Interview with Ville Laihiala
By: Nada K. Ahmed - 2014-01-20
A capacity to absorb the rather wavering nature of the Heavy music scene is what has made the Finnish group POISONBLACK poised to take a path gorged with success ever since their formation in 2000. The five-member band – originally formed as a side project, has by far released 6 records with a style that hovers between Gothic Metal and Heavy Metal. JorZine's reporter Nada K. Ahmed interviewed its current frontman and SENTENCED's ex vocalist Ville Laihilala who did not miss a chance to openly discuss his thoughts on contemporary Rock & Metal prospects, as well as the perks of music making as he knew it.
1.- Emerging from an environment so enormous and nutrient with music such as that of the Finnish Rock/Metal scene where several genres were originated while others were being shaped into what we, the fans, listen to nowadays must have the greatest influence on you. Tell us about that.
The Finnish music genre or scene has not influenced the way I write music. I have never followed any genres for the sake of that they exist. My influences still come from the way back when I was a young kid trying to learn how to play the guitar listening to Metallica, AC/DC, Iron Maiden... and failing severely. Still failing. In my opinion the old school music is better than this plastic, soulless, overproduced crap of today. Guess you could say that the imperfection, hearing the musicians and the hunger and the feel of the music are my influences.
2.- How was your experience with SENTENCED beneficial to you being now both the lead guitarist and vocalist in POISONBLACK?
It helped getting the recording deal, for sure and built my confidence to open my mouth and imitate singing. Still, if I would have never been in Sentenced I would be doing this anyway. Imitating singing and failing with the guitar. Maybe the name of the band would be different and with different musicians but this is all I want to do and will do until the day I die. Imitating and failing.
3.- Upon your taking on vocal duties, POISONBLACK underwent a considerable musical style change by which they were helmed out of the Gothic category, what kind of impulse was triggered then so as to result in such a sudden variegation?
I took over the vocals because there wasn't anyone else worthy to do it. The audition tapes we got were horrible at least 99% of them. Also I wanted to steer the music more towards Metal and Bluesy-Rock. Also I feel that the best person to sing my lyrics is I. Might sound selfish but I do music first and foremost for myself. It is the way it has- and will always be.
4.- There has also been a change in the band's lyrical theme from one extreme to the other; namely love and hate. You being the songwriter, what do you think was the stimulation for it?
I do not know... nowadays it feels really natural and comfortable to write about stuff that I hate and what pisses me off. Guess my lovelife is all fine and dandy that there isn't anything wrong so I can write about it. And no one gives a shit about it anyway. I hate people, including myself. It feels to be an endless source for lyrics.
5.- In terms of production, you used to produce your own albums before signing with Hype Records in 2010, in which way did that affect your music?
Not that great I'm afraid... I produced the first version of Lust Stained Despair and it sounded like shit. I was at the time hitting the bottle hard and couldn't really do anything creative work or be responsible to even wiping my ass for that matter. So the producing ended there. I've done some pre-production work for the last three albums but that's about it. Luckily we have worked with some talented producers who have helped us getting the sound we have been aiming for.
6.- As for the upcoming releases, are POISONBLACK aiming at maintaining a certain perspective or fulfilling a specific end for that matter? Or are you willing to let the music flow and take the lead by itself?
I've already demoed about 16 song skeletons in my home studio and the songs aren't really following any theme or style. So, I pretty much do whatever feels natural and go with the flow. Still, it is way too early to say how the will end up sounding and coming together when we play them as a band and record them.
7.- Sharing the stage with big acts like Dark Tranquillity and Lacuna Coil must have been a prosperous spin. How did it feel like? And what other bands would you like to tour with in the future?
Luckily, pretty much all the bands we've toured with both, SENTENCED and POISONBLACK have been nice experiences considering the people in the bands. Of course there has been some persons I would've liked to throw out of the moving bus, including myself, but it has been far and few. Amorphis is one we'd like to tour with and maybe Danko Jones to name a couple.
8.- Ever considered performing in a Middle Eastern country, like Egypt for instance? And do you have anything to say to your Arab fans?
It would be great to play in the Middle East. Never been there, so curious about it for sure. Hopefully it happens some day because we know that there are people there who like our music.
Thanks for the support, pressure the promoters to get us there and if it happens, let's have a blast!