NATIONAL NAPALM SYNDICATE
TARTAREAN DESIRE WEBZINE
This interview with the guitarist Jukka Kyrö from the Finnish thrash metal band National Napalm Syndicate (NNS) was done through an internet chat in May 2003.
How are you doing?
I'm just fine thanx, the NNS studio session is
finally completed and I'm rehearsing with Burning
Point for the Sweden Rock festival.
Sounds good, is Burning Point the top priority or
is NNS just as important to you?
At the moment I'm very excited about NNS and I
will concentrate on that for a while, both of the
bands are priority to me, but NNS was always my
who knows what will happen in the future!
It was about two months ago now that you released
your last album with Burning Point entitled
"Feeding The Flames", what has the response been
like so far?
It's been O.K. some of the reviews have been very
good and people have understood what the band is
all about, and some reviews have only focused
to the Stratovarius / Sonata Arctica thing...I
don't really concider us to be a "POWER METAL"
band in the same vein as the Strato etc. we're
more into older metal.
But you are very satisfied with the album
Yeah, it sounds really good, of course I would
always like everything sound heavier, but it's
And the other band members don't agree with you
that it should sound heavier?
Some of them do, it's the normal thing the band
has 4 members and everyone has their own favorite
bands etc. , but I think that in the end we make
pretty good mix with our different influencies.
Different opinions and influences are often good
for a band. Now on to National Napalm Syndicate:
as you mentioned you have recently complete the
recordings of a new promo cd, could you tell us a
little about it?
Yeah of course, I wrote 8 new songs with our
another guitarist Markku and
chose/voted for 4 songs to be demoed in the new
Tonebox stidios here in Oulu.
We spend the weekend in the studio and came out
with the most agressive and violent NNS music
Is the aggression and violence the difference
between the new material compared to the old?
Well of course we play our instruments helluva
lot better than we used to in the late 80's/early
90's . And the song writing is a bit more simple
than it used to be, not 20 different riffs per
song... but everyone who has heard the new stuff
says that you can instantly regognise the band as
National Napalm Syndicate. There's the "new" guys
in the band of course, so thats the biggest
difference to the old NNS.
That's right, your new line-up consists (besides
you and the other guitarist of the original
line-up) of former and current members of bands
like Eternal Tears Of Sorrow, Burning Point and
Catamenia, is this the strongest line-up in the
Yeah, I think so, these guys are total pros with
their instruments and they are easy to work
with...in the old days there was always problems
with vocalists and
egos. And these guys were sober in the studio!
That's a good thing, I guess that wasn't the case
back in the late 80's?
No, we were always in trouble with alcohol and
shit like that...that was one of the reasons we
broke up in the first place. Now we are older and
don't get me wrong we still drink and party, but
not when we are working!!
You chose the Tonebox studio in Oulu for the
recording session, why did you choose this
studio? Did the recordings go as planned?
Tonebox is the best studio here in northern
Finland and the guys are totally cool.
They opened the studio couple of weeks ago and we
got to try out the equipment for a VERY cheap
price. The recordings went better than we
expected,we now have THE guitar sound we've
always been after and the over all atmosphere at
the studio was unbelievable!
Did you produce the album all by yourselves or
did you have someone to help you out?
Well yeah, it was mostly selfproduced, but the
tonebox guys helped out to get the sounds we were
Are the people at Tonebox musicians as well or
are they strictly into the producing side of the
They have played in bands their whole lives. but
I don't think they have any records out or
anything. I guess they won't have much time for
anything else than
the studio from now on.
Not much has been heard from National Napalm
Syndicate for over a decade, when, how and why
did you reform the band? Was it a result of metal
in general becoming more popular once again?
We have been playing guitars together with Markku
all this time, but there was always some other
shit going on so that we could not start the band
Now we just decided that the time was right, the
songs came really easy together and when Altti
promised to join we just did it. The Metal scene
went away for me, it's the music that I have
loved my whole life and I will paly it as long as
I physically can! Actually I think that these
Numetal bands which made metal popular to the
masses only made it harder to get real metal
What goals and plans do you have for the
reforming of the band?
First of all we try to get a deal for the band
and after that make full album.
Maybe some gigs as long as everyones schedule can
be worked out.
When was the band originally formed and what was
the original line-up?
We started around 1986/87, we had a dude called
Vesa Ruokangas on vocals,
me and Markku on guitars, Juha Vuorma on bass and
Pasi Pauanne on drums.
We di one demo with this line-up.
What line-up changes did you go through and when?
Vesa left the band 1988 and we got Aku Raaska to
do the vocals, with him we did 2-3 demos and the
album for EMI 1989. When the album was released
Aku left and we got yet again a new singer Heikki
Lesonen...with Heikki we did one demo and
recorded split album with Sacred Crucifix. That
was never released! The singer lost / got drunk
with the money for the album...
Had any of you had any previous band experiences
before forming NNS? What musical backgrounds did
None really, we were really young when we
started, of course we had some school bands
before, playing ac dc covers and stuff, but NNS was
the first real band for us all.
Did you start out playing covers or did you begin
writing your own material right away?
We played Metallica's Kill Em All songs and
Exodus songs from the first album.
But I think that we started the songwriting right
away...that was the best thing about thrash in
those days, you didn't have to be Yngwie to play
guitar in a metal band.
influences did you have? What did you listen to
back then? Mainly old-school thrash / speed
The main influence was Exodus and
Paul Baloff. Of course Slayer and Dark Angel were
there too and I was listening to a lot of hard
core punk in those days, I liked the power in
those bands. Black Sabbath, Sacrifice (Canada),
Testament there's so many cool bands from those
days that we could do a interview of our own just
talking about them!
We're not going to :-), why did you choose the
name National Napalm Syndicate? Was this your
original name and who came up with it?
Me and Markku came up with the name, first it was
National Napalm Storm, but we changed it to
Syndicate soon after. I think that the idea came
from Apocalypse Now! movie, I remember watching
it and getting these ideas from the movie. Of
course we had some beer watching it and that did
You are from Pudasjärvi, a small town outside
Uleåborg in the mid-north of Finland, were there
any other good bands in this area when you
Not really, we were the only long haired guys in
our town and we were in deep shit all the time
because of that. Pudasjärvi is a very religious
small hole and we were anti-christ for these
people, they have this cult thing going on there.
In our next town Kuusamo there were other metal
bands like A.R.G. and we hangout with those guys
Did you play any live shows? In that case with
what bands? Do you remember your first gig?
We played quite a lot actually, mostly with
A.R.G. and Stone. I guess at the time we played
with every speed / thrash bad there was in finland.
Our first gig was in Kuusamo, and it sucked. The
people at the show didnt quite understand what we
were up to...they wanted to hear real music not
What demos did you record and what years?
That's a hard one, first one came 1987 I think
and the one we got the deal with might have been
1989. There was few demos for the EMI only so I
don't really remember when or how many we did all
Did the 1987 demo have a title?
In The Time Of Full Moon, or something I might
be wrong about the title , but we had a demo with
that name in the early days.
Your one and only album so far, the self-titled
"National Napalm Syndicate", was released
through Parlophone (EMI) in 1989. Are you happy
with the outcome of the album?
Well I'm very suprised that so many people have
heard the album or have heard about the band, the
album was only released in Finland. We still get
quite a lot of mail from all over the world and
when I do Burning Point interviews people ask
about NNS. But I not happy with the way EMI
handled us, that sucked big time, with proper
promotion and work we could have been bigger.
They had the money but they didn't know how to
work with a metal band.
A certain website dedicated to Finnish hard rock
and metal claims that you "had a poor man's
Zetro Souza on vocals" back then, do you agree?
Yes, I do, sorry about that Aku. The vocals were
always our weekest link in the band.
When and why did you split up?
1991, we were fightin all the time and I moved to
Oulu and the others to different cities in
Finland. Some of the guys just didn't like the
band going to a heavier direction and that was
it, I don't compromise.
What have the former band members been doing
since you broke up? Did you start with Burning
Point right away?
The other guys had some bands but nothing
happened with them. I went to play in different
HC PUNK bands and finally in 2000 started BP with
the other guys.
Did you release anything with the hc punk bands?
Few eps and one album...
What were the names of the bands?
Amazing Tails was one of them, it was more
melodic type of thing, but I liked the
Your former bass player Juha Vuorma became a
famous album cover artist and did work for bands
like A.R.G., Autopsy, Whiplash and Unholy, was he
responsible for the cover art and logo of your
own album as well?
The logo was his, but the cover was from
Friedrich, old german painter...
he will do our new cover if we make an album.
What do the current band members do except for music, do
you have full-time jobs to handle as well?
I have a business of my own, I do music promotion
and merchandise wholesale etc. Altti is a
engineer or something, Jari (drummer) is a truck
driver and Tero (bass) doesn't do anything.
Markku is thinking about going to school.
The Finnish metal scene is very rich in bands and
is growing rapidly all the time. Do you like any
of the younger Finnish metal bands?
Sure, children of bodom are cool and kalmah.
Demigod is great, as long as they play heavy it's
What music do you listen to yourself these days?
What are your favorite bands at the moment?
I listen to a lot of death metal, malevolent
creation and death etc.
At the moment I think that The Haunted is doing
good things and the other swedish bands like
Defleshed etc. the scene is good.
I agree with you on The Haunted, they are a great
live band as well.
Any final words to close the interview with?
Well thanks for the interview and get the album
when we get it out, it will be heavy and very
aggressive, you won't be disappointed!
Thanks a lot to you too for taking a lot of time
to answer these questions!
THANX TO YOU!
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