Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Rifftera Interview

Answers by Janne Hietala (guitarist, harsh vocalist & main songwriter of Rifftera).

1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording of the new album?

It's been busy! There's a surprisingly much work to do with a release even after the recordings are complete. There's been a lot of bureaucratic stuff that needs to be done, connecting with people, making stuff to happen... Because this is the first album we've ever released, there's been a lot of new things to learn.

We've also started to rehearse more frequent than before and I've been composing some new stuff for the future.

2.You have a new album coming out during the end of August, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the demo's you have released in the past?

Well, our music is a mixture of thrash metal and melodic death metal, but there is also a lot of influences from other genres. When we stay heavy, we are pretty heavy with our thrashy riffs and mosh-parts. And when we go melodic, we are not afraid of using pop-like melodies and singalong choruses. But the focus is definitely on the heavier stuff.

Our last demo, single song release “Open Wounds” (2014), contained pretty much all the same elements than the upcoming album called “Pitch Black”. That's why it was an easy decision to start recording a full length album, since we knew that finally we were able to sound like what we should.

Before “Open Wounds”-demo there was a lot of progress happening from demo to demo. My vocals are probably the best example: I was literally screaming for the first time when we recorded our first demo. During the second demo I screamed more in the hardcore-style and then finally “discovered” my voice for the “Open Wounds”-demo.

So the natural evolution has changed our sound a lot, but I would also say that the overall atmosphere in the songs has turned more darker / evil during the years. Like you can nowadays even spot some black metal -influences from our songs. That is something that would have not happened in our first demo.

3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the newer music?

I write lyrics about my personal experiences and views on things. Life in general, politics, relationships etc. So basically I write about stuff that I have something to say about. I don't really want to point out which song means what, but I think it's pretty easy to figure out the meaning for the most of them. I like to use metaphors and try to leave the door open for people's own interpretations, rather than going straight forward to the point.

4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Rifftera'?

This is probably something that most of the people wonder when they see our name. “What kind of stupid name is that? Do they think that they are Pantera or something?”.

Alright, I can understand if people think that it's stupid. Because yep, it pretty much is. But it's actually not based on Pantera. During one past band project we considered using name “Drifter”, until we found out that there was already a band existing with that name. Like there is always, if you consider using a short name that actually means something. Time passed and after playing with words I ended up having name “Rifftera”. It's just a logical evolution of a name made by a brilliant mind: Drifter → Riffter → Rifftera.

So what does it mean? It's just a play of words. Unique name that means only our band, nothing else. Our songs are really riff-oriented, so I think being as weird as it is, it actually gives a heads up of what's coming: Goddamn trillion kick ass riffs!

5.What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?

Actually Rifftera hasn't played a single concert yet. This is because we haven't had a permanent drummer at any point.

We aimed for recording a full-length album from the beginning and did get that done with a help from our friend Thomas Tunkkari, who plays the drums on the album. Unfortunately he lives on the other side of Finland, which makes it pretty hard to get anything more serious happening from that. I know that there are bands where members live in different countries, hell, even different continents! But at least at this stage of our career it would be so much easier if we would find a drummer who lives nearby, which would make it possible for us to have rehearsals in regular basis etc.

6.Do you have any touring or show plans once the new album is released?

We are hoping to finally get the drummer issue solved. After that is done, then we definitely have plans for shows also.

7.Most of the band members where also in 'Chain Reaction', what was the decision behind breaking up that band and starting this one?

Chain Reaction, which changed it's name to Chain Reaktion after the first demo, was a band co-formed by Antti Pöntinen (keyboards) and myself. It was our first band which we basically started when we decided to start playing and bought our instruments. We just went straight to the rehearsal place and started making horrible noise, without having any clue what we were doing.

Eventually we did learn how to play and how to write songs. Chain Reaktion did some gigs and released couple of demos (and Jupe Karhu did join in to play bass between those demos). Then life happened and our drummer and guitarist / vocalist moved to the other sides of Finland due to women and school. And that was it for that band.

After Chain Reaktion was dead and buried in 2005 we did meet Mikko Kuoppamaa (guitar & clean vocals). However, things with Rifftera wasn't actually started until 2010.

8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of extreme and melodic metal?

It has been really positive! It's really hard to get people listen to our music, but when we do succeed on that, then they seem to mostly like it.

The only criticism that I have read from couple of different locations is that some say that we don't bring enough new to the table. But then again some say that we do sound fresh and new... So it's just a matter of opinion again.

I personally just want to make music that I want to listen to myself. So of course you can then hear my love for old school thrash metal and 2000s melodic death metal from our music. But on the other hand when I'm asked to name any band that sounds like us, I don't actually know what I could say. I can say that some parts of our music are something Metallica could do, some parts are something Soilwork could do etc, but I don't know what other band would overall sound like our music. So I think we do have something of our own going on here.

9.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

Well, there are some new songs that are almost complete and will very likely be released on the future. I would describe them as a natural continuation to the “Pitch Black”. I really like the overall sound and atmosphere we have achieved, so there is no need to do big changes. Just some fine adjustments here and there.

10.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

I guess that for the past two years there's been two bands that I've been listening more than the others: Megadeth and Exodus. And especially their discography from the 2000s. I love Megadeth's heavier stuff and Exodus has done best thrash metal that has been released during the 2000s. Amazing riffs! And I sure get inspired by them.

If I should write new music but can't get anything done, one thing that works pretty much every time is to listen either Megadeth's “Rust In Peace” or Metallica's “...And Justice For All”. For some reason I always get really inspired by listening those records. One of the best albums ever for sure.

Other than these thrash metal classics I've been lately listening to some more extreme and darker metal. Of course I do listen and love softer music also, but I don't really get inspired by it. So it seems that things with Rifftera are getting maybe even more heavier in the future...

11.What are some of your non musical interests?

Good movies and series. Those can help with music also, since they can wake up thoughts to write lyrics about and cool soundtracks can inspire by themselves.

12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

Pitch Black” is coming out 28th of August – be sure to check it out! You can already go and listen to two songs that we have released from it to YouTube: “Rotten To The Core” and “Lightbringer”.

No comments:

Post a Comment