Interview With Ghost Brigade

Categories: Interviews
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Published on: July 25, 2011

Raymond from Alternative Matter got the chance to talk with Veli-Matti Suihkonen the drummer from Ghost Brigade about their new upcoming album and more.


Hi there and thank you for doing this interview. Your new album, Until Fear No Longer Defines Us, is a very thrilling and worthy successor to your previous album. What are your own expectations?

Well, I think we accomplished to make an album we wanted to do. We put lots of work, effort and passion to do it, to make it right and to make it strong. So we’re satisfied and confident with the material. We already got couple of great reviews from the album and we have our first headliner-tour coming up in Europe, so things are looking good. If everything goes well, then there’s a good chance that we can make more shows in new places, meet new people and make new friends and just have a good time. That’s about it.

What’s the deeper meaning behind the album title? How is this reflected in the lyrics?

Some of the lyrics seems to circle around themes like searching for your dreams and happiness and finding those things. Breaking the “cage” of fear from others expectations, free yourself from those thoughts and any negative stuff, that is keeping you down and just become what you are and even more. You know, accept who you are and not to be afraid of it, that kind of stuff. Anyway, that’s how I see it. Same goes with us as a band, it was time to just let go and not think any expectations of others and to just make very organic and natural sounding record that sounds good to us. It’s a bold and very sincere album, so I think the title is very descriptive.

Isolation Songs is a tough act to follow in overall quality. Did you you guys experience any pressure when you working on your current album?

Well, yes and no. You know, there’s always huge amount of work to do when you do a record, but we tried to approach it more relaxed way this time and not to think it too much, like this is the “3rd difficult record” or anything like that. The attitude was to make a record more like a looser, rock ‘n’ roll kind of way, so it sounds like a real band and real music,
in all good and in “bad” too. We didn’t want this to be like “computer” metal, where everything is perfect. I think we got away from it without any severe permanent brain damage!

Dynamics is a defining feature in your sound and you draw influences from progressive rock, post-core and doom metal. How important is it for you to keep an open mind for other musical influences?

It’s important, that’s for sure. But we are music lovers anyway so we listen allkinds of shit.
From old funk to electro to blackmetal and pretty much everything between. If it sounds good and gets your dancingshoes going, you don’t ask, you go for it.

To what extent is the creative process in Ghost Brigade a conscious or a spontaneous affair? Can you give any specific examples?

Can’t really say if Wille (our guitar player) is in conscious state when he makes the riffs, heh
He is the guy, who most of the times starts the ball rolling. He sends the basic skeleton of the
song to us, and then we take it to our rehearsalplace and start to work it from there.
Everybody brings their own little treats to the table. And because I am the most anal guy in the band, I do quite a bit of demoing by myself, so there’s consious thinking/guessing how it should sound and is it sounding right. When we are playing together, then it’s time for spontaneity and fortunate accidents. But, you know, it goes hand in hand from earliest demostate to the last recording sessions.

How did the recording process go? What kind of sound where you guys after?

We recorded it in Suomenlinna, Seawolf-studios, which is in this little island besides Helsinki.
Once we got there and start working, it went pretty smoothly. We tracked drums in 4 days and then we used the last 8 days for guitars, bass and cleanvocals. After that, we went back to home and continued tracking growls at our rehearsalplace. For sound, I don’t know if we approached that much diffrent, than our last record. We experimented with diffrent cabs and amps and just went with the sound that suited our style and songs best. We also used the same trusted engineer/mixing guy Antti Malinen, who did Isolation songs. I’m sure he had also more clearer vision, how our band should sound on this record. I’d see it’s a nice balance between modern heavy sounds and natural dirtiness.

Another striking feature is the magnificent artwork of your new album. Who made this and how does it capture the general mood of the record?

Yeah, it’s really cool and we’re so happy with it. Wille has always done our artwork, and I have to say, this time he has outdone himself. It’s very dark and atmospheric but then there’s also glimpse of light. So there’s the element of hope there too. We are not here to wallow in sadness.

Ghost Brigade is closely tied to your peers in Swallow The Sun. What is this about?

Dudes from ‘Swallow’ has been our friends for years. We have partied lots of
times together, because we all used to live in the same city. We have also shared same rehearsal places, so the connection is pretty easy. Former drummer of ‘Swallow’, Pasi Pasanen and Tommi and Wille from our camp, has a new cool band called
Sons of Aeon, worth to check it out.

There’s a European headliner tour planned with Intronaut and A Storm Of Light. What are your expectations and are you guys going to tour the US as well?

After we got the record done, that’s what we’ve been waiting for, to get on the stage again.
And it’s so cool to make a tour with bands like Intronaut and A Storm of light, very good bands. I really look forward to meet the guys and have some good time. There’s also nice diffrence between the bands, like style- and soundwise, so it’s not gonna be boring for audience either. It’s a good package. We have never been in U.S yet and it would definitely be something new and exciting, but I really can’t say when it’s happening. Let’s see how things go, hopefully someday.

Time for the final question. What is your favorite part of the Kalevala?

Well I haven’t been reading it lately, so I’m in bit of rust on this matter. But my favourite character must be Seppo Ilmarinen the blacksmith, who crafted the “Dome of the Sky”, and a new wife frome silver and gold. That sounds magic to me!

Any final thoughts or remarks?

Thanks for the questions Moe. Time to say hello and thanks for the people who have supported and been there for us. Check out the new album and let’s hope for the better day when we can make it to the States.


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