Olli from Epiclore took the time to answer to my questions. From the history of the band, through the Release of 'Grace Upon The Realm', for the website demo and 'Doom'!!!!!!, surely this is the most interesting interview I have done so far. |
Hi Olli, thank for the time you take to answer the questions for us. Since many of our readers are unfamiliar with Epiclore, I would like you to give us a little brief history behind the band.
Olli Hurskainen: Well well, it all began in 2000, when I decided to learn to use the equipment in our school’s music class to produce music I’d composed. I asked my brother to play the drums for the first demo, “Eulogy”, on which I played all other instruments. In May, we had the chance to play a short set live, and we needed a few other musicians for that… Petri and Ercci were old friends of ours and we asked them to rehearse the songs and play live with us. In January 2001, we finished the second demo, ‘Dream Once More’, on which Petri played the synth solos… other than that, it was still pretty much in my hands… From July 2001 to July 2002 I was carrying out my national service in the military. It postponed the release of the third demo ‘Grace Upon The Realm’, but we finally had it finished in October 2002. After the frustrating struggle with the cd’s of ‘Dream Once More’, we decided not to sell any CD copies of the new demo but to release the whole work of art in the internet. As it now seems, the success was more than we expected :) As you notice by now, the history of the band is pretty much around the demos as we have played very few live gigs so far.
‘Grace Upon The Realm’ is your third demo as Epiclore, if I am not mistaken. How much time did it take you to record it and was the process of recording it a difficult one?
Olli Hurskainen: This demo was a long project. Because of the military service, the production was delayed for a long time. Anyway, as said on the website, ‘Fatherland’ and ‘The Resignation of False Arts’ were a bit older songs which we produced almost immediately after releasing ‘Dream Once More’. ‘Eulogy’ and ‘Northern Paladins’ are remade versions of old songs from the previous demos… so considering the time it took, it wasn’t really a big effort to record the demo. With intensive work we could’ve finished it in couple of months, but all in all it took about a year and a half to produce.
It seems to me, that you are responsible for the writing of song and the lyrics. As much as I was browsing the website, I was unable to find something like this. So, is Epiclore your personal project or should we consider it to be band?
Olli Hurskainen: Seems to me that the website is not very user-friendly then :) (the info considering that should be under the discography section) …anyway, it is true that I compose all the music. I’m still looking forward to hearing songs the other guys have written but I’m afraid they’re not as productive as I am, modestly speaking :) I wouldn’t like to call this my personal project though it may seem like it is. The sad truth is that I always have some kind of vision about a certain song I’m composing and I want to finish it the way I have it in mind. That’s why I finish the songs I’ve begun composing myself.
How did you come up with the name of Epiclore? Could you please tell us what it means exactly?
Olli Hurskainen: We were happy with the previous name, ‘Endeavour’, until we discovered that there are at least two other bands with the same name... So, at the time ‘Dream Once More’ was already finished and Petri was working with the CD covers, we discussed about changing the name. I made a list of possible names by combining traditional metal clichés :) the words ‘epic’ and ‘lore’ seemed to form a decent combination, and it was also a great name for giving the impression of music that conveys great experiences and powerful emotions :)
One of the things that amazed me from the demo, was the really well done production, it sounds professional. If I am not mistaken again, you recorded the demo on a studio. Did you do the production or hire someone else?
Olli Hurskainen: Well :D The demo, like the previous two, was produced by me and Petri in our school’s music class. We took care of recording, mixing and mastering the songs with no external help whatsoever. Anyway, what I think that makes the real difference between us and most of the other demo bands I’ve heard, is the quality of compositions (krhm) and the rich scenery of arrangements. Really going into the world of arrangements gives a new perspective to music in my opinion. And when it comes to composing, even the very best production work is useless if the songs are not good.
I will try to guess your influences now. You did a really good job on the guitars and keys, without leaving out the very good rhythm section of the bass and drums. Luca Turilli seems one of the first names that come on my mind, on the guitar playing. As for the composing, Nightwish and Rhapsody are again the main names that come first. Are these your influences?
Olli Hurskainen: I used to listen to Rhapsody a lot and I think that they’ve had the biggest influence on me so far. Though I’ve gone a bit more into the progressive world nowadays, the power metal –style composing is still the most natural way for me to compose. Symphony X, Angra, Virgin Steele and Blind Guardian, for example, have had great influence on me since then and it can probably be heard on the demo and in everything I come up with in the future.
‘Fatherland’ seems to be a ‘hit’ among the band’s fans. What is the story behind the song –really kicks ass in my opinion- and did it, as a song helped you get noticed by people?
Olli Hurskainen: This is strange, because personally I don’t like this song at all. In my opinion, the refrain is a bit dull and straightforward :) There’s not a big story behind this song, except the fact that I’ve sworn it to be the last song I write about a sword-hero and his endeavours :) …but ‘Reign of Eternity’ followed… I couldn’t help it… :) it became actually a sequel to the ‘Fatherland’ –story.
