Finland is known for their excellence in metal music. One of these talented bands includes also Kuoleman Galleria, which means Gallery of Death!
I was determined to interview them, so I seized them into one of the cosy bars in Tampere. Kuoleman Galleria consists of four members, but one of the members couldn’t join since he went to New Zealand for an indefinite time. Now they have a guitarist replacing him and he also happens to be one of the original members of the band!
As we sat down we knew we had limited time because bingo would start soon, or maybe we could play some bingo too when we’re done? Anyways, I was really curious about them and definitely wanted to know more! Follow me and be amazed! Or be puzzled haha!
Jankkari- Vocals and bass (front middle); Matinlompolo- Guitars (to the right); Anttonen- Drums; Väinölä- Guitars. (picture by Susanna Raitamaa)
Matinlompolo, Jankkari and Anttonen sat casually on the couch and sipped their beers like any other relaxing Saturday. I was excited to start interviewing a group of creative musicians that have made unique music with such a great composition. Let’s start from the beginning and get to know them a bit more, right?
How do you know each other?
- Jankkari and Anttonen have known each other since 2008, they played in another band together, Ruinside. Jankkari and Matinlompolo have even longer history, they went high school together. Everyone in the band have known Väinölä also for many years.
What genre do you think your music fits into? I’ve heard that you play some black ’n’ roll?
- Yes, we do but nowadays we want to distance ourselves a little bit from black ’n’ roll and resemble something more in the direction of pagan metal.
Who writes most of the songs in your band?
- Jankkari and the rest of us in the band polish the songs together.
How did Kuoleman Galleria start as a band? It was first a one man’s project, right?
- Yeah, precisely, Jankkari replied. The band Ruinside was still active 2012-2014 and I started this project 2012 more as a fun project where I wrote songs for my own pleasure. I started noticing that these songs are having more and more elements and I told Timo (Anttonen) that I have these songs and asked if he would be interested in playing the drums! Timo was really excited about the songs and joined the project. Jankkari continued excitedly: First we made a demo of three songs, but it was until 2014 that one evening when we went to have some drinks with friends that we suddenly had two guitarists who also wanted to join!
- After 2014, Kuoleman Galleria woke up to life as Ruinside slowly diminished. We got a feeling that we’d like to also see how these songs would sound live so we had a gig in 2015 and later started recording our debut album.
What is truly inspiring is the tour of Central Eastern Europe! I’m really curious about how it came to happen?
- We had a feeling that we wanted to try out a week-long tour somewhere with this special group of great people. It all started when we noticed that we have many Romanian Facebook fans. It was such a good trip. The amazing audience, hair flew in the front row, and sometimes even people. More about it here!
They added later that they assumed playing for half-empty places, but there were quite a few gigs that were completely full of people. It was an interesting experience, something totally new. They might go again at some point. I could see how their tour experience lit them up and their drive to become better really showed how committed they were to their band! They’ve had at least 35 gigs in 2016-2018, the pace has gone up significantly from a one man’s project!
Which gig has stayed with you even after it’s long gone?
- The tour definitely, especially in Sofia in Bulgaria. It was a nice club and the audience was amazing, even the local newspaper had woken up and a metal magazine sent their photographer too. Also, Metallihumala gig in Helsinki was a memorable one.
Third album on its way!! Four songs are almost done. Their plan is to get bigger and find a new direction. They want to distance themselves from black ’n’ roll because many times it’s associated with black metal. Their lyrics are very different from black metal, pagan metal is something they’re striving for.
What is the difference between the two first albums?
- The latter is much gloomier. In principle, the first album is a demo collection, while the second album has more structure and is also musically more unified. In the second album’s booklet, there’s a story of how it was born, you can read it from the album cover! All of the songs are written and recorded in the exact same order as they appear in the album. Every song has its own mood and follows a storyline that you can read from the album cover!
The storyline and how it has successfully included all the song titles in the story simultaneously describing an angry Finnish man surrounded in his melancholic existence shows the creativity these men have put into their work. You can interpret it in your own way and find interesting points in the text. Jankkari is indeed full of ideas when he writes his lyrics! All of the lyrics are in Finnish, but maybe you can use Google translate and lose half of the meaning anyway. It only does justice in the original language!
Have you combined different musical genres in your music?
- Once a music critic was puzzled over our album. He couldn’t figure out exactly what kind of music, because there was a mix of different things, like combining different metal music and rock. What music one has been listening to influences the songs that are written. Recently Jankkari has listened to folk metal, you might expect some hints of that in the album too.
Favourite song from your albums?
- Mieleen haudattu we enjoy playing the most and the music video has been released! Also, many others like Täsmäisku is really nice and our gigs hit off nicely with it as a starting track.
Have you guys tried playing music from a genre different from metal music?
- Not much out of metal music, but Jankkari, Anttonen and one guitarist from Ruinside have played acoustic covers together alongside with some Finnish rock. In these, he plays the Cajon drum. Matinlompolo has again played punk in his punk band!
Suddenly, a female voice announces in the speakers that bingo has started. We think for a second, but decide to take another round of beer instead and discuss our musical interests. It was very tempting to shout bingo, but I was too chicken to do so.
Their creativity doesn’t stop surprising me. Looking at one of the videos with Pan’s Labyrinth theme was really cool! I couldn’t see any skulls in their bags which disappointed me a bit haha! Metal guys are really cool! If you haven’t checked them out yet, you can do it here!
Wanna know who’s the next artist/band in the spotlight? Stay tuned!