Tatu Kerttula is the drummer in Wormwood since 2021, and even if he still has not recorded new material with them (apart from a live studio recording), they have been doing some gigs so he’s been proving well his skills with the band. Tatu also plays in Katharos since 2019, this band released their second album last year. He kindly dedicated some time to answer my questions for Blessed Altar Zine.
Hi Tatu, thank you for your time doing this interview. First thing I want to ask you is, how are things with Wormwood? Are you guys working hard on a new album? Just let me tell you, I’m so eager about new material from the band with you playing drums, since I saw the live stream of “The Plague Tapes” more than a year ago, and I could see you fitting perfectly with Wormwood!
Tatu: Hi! Everything is good in the Wormwood camp. We have been hard at work with the new album for quite a while now. We will begin the recording process this spring. Thank you for the kind words. I’m looking forward to recording these new songs and to adding my imprint to the Wormwood sound.
Are you contributing with some lyrics, songwriting… to the new stuff?
Tatu: Yes. Tobias Rydsheim (mainly) and myself are for the most part responsible for composing/arranging the music. Georg (Nine) is responsible for the lyrics and for the conceptual ideas.
How has it been playing live with Wormwood so far? Have you done a lot of gigs since you joined the band? And, do you have more dates already booked?
Tatu: It has been really fun. We have played several concerts both in Sweden and parts of Europe since I joined the band and it looks like more and more is coming in the future. For example we played the Sweden Rock Festival last summer which was a milestone in my own career and for the band also, I think.
We have more dates booked for this year, starting in february. Some gigs in Sweden, Finland, Germany and Denmark for example.
Which is the song you like the most to play live?
Tatu: There are quite many actually, but some of the songs I enjoy playing live are: The Gentle Touch of Humanity, Ensamheten, Overgrowth, The Achromatic Road, The Isolationist and To Worship.
You also play drums in Katharos, a Swedish Symphonic Black Metal band, and your second album, “Of Lineages Long Forgotten”, was released in May last year. Congrats to you all, it’s a great album in my opinion. How happy are you with it?
Tatu: Thank you for the kind words. We are very happy with the album, thanks. We are rehearsing and composing with Katharos and there are plans for live concerts in the near future.
Another band you are in is Neuronaut. It seems that things are a bit quiet after the release of “State of Not Enough” in February 2019. How is the band doing nowadays?
Tatu: The idea for Neuronaut is sort of a free haven. A band where we can express different ideas and sounds that would not necessarily work in the other bands that each of us is part of. I’m mainly occupied with Wormwood and Katharos, Tobias Jansson is playing live guitar in Craft. Pär Johansson is playing drums in Craft and recently became a permanent member of the band. Victor Parri is mainly occupied with drumming duties in Valkyrja and Isole.
Neuronaut will always be a fun project for all of us, without deadlines or guidelines of different forms. You’ll never know when a new album will appear.
Do you have any drumming routines in order to keep yourself in shape?
Tatu: I try to practice many times every week. Everything from learning new songs, composing, keeping up with stamina routines which are essential when playing physically demanding extreme metal and working with rudimental drumming. Basically keeping the fundamentals in shape and also working with a metronome for good timing. Very important!
Now, let me ask you a few more personal questions. How big is the sensation for you of being an active part in the Metal scene? I mean, being a musician, playing in more than one band… Was this your dream when you were a child?
Tatu: It was always my dream to be a musician in some form when I was younger. I’ve been listening to and playing different kinds of music since childhood and there are musicians in my family also. I think it’s a calling. I can’t imagine my life without playing music in one form or another. I have to do this, I think hahah.
It’s always humbling and rewarding to hear that you’ve made an impact on people with music. Whether it’s live concerts or recorded albums.
At what age did you start playing drums? Was there any drummer who was an inspiration for you to play this instrument?
Tatu: I started playing the drums at around nine or ten, but got more focused and started taking it seriously in my late teens. My step brother was playing drums so he was my first inspiration. He is still a drummer and works as a music teacher and producer. I took some lessons when I was younger, had a great teacher named Totte Päivärinta and then I went to a music high school. I had a great drum teacher and mentor there named Kent Borg, as well as many other great teachers.
Can you play any other instrument besides drums?
Tatu: I can play a bit of piano and guitar but nowhere near the abilities I have on the drums. I mostly use piano and drums when composing.
Which bands were you listening to in your teens? Are you still listening to these, nowadays?
Tatu: I was listening to all kinds of music. I never wanted to put boundaries to what genre I’m listening to or playing. I wanted to learn from different kinds of music. Obviously Rock and Metal is a big part of my identity as a musician and I tend to lean towards that pocket so to say.
In the beginning I was listening to many vinyl records and tapes that my mom had at home. Lots of Rock’n’Roll, Blues, Punk and singer/songwriter stuff.
Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Scorpions, Deep Purple, Gary Moore, Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest, Janis Joplin, Geordie, AC/DC, ZZ Top, Guns N’ Roses, UFO, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Supertramp, Aerosmith, Free, Bad Company, Pink Floyd, Ramones, Joni Mitchell, Nordman, Dave Lindholm, Peer Günt, 22-Pistepirkko, Juice Leskinen, Eppu Normaali, Sielun Veljet and a whole lot of other bands.
I later indulged in lots of progressive rock, funk, fusion, electronic music and hip-hop. I have my brother to thank for showing me many new genres of music.
I also got to listen to more Metal bands as a young kid, when I was at my fathers motorcycle club in Oulu, Finland. There were records from bands like Sepultura, Stratovarius, Slayer, Pantera, Running Wild, Dimmu Borgir, Symphony X, Helloween, Sentenced, Impaled Nazarene. I guess that sparked my interest in heavier music.
I still listen to all of these bands among many, many others as well.
Can you name some of your favorite Metal bands and musicians? And, is there any song that’s very special for you? Not only for the music, but also because of the emotions it can convey to you?
Tatu: Rainbow, Dio, Deep Purple, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Gary Moore, Thin Lizzy, Europe, Talisman, Magnum, King Crimson, Camel, Pink Floyd, Paatos, Björk, Robyn, Röyksopp, Suede, Radiohead, Porcupine Tree, Opeth, Meshuggah, Sepultura, Morbid Angel, Cynic, Death, Deicide, Skitsystem, Rotten Sound, Thorns, Dødheimsgard, Ved Buens Ende, Aeon, In Battle, Scarve… The list goes on hahah.
There are many songs that are special to me. Some examples:
Deep Purple – Pictures Of Home
Rainbow – Gates Of Babylon
Dio – Stand Up And Shout
Judas Priest – Sinner
Gary Moore – Parisienne Walkways
King Crimson – Starless
Cynic – How Could I
Paatos – Hypnotique
Robyn – Indestructible
Sepultura – Beneath the Remains
Thorns – Interface to God
Too many to mention but all of these move me both musically and emotionally in one way or another. I also love these musicians and have uttermost respect for them.
When it comes to drummers, some big inspirations are: Ian Paice, Vinny Appice, Cozy Powell, Simon Phillips, Bill Bruford, Sean Reinert, Pete Sandoval, Igor Cavalera, Hux Nettermalm, Jeff Porcaro, Vinnie Colaiuta, Sami Kuoppamäki, Hellhammer, Frost, Nils Fjellström, Mikkey Dee, and many, many others.
What’s the concert you have attended (not as a musician, but as a Metalhead) that you have enjoyed the most?
Tatu: There have been many. Some of these: Iron Maiden, Porcupine Tree, Alice In Chains, Cynic, Morbid Angel, King Crimson, Paatos, Opeth, Motörhead, Mercyful Fate, Toto, Tom Jones, Europe, Symphony X, Slayer, Defleshed, Aeon, Soreption, Meshuggah, Mayhem, Dismember, Entombed… Too many to mention all.
Do you have any “musical guilty pleasure” you can confess?
Tatu: Not really. Only pleasures.
How do you see the underground Metal scene nowadays?
Tatu: I think it has a stable place in this world. I’m happy when I find new, interesting bands but I try to not think about the Metal scene so much. I listen to all kinds of music and see myself as a musician primarily, with a never ending love of Metal music. I think the scene is still strong and I think there will always be a love for Metal music among humans. Most metalheads that I know and meet are always very friendly and good people.
What does Metal music mean to you in your life?
Tatu: It is a big part of my identity and I will always love different kinds of Metal music. I’m happy to be able to play concerts, record music and meet new people all over the planet.
Many thanks for your answers, Tatu. Is there anything you want to add?
Tatu: Thank you! All the best to everyone reading this. A big thank you for the support. Hope to see you on the road somewhere on this planet.
Interview by Sílvia
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