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Welcome on Aristocrazia Webzine, who are Nowen?
Lappis: Nowen is Mikko "Lappis" Lappalainen on guitars and vocals, Markus Taipale on guitars, Jarno Nurmi on bass and Ville Vehviläinen on drums. Official releases are "Where Hell Begins" MCD 2005, "Nothing But Hate" full-length 2010 and "Essence Of Fear" full-length 2012. It is most likely we will hit the studio in 2013 so our third album will be out 2014.
You all play in other projects like Serpent Ascending, Witheria, Waltari, Enforce, Sceptical Schizo. Which are the reasons that brought you to create this band?
Lappis: Well… First of all, people seem to have wrong knowledge of me playing in Sceptical Schizo. I have never even heard the band and I don't even know what kind of music they play. So there is most likely other Mikko Lappalainen in Finland also who has bandstuff going on. But just to be clear on this matter; Nowen and Witheria are the only bands where I play. And that leads us to the next question. I am the reason why this band exist. As a young boy I wanted to play in a band with other guys but there were no bands available. So I just had to start to build my own band. That happened in 1999-2000. I moved to a bigger city, met the right guys and here we are. I wanted to form a band. That is the reason why we still exist. And second of all, for me and Markus, Witheria is not an "project", it is a full band, just like Nowen. But I don't know what that Enforce is. Our drummers old band perhaps? Ville Vehviläinen plays nowadays in Waltari and Nowen but he has no other bands.
Jarno: I wouldn't call those bands projects either. They all just have different approaches and intentions so they all have their own reasons. Nowen is quite different from other bands that I'm part of (which at the moment are Serpent Ascending and Desecresy) and Nowen is much more based on the joy of playing and having some good time.
I had the pleasure of listening and reviewing both your albums, I feel that you don't want to follow any trend or put some strange genre just to get attention, you are coherent. How do you write your songs? And how do you decide the lyrical themes for them?
Lappis: Hah. You damn right we don't follow any trends! Why should we? Our songwriting style is pretty old-school. My style is just to play guitar. sually, while I play, couple of good riffs will appear to me. At some point I have written the whole song and that's it. When the song is ready we'll go at our rehearsing place and guys will bring their ideas and playing styles into the song. No magic, just enjoying my guitar and playing with it. Nobody really decide our lyrical themes, they just come from somewhere. But usually the theme is something what I have thought about. Maybe our next record is all about love and sex? Of course we all love girls but I think our lyrical "journey" will not include girls and stuff like that in the future.
Jarno: I usually get an idea for a riff or a melody that comes to my mind and then I attempt to play it with a guitar. Quite often I fail with this attempt and then the song is ready, haha. When writing lyrics I listen to the song and try to tune in to the feeling. The words just start to flow then.
The lyrics, they have something spiritual in your approach to emotions, Lappis is the only composer, right? From what do you take inspiration?
Lappis: Actually Jarno also wrote couple of lyrics ("Crown Of Fallacy", "Acts Of Deceit") on "Essence Of Fear". And this is great, I have a sidekick writing lyrics nowadays. I wrote all the lyrics on "Nothing But Hate" and "Where Hell Begins". But I have written most of the lyrics and there is this deep side of me what I like to explore. Just thinking about life, myself, my purpose here and all the things what I love, hate and despise. For example, most of the time I really like to be me but there is this dark side of mine I don't like so much. "The Inner Beast" is all about that. We're just animals, nothing more. So I guess I take my inspiration from within and life/death that surrounds us. It's all about finding your very essence, your soul and what happens there.
Jarno: Like Lappis said, on the new album there's two lyrics that I wrote. I just want them to represent what I think and have experienced. The lyrics are based on self-examination and sometimes on certain disgusting religious dogmas. For example the lyrics of "Crown Of Fallacy" can be interpreted questioning the personal god, "The Father" of monotheistic religions or some other false authority. Yet the narrator also questions his own authority. Of course there's more to the lyrics but it would be pointless to reveal it all here. Anyway, I think that kind of lyrics are quite near to the essence of Nowen and the ideal lyrical themes for the band as those themes are something that I think we all can agree with. Though I have to disagree that we're just animals. I agree most of the people are at the stage of living like animals but it doesn't mean that it should be like that. There's more in the essence.
