Lord Vicar might have only just had their 2nd full length album "Signs of Osrsis" released via German doom label The Church Within but the main core of vocalist lord Chritus Linderson and Kimi Kärki (aka Peter Vicar) have a collective rich musical history between them when it comes to playing Doom Metal. Chritus first of all cutting his teeth in Count Raven before a short stint fronting LA Doom legends Saint Vitus and then having a spell with Swedish Doomrockers Terra Firma and Kimi being the axeman in Finnish true Doom trio Reverend Bizarre - this interview was done shortly before they hit the road in Europe with Sigriyia and Orchid and their appearance at the prestigious Roadburn Festival in Holland. Kimi answered some of my questions :-
Ok Please give a quick background history on the band and who currently does what?
We have been making extremely heavy music since 2007, Chritus does the vocals, Gareth Millsted drums and Jussi Myllykoski handles the low frequencies.
How quickly did the idea of forming a new Doom band come into your head after the demise of Reverend Bizarre? And was Chritus your first choice of vocalist for the new beast you had planned to form? How did you initially get in touch with Chritus and approach him about doing vocals for Lord Vicar, and how long did it take for him to get onboard as he had went off the musical map at that point in time into hibernation. What were your feelings when he agreed to join as I know you are a big fan of his ex bands Count Raven, Saint Vitus etc...
I started planning this band already in 2006, after I knew for certain that my old band Reverend Bizarre was going to end. So in a way I looked into the future at the same time as we were doing the last recordings of RB. Chritus was indeed the first one I had in mind, I had seen him live with Terra Firma, when they supported Cathedral and Orange Goblin in Helsinki, back in the late 1990s. He was definitely one of the coolest frontmen I had ever witnessed, and I certainly loved his vocal style.
The biggest problem was indeed to find him, as he had pretty much vanished from the scene, but with the help of Rendfield, the ex-drummer of Count Raven, I was able to reach him by phone. I then went to Sweden to meet him, and he agreed to be part of this adventure. We drank from the horn and sacrificed a bit to the one-eyed deity as well. Needless to say my joy was overwhelming, especially as Chritus turned out to be one of the nicest people I have ever met.
How did you go about finding the other members of the band and deciding on who to get involved? Your drummer Gareth lives in London so how did it come about that he joined? Have you at any point found having a member in Sweden, a member in England and the rest of the band located in Finland very difficult or hard? You rehearse in Finland right if I am not mistaken, how often do these rehearsals/get togethers to work on music happen? Judging by the steady stream of musical output by the band so far I guess you all seem to be able to get together to rehearse etc quite easily?
After finding Chritus I then went public with my request for a drummer, and Gareth replied almost instantly. We had toured together when he played with Centurions Ghost, and I knew that he was both an excellent drummer and a great person as well, so that problem was solved. By the way he has relocated to Basel now, and actually works at least temporarily in Kuwait, so we have quite a challenge to keep things running properly at the moment, when it comes to gigs.
Finding a bass player was more a problem at first, and in the first 7” we did we had a guest bass player - certainly only for the logistical reasons, being separated by the Atlantic - namely one Jim Hunter, known for his bass magic for While Heaven Wept, Revelation (nowadays that lineup is called Yet So Far), Twisted Tower Dire, October 31 and so on. After that Jussi Myllykoski suggested that he could be up to the task. He had been around in many of our and also other bands' tours, doing the driving, so he was already familiar with what was ahead. We gave the songs a go and his stripped down, extremely heavy playing style fitted like a glove to what I had in mind. And so we had a full lineup, which has quite a massive musical chemistry together.
Because we live far and apart from each other, we mostly link rehearsals with gigs or recordings. We do not jam to get material, each song is pretty much arranged by the one responsible for it, before we rehearse.
What is the writing process like for Lord Vicar? Is it yourself who mostly writes the music? How often do you guys get together to rehearse/ I guess there is a lot of passing music and ideas via mp3s through the internet to each other?!
So far I have written most of the material, including lyrics, but Gareth and Jussi are coming up with excellent songs now, and Chritus is very smart with vocal arrangements and adjusting lyrics to suit his great style. Our rehearsals are sadly a rarity, so we have to rely a lot to the internet. I have to say that this work method makes our rehearsals quite loaded, and we usually are focusing hard on getting arrangement work sorted out. I actually like that, as the situation is both warm and professional, everyone giving their full concentration. If we had a weekly meeting in a rehearsal place, I trust we would consume a lot of beer instead. Gareth usually does the initial drum arrangement to my basic tracks with a drum machine, I might comment a detail here and there, and then the final demo is done. That, then, works as the basis for our work in rehearsals, where actual live playing makes the music flow naturally and we are able to polish the rough edges a bit. Nowadays we try to play songs live as much as possible before hitting the studio, as we noticed with the first album that the songs evolve guite a bit on the road.
