Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Möe=Ra (T-Talk)

Me being interviewed about my music, conducted in November of 2012. Questions by Justine Florio. For the video, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKtN7L4-G0I.

Q: You're a musician under the name Wicked Breath, and you've been composing music now for 6 years. Can you describe what are the influences we can find in your music or what is your musical environment?

A: I would say that a lot of different stuff influences me. Musically, of course, it's a lot of metal and hard rock bands. I would say some of my favorite bands at the moment are Deftones and Opeth, I've been a big P.O.D. fan for a long time and Korn is up there as well. I guess some people would call at least three of those nu metal bands. I try to be very open-minded, especially lately: there's a lot of new albums that I'm constantly checking out. I'm also trying to move a little further from just listening to metal and rock. I think bands like Opeth and Riverside and Tool have had a really big impact on me as well because my music can be really progressive at times. Also, there's a lot dynamics that have been influenced by Opeth and Deftones and bands of the like. I think there's a lot of different stuff musically. Nature has always been a big inspiration, especially as I've moved on with my life. I really like to take long walks and listen to music while I'm doing that. Photography is also a recent influence. Just everything basically: my own life, my feelings, my own thoughts, and stuff that I read; especially for school, since I am still at school. I know I keep saying it a lot but I'm open-minded and most of the time I don't even intend to take influences but I'm just looking at something or hearing something and I'm like "okay that's really cool", and it gives me some sort of an idea. I guess that's something a lot of artists share with me.

Q: You've released 3 EPs for now and your first full-length album is on the way for summer of 2013. Should we expect a single before the release?

A: Yes. I was actually already about to release a single during the summer of 2012, with a music video. There's just been a lot of stuff going on in my life, school again being one of them. I was supposed to release the album too around this Christmas. I definitely think a single is needed. Maybe a music video will be out as well by the time the album comes out, but I'm not sure about any release dates or anything like that at all yet. There's one song that I think will definitely be a single and another song that might be a single, and again it might have a music video for it as well. The first song already has some stuff filmed for it. Nothing is absolutely certain but I will try my best. I guess you can count on the fact that there will be a single, maybe music videos too.

Q: We can also see that you have a blog where we can follow your musical evolution (at wickedbreath.blogspot.com). What else do you share in that blog?

A: A lot of stuff: stuff about my life, my lyrics and all sorts of poems that aren't even meant to be songs or sung. I also write stories and sometimes I'll put some of those in there as well. Overall just what's happening in my life and all kinds of stuff I like to share. There's pictures of my CD collection. I'm a very avid CD collector these days. Some general events, in sports, sometimes politics, but I don't really talk about those that much. Unfortunately I haven't been updating it that much lately but it's definitely something I think you should check out and I'm hoping to keep it more updated in the future. It's almost like a diary for me, it's not as personal obviously but I just like to talk about basically everything in my life whenever I write there.

Q: The new album is called Reflections & Realizations. Can you already tell us how we can get it when it's released, as in, will it be only digital?

A: That one too isn't 100% certain yet. I've been considering putting it out for free at first and then people can buy a physical copy for whatever price they want. If, for instance, you're in France and you want to buy the album, you do have to pay me the postage costs by default, but other than that you can decide whether you want to give me 5€ extra or 20€ extra or anything in between. I think that's a really great way of selling an album these days because not so many people want them anymore. If they want to collect albums and support me, they should have the possibility to decide for themselves what amount exactly they want to give me. I think it's also important to have a free download for those people who are not into collecting and who are not willing to take the risk of buying an album from someone who they don't know any songs from or maybe know just a single. If you're not rich, it's always kind of risky. I think that's a good plan for now but it's still not completely certain because this has cost me some money personally, investing on the instruments of course and investing a lot of my time too. I don't want to be greedy but I'd like to get some money from it just to develop in the future [with] all the production and all of that. I'm hoping that not too many people will just go ahead and download it and leave it there. I hope they will at least leave me feedback and also hopefully buy the physical copy. I've also already considered exactly how that would happen - you'd personally contact me and I would personally send it to you, so there will be no third parties involved.

Q: I've heard that you have several ideas for future albums for Wicked Breath. Can you tell us a bit more about that?

A: That is kind of what I was referring to earlier when I said that I'm not really even looking for things that inspire me, I just end up having a lot of ideas . Even though I'm still working on this first album of mine, I already have a lot of ideas for the future. I guess it's also natural because it's a long time that I've been working on this album, almost 3 years now. Especially since the recording and mixing phase always takes a long time, for me at least, when I'm not writing anymore for this album, I'm actually writing for the next releases already. On to the releases themselves, I'm planning to start releasing albums and EPs so that there's one every year. As I'm hoping to get this first album out next summer, in 2014 I will have an EP out,  in 2015 an album, in 2016 an EP and in 2017 another album. They kind of form this square in a way. I don't want to share too much on those yet but they will be linked to each other in some ways. They will also each kind of represent a different side of me and my music: there's going to be an album that's really progressive, an album that has a lot of synth and maybe even symphonic elements in there, a release with a really gothic vibe and also one that really cherishes my nu metal and alternative metal roots. There's a lot of stuff coming and I do have a lot of plans already especially for the first two of those, the EP and the album to be released in 2014 and 2015. Things can change obviously, these are just ideas for now. I haven't even started recording or anything yet, there's just a few songs for the first two projects and some ideas for the third one. That's just some of my thoughts for now. I hope that I can release them in the pace of one each year because it would be good for me personally so that I wouldn't have too many ideas by the time I'm releasing my second album or my fourth EP. Also, the "fans" and listeners will constantly have some material and the gaps won't be too long between the releases. Again, I'm busy with life, and I'm also a perfectionist when it comes down to writing the music and especially recording and mixing and all that so it's going to be a challenge but that's what I'm pursuing in the future.

