Exclusive Interview: Ceased Sunfire talk “Sleepless”!

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Juho Karenko (2nd Sun, Goliath, Horizon Ignited) from CBH Recordings who also co-produced alongside Jonas Eriksson between February and April 2022, “Sleepless” marks the first offering from Ceased Sunfire, a trio of veteran musicians masterminded by Aleksi Manninen. We took a couple of minutes to talk to him about the record, his past and what the future might hold for is for this hard edged Stoner Sludge Doom Metal project. So while you’re sitting at your desk looking like you’re working, you can instead be reading this and sipping your coffee instead of counting down the seconds until you can live again…

It’s been out just over a month at this point so how have you found the reaction to “Sleepless” so far? “The reaction has been really nice. It has taken me by surprise really. People have been listening, sharing and buying the EP from Bandcamp. We’ve got some really nice reviews where our sound has been compared to some really legendary bands, which feels huge and gives us hope that we might be doing at least something right. Everything feels like a plus really – I had no idea what it might be and I just wanted to get us public and to making new music and the next release”

As veteran musicians of various previous projects, what made you decide to start something fresh in 2021 and create Ceased Sunfire? “I guess it was mostly me. I had just written a bunch of songs for my previous band (2nd Sun) and then the band just faded out. Covid might have had something with that but the vision of the band wasn’t so bright anymore. My songs were getting heavier and heavier and our singer at the time had a sound which worked for that band but not so much for my new songs. I guess I wasn’t that excited about the result of those sessions either”

“After the band called it quits, I still felt that I had some strong material in my hands and then started to audition drummers and bass players who would share the same vision. Then with some help from CBH’s Juho Karenko, Fellu and Juza arrived. With them it really clicked from session one. They came in prepared, had learnt the songs, were able to contribute right from the start… Ceased Sunfire’s first rehearsal is one of my favourite sessions ever! Autumn 2021 we almost thought covid was over, but then towards the winter things went more difficult again. Finally January-February it felt safe enough to gather together in a studio and that’s what we then did. The winter’s lockdown time was good for me to come up with some necessary details such as the band name, finishing the lyrics etc”

The EP is a record for troubled times, with themes of inconsolability and alienation with various fears and bitterness running through it. Did you find it cathartic to write and express those feelings? “Sure, yeah. I guess I’m one of many for whom the lockdown times meant more slow-paced lifestyle and I was probably thinking many things more than before. I wanted my songs to have meaning you know? It’s great that we have some happy music in the world, but Ceased Sunfire sure aren’t the group to make more of it. I felt like I have to use my platform to give some voice to issues with which people are struggling with, and things I’ve been struggling with in my life. I don’t have answers to most problems in the world – if any – but at least I can make music about certain things and maybe have effect on people’s thinking and inspire them to do something in their lives if they’re unhappy about something”

If we’re a product of our genes and our influences, what’s in your genes and what’s in your influences? “That’s right, we’re the outcome of the life we’ve lived. In my genes there’s some Finnish silence, some soul searching, some hard times, maybe even a bit of slowly learning who I am. Musically, I like music with some heaviness in it. It can be in the mood as well as in sound, I can listen Vangelis and Alice in Chains one song after another. Music is a great medium for searching deeper meanings and I respect all artists who’re making their music a dive to somewhere deeper. I love all music by David Gilmour and will never get tired of his beautifully haunting melodic playing”

The scene in Finland has been huge of late with lots of high quality music. How has that helped inspire you? “Of course! I love Finnish metal and feel happy for every band who’s been actively making the scene here so vivid. For example I just recently saw Kaiser at the DesertHEL festival in Helsinki and they were just killing it from start to finish. Awesome band, so heavy and groovy, great energy. There’s so many to mention really, I get inspiration from anybody from Swallow the Sun to late Alexi Laiho to Amorphis”

What’s next for Ceased Sunfire? “I’ve been quitting other projects to dedicate my summer to write and recorded a full length Ceased Sunfire album. We have some older songs from the Sleepless writing sessions, but I have a lot of riffs on my phone already and will write some new ones. By the end of the summer they’ve hopefully developed into a Ceased Sunfire album #1! We’ll start recording as soon as possible and hope to release it well before the end of the year”

Sleepless” by Ceased Sunfire is out now and available over at bandcamp

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