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NECRO WEASEL's Heikki Jalonen: "The lyrics for the new album are about these sad things that are happening globally and affecting our lives, like the rise of far-right, making conspiracy theories about Covid19, misleading people and shit like that."

Interview with Heikki Jalonen from NECRO WEASEL
by Leanne Evans at 05 May 2021, 1:05 PM

In the metal world, the last 12 months has provided an organic, creative sanctuary for artists and given fistfuls of time to master their craft and get their creative juices flowing. NECRO WEASEL is no exception, with sonics straight from the fiery pits of hell, and contemporary thematic from today’s societal shitstorm, NECRO WEASEL is a one-man Finnish thrash band and the brainchild of Heikki Jalonen (guitarist of Finnish hardcore punk band VAPAA MAA). The band name was born from the “affectionate” nickname “näätä” - Finnish for “weasel” - Heikki’s friends refer to him as (who needs enemies with friends like that!). After over 20 years of playing in crust, grind, hardcore and punk bands, Heikki has embarked on his own solo project, and created a blistering amalgamation of crossover thrash, perfect for tackling today’s messed up world with full-frontal punk-tinged aggressive brutality. Metal Temple’s staff writer and interviewer, Leanne Evans, has the chance to speak with Heikki and pick his epic talented thrash brain over Necro Weasel, personal thrash influences and what’s next on the agenda. Read on to find out more…

Hey Heikki, nice to catch up with you and thank you for speaking with Metal Temple, how have you been?

Hi! I’m fine at the moment. Saturday night, watching NHL and relaxing at home.

So, the question that we’re asking all the bands right now, given it’s been such a tough time for us all, how has the last 12 months been for you?

The last few months I’ve had problems with my lower back since January. An Injury from my sport Brazilian Jiujitsu. I’ve done a lot of stretching, eating painkillers and done light exercises for rehab. Getting better little by little. As I work in a school, I have been in work during these pandemic times. Not much different than before covid19. Family time, work, BJJ, strength training. Unfortunately, our gym has been closed because of the covid-situation, so there have been a few months without jiujitsu training. On the other hand, because of my back issues, I wouldn’t even have been able to do jiujitsu the past few months. Of course, there has been more time to play and record, and Necro Weasel is a proof of that.

Did the last year contribute to creating the concept of Necro Weasel?

I guess it’s a partial reason. The other reason for starting Necro Weasel is because I have been so productive lately and I didn’t want to compose more songs for my band “Vapaa Maa”. We are doing a new LP later this year and we already have too many songs to practice. So, it was a good time to try something new and do everything by myself.

I had the pleasure of reviewing your latest release, the E.P. “Isolated and Incompetent”, it’s a sterling bit of work and an innovative approach to thrash. I mean, you keep the traditional punk-tinged concept, but revive it with a very contemporary thematic, with pressing topics such as mental health, anti-fascism and protecting nature; is your craft an extension of you as a person and your own personal values?

I try to write about topics I care about and can stand behind. I've always liked bands that have something to say and, as I’ve been in the punk scene since my teenage years, writing about topics that I can relate to and feel important has been the best for me.

If you could change anything in today’s world through your music, what would you hope to achieve the most?

A lot of things, but the most important thing I would want people to change in our daily lives would be to respect each other and stop being selfish, greedy bastards.

Amen to that! How do you feel about today’s thrash scene? Would you like to see more thrash outfits take Necro Weasel’s approach and tackle topics with deeper substance?

I have to admit, I'm not listening much of the new stuff, but of course it is cool that there are new bands singing about these topics. I like these “new” bands like Warbringer, Power Trip, Municipal Waste, etc and it’s not a big deal for me if they aren’t singing serious topics. Drinking beer, eating pizza and brain eating zombies are great topics for thrash metal, too. I just can’t write about those things.

Which thrash bands do you personally enjoy, old and new?

All those 80’s classic bands of course. Slayer, Sepultura, S.O.D, Anthrax, Kreator, Whiplash, Dark Angel…. I could continue the list, but you’ll get the idea; fast, aggressive and raw.
The new bands I mentioned earlier; Power Trip was the greatest new metal band I have found. So sad their singer died, R.I.P. Riley Gale.

Now let’s talk more about Necro Weasel’s debut E.P., “Isolated and Incompetent”, dude, what an absolute masterpiece! It’s a belter! Who have you been influenced by over the years and do you feel that these bands have had an influence over your sound in the E.P.?

Sound wise, I don't know if I have been influenced by any band. I try to do a kind of sound I personally like. I tune my guitar to standard E and just trying to do good thrash songs. You might hear some Slayer influences in my guitar “solos”; I’m not so good metal player and never practiced this kind of stuff before, so there's a lot of squeals and technically bad stuff going on!

You’ve done EVERYTHING in “Isolated and Incompetent” yourself… I mean, we’re talking the bass, guitar, vocals, drums, mixing, mastering EVERYTHING… dude!!! Which aspect of the production was the most challenging, but equally, rewarding for you?

