Turmion Kätilöt is a band that is huge in their own country Finland but maybe a bit less known in the rest of the world. Being a big fan myself, we tried to set up a meeting for an interview during Tuska 2016 to put them a bit more in the spotlight in the rest of the world too. On the day itself we caught up with them after their signing session and had a bit of a struggle to get backstage for the interview. Luckily Heta Hyttinen was in the neighborhood to help us out for that, thanks! Once we got there we met up with Spellgoth (vocals) and Bobby Undertaker (guitars, backing vocals). Next problem to solve: where to have the interview… we looked around a bit and decided to just take up post in one of the worn-out buildings or in Spellgoth‘s words: “Lets do it the hobo way!”. So with the nice background music by Obscura, that was playing on the main stage, we kicked off our conversation…
Spellgoth and Bobby Undertaker
I really wanted to talk with you guys since you’re quite a big thing here in Finland but less known in other countries like, for instance: Belgium. And I think what you guys do deserves to be put more in the spotlights.
Bobby: Ok, good!
So, even though most people outside Finland don’t understand much of your lyrics, I’ve heard that if you would understand, your songs can be quite a laugh…
Spellgoth: Sometimes funny and sometimes serious…
Bobby: Yes, it’s all mixed up, you know.
Spellgoth: Yeah, like for the song Sinä Satanaa, it’s like a very emotional song for most of the people. It’s about things that happened in our hometown (Kuopio, FYI), like a mother killing her children, drowning them. And the father being away, coming home and finding the drowned children. And it happened in the same apartment building where our keyboard player (RunQ, FYI) is living, so it was his neighbor. So you have to read between the lines. There’s a lot of dark humor… of course. Most of the things we want to see is smiles on the people’s face…
Bobby: And have them dance!
Spellgoth: But sometimes, you have to let go because like for HC CSD, MC Raaka Pee (founder and other vocalist, FYI)‘s wife -who wrote the lyrics- it was such big news for her when it happened. So they just had to write a song about it.
Bobby: We of course have party songs, then we have something in between. You understand the lyrics the way you want. And then we have this other kind of shit, you know. Like Spellgoth mentioned, it’s not like, we’re not, you know, a “humor band”.
Spellgoth: Yeah. “Per se”
Bobby: But some people think we’re just fooling around. But there’s always meaning behind the songs.
Spellgoth: Like the Tirehtööri song, it’s a story straight from our gigs back in the days. So I almost got killed by our sound engineer, I got beaten up and everything… So everything is a truth what we sing about even though it might seem a joke or something.
Yeah, you can sort of tell something serious in a kind of joking way of course…
Spellgoth: It’s like nobody believes it, that they’re true stories.
During your show here, to introduce Pirun nyrkki (Devil’s Fist, FYI) you talked about ‘Helsinki Pride’ saying “Let’s do some fisting!”. Which I think was really funny…
Bobby: Yeah, that was also… we have absolutely nothing against gay people, quite the contrary. But we had the opportunity to fool around, of course we do it! Fuck it, you know! I don’t give a fuck if you’re gay or not…
Spellgoth: I live the Finnish culture, it’s an important part of my life. So it’s easy for me to say such things. Because as much as I can say a joke on stage, I might be as much the target for the same joke.
Bobby: Exactly, when we say something like that on stage, it’s never against someone. We see the opportunity to fool around… of course we piss off some people and others have laughs. So we don’t give a fuck, you know. We don’t give a fuck if someone’s gay or not. If he or she comes to see our show and has a good time… fuck it, that’s great!
That’s great indeed! So, before we came over we went through your extensive rider and noticed that the Finnish version is way funnier. With jokes like “Cider (no light cider, cause we’re all hetero)” it was really a good laugh for us…
Bobby: That’s another example of our “funny” things. Do we think that gay people only drink “light” stuff? No we don’t!
Spellgoth: The rider we have, we use everything we have on there. I remember one day I was helping my friends out to fulfill the rider for Apocalyptica. They had an extensive rider, there was like certain red wines and everything. And what they used… they took like one non-alcoholic beer and a few bottles of water. We used the whole day to make certain kind of sandwiches, we searched the alcohol store for certain kind of red wines… Of course we had a great party afterwards, cause the fridge was full of everything (grins). But then again, we never ask anything we don’t use…
That’s nice, but out of the rider I can sort of conclude that you guys like to have a drink?