Both your albums have direct and straight songs, it's strange but did you notice that this is a rare feature today? People is always trying to do difficult stuff and sometimes the result is not that good.
Lappis: Actually I haven't notice that. But I have no clue what kind of music other bands write and play nowadays. My favorite bands are still the same what they were twenty years ago so maybe that is one of the reason why our music is what it is. You know, old Sepultura, Death, Vader, Deicide, Emperor, Immortal, Anthrax, Slayer, Etc.
Is it difficult to combine your commitments with your bands to have time for Nowen?
Lappis: Not at all. Like I said, for me there is only Nowen and Witheria so there is no time issues.
"Nothing But Hate" and "Essence Of Fear", if you had to introduce them to someone who did not listen to them, what would you say to make him listen to it and which are their main qualities?
Lappis: If you like fast, tight, energetic, little bit of progressive, skillful and honest metal with natural sounds and great dynamic range, give us a try.
How is the Finnish metal scene today, besides the most famous bands?
Lappis: I don't pay much of attention to the metal scene in Finland or in the world so I really don't know. Like I said, I listen those old favorite bands of mine so the metal scene in here. I don't really care. Playing guitar is probably the greatest passion of my life but listening music… I prefer movies and books instead. But actually there is this one band that really deserve to be mentioned here and that band is Crystalic. They played awesome metal and they made two albums. Unfortunately they decided to call it off last year. The legacy of Chuck Schuldiner was strongly presented in their music. Great band, hopefully they will continue their career at some point.
Which differences did you notice among the last decades ('80-'90, '90-2000, 2000-today)?
Lappis: Hahhah. Read above. But seriously, couple of things came to my mind; Sepultura died (for me) and Chuck Schuldiner died. And of course there was this Blaze Bailey-era in Iron Maiden but that didn't work so well in my opinion. His solo stuff is great though.
Second release and another time you worked with Violent Journey, how did you get in contact with Vesa and how is the relation with him?
Lappis: We have a long history with Vesa. It was 2003 when we were first time in contact with him. It was a CD-collection for finnish underground demobands and Vesa asked if we would like to get part of that collection. There were other collection also in 2006. We really trust the guy and hopefully our relationship with him will continue. Vesa is all about music, just like us. He is an truly old-schooler.
Does Nowen play live? Did you already have the chance of playing songs from "Essence Of Fear"?
Lappis: Hell yeah, we play live! Now we have this new album is out and our first gig since "Nothing But Hate Tour" is coming in 23.3 at Helsinki. And there is more to come. But I don't like to play gigs too often. I have other things in my life also what I like to do.
Metal is renewing itself, there are trends like metalcore and more and more young guys are approaching this world, which advices would you give to people who have just entered in this world which sometimes has some contradictions?
Lappis: Be yourselves and listen to your hearts.
Which are the albums that you consider fundamental for what you are today both as musicians and as men?
Lappis: There are quite many to mention… But here are THE albums:
Anthrax – "Among The Living"
Sepultura – "Beneath The Remains"
Death – "Leprosy" and "Individual Thought Patterns". Actually all Death-albums.
Metallica – "Ride The Lightning"
Emperor – "In The Nightside Eclipse" and "Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk"
Deicide – "Once Upon The Cross"
Faith No More – "Angel Dust"
Dream Theater – "Scenes From A Memory: Metropolis Part II"
Iron Maiden – "No Prayer For The Dying"
Jarno: I just want to add one single favorite of mine that is Sentenced's "North From Here".
What are you preparing now? Some dates to support "Essence Of Fear" around Europe or what else?
Lappis: It would be awesome to hit the road across the Europe and play some live shows but at the moment we are just focusing to play our live shows here in Finland. we don't have any gigselling management behind us so it is not easy to do live shows abroad. And of course I try to write new music all the time. There is five-six songs ready for our third album so things are looking pretty good in that section. If someone wants us to play in their city, feel free to contact us.
Thanks for the time spent with us, the last message for our readers is up to you.
Lappis: Enjoy your lives, it is not that long.