MyGrain 07/03/2011

MyGrain is a melodic death metal band from Helsinki, Finland. They are currently signed to Spinefarm Records and have released three studio albums. Taking their effort up another notch and carving a niche of their own somewhere between the violent technicality of Children of Bodom and pop sensibilities and modern approach of In Flames, yet armed with otherworldly subject matter completely of their own. Upping the ante in both catchiness and technicality and finally cementing Tommy as one of the better vocalists of the genre, the Finns' eponymous album is sure to kick in some doors and raise some serious hell. The steep ascent of MyGrain has already been noted in their homeland where the band performed at the prestigious Finnish Metal Expo, the focal point of all things metal in Europe. With their new horde of abductees, featuring producer J. Joutsenniemi (Ensiferum, Kiuas) and mixing/mastering engineer Dan Swanö, and a lethal album to boot, the band's confidence is soaring for a reason.

 

In order to get to know this band a little better we talked to Tommy (vocals) and Resistor (guitar) to answer some questions. Here you can read what they had to say to the readers of Metal-Experience.com

 

 

First of all, how are you doing? And congratulations on your new album ‘MyGrain’ which will be released soon, of course we’d like to ask you a couple of questions about it.

 

Resistor: Hello hello! We are doing just fine, thanks for asking. Really happy about the new album and we are just waiting to get back on the road again.

 

Tommy: Howdyhooo! And thank you for the congratz, we are feeling excited!

 

Could you start this interview off with a short introduction of the band, an explanation of the origins of the band’s name and how this band got together?

 

Resistor: Here it is in short... MyGrain was formed in 2004. The original line-up was Tommy (v), Eve (k), Yonas (b), Matthew (g), DJ Locomotive (d) and Resistor (g). We made a couple of demo tapes before we got signed to Spinefarm Records in 2005.  The first album ‘Orbit Dance’ was released in spring 2006. After that we did a Finnish tour. The second album ‘Signs of Existence’ was released in spring 2008. And again it was time to hit the road. This time there were also a few festival gigs involved. Then in 2008, the original line-up was changed. We had to part ways with the original guitar player Matthew, but luckily we knew this great dude from our fellow band called Misery Inc. that was splitting up in that time, so Mr.Downhill took over Matthew’s place. We did the last gigs we had booked and after that we started to write music for the third album.

 

Tommy: There were a couple of different names that we thought would be cool, but the origins of the name "MyGrain" came from our former guitar player Matthew, and it's a bit of a word puzzle. And like Resistor said in another interview "Actually there's no bigger story behind that one. It sounds cool and if you don't like our music, we hope that at least it will give you a migraine if nothing else" :)  For me the name means more like "this is our thing", and that thing we try to keep on spreading like a disease, in a good way though.

 

How did you launch into writing material for your album ‘MyGrain’ and how much time did you spend on the songs?

 

Resistor: We started to write new material at the end of 2008. We basically just continued where we had left off with the last album. The writing process took a little bit more time this time, but in the end it was worth it. We wanted to stretch our barriers even more so we really had to take an extra look at all the arrangements and stuff.

 

Tommy: And of course there were some obstacles in our way, while trying to get the songs done and head to the actual studio. But I guess if we would've gone to the studio earlier, we would not have been ready anyway. So, also every obstacles had its meaning, and in the end it turned out all good.

 

 

Which approach did you choose to make this album, did you go for a more raw exposition.. or something more reminiscent of your previous other works, or something all together different?

 

Resistor: The only plan was to make good songs and just try to dig even deeper

with the songs. The songs are now much longer, so there are many different feelings incorporated in them.

 

Tommy: I think it was a natural progress/improvement with the new songs. Now there is a wider scale of different emotions and stuff in the songs. Some songs have more epic and progressive parts, and some have more catchy things, like the chorus in "Of Immortal Aeons" or "Trapped in an Hourglass". But the only goal was to just make good songs.

 

What were the goals you had in mind when you started to record ‘MyGrain’, any elements you definitely wanted to include on the album?

 

Resistor: We wanted to get a really big and heavy sound but at the same time it had to be clear so that you could hear all the different things that were happening in the songs. I am sure it wasn't an easy task to do but we had these great guys recording and mixing the album. So big thumbs up to the album's producer / recorder Janne Joutsenniemi and to mr. Dan Swanö for mixing/mastering the album. These guys did an amazing job!

