One of the best moments of ALGAIONís debut album was the albumís last song with a tasty female vocal part on it. To my big grief, the band decided not to continue their path in this directionÖ so sadÖ we have so many black metal bands nowadays but it took years for me to meet someone who could create something as cool as that ALGAIONís song. VORDVEN accomplished that. Their whole debut album is filled with female vocals and still it doesnít sound soft or silly. Those young Finnish guys really know how to play their instruments and they got something unusual for these days Ė they have originality. Thatís why I decided to chat with Mika Packalen, the leader of the band.
First of all, letís talk about the history. So, when, how and why a bunch of Finnish guys decided to be a band called VORDVEN?
In spring 1996, after a couple of not-so-successful band experiments, Kaasalainen and I decided to bring our musical ideas together and started making some songs with guitar and synths. We found ourselves a drummer, a bass player and a keyboard player and rehearsed four songs ready and recorded our debut demo ďWhen The Wind Blew For The First TimeĒ. This is not the end of the VORDVEN story, but we kept on working with new songs and made eight tracks ready. After this we recorded our debut album ďTowards the Frozen StreamĒ. Thatís the story of VORDVEN until now (it isnít over yet).
Please tell me about people who are involved in VORDVEN. Your age, education, etc.
At the moment the people behind VORDVEN are: Mika Packalen - guitar, synth and vocals. 19 years old and in the army at the moment. Matti Kaasalainen - guitar, synth. 20 years old and employed by the city of Huittinen. Tommi Rantanen - bass. 20 years old and unemployed at the moment. Joni Virtanen - synths. 18 years old and heís studying. Pekka Koponen - drums. 18 years old and heís also student. Piritta Repo - female vocals. 19 years old and sheís working or studying (not sure).
Your album appeared on the shelves of the stores in the beginning of 1998. Itís quite a time, so you can draw some conclusions. Do people like the album? How about sales?
Most of the feedback, either by mail or in reviews, has been positive. Some have although whine about the sounds. According to the latest info, it has been sold around 1300 copies.
You started pretty late for a black metal band. The style is quite well-explored and itís really hard to create something totally new nowadays. Do you agree with the opinion that the best times for the real black metal are gone?
I donít agree with you one hundred percent. The black flame is still alive!
What do you think about the metal scene in Finland? I mean not the well-known bands like DECOREYAH, AMORPHIS, APOCALIPTICA or IMPALED NAZARENE. I mean underground. Are there any good and worthy bands that need more exposure? Any recommendations for our readers?
The Finnish scene will crush in the near future! There are many good demo bands in this country that should get the attention of many people. My best recommendations are our bassistís band NIGHTSIDE and also ELENIUM and THYRANE have had affection on me.
You are signed to No Colours. Itís a good label and Kay (one of the guys from the label) has a pretty good and original taste. The label discovered for mass bands like DIMMU BORGIR, FALKENBACH and some others, but the label is not as commercially successful as many other labels that release mediocre trendy music with good financial potential. Why did you choose No Colours?
I myself am not too fond of Steffen and Kayís musical tastes (except DIMMU and FALKENBACH). We chose No Colours because they were the first to offer us a deal that we were comfortable with. We donít look for a label on the basis of ďHey, that label will get us lots of money, letís signĒ. The most important thing is that you can really get everything out of your music in the studio and after that to get something back from the people, be it negative or positive. I mean that you need great help from the label for production, promotion and distribution.
When do you plan to release your next album? Have you already started to write material? Any changes or experiments?
Our next album will be released in 1999 for which we have already started preparing material. The songs will, maybe, be faster, darker but also, maybe, a little bit more technical, but the real change will only be audible from the finished product.
One of the original and very tasty moments of your album is the female vocal. Will you continue to use it as much as you did on this album? Do you want to tell me about the woman who sings on your record?
The amount of female vocals in the future will most likely stay on the same level as on this album. I donít really want to tell about Piritta, so better leave it to that.
Do bandmembers of VORDVEN have other musical projects?
Every one of us has own projects. Our bassist Tommi works in NIGHTSIDE, also playing bass. I have a more guitar oriented heavy project. Our drummer has some black metal project, but I havenít heard it much to really say anything about it. The name is LEVIATHAN though. Other projects arenít yet worth mentioning really.