Over 10 years of … And Oceans' history can tell you a lot: the members easily changed their nicknames, made scandal statements and - most importantly - created talented music. So it was a good chance for MetalKings.com to talk about the new album, life values and epatage with the band's singer Kenny.
MetalKings.com: All metalheads around the world are waiting for your new album and traditionally first questions will relate to that. I’m sure that the question isn’t new and you answered it many times but... why did you change the title from “Insect Angels & Devil Worms” to shorter one – “Cypher”?
Kenny: Thanks for the great opening statement, but how much truth does it bear? Whatever the case is, it’s always covered in beautiful lies. Anyway, the official CD version is titled ”Cypher” and its subtitle is still ”Insect Angels & Devil Worms”, but this particular subtitle will more directly be used for the double vinyl version because as it is a double version we thought the bipartite title suited better the vinyl version. The original title ”Insect Angels...” is taken from my forthcoming book which consists of the same topic and the title melted nicely into this theme of this new concept album. We also changed the title due to the fact that the cover artwork changed from its original form. We could of course have used the same title for both of the releases because they both represent the same idea and purpose, but we still wanted to divide these two formats from each other. And as the vinyl will be pretty exclusive why not make the title as divergent as the releases. The vinyl will be limited to 500 copies and released by www.woodcutrecords.com and the first 50 copies will all have different hand made artworks. All pre-orders must be done directly via Woodcut records.
MetalKings.com: What's your impression on the work with Tommy Tagtgren? Weren't you afraid that from the very first second that you put his name on the album you put yourselves on the critics' altar saying: "well-well, another clones of the Tagtgren family style". Did you have the possibility to make your own sound or follow the advice of Tommy?
Kenny: We tried out Abyss for “Am God” just for the sake of renewing ourselves, we had already made three albums here in Finland in a studio called Tico-Tico and it was about time to move on to new sectors. We were actually thinking of several different studios, but after all we decided to try Abyss and Tommy, and I must say everything worked out very smoothly with Tommy the first time. I’ve been in contact with him every now and then and we’ve been discussing all kinds of details via phone and email and this time it was even easier to work there because Tommy new what kind of a sound we were looking for and we had the chance to do whatever we wanted during the nights. We practically recorded some guitars and vocals during nights and the whole album was more or less completed in a week’s time. We could’ve never made it more smoothly anywhere else. It’s better for a band to enter a studio where you know for sure that the sound you are looking for is at your reach, instead of entering a studio with a feeling of scepticism. We also needed a more bass-oriented sound and we knew from before that in Abyss this could be possible. Maybe next time we will enter another studio it all depends on what kind of material we will come up with next time. When we worked with Tommy it wasn’t like he needed to tell us what to do, we knew pretty much what we were looking for and he helped us make it possible, and that’s called collaboration. Who, where and how is not the question, more important is if it’s possible to get the sound you are looking for.
MetalKings.com: Usually right before the release of the new album musicians start making promises to the fans like "you can find the heaviest sound you ever heard on our new album, etc." So what can you promise us?
Kenny: I kind of understand why bands say that because why should a band say: “hey, this is our new album and it’s much weaker than the previous one”. Of course bands think their latest work is their most prominent one, otherwise there would not be any use to record any new albums. If a band actually comes to that turn it’s better to sell the equipments and step back from sanity. But what can I say about our new album: it’s very different from the first one, but it has some elements from the previous one. It’s not harder or more complex, but it’s much more harsh and much more colder than any of the previous albums. It’s also more divergent from the previous one, but being more compact at the same time. The construction of the tracks is way beyond the usual patterns and there are some small additional frequencies and strong baselines, which give more power to the whole. It needs a couple of listening moments before it opens before your eyes. Some magazines have said that it is the coldest album to date, but it’s really difficult for me as a member to approach this perspective because its shape takes form differently in different people.
MetalKings.com: You are known for changing your identifications quite often, what nicknames have you come up with for the new album? And by the way what did K-2T4-S (your old nickname) stand for?
Kenny: We have always changed the pseudonyms according to the personal mentality and growth, but still keeping a connection to our real names. This time we just used our real names and nicknames instead of using some “artist names”. I think it has a lot to do with what kind of atmosphere the music is surrounded by, and this time this felt like the correct solution, but I think also the fact that our drummer Martex and the second guitarist 7even ii departed from the band and were replaced by two new members played its role on this matter. Or maybe the artificial pseudonyms have in a way lost their meaning in our eyes, but after all it’s not really important who lies behind the curtain of …andOceans, it’s more important that we ourselves know where we stand and that we are honest to ourselves, even if it is sometimes all way too blurred and distant for the mind to comprehend. The name K2t4s was a shortened version of Kenny Too Tight For Skin and I still think the skin of this world is too tight for me.
MetalKings.com: To my regret, I don't get any information about the cover artwork of the album. The previous one made by Nicklas Sundin was terrific. So what should we expect this time?
Kenny: This time we have used an Australian girl named Shannon and artwork is more sterile and cold compared to the artwork on ”Am God”, which was pretty modern and versatile. I think Nicklas did one hell of a great job, but it was time to try out something else this time, not only because everyone is using Nicklas nowadays, but because we felt like doing it the way we hadn’t planned it. I think it’s important for the whole concept of a band to constantly be in motion, at least for us. This motion is part of the whole form of …andOceans, we rotate and evolve constantly, but still one can find elements of the older constellation. The motion is not radical, but concrete.
MetalKings.com: You were proclaimed the new kings of black metal after "The Dynamic Gallery Of Thoughts” and "The Symmetry of I, The Circle of O”. But as soon as “A.M.G.O.D.”, "Allotropic / Metamorphic Genesis Of Dimorphism" was released many critics start talking that your ideas are dangerously close to Dimmu Borgir and Kovenant and you should be aware of not being clones of them. But what’s your attitude toward the way that the band walked from the very beginning till the present time? Do you have any favourite bands?
Kenny: I don’t like to compare or categorize anything, but people need comparisons in order to put things in different boxes and that’s what life is all about: comparisons. Anything you hear or anything you taste there’s a flavour you associate with something other. It’s not like anyone is creating anything original or new: it has all been done long before, but in a different kind of form. Everything has changed, but it’s all the same. For instance if one band makes something a bit different they are always compared to another act that has the same kind of elements. This is the case with everything in life, not only in music. We are all clones of each other. We are all happy clones surrounded by a cage in a world of apes. I don’t know what Dimmu Borgir or Kovenant is doing, and it’s not like I would care either. They can do whatever they do, and I know they will do it very well. I don’t sit back and think of what has been because you just get frustrated of the fact that you can’t turn back the clock and make things differently. And as well I don’t ponder too much about the future either because when you plan too much your mind gets stuck in a traffic jam. And what comes to favourite acts is impossible to mention because we are six members in the band and most of us listen to different kind of music. I could give you a list of 1000 names, but what for what? We like all kind of shit, as long as it’s heterosexual.
MetalKings.com: Your lyrics are very complicated with a great amount of allegories, comparisons, etc. What is it - a way to make yourself distinguished from other bands or just an every day philosophy?
Kenny: I have never been too concrete about anything and I never probably will because I always leave some space for the personal interpretation. It’s like with any book, movie or painting: the first impression is your own interpretation. I can’t see any relevance in the concrete forms before you have worked on it in your own personal way. It’s better to formulate your own thoughts and if you then later on come to the same solution you feel much lighter and you can just sit back and enjoy with a tiny smile on your face. The lyrics on “Cypher” are covered in simplicity compared to the previous lyrics, but sure I have left some hidden segments for the mind to chew on. It’s not much different from the music itself, they are compact and therefore there are connections to one another. It’s the same theme throughout the whole album and one can surely find the linking patterns, which the whole lyrical content is built upon. Even if all of the tracks are divided into three different segments and having therefore three different titles the cohesion is very close at hand. I don’t know how the lyrics come to life, but I always have a notebook on me and when I come up with a certain idea I just write it down. It’s like chewing gum you have to chew and chew to get the best juices out of it before you spit it out.
MetalKings.com: For the last several years we can observe the growth of very talented and young bands that come to the metal scene from Finland. Can you tell us what's so special in your country - the air, the spirit of your ancestors or just the great will and talent of the youngsters?
Kenny: I have noticed this some time ago, but what the bottom urge to create music for people is uncertain for me. I guess it is the atmosphere down here in this shit hole that makes people to create certain kind of music, and maybe Finns have noticed that we have always been surrounded by shitty music, we didn’t make it in the Eurovision contest this year either, which is nice, and seems like Finns have awakened from the long time coma to build certain genres into hype. Maybe Finns also want to be in focus for something else than just Nokia cell-phones and rally racing? Metal music has never been big in Finland, but due to this love metal which is spread around the world like a disease has opened some eyes both in the music industry as well as in the media. What else is there to do here except for drinking alcohol and eating potatoes. And that’s reason enough to start doing something else, and in this case it is music.
MetalKings.com: What's your impression towards the Internet? I mean do you have time to surf the net and also I know that you changed the address of your official site to http://on.to/andOceans, but almost all metal sites lead to the old http://www.blackmetal.com/~mega/AO/ which isn't working. Why? And do you think that Internet can help a lot in any kind of promotion especially of metal music?
