Suiciderock: Please be
that nice and give us some information about you guys to start with the
Well, we’re a Finnish death/thrash metal band located in Tampere. We’ve been
around for quite a while, but started taking this more seriously only recently,
when we got our latest line-up together in 2009. The band consists of our great
growler, vocalist Valendis Suomalainen (some of you may know her from the
death/doom band Herem too), bassist Eero Virtanen, guitarists Matti Viholainen
and me, Marko Saarinen, and our drummer is Janne “Homicide” Honkanen. Janne and
I are the founding members of the band and the only ones left from the original
It’s been a
long and sometimes quite a bumpy road for us, but last year we finally released
our debut full-length, “The Only Good Samaritan..” worldwide via a UK label.
I’m hoping most of you guys would get to hear it, ‘cos I think it’s a great
Suiciderock: You will go
abroad for the firs time in your career next April as you are going to play at
the 2nd Trash Metal Fest in Estonia. Are you looking forward to that
and are their more international gigs to follow?
Yes, we are looking forward to playing in Estonia! We are still a fairly
unknown band and, in my opinion, playing live is the best way there is to make
one’s music known to possible new listeners. We haven’t confirmed any other
international gigs yet, but we sure hope there will be some in the near future.
she said, we are absolutely excited! Estonian people are actually related to
Finns, and since they are geographically close to us too, it’s very easy to go
there. I know there are some serious metalheads and some cool bands, Thrashless
being a great example.
Suiciderock: How will
you prepare for your first gig abroad? Could you say that you are more nervous
about playing that gig because it is your first one outside your home country?
don’t really think we need to make any special preparations just because a gig
is abroad. I think that no matter where the band plays, they should always
prepare well and do their very best while on stage.
don’t really know if any of us is more nervous about this gig than any other. I
tend to be a bit nervous before every gig, no matter where we play, but that’s
just a good thing. I think we are all just very excited about this chance to
meet Estonian metalheads and hope that the audience will like what they see.
Suiciderock: You started
the band in 2001 but the name “Dead Samaritan” came a little later in 2003. Why
did you feel the need to change your band name and what’s the story behind
the time our music was changing from the very melodic death metal of the early
days into a more aggressive and trashier direction. As the music now had less
of the “Gothenburg Sound”, the old name started to feel quite dumb and less
suitable as well. I don’t remember exactly why I came up with Dead Samaritan,
but I think I just wanted it to provoke some thoughts in people’s minds. But
since this band’s always been a democracy, of course I asked all the
then-members first what they thought about it, and since they thought it was
good, we took it. And I think it was a successful move as one American metal
media said in our review that “if there wasn’t a band called Dead Samaritan already,
it should be invented”, hehe. There was also a song named Dead Samaritan in the
rehearsals back in the days, but it hasn’t been recorded – well not yet, at
Suiciderock: You had a
long hiatus between 2005 and 2009. Due to line up changes and other reasons.
Was it always clear that you will return as a band or did you ever consider a
was a really hard time for the band. We had just garnered some good attention
and nice gigs with our Bone Hill Revelation demo when things started going the
wrong way. First our second guitarist Jussi had to leave the band, and a while
after we had recruited a new shredder, our bassist Marcus had to quit as well.
As I was working and studying at that time, I became very exhausted trying to
cope with the band and all those other responsibilities, so we just kind faded
away somewhere around late 2005 or early 2006.
Suiciderock: What made
you decide in 2009 that this is the right time for a comeback?
honestly didn’t give much thought to this whole band thing while I was
struggling to graduate, but I always knew in my heart that I’d get this band
going again one day. I finally did graduate in late 2007 and started having
more spare time again, so somewhere around 2008 I started playing guitar again
and found myself enjoying it so much. I also came up with some new great songs,
so I started spamming our drummer Janne with emails that “perhaps we should
re-ignite the band again”. He agreed and slowly we started rehearsing again,
just the two of us at first.
I guess it
was late 2008 or early 2009 when Janne said he might have a new second
guitarist for us. Soon Matti came to rehearsals, and since he convinced us
immediately by being a good lad, a talent and a quick learner, we hired him. A
bit later Matti introduced his then-bandmate Eero to us, and since that was a
fabulous match as well, we now had a bassist too.
