AGANTHROS – A desire to “find something” is more important than the nature of the target being observed

Interview: Olli Vesanen (O.V.) – Guitar

Hello! Band came into being very recently, in 2021. What inspired you to start your own band? What is your musical background?
Hello and thank you for being patient while waiting for the answers. All of our members have been playing in bands for a good while before founding AGANTHROS. The most important band and the direct predecessor of this band is/was called TUHONSIEMEN – AGANTHROS is kind of TUHONSIEMEN 2.0. All of our members have some kind of connection to that band, either via participating as a musician or some other way.

“Aganthros” is a name that has its origins in a dream diary from the year 2013 when I was 17 years old. It was the name of a tree that grows from the seed of destruction, whereas TUHONSIEMEN is Finnish for “seed of destruction”. When it was time to let go of TUHONSIEMEN, the name for this new band was quite obvious.

Your debut CD “Syntiset saatanat kurjat” is full of surprises including the instrumental parts. How would you define your style and who influenced you most?
“Black metal” will do just fine. Satanic metal music. Looking for more accurate definitions wouldn´t lead into anything interesting. The answer concerning the influences will be dependent on the scale that we use. So the answer could be f.ex. one of these:

1) Forces that are timeless, nameless and faceless. Nightside and it´s representations throughout the ages. Myths, archetypes, so on.
2) Life lived. For me it took 27 years to get this album done, so to say. Guys in the band are 22-29 years old.
3) Musical taste of the members contains quite a lot of things from harsh noise to PORCUPINE TREE and from classical music to Tetragrammacide, but a mutual interest towards black metal obviously unites us all in some way. To name a few influential black metal bands: MGLA, ENOCHIAN CRESCENT, NOCTE OBDUCTA, CLANDESTINE BLAZE, GORGOROTH.

What is the main concept of the album? What are the overall lyrical themes and stories to be found on this album?
I’d say that the main theme of the album is “turning the focus from outside to within.” Whether that has been done or not, and with what consequences. This is the red thread that unites the songs.

Most lyrics are, at least on the surface, of a merely descriptive nature. A brief look into a certain moment/phase of someone’s life – usually presented from the 1st person perspective. Perhaps the holy trinity of every artist searching for “the truth” should be: Exhibitionism – voyerism – pathological lying?

And like always, there has to be one exception: that is „Seitsemän miehen voima“, a Finnish folk tune which has its‘ origin in the book called Seitsemän veljestä (The 7 brothers) written by Aleksis Kivi in the 19th century. There we turn our gaze from “within” back to the „external“, don’t we?

What inspires you when you get down to writing lyrics? Is it something that you come across in your life or something that you read about in books or see in movies? For example: Do you like soundtracks of movies?
Inspiration can be found from pretty much anything and from (almost) anywhere: certainly from all the examples you mentioned, too. I’d say that the observer’s mindset, a desire to “find something” is more important than the nature of the target being observed. Almost any stimulus – or the absence of them – can start something interesting when processed by a person with a certain kind of “active” mindset.

What would then be the opposite – a “passive” mindset? I’d say that a dull-minded person wouldn’t recognize a chance for “finding inspiration” even if it wiped it´s very ass into one´s face. To mindlessly consume whatever you happen to receive on every area of life, to simply sleepwalk through existence – that is the most pitiful fate I can imagine to a human being.

Is your description of hell based purely on arts? Or is it your lifestyle and natural way…? Can you provide insights into some of the themes and concepts explored on the album?
I suppose this is a question about whether the themes in the lyrics are “purely fictional” or not. If so, I would ask back: how to draw the line between fiction and reality?
I’d say that the line is a one drawn into water. Or perhaps it isn’t a line, but a wall. And maybe that wall many attempt to build between fiction and reality, was -actually- on the side of “fiction” itself?

To the latter question: Earlier I talked about how the theme is “turning focus from outside to within.” To expand this into another level: “creating” and writing the songs and evoking them to life by playing them actually IS a way to do this very process. Gotta add, I hope that experiencing them as a listener could also offer something more than “good riffs and sounds”, but this is not something I can affect into – nor gain first-hand knowledge about it, either.