I have been doing demos at home for some years at home, but before starting Necro Weasel, my home recordings were just done for my band to get some idea of song structure for rehearsal room. Those demos were just for the band to understand and help to learn new songs before we start to do it as a whole band. I haven’t done any recordings, mixing or mastering before besides those home demos, so it has been fun to learn new things and still learning every day. I like to challenge myself as a player, so why shouldn’t I challenge myself as a producer? The most challenging thing for me has been vocals. I’ve been playing drums and guitar in bands for over 20 years, but I haven't done lead vocals before…that’s so different than screaming backing vocals in band! There is so much more to learn about breathing, how to produce the sound and not to fuck up your voice for weeks, hah! First session I did vocals, I screamed like I used to do in a band, I recorded 3 or 4 songs and completely fucked my voice for over a week! So, I’ve tried to study and learn from fellow screamers how I can scream without fucking up my voice. I guess I've made some progress in that area because nowadays I can do back-to-back sessions.

I love that you’re so immensely talented, but to broaden your horizons, you might need to switch-up Necro Weasel from a one-man outfit to a band of brothers. Is this something that you’d consider doing in the future?

There is a big change for that. I started this with a goal to just do records on my own, but we’ll see how things go in the future.

And which track is your personal highlight from “Isolated and Incompetent”?

I can’t say a favourite. I’m quite happy how the EP is as a whole record. Of course, there are many things I could have done better, but it is what it is.

So, looking ahead, what do you feel the future holds for Necro Weasel? I heard that there is some new material on the horizon, this is VERY exciting! What can listeners expect?

Yes! I continued to do songs right after I did “Isolated and Incompetent”, and I released a full length called “Another Day to Waste” in April. For now, there is just a digital version, but the CD is on the way also published by “Rämekuukkeli Levyt” from Finland. Listeners can expect to have nine songs of thrash metal with some crossover as usual. My friend, Frans Hipponen, did a mastering for the “Another Day to Waste” and it sounds way better than previous records I've made by myself. I also got great tips from him for mixing.

You’re a guy who writes from the heart; will you be staying true to yourself and keeping with the same heart-felt thematic as “Isolated and Incompetent” for the next release?

The lyrics for the new album are about these sad things that are happening globally and affecting our lives, like the rise of far-right, making conspiracy theories about Covid19, misleading people and shit like that. Stress, insomnia, anxiety, shitty job, suicidal thoughts, and those kinds of things we all go through. So, I think the answer is “Yes”.

“Isolated and Incompetent” features very dull and sad-looking cover art, cleverly produced by Ville Angervuori (a talented graphic designer, as well as bassist for Heikki’s Finnish Punk band Vapaa Maa) deliberately so to reflect the God-awful state of our climate and its effect on nature. Does the newest release feature the same artistic brilliance and talents from your fellow band member and friend, Ville? What has the inspiration been this time?

Ville has done the artwork for the new one also, and it looks awesome! For inspiration of artwork, I'm not the right person to answer. I have 100% trust for Ville’s work, so he has free hands for the cover art.

Obviously, the last 12 months has really hindered live music, gigs, festivals and the like… by the grace of all the metal gods, hopefully we can start enjoying these again soon! Do you have any plans for live events at all with either Necro Weasel or Vapaa Maa?

For Vapaa maa for sure. We released our “new” LP just a day before the lockdown started in Finland a year ago. We have done only two gigs, the release party and one birthday gig in our friends pub. Als,o there is a new album in the makings. As I said earlier, we’ll see how it goes with Necro Weasel. If there is some interest for live shows, there is a chance to start a real band.

Now, let’s have a little fun… If you could be teleported anywhere in this world – or another - where would Necro Weasel’s ultimate festival/performance dream be?
Some not-so-big venue, with a room full of people, that would be great!

And finally, since this is becoming my signature “Leanne question” to ask in an interview, indulge me and tell me who your fantasy celebrity metal tea party guests would be! You need to choose someone to cook, someone to chat with, someone to entertain you and someone to party with…

Because I don't eat meat, I would want some vegetarian food, and I know Barney from Napalm Death is vegan/vegetarian…I also love Napalm Death, so he would be cooking! I’d choose Ice-T from Body Count to chat with, as a person with his background, there would be great stories! Dave Lombardo is the greatest metal drummer of all time, so he would be the entertainer and, as this is fantasy, it would be great to party with Lemmy.

Thank you so much for your time, Heikki, we will be following you closely at Metal Temple and are excited about Necro Weasel’s thrash journey!

Thank you so much for the interview, I hope there will be shows to play soon!

Necro Weasle’s E.P. “Isolated and Incompetent” delivers a sound to truly behold and is uncompromising, unyielding and absolutely penetrates you to your thrash core and is available to purchase now!


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