1. First of all, thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me. Before we really get rolling, please introduce yourself and can you please give us some information on your band and its background?
Formed in 2005 by Neva (ex-guitar player) and myself as a side project of another band from Kuopio, called Death Thrashers Kuopio. I played the drums at first. Made one demo 2006, before split (not in physical format). Reformed 2012 (this time me on vocals & drums on album) and recorded Mental Kombat EP. After that we hooked up a live line up, made few gigs and then 2016-2017 recorded our first full length album.
It’s been always about thrash. Real thrash like old Sepultura, Slayer, Exodus, Kreator, Vio-Lence,Testament etc. We always had the passion for the music, but for a long time we lacked the passion for marketing/pushing our releases into different places & stuff like that. Until now! Since our full length album is out, we’re trying to shape up :)
2. Please describe your band’s style. Genre, similar bands, etc. What should a potential new fan expect upon hearing your music for the first time?
It’s old school thrash. Maybe more bay area style than your average thrash band, since we don’t use growl-vocals, blast beats or other pussy ass stuff. Influences mentioned above.
3. What other bands have you played in previously?
I have done various different things in local bands. Most of them didn’t “go” anywhere. Played (both, drums and later vocals) almost any genre you can imagine. I had a period of 7-10 years where I didn’t play or listen metal almost at all. That was refreshing, but now I’m back! My previous bands (in case of some of...well none of you are interested):
- Proud to be loud
- Street Lethal
- Unnamed jazz band
- Unnamed acoustic pop/funk/jazz/folk band
- Unnamed Beatles cover band
4. What are some of your musical influences both in metal and maybe in other styles of music?
This is a difficult one, because I sort of have 2 switches: Metal ON and Metal OFF.
I sincerely admire all kinds of musicians and bands. Whether it is old school hip hop, orcherated music, dirty ass funk, or fusion jazz. Just checked my last 3 artist from Spotify: Stevie Wonder, Igor Stravinsky and The Hellacopters.
BUT, when I compose metal, I sort of go back 15 years when I discovered bands like: Sepultura, Slayer, Exodus, get into certain mode, forget everything else and try to come up with most ass kick riffage I can possibly imagine. I guess you subconsciously suck influences from everything you’ve heard during your lifetime, but with Thrash Metal - I stick to the basics.
As a vocalist I enjoy the old school metal singers who have depth, nice range and dynamic interpretation: Rob Halford, Axl Rose, Tony Martin, Ronnie James Dio and so on. As for thrash, it’s not much about the skills, but attitude and what fits the music: Paul Baloff, Zetro, James Hetfield, Max Cavalera and Tom Arya.. all were unique and brilliant vocalists of their time. There also were cool vocalists in the Canadian thrash scene. Chris Bailey (Infernäl Mäjesty) and Sheepdog McLaren (Razor) for example
5. Can you please share with us your band's recording history and any interesting stories and experiences from the studio?
- Major Mayhem 2006 (demo)
- Mental Kombat 2012 (demo EP)
- Brain Rangers 2017 (CD/LP)
The whole ‘Brain Rangers’ recording session was one big “interesting experience”. In another words: total chaos, pain and desperation. The whole project lasted like 2 years. Line up changed, sound engineer changed. We had to use some session musicians to play the solos. The album was recorded in our rehearsal place (in a room in abandoned plywood factory that looks like Auschwitz gas chamber) with total DIY-attitude. I had no idea how to set up drum or guitar mics, but with the help of good advices and internet, we managed to produce a descend sound.This album was the Chinese Democracy of thrash metal. I love the result, but if I ever have to go through something like that again, it’s suicide time.What goes for previous recording sessions, I really don’t remember them too accurately. Only that we didn’t have the slightest idea what the hell we were doing and that shows. Haha!
6. How about your bands live experiences? Any amusing or memorable shows you would like to share with us?
Not many of them, since we haven’t been a touring band for most of the time. However, there’s always action when we’re on stage. In our last show, in a local shithole bar, we used our own PA and cabinets. The other cabinet was attached to a table, but not to the floor. At some point I realized the mosh pit is too violent and the cabinet is going to fall, So I had to step down from the stage, step into the pit andsecure the cabinet from falling, as people were “flying” all over the place.
7. We have all heard of the big 4 of thrash. Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax. It has been talked about in the past and critiqued quite often. In your mind, what are the Big 4? You don't have to just list thrash bands, lets open it up to all metal genres, past or present, what is the big 4 in your mind?
Oh shit, this is hard. It would impossible even to pick 4 from Bay Area Thrash alone, Hahah! I’ve tried to avoid making lists, because:
1. There are too many good bands/players/albums.
2. Nobody actually cares.
I’ll just say this: Each of these 4 bands are awesome, each in their own way. When you take first 4 albums from these bands, you have so many hours of classic, quality thrash, so much variety inside one genre, so many masterpieces of modern history of metal music, that it’s actually remarkable.
8. What would be your dream supergroup? Again lets open it up to past or present musicians, what would be the dream band lineup?
Oh boy. You’re hitting me hard tonight:) Well, not trying to be a cheeky hipster, but super groups almost every time are AWFUL. No matter what the genre is.
I understand what you are looking for with this question, cause it’s always exciting to form your own dream team/fantasy roster, but in music, it’s the chemistry of the particular people in particular place in the particular moment of time that produces all the signature styles, classic songs, bands and albums.
So, if Dave Lombardo, Marty Friedman, Cliff Burton and Rob Halford would form a band, the music would 99,9999% probability be total garbage. That is the sole reason I don’t like super groups.
9. Now if you were to be a member of any band, who would you love to join up with?
The Village People.
10. Now it’s time to get philosophical. What IS heavy metal?
11. What has heavy metal done for you thus far both in music and in your personal life?
Both 10 & 11:
Lots and lots of good memories, friends and international contacts. Also moments where you feel free and alive, moments when time stops. As a fan of many kinds of music, I feel heavy metal is somehow special. The dedication level of fans is 11/10. The UG metalheads are awesome. They buy the albums, go to the shows, don’t care if their fashion style don’t fit to the mainstream standards. They don’t even rank pussy or food over metal. THAT is heavy metal!
12. If you were not playing in a metal band, what do you think you would be doing currently?
Well, I do metal in my spare time, so I’d still be working, but if there wasn’t a metal band, I’d be doing some other style of music anyway. Still, I can’t think of any reason NOT to be in a metal band. It kicks eääääzz!
13. What is your heavy metal dream? I am not talking about goals here, I am talking about going to bed and dreaming...what is the dream you are having? Or is it a nightmare?
Eternal Nightmare. AKA. The reunion of Vio-Lence!
14. What is your view on the current state of heavy metal?
I haven’t been following it too much, but you cannot find any good metal bands from the mainstream, that’s for sure. That’s ok though. It was like that 15 years ago, and that’s how it is now.
What you can do is to find good old bands. There are shit loads of cool NWOBHM-bands from the 70’s, thrash bands from the 80’s and death metal bands from the 80/90’s, that nobody talks about. You just have to look. Even though todays mainstream metal is mainly horrible, there is so much good music that’s been made, that it’s surreal.
The good thing about thrash metal scene right now is that it’s really easy to find new UG-bands from Youtube, social media etc. and the community is really tight and passionate. Just like it was before the internet. So it’s really easy for people with same music taste to connect.
At this point, I’d like to send huge thanks to New Wave Of Old School Thrash Metal youtube channel, you put our album out and helped HUGELY to increase the knowledge and fanbase of Brainthrash. You can find pretty cool thrash bands from there!
15. What are your thoughts concerning the digital era of metal. I am curious what you think of digital downloading, recording in the modern era and anything else that has changed since the early days of the industry.
Highly positive. Streaming & downloading music has changed the business, but for small, underground bands like us, it’s been a total gift from Lord Satan. It’s so much easier to spread your music, contact the fans and you don’t need the 10 people anymore to do all that stuff for you. You can pretty much do everything by yourself.
As for recording the music, digital world just makes everything easier. It would have been IMPOSSIBLE for band like us to record this good sounding album with this budget in our rehearsal place 30 years ago. So, thumbs of for modern times!
16. Heavy metal has gone through some changes since the early days. New movements have come and gone as has its overall popularity. With that in mind, what direction do you see heavy metal going in the future?
The genre is older than shit (still, heavier than time). The “original metal gods” are like: 80 years old or dead by now (?) Metal has become a musical dinosaur, just like rock or jazz. No new interesting ideas, bands or directions. Feels like everything is already been done and they’re just circulating the old formula for 99.999% of the time and making crappier versions of the previous ones. (I guess somebody could put Brainthrash in that category, haha!). But that’s what during certain amount of time. You cannot help it. However, the evolution of metal has been frigging fast. I don’t think the kids today listening to Meshuggah (or whatever) even acknowledge “Born to be Wild” or Alice Cooper as heavy metal? The change is THAT big.
I don’t like to predict things, since I’m more interested in doing history research, but what I am HOPING that will happen is: stronger, tighter, versatile underground with more talented musicians with wild ideas, courage to be a little experimental, more people who don’t care shit what anybody else is doing, or how things are “supposed” to be done. We need more individual thinking in metal. Don’t be a sheep!
I’ve noticed that some new thrash bands are looking over their shoulder all the time. “I wonder what this and that band is doing” or “Do you think we’ll have the big break if we replace all the violent riffs with clean vocals and Pantera antics?” I don’t mind anybody doing what they really wanna do, but that sort of thinking is just doomed. Usually you fall fast with that attitude. Sometimes It’s natural experimenting and search of style, but in many cases, these goddamn bands just don’t know whatta hell they are doing and copy the current thing that’s “cool”.
It’s this simple:
1. Decide the style of music you wanna do and
2. Stand behind it 100%, perkele!
17. Several musicians have gone on record to say that the full length album is dead. That with the digital age there is no need to produce a full length release. What are your thoughts, is the full length dead or still viable?
I love the concept of 30-50minutes inside one physical, analog item. Despite all the youtube videos, Spotify playlists and stuff, LP still is one helluva innovation. Singles and music videos are nice, but you cannot really and completely form opinion about a band until you hear their full length album. Even if it’s in digital format.
So, my honest opinion is, that full length album is alive and well! I will sell my LPs.
18. Okay time to talk and promote your band some more. What is the current news coming from your camp. Any new music, tours, festivals or anything going on?
Current news is, that we’re doing local shows, promoting our debut full length album, composing new material and trying to hijack a permanent 2nd guitar player! Where are all the good ones? Report yourselves, perkeles!
19. What are the immediate short range goals for your group?
1. Do more touring and make the band more known here in Finland.
2. Tour abroad within next few years
3. Make new neckbreaking music.
20. What about ultimately any long range goals?
The main thing is just to make better songs and being able to play music that you love. Getting bigger and better live shows and maybe not being economically in the edge all the time with the “recreation” called thrash metal - would of course be nice, but that really is secondary when you think about it. Music first!
Of course it wouldn’t hurt if some label/distributor would take us on their wings and help a little. After all, if you want to move forward and upgrade things, you can’t do it all by yourself. It would be strickly awesome to tour abroad!
21. Finally if you have any last words you wish to express to your fans and the metal community in general please do so here.
Huge thanks to all the people supporting us, buying our album and giving positive (or negative) feedback. Thrash Metal people are the best. It has been a huge surprise how many people still like this kind of music. Keep it going! ‘rash ‘til ‘eth!