First off, just want to thank you for participating in this edition of Infidel Interviews. Could you start off by giving a little information about you to the audience? Whatever you feel comfortable with, but name, age, and where you live would be pretty standard?
Hi, I am ALEISTER SATAN, founder and mastermind of KING SATAN and we play sort of combination of industrial metal, hard rock and aggrotech. Yours truly was born and raised in the city of Kuopio, in Eastern Finland, yet I have resided in Municipal area of the city of Tampere, Finland on/off for years now where I also founded KING SATAN in 2015. When I started the band, I was only official member first, and I played every instrument (guitars, drums, bass, synths) by myself in the beginning with some altering line-up I tried to gather around be, and did the programming together with vocals as well. Nowadays I am concentrating more to the vocals as I have gathered amazing group of musicians for the band. I am still the main songwriter, but it’s so good to have full line-up these days to help me to execute the vision.
How do you enjoy where you live? Is there a vibrant music community where you are? Would you say you find that your local scene influences your attitude and/or creativity?
I like it very much. I don’t live near in the city central, so I got enough distance to hectic side of the Tampere area as I have quite strong misanthropic tendencies that I sometimes confuse with sympathy and empathy and vice versa, but it all is within 10 kilometer radius from my home so you gotta love it as Tampere has so vivid music culture, whether it was mainstream, alternative or underground, gigs almost daily and all. Place to be indeed, be a fan or an artist. As a person and artist, I have never fitted in to any spirit or pattern alike of ”scene” or ”local atmosphere” per se, because I have done my own thing always despite of any external validation, so in the end I don’t really define myself by the place I live in. ”I” live in me, yet Tampere has been very kind for me and for my endeavors during the last years, so I have grown to view this kind of my hometown now too.
Interview continues after this video, and all further ones!
When you first started making music, was there a particular sound or artistic/musical influence that you would say was your biggest inspiration to start pursuing the creative path yourself?
Inspiration and influences are not always so apparent for me as I have found that most of them are not conscious for you. The most strong influences goes into your subconscious and stays there, and they work through your conscious mind like trying to be recognized. But, my penny for the cause, ever since as a kid when I heard THE OFFSPRING’s ”Smash” I wanted to do my own music. At first I started doing my own stuff when I was like 9 or 10 years old, as my parents got me some computer softwares and I did some electro and beats, and this was because of THE PRODIGY fandom mainly if I remember right. However I was a kid then so the quality was very childlike, but it planted the seed for the future endeavors. I found my true musical and artistic calling as a teenager, when I found black and death metal genres first and then little later darker versions of electro, like aggrotech and industrial. I always liked everything taken to extreme, both artistically and lyrically (so. theme-wise) as well as being fascinated about occult, mysticism, theology, philosophy and psychology (especially the most extreme forms of them), it all felt fitting together. Searching of the self and the truth combined with creativity and artistic expression would meet in a perfect match in this path I am still walking on. I mentioned THE PRODIGY already, which should not be left unmentioned, but also bands like CRADLE OF FILTH, MAYHEM, BARATHRUM, DEICIDE, SLAYER, BEHEMOTH, SLIPKNOT, SYSTEM OF A DOWN, CMX, DISSECTION, SUICIDE COMMANDO, G.G. ALLIN, HOCICO, SKINNY PUPPY, DARKTHRONE, THE DOORS, MARILYN MANSON plays a pivotal role in the push to make me go up and down this path. And this only music wise, because I have really gotten my influences for writing elsewhere mostly. ALEISTER CROWLEY, C.G. JUNG and ALEJANDRO JODOROWSKY has been probably the biggest influences for my thinking and therefore to the writings, yet I could not leave WILLIAM BLAKE, JIM MORRISON, A.W. YRJÄNÄ, MIHAIL BULGAKOV and SHAKESPEARE unmentioned either, as their artistic form appealed to me when I was younger A LOT. I hate name dropping in the end, cos you always forget to mention somebody or something that would’ve been obvious.
