TARTAREAN DESIRE WEBZINE
This interview with the guitarist / keyboardist Riku Hopeakoski of the Finnish black metal band Catamenia was done through e-mail in July 2002.
Hello, how are you doing?
Hello, I`m doing just fine...enjoying the short summer here in Oulu. Great to drink beer outside with friends and talk issues from different things!
It has soon been two months since the release of your latest album "Eskhata", are you happy with the response so far?
Yeah, the feedback and response of the new album “Eskhata” has been just great. Fans and press worldwide has really noticed the quality of the new album. It will be great to have the portfolio within a year. Also Massacre Records has reported great feedback and I discovered it throughout the interviews I`ve done so many. Maybe finally we have entered the circle of big Black Metal bands.
First of all I must say that I admire the beautiful album cover, who was responsible for the concept and artwork of it?
The coverart was done by Thomas Ewerhard who also did our album covers for “Halls of Frozen North” and “Eternal Winter`s Prophecy”. We decided to go with Thomas cause we have always been very satisfied with his work. I don`t know have you noticed that the picture on the cover is exactly same as on Moonspell`s Wolfheart. When we noticed this it was too late to change the cover cause the cover and album was already in the pressing phase. But to say our cover way better and beautiful than Moonspell`s. But still I respect Moonspell as a band and this has only been an accident and coincidence. And it was relief to find out that it was taken from picture databank and it was coryright free material!
What are your favorite songs on the album? I really like "Landscape" myself.
This is hard question cause I really like all the songs in the “Eskhata”...but sure I can say the favourites. I like the songs like `Rain of Blood`, `Storm`, `Landscape`, `Time in my Hands` and `Eskhata`. But it depends lot of the atmosphere and the feeling at the moment when you are listening to those. So there has been times that every song has been my favourite.
What does Eskhata mean? The only thing I have managed to find out was that Alexander the Great founded a city called Alexandria Eskhata in Tajikistan which is today known as Khojend...
“Eskhata” is Greek and mean `last events`. It is taken from the bible of the writings of Revelation. We thought that the English or Finnish version of the meaning was quite dull. In Finnish it would have been `Viimeiset Hetket`. And then we found this Greek statement of it, and best, it was straight from the bible. I tell you more about it on the next question cause it is related on that issue.
Do you all write the music together or is someone the "boss" when it comes to song writing?
Responsibility of Catamenia`s music is mainly on me...I do almost all the songs for Catamenia. When I have written a song, I take the song with me to the rehearsal room and together with the band we start to `fine-tune` the songs. By that I mean that if there is some parts or riffs do not work, we try to replace it with different styled riff. But it is really rare that the song changes in the rehearsals. Sometimes our bassist Timo gives me single riff, wherefrom I start to build a whole song. We have founded that it is better that I do the songs cause I have always made the Catamenia´s songs. And there is kind of trademark on those.
Catamenia has gone through a couple of line-up changes lately, can you tell us something about this?
Yes, we have had quite many line-up changements in our history. Let`s start from the “Morning Crimson”. After that album our rhythm guitarist Sampo Ukkola was replaced by Ari Nissilä. We had to replace Sampo cause he didn`t have the attitude towards Nordic Black Metal music we play. On the same issue, our drummer Toni Tervo went to the army, and the army took the juices from him and was replaced by Sir Kimmo Luttinen ( The Black League ). Sorry for Toni cause he was a really idea-rich guy on the drums. After “Eternal Winter`s Prophecy” our keyboardist Heidi Riihinen left the band cause she wanted to concentrate on her studies and on the same time her companion Sir Kimmo Luttinen left the band cause he felt he was too old for Catamenia`s `all the time faster` music J On this new album drums were played by session drummer Janne Kusmin from Kalmah. Keybords was done by me and Mika Pohjola ( engineer / co-producer ). Nowadays we have found a new drummer called Pietu from Helsinki. For the fans of Heidi we have great news. Heidi is back on the business cause her studies ended and she wanted rejoin the band. After we thought this issue, we took Heidi back to the game!
