Interview with Riku (lead guitar)  and Ari (vocals and rhythm guitar) - Catamenia, February 2010

Catamenia was founded in 1995 and when you read this, their 9th album 'Cavalcade' will almost be released. They started as a melodic black-metal band, but the musical style changed with the years passing by. Still you can hear their roots, but other influences and styles have been established and used. The last interview with Catamenia we did was back in 2005. The new album is therefore a perfect reason for the powerofmetal to get you updated.

Why did the band call themselves Catamenia, which also means: 'The menstrual Cycle' or is that just a coincidence?

Riku: Heh, it's a just a pure coincidence. When we were about to go to record our first demo, the band needed a name of course. We had many different options, but when our ex-vocalist just came up with the name 'Catamenia', it sounded damn good as it still sounds. Then after the debut album's recording, one of our first fans ever called me and asked did I possibly know the meaning of 'Catamenia'. I was like no, because it does not mean anything, it's just a name invented out of bloom. He said that no, you are wrong, it has a meaning. I was like shocked when I heard the meaning from him and we actually thought of changing the name, but it was way too late because the album was alrady in the pressing. But for us it does not mean anything, but it's just a great sounding name!

With the last few albums you floated further away from the early melodic black-metal pitched sound, aren't you afraid to loose fans and why did you make this choice?

Ari: Catamenia's music has always followed it's own natural evolution, and it will as long this band exists. We don't push things by force into some direction and focus what people might think about it or what could sell the most. Well, if we would do this picture of dollars in our eyes, I think we would have tried something totally different since the very beginning and probably the story of the whole band would be quite short. First thing is that we have been straight to ourselves and we have done music that we love. I think and see us lucky, because huge amount of people have liked and likes what we have done so far. If someone won't like this new direction, that's ok, we wont force him to listen to it. The fact is that we achieved everything with our former style had to give and we strongly felt that it will only lead to circle of repeating yourself.

Riku: Yeah, actually I was totally on the edge of quitting during recording of our previous album 'VIII'. This is something I haven't told to guys. But I felt the passion, the energy and the joy of playing was totally gone in the band. Then I decided just to have a short breather and see what would happen. I took my guitar and started to make a first song on the new album 'Blood Trails'. I was amazed and realized that I'm smiling again while making new songs. I recorded the demo song and sent it first to Ari and then the other guys. Their reaction was the same as mine, so we were back in the saddle. Again the whole band enjoys playing and that's damn great. I have made a promise to myself that when the flame of passion puts out in this band, it's time to make a burial for it and time to do something else.

Like on 'VIII - The Time Unchained' you use cleaner vocals and less grunting and screaming ones, this is a kind of trend in the heavy genre. Is this the reason why you also do this more often?

Ari: Hahhah, Fuck the trends! Like I said, if we would want to follow the trends these days for making money or pleasing others, that would have been done over a decade ago! Kari's clean parts do a great atmosphere and gives more dynamics into vocal field. Now, think how brutal Toni's grunts sound is after Kari's parts or how it makes a perfect dynamics when I and Kari are singing chorus together with harmonies and 'drop-offs'! Also after dropping the keyboards, Kari makes a  damn great vocal melodies and harmonies besides Riku's lead guitars.

Riku: I agree, fuck the trends! We have already made this kind of thing years ago with clean vocals on our ChaosBorn album and no one said anything about it back then. We have always went the way we want and how we feel. None can effect or say what we have to do or what we should do!

There are 3 guitar players in the band, which obviously gives you a heavy sound during live performances, but wouldn't give a keyboard player more variation and depths in your sound?

Riku: Been there, done that! This three guitar combination is just perfect for our new style and it brings the new dimensions into our music. Basically two guitars do the traditional high gain stuff and the third one makes the sound wider and clearer, because the sound on that guitar is punchy and clear with semi-distorted tone.

Ari: Yeah! The keyboards would just fuck up the whole sound taking away the brutal edge and make us sound like the million other bands nowadays do. Also Kari's clean vocals are replacing the boring and ancient keyboard sounds that, as said, many bands uses way too much.

The new songs are for a part doomier and I hear some Paradise Lost in it, can you agree with that?

Ari: Yes, you're right. We decided to bring the tempo down a bit, so all the melodies are better heard and the slower tempo gives them more air to breathe. There was this problem with melodies earlier, even I could not hear all the melodies while blastbeat was battering 40 minutes in a row. Besides, the songs did lose some balls from hard and punchy rhythms. Now our sound is so much more face kicking, brutal and mature at the same time.

Riku: I think we have already shown that we can do blastbeat and we can do fast tremolo picking though we do not have to prove anything to anyone. It was just a time to have some changes and a fresh new style, and again the music is not forced into go into this direction. I started to compose new songs and these are the songs which came from my mind and hands. Natural steps, natural evolution!

Who is responsible for the song writing, or is it a kind of band process?

Riku: I basically compose all the songs. When I get this idea or some kind of vision in my mind and head, I take my guitar and start to jam along it. When I have everything set for the whole song, I record it and sent it to guys to rehearse it before we enter the rehearsal room. There in the rehearsals we fine-tune the song together and build it into it's final form though usually the song stays as it's recorded in my laptop. In the studio it's easy to add parts and modify the song and it's medodies together because you can hear everything really clearly, so it's easy to try out different things as well.

You have a deal with Massacre Records for a long time; I guess that the band and Massacre are very pleased by that. Nothing to complain about the co-operation?

Ari: We are truly happy with Massacre and we feel we're a part of this big, happy family. We know people there very well and we can talk about almost everything freely. Also we have this artistic freedom to do and make our music how we want and how we see it. There has never been a situation that our label says that we have to do something different or we have to record the whole album again scratch to finish with completely re-arranged songs, which is actually pretty usual with quite many bands and albums these days there.

A 'cavalcade' is a procession or parade (of sorts) on horseback, or a mass trail ride by a company of riders. Is this where the song or the record is about?

Ari: The meaning of this parade is turned upside down. Through the history all known and not-so-known conquerors and warlords has came back home or went thru dominated city in cavalcade and without shedding an innocent blood and destruction those things has never happened. Now, we took this little sting from rulers- heart and put it back as a blade of conscience while all their dead victims are watching. So like in the title song, our meaning is Sorrow's Cavalcade, totally different aspect than original meaning.

What does the band want to express with the album-cover?

Ari: Simple power between these four elements. Same time there is this ravenous and chaotic forces tearing world apart, but together they make beautiful balance between everything. The cover itself is like unbreakable wall that needs to be open in a certain way. The songs tell stories that are meant to carry listener through many emotions and they are opened to the listener piece by piece. Beauty of this record is that it takes and holds several listens to it and every time you hear either a new layer of melodies or you think some lyrical part from totally different aspect.

Will there be a tour to promote the record and can we expect you on some festivals?

Riku: Hopefully there'll be lot of touring and gigs this year to promote the new album. The feedback has been damn awesome already and so far, so now we're waiting couple of confirmations about our few European tours, Russian tours and one possible tour in U.S. Also separate Finnish tour with Agathodaimon and Re-Armed is cofirmed to take place on May. There will be also few festival shows this year and the confirmed ones to this date are Ragnarok, Germany and Brutal Assault, Czech Republic. But there should be more confirmed festivals and gigs any time soon, so please do check our live dates once in a while

In which countries is Catamenia most popular?

Ari: The area of Central Europe is the most strongest and widest by their fanbase. I think from countries itself Germany has always been our biggest playground. Now it seems that there are also quite damn many fans in North and South America. But in general it's amazing how worldwide our fanbase actually is. There are fans from countries I didn't even knew exist and thought they are just names from a certain cartoon, heheh.

Riku: The worldwide fanbase is getting wider and bigger every single day and hopefully this new album of ours will reach many new fans throughout the world as well.

What is the weirdest thing that happened to you or the band on tour?

