Interview with Jules Näveri of Profane Omen at Metalheim 2011
Catching up with Jules Näveri after their set at Metalheim Festival was a great experience! They've just released a new album "Destroy!" and have gotten a new bass player, Antti Seroff. Read on to see what Jules has to say about the passion that sets musicians apart, what Sisu is and why we should take a page out of the Finn's book, and also what makes Profane Omen such a damn good act.
Hey good to meet you! So for our readers who may not know Profane Omen can you tell them a bit about Profane Omen?
We are Profane Omen, and we come from Lahti, Finland. And for people who don’t know where Lahti is, that’s where the ski jumping competitions take place in the winter. It’s about 100,000 population city, and about 100 kilometers to the North of Helsinki.
Great! Now you guys have been very busy lately. You just had a new Bass player, reissued an album and just had a full length release titled “Destroy!”
Exactly! A lot of things to start with. Yeah the decision with the bass player was that we were going to part ways, there was no drama or anything, and it was an easy decision because we knew his motivation was not in place, and we said that this is how we feel, and he agreed. We all shared the opinion that it was better to part ways.
Right. So how did you guys find a replacement?
We were never actually in search, because we knew we would go into the studio and we had a plan that if we don’t have a bass player we already had this plan b (or actually then it was plan a) to have Ville Sorvali play bass because he was already producing the album. It would have been an easy pick for us and we already kind of knew that we were not in any trouble with bass players. It was going to be handled no matter what. But then we kind of just put the word out, not a search, not officially or on the net just talking to friends. And luckily we found Antti Seroff. We call him Sheriff because we already have two Anttis in the band so there’s Sheriff and Antti. So he was a friend of a friend whose father’s works at the music shop where our drummer works. So they were talking, they knew this young guy, and he’s really, really talented. “Would you like to try him out, he would probably be very excited about this” and we said yes let’s see what he can do. And it was very fast that we realized that he knows his stuff, and is very talented; knows the rhythm and had an eye to the instrument itself. And it was really important that everyone who plays their instrument has a passion for it. Because there are so many musicians who say, well I ended up being a bass player because I wasn’t a good enough guitarist, or drummer. But this was not the case; this guy loves to play bass.
And when all of you play, that’s something that is very obvious to see, and very compelling.
Exactly, and it’s very important to us to feel that energy when we play because this is how we want to kind of burst it out from ourselves and give it to the audience and this is the only way we know how. It’s good to be passionate!
And there are so many bands that don’t have that passion, and it’s just not interesting to watch.
True! And I have been talking about this in a couple interviews actually also that it pisses me off to see for example big bands that already have made their way into the business and can support their lively hood from the music playing and everything, so you would think that these guys are probably really fucking grateful that they can do that for a living. And this is basically because some bands say “well money is not important for us” but it is everybody’s dream to do this for a livelihood. So you see these unhappy bands, and you are like well what is wrong with you guys! You get to do this for a living, why can’t you have any fun! It’s like watching salt statues standing there. Sometimes bands may have different atmosphere’s different kind of mindset to the music, that we are gloomy’ but still the passion shows. Then there are band that seem like “Fuck we are bored. We don’t want to be here”. When you are bored and you don’t want to be on stage, then why are you on stage?
Do you think it’s a situation where the love and the passion become a career and feels like 9-5 in the mind?
Definitely in some because then it does go from a hobby to a job. But you should never consider it a job, but many bands do think that “ok now it’s a job, and if I don’t sell album or have a lot of money from shows, then I can’t support my livelihood.” Of course some bands probably think that way but luckily at least I have really like bands that seem very passionate even now.
How about some examples of some who inspire you, and has all that passion we are talking about?
Well I can tell you about some bands who helped me decide how I want to be on stage. This was actually probably more than ten years ago, there was Woodstock 1999. And there was a great lineup of fantastic bands I listened to back then. And I had never seen Korn live but when I saw them through the TV, and this was shown live in Finland through the TV, but I was watching and I was like “This is fucking cool!” If I am going to be on stage I wanted to be like that, that’s wild and energetic, that’s interesting and entertaining and still it’s really bad ass. So that was the day I realized I want to have similar energy boost on stage.
And on the album too?
Actually just the other day, I was talking to a friend of mine and he was saying I really enjoy you guys live, but still on the album you haven’t captured the energy that you show live. You still have to do something to make it happen! And I disagree with him, I think we have captured our live atmosphere to the album, it has the sound that we sound like live and it has the kind of feeling that we threw ourselves into it and its fun. But it got me thinking about, why couldn’t we do for the next album, that there would be two processes. Like we would play it through and really full speed ahead and don’t think just let it happen. And then you would listen later, and do the other version where it’s everything separately, and listen to both and there might be some really big differences. And then we’d have to decide what would we publish? That would be interesting but, I think the other version would need people to just have the attitude that we are going to give everything we can. And in the studio is not the best atmosphere. So maybe then we’d have to call the fans and be like ‘OK we are going to have an album, you guys need to come and be in the audience so we can have the live situation!” It’s an idea I’ve been playing around with since yesterday.
I think that would be fantastic.
Yeah it would be interesting! But that’s definitely the whole playing live and playing in front of an audience for people who go crazy for the music, that's the most fun part of the whole thing, and it’s always been like that.
So what is the ultimate Profane Omen experience for a fan?
Well we’ve never been any grumpy musicians, we always go to the stage with big smiles, sometimes there might be evil energy but still we have a good time. And mostly always we go there smiling and that is something that is never going to change. Sometimes you say bands that are like "We are so grim that it’s it blacker then the black itself".
Ha! Blacker then the blackest black time infinity?
Yes! And then you of course when you show that really you are like that it can be very impressive.
It has its charm?
Yes of course, and for us we hope that the fans and the people that are at our shows think that that was a great music experience, and what a great live band! We want them to leave the show with a great smile on their face. Basically what we want our band to give out would be like what I get from Suicidal Tendencies, or Anthrax. Just have a great time. That’s probably what I would like for people to grasp, to leave thinking that was a lot of fun.
Great! And it’s always good to know that bands put all this effort into getting a specific response.
Well one other thing, is that Finland seems to turn out a lot of talented musicians. Why do you think this is, why does Finland seem to breed creativity?
Nobody can answer that! But I think we are persistent and crazy enough to just bang our heads to concrete wall long enough to break it! Or as long as our skulls get broken so then that’s the other side. I think that it’s that we have this thing called “Sisu” of course. You know what is Sisu right?
Yes of course! But our readers don’t.
Well it’s that if you don’t have Sisu you can’t do anything. And we have it in our mother’s milk, so I think that’s one of the reasons that it just drives us forward. I’m not sure how it affects us making music but there is a very wide scale and very vivid and exciting music scene in Finland. Not even just metal, there are great bands coming from pop, and soul and funk and everything. We have a lot of great bands that need to be discovered.
To have their chance in the limelight and be appreciated?
Yes exactly. I have no idea why it’s so, but it’s just that we have really great genes, and in the metal genes we have these genes to make this very powerful and emotional music. Well I don’t know, then again, Finland is known about its very atmospheric and eccentric bands like Nightwish and Amorphis, Him, Swallow the Sun, Insomnium. They all have this kind of atmosphere.
Right, very doom and gloom sometimes.
But our band we haven’t walked the same path. We still get our kicks from the bands we listened to as kids, and those bands are mainly American style metal that we got our traditions from to make music.
Fun and groove oriented?
Yeah! Very fun and groovy; more like Pantera. Or stuff like that, but Finland is more known for atmospheric metal. But we are not to known of having a lot of bands that are something different than this. It’s a kind of stamp on a bands forehead. You are gloomy, melodic. Hmm you must be from Finland! I think that we don’t share that stamp in that sense. We do have some elements that come from our heritage in a way.
And that’s something I’m always interested in, what sets you apart and you’ve covered that without me even asking. So I guess I’ll just ask when do your State side fans get to see you there?
Hopefully as soon as possible. At least we are happy that our album “Destroy!” its out in states in digi-version, so you can buy it from I-tunes. But to have it actually out there, something needs to happen. Maybe a tour, or before a tour, we would need to release the record there. How would that happen? I’m not sure. Someone should just go say “take this band! They are cool!” We have sometimes from States emails or facebook messages and whatever and it’s amazing that someone knows us, and that’s great.
And that’s why it’s great to have this interview, because you are a band that should have more recognition!
Yeah, and it’s a dream and that’s actually such a big dream that we don’t even dare to dream it, but we are! But now the next step is a good European tour, and that’s happening the beginning of next year. And that’s the next most important step. And I think that once these people see us live, I’m sure that we are going to get a lot of new heads turned.
And you will make an impression?
Exactly, and that’s what we hope, because we know we are a kickass live band and if you like energetic music you should come and see us! And one wish I was coming from a weird festival, eleven days of music somewhere in Texas.
They said "yeah we have shows for you guys, three shows, can you come"? And we said yeah of course! We don’t have money for tickets, so can you pay it to come there, then of course. Then no answer. That was it, so if we would have paid. But we are four guys trying to struggle ourselves; we need someone to bring us there. I don’t lose my hope; I know everything in this business is good luck and connections. And at least now we have a good label that can promote us worldwide if everything goes well, at least Europe wise and we are going to take small steps ahead and hopefully everything will pay off. But we are persistent and we are ready to do this. And that’s what we talk with the whole band always, that everyone must be 110% behind this, that there is no other thing more important for us then to bring the band forward. And we’ve been doing this since 1999, so we are really fucking persistent.
That Sisu keeps it going?
Ha, yeah, that’s Sisu!
Well, would you share last words for our readers?
This is Metal Underground?
Yes! And we are bringing you aboveground.
The aboveground enough to come and see you guys in States! Well then. we are a kickass band, you have to discover us and definitely come see us. We are young, we are pretty and bad ass!
Ha I agree! Well then. In one word describe Sisu?
One word? My vocabulary isn’t enough. Sisu is everything. You know Star Wars?
Force! That is Sisu.
Rachel Roth has studied classical music and folk music at the University level, and enjoys studying Folklore in her spare time. She is an avid metal fan lucky enough to be living in Helsinki, Finland, where she now studies social work. Currently, she has expanded her love of music to include photography and freelance writing. You can see more of her photography here.
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