Tuesday, September 05, 2023

Interview with Glacerate

Hailing from Helsinki, Finland, Glacerate has just released their debut EP Hyper, an outstanding amalgamation of punk, thrash, death, pop, desert rock, ethereal soundscapes and more.  I recently talked to guitarist and main composer Arttu about the band, their EP, their sound and more.

Hey there, I'm Arttu, the guitarist and the main composer of Glacerate!

Can you give me a little background on the band?

Me, Aapo and Onni used to have a hardcore band back in the days, and we toured a lot with a band that Mikko and Juha was playing at the time. Around four years after our old bands went on hiatus or threw in the towel, Juha and Mikko moved closer to Helsinki, and that's when we began talking about a new musical venture. We made some demos during '21 and '22 and we were just trying to figure out our style. Those early demos took influence from bands like Converge and Black Breath, featuring lightning-fast songs, loads of d-beat, and a dash of chaos. But at some point, we realized we'd been treading that path for years and decided it was time for something entirely fresh. I began experimenting with loads of different guitar effects, sketching out the rough outlines of what would become our debut EP.

Your sound is refreshing, and I love the contrast of among other things the heavier punk, thrash and death metal with elements of fuzzed out desert rock and even some very melodic pop tendencies.  There are also the heavier vocals and the lighter, almost ethereal, vocals.  Can you tell me a little about what went into meshing all that together?

When I first envisioned Glacerate's sound, I wanted the rhythm guitars to be disgustingly fuzzy and the lead parts to carry an ethereal, reverb-soaked vibe. That was the foundation to it all.  Furthermore, we knew from the get-go that Onni's extraordinary vocal range had to be a centerpiece. At the time, I was immersed in shoegaze, dream pop, and similar genres, which inspired me to blend those dreamy soundscapes with heavier elements. The result? Well, it turned out pretty good, I'd say!

How does the songwriting tend to work?

For our debut EP, I've taken care of the music, and Onni writes all the lyrics.  Funny enough, we didn't plan it this way, but both of us ended up crafting deeply personal songs. What I mean is, during that period, I was dealing with some personal turmoil, and those emotions found their way into the music. The same thing happened with Onni. So, these lyrics aren't your run-of-the-mill metal or pop texts; they're a raw and real survival story from our personal perspectives.

To me the opening and closing cuts “Used” and “Free” are probably the best examples on the EP of “almost all” the various styles coming together into one song.  Would you agree with that?

I agree! "Used" and "Free" are easily our favourite songs! The opener, "Used" was actually the first Glacerate song ever written, and it defined a lot of the rest of the EP.

Q: I really love “Binge”.  It does a great job of being extremely catchy, but still very heavy.  It also has constantly changing tempo shifts and then there’s the throbbing bass that at times gives it a bit of an underlying funk groove.  Can you tell me a little about putting that song together?

It all began with that infectious bass riff, and things evolved from there. I started jamming around it, and the verses, with their almost bluesy vibe, emerged naturally. There's also a nod to old-school doom/stoner in those verse hooks. The song structure isn't your typical one, introducing a whole new section only in the last minute or so, but those faster-paced riffs with catchy group vocals really brought out some great vibes, making "Binge" the killer track it is.

“Abyss” is a short blast of brutal metal, but has a really cool soundscape kind of floating around over it.  Can you tell me a little about that?

"Abyss" was crafted as a homage to our previous musical endeavors. It serves as a reminder that we've still got that heavy spirit deep within us, and you can expect more of it in our future releases. On shorter releases like EPs, balancing the heavier and easier songs can be a challenge, but this quick two-minute burst will undoubtedly leave listeners thinking, "What just happened?"

“Ultra” is a really cool, more ethereal, instrumental, but still has its heavier side.  It sounds like it could be the intro to “Violet”, which is the track that follows it. It also sounds like there are some horns in “Ultra” and I’m not sure, but possibly in “Violet” too.  Were they ever intended to be one song and is that horns I’m hearing?

You're absolutely correct! "Ultra" and "Violet" were written as one song, and we decided to make the split because the song felt a bit too long after recording the vocals. And yes! Both of the songs include saxophone, performed by our good friend who has played sax parts for our previous bands too. Saxophone just makes everything more beautiful, doesn't it?

Have you been able to play any live shows? If so, there is so much going on in your songs, how hard has it been to get that across live?

Our live debut is just around the corner, happening next month, and we're currently putting in tons of rehearsal time. We have some professional tour techs working with us to make our debut show a night to remember!

You have a double video out for “Binge” and “Abyss”.  Can you tell me a little about those and why you decided to release them together as one video?

"Binge" and "Abyss" are lyrically connected, and that gave us the idea to make a double video for them. The songs are about the stuff you go through in your head, when you're very, very addicted to something, in this case, alcohol.

What are your plans now that the EP is out?

As said, we're rehearsing for our debut show at the moment, but after that, more and more shows. We've also started toying with some new song ideas, but touring is our primary focus for the time being.

I know most (or all) of you have been in other bands prior to Glacerate.  Are any of you currently in any other bands?

Me and Aapo are currently playing in hardcore/metal band called Mørket, Juha also drums for Negatiiviset Nuoret, a well-known punk band in the Finnish scene, and Onni handles vocal duties for the well-established symphonic deathcore band Assemble The Chariots.

Is there anything else you would like to share with readers?

Stay cool, listen to Glacerate, and hope to see you at gigs!

(Glacerate / Glacerate - Facebook)

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