Interview with guitarist Pedro Anthares
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: May 23, 2013
Live pictures by Luxi Lahtinen
Jumalation is an old school Thrash Metal band from Finland that has been running for over 16 years. The band was formed while guitarist Pedro Anthares was getting intoxicated by Destruction's song "Bestial Invasion" and soon the Pedro Anthares Group was born.
The band has come a long way since then including the name change to Jumalation. They were the first band signed to Patrick Ramseier's Old School Metal Records. Delays and setbacks prevented the band's debut album, very aptly titled The Church of Isaac, from ever being released by OSM Records and instead was brought to light by both Metal Warning (a limited edition of only 100 CDs) and Emanes Metal Records in 2011.
In 2013, Jumalation is alive and well, writing new songs and playing gigs as time permits. Guitarist Pedro Anthares fills us in on the latest band news...
Luxi: It's not news that you are quite an expert on the Brazilian underground Speed/Thrash/HC-Punk scene. What are some of the hottest new bands?
Pedro: I don't think I'm an expert. I haven't checked much new stuff lately. Oldies mostly, I guess. Good old Armagedom is getting their new album out any time now. Their line-up has changed so there are some interesting new spices to check out. I'm also looking for the Em Ruinas LP.
Luxi: How's it going otherwise in your life? Still cranking up as much Metal as you used to when you still were in your twenties?
Pedro: Hell yeah! Maybe I don't listen so much at home nowadays but I'm always cranking up MP3s when out of the house. Thanks to the Internet I have been checking out shitloads of old obscure eighties demos, rehearsals and live stuff that was impossible to get hold of back in the day.
Luxi: Let's talk about Jumalation for a couple of questions. It's been a while since Jumalation captured anything on tape, disc or whatever. Are there any new songs in the works that you might be able to tell the readers of The Metal Crypt about? Would you say that new stuff will follow the same successful recipe that you used on your debut album?
Pedro: Well, there has been a hiatus since we recorded the album. We didn't have rehearsal place, either. But last year things started shaping up a bit. We got our own rehearsal place and have been working on couple of songs and riffs. Titles like "Mystical Transactions" and "Storms of Babylon" are being considered. We think they will be pretty much the same Jumalation style as on our debut, but I'd like to wait a bit until I say more about those pieces. I am very enthusiastic about those songs and can't wait to perform them at some point.
Luxi: Would you say you are damn proud of what you have achieved with the new material?
Pedro: I'm satisfied with most of the riffs but the arrangements need more attention. Weaker moments will be deleted. One track has a very Black feel, but Possessed did that, too. Maybe listeners will understand that is the point.
Luxi: What are your more plans regarding new Jumalation songs? Get 3 or 4 recorded, make a demo and start streaming them on the Internet to raise interest in the band again?
Pedro: That's a question. I would say let's concentrate on recording a few songs first. Those epic sessions for The Church of Isaac taught us something. Maybe we do a demo and then, if some label is interested, release it.
Luxi: Do you still have the same line-up that recorded the band's debut album, The Church of Isaac?
Pedro: We have a new drummer, Jake Cannon. Esteban Genocidio has some serious health problems and couldn't play so we had to move on. Otherwise the line-up is the same as always and will hopefully stay that way. Sometimes Vi Von is special guest at our shows and on recordings.
Luxi: What keeps the current line-up together? Is it your total dedication and love for playing old school Thrash, or simply strong chemistry between the individual band members?
Pedro: Yeah, in the beginning we found each other in the same music (Punk) circles that shared a passion for this kind of heavy 'tuuttaus'. One of the things that keep us going is that we haven't been burned out by endless rehearsing, gigging or seeing other's faces too much. Also we have good arrangement inside the band with who does what. Have to be proud of these guys.
Luxi: Have your songwriting methods changed over the years? With today's technology you don't necessarily have to arrange a band practice to hear how songs will sound with drums, bass, etc. because you can use different types of computer tools to add them to a song. Or are you in to the old ways of doing things?
