Interview with LORD VICAR
The Band: Lord Vicar
Answers by: Kimi Kärki (guitars)
We tend to think about past as a better time, maybe because feature scares us, maybe because we know what is in the long-term, maybe because we don’t like changes. Whatever, in music it happens the same, but there are some acts that give you another vision, that widen the picture and fill you with confindence on what is about to come. When you think about Doom, Lord Vicar is one of those bands, you feel your feet on solid ground with these guys, Doom with all the ingredients you can ask for.
Hello Kimi and thank you for the talk!
My pleasure! The answers were done by Kimi Kärki (guitars). Our other members are Chritus Linderson (vocals), and Gareth Millsted (drums). Live bass duties are right now being handled by Sami Hynninen.
The first question would go about guitar player Kimi Kärki (aka Peter Vicar) and “his Reverend Bizarre”. The band was finished and packaged in 2007. What are the musical connections between Lord Vicar and Reverend Bizarre apart of your obvious presence in the band?
I buried the name Peter Vicar a long time ago, and nowadays use my own name. It was always a theatrical mask, and I have no need to continue playing that kind of game. It was never actually “my” Reverend Bizarre, it was rather the love and hate child of Sami “Albert Witchfinder” Hynninen; he came up with the idea for the band, sang, played bass, and wrote most of the material. I usually had about 1-2 songs per album. The musical connection comes obviously from my songs, ‘Sodoma Sunrise’, ‘The Festival’, ‘Cromwell’, ‘Council of Ten’, ‘The Tree of Suffering’, and ‘Caesar Forever’. If you listen to the dark and retarded world expressed in those songs, there is an obvious bridge to my much more extensive compositional arch with Lord Vicar. As a matter of fact, the songs ‘The Last of the Templars’, ‘A Man Called Horse’, ‘Born of a Jackal’, and ‘The Spartan’ were originally meant for future Reverend Bizarre albums that were not to be, in the end.
Lord Vicar is a great band with experienced musicians and it seems all your works till now have been recognized by fans and critics
We have certainly received a lot of love and and appreciation throughout the years. No complaints! We have all done this for a long time, and knowing that people wait for our new music means great deal for us all!!!
Many people compare Lord Vicar to such big names as Saint Vitus, Trouble, Witchfinder General or Pentagram. Is this postive when you are creating a new album or you just don’t think about it?
It is positive in general, we love those bands to death, and consider them the cornerstones of this kind of music, after allfathers Black Sabbath. But when it comes to the creative process, we work in our own strange world. Of course we think of ourselves as part of this tradition, doom is like blues, if you like, but we also look further to classic rock, progressive rock, and even film music, art music, and the odd undefinable things I hear in my dreams.
An outstanding world, no doubt. In my opinion you can be pointed out as one of the bands to carry the flag of Doom in the present and the years to come, you take the style to a new level of intensity
Thank you, that is a lovely thing to say! We aim to be the best Lord Vicar in the world, and so far we have achieved that fierce standard, haha. Seriously speaking, intensity is our game, and we always aim for maximum energy!
“Gates Of Flesh” is the third album of the band, is it your favorite? Is it different to your previous efforts?
I think that as an album it definitely is my favourite — punchy, punishing effort with a lot of dynamics and a variety of emotions. It is more compact than the first two (Fear No Pain from 2008, and Signs of Osiris from 2011), and it has the most relaxed and confident feel. I of course have older songs I hold dear as well, ‘The Funeral Pyre’ being a primary example.
“Gates Of Flesh” was recorded in Finland, of course, but you used a huge live room in the process, has it influenced in any way your sound?
That made the difference in the sound. The drum reverb you hear on the album is pretty much the natural room sound. The space breathes in a very organic way that makes me excited… It truly enhances the sound, John Bonham style!
\m/ How long did you work on this third album?
I started doing my songs pretty much right away after the second one, back in 2011. I have had the rough demos of most of the songs for a long time, and was planning to record this album about two or three years ago. Instead we got notable delays, as Gareth was working in Kuwait for some years, and our former bass player Jussi got some personal issues that in the end forced him out of the band. But the intense rehearsing started about a year ago, and all recording was done last Autumn already. It’s been a long wait to get this album out, so I am happy it’s finally available, starting May 27.
I think Kimi you not only plays guitars but also the bass in some songs of the album, right?
I shared the bass duties with Gareth, he especially was great, and it was a good and pressureless recording process in general. I think one can also hear that confident feeling from the album!
By the way, it takes my attention that this “Gates Of Flesh” is much shorter than the other two albums. Mere coincidence, too much tired hahaha, or some intention on it?
We wanted it to fit to one vinyl without losing sound quality, to be a very intense and punchy statement! What do you do when it ends? Listen again, just add even more volume!!!
Yeah! What are the lyrcis about?
Corporeality, sexuality, lust, disease… Feeling potential, and then losing that feeling.
Enough to think about for a time. “Breaking the Circle” is one of my favorites, a mid tempo with evil riffs, with some 70s air, I would say a mix between Pentagram and Saint Vitus, really awesome…
I love it!!! That song, just like the instrumental before it, was written by Gareth. I wrote the lyrics to reflect the emotional disappointment to human relations. You know, you trust someone, and then get stabbed in the back. Particularly aimed at one psychic scene vampire out there!
Yes, who has not experienced it? “Accidents” is also a great one, with a Black Sabbath kind of guitars, it’s like a travel in time…
In a way it indeed is about traveling in time! I was thinking further about the issue of trust, especially between couples, and thought about the concepts of faith and destiny, but also about alternative futures that would depend on the tiniest of chances or coincidences.
I don’t want to forget the last song of the album, “Leper, Leper” , nothing less than ten minutes of epic doom, old school doom, it reminds me about Reverend Bizarre, a great end for a fantastic album
It is the perfect ending for this particular album, based on the most horrid nightmare I ever saw. Or actually a nightmare withing a nightmare. I pierced through my eyes to touch the brain, curious and excited, yet I understood that I was doing terrible and permanent harm to myself. Then I awake to notice that I had horrible wounds around my swollen eyes….. And then I woke up for real.
Which song was more difficult to finish up?
Perhaps the longest rehearsing and arranging went into ‘A Woman Out of Snow’, which needed a very delicate balance between different parts, and is, on top of simple core, a rather complex affair.
I suppose you have dismissed some songs, songs that probably many bands would kill to get in their albums, right?
No. We finish what we start. We don’t jam our songs in the beginning, but rather bring in quite complete demos to work with. As we live in different countries, all of our rehearsal time is very precious indeed!
What touring plans do you have for this 2016?
Unfortunately our June tour in Germany fell apart, and might happen in November instead. We have our record release gig in Tuska Festival in early July. Then some yet unannounced stuff in the Autumn. As I will be a Fulbright in Cleveland in the first half of 2017, I’d love to do shows there.
How do you see the Doom scene nowadays?
It has been more hip lately, not hipster anymore, haha, and a lot of new promising bands seem to appear all the time. Sometimes they just need to find their own voice… I hope people will keep on listening to soulful heavy music, buy albums instead just streaming or downloading them, coming to shows, buying the merch. That keeps the old horse running!
True as your music. It was a pleasure to talk to you and congratulations for one of the big albums of the year
Cheers and hails, thanks for your compliments!!! Hasta Luego!!!
Gracias, hasta pronto Kimi!