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Evilion Interview

Interview performed via email.

Q: Tell us a little bit about how the members of Evilion all got together and started making music.

Eero: I have known Jani since I was a kid, and we had been talking about starting a band together for quite some time. Then Jani and Anna called me up one New Year’s Eve and threatening to do some nasty things to me if I don’t show up. Something about assorted vegetables and body orifices... So I guess I had no chance but to join the band when they so kindly asked me.

Anna: All of us have known Jani for a long time. We just decided to make some brilliant music together.

Questions about the band’s formation/history:

Q: What does the name Evilion mean and where does it come from?

Eero: I guess one of the main criteria for the name was that it shouldn’t pin us down to any mental images that might become a hindrance later on when defining and re-defining our musical sound. Also "names with meaning" often sound a bit pretentious, to me personally at least.

Jani: It isn’t really supposed to mean anything specific. I think it’s a bit boring to give a band a name which has only one predetermined meaning. Matti from Silentium came up with it and we’re really glad he did.

Q: How does Evilion differ from your previous band, Silentium?

Jani: There isn't any fundamental difference but just some personal flavours added and removed. At the time Silentium was the most important way of expressing ourselves musically, but we felt that it was time to move on. Silentium has found their own way, which is respectful. Evilion is still searching and is perhaps a bit more extreme in doing so. There isn't really much we can’t or won’t do musically, everything depends of the gut feeling.

Q: It has been said that you chose two female singers because the beauty & beast combo has been done enough. Do you see yourselves as trailblazers for a new trend, or opening a path that may not be followed until much later?

Eero: I agree about the beauty & beast part, but we hardly set out to become "trailblazers". There’s just so much music out there that it seems impossible to come up with something totally different. There are only so many beats in a measure and only so many semitones in an octave.

Q: Your website says that your album is mostly self-made and self-produced. Tell us some more about this and what pros and cons you experienced.

Jani: Both sides are just what you would expect them to be. We love the freedom but having a bigger budget wouldn’t hurt either. Being independent isn’t what it used to be and we like the direction the music business is heading. It isn’t just about the people you know anymore. People will find good stuff on the internet whether it is made by the big players or by some guy with bad personal hygiene and basic recording equipment.

Eero: From a guitarist’s perspective the biggest con was the tight schedule for recording the electric guitar parts. You can’t mic and record a loud guitar amplifier in an apartment or something, so the process requires some special arrangements, which can be quite a hassle.

Q: Overall, is doing everything yourself something you’d like to continue doing, or would you be more than happy to unload some of the burdens on a producer next time?

Jani: Good choice of words. It would be nice to concentrate on the essential parts of the creative process rather than delving into any technical details. In our case producing goes hand in hand with composing and there’s no point in composing some musical weirdness if the producer doesn’t make the musicians go as far as needed. Recording and mixing would be a good start for ‘getting professional help’.

Q: Is songwriting a group effort or are there one or two members of the band who does most of the songwriting?

Jani: So far I've composed all of Evilion’s music but that might change in the future.

Q: Were there any songs on the album that were originally written for one of your former bands, or songs that never fit with the musical style of those bands, or did these songs come together when the band did?

Jani: Some parts of Vanity were originally composed with Silentium in mind but no complete songs. Everything released in the future will be composed for post-Vanity Evilion.

Q: What kind of things do you write about lyrically? What kind of outside influences (like books, movies, television, art, etc.) inspire your song/lyric writing?

Jani: The guiding line is what we don’t write about rather than what we do. We don’t want to preach. We want to create music. Politics, religious messages and such interfere with that aim. We rather let the song and the time being dictate the lyrics.

Q: Are there any songs on Vanity that have personal meaning to you?

Jani: All music is personal in a way or another. I don’t compose a hangover song after a moist night or a love song when I’m happy with my most meaningful relationship. Personal connotations aren’t always that clear even for myself.

Q: So, has Evilion played any live shows so far? How is the crowd reaction to your band?

Anna: Actually we played our shows before releasing the album. Only a few people had heard of us. Audience was amazed that there can be so great music without people knowing about it.

Q: As Evilion is a relatively new band, what kind of audience do you have so far? Is it a similar kind of crowd throughout, or does the audience vary from each show? Any fans that are starting to follow the band around to shows?

Anna: Audience is quite diverse. Many non-metal people are fond of our music.

Q: Which do you prefer, working in the studio or performing live? What are the positive and negative aspects to each?

Eero: For me personally playing live takes the cake. I’m highly critical of my playing and I feel less "on the spot" on stage than in the studio. It’s easier to just go for it and not worry about fuck-ups.

Anna: I love live shows. I go on stage to fill my energy supplies.

Questions about the band’s current state of affairs:

Q: In recent band news, Evilion has become yet another Finnish metal band in search of a new singer. How is the hunt going?

Jani: We are still looking. We’ll rather stay as a five-member group than jump into conclusions we might regret after a while.

Q: For our readers out there who might actually consider sending a demo, what criteria are you looking for in a new singer? Are you looking for a vocalist similar to Angela’s style, or do you want to take this as an opportunity to try something totally different?

Jani: Personality and attitude is all it takes. Apart from being a great singer.

Eero: A good singer is a good singer. We’d rather not limit ourselves by looking for anything too specific.

Q: Are you guys signed to a record label yet? How is that going?

Eero: If a good opportunity emerges we might go for it. However I think that record labels have less and less to actually offer a band these days. I like the thought of challenging the old idea that it takes a record deal to be a "real" band.

Questions about the Finnish metal scene, the femme-metal scene, and musical influences:

Q: Obviously, the Finnish metal scene is bursting with talent from every genre. Which Finn-metal bands do you draw the most inspiration from?

Eero: I actually don’t listen to much metal at all. There seems to be too much of it sometimes. I’m not saying that the standard of Finnish bands isn’t high. It’s just a lot more difficult to get excited about new stuff as it was, say, ten years ago...Then again, maybe I’m just old and boring.

Q: What advantages/disadvantages do you experience by having (or being) females in your band? Does it annoy you that in spite of the major success of bands like Lacuna Coil, Nightwish, and Within Temptation, that most of the mainstream world still looks at women in metal as a "gimmick" or a "fluke"?

Jani: Do they really?

Eero: I think whether a female vocalist is seen as a "gimmick" or not has a lot to do with how the band represents itself. That said, the "mainstream world" does have a tendency to automatically see a female vocalist as a figurehead.

Anna: I think nowadays singer is just a good or a bad singer, not a male or a female. Female sound suits our music.

Q: This is a question for the ladies: any advice you would give to young girls wanting to become the next femme-metal sensation?

Anna: The ordinary ones. Be yourself. Learn how to sing. Create your style and don’t copy any other. Don’t try to be a man.

Q: Again, for the ladies: how does it feel to know that women in the metal scene have become role models for young women? What are some good and bad things that you see about this?

Anna: With great power comes great responsibility. Women have been objects in metal genre for a long time. I’m glad the picture has changed and strong women have come along. That is the kind of example I want to show. We don’t have to be men either.

Q: Who were your earliest influences when you first started to play music? And which bands of today spark inspiration for you?

Eero: As a guitarist I’m more inspired by individual players. As far as bands, Opeth has been a huge inspiration for a long time, again not least because of Mikael Åkerfeldt’s guitar work. Other musical heroes include Allan Holdsworth, Frank Gambale, Greg Howe and Fredrik Thordendal to name just a few.

Q: How did each of you get into metal music?