 

How can we imagine you worked on these songs, what's the typical writing process like for MyGrain? For example, did someone write all of the material by himself or was it more a kind of a group process?

 

Resistor: We have always worked as a unit so everyone is involved in the writing process. The songs were written pretty much the same way as before: in the rehearsal room, just by jamming and trying some cool riffs etc. But I think that most of the songs still started from the drum and guitar stuff.. we just happened to be in the rehearsal room more:)

 

Tommy: With us it has always worked better making the same soup with many cooks! - by jamming and trying to fit things together with the spices everyone has to offer into the mix.

 

Could you please describe the implications of the title ‘MyGrain’? Can we regard this as a new start, as this is already your third album?

 

Resistor: Well, there was the line-up change, we thought that the music was also changing its form a little bit and we had some issues with the record label etc., so the period before this third release wasn't easy. So when we finally got the songs ready and we were ready to go to the studio, we had this feeling that this was some kind of a new beginnig for us. That's the reason for the "nameless album".

 

Tommy: And for the former issues with the label, gotta say that now it feels like everything is working just perfectly between the band and the label. There's the right guys behind us now. So things seem pretty much more promising this time, from every angle!

 

About the lyrics, where do you get your inspiration from and can you tell me a little more about them?

 

Resistor: Tommy writes all the lyrics. It's the basic everyday life stuff but it's been blindfolded by this scifi/space stuff so that the message won't be too obvious.

 

Tommy: Yeah that's true in general. They're basically about amazements from one's life and about life on a bigger scale, with a twist of scifi, fantasy and dreams. That's just the way I like to make lyrics for this kind of music, to which I think it fits well. Scifi is always good. There's some wondering about bigger universal stuff: what's it all about and vice versa - what's our part in this system, in it all. I guess I sometimes repeat myself a lot ;)

 

How important is it to you that people pay attention to the lyrics apart from listening to the music?

 

Resistor: Of course it's also important that people read the lyrics, too.

 

Tommy: For me it's important. I like to read nice lyrics from different bands, and get the mood by combining the lyrics and music in my mind. It sometimes gives the music more kick when adding the image/imagination into it while listening.

 

Can you give us a little background info on the songs on the album; is there a story behind them?

 

Tommy: At the start I guess there was no specific story behind the songs, but now when I think about the songs afterwards, you can find a pretty linear meanings in every one of them. This may be concluded from the fact that the lyrics were all made in the same short period of time. Actually some of the lyrics wonder about the state of this world and planet that we are living in; our time here, and the balance of life and death. I guess listeners can also find their own meanings in them. You can interpret them in many ways.

 

If someone was only going to read the lyrics and not listen to the music, what would you hope they would take from them?

 

Tommy: The feelings. Maybe something to make you think also. And if someone would take influence from them for making lyrics, that would be an honor.

 

 

What do you think are the main differences between your previous album ‘Signs of Existence’ and the new one?

 

Resistor: In my opinion I think that ‘SoE’ was a big step forward from the debut album but from ‘SoE’ to this third release the step was more like a BIG leap! I mean there is just so much more in the songs. First of all, nowadays we have guitar solos in every song. We also have much more of these mellow parts and just much more melodies in the songs. Still, the basic rule is always that the song’s gotta kick some serious ass!

 

Tommy: ...and if they didn't kick ass, we wouldn't have the courage to play them live :)

 

What is the utmost important ingredient for a song according to you?

 

Tommy: All: it has rage, catchyness, good melodies, and it punches you straight in the face.

 

How did the recording process proceed and how much time did you spend in the studio?

 

Resistor: We started with the drums in the summer of 2010. The recordings took place in Seawolf Studios in Helsinki. After that we recorded everything else in this little rehearsal room. So we recorded here and there the whole summer and autumn.

 

The album was produced by Janne Joutsenniemi, what made him the perfect man for MyGrain?

 

Resistor: Our new A&R guy Alec Hirst-Gee is a good friend of Janne so we thought Alec could ask him if he would like to produce/record the third MyGrain album and luckily he said yes. He had many good points and tips for us for the songs and when we had played those same songs the last two years, our ears were coming a little bit deaf to some parts. So the help was needed.

 

Tommy: Janne is very good and experienced in composing songs, so having him produce the album was a great support. Also having "new ears" for our stuff, was good.

 

In which things/songs on the new album can one clearly hear his vision and ideas?

 

Resistor: Well, all the songs were written before Janne gave us his helping hand. So he just told us his ideas about what could work better in some parts and we tried them. Many of his suggestions worked and we used some of them. And if there were things that we didn't feel comfortable with, we didn't use them.

 

Tommy: And for me, he was a great help with the stems in clean parts. I'm sure I would not have succeeded this way without him. With Janne recording/producing, I also got the blood-tasting intensity to the rough parts, as we did them as naturally as we could. It was a lot of learning for me, working with him.

 

How would you describe this album to someone that has never listened to the band?

 

Resistor: It's just metal with great melodies and influences from the whole Scandinavian scene to the American scene. Asskicking metal with catchy melodies could be it?

 

Tommy: A nice punch in the face, that makes you wanna get beaten again, hehe.

 

Which element of the CD are you the most proud of?

 

Resistor: I am proud that MyGrain knows how to write songs that work really well on the stage and also on record. I mean the songs are really groovy and heavy but there are still always these moments where you can just flow with the songs. And that there are many different feelings and parts in the songs so that they go forward all the time.

 

Tommy: Its diversity, and the contrast between the power versus melodies.

 

Can you tell us a little about yourself and the kinds of things that motivate you in your writing, your poetry, and your lyrics? What are you personally into?

 

Resitor: Well, we are just some regular guys and a gal who just love to play music and jam with our instruments. We all have the same vision where we want to get to with this band and we are working really hard to achieve it.

 

Tommy: Everyday life issues, science, and science fiction motivate my writing of the lyrics. I'm really into stuff like widespread catastrophe/disaster movies and astronomy, even though I haven't got the time to explore it deeply. But it's more like the images/imagination I get from it.

 

Could you respond to the following terms in just one word or sentence:

 

Resitor:

Underground : Pasi DJ

Internet  Everywhere

Religion : Not for me

Politics : Not for me

The Netherlands : Puukengät :)

Finland : Sauna

 

Tommy:

Underground : Finnish punkrock band "Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät"

Internet : Por...trojans that almost destroyed my laptop

Religion : Causing many conflicts and deaths, etc.

Politics : ...

The Netherlands : Amsterdam, coffee shops & bicycles

Finland : Kossu & makkara!

 

What makes MyGrain stand out compared to other bands? Is there anything missing in the scene at present?

 

Resistor: I just think that we know how to write good songs. We have now made three albums and I can still stand behind all the songs we have written for those releases.

 

Tommy: Maybe the diversity of the material? Haven't thought about that really...

 

Which goals did you have when the band started out and how do those goals stand now?

 

Resistor: First of all, I would never even have thought that someday I would have a record deal and that I’d be making records and touring etc. So it's basically already  a dream come true. The next bigger goal for the band is to finally get to play some gigs abroad.

 

Tommy: I think the goal was just to play good metal with good guys, and to do some gigs. I feel the same as Resistor, never would've thought we'd record albums and tour with such great bands in Finland. The next goal is just what Resistor said above. Tours abroad with kickass bands would be the coolest thing ever!

 

Are there any particular bands who’ve been a big influence on your song writing, metal or otherwise?

 

Resistor: Metallica, Machine Head, Deftones, Tool, Alice in Chains, Unearth etc.

 

Tommy: My influences come, for example, from singers like Devin Townsend, Mike Patton, Layne Staley, Ville Tuomi, Mikael Åkerfeldt, Randy Blythe, etc. I desperately want to be as good as them some day in the future...eventhough that's an utopistic wish :)

 

What can we expect from MyGrain in the near future? Any touring plans?

 

Resistor: 27.1.2011 the Finnish tour starts. Hopefully we will get to tour outside Finland also with this album. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed for that.

 

Tommy: Most likely another music video too, and the release of the new album outside Finland as well. And, hopefully lots of touring.

 

A last statement?

 

Resistor: Thank you for the nice interview and hellos to all our friends out there!

 

Tommy: Cheers & lots of beers, when we hopefully see all of you guys and girls on the road, some day soon!

 

 

 

Current Members:

Tommy – Vocals

Resistor – Guitar

Mr Downhill – Guitar

Eve – Keys

Jonas – Bass

DJ Locomotive – Drums

 

Former members:

Matthew - Guitar

 

Albums:

2006 - Orbit Dance

2008 - Signs Of Existence

2011 - MyGrain