Jarkko Lunnas the Damnation Plan co-founder, drummer, songwriter, lyricist
1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording and release of the new album?
Well after the album release we did album release shows in Helsinki and Jyväskylä in Finland. After those I was still trying to finishing the shooting of the Rise Of The Messenger music video. That turned out not to be a walk in a park. It was shot partly outside during Finnish spring which means that during the same day the weather can be anything between a sunny spring day and snowing horizontally - read: a pain in the ass. Anyhow, got the music video eventually out (be sure to check it out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xo5ca7jwWR8!), and basically at the moment for me personally a little creative break and we are looking for new opportunities to play more live shows to support the new album.
2.Recently you have released a new album how would describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
Compared to the first one, this one has more clean vocal parts and more lead & solo guitar to the songs. Of course I wanted to write more catchy songs as well than the first album had, and improve all the other aspects that I felt the first album was possibly lacking a bit, such as focusing on tempos and tightening the songs to the max. The songs have probably more details and they are a bit more complex and demanding playing wise. All in all it's a more complete album all around in my opinion.
3.This is the first album to be released in 4 years, can you tell us a little bit more about what has been going on during that time span?
Some time after the The Wakening release gigs I started coming up with ideas for the new album which we demoed this time with Antti (lead guitars) up until end of 2014. We also did some initial vocal demoings with our vocalists as well on top of them here and there. Out of those I then put together the pre-production versions of the songs roughly ready by 2015 summer with electric drums on them. I also moved to a new house that summer with full renovation which didn't exactly go as smooth as it could have, which also delayed things a bit.
We then decided to book the D-Studio for drum recordings 2015 November, and after that started recording the album ourselves in our rehearsal room for vocals and at the homes of mine and Kalle's (guitars) for guitars and bass. We also didn't have a synth player at that time, but then Jari Pailamo joined us in beginning of 2016 to work on those. Doing all this recording at the side of our day jobs was quite heavy and one of the main reasons why it took so long time + the guys hadn't really practiced their parts until the actual recording moment heheh! So we were a bit late on the schedule and decided we wanted to finalize the synths and everything properly so the mixing got postponed til October 2016.
That spring and fall we played a couple of gigs in mean time and also visited Tallinn to play as support show for Suicide Angels (see a documentary episode about it from the album's pre-order campaign at https://www.facebook.com/damnationplan/videos/1394125687276342/).
The mixing was finally ready by christmas 2016 as we did that again entirely by email - commenting the mixes from Finland to Germany where Dan Swanö mixed the album. There are tons of details in our songs and we want them to be there exactly as we've planned and with this method it was again quite a tedious task. During this time I was also finalizing the album cover designs and we started shooting the playing parts of the music video and so forth.
4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the newer music?
It's been always mostly about the injustices happening around us, or any other personal observations I've witnessed or had to deal with one way or another personally. This album is from most of its part lyrically a kind of a capture of our current times - about phenomenons that seem to dictate how the world is perceived and why certain decisions are made. We've learned to live in a sort of a bubble in our stable modern western societies to the extent we've deranged ourselves from certain realities. We don't really seem to understand what's happening and what are the results of some of the naive decision making with seriously damaging and long lasting consequences.
5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Damnation Plan'?
It relates to about how things are going in the world. If you look at the world and what's going on, it could make one think is there some "damnation plan" the way the world events tend to keep on turning the way they are. That's the "meaning" other than being "just a band name" - which as a name I think matches the way we sound like.
6.What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?
Our previously mentioned first outside Finland gig in Tallinn 2016 was pretty special for us. Based on the feedback that we can be a pretty intense live act, people can really feel the energy and intensity that we put to our performance. Possibly to the extent that it is "our thing" rather than bringing bombs to the stage or other gimmicks. Just plain raw live energy and emotion.
7.Do you have any touring or show plans for the new album?
On top of the album release gigs we did after the album's release, there is currently no more confirmed shows at the moment. We are very much open to live playing possibilities though, hopefully more gigs coming this year also outside Finland.
8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of melodic death metal?
Pretty much anywhere we get exposure, the reaction is mostly positive or very positive. We've gotten now some quite praising reviews for the new album, mostly being 9, and some 10 out of 10s.
9.What is going on with some of the other bands or musical projects these days that some of the band members are a part of?
Just recently our clean vocalist Asim joined a Finnish metal band Wintersun as their guitarist, who have a pretty wide global following. He's also in an Estonian band Cantilena. Antti (lead guitars) plays in Whorion, Kalle (guitars) in Enthrope and Jukka plays (bass) in Thescape, Bob Flesh and Kiihdytyslaite. I've been doing at times some tribute gigs, such as a Black Sabbath tribute here and there.
10.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
Well, not planning on making our own "Risk" or "Load" album next! At least not at the moment! At the moment I personally need to keep a little creative break, re-charge some batteries and then at some time little by little start getting back on it more. I do have a certain vision in my mind from certain aspects and certain directions I want to focus a bit more next, but nothing really much to share about it at this point. Likely we will put out next some smaller release such as a single or an EP, instead of another 3 year mega project album.
11.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?
Mostly our influences come from the melodic death metal Göteborg scene, progressive metal and the solid base comes from the more of traditional metal acts such as Megadeth, Dio, Bruce Dickinson, Tarot, Savatage etc. That is kind of our mix which has probably had biggest influence on us - at least on me. The latest releases by Gojira and Disillusion has been probably the most interesting ones most lately to me. Also the latest Evergrey album has some cool "mature metal" tracks if you will hahah! Of Finnish newcomers I've been digging the Mors Subita's latest album recently.
12.What are some of your non musical interests?
I'm very much into all kinds of visual arts, cinematography, documentaries, directing, anything visual from digital designing to modern house planning! I've been also a dedicated fan of NHL team Pittsburgh Penguins since '92 which tends keep me awake during spring playoff time!
13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts
Well, check out the new album (https://open.spotify.com/album/3gVzJiiXHrIFNzZVucAaYQ)! Other than that, keep your eyes and ears open! Remember to support the things you feel worthy and want to see more in the future!
And thanks HatredMeansWar for the interview!