Founded in 1994, the Finnish Throes of Dawn has made a long musical journey. From the early years in melodic dark metal to the progressive and atmospheric post-metal of today. With the highly acclaimed previous album 'The Great Fleet of Echoes' (2010), the band combined different musical elements to create lush, progressive soundscapes, reaching further away from their dark metal past. After few changes in the line-up, the band wanted to take things further and started to compose music with a new approach. The new album, 'Our Voices Shall Remain' consists of seven tracks, with a total running time of 67 minutes. The album is a clear highlight on their musical career, showing the band at its best. The songs are flowing, progressive and ethereal with long guitar leads, layered synths and clear production.
How are you doing? Six years of silence have passed after 'The Great Fleet of Echoes', I thought you were splitted. What happened along these years?
We are doing fine, thanks! We have just released the album after a long silent period, and it feels rewarding to hear people's reactions to the new album. We have worked with the album for so long and it's a big relief to see it finally completed and released. Six years is a long time, but it seems to be the norm for us these days, as there has been six years between the last three albums. There are of course many reasons why it takes so long, but in the end, it doesn't seem so long time for me. We had some changes in the line-up, and I have my other band which also occupies some of my time. We wanted to make a perfect album, and we didn't want to push it too much. The outcome is what matters the most.
I am following your band since your debut album in 1997, 'Pakkasherra', when you played a black metal inspired by a certain folkish vein. Along your six albums, your sound evolved markedly until the last 'Our Voices Shall Remain', where you play a sort of progressive/gothic metal, how would you describe such evolution and your new sound?
Yes, the journey has been a long one. There is not much common with our present music with the one that we started with. Yet, there's still same familiar elements that make the sound recognizable. I think we have always had a strong lead guitar department, and we have had some progressive elements in our music all the time. I think we have noticed during all these years that the atmospheric side of the music is more appealing to us, and we have finally reached the point where the musical search is over. This is the sound we have been after for many years and always wanted to reach for this direction, but lacked skill or vision.
Some parts of the new work reminded me 'Wildhoney' by Tiamat, even 'A Deeper Kind of Slumber' or something by Porcupine Tree; may I say that Tiamat and the band of Steven Wilson represent some of your last influences?
You could say that they might have had some sort of influence on our sound. Both are great artists. People like to compare us to many bands, Tiamat's name comes often around. I haven't listened to Porcupine Tree that much. I have listened to 'Deadwing' album which had some good songs, but otherwise it's quite unknown band for me.
How this new 'Our Voices Shall Remain' was born? Where and when was it recorded?
How a Throes of Dawn song usually born? Is it a work that involve all of you together in studio or you work separately at your own houses and through internet, you share the music parts?
For the first time in the bands history, we have written this album with the whole band. On the previous albums our guitarists made most of the songs at home and then we would just do minor tweaks on them at the rehearsal place. For this album we wanted to try another approach. Everything changed when Henri Andersson, the keyboard player, joined the band. Also the new drummer, Juuso Backman, had very good sense of the music and how it should sound like. So, we spent quite a lot of time at the rehearsal place fitting things together. Fortunately, Juuso is also very good studio technician too, so it allowed us to work more independently in the studio. We booked D-studio close to Helsinki every now and then to make recordings. The studio owner, Jarno Hänninen made the initial mixing, and then we continued from there. It was very liberating to work in the studio so independently, and I think that for the first time the outcome sounds exactly like we want it to sound.
Who is responsible for the lyrics? And what about the contents of them? Are they related to daily life facts of your private life, experiences or whatever? Or are they related to the chaos is ruling the world in the last years? What do you think about the events that every day crowd newspapers and televisions, considering the peaceful attitude of your country?
I write all the lyrics. The lyrics are very important for me and I put much effort on them. They are usually based on reflections and feelings from my personal life. I feel that the lyrics have to be sincere and have some sort of personal meaning to the author, otherwise the music doesn't feel genuine. About the events that are happening in Europe and globally, well, it seems that everything is going down the drain.
Changing your music proposal from black metal to a progressive sound, means that also your listening matured with your music, doesn'it?
Yes, it has changed quite a lot. When we started I didn't listen to anything else than black, doom or death metal. Luckily, I learned to enjoy other kind of music as well, and there were periods when I was mostly listening to ambient, neofolk and industrial music. Now there is not much time to listen to music, but when I listen, it's normally something peaceful and timeless like Pink Floyd, Lee Hazlewood or Tindersticks. I might sometimes spin some of the old '90s BM albums, but I don’t follow that scene anymore.
How was possible a deal with the Italian Argonauta Records? You live in one of the best place in the world for heavy metal music and you signed for a foreigner label, it is strange, isn't it? What do you think? How Argonauta Records is promoting Throes of Dawn? Are you satisfied of their work?
We got in touch with Argonauta Records through an old friend. Tomi from Evemaster/Battlelore/Lowburn spoke highly of Gero's label and we got interested. It was fascinating to discover how many releases Argonauta had done in such a short period of time, and when discussing with Gero through email, it was evident that he had a very good attitude towards his label and music in general. He is doing this for the right reason, and that is: Passion for music, the very same reason why we are still around today. It doesn't matter to us if the label is on the small side, as long as it's reliable, active and willing to put effort on your band. We have been very satisfied with Argonauta Records and we can recommend it to everybody. Finland is very big country for metal music, and there are a lot of bands, but there are not that many labels, at least the kind of labels who are into our kind of music. And in the end, it doesn't really matter where the label is physically, as long as it works.
Are there any tour planned for the incoming autumn? Would we be able to see on stage here in Italy?
No tour in sight at the moment, but we are trying to book some club shows and festivals around Europe. It would be really cool to perform in Italy some day.
Should we wait for further 6 years to hear again about Throes of Dawn?
I hope that we can come up with the next album a little faster. We already have some sketches for some new songs, so maybe it takes less effort this time. But we shall see...
And now my recurrent last question: during my face to face interviews in my radio show, I am used to ask for the desert island list: three books, three records and three movies you cannot live without?
This is a tough one! I wouldn't go as far as to say I couldn't live without these, but these are something that I keep coming back to. So, starting from the books, I would say (in no particular order):
1. Herman Hesse: Steppenwolf
2. Cormack McCarthy: Cities of the Plain
3. Fyodor Dostoyevsky: Notes from the underground
1. Swans: Swans are Dead (Live)
2. Decoryah: Wisdom Floats
3. In the Woods… : Omnio
1. Ingmar Bergman: Persona
2. David Lynch: Mulholland Drive
3. Veit Helmer: Tuvalu
I leave the last lines for the fan of The Pit of the Damned.
If you want to hear something different, please check out our album! And please put pressure on those local promoters so we could finally perform in your beautiful country.
Thanks a lot guys
Thank you, sir!
(Francesco Scarci for The Pit of the Damned)