Kalmo Interview

10 min read

In the darkest and coldest places of the bowels of Hell, an evil form of existence dwells upon its own reign in the eternal nights. The only form of life. Kalmo. The doom of all apocalypse.
I dared to invite Mika, the grim master of this void, to come out of the deepest shadows, and say his words about the relentless judgement, the future fate of mankind, the creatures of night, ruling the abandoned Earth. Despair, torture and desolation. The darkest days are yet to come.

– Welcome to Blessed Altar Zine, Mika! It is a pleasure to have you with us, in our realms, which could be a little bit lighter than yours…
– Thank you Vladi for having me. I was so pleased when you asked to have an interview for Blessed Altar Zine. Let’s walk into the darkness together, shall we.

– So, are the Evil and darkness taking over?
– The future is dark and hopeless. It is not only Evil. It is even worse. Kalmo sees the future being pure darkness. It is the eternal night that will take all this over. Everything will be sucked into the evil vortex of the dark void. Despair is to conquer humanity. Everything will end in nothingness.

– Tell us more about Kalmo? When and how it was born such an evil creature?
– The seed of Kalmo was laid far back in the mid 80’s in the very second I heard Celtic Frost’s Circle of The Tyrants. From that day it has grown its ugly features in the darkness, hidden from the light. Over the years I have carefully fed it with the master pieces from bands like Celtic Frost, Triptykon, Slayer, Candlemass, Black Sabbath, Gallhammer, King Diamond, Hellhammer to mention a few.
It took until about 2008 until the first song was composed. Some lyrics were there before that. But I consider it being born through that first song. The song was Mustaa. In case there are enough evil creatures around, I may let the first deformed demo(n) version of it out to spread the evilness to the world someday.
Two or three years ago I decided to spend more time in the shadows with this deformed creature and found myself very much enjoying it.

– What was your main idea about starting this project?
– It was to find ways to channel my creativity to something and bring playing the music back to my life. I spent some years as a member of an association that organised blues gigs. After stepping down from it I felt a need to work on music in some form. Doom metal has been close to my dark soul and heart so that felt like a morose path to choose.
It has been absolutely fantastic that there are people out there in the metal community who like what Kalmo does. I rise the skulls to the people supporting Kalmo. That makes working on this project feel even better.

– Finland has always given very heavy and mean bands. I guess you have a lot of sombre and places in your mind to explore? J Tell us in brief more about yourself actually?
– It must be the dark seasons that we have that drive some of us to create such heavy and mean music.
I am a middle-aged man living a house with my darling Mari. No kids but five cats. I work as a lead consultant in a Finnish midsize SW and consultation company. In addition to my daily work I run my own micro business and build web sites and content for my customers.
Throughout my life music in different genres has been an important part of my life. I have played bass in a few bands, longest one was 17 years in a blues band. When we lived in Tampere, I was in a board of an organization that organized blues gigs every almost two weeks for international and Finnish blues artists. Over a few years, we were able to build a well known blues club brand, Down Home Kivi. Now Kalmo is my main project.
I need to mention that there was a project to figure out which Finnish town has the most metal bands per capita; which Finnish city is the capitol of Metal. That is an excellent window to the Finnish metal band scene. I recommend you all check out the bands at https://www.capitalofmetal.fi

– What does “Kalmo” mean?
– It is a relatively new word in Finnish derived from the old word kalma meaning death. Kalmo means cadaver. That is all that is left when it all ends before it turns into dust.

– I would say it is “the most evil form of Doom” but how YOU will define Kalmo?
– I thank you for that definition. That is the aim and hopefully over time it will get even beyond that. Kalmo is the vehicle on the path of finding the depths of darkness.  It is the bullhorn of madness. Voice of the creatures from the deep.

– It is only you who are playing and taking care of everything, right?
– That is right. Kalmo is my wretched kingdom and I do not see anyone entering into it in the future. I play guitars, bass and do the growling. The drums are bit more tricky as I am not a drummer and I do not have the skill to play drums. I use SD3 for composing drums for now. There is one song for which I tried a session drummer. That is Yö. Concept of having a session drummer was pretty okay, but it felt bit distant as there is no room for thorough dialogue over the role of the drums in a song and tweaking things. To get everything in place as I want it would take time, and time, when using a session drummer, means money.
Despite of claiming this kingdom only mine I have had and will have help from others and I am pleased to have some people working with me to get songs finalised. For mixing and mastering I just recently found a good one from Norway: Runar Magnussen. He did mixing for the song Mustaa and with the first go he got my idea how it should sound. We will most likely work on the forthcoming EP together. Then I have an excellent guitar mentor from one of the top Finnish heavy metal bands. He is also a great sounding board for working out song structures and test ideas.