Bobby: Of course, you know. Sometimes somebody wants to drink more, sometimes less. But we don’t ask the moon from the sky, you know?
Spellgoth: Of the rider I have to say, if everybody of the band would like to drink on the same day, that would be like… it would be finished in 5 minutes (laughs). Like for example, I’m not saying that I’m a hard drinker, but on a good day I can drink a bottle or 2 of those hard liquors and some beers. And it’s like that for everybody, it could be the whole day… living on alcohol.
Bobby: But we’re here for the music of course.
Of course! Though I’d still like to ask since I’m from Belgium and now that we’re talking about alcohol: have you had your taste of Belgian beers already?
Spellgoth: I was just in December, there was this ‘Nidrosian Black Mass’ in Brussels in Magasin 4. Of course we went, after the bands had played, to the café and 100 taps there… so this and this and this and this (laughs)
Bobby: I’ve been in Belgium a couple of times with my previous band…
Bobby: Yeah, with Deathchain in Antwerpen and… I don’t remember the other times… I’ve had my taste you know, of Belgian beers. And I like it!
Spellgoth: And the monastry beers… they are the best I think.
Bobby: Exclusive beers!
Yeah, we have a lot of special beers in Belgium.
Bobby: In Finland we don’t… because the law sucks here.
Spellgoth: And you have the Kriek beers… “Black metallics Kriek!” (laughs)
Though in Belgium we often call those “women’s beer”…
(On which Spellgoth jumps up, comes really close to me and asks in a threatening way “What did you say?”)
Bobby: I like a Kriek beer ever now and then.
I like some Kriek beers too, though most guys are like “meh, that’s for women”.
Spellgoth: Actually, it was the same thing at ‘Nidrosian Black Mass’. (goes back to sit down) “What the fuck, you are drinking Kriek?” “Yeah, so? You have a problem with it?”
Bobby: The first time I tasted Kriek beer in Belgium was with Cannibal Corpse‘s bass player. We went to a bar and I was asking “What is that red stuff over there?” “That’s Kriek.” (tries to immitate a Dutch/German accent) “Okay, can you give 2 of those?” And he was like…
Spellgoth: And the Lambics of course… and the cheeses and everything… Back then, next to our hotel there was this meatball bar which had like stuffed meatballs, stuffed with cheese, made in the perfect shape. And they came with this board full of those meatballs…
Was it called by any chance ‘Balls & Glory”?
Spellgoth: Yes! (laughs)
Bobby: What?! Balls of glory?
Balls AND Glory
Bobby: Balls AND Glory (laughs hard)
Spellgoth: A great name for the place, you could have a potato side with it. But it’s all about the meatballs. And some good selection of beers too. I was never able to eat anything else, so I was only drinking there with my friends next to eating the meatballs (laughs).
Bobby: The thing of you guys over there, is that you know your meat. (Spellgoth laughs) Cause you know: “Can I have some tomato and…?” Fuck it no! Fuck the salad, double the meat! (everybody laughs)
Well, maybe you should come over to Belgium some time with Turmion?
Bobby: That would be great, you know.
Spellgoth: I have been there and will be coming there cause I have some friends living there.
You have some fans in Belgium…
(misunderstanding “fans” for “friends”:)
Spellgoth: I have some friends, they’re not their friends! (everyone laughs)
Bobby: They could be our friends… or maybe not…
Spellgoth: And why is it always when you’re playing there or something, you have your hotel in the ladyboy area?
Bobby: That’s, you know, the usual thing…
Spellgoth: Like right next to the hotel there starts the Arab and ladyboy area. We always have our hotel fucking there!
Probably because the hotels are cheap there…
Bobby: Guys or girls… you never know what you get… (laughs all around)
Spellgoth: Veronica made some good helicopter overthere…
(Bobby acts out doing a helicopter, for those who don’t know this: it’s making your dong go around like the propellor of a helicopter)
Spellgoth: It was Black Hawk Down… (Everybody laughs)
Bobby: so what about Belgium, they lost last night? 3 to 1…
Spellgoth: They had a good run though…
Yeah, I heard about it, didn’t see it since I was here.
Spellgoth: I haven’t had the time to watch it, I really like football. I got to watch the Poland – Portugal game. And fucking Portugal, those whiney little bitches with the penalties… I was like “A-bomb Portugal right now” (makes the sound of an exploding bomb) Eventhough they have really good food there… (laughs)
Bobby: Anyway, do you maybe have something more music related to ask? (everybody laughs)
Oh yeah, right!
Spellgoth: I can already say that Ghost is shit! Anthrax is shit!
I can kind of follow you a bit on Anthrax, personally I really like Ghost. But well, are there any certain bands that inspire your kind of music?
Spellgoth: Because there are like 6 guys in the band, of course everybody have different bands they like. Actually, there is one band we have in common. Except for MC Rakaa Pee, he listens to his own music only. When he makes music he just listens to it over and over again to hear if it’s good.
Bobby: Actually, I think that the two of us are the ones who listen the most bands of different genres and stuff.
Spellgoth: Yeah, like Killing Joke… I don’t like heavy metal at all! Actually I don’t like any kind of metal counting out black metal. Black metal is the only metal style I listen to.
Bobby: Except for Sabaton!
(Spellgoth looks at Bobby like he’s about to get sick, gurgles loudly and spits on the floor in distaste, everybody else laughs really hard)
Bobby: Ok, that was a joke! But you know, talking about the band, me and Spellgoth are the ones who listen to it a lot.
Spellgoth: We are the only ones who buy records.
Bobby: Yeah, we still buy CD’s, you know. And LP’s…
Spellgoth: And cassettes!
Bobby: And these other guys, like our bass player is like “why is it not on Spotify?” He doesn’t even have a fucking Spotify account!
Spellgoth: Well, I don’t wanna speak bad, but it’s kinda sad. Then you hear the complaining about something not being on Spotify, but you don’t pay…
Bobby: Yeah, go figure!
Spellgoth: But yeah, my girlfriend has been saying that we’re running out of space all the time. I just got some new shelves for my LP’s and it was filled straight away, so I’ll be needing new shelves… (laughing)
You mentioned Spotify, recently I read an article that the most listened music on it is heavy metal. Which is kinda funny since they seem to aim it at more popular music originally.
Bobby: I use Spotify all the time but the records I like, you know, the bands I like, I buy their records anyway. Because I want to support the band, because I know that Spotify pays shit to the bands. And that’s a fact.
Spellgoth: I use Spotify only at work, when I work at my day job. And sometimes at home when I want to play a song, I don’t have to dig through the extensive vinyl collection. Like when I want to play a song to Uula, my girlfriend, I can go to Spotify and “listen to this, this is a good song”.
Bobby: You know, when I have the rare opportunity to enjoy some music at home, I like to have the record for real. Cause I’m a family man with 2 children and when I find some time I like to open the cd, put it in, open up the gatefolder, you know. I still get the same feeling from when I listened to it for the first time. With all the lyrics and stuff, you know, I fucking love that!
Spellgoth: And the big picture, the cover picture…
Bobby: Yeah, I don’t know…
Yeah, it’s a whole different experience. I remember myself from when I was a teenager when the new album of a certain band was released. I went to get it at the store and then on the way home in the bus I opened it up, looked at the sleeve, checked the lyrics,… Which made me excited to get home to listen to it!
Bobby: Yeah! I even remember when the cd’s came, you know. I went to a record store in my home town to buy one. I got back on the bus opened up the sleeve, it wasn’t an LP, but still… you know. I started to open it up and you know… “oh fuck! please! Can’t I get home fast! ‘Cause I want to know the lyrics and stuff, let’s get it on!”. But now with Spotify and stuff, they don’t really care…
Spellgoth: Yeah, like Rammstein now, just released their albums for the first time on vinyl. It was overpriced, it cost like a fucking lot. But at least three or four times I had put it already in the shopping cart eventhough I really don’t have the money to buy it. And then it was on sale, like 50% off, so… bought! And now I have it and it’s so different. Like the cassettes also, you cannot skip the songs, you cannot choose anything. You just put the record on and listen to it like it is.
(we suddenly get interupted by a woman walking by, who Spellgoth goes to to give her a hug and say hi)
Bobby: She’s from Jess and the Ancient Ones, which is by the way a really great band!
Oh nice, we were going to go check them out on the advice of our editor-in-chief! He’d probably like you (aiming this at Spellgoth), since he’s all about black metal too…
Bobby: But it’s like, you know, good music is good music!
Spellgoth: Yeah, like the latest Daft Punk album, when I heard it, I just had it on the vinyl player and playing it round and round and round… My girlfriend likes more mainstream country music like the Dixie Chicks and that kind of stuff. And she was like “What the fuck are you listening to?” Because normally I listen to black metal and the dirties punk you can ever find, but then suddenly I’m listening to Daft Punk…
Bobby: If it’s good, it’s good…
Spellgoth: Yeah, good music is always good and I don’t give a shit what genre it is.
I like that attitude, I try to be open for any kind of music too…
Spellgoth: Good music is good music. There’s no like difference, you cannot, like define it. It’s like you’re missing out on something if you put yourself in those kind of invisible borders. “Yeah, I’m a black metal guy and cannot listen to anything else!” (making his voice sound like a tough guy)
Bobby: Yeah, give it a shot, you know. At least, with Turmion Kätilöt, give it a shot. Listen to it, if you like it: yes! If you don’t like it: fuck it, you know! It’s that simple!
Giving it a shot: are you possibly touring internationally? Like stopping by in Belgium for instance…?
Bobby: Euhm, that would be great, you know! I don’t know…
Spellgoth: I have to say this out loud: it’s a little bit of a pity. We’ve had a lot of questions and offers coming our way. But can we do it, cause most band members have large families, only me and the bass player don’t, so…
Bobby: It has to, you know… it’s just a brutal fact that it has to pay out something…
Spellgoth: But then again, reality is that you have to go there like once or twice to do kind of promotional things.
Bobby: Yeah, that’s true.
Spellgoth: You can always arrange it so that you at least don’t have to pay for it yourself.
Bobby: Yeah, I’m all for it, you know… let’s fucking go!
Well, maybe we can figure something out sometime in the future…
Bobby: Hopefully yes, because I know there are a lot of people looking forward to get to see us.
Yeah, like our vice president was all enthusiastic about you guys and urged me to ask you if you could possibly come over to belgium…
Bobby: Well, if you spread the word, to promoters and stuff you know, maybe it’ll happen. Cause it always costs something you know?
Spellgoth: I’ve heard that some bands even pay to be able to play on for instance 70,000 Tons of Metal. But yeah, you have to first put some chips on, to get some pay off. We’ve done it for years with black metal bands and now it’s paying off. We don’t have to do anymore gigs by our own money, not anywhere. Not in Finland, not anywhere it’s always that we get a decent pay off. Even though we’re talking about black metal and not something mainstream.
The underground scene is bigger than you’d think…
Spellgoth: I know! I know it since I was like 13… I’ve known it for 21 years now. I arranged one of the first Horna gigs when I was 13… and now I sing in Horna.
Bobby: If you work hard, maybe you can get paid hard. But you know, don’t get us wrong, it’s not all about the money for us.
Spellgoth: You have to think about your family and such…
Bobby: Of course, but if you choose for music… If I wanted better money, I should’ve stayed in school and studied properly to become a lawyer or some shit.
Spellgoth: Sometimes you just have to take a chance. Just like try, if it works great, otherwise just figure something else out. Like I know many people that have tried something out and it didn’t pay out. For example the Swedish band The Crown… they had to quit everything because the tours didn’t give enough money and everything was fucked up. They had to quit their jobs for the tours, but then the tours didn’t pay out and they were in a fucked up situation. But then they got everything settled and now they’re back…
Bobby: Back in business, yes.
Spellgoth: Fucking great band! Deathrace King! Total Satan!
(Bobby and Spellgoth start to mimic the guitar riffs of the song ending together with “Total Satan!”)
I guess we should conclude our nice talk, so like I do with everyone I interview: any last words for our readers?
Bobby: Hey! Check out turmionkätilöt.com… and our Facebook page, I think you can figure it out. Check it, you know, you can hear samples and stuff, see where we’re playing live. If you like it: yes! If you don’t: fuck it! But you know, give it a shot!
(we turn to Spellgoth for his last words)
Spellgoth: My final words?
If you have any…
Spellgoth: I’ll quote Lemmy: “Stay Clean”… That’s always been something for me, I almost got stabbed in Columbia because of drugs. I didn’t use any kind of drugs, so I said politely “thank you, but no thank you” and they tried to stab me…
Bobby: All hail Lemmy! And may he rest in peace!
Spellgoth: So that’s one Mötorhead song even though Lemmy wasn’t clean… stay clean. I stay clean for my wife, so yeah.
That’s a nice message to end with, thank you!
After exchanging contact information, taking some pictures with them and thank them again for the lengthy talk with us we went on our way. Later that day we came across Spellgoth enjoying a part of the Jess and the Ancient Ones gig. Check out their music and let’s get them to perform outside of Finland!