Q: Is there something you want to add to the previous questions or just something you want to share?

A: I guess I just want to welcome everyone to listen to Wicked Breath! If you stumble upon my music video or my single or anything like that, just feel free to tell me what you think even if you hate it. Feedback is really important to me. Also check my blog. I think that if you are open-minded, you will definitely find something to find in my music, because the root of it is quite heavy, but there's still a lot of influences, a lot of different vibes and feelings that I try to put in there. It's all done with a lot of feeling and I try to come up with great atmosphere, and again dynamics are really important for me too. So if that interests you, please check my stuff out. Also you can check what I'm listening to at http://www.last.fm/user/WickedBreath and you can check all the albums that I own digitally and on CD at http://rateyourmusic.com/~WickedBreath. Don't be afraid to approach me, maybe we can just talk about music in general or something like that, doesn't have to be my music. Thanks for taking the time to watch this interview and hopefully I'll talk to you sometime!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Cherry Waves

I thought I'd write a little update on my life. After all, it's been several months since I've made a proper post. 

So far it seems that my final exams went pretty well. The final results don't come until next month, but my tentative results are more positive than negative. I still failed in English, and I'm about to get an E just like last fall on my first attempt. I'm about to get a L (my only) from Finnish, but I am not satisfied with my writing regardless, especially since my essay was a little below average for me. I still have chances for more L grades, but they are most likely going to remain as E grades. Here are the tentative grades for my spring exams, the grades I was aiming for are in brackets:
Finnish - L (L)
English - E (L)
Psychology E (E)
Maths, Short Syllabus - E (E)
Society Studies - E (M)

The grade system, for those of you who don't know/remember (highest to lowest): L-E-M-C-B-A-I.

Of course, I won't be studying for a while now since I have my non-military service to take care of next. I start my 28-day training period in September and will work for 11 months at a non-profit workplace, for which I am currently applying. I'm not afraid of work but the training period causes me anxiety based on the information I have found about it. Secondly I'm worried over my university applications. This spring I didn't apply because I figured that I deserved some rest instead of studying for extrance examinations after my matriculation exams. Now, after the applying season is over, I'm not so sure it was the best choice to make. As I said, I will have to work 11 months starting this October, which means that I will have to find time to study for my entrace examinations, find a way to enter them, and if I get in, I have to move to another city while still tied to my local workplace. On top of that, my work will end exactly 2 days prior to the supposed start of the 2014 fall season at the university. I wish I would've come to think of all of this before, but the damage is done and all I can do now is try to adjust. With my character it's just fairly difficult.

Ever since my exams ended I've also been continuing my recording sessions for my debut album and its sister EP, which on one hand have further increased my stress level lately. I've managed to finish recording bass and vocal tracks (with the exception of one re-take I am contemplating to do) and have recorded guitars for 8 songs during the past few weeks, 6 of which are now finished. However, this pace is too slow for me to finish the album in July, which is the deadline I have set. I've met both production as well as playing issues this past week and my motivation (towards recording, not finishing the album) has started to wane because of various reasons. I will finish the album, everyone can count on that, but I'm afraid that the time period it will be finished in might have to be expanded even more, and the quality of some aspects of the record will possibly suffer from my incapabilities. It's not a huge issue considering I'm an amateur and considering the fact that the music itself is what counts, or should count at least. Someday not too far away I'd just like to be able to produce music that is somewhat on the same level as the music I admire and love. To this day that is a wish oh so far away to be reached, unfortunately.

The "various reasons" I mentioned in the last paragraph of course include the stress I have concerning my future, but there's more. Chi's death devastated me more than I would've predicted, and he's still deeply in my thoughts every day. I've slowly come to peace with his passing, but it doesn't remove the fact that I am incredibly sorry for this loss of a great man and artist. If a positive side is to be pointed out, it's that I've re-discovered many Deftones songs and even full albums starting last Sunday. The most significant one out of these is the album Saturday Night Wrist, which for a long time was my least favorite Deftones album but began to sink in already a few months prior to Chi's death. Now, after paying close attention to the bass lines, little details and excellent songwriting it has risen in my rank and offered me plenty of inspiration. Naturally it has sentimental value affecting my love for it now, since it is the last official record that Chi played on for as long as Eros, the band's nearly completed album from 2008, remains shelved. Even ignoring this I think that SNW is the second most underrated album in my favorite band's catalogue, just behind their self-titled. It is a captivating and magical experience, just like all of their records, and Chi really took the spotlight on it with his ingeniously balanced playing.

I haven't been quite as hungry for new music as I was at the start of last year probably due to my studies forcing me to focus, but I have gotten into a bunch of new stuff during this year so far. Some notable bands include October Tide, Brüssel Kaupallinen, Thy Catafalque and Nothingface. Older familiarites whose work I've further dove into are CMX, Faith No More, Katatonia and Kotiteollisuus. Although I promised to cut down my CD collecting, I've already gained around 50% of the CDs I gathered last year just during 3½ months. :P A large portion of them, in my defense, are (used) singles and thus haven't cost much. Here's a picture and a list showing all my acquirings from 2013.

Stam1na - Nocebo
Junius - Reports From The Threshold Of Death
Swallow The Sun - New Moon
Woods Of Ypres - Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light
Paradise Lost - Tragic Idol
Tool - 10,000 Days [Gift]
Crazy Town - The Gift Of Game [Used]
Ektomorf - Outcast [Promo album, Used]
Kotiteollisuus - Jos Sanon [Single, Used]
Kotiteollisuus - Kädessäni [Single, Used]
Kotiteollisuus - Yksinpuhelu [EP, Used]
Kotiteollisuus - Rakastaa/Ei Rakasta [Single, Used]
Kotiteollisuus - ±0 [EP, Used]
Kotiteollisuus - Routa Ei Lopu (On Ilmoja Pidelly) [EP, Used]
Kotiteollisuus - Kultalusikka [EP, Used]
CMX - Palvelemaan Konetta [Single, Used]
Velcra - Water Is Getting High [Single, Used]
Kotiteollisuus - Aamen
CMX - Dinosaurus Stereophonicus
Opeth - Still Life
Drudkh - Forgotten Legends
Thy Catafalque - Róka Hasa Rádió
Brüssel Kaupallinen - Minä Olen Vihattu
Sara - Silmiin & Sydämiin [Single, Used]
Sara - Seuraa [Single, Used]

Sara - Tanssiin [Single, Used]
Sara - Ylimäärä [Single, Used]
Sara - Momentum [Single, Used]
P.O.D. - Satellite [Single, Used]
Spineshank - Self-Destructive Pattern
earthtone9 - Omega [EP]
earthtone9 - IV
Katatonia - Deliberation [Single]
Evanescence - Evanescence
Nothingface - Skeletons
earthtone9 - Live From London Garage [DVD]

Somewhat related to all of that, I've recently posted several YouTube videos, one being a review and three being unboxing videos for CDs that I've received. One of the videos I made caught a lot of attention: I presented the Thy Catafalque album I had bought, and the band themselves shared it on Facebook, giving me tens upon tens of extra views and also new subscribers. I, having recently joined Facebook as well, thanked them and thought it was amazing how fast such things can spread in the modern world. I intend to keep my channel rather active from now on and post two reviews next, both of which I am about to start sketching. If you haven't seen my videos yet and are interested, have a look: http://www.youtube.com/user/WickedBreath7

Lastly I'd like to say a few words about my writing. Last week I started working on my novel again after a shamefully long break and managed to make some satisfactory progress. This week, as I haven't been as fruitful on any field of life, I haven't written anything new, but am intending to do so soon. I still see a lot of potential in the story and am serious about trying to get it published once it is finished, which however will take long. I've been inspired to write lyrics as well, but have found it rather difficult without any music to directly base it on, and thus I've drifted into composing instead again and again, with not so great results so far. I'm not really having writer's block when it comes down to Wicked Breath, I just feel like I'm caught up in a lot of things at once at the moment and hence a little distracted and lost. It's nothing that I couldn't work out on my own though. I've been working on a new post for the column I started in this blog in February as well, but I don't know yet when that will be finished because I have so much on my plate right now. The segment is something I'd be glad to make into a monthly thing or something, but we'll see how it turns out. All reactions to the first part were encouraging, and I admit that I'm excited to share my thoughts on some things that are important to me in a wider form than usual.

I'll sign off now, sorry for the extensive ramble. Have a good day everyone! As a collector, I still have some shopping to do, as it is the international Record Store Day today... :P

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Be Quiet And Drive (Far Away)

Your ride was fruitful.
You had a unique personality and teamed up with your unique friends to form something unique. You also made your own individual efforts with poetry.
Your ride was an adventure.
Together with your friends you touched people everywhere, and went to countless different places just by doing what you loved so much and were so exceptional at.
Your ride was meaningful.
Still to this day the tracks you made are seen, appreciated and loved by many, and deservingly, since those tracks were not just scratches of the surface, but deep cuts in the human soil, bursting with variety in sound and structure.

Now your ride is over. Even after a long battle it still came devastatingly fast. You will, however, be missed and remembered, for your life was far greater than your death.

May there be peace in your soul, Chi.