WHO ARE YOU? HOW ARE YOU? WHERE ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE 15 MIN. AGO? Hell’o, I’m Markus Vanhala, the guitar player of OMNIUM GATHERUM, I’m exhausted after a busy gig weekend and about four hours sleep in the whole weekend but otherwise things are going greatly. At the moment I’m at my home here in Kotka, Finland and answering this endless pile of interviews and listening to the DEEP PURPLE. YOUR NEW ALBUM IS NOW OUT FOR A FEW DAYS. HOW ARE THE REACTIONS FROM FANS AND PRESS SO FAR? The reactions towards our new album have been extremely great – our album went even to the official Finnish album chart to position #31, THUNDERSTONE & FINNTROLL for example were left behind us. So, this was a really big surprise for us, a nice one indeed! Medias have also given really good ratings to the album, we also like the album ourselves and think it’s really the best OG effort yet, so whatta hell. Looking good indeed! WHICH ARE THE REASONS YOUR NEW OUTPUT BEING YOUR BEST EFFORT SO FAR? OR MAYBE YOU EVEN WOULD LIKE TO ADMIT THAT IT IS NOT? 😉 Big reason for the new album greatness is our new vocalist Jukka Pelkonen who joined the band before this new album. He has given a big boost and kick in the ass to the whole band and he did amazing job with his vocals and arrangements on this one, and the band chemistry is also rolling better than ever! Songs are also more compact, heavier, rockier, melodic – one word review = better! This album has a tight competition about being the best OG album with our debut “Spirits And August Light”, but at the moment this album wins that toss! HOW BIG WAS THE IMPACT OF LOOSING YOUR FORMER VOCALIST ANTTI ON THE BAND? Really big impact for that the band is sounding much more better now, heh! Also to be honest, Antti was kicked out from the band… “YEARS IN WASTE” HAD SOME GREAT REVIEWS, SO WHY WAS THE WORK WITH NUCLEAR BLAST NOT TO BE CONTINUED? I guess they weren’t satisfied for our sales, which would’ve been great for any smaller label, and on the other hand we weren’t satisfied for their input to OG… TELL US MORE ABOUT THE “SNAKE” AND THE “WAY”. A LYRICAL CONCEPT? The album artwork symbolizes very well the whole concept of the album. In the cover you can see a man walking down an endless road. That road is the “Snakes way”, the temptation within the mind of every soul on this third planet of ours. The lyrics are about the “Snakes way” from different angles, so there is a certain lyrical concept included. COULD YOU EXPLAIN THE SPECIAL KIND OF INSPIRATION/ FORCE CREATING YOUR NEW ALBUM ESPECIALLY AFTER BEING IN THE SCENE FOR SEVERAL YEARS? The biggest force on creating new stuff is to beat up the old stuff and develop the style to something new and interesting. We haven’t done yet two same kind of albums in a row and I hope this evolution will continue on the coming efforts. Inspiration then is just a state of mind when you’re in balance with yourself and you feel creativity in your veins, I can’t explain that more easily, heh… Every metalhead always say the cliché thing that irritation gives some inspiration but I disagree, when something fucks me up I can´t work properly then. With this new album this time a big inspiration came also from our new vocalist Jukka, as new elements always refresh the crew and give new breed. WHEN WILL WE SEE YOU GUYS LIVE ON STAGE? We have yet confirmed only one festival appearance to Germany and that is Filthrock Festival in Prenzlau at 22nd of September. Hopefully we can do some bigger tour there before or after that there in central-europe, we´re working on it and checking options at the moment. Already two tours fucked up, so there’s enough this shitty bad luck… HEARING INFLUENCES FROM KATATONIA TO DEATH AND JUDAS PRIEST: WHAT OR WHO WAS YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCE AS AN ARTIST? DO YOU SEE YOURSELF AS PART OF A CERTAIN TRADITION OR AS PART OF A MOVEMENT? Ten years ago when we formed this band our biggest influences came from DEATH, EDGE OF SANITY, IRON MAIDEN, MEGADETH, IN FLAMES, DARK TRANQUILLITY, AMORPHIS and so on. When we first heard the albums like “Subterranean” by IN FLAMES, “Gallery” by DARK TRANQUILLITY, “Purgatory Afterglow” by EDGE OF SANITY, “In the Nightside Eclipse” by EMPEROR, “Slaughter of the Soul” by AT THE GATES and “Tales From The 1000 lakes” by AMORPHIS and the list goes on and on, our souls were sold! There were no other things possible in life than to form a band playing this style. Of course these influences are haunting somewhere deep between the lines of our music still. I guess we’re of course part of the northern or Scandinavian metal movement started in the mid or late nineties, or nowadays you could invite this also to Finnish metal movement. I call that we’re under the sign of the tradition called METAL, no need to put to any compartment, or if you want then call us with some genre, use “bastard metal”, “life-and-death metal” or “adult-oriented-death metal”. heh! LABELED AS “MELO DEATH METAL”. HOW WOULD YOU CONVINCE A METAL-FAN, WHO SAYS: “I DON’T NEED MORE MELODICAL DEATH METAL-BANDS. THERE ARE ENOUGH” TO GIVE YOUR ALBUM A TRY? If you want to label us to melo-death-metal, then I could say that in that category we’re the best new act since the late nineties on that category, heh! Many journalists have said that you can’t compare or indicate OG straightly to some other band, so it tells that here’s really own thing going on and the stuff is really versatile and nasty for listeners. Our stuff needs more listening times to understand all this mess than just one listen. If you´re ready to give it to this album then great – You´ll find much more and something great and different between the lines. But if not, you just listen one song, you won´t deserve this album and you should buy some Norther album and get happy… heh! WHEN WOULD YOU FEEL A SENSE OF ACHIEVEMENT IN YOUR MUSICAL CAREER? Almost every time when I wrote a new song! Heh. 🙂 IMAGINE YOUR MUSIC HAS BEEN CHOSEN AS A SOUNDTRACK. WHICH FILM WOULD IT FIT BEST? Some David Lynch movie that you have to watch few times before you understand what there happens. Maybe some tuned up brutal version of “Twin Peaks”! DO YOU FEEL AN ARTIST HAS A CERTAIN DUTY TOWARDS ANYONE BUT HIMSELF? OR TO PUT IT DIFFERENTLY: SHOULD ART HAVE A POLITICAL/ SOCIAL OR ANY OTHER ASPECT APART FROM A PERSONAL SENSATION? Artist have duties towards the other artists of the band, as they’re working there together to build something and if someone from the crew fails then the totality suffers… Main point in art is to appeal to the artist himself. You got to be happy to your product and sincere to yourself before you can be sincere to other people, fans etc. JUST IN CASE YOU WOULD HAVE FREE CHOICE: IS THERE A BAND/ ARTIST; DEAD OR ALIVE, (REGARDLESS OF GENRE) YOU WOULD LIKE TO PERFORM WITH LIVE? For sure, with the band DEATH! Maybe also THE DOORS, JIMI HENDRIX or LED ZEPPELIN just to take part to that late sixties wild life, dared freedom and parties! CONSIDERING YOURSELF BEING A FESTIVAL DIRECTOR. WHICH ACTS WOULD YOU LIKE TO INVITE TO PLAY ON “YOUR” STAGE? PINK FLOYD, RUSH, BURZUM, AVRIL LAVIGNE & OG! Helmut Lotti would be the comperé of the evening, or if he would be busy then J.R. from Dallas would be also fine. THE WORLD WIDE WEB: CURSE OR BLESSING FOR INDEPENDENT MUSIC? Both of them, the curse and the blessing. Blessing on that way that it’s the best promotional channel to promote your band, songs, videos, news and everything. The curse on that way that people download our albums from there and steal our sales figures and for example Nuclear Blast fires us because of this. As everybody knows the band and songs, but sales aren’t as big as the OG-knowledge in the world! Again on the other hand, without email system the band management would be hell, can’t even imagine how hard it’ve been on times before email!! WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS IN THE NEAR FUTURE ON A PERSONAL RESPECTIVELY ARTISTICAL LEVEL? We’re playing as much gigs as we can now this year, and slowly start to compose also the 4th album of OG that´ll be hopefully released next year. I also just recorded an album with my other band MANITOU, which plays traditional heavy metal in the vein of MAIDEN, QUEENSRYCHE, ANNIHILATOR and DIO. That’ll be released via German Metal Heaven label in July, be sure to check that one out! WHICH ARE YOUR OTHER TALENTS BESIDES PLAYING MUSIC? Nothing so special to mention about, teaching guitar playing to teenage metal guitarists and I also just graduated from Polytechnic. I’m quite good on listening to music and I have over 1000 records… heh! Drinking beer is also quite beloved hobby of mine and I’m quite good on that. WOULD YOU EVER CONSIDER BEING PART OF A CASTING SHOW IF OFFERED THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF MONEY… DRUGS… OR WHATEVER YOU WISH FOR? Everything can be done and arranged if speaking about the right amount of money. You can ask that even from Gene Simmons! AT LAST: FEEL FREE TO ADRESS YOUR SUPPORTERS/ ENEMIES DIRECTLY IN YOUR OWN WORDS! If you wanna support honest and sincere individual metal music with taste and heart – buy the OMNIUM GATHERUM album! Check the stuff out from: www.omniumgatherum.org www.myspace.com/omniumgatherum THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR SHARING YOUR TIME AND GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR INTERESTING RELEASE! Thanks a lot for the support!