Eero: I guess knowing Jani had something to do with me getting into metal, I remember really digging the first Silentium demos and gigs. Dream Theater was also an important discovery for me musically, it’s a band that has lead me to many other styles of music. Demanufacture from Fear Factory was one of the first heavy albums I really liked, along with Type O Negative’s October Rust. Seeing Type O Negative live in ‘96 was also an important experience, it was one of the first concerts I’ve been to. Meshuggah’s Destroy Erase Improve has to be mentioned, too.

Silly questions:

Q: OK, you knew that being a Finn-metal band, I was going to ask this…who’s your pick for new Nightwish singer?

Jani: Pirke Huttunen. I’ll buy you a beer if you ever figure out where that comes from. ;)

Q: Would you like to dispel any rumors at this time that Angela did not leave Evilion to audition for Nightwish? Or any of your other singers, for that matter?

Jani: Auditioning is far from being selected and in this case it’s extremely far from it. Auditioning to a band isn’t a day job, which means that you can continue with your life while waiting for the results. Every Finnish female singer and most of the slightly gay male singers have been rumoured to have something to do with Nightwish. Most likely Nightwish is going to continue with only one singer, which rules out most of the aforementioned folks. Selecting Angela (assuming she did try her luck) would make for a nice publicity stunt though. "Former singer of Evilion chosen to be the next Nightwish singer." Nice!

Q: Which bands/artists do you listen to that your fans would be surprised to learn you like?

Jani: Considering the music we make there isn’t much room for surprises. If you twisted my arm I would say Nightwish. It would be trendy to say that we follow our own paths and don’t care for the other bands having any similarities with us but that’s just bullshit. Nightwish is a great band and they deserve their fame and fortune. That doesn’t mean that we sound or want to sound like them though.

Anna: At the moment Hollywood soundtracks fill my free time.

Q: Another infamous question: if you could go back in time to see ONE concert, which would it be and why?

Eero: I’m still kicking myself for not going to see Opeth when they played practically next door to me a couple of years ago, so I guess I’d have to go set that one, right?

Q: Name your "stranded on a deserted island" album. (You know, the one album you could not live without!)

Eero: I guess it would have to be Fredrik Thordendal’s solo album Sol Niger Within...Probably not a good choice from a sanity point of view, though.

Q: If you had to be a member of any band for just one day, who would it be? (And yes, you can pick a band that no longer exists.)

Eero: Jethro Tull!!!

Jani: I think I’d try Pink Floyd.

Questions about the band’s future and final questions:

Q: Any bands you would like to tour with in the future?

Jani: Any bands that make decent melodic metal. Neither Silentium or Nightwish are half bad. Did I just say Nightwish? Maybe I should try to include that band into all my answers and see if it was any easier than trying not to.

Q: Would you guys consider the idea of a male vocalist, or are you pretty determined to stick with twin female vocals? Would you consider having a guest male vocalist from time to time?

Jani: It’s a tonal issue more than having anything to do with reproductive organs. Well no, girls are just nicer to look at.

Anna: When we started up with Evilion I made it clear that I didn’t want a male singer beside me. However if it suits some parts of our music we may use some background male vocalist.

Q: Do any of you have side-projects or other bands/musical projects, or are you looking at Evilion as a full-time commitment?

Eero: The sad truth is that apart from Evilion I just sit at home and wank away on scales and arpeggios...

Anna: I don’t have any other bands but I study to be a musician. That means most of my time is filled with music. At this moment I do some opera roles.

Jani: I play in a semi-pro symphony orchestra and sing in a choir. That’s about as much musical activities my psyche can take at the moment.

Q: What does the future of Evilion hold? Are you already thinking ahead to the next album or are you just taking each day and each new experience as it comes?

Jani: Both. We are focusing on the new material but we want to be able to react quickly when necessary, which means that we don’t have fixed plans, dates or such.

Q: In closing, anything you would like to say to your fans or people just discovering your music?

Jani: Stay tuned. You haven’t seen anything yet!

C: Thanks again for your time, I look forward to working with you!

Jani: Thanks! It’s nice to answer questions which have some thought put into them.