Interview with metal band Psychework
Psychework are a Finnish metal band that has formed in 2016 in Jyväskylä. In the same year the band released its' debut album "The Dragon’s Year". Their new album "Karelian Hills" was released in April 2018. We managed to talk with Antony Parviainen about the process of creating songs, the pain left by WWII and band's future goals.
NRR: Hi guys! Thank you very much for agreeing to talk with Northern Rock Religion. We congratulate you on the release of the second full-length album!
Antony: Hi and thank you! Finally the album Karelian Hills is released. Feels very relieved. It’s been quite a journey, again.
NRR: The release of Karelian Hills took place quite recently, but in Russia they have already been treated with sufficient attention. How would you describe the atmosphere that preceded its’ emergence?
Antony: The writing process started at the time when we finished The Dragon’s Year album sessions, early 2016. We had lot of musical ideas already and I started to search for stories and write down some thoughts and lines. We had this great hunger to create new music. It was easy to start to build this second album, but it took a lot of energy and time. Again. Most of the songs are quite complex so arranging process was quite complex too but it was all worth it. I’m very proud of the result.
NRR: The album consists of parts but nevertheless this fact does not prevent it from being a full-fledged history. The album is massive, epic and full of militancy like The Dragon’ Year. How did you come to such a theme?
Antony: Karelian Hills is not a theme album but there is a common theme and it’s war. Personal stories from the middle of battlefields and also stories about personal wars. I dug deep into war literature and especially personal war stories, and I found really heartbreaking stories. Most of the stories on Karelian Hills are from WWII. But I have to say, even though I like to write these kind of stories, I’m an anti-war guy. But somehow this subject fascinates me, in all its horror and madness and how cruel humans can be to each other.
NRR: The lyrics hint at the reality of these stories. Which amount of literature have you read to preserve the authenticity?
Antony: I’ve read quite many books to find these stories. Stories from Auschwitz to woods of Karelia. I know some of the stories are quite sensitive, especially in certain countries, but I think if you can make a movie about it, you can sing about it. And again, I have to remind that I’m an anti-war guy. Finnish Karelia is really personal subject for me because my roots are there. But I like to write about true stories.
NRR: Earlier you said that The Dragon’s Year is a period description of personal struggle. In the album «Karelian Hills» more attention is paid to the struggle of the people and stories, which are full of tragedy and pain. Do you plan to continue your work on this theme?
Antony:: I don’t know. I think there will be a common theme but what kind of a theme it will be, it’s too early to say. But for sure, it won’t be sunshine and rainbows.
NRR: I must admit that when I first looked at the cover of the upcoming album, I was visited by the thought that I see Yggdrasil. Have you really tried to make a reference to Scandinavian mythology?
Antony: Interesting. I’ve never heard an interpretation like that but if you see it that way, it’s okay. But the tree represents Karelian Pine. There’s no mythology behind it. The cover is also a tribute for village of Muolaa, my grandmother’s home village. I’m so happy about the cover. It’s perfect and it represents the music perfectly.
NRR: What kind of story inspired you to write Siege?
Antony: The story came to me from the book called “Piirityspäiväkirja”. It could be translated as “Siege diary”. It’s a diary of a young girl at the time of the siege of Leningrad. A really heartbreaking story of her life in the middle of the siege, and it lasted almost 900 days. This story hit me hard and deep.
NRR: Which heavy metal bands have directly influenced your creation?
Antony: When we write music, we never think of any other bands. We just write music. Of course, we all have our musical roots somewhere. I’m open for all kinds of music, good, melodic and soulful music. If I was to make a list it would be quite long, but if I try to keep it short I would say; all good heavy metal bands.
NRR: What goals do you set for yourself in the near future? Do you plan a large-scale tour?
Antony: Of course we have all kinds of plans for the future and it would be great to have bigger tours and play gigs abroad but, the fact is that we are just dreaming about those. Hopefully in the near future!
NRR: Do you plan to make video for songs from the album Karelian Hills?
Antony: We’ve had some ideas, but we’ve made just lyric videos. And I think the lyric video from Siege was more powerful to show with drawings. I would love to make a music video with real actors, a professional director and proper scenes, but I think it’s just too expensive.
NRR: What do you think about crowdfunding? Nowadays many artists use it and get the result.
Antony: My first thought about crowdfunding was like begging for money on the street, but I have to admit that I have changed my mind. I heard crowdfunding is a normal thing in game business so why not in music business? Fans donate money for a band so the band could create art for the fans. Sounds fair.
NRR: Thank you very much for the conversation! We wish you good luck with the promotion of the album! Will you say a few words to your fans in Russia?
Antony: Thank You. I hope our music will reach up to and speak to as many Russian metal heads as possible!
Interviewed: Tuuli Talvinen
3rd May, 2018
special thanks to Tenho