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......::::DEAD SAMARITAN (Finland)::::......
Date: February 2012
(This Interview was originally published at our printted version of THE PAIN FUCKTORY Magazine - Issue 1)

1. Greetings Marko. Let´s start with short intro story. DEAD SAMARITAN was formed 10 years ago so I assume you have a large amount of experiences and anecdotes to tell us.

Marko: Hello guys! Yeah, for sure we’d have a lot of stories from our history together, if they just weren’t too juicy to tell in public. Well perhaps I can share one anecdote: our bassist has the long-run history of recording his share of backing vocals without his pants on.

Maybe we can share some more if we get to meet in person and we can get you badly drunk, and that night would produce some more events worthy of anecdotes, haha…!

2. DEAD SAMARITAN has been described as Melodic Death Thrash metal, but your subject matter is quite different from the typical Melodic metal band. How would you describe your music?

Marko: Well maybe at first we sounded more like your typical melodic death metal band, but when we changed the name to Dead Samaritan in 2003, we implemented some more thrashy elements and more aggression to our sound. Today I’d rather describe us as death metal with some major thrash and heavy metal influences, and some melodic leads added on top of all that. The key things for Dead Samaritan in 2012 would be aggression, groove and melody if I had to sum it all up in three words.

3. I can´t really resist to ask you about this: Today is common (in comparison to long years ago) to see more and more female-fronted bands appearing every day. What makes a band special? What is that vital ingredient that separates DEAD SAMARITAN from that pile of "poser" and uninteresting bands??

Marko: We’re genuine, for sure. We do this ‘cos we simply love doing this! And I think being genuine and true to your-self makes the band special. The listeners would hear it immediately if you started making music without having your heart in it. Eventually all the posers will leave the hall.

For me it doesn’t really matter if the singer or any other band member is female or male, all that matters is that he or she has to have the heart in what he or she does, and Valendis definitely has her heart in making metal. Of course since it’s a very male-dominated scene, every time you see a female band member, you notice it since it’s not THAT usual, but to me they’re just like everyone else, they do the band thing because they love doing it.

But to return to your last question, I think we differ from the rest because we are genuine and we can write songs that can stand out from the rest. The ingredients are familiar for sure, the key thing is how you mix them together and how you perform the music.

Valendis: I must say that I hate this whole "female-fronted" labeling that seems to be so trendy in the metal music scene nowadays. I started practicing this type of vocals long before I even knew of any growling girls, so I really can’t say I’m following anyone’s steps here – and I believe it’s the same for most female musicians. We’re just those people, who don’t want to be mere girl friends or fans – we love music, we’re good in what we do, and that is it. I’m also very tired of always being compared to other female vocalists only because of the gender, totally forgetting whether we even sound a slightest bit alike.

So, shortly: Forget all that "ooh, a girl" bullshit and listen to the music – that’s the best way to understand what Dead Samaritan is all about! J

4. You have finished the recordings for the new album coming in a few months.. How was  the writing/recording process, any development since your previous songs?

Marko:  I’d say there’s been a lot of development, and when the album gets released, you will hear it – well if you happen to know our demo stuff anyway, haha. The writing was pretty much my responsibility, but of course the other members put their effort on arrangements, and our second guitarist Matti did write some extra solo stuff for himself. I always try to make my songs as finished as possible before bringing them to rehealsals, but this time we used some half-ready ideas too. Some was even written while already recording the songs and with that our co-producer Henri Virsell was a huge help as usual. Since it was our first full-length studio session, it felt enchanting but also very exhausting. And when you got to hear how the songs were coming to reality in the studio, it was very exciting.

Valendis: What’s also new is that on the coming album I’m responsible for some lyrics as well as vocal arrangements. In the past Marko has done most of those, too, and as our styles are quite different, this might bring new kind of variety to the songs. In the future we might also hear songs with lyrics done by our bassist.

Marko: And even whole songs written by the bassist (Eero) or Matti. I’d also suggest that Valendis might do most of the lyrics in the future.

5. It would be interesting to know how many hours a day you rehearse? Does anyone of you spends time for self-improving by working alone?

Marko: I can only speak on my own behalf, but it really depends. You see since I have a day job and I do writing work for Finland’s biggest metal media imperiumi.net too, I have to juggle between my mandatory duties and the band stuff. But I try to rehearse guitar every day if possible and the time for that varies every day, sometimes I can rehearse even seven hours on one day if I just feel like doing it.