So when we
started feeling ready to conquer the world, it just happened to be in late 2009
and thankfully we also then found the missing part, the vocalist Valendis. Or
she found us, rather.
comeback also brought a new singer into the band. It’s always something new and
maybe also a bit difficult to get a new member in the band but isn’t it a
bigger change to get a new singer as the singer is always known as the heart
and soul of the band…
the vocalist thing it was a bit more difficult as I felt the vocalist
recruitment would be the key to the band’s future, because needless to say, we
needed a killer vocalist. At first I wasn’t just sure if we needed a thrash or
a death metal vocalist, and I actually didn’t care about that particular
feature, all that mattered was that the vocalist should be fabulous and
original, and should suit our delivery of music.
In the end
Valendis came to audition for us. When her voice opened up during that
rehearsal session, I and the others looked at each other stunned and thought,
“now what the fuck was that, is she a demon or something?!”
So it was
pretty quickly settled she’d be the one for us not only by being a quality
singer, but by being a terrific and fun person as well.
Suiciderock: Would you
say that your style has changed with the new singer or that your older songs
have changed along with the new voice?
of course the whole vocal style changed into a whole lot stronger and
aggressive one, but I don’t think it changed the musical style that much. We
are playing some songs from the older line-up era, and I gave Valendis the
liberty to deliver those old tunes the way that suited best for her. I think she
really improved even some of the vocal arrangements, not to mention that the
old songs sound a lot tighter today altogether.
your comeback succeeded three years later when your debut album “The only good
Samaritan” was released world wide. A world wide release is a big deal for a
debut album. Isn’t it?
does make you feel good, yeah. Especially since for me personally this is the
first official recording I’m playing on, so yeah, I’m really excited.
Definitely it is great. But it’s a lot more important to get noticed worldwide
so that all those potential fans would get to hear the music and buy the album.
We’re being pretty realistic about this since these days they don’t sell that
many records because you can download them from the Internet from anywhere in
the world. So we’re not having too fancy dreams about selling loads of records
and earning big bucks, we just want to play the music we love to people all
around the metal-loving world and if having a worldwide distribution helps
getting our name heard around, of course it’s a good thing.
Suiciderock: What can
you tell us about the album and it’s songs?
really great that we made it in the first place. I really dig the album, and I
would buy it even if I wasn’t in the band myself.
really wanted it to be a tight album, you know. These days too many metal
albums are too long, full of fillers or the same riff is being played long over
its expiry-date. On our debut we wanted to bring versatility and surprising
elements to the songs. If you dig deeper underneath the obvious death and
thrash metal basics, you can find some in-your-face punk rock, classic
rock’n’roll attitude and perhaps some black metal tones as well.
Only Good Samaritan... gives a pretty good glimpse of what we can do, but I
know there’s a lot more in us, and some of it you’ll hear when we get to record
the second album.
Suiciderock: Every band
has influences. What are yours and who are your personal heroes?
hero would be Metallica’s Lars Ulrich in the 80’s. I’ve been influenced by all
that thrash metal from the same era, bands like Exodus, Testament, Overkill for
into so many things musically and it always depends on the mood, so I really
can’t pinpoint any bands, but all kind of stuff from punk to metal music. And
when it comes to musicians, I do like watching Alex Webster (Cannibal Corpse).
musicians I admire the Italian Marco Sfogli, ‘cos I like to listen to that kind
of atmospherically stuff every now and then. From bands I like Pantera and
admire Glenn Danzig’s attitude and Johan Lindstrand’s (The Crown) voice.
have so many influences, but if I had to choose a few, they’d be Carcass, Dead
Kennedys, Slayer, At The Gates, Overkill and Exodus. For me the musical heroes
would be all those musicians who put their heart and soul in their music no
matter what style they play.
Suiciderock: Your future
Valendis: We are currently working on some new
material, and although we haven’t planned anything specific about the timing,
there will be a second album by Dead Samaritan! We will also keep on playing
live as much as possible. So basically we’ll keep on rockin’ as “this is what
we do, this is what we enjoy”.
Find Dead Samaritan on Facebook & on their homepage