Ari: Hahhah! There is always something weird happening to us while we're on tour. Trust me, usually those incidents happens by accident. To mention few of those that occurred. They would be perfect for Spinal Tap, but anyways, here we go: We have lost two members somewhere during our touring. Our ex-keyboardist fell in love with our Russian promoter, spent all our fee-money with her in Moscow and finally decided to go back in Moscow with her while we had to leave to Helsinki-Vantaa airport to continue our tour in Europe. Another case was when our former vocalist Olli wanted go for a smoke in Paris airport when we were going on touring in Canada. Well, he got lost in that spiderweb called Charles De Gaulle airport and missed his freaking flight. But we heard in a plane during the flight that they have arranged a hotel for him and he can fly to Montreal with first flight next morning. When we got him on the phone, he told us that he was at home! Also we know how funny it is to sleep in a parking lot in front of a Swiss hotel. See, our ex-touring manager from Romania saw that it's more useful and practical to put the money that band has earnt into his wife's gifts and souvenirs than into band's accommodation and well-being.

Riku: Well, you can all imagine what happened to that fucker tour manager after the tour was over and we were left in Budapest! Everyone can use their own imagination with this one, but trust me, it does not include shaking hands! Well, he was shaked alright, hehehe!

If you have to choose 5 albums that made a big impact on you, which 5 would this be?

Riku: This one's really a hard one, but I would start from and choose Iron Maiden's 'The Number of the Beast' and W.A.S.P.'s  'The Last Command'. They are the albums that basically started everything when I was six-year-old brat and still I'm walking on that path. Then of course Dimmu Borgir's masterpiece 'Enthrone Darkness Triumphant' that changed a lot in metal scene the day it was released and still has a huge impact on me and worldwide on many people. The rest of the two are actually quite impossible to choose but what comes into my mind at the moment, I would go with In Flames - 'Colony' and HIM's 'Razorblade Romance'. No bigger reason or drama here why I chose them, but they just came into my mind now. Ask me tomorrow the same question and only those three first ones I mentioned remain the same!

Ari: I am so old fart that first what I had to pick is definitely Iron Maiden's self-titled (and that was the very day when it was released when I got it). This one derailed me from normal life and then I knew what I want to do. Next is Skid Row's first album. It was that pure energy and superior voice of Mr. Sebastian Bach. Third one I choose is Dimmu's Mourning Palace, no need to explain I guess. Fourth is Topi Sorsakoski's 'In Beat'. He is traditional Finnish musician and with this album I understood the heart of Finnish melancholy and how it's fitted into music perfectly. Fifth - damn, now there is long list of albums jumping in my mind that should be mentioned here. Fuck, I'll throw one surprise here -  D.A.D. 'Riskin- it All'. That's great and simple album with songs that is left playin in your head. Also it's a nice counterweight for all the harder stuff.

Any idea in which direction Catamenia will go musically with their future albums?

Ari: No one knows. This band has always been evolution that lives it's own life. I think that we are pretty close now how the next one shall sound. We found a new musical playground and it is fucking fun to be here. Like a newfound joy!

Riku: Actually I have already recorded couple of new riffs that might be on the next album and might be the style of the next album which is actually kind of anniversary album. It'll be our tenth album! Anyways, I am sure the basic sound and style will be something similar to 'Cavalcade', because we found our lost passion in this kind of music, but I am sure we'll come up with something new and shocking again, heheh. But as Ari said, never knows what happens. We just go with the flow and follow the natural steps where they lead us this time!

Anything else you want to share with our readers?

Ari: Heya to all! Check out 'Cavalcade' and make sure that we'll see you all on tours! Kippis Perkele!

Riku: The ones who are unfamiliar with our new style or do not know the band at all, you can check our four new full-length songs from 'Cavalcade' among the old samples from our previous albums on our myspace player. Cheers and beers!


Interviewed by Reinier de Vries

Catamenia - Cavalcade

Album available: February 26th 2010 on Massacre Records.