TOTALSELFHATRED (Eng.)

– Hello, thanks for taking your time. What are you currently up to?

J: Hello and thanks for having us. We’re currently working on some new material for the next album, about three songs are ready and more are on the way. We’re also playing a few shows in Finland this week with Negura Bunget from Romania and Forgotten Tomb from Italy.

– You’ve been around for about 6 years and have just released your sophomore album, so I guess there may be some people who aren’t familiar with you yet. Could you please make some history of the band?

J: Totalselfhatred started originally back in 2005 when C. & A. decided to merge their musical visions into one. They recruited N. from Korgonthurus to play bass and released a demo in 2006. The three songs on the demo were later recorded again for the debut album in 2008. Prior to that time I had joined to play synths (though I later switched to guitar, which is my main instrument) and T. joined to play drums on the debut album. Later on M. joined to play synth and I. was switched to drums and here we are now. That line-up performed the second album.

 

– And why such name? Both its origin and meaning.

J: It’s a form of joke that stuck. A reflection of self-irony gone a tad too far. Dumb name that puts people off, yet they tend to remember it and after hearing the actual material makes them feel ashamed for not giving the band a chance despite the moronic title.

 

– In your sound you mix elements from different styles as Doom or Black Metal and you even seem to have certain non-Metal inspirations so, what are your main musical influences?

J: Well, I can’t speak for the others that much, but we’re pretty varied in our musical tastes. They all meet at some point, yet travel to different directions from there. For instance, A. tends to listen to some mainstream pop music alongside black metal, C. has found an interest in dark ambient, I. likes «noise not music»-type of stuff and I’ve been listening to sludge and punk for years. The influences are varied, but there are some recognizable ones. Non-musically it all comes from deep within, channeling our deeper emotions into an audial form.

 

– As I said, you recently released your second full-length album, «Apocalypse in your Heart». How would do you think this title fits the music in the album?

J: We were aiming for a feeling of chaos and clarity within oneself, the struggle between them and the duality of man. I feel, that we accomplished this feeling pretty well in most of the songs, though personally I could’ve left a couple of them out as they were in a pretty different vein and more suitable elsewhere. Yes, the title is pretty camp.

 

– As it has been out for several months now; how has been feedback for this effort?

J: Very varied. A lot of people complain about the production without paying real attention to the songs themselves. They feel that the simplistic A-B-A-B-C -structure on the songs on the first album is better instead of the more unconventional song structure on the second one, where we allowed the songs to progress onwards on their on weight.

What strikes me as weird, is the people calling us generic. I mean, what the hell, name a band that sounds exactly like us?

 

– I’ve seen reactions have been mixed, I’ve read really good reviews or really bad ones (maybe some people expected a copycat of your previous album). I mean, it seems like you guys create excitement: some people just love your and some others hate you. Do you think this is something positive for you as a band?

J: Our music is conveying a lot of emotion within and thus carrying it across to the listener. It is up to him or her to decipher it in one way or another. If he or she feels touched in some way, we’ve succeeded – be it in a good or bad way. There is nothing worse than being mediocre, boring and generic. Why should we do things in a way that they have been done a thousand times before? We prefer to be remembered they way we are. No posing, no obscure imagery, just TSH.

 

– With your two albums you have managed creating a unique sound, and some people compares you to different bands as SHINING, NYKTALGIA, MY DYING BRIDE or early ANATHEMA among others but, how could you describe the TOTALSELFHATRED’s sound?

J: I’d describe us as a musical self-reflection of one’s inner motives and thoughts performed in a musical form influenced by the aesthetics of black metal and finnish love of slavonic melancholy. Maybe I’ll just namedrop something for your readers: Old Katatonia + Strid + Red Sparowes + Burzum + Isis = Totalselfhatred

 

– I could say «Apocalypse in your Heart» is a more Black Metal album, even at the old school style, maybe it has something to do with that the really raw production. Was this somekind of approach you setted for this record?

J: We were wishing for a more chaotic production to accompany the songs this time, to suit the overall concept. We wanted a more organic approach as well. The result is not quite what we were looking for, but it ain’t bad either. It’s still much better than the production on the first album, on which the cymbals get digitally distorted for overflowing the limiter most of the time…

 

– In fact the produciton is a quite big difference between «Totalselfhatred» and this new piece. How was its process like? Who took production duties?

J: The same fellow as before, Santeri from Drop Hammer Studios recorded and mixed the album. We didn’t share the same visions concerning the production though, so that added to the lack of time lead to some questionable results. Oh well, better luck next time – we’ll be doing things differently from now on.

 

– And what about the songwriting process?

J: This time the we composed more as a band as a whole. We took the half-ready songs to rehearsals and added meat to the bone. This way the compositions flow more freely and not as rigidly as on the first album. When we play the older songs live they tend to sound more powerful than the recorded versions, just because we’ve played together a lot more. For the upcoming album we’ll form the compositions at our rehearsals, basing them even more on jams and such. Our process of writing has evolved quite a lot over these past years.

 

– Musically and feeling-wise I could say this record is ambiguous; as its dark but with certain light, brutal but with melodies, beautiful but ugly and melancholic but agonizing. Do you consciously want to create those kind of balances?

J: Precisely. You’ve understood what we’re on about. There is no light without darkness and no darkness without light.

 

– Moreover your music has always been full of different emotions. What feelings do you think you have now expressed with this «Apocalypse in your Heart»?

J: Solitude, desolation, anger, hate, calmness, peace, affection, lethargy, hopelessness and many more

 

– And what are this time around some of the lyrical ideas covered in the CD?

J: They’re based on self-reflection and one’s own perception of the surrounding world. We tend to build our lyrics from many different elements vaguely circling on the same topics and thus create something new. We included the lyrics with the album this time. Read them and make your own interpretations.

 

– This has been your first album with Osmose; how’s everything going with them so far? Is for an underground band being with such a big label a benefit or the opposite?

J: There have been good sides and some not-so-good sides in signing this deal and I’d rather not go into details regarding these now.

 

– This also is your first album with your new drummer and M (though she has been in the band for a while now). What have they brought new to TSH?

J: Switching drummers brought new life to the band as a whole, we sound a lot different live now than we did on the 2009 tour, for instance. Adding M. has proven to be a valuable asset to the band, as she takes care of the many minor details and arrangements included in the everyday workings of a band. Oh and she also plays synth pretty well, hehe.

 

– As I said earlier, your music is really expressive and melancholic but, what’s TSH for you guys? What does the band mean to you personally?

J: For myself it has been a channel to express myself, to let out some steam. One of the few forms of escapism that allow me to keep myself sane in this modern world that’d otherwise slowly disintegerate my will to keep going on. Music is something that has always been a huge part of my life and I doubt that it’ll ever change.

 

– And finally, what are your near-future plans? What can we expect from you from now on?

J: We’ll compose the third album and release it. Beyond that, nobody knows yet. Only time will tell.

 

– That has been all, thanks once more for answering to our questions. If you now want to add some final words; last lines are all yours

J: We should all remember that life is serious, but should not be taken too seriously. In the end we’re all nothing and become nothing when we leave. Nobody really gives a fuck about anything. Everything is nothing. May we live long and, in the end, die out.

Tania Giménez

tania@queenosfsteel.com

 

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