Kaunis Kuolematon, a standout band within Finland’s already robust death/doom scene, has announced the upcoming release of Syttyköön toinen aurinko (via Noble Demon) on November 27, 2020. Originating from Hamina, Finland, the group- comprised of Jarno Uski (bass), Miika Hostikka (drums), Ville Mussalo (guitars), Olli Saakeli Suvanto (harsh vocals), and Mikko Heikkilä (guitars, clean vocals)- continues to gain momentum this year.
In an interview with Metal Solstice, Heikkilä described how the band has navigated uncertain times, flourishing both on livestream and festival stages to swelling audiences. The music video for their most recent single, “Kylmä maa”, was filmed in the Hamina Bastion and its moody, historic scenery aligns with the promise of an emotionally-charged upcoming third album.
Metal Solstice: Kaunis Kuolematon is relatively unique, in that you performed both a livestream show, as well as in-person festivals this year. What was it like to perform, especially at SaariHelvetti and Dark River Festival, after several months of no live shows?
Mikko Heikkilä: It’s been an eye-opening experience. We also felt fortunate that we’ve been able to see both sides of these irregular circumstances, a livestream without an audience and the total opposite at festivals. I’ve heard many of people saying it feels strange, but for us it has felt natural to be on a stage. But two sold out festivals in year 2020, that was blast! I really do miss the club shows with awesome crowds.
MS: Can you explain what the livestream experience was like; was it strange to play without an audience in front of you? Did the stream have a significant reach outside of Finland?
Heikkilä: Yes, it felt strange at first. Everything was clear before the show, but after the camera started to roll, I was like, “What the hell, this does feel totally different!” But after first two songs we were back to normal. It was actually surprising how much feedback we got from outside Finland as well, through our social media channels. Also tickets were sold more than we expected, so it was success from our point of view.
MS: The tracklist for “Syttyköön toinen aurinko” is in Finnish with translations, with the exception of the opening song. Will the lyrics for this album also be fully in Finnish, and do you plan to release translations for all?
Heikkilä: All of the lyrics on the new album are written in Finnish; I think that’s one thing that makes us unique. We believe the language is the mainstay of Kaunis Kuolematon and would be difficult not to use our native language in our music. Easy to carry out while processing new songs. I believe there are some mystical effects for the listeners who don’t speak Finnish in general. Inside the album booklet there will be English translations as well, so that should be easy to follow while listening to the songs.
MS: Was November around the time frame that you had originally planned to release “Syttyköön Toinen Aurinko”, or did quarantine give you more time to work on music and speed up the process?
Heikkilä: After we released our previous EP “Elämä ei tarvitse minua” in 2019, we decided to put the goal for the album in 2020. So even without “the situation” the result would have been the same, no effects from quarantine.
MS: Of course “Paha ihminen” and “Kylmä Maa” will sound familiar to listeners by the time this album is released on November 27. However, will there be any surprises on this album, or elements that listeners might not expect?
Heikkilä: Would like to say there will be no surprises, but the album sounds bigger than the previous ones, in my opinion. The people closest to us have heard the album, and everyone has said that we´ve grown once more, one step, as a band. We are not going black metal, not going any softer, and there are still the elements you’ll recognize- but everything comes out in a fresh new way. Beautiful melodies, vocal lines, and there are lots of emotions, that´s for sure.
MS: Finland is an especially supportive and growing market for death/doom bands. Please discuss your Finnish fanbase, and how they have supported Kaunis Kuolematon’s creative direction.
Heikkilä: There are lot of bands and it´s hard to get the people to see you, get the people to know you. The only thing you can do is work, work and work. Finland is a growing market, but the music business in general has changed a lot, so it’s much more challenging. IN this band we have seen how the crowd has grown bigger around us, both in the places we play and in social media. That has taken years, not just one night. We are not a big band in a larger view, but need to push forward, and it’s the most rewarding thing to see how our music has affected people around us.
MS: Let’s discuss the “Kylmä Maa” music video. Can you explain more about the concept, creative process, the woman in the video, and also the location you chose?
Heikkilä: On previous albums we have released videos with stories that connected somehow to each other. This time we wanted to focus on the band. The actor is the same person who what was in the acoustic single “Palava maa”; it was a natural choice to have someone familiar.
The location is a large old military area in Hamina (Hamina Bastion) and its history speaks for itself. We always wanted to film there, and now we had a chance for it, mainly filmed in one day. Have to say that Hannu Tiainen made spectacular job and put all his effort in it.
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