Saturday evening. The gig was excellent and the crowd liked it like hell. Afterwards I got drunk and enjoyed the vibe. One can't say that it was a night to remember as I have no memories after 1:00 AM, he-he...

As Thrash Metal as its own lovely and fine sub-genre of Heavy Metal in general seems to be turning heads toward it more and more constantly here in Finland after almost a decade, do you believe that this fact could even, and hopefully open some eyes in some Finnish record companies eventually to make them sign bands from this particular genre, the same way when we had bands like Stone, A.R.G., National Napalm Syndicate, Airdash, Dethrone, Prestige and some other Speed merchants and Thrash bangers doing albums for some of our domestic labels here in Finland back in the day?

Jari: Tricky question, Luxi. I don't think it will, but I kind of hope that it would happen. There are many small labels releasing stuff already today. But what are the real resources? Marketing seems to be quite a small part of the record budget. Back in the day we had only a couple of labels that released Metal. In Finland it is also a question about how many bands of a certain type the market can handle. It's easy to shoot yourself in the back in this country with overkill on the market.

Do you honestly believe that Thrash Metal as a specific single genre, will be the next big thing in many countries, keeping in your minds that some of the once defunct Speed/Thrash Metal acts like Heathen, Dark Angel, Death Angel, Exodus, etc., have all made their comebacks, and even some of them have already done their successful comeback albums and still proved to be worth of interest and attention?

Jari: Thrash, the next big thing? Could Thrash Metal become mainstream? I don't really think so. We don't take this momentary rise of Thrash for granted. If we got noticed by it, that would be all very well, but I think that this is just one of those cycles that goes around in music trends.

Could there still be some re-union of some Speed / Thrash Metal band you personally would like to see happening some day?

Jari: Deathrow, Possessed, Sepultura (with Max Cavalera), Dark Angel (with Don Doty) and Pestilence (with Martin Van Drunen).

Are they some new Speed/Thrash Metal bands out there nowadays that you kind of admire and respect because of how they sound like and represent either musically or some other way?

Seppo: Hatesphere is good.

Jari: Also, Dew-scented and Nightrage are cool. Both are playing extremely well and kicks serious ass. They have their own sound and style. And then of course Soilwork, they are not that new anymore, but they have their own style and a really good singer.

What do you hope that you will achieve with your band within 2 years or so? In other words, what do you expect the future will bring to your band?

Jari: Money, women, tons of booze, our own reality TV-show, doll figures of us naked, a 1000 page biography, our own limousine... he-he, no just kidding. Maybe to record a couple of albums, tour, put together a live-DVD and just to be well received in general.

How would you like your band to be remembered amongst the Thrash Metal audience when your band has ceased to exist?

Jari: We would be liked to be remembered by our hard-hitting and intense live shows and of at least two good songs.

Then as a last thing I would like to ask from each of you to reveal your TOP 5 Thrash Metal albums of all-time for the readers of Metal-Rules.com, what they could be and your short comments for each of your picks, too? So go ahead dudes...

Seppo: Slayer - REIGN IN BLOOD One hell of a ride from start to finish, amazing riffs an even more amazing drumming.
Sepultura - BENEATH THE REMAINS Good guitar harmonies and very intense and angry stuff. Sepultura's finest moment.
Testament - THE GATHERING Dave Lombardo on drums makes this an instant classic. Say no more.
Metallica - KILL ┤EM ALL The name of the album says it all.
Exodus - TEMPO OF THE DAMNED The old farts made an album that not many people in the world can ever make. The riffs and solos are golden.

Jari: Slayer - SOUTH OF HEAVEN The dry sound on this was a brave move from Rick Rubin and the band. The songs are perfect. 10 points to Lombardo. Live Undead!
Slayer - REIGN IN BLOOD 29 minutes of pure magica!
Exodus - ANOTHER LESSON IN VIOLENCE A fierce live album. Extreme triggering, the vibe is great. This could be an example for anybody.
At the Gates - SLAUGHTER OF THE SOUL The masterpiece from Sweden. Way ahead of it's time.
Dark Angel - DARKNESS DESCENDS This place could be filled with 50 other albums as well, but let it be this one today.

Thanks a lot for spending time to do this interview for Metal-Rules.com and best of luck with your band!! If you have any messages to the readers of Metal-Rules.com, then feel free to use that opportunity for it now. The rest of the space has been reserved for them anyway, so...

Seppo: Thank you, thank you! Visit our website and listen to the sound samples. Don't forget the guestbook! The Scourger thanks Metal-Rules.com and the readers. In the meantime, stay heavy!

Jari: Thanks Luxi for the tricky questions. Don't forget to witness us live on stage and feel the power of the almighty whip!

Interview by Luxi Lahtinen for Metal-Rules.com, read the complete article at this location

 

Rautakanki Q&A with Seppo Tarvainen, Web Special, March 2006.

1. What do you think about the "Rautakanki On The Road" concept and the upcoming gigs?

The "Rautakanki" tour is really good because it is in able hands. There are professionals taking care of the media side and all the technical things you have to have sorted out for a package like this. The pre-club in December was really awesome and we have a very good feeling about the upcoming shows. This is a great way for us to promote the new album around Finland this spring.

2. The new album "Blind Date With Violence" is now in the shops, what are your feelings about the reception of it at the moment?

Yes, finally. Personally, my feelings are really good. I haven't seen that many reviews yet, but the reception has been positive. I mean, the first one I saw had a rating 4 out of 5, which is a terrific start. Yeah, so far the album has been very well received.

3. You aired some new songs at the pre-club in December, what can we expect from the setlist for the upcoming shows?

I think we will go along the same lines as at the pre-club. A few songs from the EP and the rest from the new album. It all depends on the length of our slot. I won't give away any song titles, but you will get all the most intense stuff, that's for sure!

4. And what about the cover songs? Previously you have thrown in some Mot÷rhead and Slayer tunes...

Hehe, yeah, we will play some covers, but those have to be a surprise! Otherwise it won't work! You really have to be careful when choosing Slayer covers. It seems to be so freekin' obvious that every death or thrash metal band in the world chooses to cover "Raining Blood". We have played "Ghosts Of War" a couple of times, that's the only one we have touched so far. The gigs in March will show what is to come!

5. You share the bill on this tour with Codeon, Divercia, St.Hood and Amorphis. Any thoughts about the music of these bands?

Yeah, Amorphis is the headline act in Tampere only. Diveria and St.Hood I'm not familiar with at all, but I have to find out before we hit the road. On the other hand, Codeon, this band I know well and have witnessed them live a couple of times. They are great players.. say no more... see you on the road!

FME Q&A with Jari Hurskainen, Rytmi Magazine, Issue #1, January 2005.

The Scourger, a new band, still unknown to the large part of the public, had its big "show off" gig at the Finnish Metal Expo. The future for the band looks promising and busy. The debut MCD is to be released in mid-February, a single in May and the full length album in October.

What expectations does The Scourger have from FME?

"From all of the gigs we have played so far, this one is the most important. Here you can find the right target audience for our music and they hopefully like what they see. We are here to perfom for the audience, not for the record company representatives, as we already have inked a deal with Stay Heavy Records. But as you know, things can always change, but as it is, we stick to what we have."

In a short moment The Scourger will take the stage, what can we expect?

"Violence, whiplash, aggression, the basic set, you know..."

Original text in Finnish by Misha Koivunen, Rytmi.

Interview with Jari Hurskainen & Seppo Tarvainen, Inferno Magazine, Issue #26, April 2005.

The Scourger - Behind The Corner

If a band is named The Scourger and the label that signed the band is called Stay Heavy Records, then the music can be nothing else than heavy or thrash metal. The latter hits the nail on the head when it comes to The Scourger, but did thrash choose you or did you choose thrash as your style of music?

Seppo: - Thrash was the natural choice, there's nothing else we know.
Jari: - Thrash chose us to be the messengers for the holy cause.

What is then the deepest meaning of thrash and why is it nowadays on it's way up?

Jari: - There are no deep meanings in this kind of stuff, nor will there be. It's basically to cut the slack away and let the rules of the jungle speak!

The major part of The Scourger's material is written by drummer Seppo Tarvainen, who was born in the mid 1980's, the golden age of thrash. Regardless of his young age, he has managed to put together some excellent thrash tracks.

Seppo: - Like father, like son, you know. With the shit in my pants I was crawling around the playground, listening to Accept. The thanks goes out to my dad.

The voice of vocalist Jari Hurskainen is a joy for the ear in the sense that it is spiced with melody, unlike so many other bands today who opt for growls or plain shouts.

Jari: - There's no concious calculations behind the vocal sound. But it is true that the biggest influences come from the 80's glory days. A lot of it pops up from the spine without any forced intention.

The band seems to have hell of a big ambitions and plans for this year. The debut MCD was released in February, a video should be made and then the full lenght album should be out in October. Does the intense music pave the way for an intense schedule?

Jari: - Our sole intention is to kick off with a lot of steam in the proceedings right from the start. The clock is ticking and I'm not getting any younger, as well as guitarist "grandpa" Nyberg. You can always hit the breaks when you get stage fright or whatever...

How important has your contacts and your musical past been when kickin' off the band? Could you seriously claim that you would be here, MCD in hand, if it wasn't for Tony Taleva and his record company's contacts?

Jari: - In all honesty, we have not been able to ride on past glories or contacts. A lot of the time we have had to push really hard to get attention. We got some help from Tony when mailing the first demo and now when we have a deal with Stay Heavy we can concentrate on the music and the record company can take care of all the crap that comes along.

What makes your band worthwhile to check out and how do you differ fron the other hard pounding Finnish bands?

Jari & Seppo: - First and foremost, we are a live band. If you find a little bit of masochist or sadist in yourself we promise to deliver some whiplash at least to the first few rows.The rest will have to do with a oral beating, in order to stay clean. Come and try it for yourself!

Original text in Finnish by Miika Kuusinen, Inferno.