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Interview - Teemu Vähäkangas (Bloodride)

Interview with Teemu Vähäkangas from Bloodride
by Kostas Kiriakis at 17 July 2014, 11:17 PM

Never enough to Thrash, never enough to live have a blast of a life. The Finnish BLOODRIDE proved that the aggression and high energized life style is something to think about it. Recently releasing their new album “Bloodmachine”, Kostas talked to Teemu, guitars, regarding the release, music and more…

Hi Teemu, first of all I'd like to welcome you to MT and thank you for your time doing this interview for our readers. Would you like to make an introduction of the band?

Thank You for doing this interview with me! Well, about Bloodride…we are old thrash farts and done this stuff from year 2000. Our current line-up is: Jykä (vocals), Simo and Teemu (guitars), Esa (bass) and Petteri (drums). During these years we've done some demo's, one single, one MCD and two full-lenghts, “Crowned In Hell” and this latest one “Bloodmachine” which came out this spring. Both albums came out through Violent Journey Records.

Second album for BLOODRIDE, and a solid release at that. What was the recording process like this time? Any particular moments you'd like to share with us?

Recording process was long, may a bit too long actually, haha! We recorded drums in D-Studios at first and after that started to do guitars at Petteri’s own studio at our rehearsal place. We didn’t have to rush anywhere so these kind of easygoing dudes wanted to take things like reaaaaally laid back and easy. Sometimes maybe too laidback with beer ‘n liquor, so after listening some sessions we had to do ‘em again, oops! As having day jobs and families, studying and stuff recording process was not the main priority at our lives so things went pretty slow. All in all putting things together and getting songs ready to final mixings took about a year. We did mixings and mastering at D-Studios and as it is pretty famous and crowded studio it took also some time to get there.

Mika Luttinen did guest vocals on "Bloodmachine". How did that happen, and what was like working with Mr. Mika?

Circles are small in Finland especially when you are old enough and still in metal scene! Some of boys are originally from Oulu too so in that way it was pretty easy to get in touch with Mika. Recording itself was pretty easy and trouble-free, we explained to Mika what was in our minds and he did it professionally with his style. The whole thing was done about in an hour. As titled to one of the notorious men in metal he is really a sweetheart!

Of all styles, why Thrash Metal?

Cos we wanna do it! We do have other bands and projects to satisfy other kinds of musical needs but the urge to do mean and fast stuff is satisfied with Bloodride. For example I come up with many different riffs which really would suit for example to doom so…

I can hear many influences from now classic Thrash bands like KREATOR and DESTRUCTION, to DARK ANGEL, SLAYER, and SEPULTURA in your music. However BLOODRIDE have their own voice as a band which is admirable. How do you do it? Is it hard?

Thank you! Bands you mentioned are at our “list of love” but of course we try to avoid straight influences. As you have been listening to this kind of stuff for years and years it will come through your head and fingers if you want it or not. Sometimes you have to dump good riff because it sounds too much of some other band but we are not worried about that as new riffs just keep coming. So far, so good, haha!

What's the song writing process like for BLOODRIDE?

Actually it varies a lot…sometimes songs build up pretty easily even through jamming and sometimes you really need to focus on it and have to change different parts and riffs over and over again. All stringmen and drummer Petteri too are bringing new riffs to rehearsals and then we just start playing and mixing them together. Same goes with the lyrics, after some riffs are done together some-one has already some kind of lyrics to show and then we just carry on with. Pretty much teamwork I would say.

What makes BLOODRIDE tick? What are your sources of inspiration?

Love of this kind of music and our friendship also I guess. And beer too, haha! Playing together gives great feelings of strengh and joy, no matter who shitty your day was but when you go to rehearsal room with these chaps, plug guitar in and open beer, oh man, that's something!

Well, I can't say about other dudes but personally I get inspiration nearly from anything, for example a single phrase from some movie to rhythm of some disturbing pop song from radio! Someday those ideas just come out twisted to their own forms and our musical roots make them sound the Bloodride-way.

