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OMNIUM GATHERUM - Markus Vanhala

This interview has originally been conducted for Terrorverlag in October 2008 by Cornelia Wickel.
See this interview in its' original content (in German) : Terrorverlag
All the questions have been answered by guitarist Markus Vanhala via E-Mail.

Band Homepage: Omnium Gatherum

omnium gatherum

OMNIUM GATHERUM have recently released their 4th album "The Redshift", receiving lots of positive feedback by press and fans. After a tour together with NILE and GRAVE they surely managed to get more attention in Germany. Guitarist Markus Vanhala took some time to answer our questions about the new album, plans and visions for the future, astronomy, inspiration and how strange it is, when one of your idols starts praising your work.

Hei and thanks for taking some time to answer a few questions!How´s things up there in Suomi?

Howdy, everythings cool here, really COOL indeed as the winter have just landed and here’s snow everywhere at the moment. We’ve almost done with our european tour and the “Riding The Redshift in Finland 2008” tour, just one show to go and that’s our hometown show. It’s gonna be a blast for sure!

How have the reactions to your newest album "The Redshift" from press and fans in Finland and other countries been so far?

Awesome and interested indeed! It seems that we’re really back on the right track after some wandering around, i’m not saying that the second and third albums were bad, but the best ones in my opinion are the first one “Spirits And August Light” and the new “Redshift” album. This is what we want to do, some more melodic, athmospheric and catchy stuff but in aggressive way. Almost all the reviews have been really really praising and the gig audiences have also been very enthusiastic and wild, so everything’s good here!

You entered the charts at position 24, I think, did you expect something like that? And is it still something special in a country like Finland, where it seems to be kinda "normal", that Metalbands kick out cheese pop bands?

Well, of course it was a surprise for us, as we’re not so “mainstream metal band”, even in Finland. We don’t have a huge promo campaigns like other bands and stuff like that, so it was a honest big work victory for us to reach the TOP-30 album chart here. There’s still some justice in the blasted overcrowded music things, as everything seems to be so fucking calculated and manipulated in music business nowadays. We don’t do things for the altar of big commercial success, this music is honestly for us and the music we wanna hear. Others can only follow, if interested. We’ll do this anyway in any cases as this is for our own mental health, heh.

Can you tell us something about the new album, concept, music, your ideas behind that record?

This time the album came to life very easily in a very small time-line as there was really inspired period going on in the band. I’m sure this can be heard as a positive breath of freshness and energy on this album. As the all-over boogie was good and the spirits were high, those spirits of music whispered to my ear some good riffs and ingredients to the songs. I just wanted to make more melodic album this time, as that’s really the main ingredient of this band. In some way the past two albums “Years In Waste” and “Stuck Here On Snakes Way” little bit lacked melodies as we were doing something else with those albums... Hell, I don’t even know what that was, haha! The Lyrical meaning of the album then contains the fact that ‘The Redshift’ is an astronomical term which means the drifting apart of galaxies in the universe.But first of all it is about confidence and tranquillity in fast peaceful forward motion. So the album says: “be at peace and don’t let them fuck with you!”

Who´s responsible for music and lyrics and how do you normally work on songs?

All lyrics are made by our vocalist poet Jukka, and me and Harri (the another guitarist) are working with the music. Usually me or Harri almost finish the whole song at home studio and do some ready demoversions with computers and then send that to others who check ‘em out, rehearse them and plan some updates to them and then we gather our forces at the rehearsal place together and raise some hell out of the riffs! The band activity of today isn’t anymore so dangerour rock’n’roll, because of the lack of time in rehearsing. It’s all about computers and rehearsing with computers, bad-ass attitude stuff isn’t it folks?

How did the collaboration between you and Dan Swanö start? Must´ve been great to work with him and - as far as I read on the promoflyer, he really liked the stuff that much, that would´ve liked to "steal" it. ;-)

I’ve been always a big fan of his music and studiowork, as most of our other guys also. So, i found that Dan the Man had re-opened the doors of his mighty metal sanctuary – The Unisound Studio and right after that i was sending a message to Dan that does he know OG and is he interested to work with us on the new album. And he knew and were interested about the task. He was really nice and easy-going lad to work with, and he had the same vision about the production of the album what we were after. And he was so into our music as i almost doubted that is he lying, but he wasn’t, he really liked the album. It’s a funny feeling when your idol is praising your own stuff, you think that “isn’t this going wrong way”... haha! But, he did a really good job and we’re still really satisfied for the sound of the album and that’s the main point.

And what´s your source for inspiration - in general for lyrics and which bands influence you - if there are some of course?

It’s just the spirits and gods of music which sometimes smile for you and you gotta seize the day then. Sometimes the stuff just comes and sometimes not, it’s the thing to find the right moments. Good music is always a good source of inspiration and connection between the spirits of music. Sometimes when i hear some good song or riff from cd or radio or tv, i just immediately had to grab the guitar and start the playing when the boogie is high! As for the lyrics i don’t know, as i’ve never done them. I’m too busy on writing the music really...

How come we didn´t hear that much from you guys for nearly 3 years, what happenend?

Between this new fourth album and the previous one were only one year, but there was 2,5 years between the second and the third album,... And it was a hectic year on touring and doing the new stuff ready and having a new bass-player on board. But between those second and third albums, there were lots of shit with labels and vocalist change etc. Maybe because of lefting all that shit behind then, the overture for this new “The Redshift” album was so much better and positive energy was flowing on us! Leave you dead behind...

Your changed over the years. Could you describe your development shortly and maybe also explain why those changes were made (if possible)?

From shit to jewel, haha. First we were doing melodic death metal, then we got some more progressive, then some more aggressive and less melodic and now were again back on the square one messed with influences were gathered during the years – means were doing melodic aggressive metal with a lil bit proggy spices here and there...

What are your plans for the near future? More touring, are you already working on stuff for the next album and all that?

Hopefully we’ll be able to do some more international touring soon again, at least will be doing few festivals next year abroad and of course some Finnish dates. I’ll be busy on January/February as i’ll be a stand-in stunt guitarist for Finnish fellow metallers Diablo on European tour with Children Of Bodom and Cannibal Corpse, as their guitarist is unavailable for a part of the tour... I’m doing also gigs with my other bands Malpractice and Manitou, but OG is my priority number one of course. I’m also working already with the new OG material, slowly but surely.

You´ve been on tour in Germany supporting Nile and Grave, how was it, how were the reactions of the audience? I guess you´re still a bit unknown over here (hopefully that changed with this tour and the new album! )

It was good and fun trip, most of the audiences were really interested about us and gave really good feedback to us. Even we were little bit afraid at first that are we really too melodic for this tour combo, but as we saw it we’re still enough metal for even more brutal metalheads. Yeah, it would be really a time for you Germans to finally find us, understand our greatness and buy lots of our albums as there’s lots and lots of shitter albums on sale there, haha!

Do you have any goals for the future, that you´d like to reach - or do you rather prefer to go on working on songs and see what comes around?

We prefer to do a good music that we ourselves enjoy and everything else is just good bonus. If u do your own job well, hopefully you’ll be rewarded in the end. I wouldn’t be happy doing some shitty but massive-selling music and playing for big masses, that would be self-cheating. Touring, visiting new places and playin’ the gigs on ten is the nicest thing on this job, so hope to be able to do that more and more and for all-the-time growing audiences also.

How´s things in Finland in the metalscene nowadays. You´ve been around for over 10 years already - so when looking back - has it become easier or harder to get recognized and how has the status of "Metal" changed? I guess it´s not that "underground" in a Metal-Country like Suomi, like it might be elsewhere.

Metal is really so NOT underground in Finland, as it seems to be one of the most popular genres here at the moment.. But for new bands it’s maybe harder to get recognized nowadays without a big label support behind, because of the endless amount of metal bands coming. I’m sure this “metal-invasion” of Finland won’t last forever, so we’ll see what bands are the strongest and honest ones that survive from this hype. The OG’s were here before this big invasion, we’ll see are we here still after this boom.

What country would you really like to tour one day and why? And if you could also chose the bands to join you (you can be totally unrealistic, if you want to), who would it be?

Japan, of course, as it heards to be something completely different and. African gigs would be also somewhat exotic to be on safari with the tour bus. Dark Tranquillity was the nicest one to tour with, so we would definitely want to tour with them again, because they are the best dudes! Supporting Iron Maiden or Metallica then would be good a good promo, haha. Avril Lavigne or Paramore would be something also for me. ...Or touring with Jessica Alba, when she decides to start a singer career!

And just one last question, how would you describe OG to someone, who hasn´t heard of you and why should this person definitely get the record? ;-)

There aren’t too much really good, original own-sounding, athmospheric and honest metal bands here today on this over-crowded scene, but OG is one of those better ones for sure! To people who want something else for their metal than average melodies and stupid as-if aggressive riffs and who wants a record that stands more listens than only 10...

Allright, I´m through with my questions! Kiitos again for taking some time and the last words are yours! :-)

Thanx & see ya in Germany hopefully soon, keep on riding the Redshift until then!

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