Melancholic Madness
CoC chats with Finland's Decoryah
by: Adrian Bromley
Finland's three-piece Decoryah are known for the hypnotic yet beautiful stylings and orchestral pieces that walk the fine line between death metal and art. It's classical, melancholic and beautiful, though there is an underlying darkness and uncertainty that finds refuge within the music of the band as well. Their latest effort _Fall-Dark Waters_ (Metal Blade) is the follow-up to their successful 1995 debut, _Wisdom Floats_, an album respected by critics and fans alike for the Finnish band's ability to strive for creativity and provide the music scene with something fresh and innovative. The band prospered from the respect they were given with their debut and worked hard to create a masterpiece to follow their debut. _FDW_ is just that, a blissful and enchanting adaptation of the band's images and visions with the help of three powerful female singers (Sini Koivuniemi, Karolina Olin and Piritta Vainio) and the contributions they infused with the use of cellos, violins and flutes. The band's maturity shines through as well. From Finland comes the call by drummer Mikko Laine (the band is rounded out by singer/guitarist Jukka Vuorinen and other guitarist Jani Kakko) and CoC and Laine 'talk shop' about their latest effort:

CoC: Since the release of the album, you have been doing some press and now you now have some time off to get back into the rehearsal hall and practice before touring, whenever that may be. Will there be a tour for _Fall-Dark Waters_?

Mikko Laine: We are not sure right now. <pause> Quite possible in the future I guess. Perhaps after the next album or so.

CoC: And why not with this album? Why are you not sure about touring with this effort?

ML: On our album, there are many people involved with making it, so if we want it to sound even remotely similar to what is on the album we would have to have all those people on tour. It would cost a lot of money and I am not sure if we would have that financial support.

CoC: Do you find that, seeing as you may not tour with this album, it hurts the band in regards to exposure and record sales?

ML: Well it doesn't bother me that much. I guess it would be nice to promote the album with touring but hopefully we will be able to tour our record in the future. Or just wait till the next one.

CoC: What kind of press is the band doing to promote this album? Video? Radio? Magazines?

ML: We have only done magazine press right now but we may do a video. We are planning to do one but again we'll see. It costs a lot of money to make videos as you know.

CoC: With the work that you did with _FDW_, how is this album different from what you had done with _WF_?

ML: There is a lot more variety with this record. I think this record has a much different sound than the poor production we did with _WF_. This record is moodier and there is definitely more variation with this album. I liked _WF_ but it was too much of the same style of music.

CoC: And you were all pretty young too?

ML: Yeah. We were all like seventeen years old when we recorded the first album. I'm nineteen now, so is Jani and Jukka is twenty now. Both Jani and I will be twenty by the end of the summer. We are still very young.

CoC: Do you think being young makes a difference with your music? Do you think you will be able to grow with your music?

ML: I think it is a great benefit that we are so young and made such a unique sound. And I hope as we get older our music can progress too.

CoC: How old were you when you started to play?

ML: I was twelve when I started to play music. Both Jukka and Jani were around the same time too. We were all in the same class in school. I was the first to buy an instrument. I bought drums and pretty soon they bought guitars and we started to play and we got together as a band. It was very simple to get this started.

CoC: How important is it for the mood of the album to come across as opposed to just the music?

ML: Atmosphere is the most important thing in all of art and not just music. In our music both atmosphere and mood are a priority for me. They are extremely important. If the music is powerful then that is great but we want to deliver a powerful mood to the person listening to our music.

CoC: Do you bring about any of your homeland's heritage into your music?

ML: Maybe a bit in the mood but we never tried to do so. Coming from Finland, a lot of the music is melancholic and soft, maybe that is what finds its way into our music. There are a lot of bands that like to incorporate their heritage or upbringing styles or even mythology into their music like Amorphis (see interview in this issue), but we just don't do that or include it. We are not against doing so but we just stay away from it. I'm proud to be Finnish and there is great heritage and culture here but we don't set out to put that into our music.

CoC: How have the reactions been for the record seeing that the debut was such a popular release?

ML: We have only heard the reactions from those that have interviewed us so far and they have all liked it. If they didn't like us then why would they want to interview us? I hope that the album will do as well as _WF_.

CoC: What do you like about this record, aside from the maturity you believe it shows off or the better production?

ML: Like I said before, I think the atmosphere says it all about the record. We really discovered something within our music and ourselves with this record.

CoC: The music that you create seems to be very hardworked and well thought out with the classical pieces and the themes. Does it come naturally? How does the band Decoryah create the music they play?

ML: It comes quite naturally. Jukka will come up with a riff and we jam and that is how it comes together. Most of the arrangements come out of working within the studio, seeing that while we are in there we have all these ideas and visions of what it is that we want to get out of our music with that specific song. We thought of where to put the woman's vocals or the cello or violins while we were in the studio. The music changes a lot coming from a rehearsal jam and into the studio and onto the record, but 'YES' to answer your question, it is quite easy for us to write material. It is easy so far.

CoC: Do you find your lyrics to be very personal or about everything out there that people can understand too?

ML: I don't know. Jukka writes all the music and I can't say if they are personal to me. I can say that they are personal to Jukka. They are added to the music to create atmosphere. If the music is melancholic than we look into writing melancholic lyrics to match the music so they can work off the music and once again set up the atmosphere of the band.

CoC: Did you ever think that when you started you'd be where you were today, working with a label like Metal Blade and already with your second album at such an early age?

ML: No we didn't. When we started we didn't know about 'underground music' or demos and stuff. We just played and never thought of recording anything. But after recording our demo tape we got quite a few good responses from some small labels. We started to believe that we might then be able to get some records out. And we eventually did.

CoC: How is the band's reaction to working with a label?

ML: Everything has gone well so far with Metal Blade. We have a free hand to do whatever we like with our music. So far there have been no complaints and I am sure that they know that we are quite a different band to be working with. So far I think it has been a good combination for both of us.

CoC: As for any new recordings, what is the game plan for Decoryah seeing that this record just came out and you are already thinking of a new release? Will there be material on the next record much more different than what you did with _WF_ and _FDW_?

ML: I guess it will be somewhat different but not much more different. It'll be along the lines of both releases. I don't think _WF_ and _FDW_ are that different from one another, only that _FDW_ shows our maturity more. I hope the next record captures once again our maturity and people can recognize the sounds of Decoryah and at the same time bring in new elements.

CoC: And the where does the name of the band come from?

ML: Basically nothing. When we started off realizing we were serious about this and we were in the 'underground', we were looking for a name and we were fed up with bands with names with 'Blood' or 'Death' in them. We decided to go for a name that doesn't mean anything but brings an association of a music style with a particular band.

CoC: So you were trying to stay clear of being seen as just a band inspired by death and blood right?

ML: When you have death or something like that within your music than that is okay, but our music has nothing to do with that. That would have placed the band as one style of music in which we were not part of. We didn't want that. We wanted to be somewhere else other than with those bands. We have always strived to be different and original.

CoC: Seeing that this is your second release and you have been around for a few years in the music industry, is there anything important that you have learned in the last little while?

ML: Yeah, you have to earn money for the labels so that they can keep you on their roster. That's it. <laughs>

(article submitted 9/6/1996)


ALBUMS
6/9/1996 A Bromley 7 Decoryah - Fall-Dark Waters
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