A new interview with Kimi Kärki. As usual, we talk about the latest release, other bands, and the man behind the music as well as we try to find out something that he likes to talk about. It’s simply an interview about the man and his music.
01 – Greetings! As usual, I’d like to thank you for taking your time to answer our questions here on the MetalCast Show. I believe that I last interviewed you about seven years ago and I must say it’s a pleasure to feature you here again on our website. First of all, please, introduce yourself to our readers/ listeners.
Hello, I’m Kimi Kärki, a Finnish musician and cultural historian. Some of you might know me as Peter Vicar, but since we buried Reverend Bizarre I stopped using that alias. I play guitar and sometimes sing a bit in different music styles, from old school heavy metal to progressive rock, ambient, and acoustic folk. Nowadays my main band is Lord Vicar, but I also devote myself to E-Musikgruppe Lux Ohr, Uhrijuhla, Orne, and my singer/songwriter stuff. Very cool to be back on your pages!
02 – Let’s start by talking about your new release, which isn’t a metal album, but I’m sure it will interest many, many of our readers/ listeners, The Bone of My Bones, in my humble opinion, an outstanding release. I must add that it’s the album one of the albums that I listen to when I’m really stressed out and need to calm myself down. What has driven you to release an album that differs from the works you’re known for?
Cheers! I wanted to expand myself as a musician, and this is also the first time when I sing lead vocals on the record. My love for acoustic folk and outlaw country goes back a long time, so to those who know me better this album was hardly a surprise. I don’t think people should restrict their creative passion to a single genre or form of expression, I feel lucky to be able to fulfill the ideas that come to my mind.
03 – Still on The Bone of My Bones, I will ask you later about your main influences/ tastes, but for this record itself, what were the main influences to create such an ethereal music?
The godly trinity of Neil Young, Johnny Cash, and especially early Leonard Cohen first and foremost, but also stuff like Nick Drake, Simon and Garfunkel, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Popol Vuh, Willie Nelson, Current 93, Skip Spence, Roky Erikson… All kinds of good and sometimes odd stuff. But I am not thinking about any of that when I write songs, I rather just listen to whatever raw things come to me than consciously try to achieve the sound or feel of the ones I respect as musicians. But if some of my music reminds me of something else, I rather leave it like that, think of it as a pure tribute, than try to change it to something that lacks that innosence.
04 – The art-work of The Bones of My Bones is actually exquisite and quite intriguing. Please tell us, please, a bit about it and how it’s linked to the album’s lyrical true meaning. And, all in all, how satisfied are you with this release?
The painting is called The Tree of Forgiveness, by a Preraphaelite painter Edward Coley Burne-Jones. The Painting is from 1882, I first saw it in the Lady Lever Art Gallery back in 2006, when I was a visiting researcher at the University of Liverpool, and fell in totally love with it. The subject matter is the classical legend of Phyllis and Demaphoön, about an absent lover, a desperate suicide, and the return resulting forgiveness and the all-healing power of love. Love, remorse, spiritual healing and forgiveness are all themes on the record, among others. I am quite happy with the album, of course it was done quickly and with a limited budget, but I think it still captured something and is definitely a grower.
05 – I’d like to ask you something about Orne. Again, in my humble opinion (I know I do repeat “in my humble opinion” a lot, but I don’t hold a PhD in music, I’m not a specialist, just a fan), The Tree of Life was absolutely majestic. Do you plan to release something in a near future? And also, do you think that Sami Albert Hynninen would sing again for Orne? Are you still in contact? Sami has a very powerful voice.
Not in the near future, but possibly later, perhaps two years from now. And it would depend on whether Sami would still like to do the vocals. We are still in contact, and even meet sometimes. The Reverend Bizarre vinyl reissues are one thing we want to complete. I love both Orne albums, they are very important works for me, and take me back to specific places and memories.
06 – And, of course, speaking of Orne, I believe I should ask about Lord Vicar as well. I believe it is complicated for a person like you, with a regular job (s), lots of studying, a family as well as being involved in so many musical bands/ projects to think about new releases. The Signs of Osiris, like The Tree of Life, was also released in 2011. Is something planned ahead for us to hear the voice of Chritus with Lord Vicar?
Of course, I consider Lord Vicar to be my main band, the one I want to continue until I pass away. In a way it is more than a band, a special brotherhood with exceptional chemistry. In a good night there Is a transgression to other worlds! We will hopefully record the third full length album, Gates of Flesh, in the Summer, to be released by The Church Within Records in the Autumn. I really look forward releasing that beast again!
07 – If you, reader/ listener thought that I was already a Kimi Kärki boyfan (but not a blind fan), now you’ll be sure of it. You were a part of, in my opinion, the best Doom Metal band ever (please, don’t find out my address and stone me to death, you too, Kimi). Now that the band has ended, first, I’d like to ask you how you felt about the compilation releases, such as “Death Is Glory… Now” and “Magick with Tears”? Do you feel like still put out unreleased material or do you prefer to let Reverend Bizarre rest in peace? Second, if you don’t mind it, is there any possibility to release an official DVD for those who didn’t have the chance to see the band live? I am aware that there are videos on Youtube, but the quality, usually, is sufferable.
Cheers! I think those compilations were as intended, save the total fiasco of MWT chilean release. Something will be done about that. We don’t have unreleased outtakes, and we are releasing pretty much everything in the vinyl format bit by bit via Svart Records. We have discussed extensively about a “DIY” style DVD release, with the best recorded material we can find — there are quite many gigs videoed — but it remains to be seen if we have the will To go through all that at some point. Don’t, at least, hold your breath just yet!
08 – Tell us a bit about your other bands/ projects E-Musikgruppe Lux Ohr and Uhrijuhla. For those who aren’t aware of them, tell, please about the styles, backgrounds, releases and similar bands in order to let them know what they are about. Also, as far as I’m concerned, E-Musikgruppe Lux Ohr will play in Roadburn 2014, right? What are you expecting from this show and what can the attendees expect from the band?
E-Musikgruppe Lux Ohr plays minimalist ambient synthesizer music, honouring the German Kosmische Musik tradition, the likes of Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, early Kraftwerk, Popol Vuh, etc. We have self-released one live album, Live at Sibelius Museum, and one full length vinyl album, Kometenbahn, was released by Svart Records. Origo (Nor) will soon release a CD version with a bonus studio quality ambient live CD included, which is all new original material. We will also try to release our 2nd album, Spiralo, in time for Roadburn. That is one of the really magnificent festivals out there, with a great variety of interesting bands from different genres, and to be able to play there again — I played there with Lord Vicar a couple of years ago — is a great honour! We expect the gig to be quite hypnotic and the material should appeal well to the open-minded Roadburn audience.
Uhrijuhla Is a psychedelic pop band, featuring one of the Nationally most well-known musicians, Kauko Röyhkä. I enjoy that band a lot, again a different kind of challenge, and it is also a chance for a weekly rehearsal, it keeps my playing a bit sharper!
09 – Please, tell us which record labels your bands/ solo project are signed to and how do you feel about each one of them? Are you, so far, satisfied with their work (including when Reverend Bizarre was still active)?
Well, Reverend Bizarre’s (R.I.P.) music was released by quite many labels, especially the vinyl releases were scattered around, but Spikefarm (Finland, part of Universal Music) was the main one. It used to be like a small sublabel of Spinefarm with major label marketing possibilities, but I have heard that most of the old gang is sadly gone nowadays, and I assume Spikefarm unfolded when Sami Tenetz left the company. Nowadays there’s still action, as Svart Records (Finland) is releasing all our albums on vinyl. Lord Vicar is on The Church Within Records (Germany), the label manager Oli Richling is a dear friend. He has a cool thing going on with a number of excellent bands such as Sigiriya, Serpent Venom, Blackfinger, Seamount, and Purple Hill Witch, to mention some of my favourites, doing cool tours which he also organises. Orne is on Black Widow Records (Italy) and Svart Records. Black Widow has been quite prominent label as one of the essential combinators of progressive rock and heavy music. Svart Records, in my opinion, is one of the most interesting lables out there at the moment, releasing an insane amount of very special vinyl releases! Also E-Musikgruppe Lux Ohr is released by them, as well as my acoustic album. They also have their office in the walking distance from my home, how cool is that!?
