Interview with Oranen of TRAMALIZER

Interview with Oranen of TRAMALIZER

- in Written interviews

Hi! How did the pandemic influence the formation and creative process of TRAMALIZER?
Hails! When pandemia closed venues and canceled gigs, it meant that our band activities were moving slowly. Got frustrated and needed to do something where could express myself. Me and Jokelainen (guitar) have been playing in the same bands for some time now and we have been talking about death metal band. And now it seemed to be perfect time to make it happen. So we talked about what we wanted to do, shared the mutual goal, gathered perfect line up and started working from there. Don’t know if this would happen without the pandemia (or more like without all the restrictions), maybe not. Because everything happens for a reason. So practically Tramalizer is born from the frustrations that raised from the shutdown society.

Can you talk about the inspiration behind the title “Fumes of Funeral Pyres” and how it relates to the overall theme of the album?
I wrote the lyrics so I should know. But can’t remember where the first idea came from to that song. Usually I get some phrase in my mind, be it just one line or title or even whole chorus, which gives me inspiration and story starts from there. It’s like when I was a kid and saw this rental VHS -tapes on top shelf. Besides porn tapes there were lots of horror movies with awesome cover arts, they all had names and dramatic lines like “If you’re going to the woods… you’re going to die!”. But couldn’t rent them because was just an underage kid. Still my imagination gave me some kind of vision of what this movie might be and how the story could go, just by checking the covers. Actually most of the lyrics are written that way. First comes the title, then comes the idea, then the lyrics and so on. Did you know that in 50’s Hollywood they would come up with poster of movie and if it was interesting enough, they would start thinking movie script for it? Guess I have that same method. But many times it happens that the title itself can change in the way. For example “Hating God” started from the line “Hating Life” but because obvious reasons, decided to change it.

How did you go about finding the right balance between old-school death metal elements and modern production techniques?
We didn’t use any digital plugin guitar effects when recording the album. K. Laanto (drummer) is an excellent studio engineer and he surely knows what he is doing. So we recorded the DI-guitar tracks which he later reamped. Guitar tone is balanced from Boss HM-2 and RAT pedal, so it’s perfect mix of Swedish Buzzsaw and Trey Azagthoth tones. Entombed meets Morbid Angel, match made in heaven. When you do guitars that way, you don’t always get clean or “perfect” sound, but more like natural imperfection. There is always humming and some not wanted frequencies present, but still it’s hundred times more better than generic and sterile guitar tone done with digital plugins. Same with drums. If you trigger everything to sound “perfect”, it starts to sound flat and inhumane. It might sound good when listening 30 secs, but really soon you get bored to it. Same with mastering, Laanto managed to master it so it ain’t too compressed. With modern mastering it would sound huge, but after a while one ear starts to get tired. So he did it in old school way and got more natural sound. But also, we didn’t want our album to sound like it was recorded in a moldy bunker, but more like “best that can do with this kind of technique”. Perfect balance, at least for our music.

“Hating God” is a powerful track with intense lyrics. What inspired the writing of this song and what message do you hope to convey to your listeners through it?
“You created me as your own image but now it’s finally time to tear it down. With this knife I shall reshape this canvas and paint it all over again with my own blood”

“Hating god” is actually about hating yourself. Ok, also about hating god too, because he is the one who brought you here. So when god created you as his own image, it means that blaspheming ones own flesh is the same thing as blaspheming the god itself. It’s a song about hate, despair and bitterness. But also about living above average weak humans and being god of your own.

How do you see TRAMALIZER’s sound evolving in the future, and what elements do you hope to experiment with?
Don’t know if would we evolve or if should we. Of course we all have our own personal ways of doing music. Jokelainen does more thrashy riffs with US DM influences, I write more Finnish DM things in the way of Demigod and Laanto writes gnarly Swedish riffs in the way of Grave and leads like Morbid Angel. So most likely forthcoming releases are mixture of all of those. Don’t think that our soundscape changes from what it was from our debut. With the powerful voice of R. Tarvonen (vocals) it would always sound like Tramalizer.

The track “The Rostov Ripper” has a particularly gruesome title. Can you explain the story behind this song and what inspired you to write about it?
“The Rostov Ripper” is about one of the most evilest man ever existed, Andrei Chikatilo. In the days of Soviet Union he hunted, killed, mutilated and raped over twenty children and women. His killing career lasted decades because incapable police of his time. Remember reading this lovely book “Hunting the Devil” when was like 16 years old. It was a gruesome and detailed book with lots of black and white pictures. Not only the story was cruel, but also the world he lived was so grey, cold and crude. Even if it came to my dreams back then, I was still so fascinated of him and other serial killers. They are like beasts among normal humans. They look like us but their instincts tell them to kill. I wanted to know more about them and tier motives. And now, decades later I’m still obsessed of serial killers and darker side of human mind. From all the serial killers of the world, Andrei “The Rostov Ripper” Chikatilo is one of the cruelest and most fascinating. Forget Dahmer and other nowadays-trendy-hollywood-killers for a while and check out this lunatic. Almost forgot, also the “Plain Evil” is about him, it’s a shorter instrumental track and works like an introduction to that “The Rostov Ripper”.

Can you talk about the role that each member of the band played in the creative process for “Fumes of Funeral Pyres”?
Usually it’s Jokelainen who has semi-ready song done. Together we listen it and think if there are some tricks we should try, just to break the form. He does more thrashy riffs and I usually do more melodic and doomy parts, so we might mix them up or try to add something as an outro or as bridge part. If everything goes well and song starts to sound like gets qualified, it gets represented to others and we work on from that. Laanto handles the drums. Usually Jokelainen has some kind of raw idea of drumming already in his mind, but Laanto knows what suits him best. And at the same time Tarvonen is composing the vocal lines. He really takes his time to fit the lyrics right way and to sing it in the right way. There are different moods and perspectives in the lyrics, so he wants to present those lines in the right way. And final touch is when Jokelainen and Laanto both do the lead guitars. They both are great guitarists and have their own style and touch. So it’s like when you’re listening to Slayer album where the lead guitar comes from the left channel and suddenly changes to the right channel and then back to the left channel. At that time you secretly smile inside and know that now it’s back to Hanneman playing and after it comes to King with his whammy bar and so on.

What sets TRAMALIZER apart from other death metal bands in the scene today?
Even though we have thrash in our music, we still ain’t another death-thrash band. But more like a band that could be back in times when thrash metal was just evolving to more brutal way of music, to death metal. We are old farts and have seen the glorious days when death metal started to rise. So one can say that we play “old school death metal”, but nowadays that term usually means all those Entombed or Cannibal Corpse clones. Yeah, we also worship Entombed and Dismember, but if one just would listen a bit deeper, he would notice the influence of bands like Slayer, Vader, Cancer, Sepultura and others in our music. So I would call us just “old-school metal”. Even if I hate the term “old school” because it has nowadays so negative and narrow taste. For us it ain’t death metal from the past, but more like death metal as it always should be. Death metal in the way we have always known it.

The album has a running time of 44:51 minutes. How did you decide on the length and sequencing of the tracks, and what was the thought process behind it?
We didn’t though about the time when composed the album. At one point we had to sit down and started to do some calculations. Was surprising that we had so much material coming. Personally I prefer shorter albums, like “Reign in Blood”, but we had so many great tracks that we couldn’t drop too many out. Also many songs is like connected to some other, so the album had to be that, no more or no less songs.

What advice would you give to up-and-coming death metal bands who are trying to establish themselves in the industry today?
Be honest to yourselves! If you’re trying to follow some already-done formula or rules, you’re not going to stand out from the grey mass. So be honest about what you are, like if you have troubles of your playing skills, let it show. If you have sweet spot on some shitty grunge riffs, let it show. Because if you try to be something that you aren’t, that shows too and it’s pretending. Fex I have my flaws and I’m not trying to hide them

Kiitoksia viimeisestä herkkupemppu-Anneli! Thanks for the support, Stanley. And for all those who like bands like Vader, Cancer, Malevolent Creation, Krabathor, be sure to check “Fumes of Funeral Pyres” album. Stench like death!

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