Finnugor is only one of many projects of Gabriel Wolf. What is the influence of the other member Godslayer N. Vassago? Does he contribute in writing music or lyrics?
I'm the main lyric writer in the band, but he also writes lyrics sometimes. He has written two lyrics for the first album and one song lyric for the second one. On this new album, all the lyrics are my work. Concerning the music, he composes the music for most of the metal songs (sometimes we compose them together, for example: Mortal Reality). And I compose the gothic/orchestral/neo classical songs in this band. Album and song intros, instrumental gothic songs etcetera, and sometimes background music for the metal songs.
Where do you find the time for all this? And can you earn a living of your music?
It's hard to find the time for everything what I would like to do. Especially nowadays when I'm working in an other job too (for a living). We have a shop with my brother (we are the owners, it's a video-DVD rental store), but I always find the time for music composing somehow. I use up all my free time, I never waste my time with meaningless resting or sleeping. Sometimes I only sleep two or three hours a day. This is how I find the time for everything what's important for me. Less resting, lack of sleeping sometimes results in miracles.
I am always very interested in the evolution of a song. How do you write your music? Where do your ideas come from?
I usually compose the songs in two different ways:
1 - Sometimes I write a song lyric when I'm in the mood (when I'm sad or angry or I'm fed up with all the shit of hard life). I write some lyrics and I keep it for the future. Later (sometimes one or two months later) I compose a melody for the song. And sometimes I also use lyrics for new melodies, what I wrote many years ago. A really good song lyric stays always good. It never "expires" or it's never out of date (in my opinion).
2 - In other cases I find out a melody in my mind and I'm composing almost the whole song in my mind. It takes one or two days usually. After I found it out, I sit down and I start to record it somehow. I'm composing the songs quite quickly, but the recording-mixing and so on and so forth takes a lot of time (months!). When I'm working on a song (the instrumental melody without lyrics) I'm just falling into the mood of the song, and the lyrics (for the song) "writes itself" quite quickly too.
So, I'm using two composing techniques. I write the lyric for first and later I find out a melody for it. Or I find out a melody for first and when I'm working on the song I find out the lyric what fits the music the best. Sometimes I'm not in the mood to compose music, and I'm just writing lyrics then. And sometimes, I don't want to write anything, and I'm only composing melodies for weeks or months. I use to do both of these things alone. My inspiration usually comes from my personal life. My life is full of problems and difficulties. I cannot do anything against them, they are useful for only one thing: inspiration for composing (lyrics or melodies). In my opinion, if somebody is absolutely satisfied with his life, in that case he wouldn't be able to compose anything what is really dark or "sick", or scary. That result would be only a mask (or a ridiculous clone) of "frightful music". If somebody wants to compose something really dark or something what is full of real, deep feelings, then he needs a hard life, for sure. If everything would be easy in life, I think there wouldn't be dark music (or extreme art) at all!
My mind is so complex and complicated, sometimes I don't even understand why I am doing something, or what I have done. I think it's very hard to understand somebody else, because usually we don't even know ourselves! Sometimes I really don't know what I am doing and why (I'm talking about music composing and lyric writing now). These things, what are coming out from my mind are feelings, visions, thoughts from the deepest part of my mind what I also don't even know or understand! It is always hard for me to speak about myself or about my music. But let my music speak instead of me! The way I'm composing is some kind of meditation. I empty my mind, and I open it to other dimensions. I leave this world behind for some hours when I'm working on my songs. That's why many of my songs are about other dimensions, eerie travelling, deep space, stars and cosmic darkness. For many other artists, music composing is a big fun and a big party, nothing else, just having a good time. Maybe music composing can also work that way, but not for ME! For me, composing is some kind of dreaming awake. Dreaming without sleeping. Travelling without moving. Sometimes when I feel myself very lonely, I sit down and the travelling begins to other dimensions. The dreaming begins and the music composes itself. I just play it and record it. It is born somewhere else. I don't know exactly where.
It is always hard for me to speak about my music, but my music speaks about me very easily. You only have to sit down and listen to it if you'd like to understand my personality better. That's much easier than trying to explain “how the magic is born", because for me: music is magic!
”this magic can heal and ease the pain
this magic can kill and incite to hate
even if only darkness remained for us
we rule it! we are one! 'cause Darkness Needs Us!!”
When I heard the music on 'Darkness Needs Us', the first thought that crossed my mind was: “This is a soundtrack for a fantasy PC-game! Did you possibly wrote your music with this intention? Do you like soundtracks?
I like soundtracks, but also horror movies (sometimes horror games) very much. If a movie director invited me to compose a soundtrack for his horror movie, I think I would accept the request for the job with pleasure. By the way, a German computer game company (they make computer games for PC – Playstation - Xbox) already asked me for something like this. They asked me to compose music (a soundtrack) for a dark fantasy game. But the deal didn't turn out too good. They wanted too much and too long music (about five up untill ten hours of music!!!) for almost zero money as payment, so I cancelled the agreement (it wasn't an official contract yet).
Concerning this new album: I didn't wrote it with this intention. It's a kind of conception album. It's mostly about a hard period of my life (when I was writing the lyrics). The lyrics are mostly about myself. Sometimes about my dark past, about hopeless future, troubled-happy-confused present, fever-visions, desires, wishes, fears and dreams. One of them is about my ex-girlfriend (that song is called “Wings of Kryy”).There's only one fantastic (fiction) tale on the album. 'Hand of Light' was based on a fantasy book (with the same title), written by Susan Salina. (She's a good friend of John Caldwell and I liked that book very much.) The intro track is an exception to. That's not only about me. That's about the whole world where we live in, about the present, people of nowadays, art and music scene of nowadays, and also it's about this whole music style what we're playing (black metal). And it's also about the entire production and idea of this album and about the great people who are featuring on it.
The diversity of songs on 'Darkness Needs Us' is amazing, and partly due to the use of all those guest vocalists. Did you write the songs with the particular vocalists in mind?
No, I wrote all the lyrics independently, but when I finished a song lyric or the music for a song, I always tried to give the best song for the best singer, who fits the song the very best, with his style and voice.
Finnugor can be labelled as black metal. What is it in black metal that makes it so interesting to play it yourself?
It's hard to explain what black metal means to me exactly. It's more than music, it's more than a style. It's a lifestyle. Our sources of inspiration, fever-dreams of prophecies, philosophical and artistic ideologies give birth to something what was spiritually hiding deep inside our minds. It always existed inside us, but only intelligence and talent are able to raise it up to the surface. It's the outcrop of the unconscious, the border-line between grotesque, evil, logical absurdity and hidden, amazing beauty behind the veil of nightmares. It's some kind of transcendental communication between our listeners and us.
Was the first album you ever bought a black metal record, or did you start of your musical life with other music? When and why did you start listening/playing black metal?
I think, the first CD what I bought was a Front Line Assembly album. I like industrial music very much (that's my second favourite style). In those times I was mostly listening to industrial music, I met black metal style only later. I don't remember exactly, but I started listening to black metal some time in the 90's, and I started to play it in 2000, when we founded Finnugor with Tomi Kalliola. Concerning the reasons, I couldn't avoid my destiny. Black metal is my fate, my destiny, it's my life. It will be my death too.
An artist is always under the influence of things around his person. How do you view the world we live in and what is your life's philosophy?
My aim is to survive. Day after day. I never know what will happen tomorrow. My plans never reach far in time. The title track of the album is a good description for the way how I feel and how I see the world we live in:
“…dying culture on this cursed planet
frozen, forgotten dreams of sadness
you're digging your grave of madness
falling asleep to the nothingness…
…only fear remained in this cave of worms…
…rotten flesh, sick-yellow eyeholes
impending doom is knocking on your door!
this is disease, fiery pain, buried end
grub-eaten universe, days of the dead!”
How do you deal with other people in your everyday life?
Quite well, with the ones who ever dare to address me in conversation that is.
Reading another interview I found out that you like horror. What are your favourite horror-writers, -books and -movies?
Writers: H.P. Lovecraft, Clive Barker… mostly their books are my favourites.
Movies: John Carpenter's movies are my favourites: Prince of Darkness, In the Mouth of Madness, Halloween 1, The Thing, Christine…
My other all-time favourite is Evil Dead 1-2, from Sam Raimi. But I like all kind of zombie movies very much too.
I would like to ask you a personal question. What are you afraid of and why?
I'm not afraid of death. I'm afraid of life. That's much harder. It is much easier to die, than to stay alive! That's the true challenge. To survive everything: all the thrash and scum of nowadays.
What does the future of Gabriel Wolf looks like? Will you be creating new projects? What can we expect from the current projects?
Concerning the future, I've already started to work on two new albums. One of them is the next Ywolf album, but I think it'll be ready only in the next year. And the other one would be a new project (a new electro-industrial band) but I don't know if I'll ever finish this album or not. I met with some difficulties at the beginning and nowadays I'm thinking on that, maybe it would be meaningless to continue the work. But I haven't decided yet.
Concerning Finnugor, we aren't planning anything yet. By the way, we don't use to plan anything in most cases. Things just happen. When the time of the next Finnugor album will come, we'll start to work on it immediately. We're still waiting for the arrival of this time. When it arrives, both of us will be ready for the next challenge and we'll definitely know again what to do.
Thank you for your time and energy. I will leave the last words to you.
Just a message to somebody who gave back my faith in happiness and who gave meaning to my life again, a girl who was once mentioned by an old soothsayer gipsy woman, on Margaret Island, where I was sitting under a very old tree, in the near past. The old soothsayer woman appeared from the nothingness and told me, this girl will be the love of my life. Than the old woman disappeared as quickly and mystical as she came. And it seems like she were definitely right!: I love you Linda! With all my heart!