|Profetus has been in the Funeral business for several long years now, after an outstanding demo, they are now releasing their second full-length, and they appear more and more as one of the leaders of the scene, perpetuating the spirit of Thergothon. Doom-metal talked with A. Mäkinen about them, their art and the Finnish people…|
|1. Tell us how Profetus came to life as a group. What brought you together?
Profetus was formed in 2006 by S. Kujansuu (synth) and me.
Basically it was the love of a certain era of Scandinavian Doom Metal and the will to express it further.
Later joined E. Kuismin (guitar) and V. Kujansuu (drums).
2. What got you into Doom Metal in the first place ? What was the drive that made Doom the kind of music you wanted to play? What inspires you?
My inspiration normally bounds from extremities of life, literature, music and nature.
I have always thought Doom Metal was the most extreme and natural source to express emotions – like life, it appears as a perfect mixture of darkness and light.
3. You are active, or were active, in quite a lot of bands, if Metal-Archives can be trusted; most of them are Black Metal outfits; it isn’t rare to see musicians involved in both Black and Doom, and although Black Doom is a style in its own right, Black Metal and Doom Metal still share so little in common, esthetic- and emotion-wise…Do you easily shift from one genre to the other?
I don`t usually think about how my music should be received by certain audiences or how it should be labelled.
Black Metal and Funeral Doom share certain kind of poetic distances, if you compare them to any style of Metal.
In 90`s Scandinavia, Black Metal, Death Metal and Doom Metal have grown more or less as branches of a same tree : think about Beherit and Unholy, Thergothon and Burzum, Skepticism and early Gehenna for instance: there`s lot of common in sounds, harmonies and general feel. If you have some sort of strange, and yet captivating spirit in your music, it tends to break a genre limitation quite easily.
It´s basically “the mood” I`ve been after in music all my life, Profetus is only one incarnation of it so to say.
3. Do you listen to a lot of Doom yourself? Do you stay curious about the way other bands evolve – make their sound evolve?
Of course there are some fine modern groups that I`m really fond of - like Mournful Congregation, Loss, Mourning Beloveth, Longing for Dawn, Skepticism, and Tyranny. All of them bear a uniqueness in their sound.
I listen mostly to extreme metal, classic bands and lots of weirder ones too.
4. How would you describe extreme Doom to a neophyte? A dead statue, sometimes beautiful outside while crawling with the seething of life inside.
5. Is Doom an easy style to play?
In expression and in delivering the emotions wanted, I`d say it`s probably the hardest. Musician-wise it`s much harder than fast Death Metal etc.
6. Do you think d-m is a genre open to innovation? Isn’t the canevas too narrow for that?
Depends on what you can create and if you see limitations in it. I don`t work with the limitations myself, they are mostly the tools of people trying to understand music, not for the ones creating it.
7. To develop a bit on that last question, would you agree that the extreme d-m more common characteristics (slowness, crushingness, reverb and feedback) inevitably hinder all possibilities of innovation?
I don`t see it that way: more likely every music style has its expressions, and what that includes is mostly a matter of quality and quantity, and arrangements, timing and the whole context.
I believe that tearing everything into separate pieces won`t get you to the core eventually. To put it another way, tear out the darkest corners of the mind, delivered by most painful chords, and combine the tomb-crushing heaviness as well as the fragility of falling leaves in the same track – the result may become Doom.
8. I was struck while listening to Coronation of The Black Sun by the way it sounded very much like a blend of Skepticism and Mournful Congregation, a harmonious one. Did you indeed consciously ‘borrow’ ideas from those bands?
No. Skepticism is based on organ all-way-through, and Mournful Congregation has lot more complex guitar patterns etc. Music-wise I`ve always linked Profetus song writing more about of classic UK Doom getting mixed to minimalism and hypnotism of the cult northern acts like Thergothon and Burzum. So no secrets after this, hahaha!
9. Profetus is very much based on long, smooth repetitions of the same riffs, inducing a mind-numbing atmosphere that sort of projects you in a state of isolation and prostration…What is that you’re aiming at with that project, what kind of reactions would you want to spark off by people?
The only key idea is to provide a certain distance and isolation through the tracks to create a secure dwelling place for a soul, an “inner church for pagans” to describe it.
10. Have you any kind of expectations from the whole doom-scene it-self? And, as corollary, How do you see yourself in let’s say five years from now?
I don`t have any expectations than to bring out good albums to be honest, it`s always better to the music if it stays small.
Personally I don`t have any plans for Profetus, except I’d rather quit it than watch it become something unintended and controlled by someone else.
11. Some funeral doom bands focus on uglyness, bleakness and cold dungeon moods; their sound is totally un-glamourous to say the least. Profetus, on the contrary, like many others (maybe a majority), are composing sad and languid dirges, your music is very moody and yes, let’s say the word ‘beautiful’ (don’t hit me!). What are your thoughts about that peculiar very confidential niche? What is Funeral Doom about in the first place? Grief and despair, what keeps a very human dimension ? Or Ugliness, apocalypse, thundering primal invocations, what tends to lead towards a more abstract direction…(long question, sorry!)
A friend described Profetus music as ‘the sound of walking into the quiet woods, hearing the sound of wind through the tall trees, like the cathedral of nature’.
Nevertheless, I witness this state of being, existence and origin in music and art that I`m fond of - and all that comes into my creation; the same goals are there: to speak through the unspeakable and to touch emotions beyond our knowing.
12. Usual question, but as so many Funeral bands come from Finland, it can’t be avoided: What makes Finland such a favorable place for you guys?! What happens there ??
The thing that never shows to Europe that well is that we are some sort of “forest people” here. Basically individuals who appreciate life in our own, as we don`t need anything else to explain it any further.
We, or at least some of us can still understand nature, and the natural surroundings of man. I myself live an rather restricted and isolated life, mostly out of all western media except music, not following anything that I`m not interested in.
So personally what I enjoy here in Finland the most is a good amount of solitude, and cold and long winters, and nature to mirror your soul against, the four seasons, the lakesides… You probably know the deal by now.
13. The Finnish contemporay music includes a vast popular Metal scene; how do you explain that? Is music taught early at school? Is Metal really that mainstream in Finland (and beyond, in all Scandinavia)?
I`d say that the main reason is that Finland is still quite liberal and free from religion compared to any other country; 1 million of people out of a population of 5 are living outside the organized religious groups. So that`s easier to let certain individuals and even more extreme emotions shine through, without being considered “evil” or “destructive” in the media either.
And have to say that metal really is popular like folk music here, even little children listen to it, which probably leads to the fact that extreme Metal is always more extreme than in some countries with some kind of barriers.
14. What is your position towards lyrics in extreme doom? The growling technique can be so ‘destructive’ to words, that more often than once, any kind of lyrics seem dispensable; do you pay a lot of attention to your lyrics, and ultimatley, have you ever thought about singing in Finnish?
I think lyrics are always in relation to the music, extreme Doom makes no difference. Right now, I`m working once again on a very long track, structured in a “sonata” type of song, a little bit in the vein that we did “Winter Solstice” on the demo.
Its working title is “Lopun Tähdenpeitto”, translated to “The End in Occultation” . Straight to Finnish, “Occultation” means “the Blanket of Stars”.
As most of the Profetus tracks, the lyrics are written in my mother tongue first and then translated.I don´t know the destination of the song yet.
15. I’ve had the pleasure to listen to your up-coming new full-length, ...To Open The Passages In Dusk, and to say the least, I’m impressed ! This is your most accomplished work to date, and in absolute terms, one of the genre’s highlights. I know it took you guys a lot of time to complete the album; would you, as a nostalgic little exercise; comment each track separately, giving us an idea of the inspiration that gave birth to them?
Thank you for you kind words.
I`ll try open up the concept in Profetus lyrics a bit here, as they never were explained separately in any context, not a goal to be consistent here…
The main themes on “Saturnine” and “Coronation of the Black Sun” were transformation and transmutation of the soul essence and materia, and the binding of the spirit in planetary forces of Saturn, The main red line in “Passages” can be described more on thought of “eternal return”, known from many literal sources throughout the time.
Following the same aesthetic seeds, “cosmology, Saturn-mystique and alchemy” that were pretty much the themes of bringing the inner world to the outer in our earlier works – are more inner substance in “…to Open the Passages in Dusk”.
Focusing more to the Scandinavian soul of Profetus`s music, I decided to take an outer resemblance from “the willow-the-wisps”, ghost-fires that burned at the shores in old folklore, reminding us of the spirit world.
“As Autumn Cries a Fiery Canticle”
A first track is merely written in a form of epilogue or as an bygone vision, standing out as an funeral portrait of narrators life, like a last moment of clarity on the verge of death.
I wanted the first track to contain extreme pounding of nature and its elements, to reach the illustration that we are one with the sky, the stones and the trees, and nothing else.
“The Watches Dusk”
I decided to write the story of this track in a form of a deathwatch of the body, the leaving of the earthly remains and comforting the traveller the mysteries of death.
The narrator of this track is changed to a spirit creature, hereby called “The Watcher”. This track is mostly based on thought that we are surrounded by spirit, that travels with us through times, carrying our inner flame of life with them, hereby called “the candle”.
This song is based on old theme that I had about ten years ago.
To describe it short, in this short story the world is made of waves that burst at the shore so long that it fades away.
In the album canon it stands out as a painting of the great unknown, This must be the most classically poetic Profetus track I`ve ever made, and on the same sense one of the darkest and heaviest.
“Burn, Lanterns of Eve”
The term “Lanterns” stands out here as an magickal, otherworldly symbol.
A candle of spirit and a fire of eternal mystery.
16. What is for you the most obvious evolution between that album and the previous one?
It`s hard to say, probably something resulted simply by time and the passing of years... Maybe we have reached a bit some further definition of our sound, our musical approach being more natural than before – the album is basically recorded live, without anything keeping up the tempo etc.
So there`s also a live texture in our sound, what is new for us, and also some mistakes as every good album should have, hahaha !
17. I know the reviewer of that newest full-length isn’t crazy about your moniker: Profetus; where does that come from? What did you want to express through that name?
Profetus is one of the milestones on my spiritual path, the voice of my soul and the gateway and a passage to my natural darkness, non-existent to the modern world.
Profetus means “Profane” in translation.
18. Thanks a lot for you time ! the last words are yours…
Thanks for the interview, it`s been a pleasure!
Here`s some borrowed final words from my favourite Finnish author and poet: (The translation is mine)
“Life is given to man so that he would consider carefully,
in what position he wants to be dead.
Gray welkins pass,
hanging the gardens of stars,
and the soil shall be placed in the mouth as the bread.”
Visit the Profetus bandpage.