Tell me about yourself. I know that you play guitar at BLOODRIDE and bass at UNSHINE. Is it hard being at two projects at the same time? What motivates you to keep going?

Sometimes it's a bit hard to schedule things out with all rehearsals, gigs, bookings and stuff and have so-called real life too with your family, job, studies and other hobbies but so far I've managed somehow with that. Sometimes my girlfriend is not too happy about all these band activities but fortunately we have found time for “family stuff” and so on. Of course once in a while you get tired and want to take little break but soon you wanna get back with this again. You know, this is a way of life to me as I've been in this music stuff like way over 25 years so…I could say that live and breathe through music and it's nearly impossible to think that I wouldn't do this anymore. But you never know, maybe tomorrow I fed up with this stuff totally and start playing golf!

If you weren't a musician, which is the one job you'd love to do, and which one you'd hate doing?

Actually I don't consider myself as "real" musician 'cos I don't get any real earnings from this! This is more like way of life and we have to do "real jobs" to get paid. But you are right, I love this and it would be nice to live with your music but dreams are dreams. Which job I would hate? I guess there are plenty of those, but working as a butcher in meat industry, that would be impossible to me as I could not kill animals.

What's the most funny or awkward moment you can recall as a musician?

Plenty of those…actually sometimes it feels that musicianship is awkwardness big time! This happened with Unshine many years ago: we were finishing our show and obviously fog machine got stuck and pushed whole stage full of that damn smoke. After I put my bass down I really couldn't see a thing, just fog everywhere! To get of the stage I had to try my way out by hands like a blind man, that was pretty sure Spinal Tap-moment!

What's your opinion on the state of the market, especially digital releases and downloading music?

In a way it is good that music has found new ways to go to listeners but of course it's sad that people are used to get everything too easily and especially for free. I'm old school dude so I want my music to be in those funny packages which are called cd's, vinyl albums and even c-tapes! ;) And yes, free/pirate downloading sucks big time! As a kid I did tape trading and stuff so in a way that pretty same as file sharing but back days volume of people doing it was so small and you really had to work and do some researching for your music. Well, life changes and we have just to get along with it.

Do you listen to other music except metal? If yes, what? If no, why?

Yes, of course! I don't like boundaries as basicly any kind of music with speaks to you are good. Mostly I listen to metal, punk and other extreme kind of stuff but also for example some jazz and classical. I think it's a bit narrow minded to dislike other music if it's not metal. Listening to different forms of music gives you new experiences and new inspirations too.

If you were stranded on a desert island, which 10 albums you'd like to have with you?

This is though one… well at least: Carnivore – Retaliation, Iron Maiden – Piece of Mind, Judas Priest – Unleashed in the East, Slayer – Reign In Blood, Entombed – Left Hand Path, Ramones – It's Alive, Bolt Thrower – 4th Crusade, Carcass – Symphonies of Sickness, Dark Angel – Leave Scars, S.O.D. - Speak English or Die. At least these!

Any other interests besides music?

Main interest nowadays is to spend as much time as possible with my woman and our dogs at our summer cottage! I also like to read, watch some documents and movies. I used to do pretty much reviews and gig / festival reports to Metal media though nowadays I write only some reviews infrequently to Finnish metal magazine called Inferno. As I'm not a young lad anymore I'm trying to keep myself in some kind of condition with gym and some sport activities too. I'm also studying to be psychotherapist so it takes a loooot of my time.

Back to BLOODRIDE. So what are the plans now? Any tour coming our way?

Plans are to play some shows, have a good time and make new songs! There has been some negotiations about tour to mid-Europe but so far they are just plans. It would be really brilliant to do some real touring for a change!

Teemu I want to thank you again for this interview, and wish all the best for the road ahead. Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?

Thank YOU very much for this, it was great honor to answer your questions! Thanx to everyone who lasted this long with my answers, haha! Bloodride will be around for years and years to come so all you people: Keep metal alive!

Kippis!!!



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