Interview with guitarist J-V Hintikka
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: February 15, 2016
Finland's highly popular and successful metallers Machine Men decided to call it quits in 2011 after a 13-year career and three full-length studio albums plus one EP. After the split many have wondered what the former members have been up to and if there was a chance Machine Men would ever regroup. The latter seems as if it is never meant to happen and Machine Men is over for good. At the end of 2012 things started to come together and a new band was born out of the ashes of Machine Men; Psychework, featuring vocalist Antony Parviainen and guitarist J-V Hintikka.
Secrecy has surrounded Psychework and the members have kept a relatively low profile and not made much noise about the material for the band's forthcoming debut album set to be released on independent Finnish label Ranka Kustannus (the home of Arion, Worthless, Kypck and many others) later this spring.
The Metal Crypt decided to ask Psychework a bit more about the band and guitarist J-V Hintikka kindly provided some updates regarding what's been going on with Psychework and what can be expected from them in the coming months...
Luxi: First off, welcome back, this time with Psychework. As it's been reported in the media, it's a whole new musical entity formed from the ashes of your previous band, Machine Men. Could you tell us about when you first decided to sit around the table and start talking about putting together a new band that would not be a pointless and/or cheap carbon copy act of Machine Men?
J-V Hintikka: About three years ago Antony had a bunch of lyrics and ideas for songs. He asked me to join him in a new band and basically the beginning was that simple. One of the first decisions we made that we wouldn't be doing Machine Men-style of music. We wanted to try and find our own thing and so we did.
Luxi: What would you say are the best assets in Psychework, from your point of view? Do you feel like you have six strong and creative songwriters involved with the band this time around?
J-V Hintikka: Actually Antony and I write most of the music. Juuso has contributed one song so far but mainly it's just the two of us who write the music for this band. Of course Otto and Juuso are great when arranging stuff. It has worked well. There have been more than enough ideas so far and more are coming all the time. There's no strict rule that writing must happen this way and I have song ideas from Juuso waiting to be checked out for the future. To answer your question, I know our biggest strength is that we know what we want musically as a group. I know that Otto can do his arrangements at his home studio and we don't have to worry or guide him. I know that Juuso will write drum parts that the music needs. Of course we have to make compromises every now and then and bang our heads together pretty hard sometimes. Regardless, the musical vision and style are very clear to us.
Luxi: Was it easy to find the direction that allowed all the different creative visions and juices in Psychework to be on the same page with regards to how you wanted the band to sound?
J-V Hintikka: It was easy and really hard at the same time. At the beginning we were more or less lost. What do we want, how and why? Piece by piece we started to get our vision together. It took a while but why not? There wasn't any rush. The inspiration and the reason for this band came from dark times Antony had couple of years ago. So in a way it was easy to get inspired and start to create music.
Luxi: How would you describe Psychework's sound in your own words for all the curious people that haven't had a chance to hear the band?
J-V Hintikka: We are really heavy and at the same time we are really soft, too. You will find many sides to our music. Dramatic stories combined with music is what we do. There are elements from many musical styles, from extreme Metal to softer and even classical things. Anyway, I don't believe we sound like a mash-up from different genres. Listeners won't be too confused here. Psychework plays Heavy Metal.
Luxi: How did you end up naming the band Psychework? I am guessing there's a bit more behind this band name than just "the name", you know?
J-V Hintikka: You're right, it has a deep meaning and it is a kick-ass name too! Antony had the name ready when we started. It's Antony's psyche at work here.
Luxi: When Machine Men ended in 2011 did you feel you still had more to give musically?
J-V Hintikka: One of the reasons we ended Machine Men was that we lost our passion of creating music. We weren't inspired anymore. We wrote an album that we demoed but felt it was better to leave it be and just let the band rest in peace. After that it was a big relief and time for a break musically speaking. For Antony it took couple of years to get inspired musically again. Anyway, Psychework is a fresh start. We are trying to avoid things MM did and that feels good.
Luxi: A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since the days of Machine Men and now you are here making new music with Psychework, which a cool thing, of course. However, you must have brought some good things with you into this new musical incarnation, right?
J-V Hintikka: I gained the confidence that I could and should write music. Antony wouldn't disagree with that. The way I write music in my head nowadays happens pretty much the same way as I learned back in those days. Luckily, we have computers and equipment now which makes saving ideas a whole lot easier and with better quality.
Luxi: While you were still involved with Machine Men you also had the Antony Parviainen Trio thing going on and it is still going I believe, which is strictly a cover band that plays covers of Ozzy Osbourne, W.A.S.P., Dio, Rainbow, Metallica and Maiden, of course. Is this combo a party and/or therapy project for you, one in which you can jam together and have a good time basically?
