Hyvönen: After that came the need to get better instruments and gear, because we finally could start playing together for real.
About the fact concerning your rehearsal place – was it really that tough task to find a place for the band?
Koukonen: Generally the whole situation in Mikkeli region is quite awful. It really took something like one year to get this small and cozy room. The city itself ain’t doing much for the bands, so that’s why the place we have is from a private company that rents storage rooms for everyone.
Hyvönen: Also it was really important for us, that we actually did practice over a year before we played our very first gig. It was planned on beforehand, because we weren’t that good musicians back in the days – not like we’d now be perfect musicians, but at least we have gained much more experience since we started doing this stuff.
Antti: It also helped a lot that we practiced for some time, because at first we basically had only four songs already written, and those went on our first demo. But soon we had a bunch of new songs for gigs, so it was much smarter to hold our horses for a while back then .
Hyvönen: And basically we’ve never wanted to consider any cover song possibilities, so that’s also one reason why we needed to wait and create more of our own material.
Jose: Besides, we’re so bad musicians that we couldn’t even play songs from other bands… (laughter)
Koukonen: In my opinion it just feels weird to sing some stranger’s lyrics, if it’s a BRHG gig. There ain’t much motivation to even try songs, which are not made by us.
Antti: Basically if we would even consider making a cover song, the song should be out of our musical genre. It’s really boring idea to play something which would anyway sound almost the same as the original song.
Hyvönen: And back to the original topic…concerning the most important happenings in the band. Maybe the latest is that Tiilikainen joined our group as a full-time member. The guy before Tiilikainen…we didn’t share the same kind of opinions about the musical stuff anymore. So Tiilikainen came and played something like ten gigs with us, and finally we managed to talk him into the band, which is nice.
BRHG’s musical line is mainly influenced from thrash metal, but there’s a lot of groove and death metal mixed up with it. How come you started to do this kind of music?
Antti: I guess there wasn’t any actual reason why we started to play this kind of music. All the time when
we gain more experience, we definitely try to come up with something new as well. Influences come from other’s music and from our personal lives… so it’s hard to know what we are up to next. But mainly it was rather easy to start making metal music with the guys, because we do share the same kind of musical taste, at least when it comes to metal.
Hyvönen: Being a genre puritan would be really dumb. It would be really boring to start doing just pure thrash metal – then it would be the same shit for all eternity. At least I like the way our music has been going forward. Lately the melodies have taken a bigger role and it seems to be ok for everyone of us. Also the chorus lines are nowadays more catchier than in the debut demo.
And could you name some musical and maybe even some outer musical influences?
Hyvönen: Well musically it’s definitely Lamb of God – that’s the band, which has been one of our favourites. Personally my musical idols are Chris Adler from the same band and also Vinnie Paul from Pantera. But otherwise, musically, our band shares lots of non-metal acts as favourites. Besides it’s been a really long time since I got really excited about some metal band…maybe the last one was Stam1na something like four or so years ago?
Jose: Don’t forget Dead Shape Figure! Those guys came out of nowhere and they really do kick asses big time!
Hyvönen: Yeah sorry! Almost forgot them. One of the greatest newcomers from Finland!
To change the topic a bit – how important part do the lyrics have in your songs and how does the creation of lyrics happen?
Koukonen: Lately we’ve spent more times on the lyrics. At the beginning the lyrics weren’t in that important role – just that we had some texts for the music. Generally the atmosphere in lyrics is mostly something from those awful moments which most people experience in their lives at some point. Back in the day I was the only one who wrote the lyrics, but in Verdict-EP every song’s lyrics are written by a different guy. There ain’t that much variation between the texts, even if the writer is different – but at least having more lyricists gives more depth for the stories.
Hyvönen: Basically if someone is writing some new lyrics we do check them out together. And see if those lyrics would fit into some song. So there is no certain dictator in the band, someone who’d decide how things should go – in lyrical but also in musical sense.
BRHG’s vocals have always been just pure growling. Have you ever tried how clean vocal lines would fit in your music?
Koukonen: We have tried it several times and it just doesn’t fit – at least not for my mouth.
