THE WITHERING SOUNDS OF RAPTURE


Updated: 05/06/03

Based out of Helsinki, Finland, the haunting metallic sounds of Rapture are sure to give bands like Opeth and Katatonia a run for the darkest of glories. With their sophomore album Songs For The Withering released here in the States via Century Media and their debut through Relapse, Rapture is sure to gain plenty of fans on these shores. Here is an interview I recently did with vocalist Petri Eskelinen.

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Rapture, and give me a brief history of the band.
My name is Petri Eskelinen and I do the clean vocals in Rapture. The band started around 96-97. We recorded one demo, got a deal with Spikefarm and did an album. We then had three years of a quiet period. We did two shows and then we did another album. We had some line-up changes in the past. Now we have a new bass player.

Could you describe the metal scene in Helsinki and how does Rapture fit in to all of it?
The metal scene is Helsinki is pretty good I guess. I personally am not that much into the scene anymore. I have a job in the scene and all that. But I think itís pretty good Ė itís pretty unified and solid. But I have no idea how Rapture fits into it, because weíve never been real scene people. We kind of do our own thing and thatís about it.

You mentioned you have a job in the scene. What do you do?
I handle foreign promotion at Spinefarm.

Well thatís good. At least they gave you a job as well as signed your band!
Oh yeah, thatís good. I guess I just kind of hung around long enough for them to give me a job. I use to hang around here because there was a big metal magazine that use to operate out of the same premises. I use to write a lot with them, so I kind of hung out a lot here when I didnít have a job. Then we got the deal and everything, so I hung out even more. Then one day, they kind of asked if I had a job.

Well, all that hanging out worked out good.
Yeah, it did, definitely.

What made the band decide to go with two vocalists this time around?
I have no idea actually. It was just an idea that we wanted to try out, and I think it worked out pretty fine. It definitely added to the dynamic of the band. I definitely hope it will give a lot more energy to the live performance Ė when we get to play live Ė if we get to play live. Hopefully we will. But I guess it was an idea, which in the end turned out pretty well. Both me and Henri, we can both now concentrate on our own parts. I donít have to worry about blowing myself out doing the death metal vocals. I could just concentrate on the clean stuff.

With two vocalists, is it usually difficult in deciding who sings what?
We usually take it outside and have like three-minute rounds. No! (Laughter) Actually it all depends on the songs. We decide all the parts depending on the mood of the songs.

When performing live, what are you going to do while the death metal vocalist screams away?
Iíll probably have a cigarette. I mean, I can still do the death metal vocals. There will be interplay between the two vocals Ė weíll just have to see how it works out. People say that Henri and I have the same type of voice, so weíll just have to see what happens. We finally have a rehearsal space, so weíre going to start putting up a live set. Hopefully weíll get to play some shows in the summer. Everything is kind of open right now with live shows.

I hope you guys can come over here to the States and play.
Me too. Iíve never been in the States and Iíve always wanted to go there and see what itís like. The feedback weíve got from the States has been better than the feedback weíve got here in Europe. That would definitely be extra cool.

Is there any deep meaning behind the album title Songs For The Withering?
Itís songs for people either in the process of withering or for people that are withering. They are definitely songs about and for withering. And thatís about it.

So they are songs for like 90-year-old people?
(Laughs) No! They are songs for people that are tired and weak. It kind of sums up the entire theme of the album, which is more or less about death. I kind of hate to even try to explain the title of the album or the lyrics. I would prefer a lot more to leave room for interpretation because itís a lot more rewarding for the listener Ė and a lot more interesting than to just have somebody give you all the answers.

Where in general do you get the ideas for some of the lyrics you write?
About my life. I know that the lyrics are very depressed, but itís not like I go around walking with a rope around my neck all of the time or having razors in my pockets. Itís just something that happens Ė when Iím feeling down I usually write something and thatís about it. I know the stuff is very depressed and everything, but theyíre just snapshots of different moments when Iím really overwhelmed by all the shit that goes on in life. I know it sounds a bit cliched and whatever, but thatís just the way it is. It is definitely very honest and personal stuff.

How do you feel when your sound is compared to bands like Opeth and Katatonia?
I donít really care anymore because we got that a lot when the first album came out. At first it was kind of funny, and then it got a bit irritating, but in the end we were like ďFuck it!Ē We will do what we want anyway. Weíre just being honest to ourselves and writing the type of music that we enjoy writing and listening to. It seems that people are now stepping away from that eternal Katatonia comparison. Theyíre saying ďThey sound a bit like Katatonia, but theyíve definitely found their own sound.Ē But it doesnít bother me anymore. Iím just happy to be able to do good music. Iím satisfied myself and donít really care what other people say.

So how did your two live shows go?
They actually went pretty well. The first show was at The Spinefarm Ten Year Anniversary Bash. That was definitely good. It was a packed venue and people were very enthusiastic about it. The second one we opened for Amorphis here in Helsinki as well. Both the shows went well and it was definitely an enjoyable experience. Weíre all looking forward to get to play more shows as soon as possible.

What are the future plans for Rapture?
Weíre rehearsing and trying to get a live set together and then hopefully play some shows in the summer. And hopefully weíll start writing some new material soon. We have a couple of songs that are being demoed right now, but nothing really big at the moment.

Do you have any messages either for Rapture fans or metal fans here in the States?
I guess take care of yourselves. Itís a sick world out there. And everybody should start bugging Century Media so we could play some shows out there Ė maybe even at the Milwaukee Metalfest.


LINKS OF RAPTURE

RAPTURE: Their Official Home Page!
CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS: THE USA Record Label for Rapture!
THE HIGHWIRE DAZE HOME PAGE: Return to the Main Page!

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