Exclusive Interview: Vainoa talk “Pelon Varjo”!

Helsinki, Finland based Blackened Hardcore quintet Vainoa shattered every single pane of glass in a 20 mile radius when they unleashed “Pelon Varjo” (or Shadow Of Fear) last month. A punishing, ruthless and unforgiving five track affair, it demonstrates that there isn’t smoke without fire and that it is perfectly possible to blend Black Metal ferocity with Hardcore Punk in an abrasive style at breakneck speed. We were lucky enough not only to pre-view the EP for a review but also to chat to the band and this is what they had to say…

As a band you’ve always written lyrics in your native Finnish language. Have you ever considered writing in English? Plenty of acts have been successful on the international stage without compromising on that factor, perhaps Rammstein being the biggest so we’re curious to get your take on that.

Riku (vocals): ”I have been writing lyrics for my previous bands in English, since we’re of course strongly influenced by music sung in English, but after a while I realised that it’s way easier to write lyrics in Finnish, since it’s my native language. Also, in terms of nuances and expression, Finnish feels richer than English, and since most of our audience is Finnish, it would be easier for them to at least understand a little of what we are saying (even if it is ”only noise”).

“Pelon Varjo” consists of a quartet of short and fast rippers and one longer, slower piece in Musta Paraati cover “Metalliset Kasvot” or “Metallic Face”. How did the idea for the cover come about and what made you choose to do something so different in style?

First of all, we wanted for the first half of the EP to sound ruthless and unforgiving, and we’re glad that it came across as intended. The idea for the cover came from Riku. Creating a slower and heavier track was not necessarily a conscious choice, and slower music is not that uncommon for us as our first release also contained some slower parts. The cover was also a perfect way of introducing the synths to our mix of instruments, as the original also includes some rather cold-sounding synths.

Riku: ”I had a strong post-punk phase, during which I mostly listened to Musta Paraati. I wasn’t particularly creating the main lead for that Metalliset Kasvot song in the first place but I figured out at some point that it sounds really similar to it. Musta Paraati is also my most played artist tbh, so that’s why as well. They’re really influential to me when it comes to writing lyrics in Finnish and they describe the Finnish melancholy the best.

How did you find recording during the pandemic? What changes did you have to make to your usual process to make it happen?

Due to the pandemic, we had to postpone recording by almost six month, but that was really the only aspect that was affected. During the summer and early autumn of 2020, the situation here in Finland was relatively good, so we were able to go through the recordings normally. Prior to this EP, we have only recorded by ourselves DIY style, so working in a more professional environment was already a huge step in itself.

You recorded with Felipe Hauri who also mixed the EP at Oscura Recording Studios before it was mastered by Will Killingsworth at Dead Air Studios. How did you come to choose them to work with and how did you find working with them?

We stumbled upon Will and Dead Air studios online, while searching for a mastering engineer for the EP. Will’s catalogue was very impressive with mastering for names such as Full Of Hell, Portrayal Of Guilt and Dödsrit, all of which are bands that influence us. After that it also occurred to us that Will also played guitar for the legendary Orchid. So it was an obvious choice to work with him. Felipe Hauri and OSCURA were also an easy choice. We share a rehearsal place with Radien, Felipe’s band, and our friends from Radien run a label and production agency called Bunkkeri Records & Productions. OSCURA Recording Studios, run by Felipe, is sort of parallel to Bunkkeri. We were the first band to record at OSCURA and the experience was very positive. Felipe was very professional with the recording, but also working with a good friend meant that everything was pretty stress free and casual. We recorded bases for the songs live, and laid a lot of guitar tracks, vocals and synths on top of them to achieve a fluent live feel yet being able to make guitars and bass sound huge after that

Not being able to go to a live show during this current situation is really frustrating for us Metal Heads out there, used to going to 4-5 or more shows in a month. How has not being able to perform live as a band affected you during these current times?

Obviously we had to cancel or postpone all planned shows when the pandemic hit Finland and everything shut down, but we were very lucky to be able to perform a total of 3 shows last autumn during the less active time of the pandemic. We had a Finnish tour planned for the end of 2020 with Kiova, Surut and Rats Will Feast, but had to cancel most of the dates due to the situation escalating again, only being able to play one night in Tampere (which also acted as a record release show for the new Surut EP). In the meanwhile, while not being able to play shows, we have been able to focus more on the new EP as well as writing and rehearsing new material for future

What’s next for Vainoa?

We are already well on our way with the writing process of a full length album and we’re currently actively rehearsing new material. New songs are a natural continuation of our sound while also expanding on it. Elements of hardcore, black metal, crust are still strong, but we also want to focus more on composition and diversity as well as delve deeper into experimentation with synths and even include some accordion. That being said, it’s still going to sound just as raw and savage as before

Pelon Varjo” by Vainoa is out now and available over at bandcamp.

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