The first recording by the band was the "Demon of Freedom" 7", what are your thoughts looking back on those songs/that recording now?
It's very very DIY, that one, raw and unpolished work by people who all recorded in different locations: Chritus in Stockholm, Gareth in London, Jim in Raleigh, NJ, and me in Turku. I do like the vibe of the 7” a lot, it has a touch of another time. Certainly we could re-record the stuff much tighter and heavier now, but what would be the point, when new material pours out of us constantly anyway? The theme of the 7” is based on an old werwolf legend from the island of Hiiumaa, Estonia, as narrated by Finnish-Estonian author Aino Kallas. The story mainly about female sexuality and the power of the nature in all of us.
You soon followed that up with the debut full length album for the Church Within, how did you hook up with Oli? Are you pleased with the work he did on that album? What are your personal thoughts looking back on that album now? Are you happy overall with how it turned out?.
I have known Oli 'Doom Dealer' Richling for a long time now, as I used to see him with his stall in Reverend Bizarre shows in Germany and Benelux at times. His excellent distro was always one of my favourites, and when he started The Church Within record label, we released a 7” Pentagram tribute split with Mannhai through him. After doing that and having long talks with him about how he'd run his label, I certanly knew I could trust this good friend. I am extremely pleased with how things turned out with the album, we worked on it really quickly and Oli was very flexible with the tight release schedule we needed. The album itself is an honest ten ton truck with no fillers, and I guess at least a couple of the tracks, 'Born of a Jackal' and 'The Funeral Pyre' have become strong crowd favourites as well. Right now, as we toured with those songs quite a bit between 2008 and 2011, we are really looking forward to play new material. This doesn't mean those songs wouldn't be among the best I ever wrote.
We were in a real hurry with recording, mixing and mastering Fear No Pain. It was basically a minute game to get it out to our first ever tour, which started from Halle, Germany in the Autumn of 2008. Week before the tour I had the master in the post office, for a special superfast delivery. Getting home, however, I noticed that the first and second song were indexed together in the copy of the master. The mastering engineer, Joona Lukala, then fixed the problem in the night, and next morning I was the first customer at the post office. Luckily the envelope had not been collected yet by the courier service, and Oli got the albums from the factory a day before the tour started.
Your 2nd full length "Signs of Osiris" has just been released, one again by The Church Within, please tell the readers abit about your new album in your own words and what they can expect from it, I must say you guys have improved upon the first album in my opinion and wrote a very strong and great Doom album which had me hooked from start to finish! Are you satisified with the end result overall?
I have to say we have matured a lot as musicians in these few years, and the result can be heard on the album as well. I am very proud of this warm, organic, heavy and layered piece of work, it has good dynamics, a lot of light and shade... I trust that it will stand the test of time. So, people, check it out, this one's our heartblood!
What has he response been like so far to the new album?
Amazing, for one, I don't think I saw one single bad review so far. More strikingly, people come to me and tell me our music has made their life better, and that's the highest compliment a songwriter can get in my books.
Lyrically what is the inspiration to put pen to paper? what do some of the topics on the new album deal with, please tell us abit about the concept behind the album title.
The album has a loose unifying theme, violence, be it in relationships, wars, or through the eyes of children. 'Sign of Osiris Slain' and 'Sign of Osiris Risen', the songs that open and close the abum, are a mixture of Western ceremonial magic, Egyptian mythos, and very personal reflections on the relation of man and woman. 'The Answer' is Jussi's song and lyric (which he revised with Chritus a bit, to add more bite), really the catchiest song on the album. 'Child Witness' was written by Gareth, it's definitely one of my favourites in the album, looking at horrors through the eyes of a child. I guess the root was when we watched Lone Wolf & Cub in the tour van, and started discussing. But what Gareth came up with is much more universal, and really powerful. The song also has some nice progressive elements, which will be really nice to play live! 'Between the Blue Temple and the North Tower' is my take on The Third Reich, the mythos those people believed in, and which then consumed them. 'Sinking City' is my ode to the city of Venice, truly a place with sectrets, bound to vanish. 'Endless November' is again a personal song.
The name Lord Vicar....please tell us about that! I know why you settled upon it but some readers out there might not be familiar with the reason behind the band name!
It's a reference to Lord Chritus and Peter Vicar, but also a reference to the myth of the first pope being crusified upside down. Gives you a different kind of perspective to life, unfortunately a bit fucked up, when it comes to Catholic faith, haha.
You have also been involved with two splits, are those still available if so where can people get hold of them from? What did you contribute to those splits with Griftegård and Funeral Circle?
