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Interviews
Somnivore Interview; Golden Blood
Monday, October 01 2007 @ 02:00 AM PDT
Contributed by: Sage


Heathen Harvest:  You've mentioned previously in another interview that you "had severe physical, mental, spiritual and social problems" in the beginnings of Somnivore.  Could you please elaborate on these said ailments?

Juha Kettunen:  These were the four curved hands of the cross that nearly dug me early grave, I will not specify these things any further.  Like in cross, those hands were connected to each other, and their centerpoint was my life.

 
HH:  Do you still suffer from any of these ailments?

JK:  I still have some demon decapitation to do, yes. The latest and the strongest by far I found just a month ago.  My mind is somehow like an old and nasty attic, some ghosts and useless crap has nested there for ages.  In this life I was given some courage and some tools to fix and clean that place, and this is what I'm about to do.  And maybe also try to help other people to do the same thing too. We'll see how it turns out.


HH:  What was your home life like as a child?  And now?

JK:  I think same like for everyone, the best and the worst moments come hand in hand.


HH:  Your country, Finland, has a rather large underground scene of many various styles of music. 
Does any music with a more distorted vanity have an effect on you and your music?  Black Metal in partciular seems to have a deep root in Finland.

JK:  Yes, Finnish underground in various styles is not just large, but notably innovative and also of good quality.  Black metal has been important for me since I was a teenager, and still - after over a decade since my first touch to this genre - it's an important part of my life. I think I was fascinated by the atmosphere and extremity of music fueled by spiritual and mental ideologies, imagery and lyrics, the things I couldn't find mixed in any kind of music same way back then. Maybe some The Electric Hellfire Club stuff had some similarities, but I knew only a few industrial or industrialish bands back then. There's quite much of different kinds of black metal bands in Finland. Old-school scene has some well-respected bands, and bands that make the traditional second-wave style exist in relatively big numbers and good skills considering the fact that there's population 5,3 million here. Then there's also those bands who push the limits like Circle Of Ouroborus, Finland really has many things considering black metal. There's of course also quite much of other interesting artists. I used to listen quite much noise and power electronics some time ago - mainly Finnish ones - but at the moment I'm not so interested by these particular styles. I guess I'm getting more conservative considering making music and maybe also the same in musical taste when looking the records that I've listened lately. Lots of black metal by the way. And I know that the autumn is coming when Fields Of The Nephilim records nest in my player for days.


HH:  Are there any Finnish artists, or for that matter artists abroad, whom you plan on collaborating with for the future (be it aural or visual)?  If so, what are these projects and what do they entail?
 

JK:  Some plans are made with Circle Of Ouroborus, and a few other bands. More of them later when or if the things start to progress. Only that split 12" with Circle Of Ouroborus is sure so far, so by far only that one counts. I started to work on screenplay for a new Somnivore video some time ago, with this project I have to work with somebody to get satisfactory results.


HH:  Do you consider yourself somewhat psychic, or in some way a reader of dreams?  Is there a place where your dreams most often take you?  Have you ever attempted divination through these dreams on a very serious level?

JK:  Psychic... I don't know. Haven't thought this kind of term with these things ever. More I try and taste that word in my mouth, the more uncomfortable and unfitting it feels. But a reader of dreams... not much of a reader, just got the alphabets for homework about 10 years ago. My divinations have always been uncontrollable, and appear without trying. And useful only for that I understand that they exist, and I'm aware of them, and can draw my own conclusions of their existense. I'm far from that level of understanding how to control those things. I take what comes through, and try to learn from that as much as I can.

The places vary from woods and villages to empty cities and everyday life mixed with all this, but most visited places for me are these huge buildings, so big that there's trees, forests inside. Even snowing sometimes (.38 & slow snow f.ex.). The nature of these place, or this world is really hard to describe even when speaking in Finnish with my closest friends. It's quite many times the same problem when speaking about the most interesting and important subjects, the lack of words...  (I blame those who started to lie before our ages hehe) ...anyway, they don't "feel" like this world feels, even if I'm dreaming of some "real" place in my everyday life. In that world I'm aware that I'm inside, even if there's 200m high pine trees, can be snowing, and there are big buildings around me. But also these huge buildings are somehow inside some closed space. I somehow know that those lamps that hang from somewhere 100m above me, are actually hung 1000m higher or something like that. There are huge mazes and they consist objects from many different times, and I'm not sure are those times ahead or behind that point, so I can't really put any position to this world. But linear time is one huge hoax of corrupted minds of homo sapiens anyway, so I don't bother to try to think so much this time-line stuff. It's deficient and useless, but it comes still "by default" so it's that kind of a problem that one should try not to spoil everything. The fine lines and mixing up of imagination, divination, and regular phychical rest are important to try to notice.


HH:  I have read that there have been strange happenings through listeners of your music. 
Apart from depressive episodes, have there ever been any violent reactions that you know of?


JK:  None that I know of. And I hope that those depressive episodes ended up with understanding and learning a bit more about something.


