Interview with vocalist Mirko Nummelin
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: April 24, 2023
Foreseen is a Finnish crossover/thrash metal band, formed in 2010, who have gained a reputation for working their asses off. They have released three well-received albums in eight years and toured like crazy monkeys as well. The band's third album, Untamed Force, released on September 30, 2022, sums them up; an aggressive, mercilessly punishing and highly energetic band that won't leave anyone cold and is ready to blow fans' heads off (you have to witness them live to appreciate my words).
The Metal Crypt wanted to learn more about these Finnish thrashing crossover maniacs as their recent album pretty much floored us. We contacted the band's vocalist Mirko, and he kindly gave us an update regarding the band's current and future activities. Read on...
How's daily life in the Foreseen camp? Obviously, things will be getting busier for you guys now that you have a new album out and all that jazz, right?
Mirko: Hey Luxi! First of all, thanks for the interview!
When I'm not inhaling solvent fumes at the industrial screen-printing facility where I work, I'm hanging out with my girlfriend and our dog and cat. Things got busier after the Untamed Force LP dropped, for sure. We've been doing interviews, tour planning, merch orders and all that. Currently I'm the only one of us who has no other bands going on, but there's more than enough work with this band for me. It's been great to get active again after the break.
WE ARE AN UNTAMED FORCE
Speaking of that, how would you say recording your third album, Untamed Force, differed from your previous album, Grave Danger, from 2017? Were there any drastic changes in the processes?
Mirko: Well, I think the whole pandemic had a big effect on it. We had much more time to focus on the songwriting without any distractions from gigs or upcoming tours.
You are a band from the area around Finland's capital Helsinki, but something has triggered you to record at VR Studio in Turku, which was been the case with your two previous albums at least. What's so special about that studio?
Mirko: If my memory serves me right, we heard about the studio from our friends in Kohti Tuhoa who recorded their second LP there on analog tape. That must have had something to do with our decision. Even though I don't have a ton of experience with different studios, I have to say it's the most professional one I've been to, but still, something we can afford. So, we spent one weekend in Turku doing the base tracks and our guitarist Ville recorded the lead guitars and vocals and mixed the record in Helsinki.
In the second half of 2021, your bassist Joonas Hakaste, after a short stint in the band, decided to leave to concentrate on other things in his life. Jaakko Hietakangas (ex-Ranger, ex-Swallowed, etc.) jumped into his sneakers. How did you find Jaakko to replace Joonas?
Mirko: Let me correct you here a bit. We were in a tough spot as a band in 2015 when the Helsinki Savagery LP had just dropped. We were offered our first US tour with our friends in Power Trip and Red Death. The whole band couldn't do it, but it was an opportunity we didn't want to pass up. So, our friends Joonas and Jaakko joined on bass and guitar to fill in for the tour. After the tour it was only a matter of months until both joined the band officially.
Besides being the experienced musician that Jaakko is, what else could you say he brought into the thick soup of Foreseen when he joined the band?
Mirko: Jaakko brought more of that speed metal touch to our sound, more skillful songwriting and work ethic. It's cool that he has musical skills but isn't afraid of doing this type of "dumb" music either. Well, to be fair, that can be said about all the members, except me. I'm only capable of this dumb shit, hah!
How big is the part Ville (ex-Pyrotoxic, ex-Speedtrap, etc.) plays in the band when it comes to songwriting? Did he bring in more thrash elements for Untamed Force, kind of adding more Exodus and Slayer to the sound of the band?
Mirko: Yeah, he took a lot of responsibility with songwriting on the latest LP. Ville can play on three LPs, five EPs and record and mix the same amount in one year and at the end of the year he's like, "I did okay this year." That's how he works and somehow, he's able to keep it together. Together with Jaakko, they brought the double lead game to Foreseen that they mastered in their previous band, Speedtrap.
How important is it for the band to have the right chemistry between the members?
Mirko: I'll say it's necessary, especially if you spend more than a week in the same van on tour. It can get uncomfortable enough without any extra tension. One wrong person in the mix can drain the fun out of it. And if it's not fun, why bother doing it, right?
OLD SCHOOL, BABY, OLD SCHOOL...
To me, Untamed Force represents a perfect mix of crossover/punk and thrash metal with loads of raw energy and primal aggression, taking inspiration from the debuts of Exodus, Slayer, and Nuclear Assault and throwing it all in an attitude-oozing crossover blender, making the album an intensively boiling, highly adrenaline-driven release. It goes without saying that '80s thrash, along with a bunch of crossover releases from the same period (Life of Dreams, Speak English or Die, Crossover, etc.), are the ones you all get your fuel/medicine from, correct?