I hope both are still available, the 7” with Griftegård was released by Ván Records, and the 12” with Funeral Circle by Eyes Like Snow. For the Griftegård split we recorded a cover of The Cardigans song 'Do You Believe'. That was Chritus' idea, he likes the band and thought that a heavy version of the song might suit us. I think he was right, it's different from our usual stuff, but could still be written by us. I also saw this release as a retaliation to their habbit of doing versions of Black Sabbath songs.
What is your opinion on the current Doom scene? What other bands do you feel an "affinity" with and would recommend to the readers out there?! Are there any aspects of the modern scene that you don't like...how would you compare the Doom scene to when you first started out with Reverend Bizarre back in the 90s, the whole genre seems to have had a boost in popularity overall since those days...is there anything about the old scene days that you feel is missing from the current scene? Which current Doom bands would you recommend to the masses?.
I am not going to dwell on the old 80s bands getting back on the road, such as Pentagram and Saint Vitus, you know what you get when you go see them! About the newer bands... I think there is a number of really good bands, such as 40 Watt Sun (which I see as a more versatile continuation from Warning), Orodruin, The Gates of Slumber, Spiritus Mortis, Blood Farmers, Pale Divine, Electric Wizard, etc... the ones that have established themselves as something that clearly have their own voice. There is a great deal of other bands which are really really good, but which make me think that I might just as well pick Witchfinder General LP from the shelf. I am really glad, however, that there are massively potential bands out there, such as Orchid, who are some of the most skillful musicians I have seen, and entertaining as fuck, but wee bit too close to Black Sabbath in their riffage... I can't believe I said that, haha, thinking about my love for the said band, but I really think that Orchid actually have more to offer... They played a new song in Hammer of Doom festival, and that was really exciting. Of course there are bands like Sigiriya, Mirror of Deception, Jex Thoth, Hour of 13, Seamount, Serpent Venom, Rituals of the Oak, and so on, which I do enjoy a lot... And even when there is a number of bands that might not excite me now, I am sure some of them will achieve amazing things in the long run. So, situation is amazing in comparison to the times when a lot of bands labeled as doom metal seemed to actually be slow death metal or lazy stoner rock.
You are a very active live band it seems, already having got a couple European tours under your belt, what have been some of your fave shows on the road so far, any amusing stories/anecdotes you would like to share? What are some of the most memorable shows you have played with Lord Vicar so far and why? What can people expect from an LV live show?.
I guess London has always been very good for us, we have done The Borderline and The Gaff (RIP) there, and both were amazing gigs, so I have high hopes for Desert Fest in April... Hell's Pleasure festival where we played before Pentagram's first European gig, Doom Shall Rise festival of course, always like a family reunion there, playing with Candlemass and Trouble in Athens... Most times memorable gigs are also to do with great audiences who really push us over the limit to some unknown mad territories... Other nice shows have been Vienna, Winterthur in Switzerland, Dublin, the first ever gig in Halle, Dutch Doom Day in Rotterdam, Jalometalli festival in Oulu, Muskelrock in Sweden, opening for Manilla Road in Kouvola, Finland... Mad and heavy gigs most of them, bordering on delirium at times, haha! When we play, you can expect mad and really heavy show... there will be sweat!!!
Is there plans to tour much in support of the new album? Do you have much in the pipeline, where can people expect to see LV live in 2012?
At the moment there's only the tour we do in April, from Desert Fest we head to Germany, Poland, Germany, Roadburn Festival in Tilburg, and back to... GERMANY! So if there is anyone anxious to see us play, get to one of these shows. As Gareth is indeed in Kuwait, it's not easy to do liveshows right now. There are a few parties we are talking with, but nothing is set in stone.
You recently played Greece how was that?! That was a great line up for a show!
Oh yes it was, Candlemass with Längquist was already quite something, but there were also Trouble, Hell and Ghost. I got to say that seeing Trouble for the first time was great, even with Kory Clarke, am glad he is gone now as that was not exactly a match made in heaven... We had a nice one, there were about 1200 people in the audience, and I got to revisit some of the places I love dearly, and meet again some really cool people like Metal Greg from Eat Metal Records, Nick from Convixion and so on...
What has personally been some of the best moments of being involved with your own bands both past and present? Are you still in touch with your ex RB bandmates? What are they up to thesedays? Can you ever see a reformation happening at some point?
Well, good liveshows are always high in the list, the last Reverend Bizarre gig being one of the most emotional ones, touring USA was a great adventure as well. The moments achieving a new level of musical understanding with my band brothers, the moments when we get to some cool city and have time to look around. My music has taken me to Alps, Nüremberg, Brooklyn, Indianapolis, Paris, London, Dublin and so on... I like seeing new places, a lot. Yeah we are in touch, there is a bunch of Reverend Bizarre related things, such as the vinyl versions released by Svart Records. We also release music in Orne. Jari aka Void is involved in a lot of straight edge activism and hardcore punk, also organising events in Turku. Sami aka Albert has several musical projects going on, I guess right now he is having some rest from everything. Reverend Bizarre will not reform.