If you could say there are underlying themes or messages that permeate throughout your discography, what would you say are the most important concepts and ideas you've tried to express throughout your artistic career, political, spiritual, or personal?
It might come as a surprise, but the Devil’s archetype (which we know by name ”Satan” in Western culture, thanks to Christianity, it means by the way Adversity etymologically derived from it’s hebrew origin), in all it’s different manifestations thorough history of culture and ideologies has been kind of obsession for me whole of my life. Naturally my themes I use are much wider than that from all kinds of contemplative mysticism, practical occultism and philosophy all the way to black comedy and satire for psychology and society as well as sex, drugs and rock’n’roll type of attitude, but they all are spawned from this one obsession I have had for ages. I hate politics, so my texts and themes are mainly of spiritual and personal nature from it’s core. My ultimate underlying theme together with this is the searching of the truth and the meaning in this life and existence, saturated with this spiritual anarchy kind of attitude and certain ”Satanicism” (term derived from the combination of Satanism and Mysticism I started using to describe my world view and therefore underlying themes in the lyrics as I found Satanism often kind of misleading due it’s many different schools).
When it comes to your musical self and your real world self, would you say that their is a separation? Do you find yourself getting into a character or mindset when you create, or do you find your music is a representation of your day to day self?
My ”musical self”, is kind of caricature of me, in many ways more real or at least more pure version of ”me” than ”myself”. Whole concept of ”I” is very interesting, and Music as an art form plays interesting role in its investigation. I think ”musical self” and ”stage persona” should be in a way if not caricature, then idealized version of yourself partially or wholly, so you can eventually become such. This is how I combine art and self-development (or self-destruction), of which latter one is closely related to ”occultism” and ”magick” (when of lacking of better terms) as well as psychodrama.
Would you say that your choice to pursue music has changed your life since you started? Would you say that creativity has evolved you spiritually, emotionally, or logically?
Yes. Just watched ”The Man From Earth” movie the other day, and there was a line saying ”It is kind of funny how often new concepts of science find their first tentative forms for expression in the arts”. It works subjectively too you know, the things you are about to understand, become or do, manifests themselves in abstract form or emotion before it happens and actualizes into your understanding. For me, the artistic process is tremendous method for evolving spiritually and personally (or destroying you, depends how close to the sun you fly). Music is spiritually very remarkable phenomena when you think about it. To understand transcendence*, heck even better, to experience and witness transcendence, what is the better method for that than experience of music? Some combination of vibration of (physical) particles that meets your brain, gives you feeling that is more than it’s counterparts, takes you places beyond ”physical world” and what you experience is not psychical, but transcendental, regardless of your ontological beliefs. And people often asks proofs for some non-material and non-physical dimensions, even it is right there, maybe it’s too close or something.
* Transcendence: ”existence or experience beyond the normal or physical level.”
What are your thoughts on genres in general? Do you find them creatively helpful as a template to work with? Or do you find them restricting? Or possibly somewhere in between? Now that the internet has caused so much crossover in music, would you even say genre labels are relevant any more?
I find them restricting, however I understand why it is important for some to label the stuff into categories, but as an artist I take something and transfer it into something else, creation through destruction. Why we are being called ”Industrial metal” is based by label’s market research and I used all my imagination for composing music, not to invent labels so we did go with that as it was close enough. When we do music, we do not determine it before it exists. Who knows what kind of stuff our future material will be!
Playing live shows, recording new tracks, attempting to go live the life that gives you the experiences that inspires it all... it can be difficult to balance the time. Do you have any particular methods that you use to keep yourself focused or balanced in your direction?
