Interview with vocalist Antti Matilainen, Halo of Shadows (November 21st 2006)

Hi, first off I just want to congratulate you on your new album. To new fans could your please fill us in on the history behind it all?
Antti -
Thank you. All started when Mr Hänninen, our lead guitarist, made me a proposition to found a death/black metal band. I agreed and we made a demo. At some point Mr Anttila, our keyboardist and Mr Huttunen, the drummer, joined the band. Guys made some compositions and I took care of the lyrical side. We recorded drums in Watercastle studios and everything else in various locations across Finland. When we had our production ready we hooked up with IntroMental and they started promoting us to labels. At some point Massacre Records wanted to start negotiating with us about releasing our album and after a while we had a deal.

How has your new album been received by the media?
Antti -
Well, the critics seems to hate the album, ha-ha. One reason why they don’t like it is that the sound is not so polished. On the other hand media has taken us quite good.

I know artists don¹t like to put a label on their music - but a spaceship from outer space has just landed in your backyard, and is demanding an answer - so how would you describe your music to an alien from another galaxy?
Antti -
I would say we are a death metal band.

If your music was an emotion, which one would it be?
Antti -
Hatred with some lust of revenge mixed into it.

Who and what inspires you when you write a song? Walk us through the creation of a song?
Antti -
I think our inspiration comes from making the songs. To lyrics I usually get my inspiration from composition or some thing that bothers me. Usually Teemu H or Teemu A makes a composition and after some tuning I usually write the lyrics. Then we do some fine tuning and record vocals to it. If it doesn’t please we do some more sculpturing until we are pleased. At some point it gets to some album.

Which subjects do your lyrics refer to, and who writes them? And what inspires you when you write your lyrics?
Antti -
Usually our lyrics tend to hide some message in them or the message is quite easy to see. Lyrics often handle subjects like religion. Sometimes lyrics tell some story etc. I am the one who usually writes them, of course other guys may write too.

Who has produced and mixed the album? Are you pleased with the result?
Antti -
We produced our debut our selves and Teemu H mixed it. Yes we are pleased to it.

Who has done the artwork? And how important do you feel it is to have a great cover?
Antti -
Artwork is made by Mr Marko Somero. Album cover usually gives the idea behind the music but in our case we gave Mr Somero almost total artistic freedom concerning the cover. It’s quite important to have a good cover for the album ‘cause if one has not it affects the fact that how you are taken among the crowd.

Do you have any touring plans?
Antti - We would be clad to get on a tour but there’s always the question of costs etc. Hopefully we tour soon in the future.

Let’s speculate – you have been granted a free slot on a tour of your own choice – who would be your ideal touring partners?
Antti -
Maybe something like Cradle of Filth and Old Man’s Child.

How do you feel about the co-operation with your label?
Antti -
It’s been great. We’re happy that we are dealing with Massacre Records.

The internet is a very important source for many metal fans – how do you use the internet and how important is it for you and other bands?
Antti -
We use the Internet all the time when dealing with co-op partners and the media. Today the Internet is really important tool for anyone who works in the industry and for fans too when thinking the Internet as an information source.

And how do you feel about the metal scene in general at the moment?
Antti -
Metal scene is living its best times now, at least in Finland. Generally thinking it could be better not that it isn’t good. But hey there’s always something to complain, ha-ha.

Which song do you consider to be the best one you have ever written?
Antti -
I think our best song right now is the song titled "Burn in Depths". But we should not forget that there’s something maybe better coming on our next album.

Name an album, person or event that has had a huge influence on your life … and why?
Antti –
“Dimmu Borgir – Mourning Palace”. It’s just so damn good album still after a decade. It had a great impact into the scene in Finland and to everyone at that time.

Which kind of music do you listen to at home?
Antti -
Almost everything except pop list hits and some light music like polka and humbug etc. I usually listen some classical music or death & black metal or some other metal. Sometimes I listen some lighter rock etc. It depends of what mood I am.

Vinyl has had a small comeback lately – do you still prefer “the old sound” or are you a CD/DVD kind of guy?
Antti -
Old vinyls are the best. They have a certain magic over them. But I have to confess that I own more CDs than vinyl’s. 

Last question - do you have any famous last words for our readers?
Antti -
Last words, I didn’t know that I’m dying yet, hahaha. Hear us and fear us and have a great rest of the year.

Halo of Shadows - Manifesto

Album available on Massacre Records.

For more info on Halo of Shadows - click on the album cover.