10 – Kimi, now I’d like to ask some questions about you. What kind of literature and cinema do you prefer? I’ve noticed that you also like the works of Yukio Mishima (perhaps my favorite writer; I say perhaps as it is hard to choose, there are so many that are amazing). Have you thought about some work based on this writer specifically? How do they influence you, both cinema and literature?
I have actually not thought about songs based on the works of Mishima, it’s a bit far from where I am now personally, haha, but perhaps one day! This is such a vast question, I will only scratch the surface… I like literature which takes me away, captures my imagination, fuels the nomadic side of my personality. I love old horror fiction, fantasy and science fiction, Poe, Lovecraft, Clark Aston Smith, Howard, Hawthorne, Tolkien, Herbert, etc., been loving this kind of material since I was young. I think that is important for me in terms of creativity, that connection to the thrills one experiences in an impressionable age. Of course I have read and loved all kinds of stuff, from Hesse to Bulkakov, Waltari to Pamuk, Mukka to London. I actually might think that cinema is even more influential for me, as there are huge emotional possibilities in the audiovisual environment… So many great directors… Leone, Bergman, Kubrick, Tarkovsky, Polanski, Lynch… The collaborations, sound and vision, how they intertwine! Leone and Morricone, Lynch and Badalamenti, especially… I would love to be able to score a film one day!
11 – I’ve also noticed that it seems you’re a big whisky fan? Am I wrong? When you go out for a drink or to relax at home, which one do you prefer, whisky, beer or a good wine? And which one would be your favorite? How would you rate the following ones: Laphroaig, Bowmore, Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Talisker? No, I’m not working for all of them, these are some of the pages Kimi and myself share on the Facebook “likes”, hehe. If you were to start tasting whisky now, which ones would you recommend?
You absolutely hit the nerve with the Islay Malts, and also Talisker can be thought of in this kind of company, as well as Oban and Highland Park. I love the smoke, seaweed, iodine, turf, the taste and mystery of earth and life that is embodied within these whiskies. Right now I’d fancy a dramful of Ardbeg, but any of these would do, really. I “own” a squarefoot of land at Laphroaig distillery riverbank, should go to check my estate one day, haha!
12 – As you’ve mentioned several times, you’re interested in the cultural forms of religious totalitarianism. I do agree when you said and I quote “that once you use religious dogmas to suppress libido and personal freedom, the results can be terrible”, but do you “fight the dogmas” but still personally believing in some sort of superior power or deities or are you an complete non believer?
I guess am an open-minded agnostic. Who knows about the mysteries of universe!? I intuitively feel that there could be something in the sublime feeling one gets when walking in the nature, perhaps I have a dose of playful pantheist and Sun-worshipper hidden under my more serious secular humanist lid. I let this side of me to sparkle during the Dionysian live performances of Lord Vicar! And all dogmas should always be assessed critically.
13 – I’ve read, this morning, that you’ll be on an acoustic solo tour around Italy and the Benelux region in May. Can you tell us if you plan on playing some songs from your bands as well? What can the fans expect from this show as well as is there a possibility to extent this tour, maybe in other dates, to other countries in Europe?
The plan to go from south to north and back in a week, playing a show every night. I might play some suitable Orne and Lord Vicar songs, as well as some covers from my favourites. No chance to extend that tour, my dayjob is demanding and I don’t want to be away from my family too long at a time, but I am open for offers in the future. Of course I will also be recording and going out to play with Lord Vicar, E-Musikgruppe Lux Ohr, and Uhrijuhla during 2014!
14 – Well, Kimi, again thank you very much for this opportunity. As far as I remember, someone from the Reverend Bizarre official forum asked me what kind of conditioner do you use and you didn’t answer, hehe, so, let us know at least something, is it the same that you used in 2007? I’m joking, but, unfortunately we’ve reached the end of this interview. I ask you please to keep on releasing music; you’re a truly talented person. Do you have any last words for our readers/ listeners?
Cheers for this! I appreciate the learned questions, even the eccentric one on conditioner, haha, and the small research conducted to come up with them — it’s nice to answer this kind of interview. People, buy records and merch if you like the stuff, and come to see live gigs, even if it rains! If someone wants to book one of my bands, feel free to contact me via Facebook, Twitter or email@example.com