Having caught our ear with their Groove Metal fueled debut “From Filth To Filth“, the return of Finnish quintet Filthy Crook so soon was a little bit unexpected but with a new vocalist front and center and a concept EP called “Live Eternally” revolving around love, some of which is seriously unhealthy, they were on a mission to get it released on Valentines Day to bring a little darkness to the occasion.
The new EP “Love Eternally” sees Nico Jämsä replacing Ville Lehtoranta as the vocalist. How did that change come about and what qualities did you see in the new man that made him the choice? “After Ville Lehtoranta made his decision to leave the band, we were weighing our options for some time. The metal scene here in Oulu, Finland is quite vivid and at first we thought about having tryouts for the role, but that just didn’t seem right. All the current members excluding Jaakko Sepponen come from the same areas of Oulu and our past goes way back into the 2000’s. We like how we have some common ground outside the music even if we haven’t been that close before connecting via the band. With that said, we came to think of Nico Jämsä, an old friend of ours, who we knew had a background with metal vocals and singing in general and with whom Joni “Jänis” Saarela even had a garage band back in the days. He was a perfect candidate as he had already connections to the band, was familiar with our music and had just the right tone for us. Lucky for us, he was interested and has been a great addition since“
“Love Eternally” as an EP is something of a concept release about love and was released on Valentine’s Day. Was that always the intention or has it become an amusing coincidence? Was it always intended to write darker and more intense music? “We were planning on releasing the new EP somewhat a year after the first one, ‘From Filth to Filth’. We were actually quite oblivious for the fact that this would in fact place the release date around Valentine’s Day until quite at the end of the process. After recognizing this, we didn’t have any other choice. How could you miss an opportunity like that? The music as a whole came together quite naturally. For this EP we picked first and foremost songs that could fit together creating this short but intense package. That’s why themes, lyrics and compositions were all quite dark on this release. Jaakko had actually composed the ‘At 3am’ years prior to joining the band so you can’t say that it was rushed out.“
The EP was recorded, mixed, mastered and produced by Eemeli Bodde (Mors Subita, Funeral For the Masses, Detset). How did choosing him come about and what was it like working with him? “Jaakko knew him already before our first EP from the music circles. Eemeli did the job for the first EP, so he was quite a natural choice for this one too. He has also done some live mixing for us so we know that working with him is always easy and fun even! Great talented guy. He always manages to create a great sound for us, this second EP being a big leap forward for us“
Your “live rehearsal” series of videos on YouTube has been a great watch and seeing the song “Love Eternally” back in August 2020 was excellent. How did the idea for it come about and is it something you’d do again in the future? “Funny enough, we weren’t even supposed to upload them. They were recorded after our ‘Filthy Baptism’ live stream as the recording gear was still in place. The videos were demo material originally made to take part in this larger live festival happening, but that never went anywhere. We enjoyed them, and ‘Love Eternally’ had never been released as a demo before, so why not to share them? We have talked about doing another live stream at some point. Who knows, maybe we continue the Live Rehearsal series as well. The closest thing to that is a recent extempore IGTV live video we made. Full one hour episode from our rehearsal place of us playing the whole setlist and speaking out dumb shit. Jänis even throws in a sick roundhouse kick at the end, so there’s that if you are drunk and have nothing to do for an hour“
As a song, is “Love Eternally” a headbangers love song for people who cringe at ballads or is there a darker side to lyrics? “We’ve had this running joke that we might actually be a love metal band, since so many of our songs are about that deep affection, although with a twist. All lyrics on this EP were written mainly by Jänis, but we all are involved in making the finalized song. The main idea for ‘Love Eternally’ came after Jänis realized how selfish and even sickening ballads can get. All that craving for another person and being unable to let go of something lost. That reminded him of this one man, Carl Tanzler, from the 50’s who had an obsession for this Cuban girl he knew. After the girl’s passing, Carl stole her corpse and lived with “her” for quite some time. After he was caught many viewed him as an eccentric “romantic”. So where’s the line between an eccentric romantic and a necrophiliac corpse grinder? Where’s the line between a ballad and a horror story? To be honest, U2 – With Or Without You has maybe just the line to summarize it best “You give it all but I want more”. Now that’s twisted.“
“At 3am” plays out like an insight into an abusive relationship, blending love and hate towards someone. What is the backstory to the song? “It’s open for interpretation. Jänis wrote the song with the help of Nico from the perspective of an intruder that quite clearly had some issues with his feelings and hard time of letting go. It’s not stated if the intruder was an old date or just a random stalker, and that’s what makes it darker. In any case the lyrics are about the conflict of one’s feelings and what kind of consequences it might have. Fun fact, Jänis has divorced since writing the song.“
What does the future hold for Filthy Crook? Are you itching to get back to performing live and hearing fans chant “You’re Filthy!” Back at you? “We can’t wait to get back on stage! It’s been almost a year since we played for a full crowd and we’d love to give Nico the filthy welcoming party he deserves. We have something scheduled for the spring but aren’t holding our breath on that. We’ll see. We just got picked by this finnish Rock Radio thing where they take smaller artists around the country and give them some air time. That was great and hope to see if that leads into something. We appreciate all the people who have been listening to us and enjoy what we enjoy the most. Thank you, you filthy bastards!“