SCHOOL METAL ZINE
1. Hello, how are you? Can you introduce yourself?
Hello there! My name is Jouni, and I'm a 28-year old metalhead, punk and DIY maniac. I'm originally from Hämeenlinna, but I have since settled to Tampere. My personal life is in a somewhat amorphous state due to my graduation (I'll graduate as a Bachelor of Social Services in June) with my future being rather indefinite at the moment. Sooner or later the things will settle though, and even this transitory state has not stopped me from being active within the Finnish underground music scene. I'm a writer, zine editor, label manager, distributor, photographer, DJ, concert-goer, graphic designer, record collector, an occasional show organizer and a cat person. I haven't been in any bands for years due to unfortunate mishaps, lack of time and motivation, and even those bands were such ”one rehearsal tape wonders” that never got out of their rehearsal rooms, so there's no use mentioning their names. In fact, some of them never had any names, haha!
2. What should the readers know about ABHORRENT VISIONS zine?
Abhorrent Visions is a metal fanzine I started to make in 2012. Two issues have been published so far, the first in December 2013 and the second one in January 2015. Third issue has been in the works since the second issue came out, but it's nowhere near completion. I hope I can publish in late 2016 or early 2017, but you never know.
I guess you
could say that Abhorrent Visions is a spinoff of my punk and hardcore
oriented fanzine Ajatuksen Valo. Ajatuksen Valo had interviews with
metal bands in the course of it's first five issues, but since I
started to have more and more interest towards writing about metal
bands, and I planned to make an all-metal fanzine to satisfy those
needs of mine.
3. Where does the Abhorrent visions name come from? Could we say it has both Finnish and Brazilian roots?
Ha, I guess you could say that. I've always had problems giving names to any projects I've been working on, but this was an exception. I decided that the new magazine should have the same initials as Ajatuksen Valo – party because of it's nature as a partial spinoff. Abhorrent Visions is an old school kind of name and the name-giving process was certainly old school as well. I just picked two words which were both ”metal”, reflected the content and which started with letters A and V. There's no greater glory in this story.
4. The layout of your first issue was computer made, your second issue looks more old school with drawn margins... Will you use a typing machine, scissors and real glue for the third one?
I'm used to making layouts with computers. It was actually a part of my job before I switched profession and before I did any zines at all, so taking an advantage of digitalization was quite natural choice for me. I do like the old school vibe a typing machine, scissors, glue and pieces of paper can give to a zine, but I feel that it's superficial to use all of your energy to argue which way is better to produce a decent fanzine. It's the overall feel and the content that matter. Even the classic layout won't help you a bit, if it lacks dedication, and the dedication is not dependent on the tools you use.
I think that the third issue has more or less the same feeling as the second one did. I feel that it's best of both worlds. It's both conventional and convenient...and it looks great!
5. Is the fanzine a rather personal thing, or you like to collaborate with other peoples? Do you review records on request, or prefer to talk about what you bought/ received in trade?
I rely heavily on DIY ethos. It gives you the freedom and responsibility to make anything you want with the fanzine of yours. I think that first and foremost fanzine is a personal thing, but you can still ask your friends to help you with some issues you feel you are not capable enough with. When it comes to the drawings, I can't draw for shit. I owe quite much for Tomi for making those drawings for Abhorrent Visions
I have and still do review records on request, but I'm quite picky in that respect. I was quite used to writing about everything when I wrote as a staff member for Lammas Zine (A Finnish webzine), but I received so much shit in a review pile that I had to have a break from writing record reviews for a while. That's why I prefer writing about stuff that actually interests me, and I tend to buy most of that stuff. Perhaps it incites to write mostly positive reviews and most of those negative reviews are usually filled with disappointment instead of disdain. There's a choice involved even in what to include within those few pages reserved for reviews.
are willing to give their work for me to publish it, as they don't
probably have an own platform to publish their work, or they are
not interested to even have one. I'm completely fine with that,
but I'd like to encourage people to do their own fanzines.
