01 – I’d like to start this interview by thanking you for taking your time to answer our questions. As I’ve told you, I strictly interview bands that I like and this opportunity for me is indeed a great pleasure. Please, introduce yourself to our readers.
Hails! Shatraug here. Let’s see what you’ve got…
02 – On my interviews, I also like to present the band to the people that aren’t familiar with. For them, how would you describe Sargeist, not only musically, but also, perhaps, philosophically?
Sargeist is pure black metal straight from the hearts of our Satanic being. That’s also the only philosophically defining word for our music, or gospel if you please. Musically talking we are certainly not a band following the orthodox “trend” but rather keeping alive the darkness which captured our souls in obscurity all those years ago. Still, it’s not that simple either, one could describe Sargeist being melodic, epic and triumphant in all it’s grim devotion.
03 – “Feeding the Crawling Shadows” is Sargeist’s latest release. I’ve read many positive reviews about it and I have to add that the song I’ve heard is incredible, in my humble opinion, of course. How do you personally feel about this release?
It’s certainly the most varied release we have done, more diverse than previous albums yet still remaining Sargeist to the fullest extent.
04 – In addition to the previous question, I’ve read an interview which was stated that “I can honestly say it will be difficult to do something with Sargeist in the future, the standards are just so high it’s going to be hard to surpass the two albums we did with this project so far.” I believe that interview was done in 2008, before “Let the Devil In”. Having that in mind, how do you rank “Feeding the Crawling Shadows” to the previous Sargeist’s albums?
It’s been difficult indeed but we have not set any limits for ourselves and the only way to create something new is to let time pass until we can surpass what we have presented to all the worshippers previously. The vision remains yet grows by each year. “Feeding the Crawling Shadows” is the highlight so far, as it should be.
05 – There was a four years gap from “Let the Devil In” to the release of “Feeding the Crawling Shadows”. The same happened, well, five years in Horna’s case, from “Sanojesi äärelle” up to “Askel lähempänä Saatanaa”. Could tell us the reasons why?
We have always taken our time simply because there is no need to keep pushing out anything mediocre or uninspired – the world is already full of such records and Sargeist is not going to be among that rabble. The same for Horna pretty much. Another reason is that we have increased our live activity with both bands, and well, Sargeist never played live before “Let the Devil In” was released.
06 – How do you manage to play on so many bands with your work and family life? Have you ever felt that the music (bands) have reached a level of an obligation, a duty, instead of pleasure? If so, how did you react or, if not, how would you react?
Certainly had pressure from family but this is my passion, I will die first before I quit doing music, simple as that. One could say that ending it would also be my death. If all this had become anything of a duty, we would have released much more material instead of doing the best to reach deeper into the abominations of our minds. It’s only a matter of priorities and I personally live quit a hard life as it’s very difficult to do anything I have no passion for. Unfortunately have to make a living somehow and by any means necessary.
07 – After two decades of forming bands that are highly respected, do you feel that it has become more demanding or even more complicated when it comes to writing/ composing new songs or is it something that happens naturally?
The only one to judge my creation is myself and as the highest judge and jury it happens quite naturally. Evolution, progress, improved skills are all something I never aimed for but it’s happened by itself without thinking much of it. Without these it would be rather sad though, life is at it’s best a constant progress towards it’s inevitable end. Reminders of our short time on this plane of existence come and go, only affirming that what I do is what I want from my life.
08 – Related to this, and now about Horna, the lyrics are in Finnish. I usually find it more interesting to hear bands singing on their native languages, but, sometimes, you can not get the deeper meanings of the lyrics. Could you please talk about Horna’s ideologies and meanings behind the music? Generally speaking, of course.
Horna used to be more inclined towards more generic lyrics but later on they’ve also entwined with my beliefs and view of the world. When in the beginning Horna lyrics were mostly hate fuelled rants of blasphemy, they’ve later on become as strong in satanic imagery and vision as my own insight has. The satanist tunes, so to speak.
09 – Again for someone that isn’t familiar with Sargeist, Horna or Behexen, which albums would you recommend starting with?
