Interview answered by Hannu Savolainen (bass)
1. Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days?
Well, we are getting rid of summer days and heading for gloomy autumn and winter. In the meantime we are getting ready to release our latest album in continental Europe. We are touring in Finland and making some plans to invade foreign countries.
2.Recently you put out a new album, can you tell us a little bit more about it and also how does it differ from previous releases?
Our fourth album "Death Walks With Me" was released in Finland and other Nordic coutries in April. It is our gloomiest and heaviest album so far. There are lots of old Noumena trademarks on that album: catchy melodies, aggressive and tranquil moments and so forth. But there is also many new elements. We didn't want to play it safe, but used variety of instruments and ideas.
3.The song lyrics cover Sadness, Darkness, and Loss, can you explain what these topics mean to you?
We write lyrics about the inevitablities and how different people try to cope them. A good example is our album title. Writing lyrics and music is a great way to deal with dark emotions and anger. Some of Noumena's texts are very personal, some deal with historical and philosophical themes.
4. I know that some of the band members are involved with The Crescent, do the occult aspects of the band also have an influences on your music?
Our main songwriter and guitarist Ville Lamminaho has been a member of Enochian Crescent/The Crescent for a couple of years. We have a common rehearsal place nowadays. There are a few anti-religion lyrics in Noumena discography, which can be seen as a common factor with the bands. Ville has developed as a guitarist, thanks to his "black metal hobby". Because of that he has wrote some new kind of riffs and melodies for Noumena.
5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the bands name?
Noumena comes from Kantian philosophy. It means the universe of ideas beyond perception and only reachable by reason. When we formed Noumena, some of our members were into philosophy. That's the story behind the name in short.
6.What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?
We have played awesome shows for example in Lübeck and Berlin. Last month we performed at Mökäfest, nice and small inside metal festival.
The crowd was just great! We are quite intensive and energetic on stage. Luckily we have some midtempo and slower songs, too. When you're headbanging and sweating under spotlights it's good to have some tranquil moments.
7. What are the touring plans for the new release?
We are touring in Finland during this autumn and we are looking for possibilities to tour abroad as well. We made a booking deal with Austria-based Catapult Promotion just a couple of weeks ago, so we are very excited at the moment.
8. I have noticed when I listen to the album you mix in growls with melodic vocals, do you feel it makes the music alot more stronger and powerful?
We have combined growls, clean male and female vocals since our first demo-CD back in 1998, so this is a kind of trademark as well.
Growls have been the main vocal style, but there are emotions, athmospheres and moments you can only deliver through female vocals.
Of course it keeps the songs and albums versatile and interensting to mix vocal styles. On the latest album our new female vocalist growls, too. It's awesome!
9.The band has been around for 15 years, what is it that motivates to keep going and writing music after all of these years?
Originally there were five members in Noumena, Suvi Uura joined the band in 2009. So, we five guys were friends even before Noumena. I think that's why we have stayed together without any line-up changes.
There are music inside us and we enjoy composing and playing together.
I think it's as simple as that. I hope Noumena has still much to achieve!
10.The new album came out on Haunted Zoo Productions, can you tell us a little bit more about this label?
When we composed music for our latest album and recorded some demo versions, we approached several labels. We didn't receive deal proposals which we would have found satisfactory. We began to ponder if we could establish our own label to release music and take care of other aspects of Noumena meaning merchandise, gigs and so on.
During the years we have gathered loads of experience and partners in music scene, so we decided: What the hell, let's take it all into our hands! At our level, this isn't any million-dollar business, but with our own label we can direct all the money from the sold albums and gigs into our next album. So there are less middlmen taking their share. And all the copyrights stay in the hands of band members. This is very important.
11.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your newer music by fans of melodic death metal?
It took almost seven years to release a follw-up for our acclaimed album "Anatomy of Life". Lots of metal fans forgot Noumena, but diehard-fans kept waiting and piling up expectations. When DWWM was released, it introduced Noumena to many new metal heads, they heard Noumena for the first time. They have liked what they have heard and begun to look for the previous albums.
Most of our old fans were pleased with the new album, but of course you can't fulfill everyone's hopes and dreams. Lots of new bands have emerged during last years, but it's great to see, melodeath fans still value good melodies and gloomy moments.
12.What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
This is a tricky one to answer. We haven't rehearsed together in a couple of months and we don't have any songs waiting in our musical warehouse. I guess our guitarists Ville and Tuukka have written some new stuff, but I don't have any clues about it. But you can't turn a freight train into an aeroplane, so I guess whatever we'll do, it shall be melodic death metal widely understood.
13.I have noticed that there was a 7 year gap between the last and new album, what was going on during those years?
After releasing "Anatomy of Life" our label Spinefarm Records didn't want to use their next option and our mutual journey ended. We wrote and rehearsed new songs, recorded demo versions and played gigs. But we didn't find any decent label for us. In the meantime we had lots of going on in our private lives, studies, families and that sort of things. It took us time to gather enough money and courage to form our own label and get the wheels turning.
14.What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
The songs on DWWM spread on the timeline, the oldest are from 2009 and the newest from August 2012, written just before the studio session. There are hints of old death metal, black metal, doom, thrash and even punk/hc. If you want some namedropping I could mention following artists which gave us inspiration or ideas concerning the new album: Edge of Sanity, Deicide, Candlemass, Mar de Grises, Hypocrisy and Ennio Morricone. I have expanded my musical sphere already for several years, even though metal really makes my motor hum. I listen to bands from Sabaton to Samael, from Florence + the machine to Machine Head.
15.Outside of music what are some of your interests?
Finnish nature is quite important for every Noumena member whether it's hiking, orienteering, hunting or gathering mushrooms in the forest. I'm into history, cooking and Scotch single malts. And there is an enthusiastic group inside Noumena which loves American football.
16.Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
I want to thank every last fucking metal head who have supported Noumena. You make our music meaningful and give us energy to continue.