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
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
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
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
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
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?
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?
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
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
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
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
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.
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
MU: So now you are playing as a six-piece band?
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
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
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.
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
PE: You people have to talk to Century Media: "We want to see Rapture
review of Rapture 'Songs For The Withering'
review of Rapture 'Futile'
"Enveloped" from 'Songs For The Withering'
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