As a band we can only rehearse together usually only once a week for now since I live far away from the other members. I do know that everyone of us rehearses independently, but also with other bands (for example our singer Valendis has the death/doom band Herem).

6. How is the Metal-scene in Europe right now for you guys, specially in Finland? Are you getting the gigs and exposure you think you deserve?

Marko: I think there’s a lot of "competition" as there are so many bands around. But I only think it’s a good thing since as a metal fan you can choose the cream of the lot, you know. And as it comes to us working our way through such a big and strong metal scene, well we just have to make great music and make sure people will hear it. We haven’t been that active on the gig side due to many reasons, but we’re working on it to get more gigs for Dead Samaritan, and this debut album is a nice start.

7. Finnish bands are taking over the scene in good way. How do you feel about Finnish scene? Would you change anything about scene there or scenes around the world?

Marko: I think we have a big, big metal scene, but I don’t care for most of those most famous ones though I do appreciate the work they do for Finnish music in general. But for me they’re either too melodic or folk-oriented, and you can find some real gems from the more extreme Finnish underground so dig into that, if you want to hear the best stuff. Of course most of the bands have as much chances as a snake has in an ass-kicking contest, but that’s the reality, you gotta be excellent and then you have to be heard and seen.

What I would change in the Finnish scene… hmm. Well I suppose I’d give some more visibility for the more extreme and more interesting bands than those already seen every day in some magazines and so on. If I had to drop some Finnish names in addition to Dead Samaritan, I’d say bands like Ceaseless Torment, Forced Kill, Hateform, Herem and Lie In Ruins.

Things I’d want to change in the scene worldwide, well I’d kick the shit out of hideous commercial bands like Brokencyde, Attack! Attack! and such (crunkcore, crabcore or whatever the hell you wanna call this awful crap), since they have nothing to do with real metal, they just mix their techno and emo shit up with some metallic elements and they are more interested in how they look in front of teenage girls rather than making interesting and genuine music. You got me angry now, happy? J

Valendis: In the past years Finland has produced mostly all sorts of fantasy-themed power metal groups, opera metal and whatnot that really is not my cup of tea. Of course there have been some really great heavier groups as well, but they have never gotten that much attention, at least not outside Finland. Now it seems that Finnish bands are getting noticed also in, for example, doom metal scene, which I find a very good thing.

8. What inspires you to make the music you make? Tell us exactly what message you are trying to get across with your music?

Marko: What inspires me is the pure love for heavy riffing, different atmospheres, the groove, and the feeling you get when you’re playing a good song. For me the only message is "rock hard and ride free", don’t let anyone tell you, what you should do, or like. Be your-self and enjoy!

Valendis: Haha, it’s impossible to try to explain the message I’d like to get through with just words! Listen to the songs, read the lyrics, come see the gigs – then you’ll sense the energy of the band and see what it’s all about! It’s all in the music.

Marko: When it comes to lyrics, I always try to say something, but mostly just between the lines. I just want to make people think for them-selves.

09. How do you perceive the advances of technology and the internet changing the music industry in the future?

Marko: It’s much quicker today to spread your music than it was when I was young, but I’m not sure if it’s any easier to make your band heard because there are so many bands around. I think metal heads are true music lovers since they usually support the bands they like by buying their albums. Though it has been seen recently, that record sales are not that meaningful for artists anymore. These days your CD’s, mp3’s and even LP’s are just the way to promote the band and to make people come to your gigs and buy your merchandise if you want to make your living through music. I really do hope people would support their favourite artists by buying the albums and showing up at the concerts instead of listening to ripped-off mp3’s back at home.

One of the advantages of today’s technology is that it is much easier to share your musical ideas with your band members without having to actually meet up, if the distances between members are long.

Personally all I care is just that I can perform the music I love and maybe some people will hear it and even love it.

10. OK guys, thanks a lot for your answers, I hope my questions weren't boring. I wish you all the best and good luck my friend, DEAD SAMARITAN rules! Please, tell your closing words!

Marko: Thank you very much for the questions. I give my best regards from Dead Samaritan and I hope you will get your hands on our upcoming album "The Only Good Samaritan…" ‘cos mark my words, it will be a kick-ass album!

 

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