6. Finland is known for being colder than the average European country... So I wonder if wild bears are more frequent than in southern countries like France... (Also in the most isolated places, is it more frequent to warm meals with an old school wood-fire or microwaves?)
We might be primitive in some aspects, but I think that most of the Finns can't fit into the stereotype, which depicts of us as savage brutes who hunt bears, eat raw meat and are drunk for the most of the time we are awake. For an example, me and Tomi are quite the opposite, haha!
I have spent most of my life in cities, roaming in the most populous places in Finland. Therefore I don't have much first-hand accounts of living in a cottage in the middle of a forest, but I think that everyone should enjoy a moment by the wood-fire every now and then. I haven't encountered a bear face to face in the wilds, but I know that they are everywhere. It's relatively easy to walk near a bear rather than actually seeing it, as they are the masters of hide-and-seek game.
7. You also run a small tape label called Johnny Park records... You released a couple of old styled heavy metal, and other stuffs like hardcore... What can you say about it? Is it quite easy to run a tape label in Fi land in 2016? Do you have a lot of regular Finnish customers, or is it mostly peoples from all Europe?
Johnny Park Avenue Records was established in late 2011. I knew that a couple of bands I knew were ought to release some recordings and needed some help. As it's name suggests, the catalogue of JPAR is heavily focused on my taste in music. That's hardcore and metal for the most part, but I have also published some alternative rock records in the past, but I decided to keep it more focused and publish just hardcore and metal.
I've been involved with vinyl releases too, but I'm more focused on tapes. Why? They are inconvenient, single units more expensive than Cds to produce and they can sound like shit. On the other hand, you can produce any amount you want, so as a whole they are a lot smaller investment than Cds or vinyl and the sound could be really good. But they are still inconvenient. I think that underground has never been or should be about how easy everything is.
Most of my customers are Finnish, but I do ship records abroad quite often. It really depends on the release. For an example, a large portion of Lord Fist tapes were spread to Europe, but some alternative rock records spread just locally. I usually have my distro with me at the local shows.
To answer your question whether running a tape label is easy or not, I can't give you an exact answer. JPAR is more of a hobby than a profession and the pressing numbers are so small that my living isn't dependent on JPAR's record sales. Sure it's fucking expensive and time-consuming, but I can't think of a situation in which JPAR and all this zinemaking nonsense are absent.
8. Do you dub the tapes yourself, or do you use a "tape factory" (When you know the old hardware some of these use, not sure if we can talk about pro tapes anymore huhu). Same for the tape covers: Do you enjoy the fact of xeroxing and cutting the covers yourself, or do you prefer to send the PayPal payment and wait until the ugly job is done by someone else? (Personally I used both solutions...)
I've done both as well, and that also depends on the tape and it's nature. Same goes for the covers as well. I do have a Telex tape duplication machine with a master unit and three copy units. At the moment, just one copy unit is functional. Luckily I didn't pay more than just a 30 euros for it and since it has just the capability to reproduce mono sound, I haven't bothered to have it fixed. As long as I have the possibility to use tape factories who can duplicate tapes with relatively low costs and high quality, I'll surely take advantage of them. The lack of time is always the enemy, even if you had all the energy and time in the world.
9. I think you said you were also running other music fanzines, perhaps to be more hardcore punk focused... What else can you say about it? Sometimes peoples who seem to be addicted to zine-making also print mini-zines about art, poetry, thoughts and else... Is it your case?
I guess I have to regard myself as a zine addict. The most important zine I make is definitely Ajatuksen Valo. It's been five years since I started making the first issue, and the 15th issue should be printed soon. It's more or less focused on music, but it also deals with the hot topics of the Finnish punk scene and other, not punk related but more general and personal issues. Although five years might not be a long period of time, Ajatuksen Valo has gone through various phases and it's face has changed completely during the course of it's run. For the most part, I'm content with it's present state and the progress it has gone thru. I'm happy with the content, layout, quality, status on the Finnish zine field and the page count Ajatuksen Valo has on average. Still there's always something I'm not completely happy about: perhaps all the interviews are not as accomplished as they should have been or there's some minor issues with the details regarding the layout. I like to try different things with the zine, so making them is still an adventure for me.
I'm also running a doom metal focused fanzine Nurja Kehä with another friend of mine. Although Ajatuksen Valo is primarily a hardcore punk zine, it's seventh issue dealt quite much with doom metal and other sorts of heavy music. I knew that I couldn't do yet another long-running fanzine on my own, so I asked Tuukka, another zine veteran to collaborate. I knew he would be happy to see a zine like that in existence, and so we started making Nurja Kehä. We have published two issues (in July 2014 and May 2015) and a handful of A4-sized pamphlets. The third issue should be released before the year 2016 ends.
I have made a handful of minizines with a certain theme in them. The amounts of these zines are very limited and I prefer keeping some of them really underground, so no information about them can be extracted from the internet, haha! One of them was made merely in three hours, including the ideation, making it real and printing 20 copies of it. I'm not really interested of promoting them, but to just to make them for my own satisfaction.
I have written some reviews for Metal Archives in the past, I had my own blog for a some years and I was a staff member for Lammas Zine several years. Sounds like that I don't have anything else to do with my life, but you'd be surprised how much I have to deal with other affairs that aren't related to music at all.
10. Across the years I have sent packages to countries all around the globe, and some addresses are quite a pain in the ass to spell without mistake... It's the case with some south East Asian countries... But also Finland! I know some peoples from other close countries like Sweden (Or perhaps Norway) dislike the Finnish language because it' s complicated and hard to learn... What is the problem with Finnish language? Where do it roots come from? How long does it take to learn and correctly spell this tongue?
Since I've been exposed since the year zero to the Finnish language, I can't really tell what the real problems is. I know some immigrants who have lived here for years and still have trouble coping with the Finnish language. I can't blame them. Even the native speakers are not completely familiar with all the grammar issues involved and make grammar mistakes quite constantly. So... perhaps you can never fully learn the language and all it's aspects, but I'm under the impression that it's still relatively easy to handle the basics and learn to speak at least understandable Finnish.
11. What can you tell about the current Finnish music scene? Could you perhaps shorten the talk to the metal bands, since this site is a metal webzine?
We would have to do another interview, if we were set to talk about the whole Finnish music scene, haha!
As I'm writing down these answers, it's May. It's been a decade since Finland triumphed in Eurovision song contest. The most exaggarated metal craze has been died out, thank goodness. Were pretty to close to prime minister declaring May 20th as a national metal holiday. Well, not really, since I just came up with that idea, but that might give you the idea how ridiculous that craze was for a moment. Suddenly there was metal everywhere: not only magazines, radio and TV, but also roadside commercials and in bags of candy. Metal has since kept some of it's popularity and partially established itself as a part of the mainstream. I guess it goes without saying that I have no interest towards this face of metal, but even the most extreme forms of metal might have relatively more exposure because of it.
I can't say that I put much effort into following Finnish underground metal scene either, but I do get constantly exposured by it and some of the promiment bands by just keeping my ears and eyes open. Bonehunter, Scumripper, Galvanizer, Radux, Angel Sword, Rivette are examples of new metal bands I have found particularly enjoyable.
some decent shows every now and then. There are plenty of options
to go with, but that naturally requires you to live in one of those
larger cities, such as Helsinki, Tampere, Jyväskylä, Turku
or Oulu. Of course this applies to just shows having decent or great
bands on the bill, but there's some metal shows for practically
every Friday and Saturday night. So, it's up to you picking your
You'd better ask about this from the band members. I think that Evil Prevails was a decent album, although it lacked some power. Because the bands of that age tend to regress instead of progress and return to the sound they used in their early years, the soundscape on ”Cycle of Revenge” was something unexpected. I think they have listened quite excessively to some Amorphis and Kingston Wall. I'm not sure what I'm thinking of the album, but I respect them for doing something they want to do, although I still prefer Evil Prevails and World Without God.