To the lyrics now. I see that you are heavily influenced from Epic – the word is the first synthetic of the band’s name after all. I think the ‘Grace Upon The Realm’ is not a concept demo. Where do you take your influences for writing lyrics?
Olli Hurskainen: That’s right, it is not a concept demo… though I would have really wanted to make one! Maybe the next one will have a concept… :) Anyway, it depends a lot where the lyrics come from. ‘Northern Paladins’, for example, was heavily influenced by the game ‘Myth 2’. It is actually a theme song for a Myth 2 –order with the same name. ‘And Deeds Live On’ tells the story of Magellan, the explorer. With ‘The Resignation of False Arts’ I had many storylines, but in the end it became a story about the battle between ‘true skills’ and ‘false arts’ …and that’s up to the listener to make conclusions of the lyrics… :) [Editorial Note/’Good One. I think always the same’]
Ok, the really hard question. One think that made me not to describe the demo as a masterpiece, is the vocals. You do them, and I believe, honestly they could be far better. What is the catch behind that one? Are you doing them because you didn’t find any good singer out there, or because you don’t trust someone else for this?
Olli Hurskainen: I agree, they could be FAR better. I think the reason is between the two you mentioned. On one hand, I want to do the vocals myself because it’s a lot easier than teaching anybody else, and it would sound really goofy to me to hear someone else sing my lyrics and melodies. On the other hand, a full-time singer would make this band a lot better and improve our possibilities to sign a record deal. In fact, I’m sure that if we are ever to make a debut album, I will definetely not sing the lead vocals :) The problem is that there are very few good singers and honestly, I am too lazy to try to find one :)
I read on the website, that ‘The Resignation Of False Arts’ is your favorite song from Epiclore. Although, a very good song, I was surprised to see that, since I would have expect something like ‘Fatherland’. Why is it your favorite song?
Olli Hurskainen: I like writing longer songs mainly because they give me the chance to express myself the way I want to. Usually my songwriting process begins with making the decision of how long the song is going to be :) The shorter the song, the more I’m going to have to cut out ideas that I have. ‘The Resignation of False Arts’ was composed in only a few days and I didn’t have to cut anything out, which was great. The production is also one of the best in my opinion. The solos are the best that Petri and I have recorded. The refrain is one of the best I’ve come up with. The vocal arrangements are the best I’ve arranged. And I love the progressive intro section. There are plenty of reasons :)
What about gigs? Have planned any on the near future and how were the ones you had so far?
Olli Hurskainen: We’ve played only five or six gigs so far… all of them here in Joensuu. All of us have studies to attend to and we are not really in the position of travelling around and playing in different cities. We haven’t planned anything though we’ve really enjoyed the few gigs we’ve played so far.
And the most important one, did you have any proposals from any Record Labels? As I know, on Finland, heavy metal is quite popular, so it would be like, relatively easy to get a contract. So, anything going on?
Olli Hurskainen: We have got no proposals whatsoever, which is probably because we haven’t sent any demos anywhere yet :) I’m not sure what to do with the band. We definetely need the singer before doing anything serious, and even after that… I don’t know. I can’t do everything, and I should make a decision soon. I know that some of the guys would definetely want to get somewhere with the band. But for myself… hard to say just yet.
I don’t know if it is early to ask you, but have you got any new songs up for another demo?
Olli Hurskainen: Actually, I’m composing a 30-minute-long song which will probably be released on the website someday… but not in the near future, I’m afraid :) Other than that, I haven’t had the time to compose anything. I’m busy with the studies right now.
What is the story with all these strange screams and sounds on the instrumental ‘Knee-Deep In Doom’. I can see some very early Metallica (‘Master Of Puppets’) influences on that one. Am I wrong because I think that this song sounds really cool?
Olli Hurskainen: Well well, this is one of the most praised songs of ours in the internet. In fact, when I read your review, I was surprised you didn’t recognize this song :) I believe there are Metallica influences but I’m not the one influenced :) It is a cover song, a medley of Bobby Prince’s great music from the legendary game “DOOM”. I know that many people have thought of recording these songs with real instruments and some have. I had the idea of doing this years ago, and it was the last song that we recorded on the demo. The screams and explosions are from the game and if you’ve played the game you should recognize them all right… :) The reason it’s a bonus track is that it’s meant to be an internet bonus. If we start selling the demo on CD’s, it will not be on them… mainly because I don’t want to make money with stolen samples and someone else’s compositions :) [Editorial Note/’Obviously havent played DOOM ever’]
OK, that is it Olli, thanks again very much for answering my questions. I hope to you the best of luck with Epiclore, and hope you will achieve what you want to achieve with them. Anything I forgot to ask you, please free to add it here. Thanks.
Olli Hurskainen: Thank you! And thanks to all the people who have downloaded the demo on the website. You may make this band something big someday :)