Disembody is a 2-piece black/thrash metal band from Finland and here is an interview I did with band members A.H. & J.J. Now in some questions I don't know which band member answered, and there are 2 questions they don't answer, but that's the way it goes. On with the interview
Where were you born and where did you grow up?
A.H: In a small town in Finland.
J.J: Same for me
What sort of kid were you growing up with?
A.H: I liked the usual things one could do in rural places besides sports. Video games, a little bit of riding MX bikes and ATVs on empty fields and on the ice in winter. Music too.
J.J: I don’t remember that much from when I was a little kid, but I remember already being interested in music at a very young age, most of my interests have always somehow revolved around music.
When did the metal bug hit you of sorts? What were some of the 1st bands that you liked?
A.H: My dad likes older bands like Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Hurriganes etc. So the avenue to the genre was laid out from the start I suppose. Often on car trips, we would listen to rock music. Not long after, I would learn about the bigger Metal bands like Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth etc.
J.J: I guess when I was eight or nine years old. The first bands that I got into were pretty much the usual stuff, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Slayer etc.
When did you discover the underground and what were some of the 1st bands that you liked?
A.H: Maybe correctly around 2017. My memory is a little hazy but some of the first bands me were: Tank (UK), Slaughter (CAN), Manilla Road (USA) and Sabbat (JPN).
J.J: It’s hard to pinpoint a certain moment when I first got into the more underground bands, I think my taste just naturally evolved in that direction. Some of the bands that I remember liking from very early on are Venom, Mayhem, Morbid, Nifelheim, Bathory, Sarcofago, Darkthrone, Dissection etc.
Now I don’t know much about the band and even doing some research did not reveal much, so I think there is 2 members, am I correct? So how did you 2 find each other and what gave you the idea to start up a band? Had you both been friends before the band started?
J.J. Disembody has 2 members at this time, that is correct.
A.H: We both frequented a metal forum and J.J messaged me about starting a band since he was looking for a drummer and we shared similar musical interests. We didn’t know each other before that, but we met for a beer in early 2019 and later in the summer we would start putting the material together for Diabolical Deathstrike.
So the band was formed in 2019. Did you start to write original songs write away or did you just mess around for a couple of months and then get more serious? Were either of you in prior bands or is that none of my business ha ha?
(Until next summer we weren’t in contact at all. I had guitar-only tracks pretty much ready when we spoke the next time, and A.H did drums for them.)
A.H: I had not been in a real band before Disembody. Just some drumming here and there, mostly for school. More often I would practice and play drums by myself, for my own enjoyment.
J.J: I had been in a couple of bands before, but they were more about just playing for fun than serious projects.
Now, who does what in the band? If it is just 2 of you, would you like to add more members or will you remain a 2 piece band? Have you ever played live, meaning have you gotten someone to help you out by playing live?
A.H plays the drums. J.J plays guitar, and bass and does vocals. We have not played live yet. We would like to add members so we could play live.
So now in 2019, your debut release came out called “Diabolical Deathstrike”. Tell me all about this release. How did the writing of the songs come about for this release? How was it going into the studio to record the tunes?
A.H: Generally I was feeling good about the EP. Songs got demoed and rehearsed during the Summer, and in Autumn we went into the studio. The recording went smoothly, considering it was my first time properly recording anything in a real studio. It was an analogue studio too, so it was a one-take type of situation. I think it was a Tascam MS-16 1” 16 track tape recorder. We had come prepared and rehearsed well before recording so it was quite easy.
I didn’t have a proper drum kit at the time but I was able to borrow the kit that was already at the studio. I think it was an older Premier drum kit. It played well.
J.J: Most of the songs came about quite easily. I’d had an idea of starting a band like this for a long time and already had plenty of riffs for the band.
Now before I move on, who came up with the name and logo for the band?
A.H.: We were discussing a new name and that’s the one we were both alright with. The logo is by J.J.
Now the cover for your debut is off the charts, I love it. Who did it and you must love it?
Both of our releases include fantastic cover art. Both artists have very distinct styles, which made us want to work with them. The cover art for ‘Diabolical Deathstrike’ is made by Toni Hietomaa, and the cover art for ‘Reigniting Hellfire’ is made by Juha Vuorma.
They did a great job with the album covers. The artworks are just perfect for us. Both artists have an impressive track records, so we were sure they would do great.
What are your thoughts on your EP these days I know it is sold out, but it gets a re-issue, which will get to you shortly?
A.H: I think it works well with its simplicity.
J.J: I think it’s ok considering it’s the first thing we ever recorded.
How has been the scene in Finland ever since you got into the underground? Has it gotten better, worse or around the same over the years?
A.H: I have not been focusing on Finnish bands recently. I have some favourites from the past years, but my knowledge is limited.
J.J: I think there are plenty of great new bands popping up every now and then.
Now as far as writing tunes is it split equally between you both who are some of your favourite musicians and what made you pick up your respective instrument?
J.J. writes and arranges the riffs. A.H. does drums for it. If either one of us thinks a part of a song sounds off, we demo it until it sounds good. Writing lyrics we generally have a split 50/50 per release.
A.H: I started out playing the guitar at first but later got interested in drums. I remember trying out drums for the first time long ago and it sounded terrible.
Soon I found out that using more force made it sound like it was supposed to, and that really changed it for me. Playing the drums was much more satisfying compared to guitar. More tangible for me personally.
