The Futility of It All
CoC interviews Petri Eskelinen of Rapture
by: Pedro Azevedo
Rapture's remarkable debut _Futile_ [CoC #45] was one of 1999's best surprises: an emotionally gripping album, music drenched in sadness and the sense of all-encompassing futility indicated by the album title. It was, however, immediately labelled as Finland's answer to Katatonia's _Brave Murder Day_, which is understandable but also an unfair suggestion of lack of originality that the band did not deserve. Indeed, regardless of eventual similarities, _Futile_ is still an album that is very relevant. It was one of the highlights of the year for me, and I can't wait to hear its successor. The following is an e-mail interview with vocalist Petri Eskelinen.

CoC: Quite a significant part of the doomiest bands around these days seem to come from Finland -- Rapture, Unholy, Skepticism, Dolorian, etc. --, more so than from other Scandinavian nations. What is it about Finland that you think might cause this?

Petri Eskelinen: I don't have the slightest idea. Could be the long, cold winters. Then again, we have the highest suicide rates in the world, I think. Finnish people are generally kind of introverted and... I really don't know, 'cause everybody tells me that I'm not your average Finnish bloke, but rather really extroverted and sociable.

CoC: What do you think of the Finnish metal scene in general? How does Rapture fit in it, what is it that you think can make you special?

PE: The Finnish metal scene... I really don't know if there is a "scene" anymore. At least I haven't been involved in it anymore for a long time. We have some very, very good bands here, but as far as the demo scene goes, I don't know. I don't think I have the energy to be interested in demo bands anymore, unless somebody comes up to me and really recommends something. About fitting in the scene, I don't quite understand what you mean by it, since I don't think there's too much of a scene to fit into. [I was thinking of this "scene" as being formed by the bands that I mentioned in the previous question, amongst others. --Pedro] We just do our own thing to please ourselves. And what makes Rapture so special to me is that it's something I'm deeply a part of. Whatever makes it special to someone else, I really can't tell. That's something for each and every one to decide for himself.

CoC: Do you think there might be a chance that Finnish doom became known more or less like Swedish death or Norwegian black did, despite the obvious differences between the aforementioned Finnish bands? And would that be a good thing, in your opinion?

PE: Firstly, I don't feel we're that much a doom band. Secondly, doom will never be as big as black metal, 'cause it's far more extreme and hard to swallow than black metal. Plus, there's nothing "cool" in doom to scare your parents with. If doom were to become big or whatever, I couldn't care less. There would still be a lot of good bands to listen to.

CoC: What about Rapture, what makes you want to write and play music as sombre and sad as _Futile_?

PE: Well, our guitar players write all our music, so I'm not in a position to say anything about that, but I guess they only want to express some of their own feelings through this kind of music. That's what I personally try to do when I'm writing lyrics. This band is -- and I think I can safely speak for the whole band here -- an outlet for expressing emotions that would otherwise pile up and later come out in some unhealthy way. For me, it's a way to release depression, frustration, <place any human feeling here> and for example anger through words and music together. It's a great feeling to have found people around you that can put into music the things you yourself put into words.

CoC: What feelings would you ideally like to induce in the listener with your music?

PE: Liking good music or art in any form is a matter of relating to what the musician/artist has tried to say. Well, not always, but in most cases. I'm not trying to induce any feelings in our listeners. Whatever feeling you get from listening to Rapture is fine by us. We play music only to satisfy our own need to create and release some feelings from our inner selves.

CoC: To what degree do you feel you have achieved that with _Futile_?

PE: If I didn't play in Rapture, I'd be a fan, I guess... I think it's a good album and I do get the chills whenever I listen to it. I guess that's a good indication that we've achieved something, since we wrote it for ourselves. I've had people come up to me and say that they've cried listening to the album, so...

CoC: How concerned are you with all the criticism about _Futile_ sounding a lot like Katatonia's _Brave Murder Day_? Will it be a priority for you in the future to reach a more distinctive sound, or are you more worried about just creating music you're satisfied with?

PE: I don't care. I know that we're different than Katatonia and it will most definitely not be a priority to "reach a more distinctive sound" in the future. As I said before, we write music that comes to us naturally and to please ourselves and ourselves only.

CoC: What main changes can we expect to find in Rapture's next release? Will you be treading a similar path as far as the emotions you express with your music?

PE: Oh yes, definitely. I still have some demons to exorcize and I think the guys have their share of emotional distress as well. Only time will tell... We write the kind of music that comes to us naturally, so it's impossible to say what will come next. Of course every band grows and evolves, but don't hold your breath expecting a pop record! <laughs> We will possibly try out some more clean vocals and concentrate a bit more on the general atmosphere...

CoC: What are your plans for the near future? New album on the works?

PE: We're playing a show here in Helsinki on the 5th of August, so we're rehearsing like hell at the moment. After the show, we will begin rehearsing some new songs and continue writing more new material. The new album will probably come out in late Summer or Fall 2001.

CoC: Is there anything else you'd like to add to this interview?

PE: I guess all is said and all is done. Thank you for the interview and sorry about the delay...

(article submitted 12/8/2000)

3/15/2005 P Azevedo 8 Rapture - The Silent Stage
4/11/2003 P Azevedo 7.5 Rapture - Songs for the Withering
1/15/2000 A Bromley 8 Rapture - Futile
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