Date: 6 June 2012
MG: Tell us a brief history of the band?
Max: Chaosweaver was founded by Kole (ex-guitar, ex-vocals) and me (keys) in 2004. We worked on building up the concept of the band for a while, and recorded two demos, Weaving the Chaos (2006) and Cult of the Buried Serpent (2007), before getting signed by a Finnish metal label Shadow World Records.
Our debut “Puppetmaster of Pandemonium” was released in 2008, and it got amazingly positive reviews and feedback from around the world, especially here in Finland. It was the “album of the month”, “album of the week” or even “album of the year” in a number of places, which was a pleasant surprise even though we believe in our music 100 %. It’s not the most easy-listening stuff, you know…
We recorded and produced our second album “Enter the Realm of the Doppelgänger” by ourselves, and got picked up by Napalm very quickly after we started looking for a worldwide label, which could take us to the next level. And now, “Enter the Realm of the Doppelgänger” will finally be out in a few weeks.
We’ve had a lot of line-up changes along the way, but all the four guys featured in the promo photos, have been a part of this outfit since 2008. Cypher Commander (vocals) was the last one to join the group.
MG: "Enter the Realm of the Doppelgänger” is released at the end of June how excited are you about the release?
Max: Way more than average, because we spent a year and a half working on the songs and another year and a half in the studio recording them, polishing the arrangements and coming up with the best possible orchestrations. The mixing was quite a challenge as well, because there are so many tracks and intertwining melodies on top of each other. We are suckers for detail.
This album is by far the most ambitious project we have ever been a part as a band and as individual musicians, so we are very anxious to hear the response from the critics, fans and people, who have not heard our music before.
MG: Why “ Doppleganger"?
Max: “Enter the Realm of the Doppelgänger” is a concept album, which combines Finnish mythology, theoretical science and fiction from the darkest corners of my mind. I got really into the M-theory, an extension of superstring theory, according to which there are 11 dimensions in this network of universes called the multiverse. In the storyline of this album, the main character gets spat onto a bizarre nightmare dimension, where everything seems familiar, but dream-like twisted.
The inhabitants of this realm are doppelgängers, shadow souls, nightmare reflections of our true selves. They co-exist on the same ground we walk on, but we just don't see them, as they inhabit the land limitless of time, unlike us. When certain planets align at an exactly right place and moment, a gateway between two worlds opens. If you meet your own doppelgänger, the consequences are absolutely devastating, especially, if you get in physical contact with each other. This is exactly what happens in "Ragnarök Sunset", the last song of the album. The vibrating strings of different dimensions collide, which should not be theoretically possible.
MG: Select two songs from Enter the Realm of the Doppelgänger and what inspired the lyrical content.
Max: "The Great Cosmic Serpent" was very much inspired by Peruvian ayahuasca rituals, and the ability to witness all the dimensions at once. It is also a journey to the heart of the multiverse: the true essence of yourself. "Ragnarök Sunset" is explained above. The main influences for it are obvious: the final episode of Twin Peaks mixed with the superstring theory and fiction from my own head.
MG: Personal favourite tracks on “Enter”?
Max: Well, honestly: all of them. If I had to pick a few, I’d choose “A Red Dawn Rises”, “Maelstrom of Black Light” and “The Great Cosmic Serpent”. “A Red Dawn Rises” is the most beautiful piece of music this band has ever done, “Maelstrom” has the coolest chorus, and “Serpent’s” lyrics that I’m most proud of.
MG: What influences your music?
Max: I’d say movies and soundtracks with dark atmospheres are our number one influence. We tend do “feed off each other” artistically: we push each other to reach for perfection, and it has worked brilliantly so far. Twin Peaks has and always will have a huge influence in everything I do artistically, so thank you Mr. David Lynch and Mr. Mark Frost for awakening the creative monster in me!
We are also inspired by literature, history, paintings (especially Giger), photographic art and all sorts of music, including soundscapes. We pretty much try to create different moods and atmospheres, but with a catchy twist.
MG: The Finnish / Scandinavian Metal scene seems to be awash with brilliant bands at the moment, any bands that have grabbed your attention?
Max: The latest one I got really excited about is Ghost (SWE). They’ve got their own thing going, and their whole concept is intriguing. Great songs, awesome live shows, cool album cover artwork, thrilling costumes, and genius use of opposites in lyrics vs. vocals & music. “The Evil Beatles.”