To perform live, record new tracks, compose, write and so on… They are as combined the method to balance myself. I would have killed myself or someone else many times if it wouldn’t been for that. I am kind of guy who don’t believe anything before experiencing it myself, so I am kind of experience / adrenaline junkie which is kind of volatile combination to being artistically and emotionally sensitive as well, so it is not a miracle that I ended up doing creative work. In a way, I think every artist is very fragmented if not from their Ego, then from their Self, and all aspects of creative work and art is in a way a method to try to fix or renew the broken or incomplete things. I meditate and follow carefully designed chaos magick ritual program though, since I cannot everyday record or create. I like sex also.
So much has been said, and it sometimes feel that every word combination has every been taken. As a lyricist myself I know the pain of how hardit can be to articulate something in a way that is both engaging to the audience and uniquely artist. How do you find inspiration for your lyrical poetry?
Well all kinds of existential pain and angst pushes you forward to think alternatives or solutions to end it. If I were completely full and ready personality and or if I saw the world as full, complete and ready, I wouldn’t be doing music and art I guess. Journey is a destination, right? My inspiration is the reality, everything in it and beyond. I draw from my experience, what I see, what I feel and I little bit rebel against David Hume’s ”No ought from is” thesis, as I also add there stuff that could and should be based on the things how they are, but if you don’t know how the things are, how you can know how they should be?
When you write music there is a lot of trial and error. Would you consider yourself a person who goes into production with a defined sound in mind, and you work at it until you achieve the closest to the results in your head? Or would you consider yourself more of a person who feels and grooves music, letting songs progressively evolve and define themselves throughout the creation?
I’m kind of paradox as a person, but I am working on it. I think carefully everything before hand and then act completely impulsively after that, it might change some things completely and some things partially, and some things not at all. I believe in spontaneity in the expression, and when you have done your ”homework” and background work carefully, you can even improvise a lot and have somewhat coherent and holistic stuff coming nevertheless. I did improvise couple of songs on our debut completely, and it would surprise you probably which ones. Or not.
Musical composition nowadays can be aided by so many different tools and devices. Do you favor a complex approach of using lots of different instruments, or are you in the keep it simple until you have to boat of refining certain elements to their maximum potential? Or would you say your philosophy lays in between?
I believe in the heat of the moment as much as the carefully planned concepts. I want to surprise myself too when I create, compose, record and mix. I want to combine the best of both sides from analog and digital world, and make the tools and devices bow to my mind, and not make my mind to bow them.
Do you spend a lot of time crafting your own sounds? Or do you value song crafting and effects tweaking more? Or do you find it's a balance between the two? What's your relationships with presets? When you make music are you primarily a hardware or software oriented musician? Or do you do a fusion of both? Are there any particular instruments, programs, or effects that you would say are vital to you making music?
I spend a lot time to crafting the sound and composing, with KING SATAN much more than my with my previous band’s at least. ”Satanized (Praise Hail Satan!)” single alone took almost year to make, even it is the simplest song by it’s composition. It was recorded improvised actually, but then to finalize it in mixing took so much of time and effort because post-production happens in digital and then the sky’s the limit. Even our sound is very strongly based on electro-industrial, almost all of the recordings were made analog, even when it came to the drum beats, as drum machine was used only in two songs, where I did too record analog drums to the top of it, to strengthen the sound. I did personally play the most of the synths with my Microkorg before KATE BOSS joined to band and did the rest, but we both played them, not programmed them. Other drum patterns were not made with drum machines, but by sampling drum sounds and it took helluva lot of time. ”King Fucking Satan” must be most analog electro album in 2010’s if you ask me! (It was recorded with analog recording desk even!) I wanted to honor 80’s Skinny Puppy and 90’s The Prodigy’s method. I use effects yes, but in the sense that I can use them and perform with them while performing live too. Most vital instrument for KING SATAN is me.
For fans who have not seen you yet, when it comes to your live show, how would you describe yourself thematically and visually? Are you an energy and audience driven band in the live atmosphere? Or would you consider yourself to be more thematic or presentation oriented?
I guess both. We have been lucky so far that we haven’t had *knocking the wood* any shows where audience were not rioting with us, but I guess we would be performing the same way whether there would not be anyone in the audience, or if it were a full house.
