With the release of their brand new EP Napalm just around the corner, the follow up to their critically acclaimed album Cycles, we thought it was a good idea to see what Rotten Sound is up to in the new year! We got the chance to ask singer Keijo a few questions before getting into the studio with side project Medeia and touring Europe with The Red Chord and Aborted!
Hi Keijo, first of all thank you for doing this interview with Metalrage.com! Can you tell us how you got into music?
‘I got into music by listening to punk, hardcore and metal during 80’s. My friends formed their 1st band Desecrator in 1987 and I tried to grunt in 1988. Desecrator turned into Vomiturition in 1990 and 4/5 of Vomiturition started a project called Rotten Sound in 1993.’
What have you been up to in 2009?
‘We did a tour in US, played bunch of festivals and started to write new songs. Toni also decided to leave in September, but we found a new bass player called Kristian (Krisse) Toivainen some weeks ago. We also finalized Napalm-EP and DVD-bonus during 2009.’
Rotten Sound has released Cycles in 2008 and toured all over the world lately, how have the reactions from this album been?
‘Reactions were really positive. Cycles was the 1st full-length we produced ourselves and it was very rewarding to read the raving reviews about the production. It’s still our strongest release (according to ourselves) and it’ll be again hard work to create something tighter and more aggressive, when we finalize and record the next full length later this year.’
You seem to do a lot of festival shows, especially last year. Do you prefer this over venue-shows?
‘We like both as much. They’re just so different from each other, that it’s impossible to say, which is nicer.‘
Last year you’ve toured the States including a stop at the Maryland Deathfest. How was this?
‘Very long drives, a big range of venues and very cool festivals. MDF and LA Murderfest were clearly the highlights of that tour, which really wasn’t a surprise, because we booked the tour to have something reasonable to do in between these two fests.’
Rotten Sound is about to release a brand new EP called ‘Napalm’ including 3 Napalm Death covers. Can you tell us something about the covers and the decision for these 3 tracks?
‘We recorded “The Kill” (Peel Sessions version), “Missing Link” (Mentally Murdered) and “Suffer the Children”. These songs just suited us best. We also wanted to make our own tribute to ND to show how much we appreciate their hard work for grindcore.’
Napalm Death has strong anti-racist and vegetarian views; does this connect to Rotten Sound’s views and lyrical content as well?
‘We follow the same values even when I don’t write exactly the same lyrics. My way is usually a bit darker and has more apocalyptic feeling than ND, but we still are concerned about the things, that are causing mankind to extinct eventually.’
Can you tell us something about the brand new Rotten Sound tracks on the EP. What can we expect sound and lyrical wise?
‘Soundwise they’re pretty close to Cycles. The balance has just a bit less guitars now to give more space for drums and vox. Lyrically I was also following the similar way to criticize our world, like on Cycles. Somehow we felt, that it didn’t make too much sense to change everything for this release even when we have a clear vision where to go with the next full-length.’
Have you played any of the new tracks and covers live yet? How have the reactions been so far?
‘No, we haven’t played them live yet, because we haven’t played any shows since September. But we’re starting to tour in April and I’m quite sure that our set will have at least one of the new songs.’
Did Napalm Death hear the tracks yet?
‘Probably not, but we’ll make sure that they’re getting their copies of the vinyl-version.’
After the release of the EP, Rotten Sound is ready for a tour with The Red Chord, Aborted and Those Who Lie Beneath. Do you have any experiences with the other bands on the tour?
‘We have toured with Aborted back in 2001 and also on 2008, when we opened for Carcass in US. TRC is a new band for me and they seem to have their own following just like RS and Aborted, which makes this set-up super-interesting.’
You’ll stop by at Neurotic Deathfest in Holland this tour as well including bands like Carcass, Napalm Death and Dying Fetus on the bill. You’ve played there last year as well, what are your experiences with this festival?
‘We expect nothing else than a superb night. Only bad thing is that we won’t see Carcass, because our tour is staying at the fest for just one day, but ND is there and that’s the latest possible time for us to hand-over the Napalm-EPs to them.’
When can we expect the next Rotten Sound full-length album? Have you been working on this already?
‘We have something like 20-25 songs and about 18 lyrics for them. Final arrangement-process is starting very soon and we expect to record during the summer of 2010. You’ll hear the release late 2010 or early 2010 and only thing that I can underline is that it’s going to be pure grind. As always.’
Early 2000’s you’ve all gotten one-letter nicknames. Your “new” drummer Sami doesn’t have one. Dropped the nicknames again?
‘We decided together to drop the one-letter nicknames just to start a new era. Sami wasn’t against having “S” or “Z”, but we just thought that two albums of the same thing was enough.’
What do the nicknames stand for anyway? Your nickname “G” doesn’t stand for your name…
I guess it’s “Grunt” I would have “K” for Keijo, but Kai took it one second before me.
You’re doing vocals in an other band, Medeia, as well. Can we expect any new material or touring plans from Medeia this year?
‘Medeia is recording a follow-up for “Cult” during the upcoming weeks and I hope that we can tour Europe again later this year. Medeia tours Finland in March-April (just before RS-tour) and we also hope to get some fests over here.‘
Do you have any other projects going this year?
‘I don’t have any other projects, but Sami is just starting an European tour with Deathbound. Deathbound just released a new album some weeks ago. Mika and Krisse have also a project called “D-beat Gangsters”, which needs no other explaining except for the fact, that the drummer of Afgrund is playing in it too.’
Any memorable stories to tell about Rotten Sound’s touring experiences last year?
‘Keijo was having a ball at MDF and decided to beg for some bucks with “I’m Finnish, I’m drunk, Give me a Dollar!”-sign. Unfortunately MDF-movie captured that and my sad super-drunk condition.’
Metalrage tradition, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone?
‘Arnold. No question about that!’
Thank you for doing this interview with us and we’ll see Rotten Sound on the road soon! If you have anything to add to this interview you may do here!