Hails Loits! Welcome to Lords Of Metal. Could you give a short introduction of your band?
Flak'n'roll Carl here, and sorry for the delay. Fortunately the questions haven't expired and the answers to them are here. Enjoy the interview, same goes to everybody who end up on this page for some odd reason! :)
The beginning of Loits is marked by the song “The Return” recorded in the Tharaphita studio. Loits, the solo-project of Lembetu became a band called Loits in 1999 when it headed to studio to record it's first studio song “Tõelised Kuningad”, and towards the end of the same year it embarked on the “Baltic Thunder” tour. The year 2000 brought with it the first line-up changes. A.Kalm died in a car accident and comrade Gates filled in for him. The drummer Atso joined the band in the end of the year. In 2001, the first full-length album “Ei Kahetse Midagi” was recorded, by today it's been released under different labels in MC, CDR and digipak CD formats. This year the series of re-releases continues. In 2003, “Legion Estland” 7” EP was released, after which the band embarked on an European “Goat Guts over Europe” tour with the groups Horna, Behexen and Salacious Gods. In the same year the next EP, “Raiugem Ruunideks” was recorded as well, it will be finally released this year. 2004 again begun with a studio-session. This time the last vinyl of the 7” EP trilogy, “Meeste Muusika” was recorded. It was released in the end of 2004 along with the full-album of Loits “Vere Kutse Kohustab”. This year begun for Loits with a mini-tour through Finland, Estonia and Latvia.
Your new CD 'Vere Kutse Kohustab' has been released a while ago. Are you satisfied with the result? How have been the reactions so far?
The “Vere Kutse Kohustab” CD has been successful above all in our own homeland Estonia. The local radio stations play Loits. Our video was on television and most of the bigger daily and weekly newspapers have made an interview with us. In a one million populated Estonia we've sold over a 1000 “Vere Kutse Kohustab” albums. Things are on the move outside Estonia as well. There are a lot of positive reviews and the interviews are blocking my mailbox. We keep getting gig offers from outside Estonia and a new European tour is being planned.
You have done quite a lot of live performances in your home country, when will you be performing outside Estonia?
Loits has given a total of 58 concerts. 31 of which in Estonia and 27 abroad. So we've played almost half of our concerts outside Estonia. Most of them were played during the three tours and now that a new tour is on the horizon, we can soon say that we play more abroad than at home. At the moment I think we've played too much in Estonia as it is. After all, Estonia is a very small country and that sets limits to live performances. We'll see what the future holds.
I really like the term "flak 'n' roll", although it may not cover all of your musical capabilities. How did you come about this?
We own the birth of this slogan to our friend Mart Kalvet from the band Herald, who figured that instead of 'black' we could use 'flak' (anti-air gun), a word with a similar pronouncement. It fits our ideology and message much better. And because our new songs are strongly influenced by rock'n'roll music and attitude it is quite logical that soon 'flak metal' became 'flak'n'roll”. So the new Loits style name 'militant flak'n'roll' was born!
Your music shows a lot of subtle musical influences. Could you name some of the bands that influence your music?
We listen to a lot of different music and each band member has it's own favourites. Thus everybody contributes something new and interesting to the band. When on our first album the influences were a bit more clearly recognizable (Satyricon, Ulver, In The Woods…) then “Vere Kutse Kohustab” is a mixture of much more different styles. Maybe the biggest influences this time have been Khold, Burzum, Satyricon, Motörhead, Darkthrone. At the same time you can also sense our sympathy for synth pop, stoner rock, neo-folk and maybe even punk. We're not afraid to experiment but at the same time we don't stray too far from our chosen path.
A good band is not afraid to let its origin being reflected in the music. This is usually the unnameable 'sound'. What I am trying to say is that there is a part of your music where your nationality comes forward. That is what makes it so interesting to hear metal bands from different countries. Do you agree with this?
I agree with you totally. I'm a big fan of older Norwegian, Czechs, Greek and Italian black metal bands exactly because there's something more to them than just good music or interesting message. Something by which you can instantly recognize the band's origin. It used to be like that with the old death and thrash metal scenes. Loits doesn't intentionally include the cultural heritage in it's creation as do the Latvian Skyforger and our own Metsatöll but we still sing in our native language. The latter is not really a big exception among black metal bands but still it makes Loits somewhat special among others of its kind.
Let us not beat about the bush: you are a very provocative band. The pictures of the band members wearing Nazi uniforms are bound to cause a riot. Why do you do this? Don't you think your music will be overlooked by this uproar? Does your music need this kind of media attention?
Always remember, never judge a man by his uniform. Due to the circumstances of that time the Estonian men wore a foreign uniform during World War II and chose the lesser of two evils to protect the freedom of their own homeland. A uniform does not automatically make them Nazis! To honour the battered memory of those brave men, it felt right to dress in their uniforms and we don't regret the decision. The whole “Vere Kutse Kohustab” photo-session was a very uplifting experience for us. We speak of things that need to be discussed and setbacks don't frighten us. We've chosen our path and we'll walk it until the (hopefully victorious) end. What I'm trying to say is that Loits is entirely sincere about it's doings. We make the kind of music we like to make most and we sing of things on our hearts. We don't deliberately seek media attention with our message. It's simply a part of Loits and the history of our people.
I felt personally addressed by your short text on the bio that came along with your latest CD. Can I conclude that the above mentioned media attention is already bothering you?
It's not our intention to offend anyone, we're simply trying to make people think and understand what really happened during World War II. It wasn't as black and white as the victors have tried to show it for 60 years. When someone feels offended when we label him/her as an idiot for calling our grandfathers Nazis then let them know that we feel equally offended when they call our brave men criminals without giving it much thought. The only difference is that we live together with our grandfathers and we know who they are, what they're thinking and what they fought for. It's still a tangible generation for us but not for long. And the greater is the sadness when we see them pass away each day without having received just recognition for their noble deeds. You're right in the sense that we've received a lot of setbacks because of our attitude and our message. Sometimes even we feel that we've taken on more than we can handle but at all the stupidity surrounding us it's good to know that at times we've received really good acceptance and understanding.
Okay, enough about this. I think it's still the music that counts. How do you go about writing your songs? Where do you find your topics?
Loits is like a common solo project for it's members. Three of us are constantly engaged in writing music and we come to rehearsals with practically completed songs that then get a small makeover from the band. Lately the proportion of cooperation within the band has been increasing and the rehearsals get more interesting each day. The message of Loits is all around us. The topic we sing about is also actual in the regular media here but the main inspiration comes from the veterans themselves. We read their books and visit them. The lyrics of quite a few songs are written by those courageous men. But the national-romantic texts and the texts about national identity are in our blood. We are a small nation and in order to survive every Estonian must have a drop of nationalism in his/her blood. Already by today half of our one million populated country are foreigners.
People always tend to idealize the underground scene. Do you agree with this? Do you consider yourself an underground band?
A very good question. If by 'underground' you mean bands that record a demo with a very shitty quality (by sound and music), call it an album and limit the release to only a few hundred copies then Loits is definitely not an underground band. I don't see the tiniest point in producing such crap. I don't know how the bands in that scene have the arrogance to curse those who have progressed while at the same time often copying their message and music. Is the ability to do something good and be successful bad and destructive to the scene? I think it's more the sour truth that people don't want to admit. At the same time I do consider Loits and underground band because our name and music are not known enough. I'm old enough to remember the end of the golden times of the underground scene. The times when nobody deliberately tried to be 'underground'. Times when they did what they could in the best possible way. I still like the simple copy-paste style magazines and to tape trade music. To find and buy albums for the quality and originality of their music and message, not because they are famous or 'true underground'.
What does the future of Loits look like? What musical directions will you choose? In how far will you let other musical styles influence your music?
We'll just take it easy and let Loits develop on it's own. Time will tell in what direction we'll go. But surely we will not forget our roots, both musically and ideologically speaking.
We have come to the final part of this little interview. I have a couple of so-called or-statements. Please choose one of each. You do not have to explain your choice; you may of course if you really want to. It is just some silly thing I came up with and I would like to see if and how it works.
Coffee or tea – I enjoy both. Too much coffee makes me nervous and grumpy so recently I've avoided excessive consumption of it, but I can drink endless amounts of tea. Tea with a lot of lemon and sugar is especially good after a night of heavy drinking. :)
God or Satan – They're the same to me
Day or night – Day for everyday life. Night for adventures and partying. There are things in the night.
Left or right – All right! :)
Ham or cheese – both, double.
Man or woman – Man as a best friend. Woman as the part without which I'd be incomplete
Snakes or ladders – H#”&%?´`
Young or old – The rashness and will of the young and the calm and wisdom of the old result in great strength when combined.
Flora or fauna – To tell you the truth I'd rather share a cage with a piece of birch than with a viper with hydrophobia and in the woods I'd rather enjoy the nature than the company of hungry predators but otherwise I don't care.
Optimist or pessimist – I'm an optimistic pessimist :)
Cart or horse – I'm not much of a horse-fan, so I'd rather drive around in a kart.
Up or down – What goes up, most come down. And when you drink, know that what goes down might want to come back up.
Car or bike – Both. A car cannot replace the sense of freedom you get on a bike but sometimes you need to pack along more stuff than just a pack of condoms and a toothbrush :)
Walk or run – I prefer a nice walk to senselessly running around
Knife or fork – You don't cut a sausage with a fork. Thus a knife.
Spider or fly – Spiders were supposed to bring good fortune so I avoid killing them but a filthy fly I'll swat on the first chance I get.
Thank you for your time and energy. I will leave the final words to you.
Thank you Carl for a pleasant interview. For recent news visit our webpage www.loits.org!