The season of Rovaniemi, Finland’s melodic death metallers I Am Your God has arrived. The five-piece released an explosive single, “My Venom”, in late August 2021, a quick reprise to 2020’s full-length album The Resurrection.
The single, which also has some flavors of metalcore, is laden with heavy riffs, underlying countermelodies, a steady rhythm section, and vocals that invite the listener to sing along at the chorus. The balance and attention to detail highlight the band’s growth in a short period of time.
An accompanying music video features vocalist Julius Vetämäjärvi. guitarist Matti Hietala, guitarist Joonas Erkkonen, bassist Joonas Roivainen, and drummer Atte Autio playing a normal gig that turns sinister, resulting in the singer’s fictional capture.
Vetämäjärvi was eager to discuss the reception that “My Venom” has achieved thus far, and the splash that they intend to make on stage- including a setlist full of existing material, as well yet-to-be-released music that will appear on their sophomore full-length.
Metal Solstice: When you’re a band based in Rovaniemi, pursuing metal and live music has to be really intentional. What are some unique challenges you’ve faced, hailing from so far north?
Julius Vetämäjärvi: Well, the main issue must be with the massive distances to literally everywhere from here, and that also brings some challenges with getting into the scene and making it to the “next level”. Anyhow, we have already proven that it’s possible to do, and achieve at least something with only the music speaking to people, so we are absolutely sure that when we are able to rise on stages on our way, we will make larger impact on people. Our label (Out of Line Music) and booking agency (Heavy Metal Heart Agency) are for sure helping us a lot with it all.
MS: Similarly, can you share about any hometown supporters or other bands, and how they’ve helped I Am Your God to grow over the past few years?
Vetämäjärvi: We published the band and our first single just couple of months before the Covid shitstorm started, so we honestly have not been able to tour or make any bigger cooperations with other bands yet. There is really not much this kind of metal music going on in our hometown, at least haven’t been in the same few shows with us. Our ”neighbor town” Oulu, three hours away by car, has a lot bigger metal scene than Rovaniemi, so we have been doing some co-work with bands from there- and of course will keep doing it.
About individuals and fans: they are supporting us with buying all the merchandise we have made, and they’re spreading the word about us on social media. That’s really awesome and we are thankful for everybody who helps us get further.
MS: You recently announced an appearance on the “HMH On The Road 2022” tour supporting Eleine alongside Dark Sarah. Is there a city or venue on the tour that you’re especially itching to play, and why?
Vetämäjärvi: Yeah, we got four shows with amazing bands and very nice venues on that tour. I’m looking forward to all of them, but Vaasa is giving some positive extra vibes to me. It will be the last show of the tour, so I’m sure it’s gonna push the feelings up even more for both the bands and the audience.
MS: There have been a few past I Am Your God gigs, but for those who haven’t seen the band live yet, what can they expect to see and hear on stage? Will you try out any forthcoming music in future setlists, or stick to what’s already been released?
Vetämäjärvi: I Am Your God offers massive songs and electric interaction with the audience, no matter if there’s five or—for some mad reason—five thousand people. Come and get it! About the setlist: of course we want to play the songs from our debut album that we are proud of, but we just can’t hold back a couple of new bangers. The longer set we have, the more new shit you will hear!
MS: “My Venom” has made it to several metal Spotify playlists e.g. “New Blood”, and the streams keep on coming- this thing was meant to be heard! What, if anything, has surprised you about the feedback of this single so far?
Vetämäjärvi: Honestly, the feedback has been brilliant. Thus far, the most surprising moment to all of us was when the “My Venom” got into the New Music Friday Finland list on Spotify, because the list is heavily based on pop music. On the other hand, there’s for sure a lot of pop elements in the song, so I think it glided there very naturally after all.
MS: This single was a speedy follow-up to 2020’s debut full-length album. Is “My Venom” a one-off single, or a hint at future material? Interested to know more about any new music you’re working on.
Vetämäjärvi: We have already written over a half of the second album, including ”My Venom”. You might hear another taster of the album already during this year, let’s wait for that. #stepbystep
MS: “The Resurrection” was a solid offering, but “My Venom” feels like the band’s most polished release to date. In what ways do you feel the band’s sound and general experience together have matured?
Vetämäjärvi: Thank you! I think it’s just very natural progression with our songwriting, since we haven’t made any big changes in our way of working. Also, we have been concentrating a bit more on the little nuances as a band, and making bolder decisions by trusting our intuition in the recording phase.
MS: Let’s talk about the “My Venom” video! You shared some “behind the scenes” footage of Julius getting wrapped up in cling wrap, and a comment about falling asleep after the shoot. Sounds like it was quite an adventure; where did you shoot the video, who was involved, and what was the most memorable part for you?
Vetämäjärvi: ”It’s been a loooong daay…” [Laughs.] We filmed the whole clip in Oulu, Finland with Julius Erkkonen, the brother of our guitarist Joonas. We had a few assistants who helped with everything during the day; it was a small production in a big room, with the band playing in the center of it all.
Extra spicy wings and extra dry wine made the day feel longer and shorter at the same time! And our bassist (another Joonas) got a massive migraine at some point of the day. Anyhow, the most fun and memorable part to me was when we shot the wrapping parts you mentioned, because we were already so tired at that point so it was full laughter all the time. The whole filming was one hell of a ride.
Find I Am Your God on Spotify here: