For me Silent Scream has become probably one of the most important old school post punk band of the new decade. They caught my attention with their debut album “Cinema”, where the band made a very gloomy and atmospheric post punk album, with some dark goth elements. A few months ago the band released their second album called “Public Execution” and the band transforms into classic, dusty, pure post punk, like back in the early 80’s. Here are some words from the charismatic frontman of the band, Antti Lautala.
Moi Antti, mitä kuuluu? This year has been a very intense year in music, in my opinion. You have a new record, your second full length, and you will start to promote the album live. Can you tell us something about the composition of the new record, the distribution and promotion? In a few days you will share stage with the legendary UK Decay, and at the same time you will present the new tracks of the album. Can you tell us something about it?
Antti: Yes, I’m glad that “Public Execution” is finally released. It’s been a long prosess to make it. Some of the songs are four years old, but most of them are written a year ago. It’s recorded live, only singing, synths and tapes are recorded later. The recording itself was very fast, it took only one afternoon, but mixing took a quite long as we did a lot of so called “producing” at the mixing stage. Record is made to sound cold and raw for example there’s massive echo and distortion on drums. It’s supposed to sound dirty and edgy. We wanted to express raw emotion. It’s released via Stupido Records in Finland. Danse Macabre distributes it in GAS countries. We’re still missing world wide distribution, but you can order our records via internet here
Public Execution has a very shocking cover, very different from your previous debut album cover. Theres a big difference between the covers, and I can say musically they are very different, too. Why this huge difference between the albums?
Antti: Today, it’s hard to be shocking. People are seen it all and you can see terrible things via internet very easily.The cover picture is a real picture from the Second world war. It’s a picture of an execution of a Finnish soldier. He has escaped from the front line and men of his own country will shoot him. The picture is shot just few seconds before his death. In the background you can see terrified faces of his fellow soldiers. I think the picture itself is very thought provoking. Of course the first impact is shock, but after the shock you start questioning. That’s the positive impact. It actually makes you think the madness of it all. Why this is happening and who’s the real enemy? if you fight for your country you’ll get killed and if you don’t fight, your own men will kill you.
“Public Execution” and “In the cinema” are different kind of records. “In the cinema” was cinematic and atmospheric record. “Public Execution” is aggressive and brutal post punk album in a same way as Killing Joke‘s “What’s this for?” or early Amebix singles/EP:s. I think the biggest difference between these two albums is simply progress. Everything that has happened to us during times of making these records has effected to us. We used to have a goth band called Varjo and we made ethereal and tribal gothic rock for 13 years. The band split when our guitarist died. There’s still echos of Varjo in the first Silent Scream album, but the second one is pure Silent Scream. We’ve got more distance to our past achivements now. In lyrics there’s more political issues now.
Another fact that surprised me in this new record is your organic production. Public Execution sounds more old school. Did you do this on purpose, or was it a lack of budget? It seems Silent Scream is building its name outside Finland. A lot of people from Germany, the UK, and Spain talk about you. How do you feel about the reaction outside Finland?
Antti: Yes, that’s right, we’re happy to get reaction outside Finland! The sound of the album wasn’t actually because of the budget. Both Silent Scream albums are recorded in our rehearsal room and mixed at the friend’s bedroom. As you can imagine budget wasn’t big on either of albums. Nowadays it’s actually hard to make music to sound dirty, throbbing and edgy. It’s a lot easier to record clean a polished music. Our taste is different. We want to express raw emotion. That’s why we need raw, throbbing sounds to make the maximum out of our songs. We’re more than happy to get eunthaustic reviews outside Finland! Noisy and distorted production is done by purpose. We like it that way. The one thing why mixing took quite long time was that we created these distorted sounds at the mixing stage and it was hard to put them in balance and make them sound powerful and not too messy.
Thanks to bands like Silent Scream, people are getting more interested in Finnish goth/post punk scene. Can you tell us something about the scene here in Finland? It is very hard to have a goth/post punk band in a metal country.
Antti: There are several active goth/postpunk bands at the moment: Murnau’s Playhouse, Wreckdance, Angelica Kult, Loistava Polku, Kuudes Silmä, Silene, Two Witches ect. Even some of the legendary ´80:s bands have reformed recently for example Nolla Nolla Nolla, Liikkuvat Lapset and Psyyke.
Now, Jukka and you are members of Neu Zaum, together with the famous Pete Europa. How did this project begin?
Antti: I’ve known Pete Europe via books and records for about 20 years. He’s quite popular guy in Finland. He was a singer in a band called The Pin Ups during early ´80:s. They were kind of the next big thing from Finland since Hanoi Rocks. Eventually they got only cult success. The band split at mid 80:s. After that Pete’s been directing movies and tv documentaries. Our paths finally crossed two years ago and the chemistry matched immediately. Pete told me he’s been writing songs all these years and his head was going to explode! So we formed a band. The line up was found easily. Jukka came to play drums and my good friend Juha to bass and his brother Risto to synths. (Both members of The Flatfield)
Lets go back to the past of the band. You were in a, lets say, popular band called Varjo. That was your previous band before Silent Scream. Can we say that Silent Scream in the continuum of Varjo?
Antti: Yes, it is. We were forced to split Varjo, because Henry Waldén died. We were going to play as a Varjo for a long time, but then unexpected happened. We had to think it all over again. So, we thoungt that we will form a new band, sing in english. The situation also gave us free hands to do something a bit different compared to Varjo. Henry and I were the guys behind Varjo all the time. Other members came and went. 13 years is a long time.
For all those people who don’t know about Varjo, can you introduce it briefly?
Antti: Varjo was formed 1995 by myself as a singer/guitarist and Henry Waldén as a guitarist. We bought a drum machine. Kaide Luukkonen joined for a steady bass player for next ten years. We made couple of EP:s at the late ´90:s. The first drummer joined before the first album and drum machine was abandoned. We released 5 albums inbetween 2000 – 2010. The Silent Scream line up was the very last Varjo line up and we made the last album “Viimeinen näytös” (The Last Act). Varjo became the most successful goth band of it’s time in Finland. We were many times in TV and played concerts around Finland. We reached kind of a cult status, but never really breaked to mainstream.
I know you are a very big fan of vinyls – I already saw your collection of vinyls. 2000 vinyls is not a joke, its really megalomaniac dedication and passion. Tell me what are your 10 most precious vinyls?
Antti: Yes, I love vinyl. I’ve been collecting records for 20+ years. I don’t think the amount of records is very special, I think collection of records is what counts. It’s quite easy to buy a lot of records, but the get a good collection of cool records is something look for. 10 precious records is hard to say , but I’ll try. There’s always something special to these records that are more important to yourself than others. Sometimes it can be the thing that you have looked for it it for years and years and when you finally find it, it feels like you have won in lottery.
Misfits “Horror Business” 7″ EP (1979) second press on Plan 9 with yellow vinyl and insert. 2000 pressed. Autographed by Glenn Danzig. First press on black vinyl only 25 copies made. Impossible to get. So, this second press suits fine for me.
Samhain “Unholy Passion” 12″ EP second press on Plan 9 in 1986. 200 copies pressed with tan cover and white vinyl. I looked for this record for years. I’ve collected all the different colored vinyls of the first and second pressing. White vinyl is the hardest to get. I love tense, tribal explosion of this record!
Alien Sex Fiend “Who’s Been Sleeping In My Brain LP (1983). Anagram Records acetate copy. Probably only one copy exists? Acetate LP is a a back up copy for a master tape which is done in the pressing plant before the actual album pressing has began.
Alien Sex Fiend ” Liquid Head In Tokyo” Framed platinum disc LP (1985). Given to the band by their record label for massive sales in Germany. Only few copies exists.
Nightmares In Wax “Birth Of A Nation” 7″ EP on Inevitable Music, 1980. I used to look for this record for a very long time. I don’t know the amount of pressing, but this one was pretty hard to get. Excellent record by Pete Burns and his mates before they changed their name to Dead Or Alive.
Slowdive “Holding Our Breath” 12″ EP on Creation Records (1991). This is one of my all time favourite records. It also includes absolutely mesmerizing cover version on Syd Barrett’s “Golden Hair.”
Brian Eno/Harold Budd with Daniel Lanois “The Pearl” LP (1984) on Editions EG. One of my all time favourite ambient records. Very easy to get. The album to take with you to the desert island.
Amebix “Winter” 7″ (1983) on Spiderleg Records. Intense, powerful and painful record. This one always surprises me when I put it on my turntable. It’s one of the best singles ever made and sleeves is iconic.
Southern Death Cult “Fatman” 7″ (1982) on Situation 2. This band and this single is a very big influence to me. It captures all the best elements of gothic rock and anarcho punk. Sleeves are also awesome.
Virgin Prunes “Heresie” 2×10″ box set with inserts on L’Invitation Au Suicide (1982). This on can be called a piece of art. Incredible audiovisual experience!
Lets continue with Silent Scream, what are your future plans for this year? Are you composing tracks for your third album already?
Antti: We have come up with some ideas for the next album, but haven’t really get down to business yet. We had a 4 months break, because of family things. The gig with UK DECAY is the first gig for half a year! There’s coming more gigs around Finland for the spring and gig in Berlin at Dark Spring Festival on march. We’ll probably play in St Petersburg, Russia this spring too.
Can you tell us what are your favorite albums of the new millennium?
Antti: This is hard for me, because don’t listen much of new music. I like two recent Killing Joke albums with the original line up. Those albums are best Killing Joke since 1986, that’s something! The new Amebix LP was good, but too metal for my taste. I’m looking forward to new UK DECAY and DANSE SOCIETY albums. All of these bands are old bands from the 80:s. About the new bands I think Monster Movie from UK is very good, though they’re not very new anymore. It’s former Slowdive guitarist Christian Savill’s band. Their debut album “Last Night Something Happened” (2002, Clairecords) is excellent. It’s not gothic or postpunk, it’s very good indie stuff.
Do you have any favorite artist or band in this new millennium?
Antti: Not really. All my favourites are old school. One band of the new millenium to pick up is Monster Movie.
What do you think about the revival of old school and the new millennium wave?
Antti: I think it’s good. It’s been surprising to see a lot of old bands have reformed. For example Danse Society, UK Decay and March Violets. Deathrock trend rising among the Drop Dead Festival is also a breath of fresh air. I think we’ve got to go back to basics soon. Gothic Rock has got itself a different meaning in media and in many cases it’s associated with metal nowadays which is misleading in my opinion. The original spirit has watered down very badly. That’s why old school revival is a really good thing and new bands playing old school style is more than welcome.