The second Nordic representatives this time are the Finns LANTERN, a kind of lantern in the darkness of the world and certainly in Finland they can not complain about the lack of darkness. All this is reflected in their obscure Black / Death Metal full of occult atmosphere from other world. They certainly do not belong to those bands releasing materials every year, all the more they can focus on quality and certainly originality, difficult to compare them to someone else. Their two albums say everything and soon we will see the third follower. Both came out under the well-known Dark Descent Records, what confirms their high level. Cruciatus (guit, bass, drums) spoke about what is going on around the band and what opinions they have on various topics. He wrote the whole interview while traveling by train.
Greetings. There are considerable time gaps between your recordings. Do you think today's scene is overwhelmed with many bands and recordings? How would you compare it to the 80's and 90's?
Greetings! Writing, practicing and recording a new Lantern release is always a massive and burdening process - the recording and production stage itself usually lasts from seven to nine months. We like to withdraw and rest our ears and brains between recordings, slowly simmering the next entity, which leads to a natural 3-4 year interval between releases. If we had the time (and money) to record with a tighter schedule, I'm sure we could squeeze the timeline to a more condensed form. Especially in the 70's and 80's some bands had almost an unearthly frequency for putting out albums once or even twice a year, and some of those could even become classics. Nowadays, smaller bands and musicians can record music at home and release it through the same mediums the bigger artists do, as the online / streaming formats are taking over the physical ones. This naturally leads to inflation and perhaps to lack of interest, while the frequency of the old days was more or less dependent on demand. A rough simplification, but still, I guess the quality stuff will always shine through, come what may.
What is your attitude towards the way of composition when the lyric is first created and then transformed into music? Have you ever tried a similar method before?
I usually write the music first, at least a significant portion of it, and the words start to fill the empty spaces, compliment the music and help me farm new riffs. Sometimes I have had a song title, a chorus or a line before the music has started to fall in place, but most often I've had some sort of a melodic or rhythmic backbone is the starting point. Like I tend to say, "let the music do the talking" - in our case this is a very legit statement. Music can describe things in a way much more versatile or at least different compared to words.
How do you create the atmosphere in your music and then what atmosphere are you trying to materialize? In what environment do you think your music will stand out best?
I've written music in so many atmospheres and environments that it can't be brought down to specific patterns. This could be one explanation to why our music varies so much: all our releases are different from each other, but still recognizable as Lantern. Some riffs have been born without having a musical instruments in my hands, but most of the time it's me farming riffs or going through rhythms / patterns, and then the musical unknown just throws something at you. But it's very rare for me to create anything in collaboration with someone else, so guess solitude is my key to creativity. Surroundings and times change, but the "I" remains. As for the listener's point of view: I cannot tell what kind of environment works best for listening to our music - I'll leave that for everyone to experience personally!
Have you ever thought about the spiritual nature of drugs and alcohol, for what reason do they exist here, what are they supposed to bring or teach us? Do you think it is beneficial for a person to try different states of mind and perception?
In my opinion, everyone is free to exploit whatever means for unleashing their creativity, if they can handle it without losing their minds / selves or messing up other people's lives. I personally try to explore my inner realms without substances, but I know some who have definitely benefited from marijuana or hallucinogens, liberating them from over-conservative thought patterns or even making them understand the geometric or whatever nature of music they might ultimately find. Alcohol, too, why not, especially slightly for relaxing. I can't but be a bit vague and say that something that works for someone won't work for someone else. In the end, it's all about confronting your true self and its location in nature and existence. Some can confront it through meditation, some through ayahuasca, some through normal everyday life etc.
What do you think it is that the stories of H.P. Lovecraft are so special? It is incredible how he managed to create a myth beyond stories. Do you think he could join the collective unconsciousness?
The Lovecraft mythos and imagery are perfect for obscure music in all their gruesome, slimy and faceless glory, especially for those who aren't into the gory stuff. The horror beyond description aspect is what enticed me in the first place, and I guess it interleaves with the occult, too, something Lovecraft sure flirted with in his day. Like you said, new myths, contexts and connotations have been born where his mysterious descriptions ended. I'd rather not dissect this topic too much with "the knife of reason" - some ends are best left loose and some horrendous faces beyond description when talking about H.P. Lovecraft.
Do you think it is better for people if death is shrouded in certain secrets, or would they be better off knowing exactly what would happen after death?
Such a large percentage of our brain capacity remains unused that it's impossible to say if we could find happiness or mental demise, if we understood what lies beyond our comprehension, including the secrets of death and the afterlife.
There are some mysterious forces affecting our lives, and since most people reject their existence, they call them by chance. Do you think occultism helps to better understand how these mysterious forces work?
Partially referring to the previous answer, I strongly believe all of this is related to the uncharted part of our brains. If we could make use of our entire cerebral potential, perhaps everything we see as occult could be explained scientifically. Right now it's impossible to say for sure, but I'm sure there are things around us that our minds can't understand. It would be arrogant to say that science practiced with our current capacity could unravel all the mysteries of existence. Occultism can be thought of a way of acknowledging this.
Does your country's nature have any influence on your music? Finland is one of the northernmost countries in the world. Do you feel somewhat that you live so close to the sea or the ocean? Do you like seas, boats and cruises?
The woods, rolling hills and lakes are my soul's landscape, so to say. This naturally reflects to my music, like the Finnish nature does with Finnish music in general in my opinion. It's hard to analyze it very precisely, but I guess there's an undertow of coldness, melancholy and bluntness that connects all true northern music. Spending time by or on a lake is one of the best things you can do. The world looks very different from that point of view. Cruises? No thanks, haha. Why? Take a ferry from Helsinki to Stockholm or Tallinn and you'll see.
Can you tell us why you named the last EP just "Lost Paragraphs"? Is there any deeper meaning?
The name refers to the theme of the A side song, which is a description of a person's (faint) memories from beyond, from another time or existence... the lost paragraphs in one's cerebral chronicles... again, very coarsely simplified, haha. The title can also be thought of a reference to this EP being more like a shambolic collection of individual songs rather than a unified, almost amalgamated entity our albums are designed to be.
I have read you are slowly finishing work on a new album. Can you reveal what topics you decided to devote to? Will it be built on a unified concept?
Yes, new album recordings are in progress - just one or two sessions of vocal recordings remaining while typing this! The album will be titled as DIMENSIONS, a collection of horrendous visions and tales in various flavors and tones, and of course, with a lot of unexpected hidden among the obvious. Horror will be the unifying theme, but like I said, there is always more beneath the surface when it comes to Lantern!
Cruciatus 9.4.2019 Storm
Invocation of the Fathomless