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Interviews Deimhal

Interview with bassist Timo Lehtinen

Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen

Date online: March 17, 2024


Deimhal, formed in 2021, is a pretty new symphonic black metal band in the Finnish underground scene, featuring members of Kalmah, Armada North, Soulhate, etc. So far, the band has recorded one 4-song EP titled The Grand Gathering and a single "Malice" both of which have caused quite a lot of positive buzz around the band. Currently, they are working on new material and trying to get their name out.

The Metal Crypt contacted the band's bassist, Timo Lehtinen, to find out what they have been up to lately and what we can expect from them in the coming months.

Howdy, Timo! How's it going? Life's good, or grey, boring, and miserable as ever, ha! ;o)

Timo: Thanks for asking, Luxi. Been diving deep into different band projects, honing my skills with a dash of new techniques. At the moment life is like a vivid monochrome canvas and the color is black.

DEIMHAL TURNS THE SKY PITCH-BLACK

You are, of course, a well-known figure in the metal scene due to your main band Kalmah, but you also have a few other bands going on, like this symphonic black metal band Deimhal. How did this band come about?

Timo: Deimhal's vocalist and main composer, Mika, spoke to me about this upcoming project years ago. I've known Mika since our youth, during our time with the band Catamenia, where we were both involved on the first five albums. We knew back then we wanted to create darker music, and now, with Deimhal, we have the opportunity to do just that.

Was it easy to find like-minded musicians to play in Deimhal or did it take some time to get the current lineup of people that got what this band was all about?

Timo: I wasn't in the band right from the start. Mika knew I was already involved in several bands at the time and first asked about bringing in another bassist to join the band. Unfortunately, things took a tragic turn as the first bassist had a seizure and passed away before completing a single song (R.I.P.). Mika then called me regarding the situation, and we had a long conversation. Deimhal sounded like an interesting project in every way, and I accepted the position.

I've had quite a free hand in composing the bass lines for the songs, which is quite enjoyable. After the first EP, there has been a change in the lineup, and we have a new lead guitarist, Jukka Hallikainen. Jukka is a pleasantly technical guitarist and a good guy overall.

Do each of you compose music for the band, or is all this work basically on the shoulders of only a few members?

Timo: Vocalist Mika has been the primary composer for most of the songs so far, but now our guitarists Jukka and Gabor have also contributed new pieces. It's truly fantastic and eases the burden on Mika. Everyone has the freedom to compose their own parts in the songs, allowing each person's unique touch to shine through.

Currently, things are progressing well, and new songs are coming to life.

As you guys are not located in the same area, does this present some challenges and/or issues as far as your band practices are concerned?

Timo: We all live within a roughly 100 km radius, except for our keyboard player, Henri. We haven't played rehearsals together yet, but that time is approaching as soon as we have enough songs to put together a live set.

Everyone practices at home or individually in their rehearsal spaces. Currently, we're working on a new EP, with the focus on composing and arranging the songs.

WHAT'S DEIMHAL MADE OF?

Musically, people with sharp ears can hear the usual suspects in your music as influences and/or inspirations, i.e., Dimmu Borgir and Immortal especially. What's your take on this regarding Deimhal's main musical inspirations and/or influences?

Timo: It's true that influences like Dimmu Borgir can be heard in our compositions. Deimhal aims to create symphonic black metal, with a focus on rich melodies. Of course, there are also more straightforward tracks to balance out the overall sound, ensuring not every song is overly melodic.

When I started crafting bass patterns for the songs, it was a pleasant surprise to find ample space for the bass despite the presence of guitar and synth melodies. I utilized this space to construct various bass progressions, always ensuring they complement the drums and contribute to the overall cohesion of the songs.

In May 2023, you digitally released your 4-song EP titled The Grand Gathering. How has the response been for it so far? I bet it's been pretty damn overwhelming, exceeding all of your expectations, correct?

Timo: The EP's popularity took us by surprise. We received a good amount of attention and even made it onto playlists, which isn't a given in today's music landscape due to the abundance of new releases. Mika put in a lot of effort to garner as much visibility as possible, and it paid off.

I bet you have also tried to shop the EP around to some labels. If so, what's been the outcome of this promotional campaign? Are there any that are interested in working with Deimhal?

Timo: Yes, we've approached various labels, but the right offer hasn't come along yet, something that resonates with us. Hopefully, we'll get to work on the album and hit the stage soon.

VISIBILTY MEANS STAYING ALIVE

In December 2023, you released one more song called "Malice," which you also made a lyric video for. As I am writing this, the video has gotten 1.5 thousand views on YouTube. That's not too much yet, but that's probably going to change in the coming weeks because we all know that hundreds of thousands of metalheads check out YouTube frequently, trying to spot their next favourite band...

Timo: Yeah, "Malice" is the first track from our upcoming EP. For an emerging band, garnering attention is crucial, and it's quite a challenge without the support of a record label. We're aiming to boost the band's visibility through avenues like lyric videos. While the band members are promoting on their individual fronts, it's not an easy feat without a robust marketing machinery.

How important is making videos anyway? Do you believe without them it's hard to survive in today's strongly audiovisual music markets, making them somewhat crucial?

Timo: I see it that way, too. Releasing videos is important, and worth investing in. Visuals complementing the music and create the illusion that the band wants to convey to listeners. Of course, a music video also reflects the director's vision. With Deimhal, we haven't released a full music video yet, but at some point, we plan to invest in one. Securing a record deal would be a good starting point.

In "Malice," you got a guy named Christian Palin to do some clean singing parts in the chorus part of the song. Was it easy to persuade him to do those vocals since both you and Janne Kusmin (on drums) have teamed up in Fenyx Rising with him, which is a whole different-sounding band? Christian isn't much of an everyday consumer of black metal, or is he?

Timo: Yes, Christian came in to guest on the song "Malice," and I think it works really well. It adds a nice twist to the song, and perhaps that's why it works.

Clean singing, especially high-pitched vocals, is rarely heard in black metal, so it's quite unique.

ANOTHER EP IN THE FALL OF 2024

When are you hoping to enter the studio again to record the band's debut album? Do you find it tricky to get each of your schedules to match?

Timo: We're currently composing our second EP, set to be released in the fall of 2024. It's going to be a killer EP, and if no label reaches out, well, the world might just be broken, hah!

We generally follow a specific concept as we progress through the song production process. After the demo guitars, we move on to drum recording, where I sync up the bass track. Typically, I compose the bass track using MIDI. The advantage of MIDI is that it includes the notations, making it easy to review bass patterns when practicing alone. I integrate the MIDI bass with the other instruments, and if the bass track resonates with the band, I then record it and send the actual track to the mixer.

LIKE A DURACELL BUNNY

How do you personally find the time for all the bands that you currently have going? I mean, it isn't everyone's "business as usual" to be involved in 3-4 bands as that requires some sense for arranging your spare time activities, right?

Timo: Managing schedules hasn't been challenging so far, even though I play in multiple bands. It might sound daunting, but things don't happen simultaneously in all bands, providing flexibility to adjust schedules based on the progress of each. Many people choose not to spread themselves across multiple bands, dedicating their all to one. I appreciate that. Personally, I'm like a Duracell bunny; I enjoy diversifying my activities, thereby enhancing my skills as a musician. I believe it ultimately supports all the bands I'm involved with.

Metal music interests me, whether it's on the lighter or heavier side. If things go well, and several bands gain recognition, leading to a flurry of gigs, then the situation would, of course, be different. That's a "problem" for another time, hehe!

Would you even go as far as stating music is your lifeblood; without it, your life would be much emptier and poorer?

Timo: It would certainly be different without making music. There are still moments when I go to bed and a new riff starts playing in my head. There's no choice but to get up and record the idea. It's easy to record ideas acoustically or hum them into the phone. When I'm out and about, I hum the idea into my phone. Then, a couple of weeks later, I listen to it and wonder what on earth is happening, haha!

FUTURE GOALS

Have you set some personal goals for yourself regarding the future of Deimhal, or would you rather take it slowly and see if there's enough interest for Deimhal and carry on from there?

Timo: The first step was the EP, and currently, the second EP is in the works, but these are intermediate steps. Recording the album is the first real milestone that I'm specifically aiming for, leading to live performances. After that, release the second album as soon as possible. Things don't happen overnight, but goals need to be set.

What about gigging? I bet you are aiming to play some gigs with Deimhal, too. Is there anything that could be revealed already or do you still have everything on the drawing board so to speak?

Timo: Yes, shows are the aspect that always sparks interest. Once we complete the second EP, we'll start practicing the live set and hopefully get to play for audiences as soon as possible.

What might be the next steps that Deimhal will take during the next 5-6 months or so, realistically speaking?

Timo: We are currently fully focused on recording the upcoming EP, and we are likely to release it next fall.

Well, I guess that's all I had in mind for this "conversation," so I would like to thank you, Timo, for your time with my questions and hopefully they were all worth answering, too. All the best to you in your future endeavors with all your bands. May there be some positive rewards and lots of joy on your way towards stardom, eh. Any fitting closing words to wrap up this dialogue properly enough?

Timo: Thank you, Luxi. It's quite nice to reminisce about what has happened and will happen in Deimhal.

The market has changed because people don't buy as many physical albums anymore, but fortunately, gigs are still happening physically (at least for most bands), heh!

Go to shows metal heads and support your local bands.

Other information about Deimhal on this site
Review: The Grand Gathering




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