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16th
Sep 14

The Chant

New Haven Interview
ENGuest: Kimmo Tukiainen (Guitars)

New Haven Interview

Q-1: You play since the beginning in a unchanged lineup with 7 members. Tell us a little bit about band, the members and the key to your togetherness?

A-1: There's been seven of us for a long time now and the lineup has not changed much ever. I know it might seem a bit excessive to some at first. There's three guitarists in the band in addition to a bass player, keyboard player, a drummer and a lead vocalist. Two of the guitarists do backing vocals as well and the arrangements have been planned to have enough space for the three so we have pretty much avoided sounding like a chaotic wall of guitars. One of the clever sides to our music in my opinion is that it does not sound cluttered even though there's seven of us. I guess it helps that the music is not power metal or anything like that but atmospheric rock leaning towards progressive music.

Q-2: What is your musical background? What bands have influenced you this in the past but also in the present? And there are lesser-known bands that you can recommend?

A-2: Well our music is a combination of all the music we've listened to and enjoyed over the years so it feels a bit slack naming just a few bands. Usually in reviews people have found similarities between us and Anathema, Katatonia and Porcupine Tree. What comes to The Chant's music sounds like, they are quite accurate. Those are some of our favourite bands of course. I would personally mention Paradise Lost too, since what comes to melodies and themes, our musical roots are from that movement of heavy, melodic music that Paradise Lost was active in creating. Still I'm pretty confident that our drummer's (Roope Sivén) influences are somewhere quite else and he draws from what ever sounds good rather than a specific genre. I guess we all do that to some extent. 

Q-3: The band is already existing since 1999, why has it taken so long that your debut album "Ghost Lines" was first published in 2008?

A-3: I guess at that time we were still trying to find out who we are as a band and the years before Ghostlines were spent on learning about ourselves and each other musically. Even though the learning never ends, we were also a lot more learning about the technical side of recording and producing music in general. I don't remember us being very fluent with the process at first. I vaguely remember us having the feeling of wanting to move on as a band and the time was finally right in 2008. 

Q-4: How do you work together in the band and writes your songs? I can imagine that this is not so easy with 7 band members!

A-4: I guess the years of experience we have together has moulded The Chant's creative process into a form that works pretty well. Normally our guitarist / mastermind Jussi Hämäläinen has a musical idea or a few riffs that he has come up with on his own. He brings them to band practice and we go through them and jam for a while. Usually at this point we are changing the order of riffs and trying out different ways of playing the same thing and being a bit analytical about what's missing and what's too much. At this point we as a band only try to make good sounding music. The Chant's lyrics are written by our vocalist Ilpo Paasela and our keyboard player Mari Jämbäck. The lyric writing process is usually quite separate from the composing and the two worlds are brought together only once we have some kind of a musical structure ready. In the last stage we modify the song and the lyrics into vocal lines which go with the song. 

Q-5: Your music is atmospheric, melodic, melancholic and but also includes harmonics and joyful parts. When the point was reached than you found your musical Line? And how does this musical mood fit into your song.

A-5: I would say that the fundamentals of The Chant have been there from quite early on. The melodic and melancholic themes have been with us from the times even before our debut album. I would say that we are more accurate nowadays in communicating those musical and emotional ideas and far less often go with clichés or take the easiest way out. We have wanted to match the sounds and style of playing with what is said in the lyrics so that the songs become complete. Sometimes even the sounds themselves tell a story with respect to the lyrics. I mean of course, sometimes also it's just the best we could come up with. I don't think we are very joyful that often. Usually even the joyful parts have their other sides. 

Q-6: With your album "A Healing Place" you have 2012 made a big step forward. How is the feedback on your new album "New Haven"?

A-6: The response to New Haven has been really good in general and we have gotten quite a lot of attention from music media as well as individual fans. A couple of album of the week – titles and a couple of full points from reviewers, which have felt really good. What I've understood from the reviews and feedback is that people appreciate The Chant's ability to be subtle and create delicate moods and convey meaning. Some have saud that even though we tried to make a heavier album this time, it can still be used for taking a break from heavy music. I guess we'll just have to go even heavier next time. 

Q-7: Tell us a little bit about the work on your new album. Were there differences in the approach to "A Healing Place"?

A-7: As on New Haven, we in fact did try to make a heavier album already on A Healing Place. It was funny , we were so confident that we could do it, but the songs themselves came out qutie soft and delicate. We just couldn't force heavy interpretation on those songs so we decided to go with where the songs were pointing in the first place. On New Haven though, we did come up with songs which were more suitable for something a bit heavier so we were happy to use a bit more distortion this time. The production itself was quite identical to A Healing Place. We recorded majority of the album by ourselves and had people external to the band only in the drum recordings, mixing and mastering. We like to do as much ourselves as we can. 

Q-8: From the perspective of the atmosphere in your music. What effects do you use how do you use them in your songs?

A-8: What comes to guitar sounds I would say the biggest effect is having new strings when recording and knowing what is being played and how it's supposed to sound like. We do have a pile of quite everyday pedals such as reverbs, delays, fuzz and distortion boxes an all that. For some reason we have used a lot of Boss pedals since they're quite good quality for what they cost. We quite rarely have just the clean guitar sound, as there is almost all the time some mild reverb or chorus on. We try not to overdo the quitar effects at the same time making them noticeable enough. I guess it's a balancing thing. What matters even more to our sound is that we quite often make our own keyboard sounds with a Roland analog synth. At the point when we record the synths almost everything else is usually done already so we have a relatively good idea of what the song still needs and the keyboards tie everything up together and works kind of as glue between the other instruments.

Q-9: Do you have to make compromises if your playing your songs live? Or they are already written that they also work live?

A-9: Our live shows are quite different from the albums. We use diffrerent sounds and the expression can be also heavier and louder live. It is quite common for us to make whole new arrangements from older songs that we play live so there's something different happening than just playing our stuff off a CD. There are times when we have to compromise instrument parts in favor of the vocals and also some guitars have been played by different guitarists on the album when compared to live. In general, since there's quite a lot of us, we've had to think the songs through quite thoroughly so usually we do not have to change that many things in the songs unless we for one reason or the other want to. 

Q-10: What are your future plans now? Can we see The Chant on a tour or a festival here in Germany?

A-10: Currently we're doing a few shows here in Finland and working on some video projects as well as just trying to enjoy the Finnish summer. I hope we would be able to come to Germany in the quite reasonable near future. But time will tell, and I'll keep everyone up to date when things happen.

Q-11: Thank you that you have taken the time for the interview. Do I have something important forget or do you want something special to say?

A-11: Hey thanks for having us! I can highly recommend listening to a bit of New Haven the next time you walk by yourself in the city at night.

Autor: Pierre

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Magazine established by Pierre Brost in 2003 with Michael Hohmann
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