Lyrics are full of satanic symbols and mottos. How important is Satanism for you lives? Life philosophy? Or artistic confession?
I just saw a video on youtube where some guy said “Fuck the rest, Satan is best” and I thought I want to be as cool and trendy as they seemed. (*Sigh*) Oh if I had known that playing with the forces of darkness and evil is not a good idea…now Satan owns my soul and there is nothing I can do. To all the loving parents in the world: find out what your kids do with their smartphones, or they’ll become just like me!

Did you ever receive any weird messages from circles like the church?
Here’s a funny way to fuck up your brains: if you think it’s a message, then it becomes a message. Is this interview a message from the church? No? Well, also a spy from the church would say that. (Now, if you apply this same counter-argument into existence of the “outside world”, you’ll end up into solipsisim and/or asylum).True story concerning the album btw: In the wall of our rehearsal room’s toilet there is a text that says: “Ihminen on avaruuden nurja puoli” and I thought like ok, maybe I’ll try believing in that one. Cheers to whoever wrote it – but if you see this, don’t let us know that it was you!

Please, can you tell me something about album cover? Do it convey any special meaning or maybe have any particular purpose combined with the song titles?
Sure thing. The cover is done by A.P. XIII, who is also known as the frontman of a band called CURSE UPON A PRAYER. I basically gave him a few keywords or -phrases, and linked the demo versions of the songs, and he painted the picture.

Some musicians write their best music while they’re depressed or going through a bad time? Is it example your band?
Hell no – depression is a fucking poisonous thing to creativity at least for me. I try to keep myself in good shape nowadays.

When I was a bit younger, let’s say from 18-24, I didn’t give a crap about my physical or mental condition. I thought that cutting or burning myself when drunk is just a funny thing to do for no reason (and I used to be drunk every week for those years).

Well, they kind of WERE funny and interesting times, but the pros and cons of that lifestyle are pretty easy to calculate in the long run. If you keep on living like that, you’ll probably LITERALLY die at somewhere around that mythical age of 27.

Do you have a personal creative place in Finland that inspires you and helps you find ideas for new songs?
Less disturbances — more time for the ideas to evolve. I think that the only true “church” is found from within, and that sanctuary you can carry with yourself, wherever you go. But sure when it comes to circumstances of the outside world: some are more optimal than others. Forests or cemeteries are usually much more interesting places than city centres and so on.

When talking about that debut album… Are you satisfied with the reception of it?
Sure, especially since I didn’t have much expectations concerning this. Not because I wouldn’t believe in the material, but because of thinking about things like “how will people react to this” is not very interesting in itself.

At some point though, I would love to read a decent review concerning the album and this review being written by someone who understands Finnish enough to read our lyrics or has received the translations of the lyrics in English.

I don’t care what the number of such a review would be – it could be 1 or 10 – but I would be interested in hearing some sort of analysis concerning the album and its content. It is not a fucking analysis to say „there’s heavy guitars blah there’s loud drums blah blah yeah it’s black metal music obviously 8/10“  No shit Sherlocks! This is a fucking shitty excuse of an album review. Still and maybe because of that, most of the internet medias and zines seem to contain exactly stuff like that.

What’s happening with the music scene in Finland now? Are there any new bands or releases you could mention?
Certainly! Of black metal, LICHT DES URTEILS is a total fucking killer. Especially live so far, but I’m certain that their next album will be one to remember. Other good acts from the area of Tampere-Jyväskylä: SACRIFICIUM CARMEN, THE PARASITE PARADISE, VAINO, ALCHEMASTER’S APPRENTICE (rip) aaaaand let’s say HENGET too. Their debute album “Beyond north star” was actually one of the best BM releases this year.

If you could have music session with any famous musicians, in present or past history, who would they be?
I would evoke some of my Finnish forefathers to hear how their ritual music would sound. Then I would want to write a song based on what I experienced while hearing it, and see what they would think about it.

Are you planning a tour or any festival gigs for next year? Do you plan to support “Syntiset saltanat karjat” with gigs in Europe or outside of it?
We have only one gig booked right now: Rites of North in January 2024. Those who bought the ticket: congratulations for being quick enough. They were sold-out fast af, in which I suppose announcing AGANTHROS played a great role. Some also mentioned a band starting with Be…something. Was it BEHEMOTH? BEHEXEN? Nah, something that sounded like “Berehit” but who cares, must be some nearby ug act. Probably that’s why we are playing among the first ones and they to wait all evening before they get their turn – everyone wants to hear us, right?

Thank you for your time and I wish you all the best!
Thank you very much for the interview.



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