With Summer's Entrance, Frost Is Banished
CoC interviews Mordecai
by: Alex Cantwell
Following the release of Mordecai's split EP with fellow Finns Immortal Souls, their half being entitled _Through the Woods, Towards the Dawn_ [CoC #39], I had the privilege of conversing with lead vocalist and guitarist Petri Erkkila.

CoC: When did the band get started?

Petri Erkkila: The band was formed with this line-up in '96. We did play before that with different line-ups, but '96 was the real "birth" year of Mordecai. And that was also the point where the musical style started to become the way it is today.

CoC: Has any of the members of Mordecai been in any other bands?

PE: Our other guitarist, Mika Haara, was in another band which split up, and then he joined Mordecai. Currently, I play the other guitar in Immortal Souls for their live shows. Our time is quite limited and we don't have too much time for any other projects, and we also like to put our full concentration and inspiration on Mordecai.

CoC: If you had the time for other projects, what would you be interested in doing?

PE: I can only speak for myself about this subject. I would like to do some very dark darkwave/ambient, like Raison d'Etre or Caul. I'd also like to do some -real- industrial like Mental Destruction.

CoC: Why the name "Mordecai"?

PE: The name Mordecai came up when a friend of ours just said it as a joke, because it sounded quite heavy, and it's a name of a man in the Old Testament. But after a while, we didn't come up with any good name, so we thought that Mordecai sounded a bit original and we decided to take it.

CoC: Have you signed a deal with a label?

PE: Just this week, we signed a deal with Little Rose Productions. They also released our split CD and the Finnish metal compilation _From Kaamos to Midnight Sun_ [CoC #36]. We will be recording a full length album at the end of this year or early next year.

CoC: How has the response been to the split CD with Immortal Souls?

PE: The response has been really good. It's been getting some airplay, too, and more reviews are coming all the time. And overall, the response has been better than we expected, since this is the first release from Mordecai.

CoC: What kind of airplay?

PE: It has been played in different stations in the US, here in Scandinavia and in Singapore. A friend of mine from the US once told me: "Know what? I just heard your song "Dawn Eternal" on the radio yesterday", and it was quite a surprise. It was also the first time that I heard of our CD getting airplay.

CoC: How did you get started in metal?

PE: When we heard Vengeance Rising's _Human Sacrifice_, it hit us like a hammer. If we hadn't heard that album back then, I guess we would have never started listening to death metal or other extreme styles of music.

CoC: You're speaking for the whole band when you say this?

PE: Well, I can speak for the original forming members, including myself, Miika and Matti. Mika came to our band later, so this doesn't include him.

CoC: What are your musical influences?

PE: It's really hard to name any specific musical influences. We listen to quite a lot of classical music, which has influenced us quite a lot.

CoC: What bands do you respect currently? Have you been accepted in the Finnish metal scene?

PE: Some bands that I have been listening to lately are the great Savior Machine, Antestor, Veni Domine and Paramaecium. Savior Machine is one band which I respect greatly. Of course there are always some "true" metallers who think that we shouldn't be playing this kind of music. But there has been also a lot of good feedback also; people have enjoyed our music and live shows.

CoC: With whom have you played shows?

PE: We have played some shows with several bands, such as Immortal Souls and Deuteronomium. This Summer we're also playing the DP festival in Norway with Extol, Vaakevandring and others.

CoC: What is the immediate future for the band?

PE: We're now writing new material for our full length album. We're also playing some shows with Immortal Souls to promote our split CD. The rest of this year will be spent with writing new stuff and playing shows.

CoC: Tell me about the new material you are working on, new CD title, etc..

PE: Our new material is a good progression from our EP material. It's a bit more technical, and of course it's still melodic black/death metal. It's more brutal than the previous stuff. Clean vocals are used a lot better this time. The new material is turning out to be a great progression from our previous material. The new CD title will be announced later; sorry, it's too early to discuss that.

CoC: How has the rise of Sentenced, Amorphis and Stratovarius on the Finnish charts and also worldwide recognition affected the growth of metal there?

PE: There has been more and more metal bands on the charts over here in the last few years, and bigger metal bands are recognized more and more. There was this trend about four or five years ago that people "turned" from extreme metal to hardcore or even techno stuff, but it seems that nowadays people are starting to listen to more metal again.

CoC: It seems like there are some extremely talented metal musicians hiding away in Finland that gain instant popularity the minute they release their music, such as Children of Bodom, for instance. Do you think that the success of the bigger Finnish metal bands has brought fresh inspiration to young, hopeful musicians there?

PE: Yeah, I believe that when bigger metal bands succeed in Finland and outside Finland, it does encourage and inspire new bands to start and new people to start making music. Bands like Amorphis and Children of Bodom have done very well outside Finland, so they are showing that metal still has a chance.

CoC: Would you consider the social climate in Finland to be conservative or liberal, and in light of that, how is metal viewed in the public eye?

PE: Well, lately metal has been viewed very controversially in the public eye (in media, etc.), because a little while ago, there was this Satanic ritual killing where four Satanists aged 16 to a bit over 20 killed a man, then they mutilated him, and even ate some of the corpse (plus a lot of other really, really sick stuff). They had been listening to black metal during the killing and the ritual, so metal music and especially black metal was in the media for quite some time. Of course this has affected even innocent people. A lot of metal people, with black clothes, etc. are often looked upon with a bad eye.

CoC: Final comments...

PE: Once again, thanks a lot for the interview! You also asked me if I was familiar with CoC at all... well, I have read some of the past issues, but that's all. I really liked them, and I'm glad we got featured in it.

(article submitted 7/7/1999)


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