Interview with vocalist, guitarist and bassist P.J.
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: November 23, 2021
Malignament is a two-piece black metal horde from Finland, formed in 2019, that has already created quite a fuss due to their 2019 2-track demo and 2021 debut album, Hypocrisis Absolution, released on Primitive Reaction. The band has made a strong statement about their existence with these releases, yet apparently this is just the beginning of their plan for world enslavement.
When something excites us here at the mightier-than-thou headquarters of The Metal Crypt, we are keen to dig deeper and learn more about the musical greatness that the band has been creating. We contacted one of Malignament's main forces, P.J. who clearly knows a thing or two about how to make atmospheric, creative and mind-blowing black metal without gimmicks, bullshit, whatsofuckingever. The band is THE REAL deal, but we'll let P.J. tell us how it all got started regarding this new ominous star above the black horizon.
First of all, my sincere congratulations on Malignament's debut album, Hypocrisis Absolution!
P.J.: Thank you. I knew we had something special in our hands and the response has been 100% positive.
Would you tell us how and when you teamed up with Grond (drums) with the intention to form this intense, grim, and atmospheric-sounding two-man outfit known as Malignament?
P.J.: I've known Grond for many years and we've played in the same bands over the years, so it was logical to ask him to play with me. I had the idea for this band burning inside for many years and I knew it must be let out at some point. Black metal was the first musical genre that made a huge impact on me when I was younger, so I needed a new band and Malignament is the result.
Obviously, some of the songs on the album have been in the works for a long time before they materialized in their final form on the album. Can you tell us how long it took to get the songs together and recorded for this opus?
P.J.: I worked on the album for about two years. Some of the songs/riffs go back to 2009 from the demo of my unreleased black metal project. We first made a demo of Hypocrisis Absolution, listened to it, made all the needed changes, and then recorded is again from scratch. Drums took maybe two days and the rest of it took much longer. The final version of the album took about one year to make.
LET'S MAKE IT A TWO-PIECE BAND...
Would you say it's easier to work as a 2-piece unit than form a full lineup with 4-6 musicians when there are as many opinions as there are musicians, generally speaking? Having your own uncompromising say regarding band activities is very important, enabling you to follow your own vision and your vision only...
P.J.: It's way easier. The less people you have around, the better. Of course, live shows are harder, because you need to find qualified musicians first. But Malignament is my vision, I make the rules. Grond is a full member, and he participates in the songwriting and can affect the creation process for sure, but I have the final word. It has to be this way.
To me, there's a faint element of later Bathory in the band's sound, especially when it comes down to some semi-shamanic vocalisms and more bombastic stuff ("Call to Arms" and "Like Rats They Followed"). How much credit would you give to Quorthon for what you are today?
P.J.: I love Bathory, but I can't say Bathory has been a direct influence. But maybe there is some Blood on Ice moments here and there. After all, I think we can all agree that Blood on Ice is the best Bathory album. I am sure there is no one who disagrees. I have to say that I listen a lot of Swedish black metal and they have so many good bands in Sweden. And, of course, Norwegian black metal has been a big influence for me.
After digesting Hypocrisis... many times, there's another Swedish name that popped up, namely Mörk Gryning. It must have something to do with those piercing and sharp guitars that seem to rage through each song on the record, with absolutely ear-pleasing results...
P.J.: I have never listened to them. I have no idea what they sound like. I've only heard the name, but now I need to check them out.
How satisfied are you with the band's debut? Did it turn out the way that you hoped, or do you feel that you exceeded some of the expectations you had?
P.J.: I'm very satisfied, but of course I hear things that should have been done better. That is very normal. But with this album, I'm more satisfied than ever before. During the working process, I started to notice that this album was going to be better than I thought.
How important do you consider lyrics as a part of Malignament? Are they a "necessary evil" that should be written to get the right message delivered or do they hold something much deeper and more meaningful for you personally?
P.J.: Lyrics became the most important thing for me, as it should be. I hope people will find them. If you don't have anything to say, your music is probably going to suck.
How did you start working the Tuomas and Primitive Reactions? Obviously, it was easy for you to start working with him as you are friends and knew of his passionate and dedicated work with his bands, right?
P.J.: Right. It was a night when we had a gathering of friends and there were many Finnish black metal record companies around. I played the first demo and asked if anyone was interested. Tuomas was fastest, so he got the deal. Very simple.
Nuclear Design is responsible for the cover art for Hypocrisis... as well as the band logo. Was it clear right off the bat that you would turn to them when you started talking about the right "decoration" for the band and this release in particular? Did you have any other artists in mind whose works you have adored in one way or the other?
P.J.: Actually, I always have a problem finding a cover artist. I asked Nuclear Design because he did fine job for our logo. If there are good artists reading this, please come forth.
Going back in the past, was it clear for you from the very beginning which musical direction you would like to take with Malignament or did this vision crystallize in your mind(s) right before the recording sessions for your 2-song Demo I?
P.J.: It sounded pretty much how I intended. It was very clear from the start. The demo actually has three songs, but only on the tape and vinyl versions.
What's great, of course, is that the demo was released both on cassette and vinyl formats through German labels Worship Tapes and Purity Through Fire. Do you have any idea whether those versions are sold out and if there will be second editions for the fans who missed the boat the first time?
P.J.: I think the tape version is sold out, but the vinyl should be still available. I personally don't need them to be re-released, but if there is some label that wants to do it, reach out.
GETTING READY FOR LIVE MODE
Do you have any intentions to bring Malignament to a live audience someday or do you want to keep this a studio band?
P.J.: Yes, we are planning on live performances, and I now have live members too. Maybe in 2022, or maybe not. This Covid bullshit makes it harder, and I believe it is going to be hard in the future, too. Maybe our black metal should be played only for people who don't care about this virus or the mandates? Too many people are kneeling before this tyranny.
What are some of the important and essential aspects that you would like to see in a possible Malignament live show? Or does the attitude of the band on stage talk louder and clearer?
P.J.: Fire, blood, ash, weapons, blades... all the good stuff. It should give you the feeling that you are witnessing something special and dangerous. But of course, that is not always possible.
What are your personal goals for Malignament?
P.J.: I would like to see Malignament grow bigger than I ever imagined, but then again, I'm doing this because I need to, not because I want to. If I don't let my demons and thoughts out, they will consume me. I think humanity is doomed and there is no point chasing fame. But I'm going to use all the opportunities I find interesting. True glory is achieved through sacrifice and pain. I have my own personal life and Malignament is just one part of it, a big part. I live in the countryside and am trying to become more self-sufficient. I recommend everyone does the same. Move out of cities.
LEAVING A MARK ON THE FINNISH BLACK METAL MAP
Finland has a truly magnificent black metal scene these days with many quality acts who have churned out lots of great stuff for years. I would like to know how you see Malignament on the map of the Finnish black metal in terms of black metal aesthetics and all that jazz.
P.J.: That is a hard question. I don't know where to put Malignament, at least not yet. I know for sure there is much more heart in Malignament than in many others, or many of my old bands. There are certainly many older bands that are still absolutely true to what they stand for.
Now we are on this topic, are there some black metal bands here in Finland you would like to bring up from the shadows, whether old or new, due to what they represent both music- and ideology-wise?
P.J.: I don't know if there is anyone I can fully relate, but there are bands I found very good musically or with their message. Beherit is always going to be the best. It would be very nice to meet Holocausto someday. Horna and Impaled Nazarene were probably the first Finnish black metal bands I heard so they are also important for me. When speaking about newer bands, I have to mention Morgal... they are sick!
It's been hard for many artists and/or bands to predict future activities because of this prevailing crapona situation. How much has it prevented you from doing certain things with Malignament or would you say it's been a blessing for you in some weird way to be able to lock yourself in between four walls and let your creativity just flow?
P.J.: Truly a blessing for the creative process. This shitshow has given me the final push to change my life. I will not comply!!!
What kind of hopes and/or plans do you have for 2022? A new album? Some well-selected live shows, perhaps?
P.J.: Maybe some live shows. I'm going to write some new material as well. But mainly I will sink deeper into the abyss, and it's a good thing.
That's it all from my part for this "chat". I would like to thank you, P.J., for your precious time to get this interview done and in the very same breath would like to wish you all the best with your future endeavors with your band. If there's anything you would like to add to wrap up this conversation, then by all means be my guest...? :o)
P.J.: If you are lost, angry and feel betrayed, Malignament might be for you. I'm not lost, but I'm fucking furious. I don't care who you are. I don't care about your skin color, beliefs or sexuality. Learn how to use guns and how to protect yourself. Make a sacrifice, stand up and change your life, fight like hell. History does not repeat itself, but it rhymes.
|Other information about Malignament on this site|
|Review: Demo I|
|Review: Hypocrisis Absolution|
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