Finnish dark progressive rock trio Endworld Halos launched their self-titled debut album in October 2018 which, according to themselves, is a versatile and ambitious slab of Finnish prog-infused rock, that can be described as a shady fusion of modern and old-fashioned soundscapes. Toni Jarvinen and Kimmo Utriainen answered our questionnaire about their mission, the record, technology, and more.
Define the mission of Endworld Halos.
Toni: I haven’t set any particular milestones or missions set for the band. For me, music has gradually become the best method to channel my emotions and it functions as an intermediate for learning about life and myself.
Kimmo: I concur to some extent. The topmost reason for me to write music is self-expression, to convey things I see and things I can’t understand otherwise. Still, I’d say that together we have also managed to extract something tangible from the essence of this age, a portrait of the world’s status quo and current direction, as seen by two Finns with a different but somehow similar mindset. So it’s not something completely self-centered, as self-expression and art are a very strong connection to the outside – the world, nature and other people. I do hope our work will find (and move) as many people as possible, as I feel what we’ve created ended up being something quite beautiful, but I wouldn’t call promoting it a mission. I guess our music is no more or no less than stone age cave paintings. It’s a scar from this era that will find its purpose and bear its impact on people in its due time, if it’s bound to do so. And I’m sure it will.
Tell me about the creative process that informed your recent self-titled debut album and the themes it captures.
Toni: I see it as a tableau of how I experience the man-made world. I’d say that anyone who is able and willing to observe their surroundings from different perspectives will sometimes witness very unnatural behavior by their fellow men, and very often by yourself, as I feel we all have our crosses to carry. It can make you feel distressed when dreaming on how things could be different and how the world might be more beautiful. Most of the time you just accept that things are exactly the way they are meant to be. With this mindset as the basis, the album is a trip from the twilight of man to metropolitan cities, via deserts to a sunset and eventually to silence.
Kimmo: The album captures different aspects on the world we live in, pessimistic and optimistic, hideous and beautiful. While it may seem that we are plummeting towards our end, we are also witnessing unimaginable miracles and beneficial progress taking place around us. We assume we are becoming more detached from our origins and nature, but we’re still extremely close to the archaic species that have been around for millenniums, which is tearing us apart. There’s beauty and hope in everything we see as something dreadful, and the other way around. We see ourselves as the greatest and wisest species on earth, but is that even close to the truth? It’s the dichotomy, conflict, impossibility and fascination of the world that has forced me – and I think us – to take this musical excursion.
What is the message you are trying to give with “Endworld Halos”?
Toni: I’d encourage everyone to observe themselves and their own actions from various perspectives, not just from the self-centered point of view. Looking at the stars, for example, is a simple way to achieve and understand a different angle.
Kimmo: People who claim they are right frighten me the most, so if there is a message to be sent, I’d like people to question their place in the world and their good intentions, and at the same time, have mercy and forgiveness for themselves, if required. Also, remember to feel small every now and then.
How did you document the music while it was being formulated?
Kimmo: We both had some ideas old and new we thought we could incorporate to this project. Thus, we assembled the bits and pieces and started farming riffs and ideas. From there, things slowly started to take form, and we began to see what kind of a sound and themes the band could be all about.
Toni: I recorded melodies played with my guitar or just hummed them on the phone. I usually carry a piece of paper and a pen with me for making notes, about everything that passes my mind.
Kimmo: As modern men, we also bounced ideas there and back using email and Dropbox, occasionally taking things to the practice space for a guitar session. Followed by more digital documentation, email, Dropbox and guitar sessions. Rinse. Repeat.
Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?
Kimmo: The general flow and “layout” of the album is always very vital to me. I often come up with song themes and titles and then write the songs around them, just to make the album sound like an album and not just an irrational collection of songs. This was the case with this album, as well. From dawn to sundown, dusk and silence; we created a thematic backbone, and the music just grew around it.
Describe the approach to recording the album.
Toni: Beside bouncing the ideas and writing the songs, I feel we didn’t really practice the songs much before starting the recordings.
Kimmo: We kind of mastered the nature of the songs while recording them, writing the remainder bits in studio, too.
Toni: We recorded the album in small portions, taking the typical path: drums first, then the strings, and so forth. The recordings were done at the practice space and our homes with equipment we could access at the moment. Nothing too fancy, just basic microphones and audio interfaces.
Kimmo: Not too much gear porn, but necessities for self-expression. Sonic survivalism.
How long “Endworld Halos” was in the making?
Toni: From early 2014 to mid 2018. There was no rush, so we gave it all the time it needed. The mixing process took a very long time, as it came with many new things for me to learn. In the middle of the process I suffered a burn-out – because of various reasons – and I almost completely lost my health. But in the end, many things are done right and some things will be done differently next time.
Kimmo: Which is the way it goes with every record.
Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?
Toni: I’m not able to mention any specific bands. Some bits and pieces I wrote sound a bit like Rush, some 70′s progressive rock and modern progressive rock.
Kimmo: In the end, I feel like we managed to steer our from creating a pastiche. Albeit its very, very varied nature, the album does sound like, well, Endworld Halos. Of course, you can never avoid becoming influenced by stuff you like. My primary influences in the field of proggy music include Kingston Wall, Pink Floyd, old Genesis, Yes and so forth. Vintage rock stuff like Led Zeppelin etc. have always been important to me, not to forget heavy metal.
What is your view on technology in music?
Toni: I prefer the real instruments but don’t care much about the plugin vs. hardware etc. battles. I just use what interests me and what I’m able to get at the moment.
Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?
Toni: Definitely. If someone else is able to see that behind all these beautiful melodies there’s a pretty dark album, that’s great. I’d also encourage people to concentrate on the lyrics.
Kimmo: Always, as to me music is never just melodies and rhymes combined. There has to be something that arouses thoughts, brings up questions. But what that is, I’d rather let the listener decipher and interpret that. There’s no one right way to unravel the album. I also endorse reading the lyrics, as they’re definitely among the strongest aspects of this album. If someone else can interpret one of the songs in a different way we saw it, I think that would be just awesome. I think even me and Toni saw a few things differently while co-writing the lyrics?
What are your plans for the future?
Toni: To compose new material. Life is pretty good at the moment, so I’m just trying to keep it that way.
Kimmo: Yes, we’ll approach a set of new tunes in the near future, hopefully resulting in a new album or EP in a few years time! A lot of ideas and themes in the pool already, so you should hear more from us sooner or later.