Interview with bassist Lauri Eerola and vocalist Matias Palm
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: June 29, 2019
Finnish metallers, Domination Black, are a band that deserves more than they have gained so far. Since they started out back in 2003, they have released three full-length studio albums, done several gigs in their home country of Finland and also played some gigs abroad. On the negative side, the band's lineup has been in turmoil since the main songwriter of the band, guitarist Ville Wiren, left in 2014 to pursue his career in Evil Drive (along with drummer Juha Beck).
Fear not, replacements were found for the drummer's and second guitarist's positions and the band is back on track again, making new material for their next, yet-to-be-named, album.
The Metal Crypt checked in to find out what they have been up to lately, getting a chance to ask questions of vocalist Matias Palm and bassist Lauri Eerola. These gentlemen were more than eager to shed some light on the current activities of the band.
Luxi: How's it going, Lauri? Waiting for summer already, eh?
Lauri: Hi Luxi! Life's good, all kinds of things going on at the moment.
Luxi: It's been seven long years since I last interviewed you for The Metal Crypt and it's no wonder with all the things that have happened since then. What have Domination Black been up to during those seven years?
Lauri: Honestly, seven years have gone by really fast and Domination Black has had to wait a long time for something to happen. Seven years ago, we had made our album Dimension: Death and we did a lot of gigs in Finland, Russia, Estonia, Sweden and even Transylvania (which was an interesting area). In addition, we had a number of nearly ready tracks for the upcoming album, but time went by and the making of our next album was moved and it seemed that we never had time for gigs with Domination Black.
Luxi: Since you lost one of your main songwriters, guitarist Ville Wiren, in 2018, how hard was it for the band to carry on without him? I know a lot of songwriting responsibility was on Ville's shoulders...
Matias: Not hard at all. We continued writing songs until we decided we had enough material for the next album.
Lauri: Our previous guitarist had some odd things going on in his head. He said he wanted to cut his hair short and shit, so we found it'd better to start doing something else.
Luxi: Also, Juha Beck followed Ville and took his place behind the drum kit in Evil Drive. Was there any bitterness or animosity between ex- and current band members of the band due to these changes in the lineup that undoubtedly have slowed things down for Domination Black quite drastically?
Matias: We're in constant contact with Ville and he wants to help DB with whatever we do, so no hard feelings there. Also, Juha is still playing in the same band (Suuri Tuntematon) with Lauri.
Lauri: As I just said, Villen's haircut plans were the main reason that things went as they did...
Seriously speaking, all of us felt like this band needed a serious wake-up call so that things would start to progress again. As the middle-aged men that we all are nowadays, more or less, the fact is that we don't have enough time for many hobbies because everyday work and family life press on.
Luxi: Did you face any negative moments in the past seven years when you started seriously thinking you'd be done with Domination Black for good? If so, what made you carry on, after all?
Matias: Well, perhaps some of the guys wanted to end the band but majority of the group always wanted to carry on. We just needed to make right decisions and then we were able to go on again.
Lauri: It is difficult to make decisions about such matters when the changes are tough and involve a lot of emotions. But, fortunately, things are getting organized.
Luxi: You've got a new drummer named Ville Nissinen, replacing Juha and after Ville stepped away, his place was taken by a guy named Juuso Laitinen. How did you find these new guys to fill the vacancies in the band, and what are some of their best assets as musicians?
Matias: Ville Nissinen is an old friend who has toured with us before so it was obvious he was the first guy who we thought to ask to play drums and we were very lucky when he agreed. Ville is a great drummer and obviously that was another reason why we wanted him to join.
Lauri: Ville Wiren can't really be replaced, and his place cannot be taken by anyone. At the first gig without Ville, we had a young man named Juuso Laitinen on second guitar. Juuso (Laitinen) is not Ville (Wiren) and Ville (Nissinen) is not Juha (Beck) and even if we go the same names through, we also have Juuso (Elminen) on the keyboards, so there's not so radical changes in the DB lineup after all. Just remember who Juuso is and who Ville is.
PROMOTION, OR LACK OF IT
Luxi: As good as the band's 2012 album Dimension: Death was, it went unnoticed pretty fast. Do you think lack of promotion had a lot to do with why the album never lifted the band to the next level? Do you also think the times were not right for your fusion of Heavy, Thrash and Power Metal, back in 2012, when the album was released?
Matias: One could always use more promotion, of course. We don't have a big label or promo organization behind us, so it's not that easy to lift the band to another level.
Lauri: I am personally very satisfied with our Dimension: Death record. In fact, the promotion for it was successful considering the physical edition of the album sold out a long time ago.
Growing into a bigger band is not easy and would require a 100% push from all of us. Unfortunately, that isn't often possible. Another option would be to hit the mother lode with a "hit" song and get some radio play. It would definitely help to take a few extra leaps success wise at least. With Dimension: Death it wasn't meant to happen for us, however.
CHRIS HOLMES CONNECTION
Luxi: In the summer of 2014, you made a promotional video for the song, "Master of Deception", that also featured Chris Holmes (ex-W.A.S.P.). Did releasing this video bring any notoriety to the band? Have you been in touch with Chris about some possible future cooperation?
Matias: No, we haven't been keeping in touch with him and don't think we're gonna cooperate in the future. This video came out of coincidence because Ville Viren met Chris and asked if he wanted to play that guitar solo for us, and he did. A few weeks after the release of the video we played at Hard Rock Laager in Estonia and people there asked if Chris was going to come on stage with us so obviously the video didn't go unnoticed.
BACK IN THE STUDIO
Luxi: According to the band's official Facebook page, you guys have been working on the band's fourth album. Could you give a brief update as to where you are at right now with it?
Matias: We're about halfway through the recordings. Most of the guitars are done and we need to record the vocals, keyboards and some bass guitar.
Luxi: Is there anything already you can tell us about the band's new material? How does it compare to the material on your previous album, Dimension: Death?
Matias: Some of the stuff is very similar to Dimension: Death, I think, but of course there are some new ideas too.
Lauri: Actually, I am kind of nervous and excited at the same time about how the end result will sound. The way we have been making this album has been so different from previous album sessions.
Luxi: Would you say that you have tried to push the envelope more as far as your new songs are concerned?
Matias: We didn't really seek any new horizons but obviously there will always be some development.
Lauri: At the time of the Dimension: Death album, we were all around 30-35 years old and now part of the band is over 40. We'll see if we can completely avoid some AOR-orientated influences in our new songs, haha!!
Luxi: Playing Nostradamus a little bit, how much time do you think it will take until the band's next album is ready? By summer 2019, perhaps?
Matias: Our aim is to get recordings finished around summer. Things are going quite slowly nowadays as almost everyone in the band has a family, so we need to find time to get recordings done.
Lauri: I can promise our new album will be ready by X-mas. However, which year's X-mas, I have no idea... ;o)
Luxi: Have you given any thought to a crowdfunding campaign for this next album? It would be a win-win situation for both parties for sure, I believe...
Matias: No, we haven't. We would probably need a bigger fan base to make a crowdfunding thing work.
Lauri: We are not really doing this for money. Our aim is just to make good music and get some nice gig opportunities and if there's something extra, that would be a bonus only.
Luxi: On the other hand, releasing your own stuff in limited quantities can hardly boost a band's career as much as having a hard-working and professional label behind the band with the resources to push their bands. Perhaps putting together a professional digital promotional kit might be an option for you guys with the new material? Just a thought...
Lauri: Of course, we are open to all reasonable cooperation to get more attention and success, which would help us to make more good music and get some nice gigs.
GETTING ACTIVE ON THE GIG FRONT
Luxi: You have a few gigs coming up, one of which will be at Kotka Open Air festival this summer. But I gotta believe you are aiming for many more gigs this year as well. Where are you standing at the moment regarding these gigging opportunities?
Matias: Right now we have three gigs scheduled; two of them are in Kotka and one in Vyborg, Russia.
Luxi: Speaking about suitable touring bands, if you had the chance to choose bands to play gigs with, would there be one in particular that you'd like to go on tour with, realistically speaking?
Matias: Helloween or Judas Priest. ;o)
Lauri: It is nice to go to the festivals to play and see many like-minded bands with different musical variety. That's also one way to possibly get a foot in the door when thinking of cooperation with some bands for common gig opportunities.
Luxi: Obviously, you have lots of faith in keeping the band alive and kicking, so my last question is how do you see the future of the band? "Time will tell...." is not an appropriate or acceptable answer so... try harder!
Lauri: Domination Black is once again going through an interesting phase. The new album is coming, we have agreed to play a more gigs than the past few years and on top of them all, even new song ideas have started to rotate in our minds. The band is at the stage that no one needs to present anything more than the band really is. The overall atmosphere in the band is relaxed and doing this band feels really nice and comfortable. Somehow it seems that the next seven years will be busier for the band than the previous seven. Fingers crossed, though.
Luxi: Well, that was it, Matias and Lauri. A big, mature handshake for taking your time with my questions, and all the best to both of you and Domination Black in your sincere mission to conquer the whole world by melodic Metal anthems. Anything to add?
Lauri: Thanks for the questions, Luxi. Hopefully the answers were pleasant. Nowadays, it seems that young people are not really excited to start forming their own bands, and Metal music is no longer that popular as it used to be some years ago. So, perhaps us, the so-called "old farts" should prove these kids wrong and show to them all that Metal music is not dead – in fact, far from it!
|Other information about Domination Black on this site|
|Review: Dimension: Death|
|Interview with Lauri Eerola (bass) on February 11, 2012 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)|
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