I still play the guitar but drums are the main thing for me. My favourite musicians are probably the classic Motörhead lineup.
J.J: I remember initially picking up guitar because a couple of my friends started taking guitar lessons after school and they asked me to join them, I think I must have been nine or ten back then. Some of my favourite guitarists that come to mind are Jimi Hendrix, Tony Iommi, Dave Murray and Jeff Hanneman.
Now I see the EP also came out on cassette (tape) and is sold out. Will it come back out in that format again?
Some labels have shown interest in making more cassettes, but at the time of writing, Diabolical Deathstrike is a part of the Helldprod contract because it is included on the upcoming CD. This means that tape re-releases will have to wait.
What are some of your personal favourite shows you have seen over the years?
(I guess none-Chris)
How did you come up with the name for the EP, “Diabolical Deathstrike”?
(I guess they didn’t-Chris)
What was the feedback on your EP overall?
It was pretty good. Tapes got sold and we had some favourable comments about it.
So now, from reading on your Facebook page, in late 2020, you had recorded a full-length and were looking for a label to release it. How did that go early on? Did you get many labels contacting you?
It was very quiet for a good while. We were pretty active with the emails, but it just wasn’t the right time.
So it looks like Witchhammer Productions was the lucky label that released your debut CD called “Reigniting Hellfire”. How did you end up hooking up with them? Did you find them or did they find you?
We compiled a list of label contacts that had previously released black/thrash albums. Then it was just a matter of sending emails to the labels, asking if they wanted to release our album.
Witchhammer seemed like a cool label so we sent them an email. They answered very quickly and were interested.
So how did the songs come together for your debut release? How long were you in the studio for and was anything, in particular, a pain in the a*s? Are you overall pretty happy with it?
A.H: I was away from my drum kit for long stretches of time which made working on the drum parts difficult and inconsistent. Eventually, I got the drums done in a way that was satisfying for us.
The studio was the same as on the EP. The only difference was, that we now had twice the amount of songs to record. Just as last time, we showed up prepared and got it done.
Mind you, we rehearsed together only once because of the distance. We practised by ourselves according to the demos and it worked well for us.
It’s a very good studio, I think. Very easy to work with and I’m happy with how things turned out.
J.J: Writing the songs for the album took a bit more time than with the EP, but overall the writing process was pretty much the same.
Now how was it working with Witchhammer Productions, which I saw is a small, but the cool label, do they still have any copies of the CD left or are they sold out yes more on that soon.
A.H: Witchhammer was great also. We never had problems with them, and they really did great with the cassette. It looks perfect and sounds as it should.
As far as I understand they still have cassettes left.
So now, COVID hit, shutting down everything and postage prices are through the roof. What did you guys do during this time?
A.H: Just the usual with work, listening to music and playing the drums. Nothing special going on really.
J.J: Write new material.
Now I saw in the Hellprod Records bio that you guys were briefly called “Disincarnate “, I guess you changed that when you found out about the Florida death metal band from the 90s or am I wrong?
That is correct. There is less room for confusion with the new name.
Now Hellprod Records recently re-issued your debut release. It also says and I quote, “These two releases will be included for the first time in a special CD edition”. Does that mean it is on CD in 2 versions and the 2nd version also includes the EP as well as the full-length?
Just to clarify. There will just be one type of CD. The CD is going to include both the Diabolical Deathstrike EP and the Reigniting Hellfire album. This way it becomes more available for anyone that doesn’t want to buy cassettes.
I think your music brings back to mind the early days of German thrash such as Kreator, Sodom, Destruction, etc. Would you agree and what you say to someone to describe the band’s music?
We like all of those bands so it’s not a stretch to think that.
Is your aim within the band to capture that old school thrash sounds of the late 80s, but not the bay area thrash, the overseas sound?
Early thrash and 1st wave black metal are absolutely an inspiration for us. It’s about the feeling of it. We are playing stuff we would want to hear and what we like. Nothing wrong with the bay area or the American bands either. The European stuff just resonates with us more, but we do take influence from some of the American bands as well, such as Possessed or Slayer.
How has the feedback to the Hellprod Records been released? How did they end up re-releasing all your music?
It’s been alright also. Helldprod was already interested in our music when we did the Diabolical Deathstrike EP. However, COVID put a stop to those plans. After Witchhammer Productions released Reigniting Hellfire, Helldprod contacted us again. They wanted to do a CD of the album, so we agreed to it. We suggested also including the EP and that was that.
The EP is pretty hard to obtain anyway because there are no tapes left. This is a pretty good deal for anyone who likes Disembody. All our stuff is on one CD.
Speaking of music, when can we expect some new music?
We will see, it is in the works.
Please plug where anyone can hear your music, buy some goodies, contact your label, etc.
The CDs are released on April 18th 2022 on Helldprod: https://helldprod.com/shop/index.php?id_product=1599&rewrite=disembody-fin-reigniting-hellfire-cd&controller=product
Cassettes on Witchhammer Productions: https://www.whpkult.com/product/156255-138315/disembody039reigniting-hellfire039-tape
For shirts check out our Bandcamp: https://disembodyband.bandcamp.com/
The horns up to whoever, or both of you, did the interview. Any last words, the floor is yours and best of luck with the band.
Thanks for the interview.
Video song of the band: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNM9anYZdLw