If you’ve been following us on a certain social media tool lately you might have recognized that we found another new favourite band: Seremonia hail from Finland, where a lot of strangely inspired, strangely innovative music is being played these days. Their self-titled album was released earlier this month and is already making huge waves. Seremonia’s Ilkka Vekka was so kind to answer a couple of questions for us, and here is what he has to say about his band, their message and the importance of the right pedal.
Empress: You got quite a bit of attention recently, but how long have you been around as a band now?
IV: We had the idea to start this band back in 2009 but have been actually doing something for only about a year. We’ve known each other and have all been in different bands for years though.
Empress: Did you actively and deliberately work for achieving your 60s/70s-inspirated sound or was it something that came to you rather naturally?
IV: It happens naturally with the right gear. I’ve always used a fuzz pedal.
Empress: Is there „something in the air“ these days that makes people turn to the sound of those decades?
IV: Could it be because most mainstream music has been crap for decades now? I’ve been listening to 60’s/70’s music since I was 12 years old.
Empress: Could you name some of the bands and artists that influenced you most, and any other source of inspiration?
IV: Black Sabbath, Haikara, Ainigma, Osanna, Necronomicon…the list is endless. As for other sources; the world around us and of course the occult.
Empress: Reviews of your album are either enthusiastic or appalled by your level of obscurity, and people can’t really decide if you are serious about what you do, or if it’s more tongue-in-cheek. Comments?
IV: Of course we’re serious. Are there bands that are not serious? I’m glad most people seem to „get it“ and like what we do. And mainly we’re doing this for ourselves so it’s not that big a deal anyway.
Empress: Why did you decide to write all the lyrics in Finnish? That makes it quite hard for a lot of people to get access to the lyrics and your message, given you have one…?
IV: The whole idea was to do it in Finnish. When we were recording the album we never thought anyone abroad would even get to hear it, we were going to do a self-released vinyl pressing of 100 copies or so but then decided to offer it to some labels first. We were a bit surprised that Svart records were so much into it. Without them I probably wouldn’t be answering these questions now. Translations of the lyrics are included with the CD& vinyl. Our message, to put it short, is that mankind should stop destroying each other & the earth before it’s too late. And it might already be too late.
Empress: Allegedly the video to Rock’N’Rollin Maailma is meant to be taken seriously – if so, what is serious about it?
Are crazy rituals and human sacrifice your daily business?
IV: „Rock’n’Rollin maailma“ may not translate very well to non-Finns. The title is taken from an unintentionally hilarious 80’s Christian anti-rock propaganda tape, and the song and the video are meant as a comment towards the hypocrisy and downright ridiculousness of fundamentalist Christianity. If you think about all the atrocities done in the name of Christianity/religion in general, has rock’n’roll ever been a real threat to anyone? No. In a way rock’n’roll is about individual freedom and of course a totalitarian system (be it the church, some political ideology, whatever) would want to suppress that. We may or may not partake in crazy rituals but we don’t support human sacrifice.
Empress: The girl in the video turns into a wild teenage rebel the minute she puts on the record. Do you think that rock music today still has the power to corrupt the youth?
IV: To some extent and in some parts of the world, definitely. At least I hope so!
Empress: The German „Rock Hard“ already proclaimed the end of the „female fronted occult rock“-wave, starting with „The Devil’s Blood“ and ending with „Jess and the Ancient Ones“. What do you think about this, and where do you see yourself in that context?
IV: Is there really such a genre? I’ve heard The Devil’s Blood and Jess and The Ancient Ones and they sound totally different to me. And compared to those two, I’d say we are a lot more primitive and strange. Also our vocalist Noora’s style is quite different from the aforementioned. Rock bands with female vocalists certainly aren’t anything new.
And to be brutally honest, I don’t really care. As I said before, we do this for ourselves. We’d be doing this even if no one was listening.
Empress: Given you are not too serious about yourself – are you the „female fronted occult rock band“ to end all „female fronted occult rock bands“?
IV: Although we are dead serious about creating music/art that we sincerely love, we certainly don’t take ourselves too seriously. As for „female fronted occult rock“, we are not here to end anything. We share some lyrical content and some obvious Sabbath influences with a bunch of bands, but we are probably much more influenced by Finnish prog rock, punk rock, garage rock, heavy metal and synth pop obscurities than for example Devil’s Blood or Jex Thoth.
Empress: You stated that you are already working on the new album – when will it be released?
IV: Hopefully in spring 2013.
Empress: So far you played only a couple of shows – will there be a bigger / European tour in the near future?
IV: I hope so. We’re trying to work something out right now, but it’s way too early to be more specific.
Empress: Last words?
IV: Thanks for the interview & your interest in what we do. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.
visit Seremonia here