For Sargeist it’s a safe bet to begin with any of them, you will immediately know what we’re all about and there’s little room for side paths. Horna again is a more difficult choice as there are plenty of different special releases but I would recommened the first album “Hiidentorni” and “Sanojesi Äärelle”. Some people would say that “Envaatnags…” is the best but I don’t personally agree, apart from a few highlights on that album. Then there’s also the “Sotahuuto” tribute to Bathory where instead of doing cover songs we drew direct influence of the most inspiring works and did our own pastisse in Quorthon’s memory. For Behexen the ultimate one is still “By the Blessing of Satan”, although “My Soul for His Glory” does not fall far behind it. The sheer aggression of “Blessing” is something to witness though.
10 – You’ve mentioned some years ago that the Finnish metal scene was becoming over-floated little by little. In my humble opinion, some of the best Extreme Metal bands are Finnish, being most of them considered already “classics”. How do you feel nowadays about the Finnish metal scene? Do you see some “younger” bands that could carry the torch, like Sargeist, Horna, Musta Surma Impaled Nazarene and others have for so many years?
As always there are some promising bands here but it’s far too early to say if anything comes of them and to be honest, I’ve become more and more critical with each passing year. There’s just too much of music which has nothing personal in it, only doing the same thing that’s been done already. Even though I don’t care so much about any band being original, it’s a completely different issue if you have no SOUL in your work. That’s what bothers me the most… bands that imitate the music and ideology but have nothing to say on their own.
11 – Horna and Sargeist feature lyrics about Satanism and the occult. I’ve read some older interviews in which you stated that you were a Satanist and that you preferred the Thelema vein. Do you still see yourself as a Satanist and in your opinion, what is Satanism?
Yes, still on the same path even though with many twists and turns.. there’s no easy way to take for proper advancement. One who takes the shortcuts is doomed to fall as fast. Patience is a virtue by all accounts. There is no single definition of what Satanism is, yet for me it’s overcoming of any and all obstacles laid on my path in search of inner enlightenment, and ultimately the moment of being one with the next plane of existence. It is also stern belief, religion if you want to call it that, but with a huge different to earthly humanist religions on it’s planet in that through Satanism you train your mind and eye to see only the truth of all things.
12 – You have just played a Sargeist tour. How was it? Do you plan to play more shows with Sargeist and Horna as well?
The tour with Irkallian Oracle, Pseudogod and Nightbringer was so far the best tour I’ve ever been on. Sure there were small problems but never before has there been such a dedicated group of people together, and without one single egoistic cunt to make it difficult for anyone. My uttermost respect to everyone in these bands, it was an unique experience! We’re not staying silent though.. already next week Behexen will play Kings Of Black Metal festival in Germany, couple weeks after Horna is due for Sequane IV festival in France and in the end of June both Sargeist & Behexen will conquer the United States starting from Martyrdoom festival in New York. Returning home mid-July and already in the end of July we’re going to Mexico for a few dates with Horna… we are preachers of the Lord, spreading his infernal gospel upon this planet.
13 – A little more personal question now, and of course not too personal, what are your main passions outside music? When you get home, how do you relax after working or after touring? Any favorite Finnish movies you could share to us?
Besides doing music I’m of course listening to alot of it. Other than that it’s nothing special really.. some movies, tv, games, reading and further occult studies. Basicly it’s whatever interests me, I will do it. I don’t do sports though, always hated just about all forms of it but I do enjoy swimming very much. The best Finnish form of relaxation is the sauna though.
There aren’t too many Finnish movies I care about but I have to mention “Tuntematon Sotilas” (the Unknown Soldier) by Edwin Laine from 1955, which is the best movie to describe the Finnish spirit of people. There are also alot of Finnish comedies from the Kummeli crew and Spede Pasanen which I like, but those have nothing to offer for someone not in full understanding of Finnish and our mentality.
14 – And we reach the end of the interview. Thank you again so much for this. I wish you the best in your future, both personally and professionally. Do you have any last words for our readers/ listeners?
Hails and thanks for doing this. Keep the black flame burning and spit on worthless idols of all humanist religions!