1. First of all, for those who don't know you, can you present us Aarni and how it has been created?
MW: Well, in short, I formed a band in 1997 EV which played "gothic metal" - mid-90's Paradise Lost kind of music. I would have liked to go in a more original direction and some of the other band member didn't agree with me on that. So I quit and started my own band Aarni. I had been writing stuff since the early 90's and now was my chance to implement it. The first Aarni demo was released in 2001 followed by another the next year. I got signed to Firebox Records and released a split CD with another local band called Umbra Nihil. The roots of Aarni are in Black Sabbath and doom metal with additional influences from folk, ambient and progressive rock music. Aarni's musical and lyrical themes include Western/Eastern occultism, magick (willed brain-change), esoterism and mysticism, Fennougric folklore, the Cthulhu Mythos, Jungian and Reichian psychoanalytical theories and anything else that I happen to think would make interesting and/or useful songs. Aarni has one, four or five members depending on your system of measurement. There are also two session musicians (Rhesus Christ and Genius Albert Frankenstein) featured on 'Bathos'.
2. The Bathos album is quite original and contains a lot of different influences. But who are the bands which have influenced you?
MW: There have been numerous of course, but the main ones include perhaps Black Sabbath, Metallica, Camel, Piirpauke, Hawkwind, My Dying Bride, Gong, Ozric Tentacles, King Crimson and Candlemass.
3. There are many themes developed all along the album. Can you tell us more about what inspires you when you write the words of you songs?
MW: I think I am simply influenced by the things I choose to see, read, think about, practice and experience. I try to give them lyrical form...they are my interpretations of this thing we call "reality".
4. The art-work of the album is a bit unusual for a metal band. Why did you choose to select such a design to illustrate the album. In what does it represent the album and Aarni?
MW: I wanted to have something different from the usual boring cliché of dark/black album covers. I feel themes such as graveyards, gloomy landscapes, angels, devils and corpses have long since become grossly over-used in the metal genres. Besides, those things have very little to do with the themes on 'Bathos' anyway. From the start I wanted more colourful artwork...the artist Tuomas Mäkelä (of the ambient band Jääportit) had nice psychedelic and naïvistic paintings, so I wanted him to do something similar for my album. I interpret the cover artwork as showing a shaman/magickian on an astral trip on a plane with lush vegetation - I think it fits the album, which deals in part with altered states of consciousness etc. The individual songs have their own artwork each in the album booklet, mainly done by Aslak Tolonen (of Nest and also Shape Of Despair fame).
5. At the end of the booklet, you placed some quotes which had intrigued me. What are the meaning of these words?
MW: Er, they aren't meant to be quotes. It's just a questionnaire with multiple choice questions which interested people can answer. Perhaps thinking about the choices and choosing your answers helps you to explore your personal (mis-)conceptions about existence. Or, as "nothing is true", perhaps it won't...or will it? :)
6. Have you some plan, personal or all about the band, for a near future? For a distant future?
MW: As they say, distance is relative, but I plan to release the second Aarni album as soon as humanly possible. Perhaps in a year if all goes optimally...and that's a big "if". I have been writing new material for many months now. It seems much darker and heavier than 'Bathos', with a return to the Cthulhu themes and other features of earlier Aarni stuff - but having also more ambient/progressive elements than before. In the nearer future, I wish the debut album of Umbra Nihil will be released soon...I play lead guitar thereon. I'm also currently making a song for a future Cthulhu music compilation album. My personal plans pretty much equal Aarni's plans...I am doing the Great Work and for me Aarni is an important part of it.
7. Have something to say to the ones who will read this interview?
MW: Question authority and remember that Aarni's music is better than it sounds.