Hello Mikko Lehto, this is Mirgilus from TransylvaniaÖI listening right now your albums in chronological order and preparing some interesting questions for this interview. Here is a very hot summerís end. Please introduce yourself to the readers.
Greetings Mirgilus, in Finland the summer has been all but hot, mostly cloudy, rainy, cold and grey. I am not that interested about revealing too much of myself, but as Iím not a misanthrope either, I can mention few things about myself, the sole member behind October Falls. My roots and heritage are deeply attached to Finland and thatís also something that I wish to bring out with October Falls. Iíve lived in various locations in Finland through my life and been in touch with music basically all of that time. At some point I also got in touch with more idealistic sides of music and after that, there has been no turning back.
What are you doing now, when answering these questions? What are you listening now? Do you drink some beer or wine? Let me know.
I have wrote this in various late night sessions through the week, but when writing this, Iím drinking a cold Olvi 130-years Jubilee beer and listening the strong new split release by Absurd, Grand Belial's Key & Sigrblot.
How and when came in to your mind first time to creating such a project like October Falls?
If I donít think about the very first recordings before the early acoustic material, the most important factor was the feeling that my older works were going nowhere and that slowly led to frustration towards harsher approach overall, so I wanted to change the direction and see how it works, and it was the right decision. That basically is the beginning of October Falls, although some material was recorded before that under a same name.
Do you remember when you pick first time acoustic guitar in your hands?
I can still remember my first experiences with acoustic guitar, but I must say that although these days I write about everything with acoustic, I started with electric guitar. Comparing to that, acoustic was a lot harder. The strings were high; everything sounded a lot worse than hidden behind the wall on distortion, but still for some unknown reason acoustic guitar became my mostly used instrument.
Why October Falls? Why not November or September Falls?
Actually, at some point it was planned to be November Falls to avoid any confusion between OF and October Tide, but for some reason beyond anything I can recall, it ended up to be October Falls anyhow.
Are you angry when somebody brand your band with ďearly Ulver, Empyrium, Tenhi influenced musicĒ description?
Not at all, as theyíve been a huge inspiration for my music and music-wise theyíre a perfect way to describe my music for the people who are not familiar with October Falls. The only thing that bothers me sometime is when the music is compared to a band that is not the originator of the sound, but has also been influenced by some older band. For example some people say ďThe Streams of the EndĒ sounded like Agalloch, but Iíve never been influenced or really even listened to them (rather I listened to Ulver, who influenced Agalloch), so comparisons like that are kind of frustrating, as it feels like the bands originally behind a certain sound are forgotten. I donít mean this against Agalloch, but the people who have forgotten or are ignorant of the past.
Tuoni Ep was released in 2003 in pro-CD-R first time by yourself. In 2005 this great EP was released on pro CD by the American black metal label Dark Horizon Records. How got you in touch with them? If Iím not wrong this CD was their first non-metal (black metal) release.
Itís been a while, but as I recall they contacted me after the vinyl release of Tuoni by Ahdistuksen Aihio instead of me sending a promo to them. They offered a deal and it seemed good to me, so it was officially released on CD by them. I think that was their first non-metal release and since then theyíve also signed at least one non-metal artist, but thatís not out yet I think.
Did you sent lots of promos for other labels?
Iíve always been quite bad at promoting my music, so only a few promos were sent. If I remember correctly, I sent promos of Tuoni to Firebox, Prophecy and Corvus. That led to a deal with Corvus and they released Marras on CD. Tuoni was officially released later, although it was recorded and self-released before Marras.
Whatís happened with the Houre song, which was recorded together with Tuoni session and not was included to the final version of Tuoni?
Itís a quite short piece and didnít really fit on the record, so I decided to leave it out. Maybe it will be included as a bonus on some release later, but at this point Iíve not planned to release it.
The second release of October Falls was the first full length album, called Marras. This release was done in USA by Dark Horizon and in Europe by the Bulgarian label Corvus Records, in Russia by Irond Records. Because I donít have the Corvus version please tell me all necessary info about this version.
Corvus released the CD as a normal jewel case and a digipak. Artwork is basically the same as in US-version, but it didnít include the actual logo and was a bit greenish instead of black & white. They also made a special edition with hand made packing and a CD-r that included one video they made for one of the songs. Musically the content is the same in all versions, with the exception of vinyl-version, which has a bonus track not available on CD.
The LP version was released by your own label Scarred North Productions. Are you planning to release other bands releases in the future or do you want to focusing to October Falls exclusively?
Scarred North will only release October Falls-material, if even that. At this point I simply donít have the time to release and distribute anything, so nothing else is coming out anytime soon.
Your first metal release was The Streams of the End Ep, which was released by the well known underground black metal label Debemur Morti (CD and LP as well). What was the reaction first for this release from the OF fans? Are you satisfied with the final result?
I usually donít read comments, so I really cannot say how people reacted when it was no longer all acoustic. Most likely some people were disappointed with the direction I took and it could have been wiser to release the harsher material under a different name, but that was not what I wanted to do. I want October Falls to be what I want it to be, not what others would like it to be. About the final result, music-wise Iím quite satisfied with it. The production is a bit weak as I simply didnít know better at that point. It couldíve sounded a lot better and more powerful, had the mixing been done better, but overall I have no regrets.
One additional track was recorded without vocals, but that was not included on any released version of the album, whatís happened with this track?
I haven't finished that track after the session, so itís still partly unfinished and most likely will never be finalized. The drums were not exactly how I wanted them to be and the overall sound is quite bad, so I decided to drop it from the record and leave it unfinished. There are a few parts that I still quite enjoy, so thereís always a small possibility for me to use parts of it and rewrite the rest, but even that is highly unlikely. Most likely the song and the themes will stay unused, unless I have a grand idea where to use it. Actually, although it has not been mentioned anywhere else so far, thereís also an acoustic untitled song from these sessions, which was actually meant to be an outro for the record before I decided to use the title-track for it instead. I didnít even remember that myself, but some days ago I was going through the takes from the recording-session and found it again.
In the fall of December 2007 was released an other acoustic EP Sarastus in the vein of your first releases through the Finnish metal label No Sign of Life. What is the story behind of this release? I have a feeling that Sarastus was composed together with Tuoni and Marras. The cover is also very similar. Is this so?
Sarastus was actually written, recorded and mixed within one week, a bit after ďThe Streams of the EndĒ was released, so it was not composed at the same time with the other acoustic releases, although it might sound like that. Some of the themes on the album were actually already part of ďThe Streams of the EndĒ but a bit buried under the wall of distortion, so I decided re-write them into acoustic form and record them again, but most of the material was new and solely available on Sarastus. What comes to the similar artwork, I try to keep the artwork within same nature-oriented theme on all acoustic releases, so thereís also a reason behind that similarity.
In May 2008 came out a very enigmatic split 7Ē EP with Varghkoghargasmal limited to 300 copies only. No label name on the cover, no info about the bands in the cover. Who is Avenger and what should we know about Varghkoghargasmal? I really enjoyed the Frame of Stones song by Varghkoghargasmal. Where was taken the coverís inside photo?
Varghkoghargasmal is from Germany and has so far released one demo, 7Ē, the split 7Ē with October Falls and a full-length album. Avenger is involved in various bands, but as I am not sure if he wants to use those connections to forward this project, so I wonít mention those on here. The split was arranged by Avenger and he also released it. There was not much promotion, as the whole release was meant to be something for the people whom were already familiar with either of the bands. I mostly try to avoid all split releases, but this was something that caught my interest so I decided to do it anyway. I took all the photos for the release and the picture on the middle was taken in a place in near Alavus, Finland, where I had some connections at that point.
This summer came out the second full length album (The Womb Of Primordial Nature). I think this album is the best release of October Falls to date. What do you think about?