Might be a kinda obvious question but what bands fuel and shape the overall sound of Lord Vicar? What personally inspired you to pick up the guitar and play this style of music in the first place and to start crafting your very own hymns of doom?
It is indeed fairly obvious, I can easily throw the usual suspects Black Sabbath Pentagram, Saint Vitus, Trouble, Witchfinder General, and The Obsessed. Nowadays you need to add The Who and Led Zeppelin as well, they are like mother's milk... I'd like to bring even more versatility to our sound, but keeping it loyal to our roots. I started playing guitar in 1994, pretty quickly got initiated to doom metal by Albert, who had been adviced by the great list in Cathedral's debut album. It was really hard to get the albums in Finland those days, so it was quite a cult, haha! Tony Iommi and Victor Griffin were the deities, they were the riff masters who most influenced me. Writing my own material felt very natural way to go with music. I am not Joe Satriani, Steve Vai or Yngvie Malmsteen, and don't ever want to be, so it's good to focus on the creative process more than on the technical.
What other bands/projects are the members of LV currently involved with, please introduce us to them.
Chritus sings in Weekend Beast, which is good stoner rock band, Gareth has The Path is Clear, which is quite progressive heavy metal, really ecletic and interesting, Jussi has a band which to my best knowledge has not been named yet, but shows a great promise to be very heavy. I have Orne, the progressive rock band released by Black Widow Records, E-Musikgruppe Lux Ohr, which has a debut album recorded, and is playing kosmische musik in the vein of Tangerine Dream, early Kraftwerk and Klaus Schulze, to name some influences, and my solo acoustic singer/songwriter folk stuff. I have an album's worth of that kind of bare bones fragile music as well, recently did four solo gigs in Italy with that material, and Dublin before that.
How would you describe the personality of each member of LV? Has there ever been any clashes of cultural difference when it comes to how you think individually. I guess what I am trying to say is has there been times when there has been things lost in translation when communicating with each other since 2 of you are native Finnish speakers, one Swedish and the other a Brit or do you all find it very easy to communicate with each other and put across your ideas to each other clearly with any confusion?
We have of course had our share of internal conflicts, and I think they pretty much come down to learning about each other's personalities and oddities, and respecting the existence of the said oddities, hah hah! Some of it is down to cultural differences, some to personalities. Mostly it comes down to the moments when people are intoxicated and cannot think clearly enough to give each other some peace. I, for one, am a control freak, and get irritated if things don't work as I want. So my lesson in life has been to trust people to do their bit... And I think, when we were making Signs of Osiris, we all signed a pact in blood, to bear the individual cross. I think it's a natural part of any band, learning how to deal with tensions, some just have it worse than the others. Compared to Reverend Bizarre Lord Vicar is a picnic, a holiday, a fucking foot massage in one! I think when you sit in a van a week or two straight you learn quite a bit about the people around you, and we have done that a few times. So we know presicely what moves each of us, and what is irritating. I also think we have enough mutual respect to give each other their own space. I got to say that Chritus, Gareth and Jussi are like a second family to me, and it's always a great pleasure to see them!!! Matter of fact this forthcoming tour makes me tremble in excitement, and once we get going with Orchid and Sigiriya, the earth will tremble as well.
What plans have you got for 2012 and beyond? Any plans to make a return to the UK at some point in the not too distant future? Do you have any new material already in the pipeline or ideas of what the next release will be?
UK, well, Desert Fest in Camden in early April is our next gig, but after that, who knows when we return to Albion... Be there and be doomed!!! I am writing songs for the next full lenght, Gates of Flesh, and I guess if we have less gigs in short term, that's where my priority lies during next few months after the tour. One song, 'A Woman Out of Snow', is fully written, and a few are pretty clear as well... Gareth has one song ready, 'Breaking the Circle'. I am working on two others right now, 'The Green Man', and 'Leper, Leper', and Jussi is writing about making love.
Time to plug available merch and leave your final words for the readers, many thanks for answering this short interview!
I'd like to see your long interview one day, haha! Cheers!!!
Our albums can be found from The Dealer: http://www.doom-dealer.de/. We are in Facebook and Myspace as well. All I said throughout the night, I did mean every word...
Lord Vicar were also my choice for a "band of the day" on the Terrorizer Magazine website recently :-http://truecultheavymetal.com/blog1.php/2012/04/20/band-of-the-day-lord-vicar