Answers by Ismo Toivonen
1. Can you update us with what is going on with Unholy these Days?
All began couple of years ago, when Finnish label Ahdistuksen Aihio contact us and were interested in releasing our all demos as vinyl. Vinyls are coming back and we don't have any vinyl releases, so it sounded nice. Plus our demos are not available anywhere, and people sometimes ask for them. So, we said yes, they can do it. It began very slowly, personally I was not very interested (and too busy on other things) about the whole thing, so Jarkko lead the work with AA. But as project went towards, I became more interested and wanted to use this good opportunity to get albums available too. I think there were no albums in the shops after Avantgarde Music sold their stores out few years ago.
Kind of good thing was the information we got, that Avantgarde has sold our rights to Peaceville Records. So we started to negotiate with PV about re-releasing albums. They understood our point and maybe they also thought the fact that this is "now or never-situation" to sell some albums from dead band. At same time Relapse showed some interest about album release. But albums were Peaceville's job, so they started to negotiate about t-shirt release. So, little by little the whole thing got bigger and bigger, and now we're working hard for many directions and many projects. We also decided to open our website again (www.unholy.fi, under construction now) for information channel about our projects news.
Now We're finishing that vinyl project, designing website, making t-shirts, re-releasing all albums (new covers), and also designed new version of logo showed in last two albums. We got lot of help from many people around. Thinking the whole thing, not bad from band that is not even alive!
2.Recently you took a 6 year hiatus, what did you do during that time and what made you decide to reform the band?
We're not reformed, not as musicians at least. This project puts us together, but it's a long way from that to playing together, doing gigs, new albums etc. I don't know where these rumours come... Maybe they are more like hopes from fans. I tried to give the correct information in official myspace site (www.myspace.com/originalunholy) but obviously no one has read about it. Obviously even YOU haven't read that, even when you contact us thru myspace site.
But I never say never, we got musical ideas and WILL to do something together. The problem is more like logistic. We're living far away from each other, have families, daily jobs etc. So it's challenging to organize anything together, even if WILL to do it is this there.
3. You are considered a huge influence on the black/doom and funeral doom genres, what is your opinion on the bands that you have influenced?
I don't know about bands we have influenced... any?
4.When can we expect new material?
I'd say, it should be in next 5 years or if it's not happened in that time, it probably won't happen at all.
5. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance, also are there any touring plans in the future?
I don't remember what are the best shows, so many years passed from last gig. But I've always loved playing live and never got bored to it. Of course I'd like to do it again some day, but as I commented in q2, I don't see it as very potential future. Album is possible but touring is probably impossible. But if someone comes with million dollars and ask us to perfectly organized world tour, I'd say yes. I mean, compensation must be enough to beat our daily job salary. Today we have families to feed, loans to pay etc...
6. How would you describe the lyrical content of the newer material?
It's... very... incomplete... ;)
7. Out off all the albums that you have recorded so far which one are you the most satisfied with?
No question about that, it's Gracefallen! In every way. It's pure melancholy, taken to most extreme level. Arrangements are good, compared to earlier albums, but it's also technical masterpiece. But that's my opinion only. I'm quite unqualified to answer that as composer.
8. How has the support been from Avant Garde Records so far, and how would you compare them to other record labels that you have been on?
In q1 I told everything usable about Avantgarde, so it's not good. But it's not surprise because it was always like that with AG. They were unable to organize even ONE single gig to us during all those years we were together. That tells everything.
We have good relationship with Ahdistuksen Aihio, but it's hard to say yet anything about Peaceville and Relapse.
9. Are there any current side projects, if so how are they and what kind of music do they play?
No side projects.
10. What are some bands or music styles that have influenced your music and what are you listening to nowadays?
I'm listening mostly rock music now. None of us have never been really "metal fan". Of course we have listen to Metallica, Black Sabbath etc, but mostly the old bands like Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, some classical stuff etc. But also we listen to good metal music of course. For example I like Amorphis. It sounds simple basic heavy metal, but it's quite multilayered sound they are able to create, so I'm able to find new layers from music in every time I listen to it. Same thing has always been with Unholy songs I've made. I don't like to do easy "burger music".
11. Does Satanism, Occultism, or Paganism play any role in the music?
In the early year there was many themes from that in Jarkko's lyrics, but after Jan and Pasi started to make lyrics (Rapture and Gracefallen lyrics are almost completely made by Jan) some other themes came up. What those themes are, everyone can read from booklet, it's too difficult to explain, and either way, the point is that everyone can make the own rendition of them.
12. What are some of your interests outside of music?
Me and Jarkko are interested in computer and console gaming. Actually my second job is working as contributor in gaming magazine doing reviews. Games are good entertainment, and also interesting as art. I'm also a big movie freak, but games are somehow the better way to experience virtual life. TV is completely out.
It's interesting to see how gaming business has developed from early 80's (when I started to play) to own culture and from other side, the bigger it goes it feels more and more like big labels music business; spiritless way to make secure money. I'd compare todays NHL game series (and other EA games) for Smash Hits-collections in 80's. So game culture is in the same point nowadays as music was in late 80's. Small independent east-European game studios raise the artistic level, when big studios are lowering it. Just like underground and mainstream conversation in music business.
13. Any final words or thoughts?
Watch out, something wonderfull is going to happen...