In my own opinion, itís the strongest October Falls release so far. I managed to get a ďperfectĒ line-up for it, so that helped a lot and also my mixing abilities were better than before, so the production was also a lot better than on ďThe Streams of the EndĒ. Of course itís not only because of the better mixing but also a perfect job by Tore Stjerna (Necromorbus) on mastering. Overall, I think ďThe Womb of Primordial NatureĒ is more of everything and maybe a bit more mature or focused than ďThe Streams of the EndĒ was, although I have no regrets about that recording either as it was a perfect picture of where October Falls was partly evolving at that point.
The songs and the final sound of the album is amazing. Did Debemur Morti supported financially all the recording process and mastering in Necromorbus Studio?
First of all, Void and Debemur Morti has supported the activities of October Falls more than Iíve even hoped for, so financial issues have never been a problem. What comes to the recording itself, actually the drums were the only part where I needed at least some kind of a more professional environment, so they were tracked by H.Sorvali at his small garage studio. Other tracks were captured on various non-studio locations whenever I had time and inspiration to record, so financially only the drums and mastering really cost anything. I think at least for me thatís the best way to record an album, as there are no schedules and no pressure of studio-time used, so you can work when the inspiration flows instead of when the studio is booked for you. Honestly at this point I donít even remember who, me or Void from Debemur Morti, suggested it to be mastered in Necromorbus, but that made a huge impact to the final sound and Iím more than satisfied on the final sound of the album. I think its clear enough so you can hear everything, but still nowhere near the sterile sound most people think when they hear a word clean or clear. All music needs a bit of dirt upon it and at least for my taste, this was a perfect mix of clear and harsh.
After tons of clichť covers with wolves, finally a cover with very beautiful nature photos and a lonely wolf. Where did you make the photo session for the new album?
When I decided to use a single wondering wolf on the cover, I also decided to stay away as possible from these clichťs you mentioned or even more common mistake with bands, using a picture of a wolf from some public picture-bank. That way you most likely end up to a situation where you stumble to the same picture on a different cover. Maybe some people or artists donít care about things like that but for me itís a huge issue. Ripping a picture to a cover or using some classic picture for it is basically the same as you would rip someoneís song or cover a classic song, sometimes it works but too often itís a failure. Most of the photos for the booklet were taken at the same place as the middle picture on the split 7Ē with Varghkoghargasmal, and the rest of them were taken near where I live.
Are you planning to play some gigs with October Falls in the near future?
As October Falls doesnít have a real line-up, any performances would need a huge amount of time for preparations. So at this point nothing is planned and if anything happens on that sector, it would most likely be an all acoustic performance, as it would be a lot easier to arrange. Personally I donít care too much about performing live, so itís more than likely that nothing will ever happen, but I still donít want to say never. Maybe when the right time and place meet, there will be something, but what and when? No one knows.
Why did you use two different logos on records?
When I decided to split October Falls from all acoustic to also harsher material, I also made a decision that although I keep the same name for both directions, I will separate them somehow. This way those who only care for one path can see the direction from the logo instead of purchasing the release and wasting their money for something they didnít care for.
Tell me something about the Kaste promo CD. Is this an official release of October Falls?
At this point itís not really an official release as it was never sold; only some copies were spread in small circles. The material was mostly the songs that were later re-recorded for Tuoni, but as they differ quite a bit, I have thought about re-releasing it officially. I donít wish to make a separate release from it, but maybe if I manage to re-release all the acoustic material in one box, then Iíll include this and some other unreleased or otherwise rare material in it.
Ok Mikko, I think this is enough for our first interview. Please close this interview with some future plans.
At the gates of the autumn, I have written a big part of the next harsher October Falls-release, which shall be out sometime early next year if everything goes as planned. Those who thought the songs on ďThe Womb of Primordial NatureĒ were too long will be disappointed, as this time the songs will be even longer.
Iíll thank you for all Mirgilus, kiitos.