Hyvönen: In Verdict EP we thought about one clean vocal part for one song, but it just didn’t work out anyhow.
Koukonen: Of course, if at some point there’d be a chance to sing clean vocal lines that would fit in the music – yeah why not… But for now at least my throat doesn’t manage any golden tunes, so it doesn’t matter that much.
In Finland BRHG is kind of enjoying it’s fame in the underground metal scene. Many demo bands are completely lost in the manners of how to get attention for the band and how to make people more excited about the material. At least in your case this part is quite well done… how the things work at this level.
Hyvönen: I could say that our gang has assimilated the fact quite well. We have to promote ourselves all the time if possible. It’s obvious that no one is going to get you or your band from your home, so that’s why you have to put some effort in your work. My opinion is that the graphic design of our homesite and the cds’, logos, shirts and stuff has always been really superb, and that also draws people’s attention towards us.
Antti: Mainly the whole scenario for the band is made out of small ingredients and coincidences, which we have been collecting for a few years.
Hyvönen: And we know also that, at least in Finland, the circles are really small and it’s really important to take a chance on every possible contact and offer that you get. It’s not smart to hesitate and wonder too long – or especially become too picky if there’s a possibility to get a gig or something else that will help a band out a bit.
Guess it’s been also important for BRHG that you haven’t been rushing for a record deal and stuff like that?
Hyvönen: Yep. To be honest if there would have been a chance – especially something like two years ago, to sign some deals, it would have been really stupid. Considering we didn’t have that much material to offer a while ago and our skills weren’t so great. It wouldn’t have worked out immediately. And personally I wouldn’t want to make the same mistake many other small bands have made. In meaning of signing papers with a some big record label, before they even have enough experience to do certain things. That makes things only half-way ready, and the outcome ain’t all that great then. So basically it feels as a better choice to sit still and wait for a moment.
Today here at Mikkeli’s Night Bar Vaakuna you’ll have the record release party for Verdict. The atmosphere will be obviously really great and energetic. Before the audience will hear the new songs could you tell which kind of changes there have been since your latest EP Under The Black Flag?
Everyone: The songs are just much more better than before.
Antti: Generally the structures are much more better and clearer.
Jose: And there is Tiilikainen…
Hyvönen: …and especially there is Tiilikainen!
Antti: All of the new for songs felt immediately really strong and well-balanced, so it’s been really hard to decide which songs we’re going to serve as samplers for the audience via the Internet.
Koukonen: I would also like to mention the lyrics, which have been improving all the time, maybe because the case which we talked about earlier.
Hyvönen: I also think that the songs sound almost the same as we play them live. Personally I hate really puffed up death thrash bands, which serve half of their live music from computer generated tracks or so. I’m really proud that we don’t need to use that kind of thingies.
Jose: It was also really weird that now, for the very first time, the studio sessions were alcohol free! But maybe we are going to settle this matter later on this evening… heh.
One of the milestones of the year was probably the release of Verdict. But what kind of other things would you like to achieve later in 2009 – and even after this year?
Hyvönen: At least for this year it would be nice to get some more visibility for the band… some more gigs – especially it would be a blast to get a gig on a summer festival! Much more practicing and hopefully some new songs also. In the future it would be a nice thing, if we wouldn’t always need to ask if we could come to play a gig somewhere – in other words it’d be great to have someone else asking whether the band could come and have some fun with people!
What would you like to say for those readers who still have suspicions whether it’s necessary to take a try on your music?
Koukonen: The most optimal situation would be, if you have a possibility – come and check out our gig! Of course it’s a long way for us to other countries, but if you ever come for a visit on the Finnish soil and we might have a gig somewhere nearby – you know where to head!
Hyvönen: Our material isn’t fit for genre puritans, but who don’t have trouble listening metal between modern and old fashioned styles – I highly recommend to try our music out. If our music could at least reflect a bit of the way how I feel on the gigs…oh yeah!
Antti: “Music for broad-minded persons”
Any last words?
Jose: Let’s head for a cigarette! (laughter)
Hyvönen: “Couldn’t do this while being sober…”