Black metal is still a rather limited genre that does not attract large crowds (Cradle Of Filth excluded), do you think this is the fate of extreme music for all future?
This has always been an issue for extreme music. But I think all the time extreme music is raising it`s head more. I think it has something to do with people who is not so in Black Metal. They are coming more open-minded to the different music styles. In the future, I can see that Black Metal music or Metal music in generally is growing. People don`t stuck in certain music but experience different things. And few good exaples are already in process...Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir. They have done great job in Black Metal music. All the respect for them! I really hope that Black Metal music will attract more and more every day, but that we will see only in the future!
What, in your opinion, separates a good black metal band from a bad one?
My personal opinion on this subject is that production quality is everything...if the production is good you can find out that the band is trying seriously. Of course there are bands who wants to stick up with little bit weaker productions. I respect that, but well-produced album is great to hear. Of course the songs should be good with own ideas. Also bands who break the limits with reasonable costs, are always great to be heared. This is a subject where is the matters of opinions. Some like the other and some other. There are millions of opinions, but everybody`s right..! Heh, what can you say!
Is Finland a good country to be a black metal musician in?
Musician in Finland...I think it doesn`t matter where you live as Black Metal musician. Although I think it is little bit more easier in here cause there are few metallers that have made their way to the charts. But if you are seeking a financial success you shouldn`t be musician at all J except if you are Madonna or Shakira. If you want to be metaller, be! Make your own mind about it. I have been a musician from the year `95 and I`m damn proud of it! And of course you have to believe on that, someday you will live financial with it.
What are your top five albums ever?
Again...this is really hard cause everytime I have been asked this I suddenly do not recall the bands J but let`s try...All time favourites, one is surely Immortal`s `Battles in the North`. Also Sepultura`s `Arise`, which is really close to me. There is few little bit more new albums like Dimmu Borgir`s `Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia`, Cradle of Filth`s `Cruelty and the Beast` and Old Man`s Child`s `The Revelations 666`. There are also classical composers like Mozart and Bach I really enjoy...also Sahara Hotnights and Hellacopters are good, but those five I mentioned, I think are the Top 5 of me.
What plans or goals do you have for the nearest future?
Well, I don`t know have you noticed that our contract with Massacre Records has ended. We are seeking a new contract. We have negotiated with Massacre also, but we will see, does anyone else offer us something ( waving to the labels` A&R`s ). But surely Catamenia will do more albums in the future. Main goal and plan at the moment is our first European tour in the Fall this year. There are no dates or places confirmed yet but you will be informed about in our website at www.catamenia.net or at the Massacre, where you can ask it straight, www.massacre-records.com. We are really anxious to go on tour cause Catamenia is a LIVE band. We enjoy playing live. We are running and moshing around the stage. Fire, Blood and Weapons! It is worth of seeing us live..!
Now to my own and brand new right or wrong section. You are just going to tell us whether you think the following acts would be right or wrong:
a) If someone killed Hitler prior to his mass murder campaigns.
Right ( there are so many wackos out there )
b) To burn down a church because it's "evil".
Wrong ( children shouldn`t play with matches )
c) To burn down a church because it represents oppression.
Wrong ( what about if I would burn your house )
Right ( strange, some do like it )
e) Death penalty.
Wrong ( many innocents been executed )
f) To lie if it will be of benefit to yourself.
Wrong ( that`s why the world trambles on it`s knees )
Right ( privacy of intimacy )
Wrong ( has started many wars and full of lies, but still legal )
Wrong ( idea`s great but does not work in modern society )
Any final words for the fans?
All the fans of Catamenia and generally metal music - Keep on Rocking and Stay Fucking Dark! Visit our website at www.catamenia.net and take a part in the contest where you win prizes of albums and posters! Hope to see you on our tour in Fall! Dark Greetings, Riku / Catamenia
Links of interest: