Interview with guitarist Taneli Jämsä
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: November 19, 2023
Anima Hereticae, formed in 2020, is a three-piece Finnish blackened death metal band who are not afraid of using some orchestration within their music. They released their 3-track EP called Ov Behest in October 2021, which has opened doors for them into the world of extreme metal, putting the band's name on the map and marking them as a band none of us should ignore.
I am glad I checked them out because the band released their epic-sounding and very well-crafted studio album, Descended from the Mountains, this September, with a stunning album cover and I thought it would be a wise idea to get some more information about them. What would be a better way to do that than contacting the band and throwing a few questions their way.
The band's guitarist Taneli Jämsä seized this opportunity and provided us a pretty good insight into the world of Anima Hereticae.
First, my sincere congrats for getting your debut album out, titled Descended from the Mountains, this September! Are you still happy and satisfied with how it was received among the metal-loving community?
Tane: Thank you for those words. And yes, we were a bit nervous about how people would receive the album. It was not made easier by the fact that the previous release Ov Behest EP was a blast. Luckily, we are relieved now.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
What made you start Anima Hereticae back in 2020 in the first place?
Tane: I have played for many years other in bands with Ville and somehow we started to think about the band that both of us have dreamed of. We have played together mainly in doom bands, so it had to be something completely different, although good doom elements cannot be completely forgotten. After several weeks, Anima Hereticae was born.
Was it easy to find like-minded souls to join the band?
Tane: Not really. We had a couple of friends who we hoped would join and they agreed.
How did you settle on the name Anima Hereticae? Did you have any other cool options that came close to making the cut for the band's name?
Tane: It was discussed with Ville for a while and there were also some Finnish names as options, but we decided the name should be in English and we continued searching. We threw ideas for the band's name back and forth and somehow, we got the final name from deep in our minds. The name Anima Hereticae just clicked best.
As you all have a lot of experience in many different bands (Lost in Grey, Frosttide, Red Moon Architect, etc.), do you believe it made things easier for you to get this band going than let's say, getting a couple of green rookies who had no experience in bands?
Tane: Of course, it's easier to do these things when everyone already has a band background. You don't have to go through the same things that you went through in your teenage years. Nowadays, there is also less time to practice, so you can trust that everyone will take care of their own responsibilities by practicing independently.
Do each of you write music for the band equally, or do some of you have bigger roles in this process?
Tane: I mainly wrote the songs and Ville wrote the lyrics. We also used one of Ville's songs for the new album, which is great. We will, of course, try to arrange these songs together as best we can and in the future work more as a team. Saku Moilanen also helps a lot with the arrangements and brings the orchestral side and vision to our songs.
Do you rehearse together regularly, or do you mostly count on modern technology, and arrange rehearsals via Zoom or something similar?
Tane: As I already mentioned, so much is left to everyone's own responsibility, which has worked well. Before the gigs, we get together to practice together a few times.
Lyrics are an important part of a song. Where do you get your ideas for the lyrics from? Folklore? Medieval times? Swords and sorcery tales?
Tane: I'm not the best to tell you that because Ville is our lyric guy and mastermind of the stories behind the songs. We all are very interested in northern nature and mythology. We do a lot of hiking, biking, fishing, and chilling in a cottage in Norway, Sweden and surely in Finland. These places lead to good lyrics. And yes, we also have a song name called "Kraken."
Was it a painstaking process to get the songs written, rehearsed, and recorded for your debut album?
Tane: The songs have been rotated and edited somewhat so that they sound exactly the way we want them to. Fortunately, there were also a lot of songs left on the table and new ones have already been developed, which means that ideas have already been floated for the next album as well.
Musically, Descended from the Mountains is a very pompous, massive, and epic-sounding, blackened death metal release, with some orchestrated elements incorporated into it. How has the response been so far?
Tane: There has been a lot of good feedback. It has also been great to see that the media have also written good reviews of the album, which makes us happy. We are also surprised that a lot of physical discs have been sold. Many people still believe in the power of physical CDs, so we will continue to print physical discs in the future. We've also had a lot of requests for vinyl, so we might make a separate vinyl edition. To be determined.
THE VISUAL SIDE
Who is responsible for the absolutely stunning album cover art and how did you find the artist to do it?
Tane: It's good that there are multi-talented people in the band. As a media professional, Ville manages that graphic side very well. It's a little more efficient to do this because I get what I want right away.
The visual side of Anima Hereticae is also nicely executed. Do you think it's better to have a certain type of image that separates a band from the masses rather than being the thirteenth band out of a dozen similar-sounding and similar-looking bands?
Tane: Nowadays it is challenging to stand out from the crowd, but we have thought a lot about this visual aspect and tried to invest in it. Social media is one area that I think has been done properly for us. Thanks again to our professionals. Our drummer Teppo is a top-class professional in photography and video production, so we have this side well under our control as well.
We have also consciously wanted to invest in music videos, which we aim to make for each of our songs. Some outside help has also been received for this passionate goal. Thanks to Atte and Jenna also.
THE WORLD IS WAITING... ARE WE READY?
What about dragging your asses onstage at some point and playing in front of crowds? Is that something you will be planning to do in the future?
Tane: Yes, we want to invest in live performances and do a lot of gigs. Nowadays, it's more challenging to get to gigs and festivals because there is a lot of competition and supply.
I suppose you won't stick to playing future club shows in Finland only, but are also aiming to get slots at some well-known European festivals as well. Just feel free to correct me if I am wrong about this careful assumption...
Tane: Yes, that's exactly it. Anima Hereticae first conquers Finland and then Europe and the world, one festival at a time.
Have you planned something special for your future live shows perhaps, more than only bringing a backdrop onstage but something a bit more eye-catching and worth witnessing?
Tane: We have done about eight shows with Anima Hereticae and more will come. We also talked a lot about performing live and how we want to look. According to the feedback, the stage performance is already under control, but next we will try to invest even more in the visual side. The idea has been to use modern techniques, so we'll see if these can be realized for the next gigs.
What do you hope to achieve with the band in the future? Obviously, you have certain goals (that can also be well achievable) as far as the band's future activities are concerned, right?
Tane: Yes, we want Anima Hereticae to be known all over the world and we want to play in Australia, for example. If not next year, at least the following year.
Well, I think that's all I had in mind for this conversation, so I want to sincerely thank you, Taneli, for taking your time with my questions, and in the very same breath, I'd like to wish you all the best with your future endeavors with your band(s). Any fitting closing comments perhaps?
Tane: Thank you for this interview, Luxi. It was nice to answer your questions and spend time with them. All the best for the rest of the year and hopefully our album has arrived for you.
See you at gigs!
|Other information about Anima Hereticae on this site
|Review: Descended from the Mountains
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