Pedro: No, our songwriting method hasn't changed at all. First off, we haven't even done much of the new stuff yet. I bought a tiny speaker for home rehearsing but haven't used it yet. Usually the riffs pop out at home minutes before leaving for the rehearsal room and then we see what the fuck we can do with them. And many times the jamming sessions give birth to some riffs and constructions. The first riffs that just come out after long hiatus are usually the best.
Luxi: When can people expect the follow-up album to The Church of Isaac? 2013? 2014? Only Satan knows?
Pedro: The good old shovel-legged guy is the one who knows best! And does it always have to be a full length? I prefer mini albums or EPs. 15 minutes of ass kicking is the ideal.
Luxi: Going back to The Church of Isaac album, which was literally built up brick by brick, just like Saint Isaac's Cathedral in Russia, which was constructed over 40 long years in the first half of the 19th century. Jumalation was the very first band that was signed to US indie label Old School Metal Records, but due to a few unfortunate circumstances, the album was never released by them. The album was finally released by Finland's Metal Warning and France's Emanes Metal Records (initially as a limited edition CD then later, on vinyl). Do you regret that there were so many delays and that Patrick Ramseier, the owner of OSM Records, decided to drop the album completely in the end? Was it hard to swallow at first, realizing this unfortunate decision would delay the release of Jumalation's debut even further?
Pedro: Yes yes yes yes. Things got out of hand with this project. That's what you get when you do shit with your bare hands. It would have been nice to have gotten it done quickly and released by OSM. Since we fucked up the whole schedule ourselves, I really understand Patrick's frustration. When we finally managed to get the album to a point at which it was ready to be released, the Metal Warning guys helped us. Most importantly, MW and Emanes Metal Records made it happen on vinyl. A proper CD version is coming from these guys later this summer.
Luxi: Have you been in contact with Patrick since he decided to not release The Church of Isaac? Are there any hard feelings between him and the band?
Pedro: There are no hard feelings towards Patrick. We haven't been in touch with him although he can be caught on Facebook. We wish him all the best!
Luxi: Do you find it odd that Jumalation is still listed on the OSM Records roster as one of their bands? This must be kind of confusing for people who'd like to grab a copy of your debut album. Do you still receive inquiries from people who want to order the album straight from you as OSM Records doesn't have it for sale at their web shop?
Pedro: I haven't got any messages for a long time about this unreleased OSM record. I think people are aware of the real release. Well, I hope they are...
Luxi: The label's info page still says that Jumalation's debut album was scheduled to be released via OSM Records in December 2005. Don't you feel like you should drop a line to Patrick, asking him to remove that misleading info from OSM Records' webpage?
Pedro: Hehe, no. I have no intention of dropping a line about that. I think Pat is a grown-up and can do something about it if he wants to. I know that updating homepages and other web shit is a pain in the ass. I couldn't do it myself, either.
Luxi: Thrash Metal, as a sub-genre, has been making a strong comeback for quite some time. New thrash bands, as well old Thrash bands, all fly their flags high, keeping Thrash Metal alive. However, do you feel like the scene is a bit oversaturated with all these Thrash Metal bands that are around nowadays, or is it all good as long as you can separate yourself from the big pile of shitty bands that have come along with the Thrash Metal boom?
Pedro: I think the peak has gone. But Thrash is still alive. I try to check out everything that seems to be interesting and comes my way. Lots of "no-no" and some "hell yeah" stuff. It depends on so many angles really. My taste is toward dirtiness, energy and brutality. So, if there is one of those elements in a nice package, I might still get interested!
Luxi: The Thrash Metal boom has had a great effect all around the world, even here in Finland. Forced Kill, Brainthrash and Lost Society are just three fine examples of this new, young generation of Thrash Metal bands that are all trying to raise their heads above the surface of mainstream Thrash. Lost Society already got signed to Nuclear Blast, and it's just a matter of time before Forced Kill and Brainthrash will be snapped by some labels. Do you also see the potential of the Finnish underground Speed and Thrash Metal scene?
