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Despite being widely heralded as Katatonia copycats, Finland's Rapture have stuck to their guns and surpassed their impressive debut. With three years between albums, Rapture have matured and refined their sound into something that is undeniably genuine in execution. Metal Update had a chat with vocalist Petri E. about the new album 'Songs For The Withering', Rapture's lack of live performances and the vocalist's varied musical influences.

METAL UPDATE: Why did it take three years in between your debut album 'Futile' and 'Songs For The Withering'?

PETRI E: We didn't have a rehearsal space. We haven't had one in over four years. But now we actually do and we're preparing a live set. We get to play shows in the summer. That will be cool.

MU: How did you write if you didn't have a practice space?

PE: Actually, our guitar players did all the writing - basically at home. They demoed the tracks and then handed the demos to the rest of us. That's about it. And then we were off to the studio.

MU: Turned out good from the sounds of it. From reading the reviews on some of the more prestigious websites, it appears that people are raving about this new album. Have you noticed an increase in sales and fanbase since its release?

PE: No. Not really because I'm not that interested in the sales. I do ask about it every now and then, but I haven't really paid any attention as to if the sales have gone up since we've been getting good reviews or whatever. The feedback has been very good and it's kind of confusing even.


MU: That's the main thing you're looking for though, right? As long as people are liking it and you're happy with it.

PE: Yeah. That's definitely the main thing.

MU: What prompted the switch from Relapse Records to Century Media for a stateside release?

PE: Basically the fact that Relapse didn't show any interest towards releasing this one. The way that they were handling things was kind of awkward. We didn't get any information as to what was going on. How are the reviews or anything. They didn't tell us anything, so that was kind of nasty.

MU: That is kinda strange, but it doesn't seem like Rapture is a band that really fits on the Relapse style roster these days.

PE: You know, the guy I was talking to before you, he said the same thing. The funny thing is that they signed Daylight Dies. You know, their style is pretty much the same as ours. I've heard a couple of songs off the album 'No Reply' and it was pretty much the same type of style we are. That was kind of funny, but you know. . .

MU: I think you're better off where you are anyway.

PE: Yeah probably, because it seems that Century Media has been doing a lot of work for us. I've been checking out some reviews from the internet. There's been a lot of reviews and George has been making a great effort of getting us interviews and all that. Definitely great.

MU: At what point did you obtain a second vocalist?

PE: That came pretty close before we went to the studio. I'm not actually sure who came up with the idea, but I'm positive that it is a very good choice for us. It enables me to concentrate on the clean stuff a lot more and Henri can do his own thing and we both can share the death metal vocals on stage. It's going to add a lot of dynamics and energy to the live show and even future recordings.

MU: What is each of your roles in the band? Do you both handle both the death metal style and clean vocals?

PE: No. I do all the clean stuff and Henri does all the death metal vocals.

MU: I was wondering about that. And it looks like you basically split up lyrical duties on this album.

PE: Not so much split up. Henri had the three lyrics. He had lyrics for three songs and basically I just had more than enough lyrics and I chose the rest. Then there's "Farewell" which is written by Tapio Wilska, who recites it.

MU: I was going to ask about that. Is that a friend of yours?

PE: Yeah. We knew that he had a good voice so we asked him if he wanted to do it and he was like, "Hell yeah!"

MU: So it's a guest appearance sort of thing?

PE: Yeah.

MU: Is he in any bands or anything like that?

PE: He's actually doing vocals for Finntroll right now. Incidentally I did a couple of shows with them last summer so it's kind of funny. You know, kind of keeping it in the family.

MU: What happened with the lineup changes between albums?

The Band

PE: Well, Jarno, the guitar player, he left the band because he and Tomi were having a little bit of musical differences. Anyway he wanted to concentrate on Shape Of Despair more, which is definitely good. He should concentrate on that.

MU: Yeah. They are a great band as well.

PE: Definitely. Then our bass player, the guy who played bass on the first album, he wasn't that good of a player. And, well, these were about the only changes. Then Tomi knew Aleksi and knew he was a good guitar player so he asked him to join the band and he actually played bass on the album as well. And now we have a new bass player. He is an incredibly good player and a wonderful, wonderful person. I am really happy to work with him because he is like an old friend of mine.

MU: Very cool. Definitely good to keep it as friends, you know?

PE: Oh yeah. The bass player from Finntroll actually played the shows with us.

MU: Did the lineup changes slow you down as well?

PE: No. I think it was more of a question of not having a rehearsal space. I think it is quite good that we had the time. We had enough time to progress. To have that natural progression in the music.

MU: What inspired the lyrics this time around?

PE: The same thing as always. Suffering I think. Because the lyrics have always been very personal and very emo and I think it's good to keep it that way.

MU: Oh yeah. It fits with the music and it's the easiest and most effective lyric style, I think, personally as well.

PE: It's easy to write about how you are feeling real bad compared to how hard it is to write about if you are feeling really good. This is all really personal stuff. I can definitely say that it is all about our own lives. I guess you could say that life is the biggest inspiration here.

MU: You have some quotes placed after some of the lyrics. Particularly the songs that you have credit for writing. Do those tie in, in any particular way to each song?

PE: Yeah. And they all tie in with the overall theme of the album. It was only later on when I realized that. When I was reading the lyrics, I kind of suddenly realized, "Damn, there is a theme running through the album." So yeah, they definitely do tie in with the lyrics and they either emphasize or summarize the lyrics in some way. So, I guess the rest should be left up to interpretation. That is always rewarding.

MU: Do you think you have surpassed the Katatonia comparisons with this new album?

PE: In a way, yes, because people were earlier talking about, "Yeah, these guys sound like Katatonia." Now they are like, "Well they sound a bit like Katatonia, but they've definitely found something of their own."

MU: I definitely thought on the first one it was apparent and this one too, but I've always thought you guys have always had your own imprint of a sound, you know? The first album I thought had a really big sound - like you could play that music in arenas.

PE: Wow.

MU: That's what I got out of it and this time around things are refining a little bit and maturing.

PE: It was not a conscious effort for us to try and step away from the Katatonia comparisons. But a lot can happen in three years and these guys, Tomi and Aleksi have grown a lot as music writers in their time. We definitely wanted to strip down the sound of the band. Instead of building these massive walls of sound, we wanted to get to the guitar, drum, bass, real band kind of thing. We don't have any synthesizers anymore and stuff like that.

MU: Was Katatonia an influence when you guys started?

PE: Well, it could have been, yeah. You would have to ask Tomi because he's always been the main music writer. I know for a fact that he likes Katatonia a lot. The fact is that the band started out a bit more brutal than what it is now. It was a hint of the sound that we have now, but there was a lot of double bass stuff, the songs were a bit faster and all together it was a lot more aggressive. I would say it's been a very natural progression from the days of the demo to today. I don't know. It's safe to say that he's a bit influenced by Katatonia of course. You're always influenced by the things around you.

MU: Oh yeah. It's definitely not a bad thing. It appears, from reading your bio that Aleksi handles both guitar and bass duties up until now then right?

PE: Yeah.

MU: So now you are playing as a six-piece band?

PE: Yes.

MU: Have you done any tours or played out much?

PE: We've only done two shows in between these two albums.

MU: How many?

PE: Two. And those are the only shows in our entire career so that is definitely something that would be cool to do someday - do a proper tour and everything - but we'll see what happens.

MU: Finnish bands seem to have a knack for creating somber sounding metal. Why do you think that is?

PE: I don't know. Maybe because it is cold and dark half of the year. I don't know. That is a question that bands like Sentenced always get and it's always the same thing. Probably because we're here in the dark and probably because we're a bit introverted I think. We have a little bit of a Slavic heritage and all that so I guess it is a combination of all that stuff. When you get a band from the Mediterranean that tries to write really depressing stuff, more often than not it comes across as halfway there. We do have bands like Monumentum, from Italy, who are amazing, but still. . .

MU: I guess every area has their knack for a sound.

PE: One good explanation is that the folk music that we have here in the North and the popular music that we have here from the 40's and 50's, it's always been very melancholic. This is actually the first time I've thought about it this way. Damn, this is kind of like a revelation to me right now. But yeah, Finnish music has always been very melancholic and stuff like that, but then again I guess it comes from the fact hat we live up here. I don't know.

MU: It's definitely a good thing anyways.

PE: Yeah, hopefully. But we have the highest suicide rate, in probably the world. So I don't think that's a good thing.

MU: For some, such as myself, even though the music is described as depressing, it really brings a lot of people to a happier state. I find a lot of pleasure listening to music like that, you know?

PE: That is definitely good. I've been reading the guest book on our website and some people have said, "Your music makes me happy." I definitely think it is the biggest compliment that you could get. It means a lot to me personally when somebody says something like that.

MU: Yeah. Is there a big scene for that type of music in Finland?

PE: You mean metal in general?

MU: Yeah, metal in general and I guess the type of music that you are playing.

PE: Well, yes. There is actually quite a strong scene. We are a very small nation. We are about the same size as Germany but we only have like less than 6 million people. So in that sense the scene is kinda small but we have heavy metal bands on top 20 charts. Children Of Bodom have been in the number one slot for three weeks now. You could definitely say there is a scene for metal music in Finland. It's actually the biggest musical export right now. Metal music. So it's doing good right now.

MU: Here's a question I like to ask in every interview. What have you been listening to lately?

PE: I have been listening to a lot of screamo stuff and lot of emo and I like a lot of drum n' bass and psychedelic trance. You know, death and black metal, I listen to them very rarely these days. When I listen to death metal albums, I tend to listen to Autopsy, all that old stuff. But lately I have been listening to a lot of bands like Converge, Godspeed You Black Emperor has been a longtime favorite of mine. Neurosis. My Bloody Valentine. A lot of the stuff that comes out on Hydra Head Records.

MU: Really?

PE: Yeah. They are definitely one of my favorite labels in the world.

MU: They are only like an hour away from here and Converge is from this state as well.

PE: You are from Massachusetts.

MU: Yeah.

PE: You've probably seen them live?

MU: Yeah I know all those guys and I pretty much grew up with them. I used to play in bands alongside them and everything.

PE: At the moment they are like my favorite band. 'Jane Doe' was for me the best album of 2001. Hands down. Nothing came even close to that. I am into the kind of hardcore / post hardcore / metalcore / chaoscore. I am definitely into that scene. Bands like Usurp Synapse, Circle Takes The Square, Neil Perry are fucking amazing. I am definitely into that stuff. Grindcore - a lot of grindcore.

MU: I noticed that you had a link to the Red House Painters on your site. Are you guys into them?

PE: I am. Actually I gathered the links for the link page so it is basically more of a reflection of my taste in music than the rest of the guys but I tried to squeeze in a couple of their favorites as well. There's links to bands like A Days Refrain and Converge and whatever so, that is basically the stuff that I like to listen to.

MU: What other non-metal bands, like the Red House Painters, would you recommend to fans looking expand their horizons?

PE: My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Flint, Godspeed You Black Emperor, Yuma Bitsu. I don't really know what country they are from or anything, but they have this EP called 'Giant Surface Music: Falling To Earth Like Jewels From The Sky' and it is absolutely amazing. If you are into Godspeed You Black Emperor, you need to check them out because they are very good. They use some vocals, but they are still quite good. I also suggest that people check out more electronic music because it's not all just straight beats. There's a lot of very innovative stuff there. I love bands like Aphex Twin and Squarepusher and tons of other stuff. I'm a big fan of music all across the spectrum definitely.

MU: Me too. It's always good to get your insights on non-metal music.

PE: Yeah, definitely because the more you listen to different types of music, you learn to appreciate different types of things. When I was 14, I didn't want to listen to anything with clean vocals.

MU: Who did?

PE: It would have to be fucking growling, screaming, whatever. It was like a revelation to me when I first heard bands like let's say The Prodigy or Orbital or The Orb. That got me into electronic music. I think Tool was the band that opened my eyes to clean vocals and the way that they can really add to the music. I used to just to listen to a lot of heavy metal but besides stuff like Iron Maiden or W.A.S.P or whatever, a lot of the stuff wasn't too melodic.

MU: What are some plans for the future of Rapture?

PE: At the moment we are just rehearsing to get a live set together and then hopefully we'll play some shows and maybe even write some new material at some point. We have a couple of songs being demoed right now. As far as this year, I really don't know - besides rehearsing and maybe playing a couple shows.

MU: Well, maybe someone will invite you over to a US festival or something like that because there are a few in the works, so you never know.

PE: You people have to talk to Century Media: "We want to see Rapture dammit!"


review of Rapture 'Songs For The Withering'

review of Rapture 'Futile'

"Enveloped" from 'Songs For The Withering'






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