An Interview with Mortuary of Eschaton magazine on 14/07/2007

1. MW, what was the main reason to form so unique music as AARNI?

MW: Possibly to have another outlet of creativity and esoteria for ourselves, as well as to receive money and undying adoration from unfortunates with immature sensibilities...
Since staring with Aarni, I suspect its music has steadily grown more and more inwards, with less and less intention of compromising to please the imaginary outside "listeners" - but still, hopefully not total introversion.

2. You play also in another very unique band UMBRA NIHIL. How are your personal thoughts different towards UMBRA NIHIL? Couldn't these your feelings and creative ideas transform also for philosophy of UN?

MW: I enjoy my role in UN as 'just' the second guitarist playing perhaps in a more traditional style than in Aarni. Limiting yourself can sometimes feel liberating, and as UN has been formed as Vilpir's brainchild, I don't wish to step on his big toes. He has his own ideas and vision for the band. Why should I challenge that? Conversely, Vilpir also plays most of the drums in Aarni trying to accord with my ideas without fucking with me - to use a figure of speech :p

3. Can you at least shortly describe the creation of 'Bathos'? Are you satisfied with the result? Does 'Bathos' present what you wanted to create and express, or you didn't have intent to create "specific stuff"?

MW: I cannot describe the creation, I just made it and have forgotten how. I seem to have the bad habit of never being satisfied with my past material, maybe not even the present and future. 'Bathos' may represent what I wanted to create back then, but fortunately since then my skills with audio production have improved somewhat and also my approach to the process of composition. No reason to dwell on the past, as I like to say as a former History major.

4. Variability is eloquent enough word for AARNI concept I think...also specific curiosity springing from variability indeed. It's hard to define your kind of music, elements of Doom Metal, Finnish folk, ambient, avant-gard and it all folded in arcane veil of atmosphere and psychedelia. Every song has "own image", but it's wondrously likely for some people in general :) I think that originality is one of strongest aspects of AARNI. Do you agree?

MW: I guess I do...but nowadays being original seems almost embarrassingly easy, because we live in a cult(ure) of mediocrity. Genre conventions appear so clear-cut and limited that breaking them demands very little effort. I don't understand why so many bands appear willing to live by those restrictive rules. I think that considering yourself a musician entails that you should honestly seek to evolve and progress your art - it can be taken as a privilege and a matter of honour, unless you want to be just a mere player/entertainer living some superficial "rock star" fantasy.

Mixing different styles in Aarni has never really been a conscious decision or an end in itself for me. I merely spontaneously utilise various stuff I enjoy when I feel like doing it.

5. Lyrics are written in various languages (also in dead ones). Why did you choose this style of lyrics?

MW: When I make a song, I first consider its general theme and based on that, what language would fit it best. Because I wish to feature a number of themes, it naturally leads to featuring a number of languages as well. Of course I also like to show off my obsession with linguistics :o

So, when the selected theme is my interpretation of Fennougric/Finnic/Paleolithic mythology, shamanism, folklore etc. I use the Finnish language...I don't know any related languages well enough.

Themes from Antiquity, classical occultism/education and related fields = Classical Latin. Also used generally for a counterpoint to English, as another internationally understood language.

Cthulhoid and most general themes = English. Of course, because for better or worse, it is currently the most used language for international communication. Uncomfortably English is also the tongue of Western popular music convention and so can feel inherently boring and banal :p

Other featured tongues in Aarni so far also include Ancient Egyptian (Old/Middle Kingdom), German, various anagrams and verbal sigilisations as well as made-up languages such as Enochian. Other pseudo-languages as well as glossolalia will likely be used in the future with songs that don't easily fit any of the above categories. Naturally the question also arises as to why use any language?

6. A little hard and philosophic it possible to create music without chance to hear it? Is man able to create music if he never heard music in his life?

MW: I don't think anyone can be in a position of never having heard music, because even if you were raised by animals in the wilderness, you would still be exposed to rhythm and even some melody in the form of your heartbeats and the various nature/animal sounds occuring around you. So at least every sentient animal gets exposed/conditioned to sound right from birth and even before that by our mothers' body don't need hearing to sense audio, either.

7. Do you think your music is exceptional? Many bands don't use such unconventional advances, even though it's maybe my subjective view..

MW: Well, I cannot say as I haven't heard all the music in the world. But in any case, I don't seek to make exceptional/common/whatever music, but just the stuff that flows from my mind (or from beyond it?) and somehow "demands to be recorded". Mostly I don't plan or analyse very much things such as song structures, hooks, the listeners' possible expectations, technical execution, tone, sound and so forth when making music. I do usually give some consideration to those matters at some stage, but I don't distract myself overmuch with them, otherwise Aarni would be producing material even more slowly than currently :)

8. Is it possible to think out a new kind of music in altered state of mind? Isn't it maybe about natural creativity?..And altered state of mind can only tweak it into new dimensions? Do you write only with clear mind?

MW: In my experience it is difficult to define what an "altered" state of mind means. Maybe trance is the natural genetic default state of the human mind, and the so called "everyday consciousness" is a twisted modern invention we have learned and is possibly physically harmful to our brains? Because in a light trance 'alpha' state, most people feel more relaxed, creative, peaceful and able to think about things accurately, efficiently and intuitively.
Be that as it may, I usually don't on purpose enter the expanded state when writing music. But I probably always do it unintentionally and naturally...I guess my mind cannot be called 'clear' when engaged with music, but I don't use chemicals or such when writing songs.

I think your question is very interesting to ponder and very hard to answer precisely...I do come up with fragmentary ideas for music while expanded (and also when dreaming), but these seem extremely difficult to remember when returning to the waking world/banality. I have been training for some time now to overcome these obstacles.

9. How can you see your music from viewpoint of negativity and positivity?

MW: I seek to manifest a 'positive' or illuminating effect to the listener with my music...sometimes I like to incorporate more or less subtle sonic features among the sounds, certain mathematical principles aiming for harmonic psychological effects, auditory sigils and such, in the hope of making the listener feel good, enter an expanded state of bodymind and so forth. Also, negativity has become another boring cliché of much current popular music. Furthermore, positive intention doesn't necessarily mean making pretentious so-called "happy shit". I guess Aarni features many musical elements that can be seen as having a melancholy minor-sounding character, but my intention has mostly been to convey an air of exalted loftiness rather than base sadness.
Just to add spice and contradict myself, some past songs indeed have themes such as paranoia, fear and hate...those may represent momentary lapses in Aarni's good intentions :)
'All Along The Watchtowers' on the second album has a pretty strong apocalyptic theme, but that's because it has been intended as homage to John Dee and Edward Kelley, whose Enochian occult material largely revolves around a fixation on that subject. Its music hopefully matches the lyrics enough...yet maybe apocalypse in the positive sense of bringing change with the destruction of old forms and ways? By the way, the world will begin in 2012 EV.

10. Where are limits of your experimentation? "Bathos" album is very variable as for Metal music. Would you prove to go any further beyond the limits of experimentation? Where ought you definitely not go?

MW: I do not see making music as experimentation, because to me that entails trying different options and analysing the results. By what criteria can you judge your music? Audience reaction? I myself seldom listen to my own material once it gets finished, I just move on ("fire and forget") and continue making more. Everyone's likes, dislikes and ideas change all the time, so I consider analysing your past creations "objectively" as a meaningless activity.
Having said that, I think Aarni will always feature at least some 'metal' elements in many songs, simply because I like the sound of overdriven guitar and what have you. Other musical components may vary.
I try not to impose restrictions on myself or other dogmatism, so in theory nothing should be off-limits. In practice I simply include stuff I enjoy and exclude that which I do not. These will hopefully vary greatly over time, otherwise it might be a warning sign of going senile.

11. Next elemental component are lyrical themes of "Bathos". They drive through several fields from philosophy to occultism, H.P.Lovecraft topics, pagandom, Finnish mythology maybe, etc. Where are sources for your lyrics?