When it comes to performing, what are your favorite sort of venues to play in, and what are your favorite areas to tour? If you could tour with any other band in the world who would it be and why? What are some of your favorite memories of touring?
I like clubs more than open air festivals. Clubs are intimate, and the atmosphere is more holistic there and the electricity of it spreads much more effectively within club shows. Madness and energy there is infectious and in club there are no other distractions, like festivals do. We haven’t been in a tour yet, even we have played shows in our native country and aboard already, but they’ve been single gigs or festival gigs. Our first European tour should be taking place in early 2018, so I can get back with you about that then. But all gigs so far has been very memorable, especially our first foreign show at GOTHIC FEST SOFIA where we performed before the release of our debut album, and people were into our show with so much of energy and enthusiasm. Of course our recent show at NUMMIROCK METAL FESTIVALS is still warm in my memory, especially the part where almost the whole festival tent shouted ”FUCK THE REST SATAN IS BEST” there while celebrating with us the release of our debut album, which was originally an improvised line into ”Psygnosis” song and which eventually came sort of a catch phrase of our fans it seems, happy accidents! Bands that I’d like to tour with? THE PRODIGY! Not sure if it would be perfect match, but we have played already with many kind of bands from synthwave, EBM, electro-industrial to black and death metal and even just rock’n’roll, so why not!
Have you had any particular moment(s) that you would like to share, that you would consider to be a crowning achievement in your musical career so far, or moments that you would say truly continue to inspire you to pursue your artistic path? What are some of the biggest challenges you have had to overcome in your musical career?
Hard question to answer, ’cos debut album has been out just two months now and we are relatively new band and everything is happening so fast. It feels like that every thing that happens and the thing that follows that tops the earlier experience or ”achievement”. Have had not time to process all, just going with the ”love for the sport” attitude and see where the chips may fall. But to mention some, we have couple of fans taken KING SATAN tattoos already, and to receive death threats has been showing that what we do not only actually matters but presses the nerve of the time, and it gives certain amount of inspiration to just press the buttons even harder. I have been part of many things in my travels, but also first 10/10 review from an album was incredible to read.
What do you see in the near, and far, future for your creative output?
Well, like said, so much of happening, so living one day at the time. We just made plans for our first European tour for early 2018, which is not yet announced so I take headstart of saying this here in the interview as it will be announced in couple of weeks anyway. This together other shows and working already with new singles and new album, and concepts of new music videos as well keeps me busy and is kind of all that I see now.
Do you have any other musical projects that you are involved with, or do you have any other musicians or artists that you collaborate with in some capacity?
I am a vocalist and songwriter in black metal band called SATURNIAN MIST that I founded 2006 as a teenager already, made two full length albums and been very active in the underground scenes (which kind of prevented me to start KING SATAN earlier, as that band kept me so busy at the time). In our debut we had guests musicians and vocalists a lot, from bands BARATHRUM, HORNA/TURMION KÄTILÖT, KYY, SACRIFICIUM CARMEN, ABYSSION, LASERDRIFT, TERRORSHACK and SATURNIAN MIST and as I work as a record producer and sound engineer (I own a recording/mixing/mastering studio called BLACKVOX STUDIO, located in Tampere, Finland, which is kind of my day job, or at least one of them cos I am a kind of hustler when it comes to working in real jobs) I do have a deep network of awesome musicians in my close circles that hopefully others too will co-operate with me in future with KING SATAN as well, as I have worked for them a lot
Outside of music, what are some of your favorite past times and emotional engagements?
Well I write about my life, my experiences in my lyrics and the used themes are derived from my interests. And I eat, shit, fuck and die like a next person.
Thank you so much for participating in this episode of Infidel Interview. Any parting words for your fans, or my audience?
It’s been a pleasure! Hope to see you soon in a town near you! FUCK THE REST SATAN IS BEST!
Check out all the details on the band on their official website:
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Download their most recent album on Bandcamp: