Shape Of Despair has become one of the leading doom metal bands since their inception in 1995. In 2004 they released their third full-length album "Illusion's Play" which has received many great reviews throughout the metal media. Guitarist / keyboardist and band founder Jarno Salomaa took some time to answer the questions from our brother team of Andrej and Boris Van Berlo.

First of all let me congratulate you with your latest album ‘Illusion’s play’, in my eyes one of the best releases of 2004. How was the overall response from both the fans and the media to this record?
Thank you. Response have been just great, i think that we've got all the time better and better feedback.. but there's been these kind of sayings that this isn't as good as the previous album and so on.. just like when we made our second album. But anyway, that's the minority, i think who says so.

With every release up to now you have managed to each time stun the doom world with your talent. Do you feel that with every new release, the music has come closer to perfection?
No, not exactly. I think there's improvement all the time and spaces you could fill with other stuff and so on. Soundwise we could go even further with this but time won't allow that much.. As we/ i create somekind of art from ourselves, it's of course good to make it as how you see it. There's no point to follow any other way than your own.

Have you over the years see an evolution or change in Shape Of Despair?
Absolutely and it goes on. On next releases, it's quite obvious, you'll see and hear.

What compels you to write such mind-blowing epic songs?
I just create what I feel right to, there's no other explanation for it. Blending inspirations together and taking it all slowed down.

Do you have to be in a particular emotional mood when writing or playing?
Yes, mostly yes. Inspirations come and goes but the mood for creating and doing stuff needs your own solitude. It's very fragile, at least in my case.

Do you have an explanation to why allot of bands from Finland make such dark, depressive but beautiful music?
No, sorry.

Because so many members have their hands full with other bands, do you see Shape Of Despair as a side project for in the studio or as a full time occupation?
For me this is absolutely The main thing, no matter how many bands other guys have. We just have to figure things out when planning to record something etc. One problem is, though, when planning rehearses since we don't have our own place for it and Finntroll and Ajattara are very busy doing their own shows.. so Shape just have to stick itself in or just change a drummer.

With that I also wanted to ask if there is a possibility that you will go on tour to promote this album?
No, not just yet anyhow.

Are the main composer in the band still Jarno and Tomi or has it become more a team effort when it comes to writing music?
It's still me who compose these songs. We'll see if i have some help from other members in next album.

Could you maybe explain the concept behind ‘Illusion’s Play’ and what it means to you?
It handles the moments of thoughts and emotions in life.. mainly all the negative things you circulate in yourself, suicide, depression. It's all about losing the grip for real life and to become more like an shallow person.

I believe that the audience has to be very alert and patient with this album and a couple of listening times are a must. Would you agree that besides the love for doom metal the listener also needs a level of musical maturity?
Not at all, i think the mood just has to be very open and you have to get yourself in to this album. This album is definately not an background music, in most cases. It's not much when you think about drowning in music for an hour, i myself love music and am quite open for it.

Do you think there is a preferred moment or place to listen to this music?
Yeah, i think that in half-sleep you're there.

Which influences have played an important role in making this album?
I would say my own solitude mostly. Music and state of emotions.

Do you follow the music scene, I mean do you find interesting things in newer bands or are you more satisfied with the older ‘legendary’ bands?
Mostly I prefer music which I already know, but I'm interested in new ones also, it just have to come my way first. I'm quite lazy to obtain new music but when I hear something very good, I usually get it as soon I just can.

How does the future look for the band?
Just the same right now. In a few weeks, we'll enter Sundicoop studio to record one song called Sleeping murder. This track will appear on our new cd where we are going to add some unreleased tracks. We hope we can make an animation also for this cd of our Illusion's play song.

Any final words for your fans?
All interested ones, please visit our website for more info about new releases. And all who haven't heard us, there's some samples also from our albums.

Thank you very much for this interview!
Thank you!

Links of interest:

Shape Of Despair
Spinefarm Records