B. Do you think a new Demilich album could be good, or should be avoided?
I'm not that much looking forward into it, but I'll definitely check it out when it becomes reality. Although I didn't find Winterwolf that appealing, I felt that Antti Boman's voice has not lost an ounce of it's power in the course of the years.
C. Do you secretly hope someone will re-release the first two Sentenced albums?
I can be completely honest with this one and be open about it. They've already been reissued in CD format, but I wouldn't mind a vinyl version of ”Shadows of the Past”, with the original artwork of course. In fact, I would even love it!
D. Do you think Amorphis should do a tour and play strictly their first (Or second) album exclusively? (Or perhaps they aren't big enough for that?)
I think they would be big enough to do that. After all, they already made that album consisting of re-recordings. If my memory serves me right, I recall that they did some shows promoting it, but it also had some ”Elegy” tunes in it. As we have already seen the Abhorrence reunion and these ”we play just our album X exclusively” shows are quite frequent these days, I think that a set having just ”The Karelian Isthmus”, ”Privilege of Evil” and ”Disment of Soul” stuff in it would be possible.
E. Do you think a Demigod live cover band could be something cool? After all we have Led Zeppelin, Acdc or status quo quite regularly :)
Your question already had the answer in it. I'm not into cover bands. Although I love ”Slumber of the Sullen Eyes”, I'd skip a Demigod cover act and would go to see a Galvanizer show, if I'd had to choose between the two. I think there's no need to have a cover band like that. Besides, Demigod plays some shows every now and then. However, I think they could do a tour celebrating ”Slumber of the Sullen Eyes”, which turns a quarter of a decade next year.
I'd say it's both. Making a fanzine is always a bit chaotic and even the most carefully devised plans are bound to change. I make plans for my future endeavours quite carefully, but I'm always ready to change them, and I have given myself a permission to go just by the mood. For an example, I have asked some band interviews without giving it any real second thought, thus possibly altering my plans. Life is chaos.
14. What are you listening to these weeks? What are your next plans? What else should we know, or not? Thanks for the answers :)
For the last couple of days I've been mostly listening to Lapinlahden Linnut (famous Finnish humor rock band, one of the few I can bear), Rattus (especially their more metallic stuff from the mid to late 80s. Will Evil Win? Is their best song!) and Ratos de Poráo, with some other occasional hardcore records in between. My friend also asked me to make a thrash metal mixtape, and because of it a lot of thrash metal records have visited my turntable lately. That's practically everything between the classics and some obscure gems. I've used 90-minute tapes and I've already made three mixtapes, with the ”one song per artist”-rule applied. That's a lot thrash metal, haha!
The 15th issue of Ajatuksen Valo was released a couple of weeks ago, and my label pushed the debut tape by Helsinki based hardcore band Ironteeth out a few days ago., and if you prefer your thrash metal sounding like it was dumped in nuclear waste processing plant in '86 and locked in there for decades without any pizza or beer, Radux might be your thing. I'm saying this because JPAR will be taking part in the publication of their compilation tape with their first two demos in it, in co-operation with local DJ geezers Pacto de Sangre and their new label Pacto de Sangre Discos.
Of course I'm making the next issues of Abhorrent Visions, Ajatuksen Valo and Nurja Kehä, with the Ajatuksen Valo # 16 being the first one of them to be published. I'm also working on a few other zine projects, but I'd like to keep the shroud of mystery in front of them at the moment. Sure, a lot of things are being planned, but since the plans are always about to change and time is always of the essence, I'd better keep my mouth shut for now. I guess that I have nothing else to say but slogans like ”Support your local underground”, ”Keep it real!” and ”buy my zines so I can pay my rent!”, which might be heard a million times before, but they still hold their value.
Thank you, Gabriel, for the interview and good and interesting questions! It was my pleasure answering them. Keep up the good work with Nihilistic Holocaust!