Interview with guitarist and vocalist Eemil Lajoma
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: February 27, 2022
Finland's promising new death dealers, Cryptic Hatred, have been making a name for themselves since the inception of the band in 2019. Their 8-track demo, Free From the Grave, was released in 2020 and opened the catacombs and released the stench of putrefaction with favorable results. The small independent Finnish label The Other Records couldn't resist the reek of these youngsters' (they are all just 18 years old) crispy, eerie, and dark death metal, so they signed the band and first released their demo as a remixed and mastered version followed by the band's debut album, Nocturnal Sickness, on February 18, 2022.
We, the ancient grave guards of old-school death metal here at the dusty The Metal Crypt, were eager to learn more about these death mongers and the band's vocalist and guitarist Eemil Lajoma kindly stepped up and shed some light on the band.
How have the past two pandemic years treated Cryptic Hatred? Has it been tough and miserable for you guys due to the lack of gig possibilities?
Eemil: The past two years have been good and bad. In 2020 we made our demo during the first wave of Covid-19 and we got to play our first gig ever at Helsinki Death Fest 4.5, which was held in August. We were supposed to play more shows during the last months of 2020, but they were all cancelled, so we started writing material for the debut album. There were both good and bad things.
IN 2019 CRYPTIC HATRED WAS BORN
Cryptic Hatred is a relatively new band in the Finnish underground death metal scene, formed in 2019. How did you guys met and decide to form the band? Had you known each other already?
Eemil: Tatu (drums) and I have known each other since first grade, and we were in the same class for all nine years. We met Jami (guitar) and Miska (bass) in seventh grade. Jami was in the same class as Tatu and me and Miska was in the same school. In 2019, when we were in ninth grade, Jami and I were talking about playing guitar during lessons, since we had both started playing roughly one year before. We talked about guitars and then we had an idea to go to the music room during lunch break to play. Then Tatu joined us to play drums and Miska, who had previously played guitar, picked up the bass since Jami and I had already taken both guitars. That's how the band started. We went again and again to the music room to jam some Slayer and System of a Down songs. Eventually we wanted to write our own stuff and started thinking of a band name.
Apparently none of you has reached your twenties yet, so how did you settle on old-school '90s death metal and what elements do you find fascinating about it?
Eemil: Yeah, we were all born in 2003, so not in our twenties yet! I think the reason we like '90s death metal is that we found it first. We didn't listen to any modern death metal bands when we started listening. Cannibal Corpse was the first band that I personally listened to and later found Suffocation, Deicide, Obituary, Cryptopsy, etc. The things that I find fascinating are the vocals, guitar work, songwriting style and one of the most important things, production, especially the Morrisound production. Hell yeah...!
Are there some Finnish or non-Finnish death metal bands from the early '90s that you really look up to?
Eemil: I mentioned the biggest non-Finnish inspirations in my previous answer, but, of course, we look up to a bunch of Finnish bands too!! We enjoy bands like Sentenced, Convulse, Rippikoulu and Cadaveric Incubator, and few more modern sounding death metal bands such as Sotajumala, Galvanizer and Gorephilia.
FREE FROM THE GRAVE
You released your debut demo, Free From the Grave, just about a year after the inception of the band. Musically, it captures that magical (but never forgotten) feeling and vibe of '90s-era Finnish death metal; murky, brutal, and heavy as a pile of dinosaur bones. Was it your intention to go back to the very roots of Finnish death metal?
Eemil: Yes, absolutely!! We didn't plan to make a certain sounding demo, it is just what naturally came out of us, since '90s death metal is the biggest inspiration for us.
How was the response to your demo? Did any of the feedback stick in your mind?
Eemil: The feedback we got was mainly very good, and that surprised us. We didn't think that it would get much attention since we only made it to show our friends and family our music.
Of course, the good feedback gave us more confidence in our songwriting moving forward.
This demo found its way to the headquarters of The Other Records, and they put it out as a remixed and remastered digipak and digital version. How satisfied are you with the outcome of this improved version of the demo?
Eemil: We are happy with the remix! Looking back, we could've performed better and recorded the tracks better, but overall, we are happy with it.
TIME FOR SOME NOCTURNAL MORBIDITY
If that wasn't enough, The Other Records was also willing to release the band's debut album, titled Nocturnal Sickness. Would you tell the readers of The Metal Crypt something about the songwriting process for the album other than it was recorded during May-June 2021? Do you feel you accomplished everything during those recording sessions that you originally aimed to?
Eemil: Jami and I wrote all the songs for Nocturnal Sickness between September 2020 and January 2021. After all the songs were completed, we rehearsed them as a band and started recording in May. And yeah, we wanted to make an impressive debut album, with more focus on the songwriting and lyrics. We didn't want to make an overly repetitive album. We wanted to have some differences between the songs so that it would sound more interesting as a whole. We are very happy with the album.