MW: No Lovecraft themes on Bathos, as an exception to a general Aarni rule. My sources simply come from my personal interests...I don't feature themes that I find banal, like perhaps making songs (in order to sell) about sentimental love/sex, partying, cars or fantasising about being a lovesick vampire or offering distorted interpretations of ancient warriors. I furthermore don't wish to underestimate the intelligence of possible listeners.
I sometimes feature various ideas or reality tunnels in different songs, but that doesn't mean that I personally agree with all of them. I like to display a number of perspectives merely to remind myself and others that no viewpoint is any more right or wrong than any other...but some appear more useful.

12. Can you see a basic connection at all in these themes?

MW: Beyond maybe sharing some basic points (the most basic being my psyche), not really...and that perhaps is the general idea: to have variation.

13. Which philosopher has influenced you most? Are you reading philosophy for range of vision? How much did philosophy shape your thoughts and attitudes? Do you think it's important to read philosophy?

MW: After both academically studying philosophy and reading it as a hobby, I'd recommend everyone to stay the fuck away from it. I consider philosophy only one step removed from religion. In other words consisting of twisted reality tunnels based on ignorance about the human condition. Far better to read psychology and different psychoanalytical theories if you don't want to be deluded so much. If you absolutely think you must read philosophy, go for Nietzsche and others influenced by him. But I recommend all intelligent and curious people to start off with Robert Anton Wilson's 'Prometheus Rising' and 'Cosmic Trigger 1' - you will know where to continue after reading them...

14. I am very pleased you are interested in H.P.Lovecraft... How did you get to his work? Do you believe in his thoughts, or you consider them as pure fiction? Which other authors are pivotal to you?

MW: I first read 'The Call Of Cthulhu' when my grandfather gave me a 1940's book of Lovecraft tales back in around 1985 EV. I have been a fan ever since. I cannot tell you more about this subject or my corpse will be found hanging under a bridge.
My other important fiction(?) authors include Edgar Allan Poe, Clark Ashton Smith, Michael Moorcock, Philip K. Dick, Carlton Mellick III, William Burroughs, Robert Anton Wilson, Grant Morrison, Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, Roger Zelazny and Hermann Hesse.

15. Cover artwork of "Bathos" is also was painted by Tuomas Mäkelä. How did you get to him and how did he react to your music? Could you say something more about Tuomas? Will you use his talet also in next CD cover?

MW: Tuomas is the man behind the ambient band Jääportit. I heard his early stuff around 2001 EV if I recall correctly and suggested to the boss of Firebox Records to contact Tuomas for reaching some kind of a record contract, which they did. I also knew Tuomas made graphic art and I enjoyed a work of his I saw online and asked permission to use it on Aarni's album cover. Instead he painted a wholly new picture in roughly the same style, it worked out great and even some "paranormal" things occured to help with the process. Tuomas doesn't contribute to the second album's artwork, because Aarni wants to use different graphical styles/techniques with different albums. So no watercolour paintings this time, but maybe in the future.

16. What does AARNI mean to you? Is it a studio project only?

MW: What does your arse mean to you? I see Aarni as a part of myself, maybe not physically but psychically. So it cannot be called a project either, because they tend to have preplanned lifespans, goals and durations. Aarni has none of those. I also sometimes use Aarni as "just" one outlet for my esoteric preoccupations, a favourite obsession. We play live in the studio and only in the studio. I consider playing gigs and attending them as incomprehensible. Why surround yourself with strangers who just happen to like some of the music you like? I don't need to be part of a herd. Also you can better enjoy music by playing a record...I have ranted about this in Aarni newsletters and other communications, no need to repeat all that bad language here. So in conclusion: no gigging for the foreseeable future, just more or less passionate studio activity.

17. You have signed contract with Epidemie records...what is the situation with the new album? Will it be specific and strange as "Bathos"?

MW: Currently we try to get the recordings finished in order to move on to the mixing stage. I cannot unfortunately give a release date just yet. Probably the album will seem slightly more "original" than Bathos to many listeners. Trippier, heavier, proggier, better sounds, more fucked up, a constant delight and a soiled jewel to the ears.

Eschaton Magazine