!!!THRASH METAL FROM FINLAND!!!
We had a conversation with Mika Sallanen (Bass). Enjoy!
Welcome to the FILTHY DOGS OF METAL Webzine.
Tell us a few things about JEWEL THRONE (Members, Starting Year etc).
The current line-up is Jesse Huovinen – vocals, Toni Koskinen – guitar, Mika Sallanen (me) – bass, Jouni Kurikka – drums. I formed the band in May 2019 because I had some songs that I wanted to try with a new band – I had left this heavy metal band a little earlier and I felt like dropping all the arty-farty crap I’d been doing for a while and decided to return to playing simple stuff – more or less the kind of stuff I did (or at least attempted to do) in my early bands. I got in touch with mister Kurikka and asked him to join me and on the same day we got this guitar player (Jari Yrjänäinen) to join us. I had played with them both in the past in a bunch of bands, so I knew what kind of guys they were. So the original line up was a trio with me doing all the yelling, and we released 3 EP’s that year. Way too many, I guess, but that happened anyway. The EP’s weren’t that great since for some reason I also ended up playing like 98% of all guitar tracks and took care of almost everything except the drums and I consider them more like demos than “serious releases”. But whatever, it was a beginning, and everyone’s got to start somewhere and most importantly: who cares? Anyway, in 2020 we added mister Koskinen on guitar and mister Huovinen on vocals and recorded our “Obscure Relics” EP. It was definitely a step forward, but it ended up being our only release with a 5-man line-up. We let the original guitar player go and we decided to continue as a one guitar band. I still write the vast majority of our music so I am the one to blame if there’s something wrong with the songs. There most likely is. There definitely is! 😃 The current four man line-up consists of a bunch of old farts (mister Huovinen is actually quite a bit younger, though) with loads of experience in many bands in various styles. I started as a guitar player in my very first crappy thrash metal band already back in late 1987 so it’s not like I am a teenager anymore and neither are the other old farts. For instance, the first time I played in a band with mister Koskinen was already back in 1990. I’ve had a life in metal for sure without ever being well known anywhere, I'm one of those guys who decided to keep his day job AND the band. And that’s the way I like it. I’ve done my share and played hundreds of gigs and all that usual stuff, but this has always been more like an expensive hobby for me than anything else. Same can be said about the rest of the guys in Jewel Throne. I could mention quite a few past bands, but I’ll give you two: there was this death metal band called Spirit Disease and you can find it from Spotify and Bandcamp and probably in many other places too. If you’re really lucky you might even find our CD’s. Me and mister Koskinen played in that band. Check out Anger Cell too, mister Kurikka used to play in that band. Both bands were more or less death metal bands, so if that kind of thing is interesting to you, you might want to check out whatever the hell it was we did in the past.
You have recently released your single ''Suffer the Fools''. What is the feedback from your audience as well as from the press?
So far, so good (so what?). I haven’t really bothered doing much promotion at all to be brutally honest, I’m kind of lazy with shit like that, but it looks like that at least some people really seem to like the noises we make. Which is nice. We have been getting a bit more attention lately. By the way, “Suffer the Fools” is the opening track of our recently released 5 song “Illiterati” EP, which is definitely the best Jewel Throne release so far.
Label or DIY and why?
DIY. I don’t see much point in even trying to find a label. But if a decent offer appeared from out of nowhere, we might consider it. It really would be nice to get a 7” or an LP released one day, but if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. Life goes on.
Do you prefer Vinyl, Tape, CD or Digital Format and why is that?
I like them all but my favourite format is vinyl. Our Obscure Relics EP was released as a tape through this small distro/label of one of our friends (you can buy it from Bandcamp if you really want to have a copy), but all other Jewel Throne releases are digital only. At least for now.
Your music style is Thrash Metal. Which are your main influences (Favourite Artists / Bands etc.)
My influences for this band are early albums by Kreator (especially the first two albums), Destruction, Sodom. Celtic Frost (no shit, Sherlock), Sepultura (Morbid Visions!), Infernäl Mäjesty, Sacrifice and stuff like Venom, Bathory, Motörhead, Voivod and so on. American Thrash Metal is really not my cup of goat vomit since I prefer much more raw and aggressive style. I mean bands like Anthrax, Testament, Death Angel are legendary and popular and all that crap, but they are really so different musically than my favourites are that their music sounds like it could be something from a completely different genre! There are good American albums that I will probably always worship though, like for example Whiplash – Power and Pain, Exodus – Bonded by Blood (I think it’s their only great album), Possessed – Seven Churches and Metallica – Kill ‘em All. Excellent stuff. Did I forget Slayer? I guess I did. Sorry about that. Great band, a bunch of great early albums too.
Which things, do you think, a Band should sacrifice in order to succeed? Have you ever sacrificed anything in your life for a better future of your Band?
What the hell do I really know… well, some people I have known and/or played with in the past have become quite famous with their music, but they all have been really ambitious guys who wanted to have a real, serious career in music. I guess I just never was like that. I just liked playing music with a bunch of guys, having too many beers and all kinds of fun. There’s nothing wrong with that either, but it’s really a totally different scene than the one real professional musicians have, being a “weekend warrior”, you know? Some bands I shared the stage with when playing in some old bands of mine later really ended up touring the planet and being successful and well known in the metal scene instead of ending up forever playing in small places Finland. Good for them, I say. Great people.
Describe your ideal live show as a performance Band. Have you already experienced that?
So far Jewel Throne has played zero gigs. An ideal show would be playing in front of an audience that actually gives a shit and getting paid instead of getting ripped off. That’s all. But let’s just say that this Covid-19 bullshit hasn’t really been a good thing for us. It’s been more like a total shitshow, but I guess it’s been more or less the same for everyone else. We have barely even been able to rehearse together at times. I wouldn’t mind playing live later this year. Maybe we will, maybe we won’t. It could be fun. But then who the hell knows – we might be in yet another lockdown because of Covid, or at war with another country or something worse. Looks like Europe isn’t exactly becoming a nicer place to live these days.
Which attributes, do you think, that a new Thrash Metal Band should have in order to gain identity and be unique?
First and foremost: learn to write good songs and make sure your arrangements actually work. That’s the way I like it. To each their own, but making incomprehensible riff salads and calling them “songs” is not something I like much. I like to keep things simple. I guess that’s the rock and roll part of Jewel Throne – trying to avoid adding too much stuff to all the songs and trying to make stuff sort of memorable.I don’t know much about the bands in the newer scene since I hardly follow it besides remembering some band names, but what I’ve heard has pretty much always been something not very original. I guess the genre has its limits after it has been around for almost 40 years. I am just generally not very impressed by bands that sound like they only exist to make a 100% copy of some ancient band. And yes – I’ll be the first one to say that we are not exactly unique either. This band was named after a Celtic Frost song after all. We don’t sound like them though. We just make this music and that’s all. Original or not.
Do you believe that Digital Platforms help the new Thrash Metal Bands? Which, do you think, is the ideal way for a Band to promote its work?
It’s the easiest way to get yourself noticed. Those who are really willing to spend their time and money on that will probably be more successful than the others. But the digital platforms and social media and the possibility to make relatively great sounding recordings at home have become something that pretty much everyone with a bit of money has access to these days. It is definitely not a bad thing per se – this is 2022, not 1986 after all, but it has already saturated the scene with bands making not exactly great own albums way before they are ready to do that when they still should be doing: making demos and learning to become better song writers. But then me, sorry, I meant WE are relics from an older time and an older scene. The first few times I was recording in a studio it was still a totally analog thing, recording on tape, and we had only 8 tracks to use and it sure helped a lot if you could actually play your own shit since studio time was very expensive and editing possibilities were pretty much non-existing. And of course, it was always done in the cheapest possible shithole with a studio crew who didn’t know crap about how to record metal music. That’s Finland for you in the early 90’s. I am not saying things were better then, but they sure were a lot different.
Tell us a few things about the New Underground Metal Scene in Finland (Bands, Fanzines, Webzines, Metal Clubs etc.)
There is a scene full of new bands but it’s all very underground these days. I’ll just say that my old friends in Witheria make some very interesting stuff and they should probably be much more well-known than they are. They’ve been around for ages and done five albums, always in the underground. I don’t really know enough about the new bands. I hear/see about some new bands all the time but I haven’t listened enough of their music to be able to really recommend any of them. I’ll just a listen a song here, a song there. Surely not enough. Most of the metal clubs seem to be dead these days… and I suppose there might be a webzine scene. I just realized I must have been living locked up in some prison cell or something lately since my knowledge of things is not even nearly as good as it used to be. I’ll just say that Finland used to be a quite big metal nation about 15 years ago but those days are long gone. Maybe there will be a resurrection one day.
Do you know anything about the Hellenic Metal Scene?
I know some big names like Necromantia and Rotting Christ, but they are bands that have been around for at least 30 years or more. I also know some smaller mid-90’s bands because I got a bunch of free stuff from this long-gone Greek metal label whose name I will not mention here. They wanted to release a 7” by one of my earlier bands. Of course, it never got released (or at least we never saw any copies of it) and we never even got our stuff back, including the master tape and the cover artwork. Great times, eh? No hard feelings, though, it was all such a long time ago and that band is also very dead.
What are your future plans?
The plan is to record some new stuff. I have a bunch of new songs ready but we have to spend a lot of quality time at the rehearsal space before we can actually record them. We would also like to pick a song or two from the very early days of Jewel Throne and re-record them since we know the newest line-up could do them so much better. I guess we could easily record a full-length album if we wanted to but I don’t know if there’s any point in doing that. Playing live would be really great too. If that happens, we may have to think about some merchandise we could sell. But it’s not like we are not in any kind of hurry anymore. That’s how life is for a bunch of old farts still playing metal…. kind of slow and not too exciting.
Thank you very much for your time & keep up the good work! The closure is yours.
No, thank YOU, Stavros. This was actually the first ever interview I’ve done for Jewel Throne so I guess this is where I lost my virginity. Or not. Now what should I say to whoever happens to read this… listen to our music online and give us a few likes here and there and tell to your friends and/or your mother about this band you just found and all the usual crap.
By Steve the Filthy Dog.
JEWEL THRONE CONTACT: