“Short Circuit”, the new EP from Finnish band THROAT, available now on Kaos Kontrol and Reptilian Records, was the main reason to catch up with the band’s frontman Jukka Mattila and ask him a couple of questions about the record, his adventure with noise music. Fortunately, we have managed to bring up a lot more interesting topics, so please do not hesitate and read up my interview with one of the most exciting Finnish noise / sludge rock bands around.
Formed in 2009 in Turku, THROAT have managed to release numerous small independent releases. Their debut LP “Manhole” was released in 2013 and have already managed to put out 2 records this year: a split with HEBOSAGIL, BAXTER STOCKMAN and the aforementioned EP “Short Circuit”. The following interview reveals their plans to release yet another split later this year! See the full story below.
Hey there Jukka! What’s up buddy? I’m really glad we can dig a bit deeper into your work at THROAT and Kaos Kontrol label!, but first off, how are you? How’s Finland?
Things are good! Our Chiens Finlandais Tour (France/Belgium) with HEBOSAGIL is about a week away, so we’re getting excited and nervous at the same time. Finland is pretty much what it’s always been.
Ok, cool, so you’re about to release a new killer EP on Reptilian Records! How did you team up with the label and what does this new release mean to you personally?
Chris X actually got in contact with us before we even had any plans to record new stuff and said he liked our releases and would be interested in working with us in the future.
Personally I couldn’t be more excited about working with Reptilian Records as releases such as GÜNNA VAHM‘s “Man Hands for Rump Lust” and all the CUTTHROATS 9 stuff have played a huge role for THROAT especially when we were starting out. Chris X has also been doing his best to get the word out about THROAT and the “Short Circuit” record, so we couldn’t be happier with how the co-operation with Reptilian has been so far.
What kinds of topics does THROAT address in your local and Scandinavian context? What themes do you find yourself returning to and what subjects are completely new in your message?
It’s very difficult for me to separate Scandinavian or Finnish (Finland isn’t officially a part of Scandinavia) topics from our stuff since that’s the only thing I know and I have no idea how people with different cultural/geographical background relate to them.
I guess hating some aspects of yourself or your surroundings or the people surrounding you are themes anyone can relate to no matter where they’re from. Our music and lyrics mostly serve the purpose for us to vent out aggression, violence and bad vibes that, if left unprocessed, would get us into a whole lot of trouble, so basically we are just making this world a better place.
As important as the lyrics are for me personally, being the one who writes them, I still see no need for anyone to get too analytical over them.
Ok, so musically, would you name this new EP a tribute to the sound of the 90s? How do you compare that time with the current state of metal/punk/noise music?
Calling “Short Circuit” merely a tribute to the 90s would piss me off. I believe we are making music that is relevant even by today’s standards instead of just rehashing the 90s.
Obviously the 90s influence is super important in THROAT, but that’s more in the attitude of how we do things. We wouldn’t mind doing ten low profile 7″ releases in a row or go one year without playing live whereas nowadays the main thing for bands is to skip the demo stage, go directly for the full length album and have a booking agent/promo guy help them get shows and publicity. Having grown up when the underground scene still meant tape trading, zines and “returning my stamps”, this type of thing seems so alien to me. I see more success in giving our record to someone for free and hearing back from him saying he liked it than getting good reviews in magazines because our label paid for them.
Can you recommend some newer bands to our readers? Or do you feel so damn let down as a listener that it’s simply not possible enlist such?
I constantly hear great new bands, but I also have a bad habit of forgetting band names. I will never stop plugging HEBOSAGIL, FLESHPRESS and BAXTER STOCKMAN when asked to mention some cool bands. None of the three are new by any means, but if those names don’t ring a bell to someone, the matter demands correction.
BUMMER from Kansas City, FAKING and LEGENDARY DIVORCE from Philadelphia are some of the promising new U.S. bands (there are tons of others!), DRUNK IN HELL and PERSPEX FLESH from the U.K. are very cool etc… etc… Like I said, I’m really bad at name dropping.
Can we expect more records from you guys sometime soon?
There is a split 7″ coming later this year, but further details are kept under wraps for now.
We’re also taking part on HAMMERHEAD and UNSANE tribute records which should be interesting.
We are constantly working on new material, so once we have a bunch of songs ready for recording, we’ll do it but at the moment there’s no plans for anything like that this year.
There are only a couple of shows lined up for the upcoming weeks. Will there be more shows announcements around the premiere of the EP?
Up until last summer we had only played in Finland and the U.K. tour in 2014 with HEBOSAGIL was only four shows. Now we’re doing 7-8 shows in France and one in Belgium, so as you can see, we’re not ones to do long tours. It might actually be that the dates in France/Belgium are the only ones we do this summer, but let’s see what happens. We’ve played the “Short Circuit” songs live in Finland for about a year now, so there’s no need to do shows playing the “new stuff”. Actually, for us it would be normal to do the opposite and play only old stuff at the record release show!
Ok Jukka, so let’s close it off with a couple of insights on your label. How did you first get involved into this kind of work? How did Kaos Kontrol start? Was it about wanting to contribute more to your local punk scene? What else?
I started Kaos Kontrol in 1999 as an industrial/noise/dark ambient label, but over the years it evolved into different styles of music and for the last couple of years it’s been more and more focused on noise rock and closely related stuff.
Maybe in the beginning with the noise stuff there was an aim to contribute something to the small Finnish scene, but later on it’s just been about releasing and distributing stuff I like and feel more people should hear.
How do you balance running the label, being in a band and living your everyday life? Is it a tough mission to combine all of this?
Kaos Kontrol is intentionally a pretty inactive thing with releases coming 1-3 times a year and small additions to the mailorder catalogue coming weekly. For the moment this feels perfect for me personally and people seem to constantly find interesting titles in my mailorder, so I guess it’s working. My day job is at another record label, so my days tend to be vinyl filled anyway.
I guess anything can become a tough mission if you make it so, but the better option is to do the stuff you want/need/have to do and not bitch about it.
What other independent labels you admire for what they do and rosters they’ve managed to “acquire”?
I don’t think I’ve ever considered myself admiring a record label, at least in the sense that it would have effected my own label. Obviously there are and have been some amazing labels such as Amphetamine Reptile, early Sub Pop, Touch & Go, Trance Syndicate, Bovine, Man’s Ruin, Kult of Nihilow etc…
Any label that manages to follow it’s own vision without jumping on every passing bandwagon (big or small) is worthy of respect.
Ok buddy, so what releases are you working on right now and what are you excited about looking forward to later this year and beyond?
Obviously the most important thing right now is the “Short Circuit” 12″EP that’s coming at the end of June, but I’m also doing the debut cassette release from a cool new Finnish band called SLEIVEEN HOSTESS this summer. I’m also co-releasing a
Hammerhead tribute record entitled All Mangled and Deformed with a couple of other labels. That’s it for 2015 and we’ll see what happens in 2016. Maybe nothing?
Thanks! Cheers for your time and good luck Jukka!
Thanks a lot for the interview!