I’m also anxiously waiting for the upcoming album of Shade Empire (FIN). I’m a big fan of their previous three albums, and the guys are good friends of us. Jack, our drummer, actually recorded the vocals for this one and the one before that, “Zero Nexus” (2008).
As of late, I’ve been listening to a lot of old school Norwegian black metal such as “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” (1994) by Mayhem, “In the Nightside Eclipse” (1994) and “Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk” (1997) by Emperor and “Nemesis Divina” (1996) by Satyricon.
Nothing that interesting and mind-blowing has been happening in the scene lately – with the exception of Ghost, of course. Well, the female-fronted occult rock camp hides a few Scandinavian gems inside it, brightest of which are Jess and the Ancient Ones from my hometown, Kuopio. Their debut album was released a month or so ago, and it’s fucking brilliant! Everyone, who is even slightly interested in the genre – or skillfully crafted melodic rock in general – should check it out ASAP.
MG: What bands influenced you growing up and now?
Max: When I first started playing an instrument (if piano lessons as a kid don’t count), I borrowed a stack of guitar tablature books from the local library, the most influential of which were without a doubt Slayer (especially “Seasons in the Abyss” and “South of Heaven”), Black Sabbath and Metallica. It’s pretty hard to say, what kind of an effect their tab books had on me as a musician, but it was very influential to learn their songs and play them with the original versions blasting in the background.
As for Chaosweaver, our main influences probably come from movie soundtracks and dark soundscapes, but we don’t think of any particular songs by other artists, when we are in the composing mode. I just try to come up with whatever comes from the inside – to reach deep within myself, so to speak. But we obviously absorb everything we digest, so influences stick in you whether you know it or not.
There are three songwriters in this band, Jack (drums), Albert (guitar) and me (keys). All of us listen to a lot of different stuff, and I suppose our music is a bizarre mix of all of them. Jack loves electronic music such as Infected Mushroom, The Egg, The Chemical Brothers and so on. He gets bored very quickly if he thinks something is boring in a song, which is one of the reasons our music bears a few surprises, hah… Albert likes straightforward and catchy stuff like HIM, Dissection, Insomnium, Swallow the Sun and Rob Zombie, but he hardly ever listens to any music at all. I’m the complete opposite: I listen to music all the time. I like all sorts of metal and beyond. A good song is a good song, no matter what the genre is.
As for inspiring musicians & composers, I have huge respect for Angelo Badalamenti, Danny Elfman, Henri Sorvali (Moonsorrow, Finntroll, The Wicked), Tuomas Holopainen (Nightwish), Jon Nödveidt (Dissection, RIP), Dan Swanö (*insert half of Swedish metal bands here*), Tom Gabriel Fischer (Triptykon, Celtic Frost, Hellhammer), and a whole bunch of others. It is not easy to be a pioneer, but those guys have succeeded in inventing their own thing. I believe we are also on to something special with this group.
MG: Any festivals lined up?
Max: Not for Chaosweaver, but I just got back home from Sonisphere, Helsinki, with Metallica, Ghost, Amorphis and a few others. I actually met James Hetfield, which was cool – as was he.
I’ll also be going to Tuska, which is a yearly thing for me. The line-up is not that impressive this time, but the main thing is always to see friends and dudes from other bands.
MG: Describe Chaosweaver in three words?
Max: Cinematic, detailed, extreme.
MG: Chaosweavers plans for the rest of the year?
Max: We just finished working on our music video – or a short movie sci-fi epic – “Maelstrom of Black Light”, which can be found on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mWs4Tc-qik . Right now we are working on our website and doing a lot of press. We’ll hopefully do a European tour at some point, but nothing is decided about that at this point. We’ll also start working on new songs soon – some of us already have.
MG: Do You fancy entering the Eurovison next year?
Max: Sure, that is our main goal in music and in life in general. ;)
MG: Who would be ultimate bands to tour with?
Max: We all are big fans of The Kovenant, so a tour with those guys would be cool. I believe a tour with Cradle of Filth or Dimmu Borgir could also work splendidly for us, because they have such a large fan base, and our music would most likely piss some people of, but some of them would love it for sure.
MG: Thanks for your time, anything you would to say to our readers.
Max: Thank you for the support – keep the underground & cd’s alive! Feel free to “like” us on Facebook, and drop us a line if you want to say “hi” or contact the band in whatever matter.
Interview by: Seb Di Gatto