– Let us know about all your released songs so far.
– Let’s start with the latest release. Older ones are more on demo(n) level to be worked on more.
Mustaa – actually this is an old song as I mentioned before, however it found its final form just recently
Elävä vainaa

– And “Show me your face” is part of Rob Scallon’s contest…
– This was a jump into the unknown. I was browsing the internet and somehow ended on Rob’s youtube video talking about the contest. Rob is a funny guy who does crazy and fun stuff with metal music. I still had a mental Metal hangover from getting Mustaa and its video ready about a week earlier and an idea to have a short break from making music. But I got excited about the challenge of taking the riff ideas that you needed to use in the song to the dark side and create a Kalmo song out of them. I had only about 7 days to make and record the song and create the video. Some sleepless nights and working with a bit too fast a pace and I was able to make it. We’ll need to now wait and see how it will compete with the other great songs he will receive for the contest.

– You prefer the Finnish language to express the darkness…
– The Finnish language somehow felt natural for this project. I have written blues lyrics in English before and I have some lyrics in English for metal songs too, but for Kalmo the main language will be Finnish. It is sharp and dark with all the hard consonants and a and o umlauts that are excellent for dark growling. For people not familiar with Finnish, I have created quick translations in English for some of Kalmo’s songs. The song for Rob’s contest ended up being in English as the first verse came to me so quickly it led the way.

– Your grim videos for the songs are representing fantastically the idea of of the Evil and the creatures of the night taking over. Very artistic! Tell us more about it and on the having a video for almost every song you release so far?
– Thank you! I think music videos extend the musical experience, especially nowadays when everything is so visual. Producing music videos is new to me. I have not done that before however, I have produced some short informercials and training videos. The video for Elävä Vainaa was the first music video. Then the second one was Piru and now the third was for Mustaa. The fourth one being the quick’n’dirty video for Show me your face.
It has been fun to learn things needed for creating music videos. It is time consuming to learn things with trial and error but yet, so rewarding. For example, for the Mustaa video I needed to learn how to use 3D graphics modelling SW called Blender – bloody tricky demonic SW, but I somehow managed to do what I wanted – and Google cloud computing platform. One could not imagine that playing doom metal music would take you to the geek side! Piru is made out of movie material of Faust, filmed 1926. The story of Faust, selling your soul to the Devil, fit to the song’s story so well. However, it took quite long to get the story for the song edited out from the movie material in a way that it matched the parts and the length of the song. I am so happy it turned out so well. I have a handful of ideas for new videos. The ideas are waiting for the songs to see their birth in darkness. There are also visions that someday in the future I get things to a point where I could be performing in one. It would also be great to test how working for another band on their music video would turn out.

– Are you participating in other projects and is the music your main occupation?
– I have a one man blues project called Bone Hard Blues. That is for creating gloomy horror space blues. You can find some demos at http://www.bonehardblues.com/ Blues is a genre that has a place in my darkness. Like I said, I played bass in a blues band for quite a long time. I also wrote the lyrics for our songs. Bone Hard Blues has been on hiatus now due to Kalmo having all the focus. In addition to Kalmo I have my day job and a small business for creating web pages and content. Other than musical projects I have an old Buick waiting in the garage. House improvement projects have had priority over it for now.

– What are you influences and inspirations? Is it necessary to listen to dark and heavy music in order to write such, or it is more how you feel the world?
– Heh, not mandatory, but it helps. I get inspiration from the world around. I see this world going down the drain with what we do. You just need to add another layer of darkness and twist of Evil and you get the stories out. Dwelling in despair and imagining the worst to happen – I believe we all have that dark chamber in us where we secretly like to enter time to time – is one the muses. And not to forget to mention the bands I admire. The music from the bands I have fed to Kalmo already when it was only a fetus. I think I also need to give also a lot of credit to a few decades of listening to blues. Despite the faint hope the blues has, its darker side has formed my musical scenery from dark blue to pitch black.

– What’s ahead of Kalmo and when can we expect a full album?
– Now once Kalmo has matured a bit and found its form, the next (un)natural step is to produce an EP. Not sure how many songs there will be, at this point thinking perhaps 4 or 5, but you never know. Over the next few weeks I am planning the first version of the concept of the EP. Then it is up to how dark and evil gears I get on my creativity and how much time I can allocate to the project.
A full album would be the next level on the way deeper into the darkness. That will come like end for us all, eventually.

– We’ll be definitely looking forward to it! Is there anything you would like to add and share with us and our readers?
– Oh, I want to say thank you to all the people in the metal community who have supported Kalmo \m/
Stay doomed! \m/

– Mika, thank you very much for this interview! It’s been an odd pleasure to have a word with the Darkness coming from the bowels of Hell and get to know your assemble of night creatures! 
– It was all my pleasure. Thank you for the interview and the questions. It was nice to have a talk and walk into the darkness with you Vladi.


Interview by Count Vlad


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