1. Can you tell us a little bit about the band for those that have never heard of you before?
Lantern was formed in 2007 by me, Cruciatus (instruments) and Necrophilos (vocals), merely a moment after I had put my previous band Cacodaemon to rest. We started out on a very improvisational basis, without many musical restrictions or even knowing what kind of material would come out. We basically moulded our style while executing (and partially jamming out) the first two recordings, “Virgin Taste of Damnation” and “Doom-scrawls” / “Subterranean Effulgence”. On the latter release we started to have a clue on what was to become of Lantern: dark, profound, epic, highly distinct yet still somehow familiar sounding death metal. With these style-wise foundations cast, we began to craft our debut album, “Below”, which Dark Descent Records then chose to release. And here we are, on the verge of the release of our undeniably most monolithic work so far… excited and full of anticipation!
2. How would you describe your musical sound?
The most important thing in our music is the almost complete lack of boundaries. Ancient death metal seasoned with early black metal is the filter all the ideas and influences run through, but that’s only trying to describe a small part of the whole deal. Lantern sounds like… well, Lantern, I guess I can state that in this point of our “career”. I think some people expect us to sound like standard Finnish death metal, which we to some extent are, but then again aren’t. I’d endorse people to plunge into our music and take it as it comes… for that’s the way the music itself is composed: ladled from an indescribable stream, we are only expressing what is given to us by chaos.
3. The new album had some really interesting lyrics, can you tell us more about your song writing process?
I am glad that you mentioned the lyrics, as they are of great value to me. The way Necrophilos interprets them also pleases me much, as you don’t necessarily need the lyrics insert to stay on track. Coming to the song writing process, I usually have a “colour”, a setting or an event in mind, from where I start to chisel the riffs, the title and then the lyrics. Atmosphere is what weighs most. The music and lyrics must both be woven together seamlessly, so that all elements of the song wind up complimenting each other as uniformly as possible.
4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the bands name?
I had a few alternatives, but as soon as I came up with Lantern, I just knew this was it. Lantern was a simple, minimalistic and thus aesthetic name that leaves room for the listener’s own contemplation. It’s a tool to faintly illuminate the horrors along our dark, desolate path; the landscapes of the dreary, abstract realms we are trying to sketch with our music.
5. According to the bio the band only uses 2 members in the studio, and has a different line up for shows, have you thought of using a full band to record an album?
I have tinkered with the idea of recording with a full band, but then again, my inner tyrant / dictator throws this idea to the bin pretty quickly, haha. Maybe I am just a bit too controlling when it comes to music… However, this idea might not be a complete no-go, as our live drummer does have a similar “loose” touch to skin beating than mine, and he would probably nail that job with much more professionalism than I ever could. Our rhythm guitarist might even have some good riffs to present, and Mr Noisehunter on bass is someone I’ve worked with for a long time and we both know each others’ “groove” more than well. So, maybe after the next recordings, I might reconsider this. Although it would relieve some of my burdening work load, I still somehow enjoy the extreme strain caused by doing most things by myself. A tough nut to crack.
6. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?
We have only played two shows prior to this interview, but we will play a few more in just a few weeks (May 10th in Kuopio with Maveth and Hellspirit, May 11th in Helsinki with Hellspirit and Cataleptic). Both earlier gigs were great experiences concerning the audience, the fellow bands, the people organizing the shows, but on our part, the shows slightly suffered from experimenting on how to take the highly atmospheric Lantern sound on stage. From now on, I’ll keep my VOX AC30 for studio purposes only and rely on ENGL / Marshall power when going live, haha. But that’s a past issue now. Our stage performance focuses on creating and maintaining an atmosphere as dark as possible, hypnotic at best. We do not entertain or tell amusing stories between songs, but let the music flow and do the talking, while performing with all the energy we got.
7. Do you have any touring plans for the new release?
Nothing else scheduled besides those two gigs. However, there has been talk about playing abroad, not touring at this point, but a few individual gigs… all just bubbling under. More info TBA, hopefully!
8. Recently Dark Descent put out the new album, where you satisfied with the way the album sound came out?
Regarding the D.I.Y. methods used for recording this album, we are pleased with the sound. We did not work in studio conditions or with expensive high end software / plug-ins, and neither of us has any higher theoretical knowledge on sound engineering. It was all about experimenting and creating the fitting atmosphere with what ever bits and pieces we had at our disposal, and the outcome is – hooray us – far from dull and generic. “Below” is crude, mysterious and atmospheric, the way Lantern should sound.
9. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your newer music by fans of dark underground metal?
The feedback has been very positive. In the “Virgin Taste…” days, we had absolutely no expectations regarding feedback, and we were more than surprised with the wave of interest that was caused by the material. And the acclaim has been even more positive ever since “Subterranean Effulgence” came out, so I’m anticipating what kind of thoughts “Below” will bring. I’m sure it will split opinions more than our previous releases, but that’s just a natural and healthy thing.
10. What is going on with the other musical projects these days?
Very silent currently, which actually quite nice, as it allows me to focus on Lantern 100%. DTK aka Death Thrashers Kuopio is the only other band I’m officially involved with, but we haven’t been practicing for a long time. There has been talk about reactivating this unhinged thrash metal beast (where I play drums), but our busy schedules are currently standing in the way.
11. What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
I have two new songs composed and they sound… well, lightless, desolate. I know the couple of new tracks won’t determine the rest of Lantern’s path, but I can see things growing deeper and darker. I have a plenty of old riffs waiting to be harnessed for new compositions, which messes up the predictability of things, as well.
12. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Possessed, Morbid Angel, old Samael, Demigod, Venom, Bathory, Beherit, Root, Mercyful Fate, old Slayer and the likes have been my primary motivators throughout the years. Strangely enough, the 70’s progressive rock scene has been a strong influence for me, too, especially during my Lantern years. I still listen to mostly metal, but I have also started to enjoy many other styles. No reggae, rap, mainstream pop or the likes, though. Almost all well composed and performed music (note that this doesn’t equal ultra fast technical wankery… on the contrary!) with a proper atmosphere goes… preferably melancholic, as I don’t like merry shit.
13. How would you describe your views on Occultism?
For me it’s a very individual thing, as I do not lean on existing doctrines. It’s an aspiration, a question of awareness, simply put.
14. Outside of music, what are some of your interests?
Writing is definitely among my top interests. I recently reactivated my ten year old ‘zine, Perverse Gospel, and we (me and ‘zine debutant Sinistrous) are currently waiting to have our fifth issue published. Of course, it would be something else to write, say, a novel one day, but that’s just fantasizing. Drawing is also something I have been doing and even enjoying for a long time, but also something I haven’t had time for recently. The ‘zine project is a good chance for me to hone my drawing skills, too (frames, cover art…), alongside the occasional demo cover, logo and tattoo sketch friends ask me to perform.
15. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
Thanks for the interview and interest toward Lantern! Expect “Below” to drown your soul into the darkness of mine in summer 2013.