Translation: Dope Fiend
Katja Pieksämäki – Vocals
Sami Ahmaoja – Guitars
Aapeli Kivimäki -Guitars
Mika Laine – Bass
Pipsa Niemi – Keyboards
Arto Pieksämäki – Drums
In our latest update, you will find the review of the debut album of Teardown, from Finland; to have a better understanding of their situation, the guitar player Sami Ahmaoja answered some of our questions.
Hi Sami, and welcome to Aristocrazia Webzine; how’s your summer going?
Sami Ahmaoja: Hey, well, have say to that I had three weeks holiday in this summer from work and don’t feel that there was any holiday for me. It has been constant work with Teardown or with other projects and now I see that I should have even few days off. But to be honest, that is ok, busy means that you are alive and stuff is happening. I do what I love to do. Summer has been “quite nice” here in Finland, it rains pretty much all the time and beer gets more and more expensive. I like to go fishing and take few beers when there is opportunity to relax. I also love to search from web some underground bands, I am a bit collector of demo tapes. Fucking love C-cassettes and vinyls. I don’t really have that many hobbies but I am trying to quit smoking if that counts as hobby and thats not fun…
Why don’t we start off by telling our readers something about Teardown; how was the band born and how has it evolved in time?
Teardown was born back in 2001 in small town called Haapajärvi by my idea. That place is pretty much most fucked up place to create a band generally (big part of population are religious) but we were just too stubborn and not just us, there was great people who wanted to live, drink and play and stay healthy. There was quite small musician circles but those were very strong ones and that was very inspiriting. Every band member was found from those small circles. We had at least rehearsal place in legendary building called Stolle. Many have left from that town now, few stayed. Teardown was side project of mine, beside of black and death metal bands for few years and as time went by, we saw that this is something that we should work on more, so it became main band for us all. It was / is something unique, not just in music but also as a crew, not just basic gothic metal but something more and that is still important for us. There is no genre limits for us. To be honest, only few of us listens actually gothic metal.
The band has been active for over a decade; are there specific reasons that prevented you from producing an album earlier?
Idea of full length album have been in our mind all these years but we didn’t were ready or saw it necessary until now. Of course we think sometimes that it should have been done earlier but we were not in hurry. Why to make shitty debut if you can make it more perfect? So, we wanted to develop our stuff more and more… it’s basically endless state of mind but in some point when you feel that time is right, you do it. Finance is other thing that needs to be in order, we made shit loads of gigs to get even faction off from the costs. Here in Finland is some foundations who offer the opportunity to get some support for recordings, but not usually any rock / metal band gets the money. So gathering money for album was also one process delaying aspect. I have to say that I dont have any regrets that we waited so long. “Inner Distortions” came out through Grave New Music and our cooperation fitted for both sides and album is as it should be. We and our artistic producer Aapeli Kivimäki (Soulfallen) wanted this album be one of those albums that won’t necessarily open in first time when you listen it, we wanted it to be more deeper. So the album needs few rounds in your player before you get in the mood and when you figure it out, it stays with you until the grave. It has and will divide listeners and reviewers opinions and that is good, there is nothing between hundred and zero.
I would define “Inner Distortions” as “grey”, but nonetheless quite catchy; how did you compose the songs of the album, and when did you realize that the voice of Katja Pieksämäki was the right one for your sound?
Those tracks in album are not very happy songs, I can quarantine that. So your “grey” is pretty much correct to my opinion and vision to make Teardown songs. I think that core of our music is very, very cold and cruel where darkness of humanity speaks loudly. Sure there can be color but I think we all know what color that might be. Teardown is atmospheric rock-metal officially and our style goes there. The album contains either older unheard songs that fits in to albums theme ore we composed them particularly for new album. I usually bring the idea or riff in to rehearsals and every member makes their own composition to songs. Katja joined Teardown in 2003 when she was only eighteen years old. But right away we heard her singing we knew that she is right for Teardown. Katja has unique sound in her voice that fits in Teardown music more than perfectly. Her style to sing is new, fresh and is totally different from those other gothic bands who wants or are to be “majestic”. We are not here for swords and dragons for fuck sake! We focus more on emotional part of heavy music.
In your opinion, what’s the best thing about Teardown’s music, and what, on the other hand, do you feel you can still improve?
I think best is that we do not have any kind of limits, we do what comes out from our heads, hearts and hands and we dont need to apologize that in anyway. We do not follow anyone or any genre purposely. For example, one of Teardown song starts with blast beat that has been written long long time ago, that might be on next album. So, no rules what can be done in this music, that is inspiring. Best thing is also melodies and interesting details that brings strong emotions in songs. What do we need to improve? You need to improve everything 24/7, there is no rest for that. If you stop that, you are done and fucked up in my opinion. Even after the “Inner Distortions” album we get new ideas how to play some parts and we take that with us in live gigs.
The idea of a female-fronted band has been spreading much recently, do you think that this gives you some kind of disadvantage at the eyes of the most old-school music enthusiasts?
To be honest, I don’t give a shit about that. We are Teardown and thats it. Music divides opinions and that way it should be, always. Also dividing bands to male-fronted and female-fronted is quite old-school also. Of course for some listeners it matters.
If my memory serves me right, in an interview to Metal Shock you said you have a job as a media designer, right? I was wondering, aside from the normal connection between music and picture, when you’re listening to music do you ever find yourself projecting images in your mind, as to satisfy a need of giving a meaning to every single piece or minute of music contained in an album?
Yes, that’s right, I am a media designer. Music is fuel for me to create graphics. I put my headset on and disappear, that is my tactic. Music or band itself isn’t related in art that I make but it inspires me to create something new. For example, when I was working with “Inner Distortions” album graphics, I listened quite much bands called Darkspace and Isvind just few to be named. Perhaps in five-six o clock in the morning some great punk band called Puhelinkoppi (trans, phone booth)… took few beers to “open up my mind” and just let go and checked result when I woke next morning. When I do this kind of work for living, it is almost impossible to create something to yourself… or at least it is for me that way.
Still, do you think that there’s some sort of passionless attitude in the way people approach music today? What I mean is something on the line of “I’ll listen to this album, or maybe this other album, it’s the same anyway…”
There is not that same joy of getting the album to your hands, for example if you have saved your money for weeks and waited that release months to get it, as I did when I was teenager… and fuck sake, I am not that old after all. Nowadays if you want to get some album, you just type it in Google and download it and pay nothing. Thanks to the Internet. Still, more and more people, even youngsters, understands the importance of physical copy of the album as band wanted it to be, that might be rare among them still, but I think respect lies there who have original. So I have faith and hope left. And when there is unlimited amount of music available, it’s easy to just shuffle songs without listening them with though.
Since you’ve dealt with the artwork for “Inner Distortions”, can you tell me something about its meaning and your inspirations?
Album artwork goes hand in hand with the album title “Inner Distortions”. I wanted create album art from my point of view of the songs… and that is my interpretation. I tell it from my perspective how I see it: darkness in human. Human is the most sickest thing on this earth. From daily basics, pain is certain, life is not… I could go for eternity about this and write an novel, perhaps someday I will, but right now, “Inner Distortions” is our platform to say these things in lyrics. I give you lyrics but it is up to you how to interpret them. Feel free to ask and share those ideas with me. I would be honored.
How’s the promotion for your new album going? And what kind of feedback have you received when you played your new songs on stage?
Our album went to official Finnish album charts when it was released and I was a bit surprised, happily surprised. It was nice to see that there is a lot of people who listens Teardown and likes our music and therefore that makes me try even harder to create perfect next album. As said, second album is usually hardest, but now, we are just writing new material and let’s see how that album comes out! We take really seriously our music and lyrics, so nothing comes out before it’s truly ready. We haven’t played any of those new tracks in live yet because we are still focusing on promoting our debut album and trying to get as many people to listen to us as we can.
Are you on tour right now? Where will you play your next gigs?
Sometimes I feel that I am on constant tour or at least booking one… we have had plenty of gigs in Finland in spring and few in summer but at this point our next gigs have been confirmed to October. Here in Finland, summertime is bad time to book anything and everyone comes back to normal routine around August / September. Next gig will be in Mikkeli in October and after that we will do Finland, Estonia and Latvia tour with band called Emphasis. We have already started to plan longer tour for year 2014 around Europe or more. So, feel free to contact us by e-mail! We also do acoustic gigs, which are very goddamn special even for us. We have this concept called “acoustic rock/metal”.
If you were given the chance of organizing a music festival, what bands, aside Teardown, would you put on stage to obtain your ideal bill?
Oh man, there is plenty of bands that I would like to play with in same stage. I have many friends that have bands and somehow we haven’t yet organized any festival, beside private ones. But if can be selfish for a moment and fictional at least: Ydin (my death metal band), Lucidity (band where I play bass), Malignus (my black metal project since nineties), Hayley’s Royal Whores (Laine plays guitar), Hannu Hauki (great man with guitar and vocals), CatchRitch (Katja’s project), Barley Dork’s BarbeQ (my first band, skatepunk), Soulfallen (Aapelis’s band), Grimace (handsome fellows), Zenith Reunion (best dudes ever) and Zarthas (electric rock). List can be endless but if you are wondering why I put so many of my bands on the list, I just fucking love to play in live.
What are your plans for the future?
Well, I mentioned earlier about the tour in this year but also longer tour in 2014. We are writing new album and I feel that might happen in next year. Of course we hope that we will get a record deal for next album so we would´n need to eat macaroni whole year to save money. Amount of new ideas is quite endless. Let’s see if there will be a music video also.
Give our readers five reasons to listen and buy “Inner Distortions”.
Only five? Damn, alright then: 1) songs and lyrics, there is no happy songs in this album, hellyeah; 2) follow the lyrics and covers and you see more; 3) atmosphere is something that you haven’t experienced yet; 4) unique vocals and melodies that keeps looping in your head; 5) your album for life, not just for year; 6) listen these: “Horns”, “Fire In Her Eyes”, “Ydin “Ruttolainen” e “Lucidity “Silence”.
This is it, the interview ends here; it has been a pleasure to have this little chat with you, and, wishing you and your band the best luck, I’ll leave you the space to say anything you want to our readers.
It has been a pleasure for me and for the rest of Teardown crew. Check out our website and new T-shirt design called “Silence” and of course our album “Inner Distortions”. I hope you like it, we do this from the heart. If you want free promotional / fan stuff, send me e-mail or just order our album / bundle offer and support! Respect for Aristocrazia Webzine, these people are working hard, just for you to stay tuned!