Did some of you take responsibility for the musical direction of the band or was it a work by all the band members?
Eemil: Well, Jami and I wrote all the songs for the record, but we have always come up with most of the riffs anyway, so it wasn't that big of a change. The only change was that we wrote the songs together and sent them to the band's group chat when they were ready. Tatu and Miska were always happy with what we wrote and then we rehearsed the songs as a band. I came up with most of the drumbeats, but, of course, Tatu added his own fills and little things that made them much better. Some harmonies and leads were added during the recording phase.
What kinds of things inspired you guys to grab your pencils and decorate your menacing sonic brutality with tropics of death, horror, guts, and blood?
Eemil: The lyrical approach was a little different than before. This time I wanted each song to have a kind of a story. Lyrical ideas usually just randomly pop up in my head, or I write one line that sounds cool and from there I start writing the rest of the lyrics. But I have to say, to me the patterns are more important than the lyrical content.
Do you find writing lyrics a necessary evil, so to speak, that is a secondary part of the whole process or is writing decent lyrics equally as important as composing the music for the band?
Eemil: Writing good and catchy songs is definitely more important to us than writing good lyrics. So yeah, I do kind of find writing lyrics as a necessary evil.
WHAT IS A CRYPTIC HATRED SONG MADE OF?
Can you define the ingredients in a good Cryptic Hatred song?
Eemil: Good Cryptic Hatred songs have fierce riffs, sickening harmonies, brutal drumming, and a melodic lead.
You guys have shared stages with many other Finnish death metal outfits like Morbific, Sepulchral Curse, Gorekaust, and so on. How were these experiences? Do you think you gained some new followers when you played those shows?
Eemil: We have had a very good time performing with other bands. It's fun to meet new people in other bands and build connections. We have made good friends inside the scene and yes, we have gotten some new followers, too, absolutely! For example, we have noticed more listeners on Spotify, etc. after some gigs, and usually we sell a good amount of merch, too!
PLANS FOR CONQUERING STAGES
Due to the ongoing pandemic, how much have you planned future events for the band (if any at all)?
Eemil: We have actually booked some gigs for the upcoming spring! This year we will try to play more in different cities around Finland. We have Tampere, Turku and a few Helsinki gigs booked now. This summer we have some gigs, too, but more about those a bit later on! Keep an eye on our social media... ;)
Are you also aiming to play abroad if the opportunity for gigging outside of your home turf comes along?
Eemil: Yes, absolutely! We would love to visit other countries. When it is safe to go and we get a chance, we definitely will!
Finland obviously has a very strong death metal scene these days, there's no denying that. How do you see Cryptic Hatred's position among all the other Finnish death metal bands in 2022? Do you believe people are aware of your existence or do you think there's still some work to be done so that you reach more fans among the death metal crowd?
Eemil: Well, we think that we have at least some name recognition in the scene. At our gigs there is usually a good number of people and our merch sales are pretty good. And that's something we really want to thank you all for, we truly appreciate it! But there's still work to be done, and like I said before, this year we will try to visit more cities and gain more attention.
Promotion is a very important part of becoming well known. Do you have a guy within the band who takes on the role of promoting the band as much as possible, like answering interview requests and all that jazz?
Eemil: Yes, our active promo guy is me. I usually do all the posts and answering emails. I don't mind it, it's not like I'm forced to do it. I enjoy doing it.
There's a promotional video for "Stench of the Dead" but do you have any other band videos planned?
Eemil: At the moment, we don't have any videos planned. We would love to make a live video, or a music video at some point.
If you picked three death metal albums as references to the sound of Cryptic Hatred, what would they be?
Eemil: Three albums referencing Cryptic Hatred's sound pretty well would be:
Cannibal Corpse - The Bleeding
Suffocation - Effigy of the Forgotten
Sotajumala - Teloitus
OK, time for the last question. What do you expect from this year as far as the band's comings and goings are concerned? Blood and sweat, fame and success, something along those lines?
Eemil: We expect to play a lot of shows, write new material and generally we expect this year to be much better than the last two!
I would like to thank you for doing this interview and wish you all the best with the band's future endeavors. Rot 'til death...!, eh? Any closing words to wrap up this conversation properly?
Eemil: ... and we would like to thank you!! Thanks for the great interview! And for the readers out there, thank you for all the support! Our debut album Nocturnal Sickness is out now everywhere, check out our social media for physical copies, too!!
|Other information about Cryptic Hatred on this site|
|Review: Free from the Grave|
|Review: Nocturnal Sickness|
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