Pedro: I have not heard some of the bands you mentioned there, so I don't feel that they are getting much attention. Sure, they are good at what they are doing but I don't think Thrash is a big thing in Finland. 20-25 years ago Thrash was the new big thing in the Finnish music market but it was already becoming old fashioned when Death Metal and stuff was coming.
Luxi: Do you feel like Jumalation is seen as a sort of inspiration or influence in the eyes of younger Finnish musicians who are into Speed and Thrash Metal, or do you believe these "kids" really don't pay attention to Jumalation or even know the band exists?
Pedro: Can't say. I don't think Jumalation has much to say in the scene. We only have one album out and that hasn't been easily available and our small shows are held in bars where the same faces appear, for the most part. We should have shows at youth centers and shit like that. Maybe that would draw the attention of the young Thrash blood. I have to say I don't know. I haven't been thinking about this too much.
Luxi: Jumalation has been active on the gig front quite a bit lately, which must feel great for you. How has it felt to play gigs again? Getting back to furious live shape again, little by little?
Pedro: Yes. We have been more active than ever! We have a good rehearsal place and have been using it pretty well. We have gigged for about a month now so I hope we get tighter every time. I even bought my first guitar gear! And I have been playing all kinds of shit for 30 years! HUH! That brought me a bit some self-confidence, I can tell you.
Luxi: Do you have more extensive gigging plans in the works or is it out of question due to work, families, etc.?
Pedro: Not much touring planned right now. Of course there are families, work, studies and whatever in the way. We play when we think it's OK for all of us.
Luxi: I assume Jumalation might be readily available if you were offered a spot on tour as a warm-up act for bands like Infernäl Mäjesty, Sacrifice (Can), Deceased, Razor, Destructor or another old school Speed or Thrash Metal act. I'm not completely mistaken about this, am I? ;o)
Pedro: Well, sure why not!! But I would feel stupid when those guys wiped the floor with us!
Luxi: All these old school Speed and Thrash Metal veterans reminded me of another band you've been involved with; Forca Macabra. This Thrashcore combo has released several EPs, splits, singles and even three full-length albums in their 22 years of existence. Forca Macabra's third studio album, Aqui É o Inferno (which translates to Hell Is Here), was released on Italy's Agipunk label in 2008. Any news from this camp?
Pedro: Nothing new, actually. We recorded a sort of jubilee album some years back but, as always, it is still waiting for the covers and shit details like that. I am really wondering when it will be out. Also, the drummer moved to other city so we are not rehearsing much, either. We have one show coming up next month, which is probably good for Jumalation.
Luxi: Forca Macabre has been going on for well over 20 years. Do you feel like a big part of your life's blood has been put into this cult Thrashcore act and will continue to be with the band's upcoming activities? Can you think life without Forca Macabra?
Pedro: Well, with that band I have experienced lots of stuff that I wouldn't have otherwise; lots of touring and shit. So, of course, it means something. And I hope there will be more nice experiences coming some day! I can think my life without Forca Macabra, too. We don't rehearse much.
Luxi: How about Jumalation? What makes this band worth it from your point of view?
Pedro: Letting out all the Metal that flows in my brains! Maybe we achieve something or maybe not. We are fine as long as we feel we did something right.
Luxi: By the way, do you crush and kill posers for breakfast, as it's been told?
Pedro: Maybe once a week. It's the day God rested.
Luxi: Well Mr. Pedro "Porco" Anthares, I think that's it for now. It was a pleasure to have this chat with you and let's all keep our fingers crossed that there will be some new Jumalation stuff in the near future. Don't make us wait another six years for your next outing, OK? Thanks again and all the best to you and your bands in the future. Want to throw out the mandatory last comments for the readers?
Pedro: Thank you, Luxi, AGAIN for everything. It's always nice to hear from you. Seems that you never rest (I do, believe it or not - Luxi). We are the guys that rest. Six days a week, as I said before. We are getting old but I can imagine us doing something for the next 66 years!!
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