Interview with Jesse of ANZILLU

Interview with Jesse of ANZILLU

- in Written interviews

Hello! ANZILLU‘s sound has been described as “thrashy, intense, infectiously catchy with melodic undertones and shout-along choruses.” Can you tell us more about how you developed this unique sound and what sets it apart from other extreme metal bands?
I guess it developed naturally by listening many types of music and also improving as a songwriter over the years. I guess what we do differently compared to other thrash acts is that we use a lot of death metal influence that bring a certain extra heaviness to our music. Also the fact that here in Finland we have the minor scale as a part of our mindset and long dark winters to brood over might have something to do with it.

Your debut album ‘Ex Nihilo’ has been in the works for three years. How did you approach the songwriting process and what were some of the biggest challenges you faced in bringing the album to fruition?
The biggest obstacle was to form a new band. In theory this could’ve been my previous band’s 3rd album, but the band split up. I decided to keep the song I’ve had already written and put up a new band. When we had a line-up, we had to arrange and rehearse the material. Then the covid struck. Finally we could enter the studio and after that it was pretty smooth sailing. So lots of pushback from the universe, but things turned out better than I imagined in the end.

You’ve released several singles and videos ahead of the album’s release. Can you tell us about the decision-making process behind choosing which songs to release and how you approached creating the music videos?
It was tough, I can tell you that. Being so close to material for a long time makes you kinda deaf to it. I only knew that Mental Graveyard was a must as a single. All the other choices had to be carefully considered and we also asked opinions from the label (M-Theory Audio), mixing and mastering engineers. As for the videos, we mainly went DIY route. I’ve done music videos before and own good gear, so we saved a lot of money with that. For Mental Graveyard we hired outside help and it was worth it.

The album’s lead single, “Mental Graveyard,” is described as the strongest song on the album and the best one that guitarist Jesse Kämäräinen has ever written. Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind this song, both musically and lyrically?
It was the first song I wrote after the previous band broke up. It took a 4 month hiatus from guitar but when I picked it back up and started to write, it was pretty easy to do. I didn’t have to care about anyone else since I was alone between the bands at that time and could do what I wanted. Drums too fast? Not my problem. I think it was very therapeutic and also paved a new way for my songwriting. I definitely “leveled up” by writing that song.

The band’s name, ANZILLU, is inspired by the ancient Sumerian word for “abomination.” How does this name reflect the band’s musical and lyrical themes, and what inspired you to choose this name?
I chose the name because pretty much all of the cool English names are already taken. I was browsing the internet for interesting names and stumbled upon a Sumerian dictionary. Anzillu was right there on the front page and that pretty much was it. I don’t think the name has that much to do with our lyrics, but I think it definitely fits the overall atmosphere of our music.

You’ve worked with some notable figures in the Finnish metal scene, including Nino Laurenne and Svante Forsbäck. Can you tell us more about what it was like to work with them and how their contributions helped shape the album’s sound?
I’ve worked with both of them when I was in my previous band, so making this record with them was very natural decision. Their impact is huge, especially Nino’s. He can make the albums sound right and can make our initial visions about the sound concrete. Very easy guy to work with. Without him the band would sound a lot lesser. As for Svante, he’s a household name in Finland. Mastering doesn’t affect the end results nearly as much as recording and mixing, but nevertheless it has to be done right. Svante can make a great mix sound stellar. He’s also Nino’s go-to guy when talking about mastering, so they’ve worked together for a very long time and that shows in the end product

What can fans expect from an ANZILLU live show, and how do you approach translating your studio sound to a live setting?
Everyone coming to our show can expect a proper live band giving their all. Since we recorded with pretty much our own gear and there are no excessive studio magic on our album and all the parts are played live, it will sound very similar as the record. Obviously there are some restraints when playing live compared to studio, but you’ll recognize the band.

“Mental Graveyard” is lyrically about quitting a toxic relationship and realizing your own value. Can you tell us more about how you approach writing lyrics and how you balance personal experiences with creating music that resonates with a broader audience?
Whereas the music was written after my previous band split up, the lyrics have nothing to do with it. However I was recovering from a nasty relationship and wanted to let out some steam. The lyrics are probably 90% about one single person and solely about my own experiences. The rest 10% I wrote to make the theme more accessible to other people. For the album I wrote lyrics to couple of songs and our vocalist Teemu wrote the rest.

ANZILLU is a relatively new band, but the individual members have all been making their names in the Finnish metal scene for some time. How did you come together as a band, and what was it like to form a new group after the dissolution of Inkvisitor?
After Inkvisitor split up, I started to look new people in a different city. It took a while, but eventually I found them. Sadly we had to fire our first drummer before the recordings because he didn’t rehearse enough, but luckily my ex-bandmate Tino covered as a session musician. We currently have a permanent drummer and will be announcing him soon.

‘Ex Nihilo’ has been released on digital platforms, CD and a limited edition magenta-colored vinyl. Can you tell us more about the decision to release the album in these formats, and how do you think the vinyl format in particular adds to the listening experience of the album?
In the end the decision about the formats was made by M-Theory Audio, but we were excited to have an LP. Having a CD is good, having LP is better. People tend to be more attached to LP’s, so they’re in demand.

Thanks for your time!
Thanks for the interview!

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