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Global Domination | Interviews | Sotajumala - Timo Häkkinen

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Interviews

Sotajumala - Timo Häkkinen

25/04/08  ||  Kampfar

Not the Van Halen logo
Hello, my name is Kampfar, cousin of Ukko I am, or was it second cousin? Fuck, I’m getting old, barely potent these days, not to speak of omnipotent. As a consequence of this I have contemplated suicide a lot but I’m so sturdy it would take a Big Bertha to finish me off, and I can’t afford one. So I write instead. That’s me, now over to you guys.

Global Domination: But before I start pestering you with questions I’d like to thank the band/webmaster, on behalf of GD and myself, for linking to our/mine review of “Teloitus”. Now I’m curious, who told you guys about us?

Timo Häkkinen: I’ve been familiar with GD for quite many years, actually. I guess it’s the omnipotence of Lord K or something, you know? I actually met him back in 2001-2002 or so and told him how much the first TPH album ruled. He pretended to be flattered and complimented my ass kissing ways and gave me his business card. That was the coolest business card I had ever seen, by the way – until I got my own cards for my current job. My title is “Programmer, drummer” and there’s no way in hell you could ever top that, hah! And yes, that also means that I’m the person responsible for linking to your review. Thank you once again for the review, sir.

Not Eddie Van Halen In terms of death metal your latest is shaping up to be a major success, not only in the way we critics (nitpicking cunt in this case) achieved it, but also when it comes to sales. I claim this ‘cause your (fine) homepage told me the first pressing was sold really rather quickly. How many pieces are we talking?

We all make a really good living just by playing in this band, so you do the math… Nah, just kidding, as I’m pretty sure you gathered (so those of you who are still dreaming of a rock star lifestyle, get a hold of reality). The first pressing was 2000 copies and that was sold out almost instantly and it was only available in Finland. As for the total sales so far, I’m afraid I cannot give you exact numbers as every time we ask this from our label, they give us a different figure and it’s always less than the previous time we asked, haha! I’ve gathered they just don’t want us asking for royalties… All in all it’s selling pretty damn well considering it’s mainly been promoted in Finland so far and distribution/licensing for some bigger markets are still in the works. At the end of the day I don’t really care about the sales figures, you know. I am so incredibly happy with the album itself and that’s the most important thing for me. Even if it would’ve sold three copies, it’s an album I’ll be extremely proud of until the day I die.

Speaking of which, did you find the idiot responsible for fucking up the booklet for the first edition of “Teloitus”? You know, if you collect enough of them back the flawed version will end up on Ebay, shitty expensive. Mark my fucking words.

Did you really think we sold 2000 copies in matter of weeks? Nah man, when we realized the booklet was fucked, we bought all of the copies from the label and we’re soon putting them on Ebay ourselves. Doing that also enabled us to send out a press release about the first pressing being sold out, so we also got free, positive publicity that way. On a more serious note, I’m still uncertain who actually made the mistake with the booklet. Maybe it’s better that I don’t get my hands on that person as it could turn out messy. I have a thing for crowbars and tire irons, you see. Let me ask you a question instead: How many flawed copies have you got waiting for our mainstream success? I have about 823 myself and I’m thinking that if I sign them, I could easily make about $500 each… Which is roughly 3,5 Euros with the current exchange rate.

I will never give you an advice again, I promise. Other than that touch of cult/flaw I guess you guys are as pleased with the album as I am?

We are extremely pleased with the album! We spent a lot of time working on these songs, writing, arranging, re-arranging, rehearsing, starting from scratch – you name it. In the end, we knew we had something special in our hands, something to be proud of. Sounds cocky? I don’t care! Every time we finished writing a song, we all knew we had nailed it. You just had that special feeling. If we didn’t have that, we went back and spent months and months on some parts just to make them perfect. So we had eight killer songs ready when we went to studio. I remember when we were driving back home after we had finished recording and we had an unmixed cd with us in the car. Now, the van had crappy speakers and all, but even as we were listening to that, we just knew it turned out pretty damn perfect. And let me tell you; that is why we play music! When you get that special feeling after finishing song writing, recording or when you’re playing your music live… When you have that special feeling, there’s almost nothing topping that. Anyone who has ever been passionate enough about music knows what I’m talking about. It’s a great feeling!

Not Eddie Van Halen I’m sure the increase of people interested in having Sotajumala at a stage near them was rapid after “Teloitus’s” glory was revealed. Am I right? Anyhow, how many gigs, and festivals, roughly put, do you envisage Sota will put in this year?

At the moment of writing this, we have played five shows this year and we have four to eight coming up that are either confirmed or almost confirmed already, so I’m guessing we’ll get to 15-20 shows this year in Finland alone. We also did six shows last year once we had finished the album, so things are looking pretty good. At one point we actually had to stop playing shows and put all of our efforts into song writing, because otherwise we would’ve never gotten the album finished. So people were really looking forward to seeing us play again, as we hadn’t played live in over a year when Teloitus was finally out. And let me tell you, it was a great feeling to get back on stage and just annihilate the crowds with these new songs we had been working on for such a long time.
On top of Finland, we’re hoping we’d get to play in Sweden, Estonia and Germany, as we have some connections, but it’s still way too early to talk about anything. Who knows, we might even get to do a real tour, which would be amazing, if you ask me!

What’s the worst place you ever performed? And, on a more positive note, has the band yet taken you to places you didn’t know of but became fond of? In other words, where are the best groupies to be found?

I’m not sure if we’ve ever performed in really crappy places. Of course you’re never happy to find out the organizers didn’t arrange any food and you have to fight over basic things like that, but that’s life. Sometimes it’s rough when there’s no real backstage and all bands playing that night share a cold hallway or you’re playing a Monday night show, drive back through the night and make it home just in time for breakfast before going to work, but it’s the way it is sometimes. You get grumpy over these things when they happen, and rightfully so, but looking back now, I wouldn’t change a single moment. You do it for the love of it, for the experience and no one is forcing you to do this.

One of the greatest memories was a show we did in Estonia back in 2005. Our debut album wasn’t even out there, we’re singing in Finnish, it’s a show organized by a local band and we really didn’t know what to expect from it. I’m telling you, from the first second we were treated almost like rock stars, haha. They took very good care of us, really nice and friendly people, we had great time and the show and the audience was just mindblowing, really! People were singing along to some of the songs, the venue was packed and everyone was going nuts. It’s a trip we’ll never forget and we’re hoping to get back there with “Teloitus”.

As for groupies, I wouldn’t know a thing about that. I guess you find groupies in any place you go to, it has nothing to do with the band, just the personalities of people. I know, not a rock star type of answer and I apologize for that and make up for it by telling you joke about groupies: What’s the difference between groupies and hookers? Groupies give it away for free and that’s what makes them even sluttier!

Not Eddie Van Halen Is it now possible for you to make a living of your music? If not, what tedious chores are you encumbered doing?

There’s no way in hell you’re making a living with death metal unless you tour continuously and let’s face it, that’s not really an option in Finland, haha! We work on various fields from serving people drinks to CNC milling, working with trouble making kids and web development.

It’s a bit early this, but I ask nonetheless. Is there any new material in the making?

We have some ideas and the beginning of one new song, so not much, but yeah, we basically have ideas where we want to go from here. We’re 100 % satisfied with “Teloitus”, but we don’t want to make the same album twice. This time around we started writing new material pretty much as soon as we had the album released and the first shows out of the way, and we’re going to continue doing that as we go on supporting “Teloitus” with shows and whatnot. We don’t want to take another three and half years before we start recording the next album, so yeah, there’s some new material in the making and not to brag, but it’ll kick your ass!

“Although no replacement has been chosen, Mynni Luukkainen has agreed to do session vocals until a full time vocalist can be found.” I found this snippet of information while fucking around the net, doing research. Tell me, is he now your permanent vocalist? It’s not like it’ll be an easy task replacing him, made even harder by the fact your lyrics are in Finnish exclusively. Don’t fucking switch.

Mynni has been a permanent member since autumn 2005 after we finished recording the split with Torture Killer. That piece of information is obviously very much outdated.

Informed as I am (yeah, right), I also know the members of Sotajumala are spread in no less than three cities – all with names I won’t bother writing, as I couldn’t possibly hope to get them right – and now I wonder how you all came in touch. The short version will do. I’m not out to bore you, nor our readers.

Things have actually taken a turn for the better and for a few months already we’ve been down to two cities, HAH! The band didn’t originally start with members across the country, the founding members lived in the same city. Half of the members were found from another city, so even the first line-up was spread to two cities. Over the years as things changed, members moved, left or were kicked out, these cities changed, but the whole band never lived in one city. Hopefully one of these days we all live in the same city, as it just makes things so much easier and more cost-effective as far as shows, song writing and recording go. Not to mention organizing things! Boring enough? I know, I’m just a boring, retarded Finnish lad!

Not Eddie Van Halen

I’m sure you guys take benefit of internet, more so than most, all the time Finland has the best connection in the entire world. But to make something as good as “Teloitus” one has to assume you not only swap ideas through the net, but sweat together in persona at times as well. No?

We try to use and abuse the Internet as much as possible with the little time we have left after everything else, but mainly it’s for promotion, networking and simply making things happen. Writing songs is something that happens at the rehearsal room. We didn’t write anything over the net for “Teloitus” and we’ve never actually done that. We’re not a band where someone writes an entire song on their own and then just makes everyone else learn it. Someone might come in with one or two riffs, but we always write and arrange everything with the whole band. That takes a lot of time, patience and energy, sure, but we’ve found out that it’s something that simply works the best for us.

We do record rehearsals when we’re writing new songs, though. It might be a finished song or just one riff, but we always record them and then share these to everyone over the net. It’s a great way to see if the song work as a whole. We might come up with the perfect sounding chorus for some song, or halfway finish a completely new song and by recording these ideas right away, we can go home and listen to them after rehearsals, exchange ideas and when we go back to the rehearsal room the next time, we already know whether it’s perfect, if we have to work on it a little bit more or whether it simply doesn’t fit in that song after all. This is something that helped us a great deal with “Teloitus”, especially with arranging and it’something we will definitively continue to do.

A shift of pace is taking place, bullshit ahead. Is H.I.M a shame for Finland? How about Nightwish?

I really don’t care enough about those bands to even start talking about them. Sure they’ve done a lot of work, gained widespread mainstream success, but I’m just not into their music, so I really have nothing to say about them.

Why is it that Finland has some of the cheesiest, happy go power metal bands ever, at the same time being host to some of the most necro black metal bands (un)known to man? Are you Finns either depressed or fucking cheerful, a breed with a hang for the extreme?

That’s a good question and I’m sorry to say that I really don’t have the answer for it…ask me to build you a CMS powered, search engine friendly website for your handheld device using Semantic Markup and I’ll do it in a heartbeat, but this question I really cannot answer, HAHA! I guess it’s just all about the extreme. Extremely cheerful or extremely pissed off, you know.

What’s yer take on Karelian? Time for the Russians to hand it over? I ask, all the time you guys sing about war exclusively. The Nazi’s had to hand over their Lebensraum, Russia “only” partly so with the fall of communism, and I see no logic in that. Not to forget China. Do you think it is more pleasant being killed by a left wing than a right wing?

I don’t care, man… I mean, I like Karelian pasties, I eat them at work almost every day, but this whole “Here’s a line you can’t cross, this side is mine and you can’t come here” is all just bullshit, you know. As for being killed, I’d prefer not to be killed at all, but I would rather see a right wing nutcase being killed than a left wing nutcase.

“Teloitus” means execution; I’m a fan of that. Huge one. And I ask, would you vote yes on death penalty if suggested as a method of punishment in your very own Suomi, sauna, perkele?

Me personally, no, I wouldn’t. As far as punishment goes, it doesn’t solve anything. Not a single thing. Sure you take away someone’s life and some people get something out of revenge like that, but I don’t see that as an ultimate punishment, rather just an ultimate, permanent, quick solution. A life sentence in the right type of institution with no chance for parole, I feel, is much greater punishment than simply killing someone. Taking away one’s freedom is much more severe punishment than taking away one’s life, because eventually these people would also die in these institutions. But that’s just me and I know I’m right, haha!

Speaking of which, how long does it take you to think of a person deserving a bullet but not a single tear? Bush doesn’t count.

You really got me… I just spend a good moment trying to think of someone, but I guess I’m more into other methods of killing than shooting, because I couldn’t come up with anyone, haha!

Not Eddie Van Halen Who in the band got the sauna record? No offense, as I have more respect for Finns than pretty any other group of humans, but would you be so kind to admit taking steaming, hot baths with guys is a bit on the homo-erotic side?

A bit? Wow, aren’t you being “a bit” politically correct there, haha!

I’d like you to mention the 5 most fucked up serial killers/dealers of mayhem, solo at it, you can think of. I won’t give you my full list, but I’ll reveal who I have in first, namely a guy named Carl Panzram. If unfamiliar with the utterly violent dude, I suggest you read him up on www.crimelibrary.com. To spur further interest I add that he spat his executioner in the face, urging him to get his ass in gear.

Carl was a gentleman without a doubt. For some reason, Theodore Bundy has always been on top of my list. I know, he’s seen as a mainstream serial killer icon and whatnot, but he just does it for me. In no specific order, from the top of my head, I could also throw in names like Gary Heidnik, Peter Sutcliffe, Andrei Chikatilo, Gary Ridgway, Arthur Shawcross, Theodore Kaczynski and Dayton Leroy Rogers. I know that’s more than five names – sue me.

At second I have Ukraine dude I don’t remember the name of, but I do kom i håg he raped, murdered and ate kids.

Never met this dude. So it was crispy kids for lunch, roit?

Eddie Van Halen Have you ever genuinely hoped the world would turn into a ball of fire and just cease to exist? If so, what is your diagnosis? Mine is agitated depression. It’s awesome.

Mine is drummer and it’s pretty darn awesome as well! I’m not so sure about the whole world turning into a ball of fire, but I’m pretty sure we could do without most of the mankind. Generally speaking people are just pretty damn stupid most of the time and I’m not really into that.

And on that bombshell, as Clarkson would have put it, it’s time to end the interview. It will be an honor standing shoulder to shoulder with you guys on the battlefield, in the sauna even, see you there.

Thank you, never had such a long chat with a Norwegian lad who was sober… Well, maybe Trym some years ago, but we were talking about drums and you know how that is – hours and hours and everyone else around you is just sick of it. And come to think of it, you were probably as drunk most Norwegians I’ve talked to anyway, so at this point, I’m not sure if I’m making any sense whatsoever either and I think it’s better just give up and meet you in sauna! You bring the tools, I bring the corpses!

Thanks for the time and effort put into answering my awesome questions.

What effort? My girlfriend answered these for me!

As I wrote to Mr. Häkkinen in a reply post, I am indeed honoured by the obvious time and effort his girlfriend put into this shit. I’m sure she is a firecracker in bed.