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A Dirty Dozen with JUKKA from OMNIUM GATHERUM – November 2021

| 19 November 2021 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Finnish melodic death metal masters OMNIUM GATHERUM have just announced their Origin North American Tour 2022. The band will be hitting the road for their headline tour with support from Allegaeon and Century Media labelmates Black Crown Initiate starting on February 26th in Brooklyn, NY and wrapping on March 27th in Boston, MA. OMNIUM GATHERUM is Jukka Pelkonen (vocals), Markus Vanhala (guitars and clean vocals), Aapo Koivisto (keyboards), Mikko Kivistö (bass and clean vocals), and Atte Pesonen (drums).” We get singer Jukka to discuss new music, influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release. What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through? Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Hello hello. Well, our latest baby Origin is a natural continuation to our previous albums. This is one thing that is same time quite obvious and a bit hidden. Origin is another refinement of our music. It has the known OG vibe to it, yet it pushes the boundaries of our own evolution as musicians and as a musical group in general. It is more middle paced in tempo but that is just the thing. Origin as an album is like factory hammer. It pounds away relentlessly still having those moments of mystery in the slower songs. This a kind of an album one must listen to multiple times and in different moods. Then it really opens up. There is still quite the amount of “info” in the songs, but we really tried to make it super accessible through song writing. Weirdly this made the album really catchy and heavy at the same time. Nothing “special” is hidden into the album rather the album itself has layers upon layers of content, both compose wise and lyrically.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I’ve always been fascinated about music. I think I knew from the early age on I wanted to make music. There was no specific moment of realization in a sense. Music was more like a thing that got my attention no matter were it “an elevator tune” or a classical piece I heard being played. Also the sheer excitement of composing new songs and building up an album of fresh tunes is one of the things I really enjoy. At that moment I feel I have accomplished something I do care for. Something important for the music itself. Not for the things I could reach with the help of it. My interest in music also contains the curiosity of that phenomenon of creating something out of non-material and making it concrete for other people to experience it.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

There really is no one specific thing that would have affected me musically so much that I would be able to call it the “defining moment” when it comes to my preferences in music. The guidelines are many and that is a good thing in my opinion. I would assume this is how it is for most musicians. What I mean is the fact that one’s musical curiosity tends to grow when you hear interesting new music. There maybe those times when some song, concert or an album has had a huge impact to one’s musical taste. But this also connects to other things happening in one’s life at that moment and time. Music is an emotional entity, so it affects and is affected by the “drama of life.”

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

It is so hard to name any specific people. There are so many. If I have to choose then they would be: “classical composers in general, Dave Mustaine, Dave Matthews, John Lennon and DJ Shadow.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

I would choose DJ Shadow. He has a lot of experience in collaborating with musicians from various genres. I think working with that kind of professional would benefit my own musical inspiration too. There is no telling what kind of weird wild stuff we could come up together. 🙂

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Well, that depends on few things. First of all I would enquire if this guy is familiar with the genre. And I don’t mean metal, I mean melodic death metal. If so, he would have at least some clue to what to expect. I would describe our music being within that genre yet having influences from various non-metal styles also. A lot of tasty guitar melodies and strong and harsh riffing and pounding at the same time. The keyboards offer this 80’s synth wave sound mixed with modern metal-keyboard sound realm. Deep death metal growls which vary from the lowest to a high-pitched black metal-ish screams. These combined with clean vocals here and there create an unique mixture of soundscape and melodic death metal music. Melodic death metal indeed. Also with elements of progressive approach still pretty straight forward from time to time. The one thing that really struck out as a kind of a weird comment of our music was when someone (don’t remember exactly was it a reporter or a listener) compared it to these romance metal goth style bands. We as a group are many things. Romance-Gothic-Emometal is not one of them. 🙂

7. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

We all cook and take turns in the kitchen. Usually at a summer cabin where we rehearse an upcoming album and hang around in general from time to time. This tradition started back in 2010 when we were making ‘New world shadows’ album. It is usually three days of rehearsing a lot and then some beer and good food. Everyone is wise enough to leave the campfire guitar to the hippies.

8. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

Well, this is the thing. In my adult life I haven’t been star struck, ever. Maybe it is due to the fact that in my opinion I haven’t met anyone (haven’t met many “famous” people in general) who would cause that effect. Maybe it is just me or maybe it is the circumstances. If I ever were to star struck it would have to be a very radiant person indeed.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

I think it is the musicianship as a whole that makes this profession so suiting for my taste. Of course it is all the details within it too. Traveling for instance. I feel very fortunate to be able to travel around the world and see all kinds of people in this profession. The creativity which is a requirement for a musician also plays a major role when thinking about the best aspects of musicianship. One realizes the fact that you have to be inspired to create something worthwhile. Whether the inspiration comes through raw work (which is my preference) or any other reasonable mean it is a requirement needed to be able to feel satisfied to one’s accomplishments. I think I am also drawn to the fact that this particular line of work is very challenging in many ways. The odds are against one, but that is the best situation possible for someone who really wants to live and evolve. I have no other “dream jobs”.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

The wanted question would be: “How long are you going to continue with music?” The answer: “Until the very end.” – The unwanted question is: “What are your influences?” So tired of answering this 😉

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

There is only one “bigger” thing that comes to mind. Back in 2007 I decided not to go to a tour in Spain and Portugal and instead I applied for University. Sure, I got in but retrospectively I would have been better off going to that tour. I was never so interested in academic studies, so I just quit the university and continued to build my career as a musician. Best decision I made at that point. With this I mean the fact that to me it is sensible to concentrate on one specific “bigger goal” in life rather than to pursue multiple. That kind of division of energy just is not my thing. I understand that this is not so to all. There are people who love to multitask and are good at it. Each to one’s own. That is the way.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Hmmm. I think the record would be something from the analog era. Maybe from the 70’s. …And Then There Were Three… album from Genesis would be an awesome choice. That album really got me into Genesis when started to listen to them more often. It is still quite progressive, but one can sense the future of more pop-ish style surfacing from time to time. Really quite ingenious album. I would not want to change anything on that album. See you on the road!






Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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