Magenta Harvest released their excellent debut album Volatile Waters earlier this year – check out our review of it here. We caught up with guitarist Timo Kontio for an interview – check it out below!
Could you introduce yourself and tell me a bit about the band?
Timo K, guitarist of the band is answering here. I don’t know what to say about the band…we are a death metal band from Finland. Playing honest death metal in old school vein with a twist. We are a five piece so quite normal instrument setup. We also use some keyboards in our songs and so far Aleksi of Finntroll has handled them superbly.
So 2014 has just begun – what’s in store for this year for Magenta Harvest?
We just released our debut album Volatile Waters. So far the response has been great! We are really anxious to play the new songs live. So far we haven’t had the chance. Mathias has been so busy with Finntroll and Janne is busy with Mygrain. Surely our chance will come in no time. Some gigs are already planned for later this year, but nothing confirmed yet. We are also making new stuff already while waiting to get on stage. There are bunch of other things under construction…our official website, some videos, etc.
How did the band form?
The band was formed aleady in 2005 by me and Janne. We played quite long as a two piece. Tried this and that. Making songs, ditching them and making more new songs. As soon as we had some solid stuff we contacted Timo H and Jonas and asked them to join us. This was maybe 2009 already. Mathias joined some time later. We had discussed about him joining earlier already, but it got concrete when we started to record our first demo in 2010. He came directly to the studio.
You recently released your awesome new album Volatile Waters – could you describe the songwriting process for it?
The songwriting is more or less that we make as much riffs as possible and then bring them to the rehearsal room and try to arrange a song out of them…it’s quite rare that we have a ready made song when entering the rehearsal room. Sometimes the song can get its start from a drum beat or pattern.
And what about the recording process? Did much differ between Volatile Waters and your two demos?
Our demos were recorded in several different places and so on…the first one was also mixed and mastered in a different location. This debut album was recorded, mixed and mastered at the same place. Everything with this debut album recording was really professional and easy if you can say so. The whole recording was really relaxed. Of course everything was more well thought out and playing was always under magnifying glass as it should be. Big thanks goes to Juho Räihä our sound engineer at Soundspiral Audio.
Recording process was still almost the same though. We always start with the drums and usually Janne records them without anything, he doesn’t even need the ‘help’ guitar…only a click. After that I usually record my guitar. On our debut we doubled every guitar. After my rhythm guitar, I record my melodies. Then the other Timo is up with his guitar. After all guitars, Mathias and Jonas mix up a bit, meaning that Mathias can sing a few songs, then bass and singing, and bass….so that Mathias doesn’t have to sing all songs in a row because it can be quite rough to the voice to sing ten songs.
Were there any tracks that were more of a challenge to complete?
Yes, there are always some parts that can be tricky to nail. Especially when you are listening to one instrument only to a click track. We also record guitars with minimum gain so it brings its own spice to the mix.
Are there any interesting stories from the studio?
Not really, haha. We were a few weeks in a bunker so to speak. It was a basement so no natural light or anything. We recorded from 12 until 9 in the evening and after that we had our own time to relax and it’s not hard to guess what that means! We had quite a tight schedule so there really wasn’t any time to lose concentration and go crazy. Mathias was the only one who was there the whole time. Other ones just handled their own part and went home because all the recordings except drums were done during the week. Weekends were off.
I adored Limbo In Rime especially – could you tell me a little more about that?
Well, it seems that quite a few appreciated Limbo in Rime. Actually it was one the new songs which was done first, but it took a really long time to get that form which can be heard on the album. We changed it a lot and moved riffs back and forth ’til it sounded right.
Which track is your favourite?
It’s really difficult to choose any favourite. Normally certain songs become favourites when playing them live and noticing how well their work live. At this point when not have had the chance to play new songs live I cannot say any favourite one. Limbo in Rime could be one good candidate though because of the thrashy riff that is easy to bang your head to.
How would you describe the band’s live show to those who haven’t seen you yet?
We have had only two gigs so far, so I really can’t say aynything about our live show. Like mentioned before, Finntroll have kept Mathias busy and Mygrain Janne so we haven’t really had the chance to play new songs live yet. It won’t be anything dramatic though…just pure death metal. Of course you never know what future brings, but at this point we concentrate on the music itself.
Are there any plans in the works for some 2014 shows or are you just focused on getting the album out there for the time-being?
Yes, we certainly try to hard to get everything rolling. We are looking for booking agencies and have already discussed business with a few of them. We start from Finland, but hopefully we’ll have the chance to play abroad as soon as possible.
If you could play anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Maybe somewhere in South America like Brasil or Japan. The fans there are really something else. In our case it seems that Brasil would be the right place since we already have quite a few fans there.
Once you’re a world-famous band and can have anything on your rider, what would you choose?
Shower with warm water…hehe. That’s really rare when on tour!
If you could collaborate with another band or musician, who would it be?
Haven’t really ever thought about this or maybe when I was younger when you had these idols. It’s too late now, but Chuck Chuldiner would have been one helluva guy to work with.
If another band could cover one of your songs, who would you choose?
It would be cool to have us covered by some old school death metal band like Bolt Thrower, Dismember or Carcass, but maybe it would be more interesting if the band was something else than metal. It’s quite common to metal bands to cover some pop songs but not the other way around.
And finally – if Magenta Harvest could put their name to any product, what would it be?
There have been mentioned a perfume already in one of our reviews so why not that…hahaha.
We also recently covered their two debut EPs. You can read our review of those here.
Magenta Harvest: Facebook