Let's talk about the band: is there some normal person in or to be part of Aarni you have to be mad?
MW: I guess it depends on your definition of "normal" and "mad"...maybe a prospective Aarni member has to be an outsider of some sort.
Philosophy, psychology, folklore are only three of the multiple arguments you talk about in your lyrics: what is your favourite one? Have you got some interests in 'material things' like politics or porn?
MW: I do not have a particular favourite subject, that is why I talk about many...and I do not make a distinction between "material" and "immaterial" things. Politics is a bad form of insanity to me, but porn can be more interesting - as an entertaining balance to doing sex magick. And of course porn/immature sex seems to be the most used subject in mainstream pop music & "sleaze rock/pop metal" bands like Kiss, Bon Jovi, Scorpions etc. so I would like to dwell on other themes in Aarni.
Do you really think that there will be some guy who will follow the instructions stated in the booklet?
MW: That is their problem...besides, I intended those questions/instructions for everyone who buys the album. Already some persons have been contacted via dreams by our agents. I hope they can remember those dreams and the imparted messages.
I've heard lots of influences in your music from folk to progressive. What are you principal musical influences?
MW: Speaking for the present moment, I think they include various genres of metal, folk, progressive, classical, rock and ambient. To name some artists: Camel, Black Sabbath, Focus, Candlemass, Amon Düül, Piirpauke, Ozric Tentacles, Nemesis, Joe Satriani etc.
You are a Finnish band that I would define 'doom' even if you are not strictly in this genre. For you, why there are so many doom acts in Finland?
MW: I cannot say. Perhaps it is because many Finns think they are so gloomy, moody and inferior all the time. Traditionally Finnish culture has been more or less laid-back, somber & reflective. Those things seem also often present in music labelled as "doom metal", so maybe that is one explanation.
Let's spend a word on the artwork, that is complicated as your music and surely distant from the classic 'metal' clichè: you search for originality also in it I guess. How did the idea come for it? Where did you find that sort of 'naive' picture of the cover?
MW: Well, I wanted colourful artwork for the album, because I thought it would be more interesting than the usual boring dark-shaded covers. I had earlier seen & enjoyed some of Tuomas Mäkelä's artwork on his website, so I contacted him. He then painted the cover picture according to his intuition and some remarks by me. That is the story in short.
On your website is written that you are composing some new material. Will it be as weird as the present? Have you already got some new stuff ready to play?
MW: I have already written some new material and soon plan to start the work on the next album in earnest. Currently it promises to be "weirder" than Bathos, with more heaviness, psychedelia, introversion and a return to the schizoid Cthulhu themes. Perhaps at least in part more "metal", dark and quirky...somewhat like the earlier Aarni stuff, but hopefully with much better sound & production.
Future plans of the band? I guess the album is going very well worldwide. Maybe some mini cd? You don't seem to be a live act. Maybe in the future?
MW: Future plans consist pretty much entirely of making the second album. There has also been some speak of the third album being entirely folklore-oriented and exclusively in the Finnish language, but it is obviously way too early to say...time will tell. Besides our recording deal covers only the next album, there has not been any discussion beyond that yet. In the near future Umbra Nihil's debut album 'Gnoia' is going to be released and I play some guitar solos & such parts on it, so I am naturally interested in how that album will be received. Gnoia is being mixed right now, despite some recent technical problems. I have also been asked to contribute guitar parts to a black metal project - I don't know if it is intended to be released commercially or not, but that may be interesting work as I'm not very familiar with that genre. An Aarni mini cd or a wholly different side-project has crossed my mind, maybe consisting of cover versions of computer game music...I guess I would concentrate on such an undertaking only when more immediate work, like the second album, is out of the way. Anyway I prefer to release full-lenght cds. Aarni is indeed not a live act currently, as I am not a big fan of live music. Conceivably it could be done if a suitable gig lineup could be found.
I like very much all your works, they sound very original especially if we relate your music to those of your labelmates. Have you ever thought to write something more simple or commercial to reach more people?
MW: I have sometimes, but I think being "true" to myself is much more important. I know I can make more or less commercial music too, as we did that kind of thing with my earlier band. But for the time being I want to reach the maximum quality, not the maximum quantity of people :)
For me it's usual to ask some doom band what they think of opposite genres of doom metal itself. What do you think of classic doom and funeral doom?
MW: I listen to bands such as Candlemass, Solstice, Electric Wizard, Solitude Aeturnus, My Dying Bride, Skepticism and Thergothon occasionally - any "good" music will do, I wouldn't want to be a genre-fascist...I would prefer originality over "outward qualifications". For example I consider Solstice's 'New Dark Age' to be a masterpiece because of elegant lyrics (which don't dwell on gothic angst, self-pity etc. overmuch), brilliant vocals and great riffs & melodies. I enjoy so-called classic/epic and funeral doom acts as well as of other "subgenres" as long as they don't strike me as being clone bands...maybe "drone doom" bands I like the least, as many often seem to cross the line between extreme and boring.
Give your significance to the following words: pain, psychology, Jim Morrison, religion, weirdness, your guitar, trend followers, Sigmund Freud, webzine nerds.
MW: Pain = certain neurological impulses as interpreted by your mindbody.
Psychology = sane (pun not intended) philosophy
Jim Morrison = died younger than me, very talented but apparently not wise enough
Religion = believing in things you know ain't so
Weirdness = against the tyranny of the "normal"
My guitar = an organ to which my penis is an extension
Trend followers = sleeping robots who need to wake up
Freud = a clever but neurotic dead man
Webzine nerds = "if your life centers around the media, you'll lead a mediated life"
If you could pass a week talking with a person you want, who would you choose? You can choose dead people, divinities, aliens, who do you want.
MW: Heh, maybe for people I'd go for a cliché: Aleister Crowley, to discover if he really was such a smug bastard :) Divinities I have learned to talk to anytime and sometimes they even reply. Unfortunately I don't know any aliens :( Maybe some will read this interview and contact me? Send a photo, too.
I've seen on your site that you received many beautiful reviews: are you ready to become a major act? Are you happy with the new album?
MW: The number of positive reviews has surprised me as I expected more bashing. But that doesn't mean the public likes Aarni, too. Apparently sales have been pretty good, don't know the exact figures yet. The only money I've so far made of Bathos has been from the copies I've sold personally. I think there is little danger of Aarni ever becoming what might be considered a major act. I guess I'm happy enough with the album, but the production and other things could be better still. I have never yet been wholly satisfied with anything I have released...
New bands to check out? What are your favourite listenings at the moment?
I don't really follow the "scene", so I don't know any new bands that might have arrived. My favourites at the moment are mainly releases from the 1970's, such as by Camel, Focus and Amon Düül.
What is the most common thing that a member of Aarni does?
Practicing magick and not training on their musical instrument.
V.I.T.R.I.O.L. is for me a kind of lullaby, but I find it dramatic more than some extreme funeral songs, it sounds very 'hypnotic' to me. Maybe there are some subliminal verses in it? Will you use them in the next cd?
There is perhaps some subliminal stuff on the album and possibly more on the next one.
Ok, master. That's the end. Excuse me for the questions, but you are a so strange band and I've tried to pose strange questions to answer. Now it's time for your statement, insults or what you want.
This is a statement of intent for the readers: repeat the phrase "It is my will that Aarni will get rich and famous" in your native language for five minutes before going to sleep and immediately after waking up in the morning. Continue doing so for a week, I'll let you know of any results in our newsletter Liber Aarni.