J-V Hintikka: Yep! It's only for having fun and playing music you dig. It's relaxing just to go out there and have a few beers and play! With that band you don't have to stress about anything. If we have time, we will do it in the future when Psychework is not touring actively.
Luxi: Back to Psychework. You have signed to Ranka Kustannus, a label that is owned by legendary Spinefarm Records founder and mastermind Riku Pääkkönen. How did you decide to put your names on a contract with Ranka Kustannus? Would you rather work with a domestic label because it's easier and less stressful than working with a label that's not easily reachable and even far away when thinking of physical distance?
J-V Hintikka: This was actually a very simple thing; Ranka offered us a deal we liked. The future will show how it will work out. I have faith in it, of course! Being a Finn is being a bit of a pessimist about everything so I won't be talking shit here and saying that everything is super and we are the best, hahaha!! Time will tell and so far we are feeling very good! Overall it doesn't matter where the label is from. You have the internet, so the world is quite small. Of course, it's a benefit if you can do business in Finnish.
Luxi: Are you aiming to make your living with this band or is your main focus somewhere else in your personal life with Psychework filling up the empty spaces in your calendar? There's nothing wrong with having some cool "hobbies", right?
J-V Hintikka: For me music is a lifestyle. It can never be hobby even though financially speaking now it is. I don't think about if I will make money out of this or not too much. I am still making music because it's all that matters. We are giving everything we can to this band and of course some money would make things easier but we all know that making money out of music is not easy and seems to get harder every day. At least if you make your own music and don't play cover shows.
Luxi: As far as I am aware it's not only Psychework and A.P.T. that keep you busy but also a high-profile Death Metal act from Finland called Survivors Zero that hired you to their ranks back in 2013. From what I have heard, Survivors Zero has shown some signs of "re-awakening". How do you manage your time in relation to your current band activities? It isn't easy, is it?
J-V Hintikka: This is the first time in my life I'm only focused on one band. I have always had at least two bands that I was involved in at same time. Now I'm only going to do Psychework.
I played on Survivors Zero's early demos years ago but didn't have time to get fully focused so I didn't play on the first album or at any gigs. A couple of years ago I got a call from Sami Jämsen to join the band again and I thought this would be a really cool thing. I wrote a couple of tunes and we recorded the whole album, at least the guitars, and even shot a music video. After that it's been quite quiet. I'm not in that group anymore. I sure hope they'll come out with a new album someday because the material that was ready was simply amazing.
Luxi: What kind of expectations do you have about things for Psychework when your debut is finally out? Do you believe the world is ready for Psychework's "world domination", so to speak? ;o)
J-V Hintikka: Actually, I'm a bit afraid of the release. Up until now we have been in charge of everything; making the music, planning and so on. When we get the album out it's the music that will win people over or not. In a way I imagine it's the kind of a feeling when your child moves out.
Luxi: You have a gig organizer called Dragonwhite behind Psychework, which has been your partner in crime for a long time, selling gigs for Antony Parviainen Trio too. What's in store for Psychework in 2016, gigging-wise?
J-V Hintikka: Dragonwhite's Minni has been around since the early Machine Men days. She has sold our gigs for way over a decade now, which is quite cool! I hope we can get good tours in the near future. At this moment we don't have an exact release date for the album so the planning process is a bit on hold. I know we are doing some festivals this summer but more will be revealed later.
Luxi: Then it's time for my second-to-last question. When can we expect to find Psychework's debut album either in physical shops or online?
J-V Hintikka: Some time this spring. At the end of January we start mixing so I guess it will be ready soon. After that it's going to be in the label's hands.
Luxi: Time for my last question. Are you ready for it? Here we go; what kind of heritage did Lemmy Kilmister leave for you personally when you first started discovering Heavy Rock/Metal music as a lil' teenager who had started growing his hair and getting into a heavier type of music?
J-V Hintikka: Motörhead has always been a big thing for me. Lemmy was a great musician and a person that I will never forget. A true rock n' roll survivor! I'm lucky that I have been able to see them live a few times and, of course, enjoyed their music through the years. I am still wearing an iron cross pendant around my neck because Lemmy did. It's been there over 15 years so far.
Luxi: Thank you J-V for taking some time to get this interview done and talking to the readers of The Metal Crypt about Psychework. We are all psyched about this band. Time for your last comments, sir...
J-V Hintikka: Thank you very much! This has been very interesting interview and even I have learned something from our group here. Please check us out and spread the word if you feel we deserve that!
|Other information about Psychework on this site|
|Review: The Dragon's Year|
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