File under: I really should drop this part
Well...crap. I'm stumped for words at the moment. Ahem.
Fist in Fetus are 2 seemingly bi-polar men that couldn't decide whether to be melodic and peaceful or abrasive as all holy fuck. So they decided to blend these traits together to create something that can only be described as classical death/grind (I swear to God I need to stop featuring bands that I can't describe easily). Best of all, their only release so far is completely free, so you can download it and see for yourself.
One minute you're being serenaded by an angel's harp and the next minute Satan is raping you. Fist in Fetus are the equivalent of a long walk on a beautiful Summer's day only to fall into a spiked pit with shit smeared all over the walls.
Who are you, where are you from and what is your role in Fist in Fetus?
Perttu: "I believe I am Ruler of the Great Borderline, Prime Minister of the House of the Hats, promoted by the blessing of the Gathering, who some call Christopher - the Passionate, the One From the Woods, the One Who Walks at Night, the Servant of the Lilys; but the people surrounding me call me Perttu, so I have to assume that's my name. Though I really prefer the previous. I also thought I was raised by wolves on a riverbank, but I've been told I live in Helsinki, Finland.
My role in FiF - well, I compose all the music and arrange it, write the lyrics, handle a part of the vocal duties, program all the computer stuff, produce the stuff together with Matias [Kupiainen, other half of FiF] (he's the sound guy, I'm the substance guy), probably play some guitar on the future releases and so on, so I pretty much do a whole bunch of things."
Where did you get the idea to blend classical music with death metal/grindcore?
Perttu: "Mm... I guess there's not a real key moment with that one; ever since I can remember I've been trying to combine different things together and figure out how it could be done properly. I've always hated the way bands combine 'classical' elements to metal and pop music all in all, taking only the irrelevant, superficial things like the orchestral instruments and leaving out the real core, the music. You can play Bach with electric guitar and the music's same, it's still classical music if done properly, you can play Necrophagist with French horn and still the riffs are the same, the music is Necrophagist. The superficial things don't make a style, it's more about the way you think, the way you compose, the way you approach the whole subject of music. Chick Corea has composed classical music, even though he's a jazz player, Mozart has composed pop music, even though... well, you know.
So, all in all, the concept of combining classical MUSIC to metal is something I've wanted to do for a long time. Only band I've heard to even come close to something like that is Waltari with their Death Metal Symphonies. Only problem with those was that the music wasn't really approachable for the audience - it was too metal for classical people and too classical for metal people - all in all, it's not so nice to listen to. So, what I decided to do was to try to make everything as "clear" as possible, not forget the listener, make the beautiful parts as beautiful as possible, brutal parts as brutal as possible, artsy-fartsy parts as artsy as possible, add some melodic elements to the whole as a kind of reward to the listener, and at the same time try to tell a story. And of course, there is the acrobatic virtuoso element, the kind of idol-worshipping you can't forget, music is played by people and people like to see the people playing it are good at what they're doing. Of course this sounds like it's very well planned ahead but it's not, it just sounds like that when you put everything you've thought about throughout the years in a few sentences. I just make music I'd like to listen to myself. I like a lot of different kinds of stuff."
Classical conductor Osmo Vänskä and piano player Iiro Rantala both feature on the release. How did these guest appearances come about, and what do they think of the more extreme sections of the album?
Perttu: "Well, Osmo happens to be my father, so he wanting to participate is not a miracle. I guess your father would help you out with this blog if you asked? He happened to have a few concerts with some Finnish orchestras when we were recording the stuff, and when we spoke, he asked if I needed help with something. Well, being the opportunist I am... Osmo actually likes FiF very much, and amazingly most of the classical musicians I've spoken to seem to like it also. In fact, I've met some players in the Minnesota Orchestra who like our stuff also... scary, huh.
With Iiro it's a bit of a different story. A few years back I had this manic transcription phase, I just wanted to see what my ears are capable of. So, I notated stuff, listening to records like a lunatic, all these crazy lightning fast, insanely difficult solos from Richard Andersson, Jens Johansson, Michael Romeo, Steve Vai, Guthrie Govan, Alexi Laiho, Pat Metheny and so on, and as my ears got better, as a challenge I decided I'd try to notate everything on a Trio Töykeät song called "Etude". The drum solo was the only thing I didn't transcribe fully, some 32 bars or so, but the transcription turned out pretty fine. Somehow Iiro heard about this "super-eared guy notating everything you play" and wanted to see my transcription. After that he wanted to hire me to do a sheet music book for him, which unfortunately has not been completed (actually it seems like we're finishing it this month), but at least I got to know him. So, as we sent e-mails, I asked if he'd be interested in playing a improvisation on the EP - and he was. Iiro is a very open-minded and he seems to understand the aesthetics of about every style, so he never questioned the rest of the music. He also featured Matias and Risto [Kupiainen, guests on the EP] in his TV show after hearing FiF."
The song titles on the EP indicate that there is a concept to the album - is there? If so, what is the story?
Perttu: "Yes, there is a story behind the album. This is a topic I'm not too keen to talk about, as it kind of takes away the mystery and the freedom of interpretation, but since you asked: it tells a story about an ordinary person turning to a kind of murderer believing what he's/she's doing is justified. You know this "God told me to take the life of these 147 people"-category of murderers who seem to actually believe they were only doing good. And what do we know, is it really wrong or right? Of course it's not too nice a thing to do to your friend to take his life, but what the hell - world's a shitty place anyway, you're better off dead, that's a very justified point of view although it's not the only one.
Well, anyway, feeling the weight of the world, the feeling of not having a purpose, being cast away alone to this world is just too much for the FiF-character to handle. This escalates into schizophrenia and mental breakdown, and the character gets the pieces of his/her life together after listening to the voice in his/her head. The voice seems to have a plan to make all the pain, all the anxiety go away by giving a purpose to the character's life. This purpose is to release everybody else from their pain by taking their life. Of course, it remains a mystery who the voice is, and how does the voice know who's feeling the pain, that is, how the victims are chosen etc., but the point of the story is to tell it from the main character's viewpoint, not from the spectator's. This might help you understand for example the song "Emancipation", in which the main character is given birth. And I do mean an actual birth with machines that say BEEP and stuff."
When we hopefully see another release from you guys, are there any more instruments that you hope to feature?
Perttu: "After the EP and all the projects around it, we've drowned in work, it seems everyone wants a piece of us. Which of course is happy for our careers, but not for FiF. Matias is on tour with Stratovarius at the moment, I'm producing an album for a band called Whispered, among all the freelance stuff I do, those transcriptions and such - we're working on the stuff whenever we have spare time, but there hasn't been much. But, in order to get all the ongoing projects done, we actually decided to turn down a few job offers to finish the stuff, so I'm pretty sure we'll get the album done before the end of the year. Hopefully Stratovarius won't do some gigantic 2 and a half year tour after Polaris...
To the second part of your question, for me, music is not just music, it's not just what's on the outside, it's what's inside. I want my music to be like a good book, that is not just words or sentences, but what comes out of them. I honestly feel like I'm reading a book or watching a movie when I listen to music - I'm following a storyline as an abstract concept, which applies also to documentaries and other non-fictional stuff. A good book is like another world you can enter again and again, and forget the real world surrounding you. That's what I want albums to be like - a world in which the different situations, in this case parts of music, follow each other naturally, like in a story. Absurd and surprising situations can also be natural, if they lead to something interesting. That's why I really try not to think about what instruments, players or styles of music should be covered, I hope the music will tell me that."
Thanks to RotGB, PMotHotH, PbtBotG, WSCC - TP, TOFtW, TOWWaN, TSotL aka Perttu for his time.