Mirko: Thanks a lot! You got the main ingredients of our sound right. Mid-80s NYHC crossing over with metal has definitely had a huge impact on our sound. Carnivore and Agnostic Front, along with Cro-Mags need to be mentioned. UK82 HC, and various death metal bands are important, too. Blessed Death, Hallow's Eve, Whiplash, Razor, etc. However, we all listen to a variety of different music that probably fuses into the Foreseen songs, or at least the way we see the songs somehow. I got some ideas for my parts from various rap records, for example, and Mårten grew up with progressive rock and that likely has affected his playing.
How did your deal with American Headsplit Records (cassette) and British Quality Control HQ (vinyl/CD) to release the record come about?
Mirko: Ola, who runs QCHQ, has been our friend a long time since we used to play quite a lot with her old bands Arms Race and Game. We dig the label and how she runs it, and it seems like she digs us. It's as simple as that. Headsplit just hit us up about the tape version when the new record was already out. It is a cool label that has done a lot for younger Finnish DM bands especially. And by the way, that CD version was self-released by the band and everyone who wants to help us distribute it should get in touch.
PROMOTIONAL AND TOURING MATTERS
Naturally, every time a band releases a new album, it needs to be promoted, both on social media platforms as well as playing live. Speaking of the latter, you apparently have a European tour in April 2023. How are things shaping up as we speak?
Mirko: Yeah, I agree. Those songs are pretty much written with physical crowd reaction in mind, and they need to be played live. We just finished a run of shows in Finland and a European tour is starting next week. We just spent a few thousand euros on our flights to Japan for September and our plans don't even stop there, haha! It is going to be a hectic year for sure.
Do you have any plans to play a string of gigs in Finland in the coming months?
Mirko: Yeah! We just finished six gigs around Finland for the winter/spring. It was very nice playing with great bands such as Sadistic Drive, Sick Urge, Gray State, Warfare Noise, Killing Frost, etc. We also have some fests for next summer and a couple of shows here and there. It's going to be great to play at Tuska again and a couple of smaller club shows, too.
How about a triple crossover-thrash mayhem tour across Finland, with Rytmihäiriö, Final Assault, and, of course, Foreseen? Now that would be really something... ;o)
Mirko: We will see about that. We don't want to play too much in Finland after these shows supporting the record are done. It's a small country, after all.
While you guys are on tour, how much emphasis on merchandise is there so fans have a chance to buy more than just a CD or a shirt? I mean, excessive merch tables are the ones where bands can get a few bucks into their pockets these days...
Mirko: I used to do shirt printing, and I did all our merch for years. So yeah, it's something that we have paid attention to. It's been a big financial help to keep us doing what we do. We also want to keep everything as affordable as possible.
Are there any crossover bands in 2023 that you sort of look up to with regards to what they represent not only musically but also attitude-wise?
Mirko: This is a good place to give shout outs to Dead Heat, Enforced, Pest Control, Fugitive, etc.!
... AND THEN THERE WAS COVID
How would you sum up the COVID years for Foreseen? When COVID hit, did it kill some good things you had planned months ahead?
Mirko: We had a European tour booked for the spring of 2020, so that was obviously cancelled. We were ready to go the same week the shit hit the fan in Europe. Looking back at it, I'm just glad we didn't get stuck at a border somewhere in Europe with a rental van and backline. Personally, the years without shows did me some good. After doing this band for ten years in a row without long breaks, I didn't even know how much I needed a break before I was forced to. It's really healthy to focus on other stuff for a while.
Audiovisual stuff is always an essential part of well-done promotional activities. Do you have any plans to shoot one or two videos for Untamed Force?
Mirko: Yeah, there's been talk about that, but nothing has come out of it so far. We'll see if we have something by the end of the year.
What will the next steps for the band be that you'll take to keep the train moving in the right direction, metaphorically speaking?
Mirko: Just more of the same things we've been doing. None of us has ever admitted to dreaming of doing this thing for a living.
The band has grown slowly and steadily. It feels good that it hasn't been a two-year hype and quickly forgotten.
Is there still something that you'd like to achieve with Foreseen? Or is it enough to make albums and play gigs from time to time?
Mirko: We have already achieved way more than I ever thought. It's been heartwarming to hear from younger people about how we've been the band that has introduced them to this sort of underground hardcore punk metal scene. It feels good to see the same familiar faces from ten years ago get involved and start running things. I can't think of many better things than that.
Well, that's all I had in mind for this "chat," so thanks a lot for your time, and all the best to you and the band in 2023! May the old-school crossover-thrash force be with you (or something along those lines anyway). Any fitting closing comments perhaps?
Mirko: Thank you! The underground subcultures are much more than stepping-stones to the mainstream.
|Other information about Foreseen on this site|
|Review: Helsinki Savagery|
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