HH:  Can you tell us more about your spiritual side?  What are your core spiritual beliefs?

JK:  I try tell you that constantly with my art. I've been making a monologue for years, just watch, read and listen.


HH:  You have a short story (of which I'm assuming was a dream of yours) listed on your website entitled ".38 and the Slow Snow".  This, amongst other written works found in that same section, have really been my favorite glimpses into Somnivore.  Can you go into a little detail about what you feel this story meant to you in your life?  Has it in some way manifested itself in another area?

JK:  Thank you!  It is a daydream that I had at the heart of winter in -03. And that dream is actually really important part of Somnivore, with all it's illogical and somewhat surreal nature. I tried to capture lots of that athmosphere to track "Somnivore", which I started to make in late -02, but finalized after this dream. Train through dark blue and snowy lappish woods seems to be for me one of the most inspiring places.


HH:  As Anima Arcitca is partially your label, have you ever considered releasing a book of your works and dreams, either on its own or with another release?

JK:  I find the most fitting way to use all my other skills to aid the music so far, but of course, things can change. Maybe in the form of book with pictures and text followed by CD or something.

 
HH:  Apart from dreams, dates, and places, what other pieces of life play an important part in your music?


JK:  Everything!


HH:  After purposely clicking through the top of your website for a bit, I noticed that the top image changes with every click.  Most of these images seem to represent different styles of architacture and stone.  What part, if any, does architecture play in Somnivore?

JK:  Oh. Never thought those pictures that way. I just photograph what feels fitting, and use what feels fitting... But yes, it seems that a relatively big amount of those pictures are from buildings. Maybe some conclusions could be drawn to those dreams that I usually have; those huge buildings etc. Hm. I don't want to give any hasted answer here, and definetly some Freudian shit isn't enough, ask me again in few years ok?  Thank you for spotting that feature by the way, I guess that you might have spotted some obvious part of my behaviour that I haven't paid enough attention to!


HH:  Thanks to you, I have received a sneak preview of a track from the upcoming split with Circle of Ouroborus, "Golden Blood".  The track is entitled "Crosses of Iron, Crosses of Gold".  Whether intentional or not, the song again represents a very dreamy atmosphere, this time almost reminescent of some more heavenly voices acts on the Projekt label.  Can you give us some insight on this track, as to its meaning and the style of music you choce?  There are some almost monk-like vocals in the background, which make this track seem reminescent of perhaps old cathedrals.  Very beautiful song, by the way.


JK:  Thank you very much! No direct insight to it's meaning is given to anybody, I've chosen that to be the wisest approach. This lack of correct words in all languages except art, makes it quite hard for me to just write down what I mean. I like the way how silence makes people think, and I like silence around and inside me. Have noticed by the way that the most loud people seem to have the least time or need to think, barely enough! But anyway... style just came naturally, I like various neo-folk artists and felt that I should make that track a bit more traditional than other Somnivore tracks that I had made before, so I wrote down those few simple notes and rhythms for that guitar, and asked a friend of mine, Olli-Pekka Saloniemi, to play them for I don't know how to play guitar. And with those guitars as the spine I gathered the required rest of the bones and organs and spirit there... I'm very pleased with the result, I find this song one of the best I have made so far.


HH:  Why have you chosen Circle of Ouroborus to release a split album with?


JK:  Their music is brilliant. Innovative, powerful and without compromises. Honest and pure. Just the way I like it.  Circle Of Ouroborus is one of my favourite Finnish bands and other half of the duo is a good friend of mine. Easy, logical and pleasant as a choice, and as a result even more so.


HH:  The album artwork for the upcoming split is very interesting in its' simplicity.  It almost looks like a wood carving.  Could you give a little insight to the meaning behind the artwork and the representation it holds for your music?

JK:  It is an graphic print made by Samuli Kontio  ...I find it quite uncomfortable to explain these relations between the music and the other things supporting the music so... I hope you don't mind, I have to skip this.


HH:  Do you create any kind of visual art as well as verbal and aural?

JK:  I have made loads of record covers, some shirt designs etc., and I still do some photography.I miss the active time in the darkroom, testing different techniques and directions of approach to black and white photograph. I've shot some dia-film now, and I'll see soon how I end up preparing and wrenching it.


HH:  Could you ever see yourself taking a more extreme approach to your music through perhaps another project?

JK:  This is the most personal for me, thus it is the most extreme for me.

 
HH:  As I see Anima Arctica has no less than 8 future releases planned, I am assured that you have quite a fruitful future ahead of you, especially if this "Crosses of Iron, Crosses of Gold" track is anything to say for it.  Quite remarkable.  If you have anything left unsaid, anything to plug for your label or music, or any advice to give, please feel free now.  Thank you for taking the time and energy to respond to these questions!

JK:  There's much left unsaid, so I will continue my work. Thank you for interviewing me, and best luck to your webzine.  I wish you all the best in your coming efforts!

     


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