Interview with J-V Hintikka: Psychework Releases New Single “Enemy Inside the Wire”

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Jyväskylä, Finland’s Psychework released their latest single, “Enemy Inside the Wire”, on December 11 as a taste of their forthcoming EP, due in April 2021 via Ranka Kustannus. As triumphant as it is polished, this single represents some of Psychework’s most mature work to date.

Founded in 2016 from the ashes of Iron Maiden-inspired Machine Men, Psychework- including Antony Parviainen on vocals, J-V Hintikka on guitars, Konsta Vehkala on drums, Ville Koskinen on bass, Juha Takanen on guitars, and Otto Närhi on keyboards- brings a modern edge to time-honored heavy metal. “Enemy Inside the Wire” doesn’t rest; it highlights Parviainen’s higher register capabilities and choral backing vocals, alongside unrelenting guitars and a quick but impactful guitar solo. Clocking in at 3:41, it’s shorter than Psychework’s previous average track length, and concisely tells a story of fighting through fear.

In an interview with Metal Solstice, Hintikka explained how this song came together, as well as what listeners can expect for the upcoming EP’s content. The guitarist was also clear about his eagerness to get back on stage- any stage- a sentiment shared by so many, after the events of 2020 were postponed or cancelled.

Psychework 2020. Photo by Jaakko Manninen.

Metal Solstice: “Enemy Inside the Wire” is some of Psychework’s best work yet. Please explain how this song came together, from composition to recording.

J-V Hintikka: This song’s birth was quite normal in our standards. I like to do the writing parts in the middle of the night when there are absolutely no distractions whatsoever. At that time I might scroll through ideas that can be found in my phone, or just test and create something from scratch.

I don’t remember anything too special about this song when I first came up with it in the middle of the night. I remember, though, that it felt this song should not be too complex with the structure but more like a straightforward hard hitting thing. Normally we like to do a bit longer songs.

Antony liked my home demo so we chose to move forward with this. After bouncing quite a few versions back and forth the song was in state that, among other new tunes, was time to hit the rehearsal place with the whole band and start to put it all together.

Recordings were made at the beginning of Covid-19, so it was something new and challenging in a way. Of course nowadays it is very easy to do most of the recordings from home. Drums, rhythm guitars and bass were recorded in a real studio here in Jyväskylä. Tuomas Kokko was the man behind recording these and it was a very smooth and effective session.

Rest of the process was working separately from our homes and sending ideas and recordings back and forth. I really like to work this way. It might be challenging and sometimes it can take more time to wait for some tracks from another, but it gives you change to work with your own time. For me mostly at night time.

The rest of the process was normal mixing and mastering. Nothing too special about that. Mikko Karmila did great work again with the mixing process.

MS: Let’s talk about inspiration. Of course “The Dragon’s Year” was a personal source, and “Karelian Hills” told plenty of war stories; this single seems to do the same. What is the inspiration for the rest of the upcoming EP content?

Hintikka: With this EP we have four separate stories. There is war and love, life and death.

Antony is the master of themes and stories, and with this EP there is not a single theme or a red line through. Maybe we can do that with a full length album. Anyway, it is important that the music serves the lyrics. If a story requires it, we always change music in the direction needed.

MS: What is something, either as a band or individually, that you have learned in the past nine months of Covid-19?

Hintikka: I don’t know if we have learned anything worth mentioning. In my personal life I have had time to do music more than ever. It is good because now I have lots of ideas ready for the future. I’m sure that we all miss gigs. We haven’t spent much time together in the rehearsal place this year so that is something I miss too. Fuck Covid!

MS: Countless gigs and festivals were of course cancelled in 2020, including your scheduled appearance at John Smith Rock Festival. At which events are you most looking forward to performing, once restrictions are gone?

Hintikka: In this state it does not matter. A stage is a stage. We just want to get on and play so much. I think this is the first year without a single gig in my life since I started to play guitar at 14 years old.

MS: Do you have plans to write and/or record further music until performances can resume? What are some other goals the band is working towards?

Hintikka: We have quite a lot of music in the making and even quite ready at the moment. Of course new music will be done all the time. At the moment we don’t have any specific plans for the further music after EP. We’ll just make it so we have plenty of stuff to choose from when needed. Some cool things besides music making are coming up but nothing we can mention at the moment.

MS: Lastly- Jaakko Manninen has photographed many seasons of Psychework, including live gigs and several promo shoots as recently as this year. Can you explain your partnership with him, and why you continue to choose his vision & camera to capture Psychework’s essence?

Hintikka: Jaakko is a really great and talented man behind the camera. He knows what he is doing and his style is in line with what Psychework should look like. Nothing too deep with that. We like his work and are lucky that over the years he has shot us quite a few times. And hopefully in the future too.

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