Kenny: I work occasionally and when I’m working I’m pretty much surfing around, but otherwise it’s like having an overdose and you feel like a hard-drive swollen of data. Instead of standing in a regular traffic jam people are nowadays jammed on the net because it’s in a way obsessive, so it’s pretty much close to drugs and god. Some people can’t just live without it. Well, I guess it’s ok for transmitting and obtaining information, but there’s a lot of shit popping up at the same time, especially with mails and commercials. There are a lot of good things about it though, like the possibility of this interview for instance, paying your bills, ordering material and so forth. I read my mail every day, but I don’t hang out on chat-boards or shit like that. Internet is part of our developed technology, like the phone, a facility to exchange information with, but on a different level. And in a way it’s also better to write emails than regular letters, even if the personality behind the mails is kind of lost. Nowadays it’s like: ”what you can’t find on the net you don’t need to even know”, but it is just one phase of different periods in life. For bands it’s an easy way to promote themselves by having mp3’s on their sites, and of course websites are good for fans, media and people who need some information about a band. The old website is closed because we have a new one and we didn’t find it appropriate to have two sites side by side. The new site isn’t completed to its full form yet, but it’s taking its form as soon as we have the time to update it. We also need to find a proper domain, but this one will work temporary as the official site for now. And as this new site was created of a different guy we simply shut down the old one.
MetalKings.com: To say the truth now I would like to ask you a very tactless question so please don't be angry with me just if you don't want to answer don't. I've read several articles and interviews where you openly admitted your homosexual orientation. I dunno whether it's true, but if yes can you answer the following question. To many metalheads it goes without saying that metal was invented by real men to real men and there's no place for homosexuals in this metal world, that's why many persons have to hide their sexual life. You said the truth and definitely this step is worthy of respect, but don't you think that by such statements you attract a special attention of some metal extremists who will throw mud at you any day of the week. What do you think of the situation?
Kenny: Actually I’m glad that you asked this question because this needs to be sorted out. First of all I have NEVER said that I’m gay! And the word gay doesn’t only mean you are homosexual it also means joy and I don’t find anything amusing about being gay. Even if I am not happy, I certainly am NOT homosexual! To tell you the truth, I’ve had the same girlfriend for almost 10 years. BUT, it’s always fun to mock people and say things that regular norm based people find offending because it makes them insecure. We have always had a slight of provocation in …andOceans, but it seems like most of the people can’t read between the lines and comprehend the artificial facts of blasphemy. Hey, at least I’m not the one wearing leather-pants here, hah. But I don’t think the concept of homosexuality should be more or less praised than any other form of the humanitarian essence. Some people are just weak for the flesh, may it be genetics or collapsed synapses, but after all what can you do, except for smile? People have their weaknesses and that is only one ingredient of the mosaic called life.
MetalKings.com: Do you have plans to visit Russia?
Kenny: No plans for that at the moment, but it surely would be cool to have some gigs over there. I’ve heard that the scene is tremendous over there and I’ve heard some really good extreme black metal bands from Russia.
MetalKings.com: At the very end of the interview we have a tradition to ask the most stupid questions you ever received. In return we are expecting the most stupid answers we ever received. Ok, let's imagine a situation that yesterday you received a call from a person who is your distant relative. Aside from being from China he's also one of the Chinese communist party leaders and he insists on visiting you the next week. Please invent three reasons why you don't want to invite him or maybe you do?
Kenny: Of course I would invite him to my place. First of all I am totally out of rice at home, so he could fill up my storeroom by bringing me some rice. Secondly, he could bring with him some parts of the Chinese wall, so I could complete filling the holes in the cage I have built around the sun instead of putting my balls to the wall like Accept used to do. And for the last what does it matter if he’s part of a communist party because a party is a party. A good party is an alcohol party, but there’s no party like a communist party.
MetalKings.com: Walt Disney Studios wants to produce a musical "The Beauty and The Beast". They invite you, Rob Zombie and Eric Adams for The Beast casting. How you can evaluate your chance to win the role? And who should play The Beauty?
Kenny: This would be easily solved. First of all zombies only exist in old time horror movies, so Rob wouldn’t make it to the movie, sorry Rob, and secondly the Manowar –guy is a heavy metal hero, and heroes only exist in fairytales and heavy metal only existed in the ‘80’s, so practically I would not need to do anything to get this role. But then again Eric Adams has great muscles, so he could in theory be The Breast instead of The Beast. That would leave me as The Beauty and Eric as The Beast, and it could be re-titled as The Boldy and The Breast & the leather pants from west.
MetalKings.com: You received a notification that there is a cargo waiting for you on the custom service. The cargo consists of 34 burial urns. You checked everything and understood that the name is yours and there’s no mistake. Who can send you such a present and what you're going to do with such a "treasure"?
Kenny: Instead of going to the sperm bank I could use the right hand for filling up the 34 urns and by the time the Chinese guy arrives at my place I would have a present for him to bring along back home. He could “pass” the liquid into right places and after 9 months there would be 34 new small bold headed Chinese fellows running around in Peking screaming: “saaaataaaaan’s chiiiiiilllddddd, your mother is a leeesbiiaaaaan”. And the nightmare of cloning would eventually become reality.
MetalKings.com: Thanks a lot for the interview. And now your final words to all your Russian fans.
Kenny: Thanks for the interview and also for the Vodka bottle you promised to send me next week. Send more Russian black and death metal home videos to us, but no more burial urns, thanks. I already have 34 urns to fill up before the Chinese guy comes over.
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