My HeadBangers please welcome from Finland, my friend and one man band “Kalmo”. For more info on Kalmo just do a search at the top, there is more info on his music. I’m posting is new music and have an interview so let’s get to it…
Now for the interview. As always mine in blue and his in black.
I don’t think we have ever talked about how you got into music and especially the genre you picked a mixture of Doom/Black/Heavy Metal. What made you choose it and what drew you to that genre?
Yes, you are right. It is right about the time. In addition to the heavy metal there are also other music genres I like. However, metal is biggest together with blues. To give you some an idea of the genres outside heavy metal I can mention you a few: psychobilly, classical music, jazz, some brass music, humppa and here I mean Eläkeläiset only, etc.
What comes to doom/black metal I know exactly when it hit the heart and hard. When I was about 13 or 14 years old – not gonna mention how many decades ago, but anyway, already in heavy metal I saw Celtic Frost’s The Circle of the Tyrants music video on MTV, I think it was the headbangers ball show. That was the exact moment when I knew this was something for me. I was mesmerized by the sound, visual presentation, style – basically everything in it. After getting to know better the band I started to hunt down Hellhammer’s Apocalyptic Raids EP. I just needed to get it. It was a must! It took some time to find it and weirdly enough I found a copy from a record shop that was focusing on selling rock’n’roll and rockabilly records.
We will get to the topic of the blues band a bit later, so let’s fast forward to the time after I left the band. When we lived in Tampere I was on the board of a blues association. One of our main objectives was to organize blues clubs once or twice a month. We had national and international artists playing in the club and I can say it is one of the best blues clubs in Finland. At some point, I and my spouse moved to Helsinki and I needed to leave the association. I knew I need to have music in my life in one form or another, so I needed to have some kind of plan to execute. After some thinking, I was so tempted to start putting more effort into making music and start practicing playing guitar. The key question was what music style: blues, metal, or even punk for which I did some experiments to see how that would work out, or then all of them. Quickly I realized it must be one, there is no time or attention span for all of them. Blues has had over two decades of my unconditional love. Now it was time to share that with blackened doom metal. That was the starting point. Late 2016 I took my first guitar lesson and started to work on my own songs.
Well I have to say you did pick the right genre. You are perfect as Kalmo. The words to your songs, the corpse paint, sometimes you scare me lol.
What actually drew you to music? Did you play it when you were younger, like a teenager age I mean?
That would be excellent to know what was the magic formula that drew me to music. The first C- cassette I bought, I think I was 11 years old during the time, was Stray Cat’s Gonna Ball. I spent my savings I had collected over a long time on that. Heh, my father didn’t like that at all and insisted I return the cassette to the shop. I refused to do that. That was my rebelling moment and I did fight for my right to the music \m/ 😀
As a teenager, I was not one of those who would have had the attention span to learn to play instruments. I did try classical guitar a bit, but there was not that inner motivation that would have pushed me to continue. It was the late 80s when I joined a hard rock/heavy metal band as a bassist. With that band, we did a couple of gigs and recorded a three-song demo. I wrote the lyrics for our own songs. It lasted a couple of years. After that, it took about five years to be in a band next time.
At some point in this timeline, I did try a little bit of blues harmonica and upright bass for just own fun with no specific goals or anything in mind.
I remember you were a bass player in a blues band.
Yes, that is right. 17 years in total. That was an amazing team I say. We did play for about 15 years with the same team of people. In our list, we had covers of blues classics and our own songs. I did play bass and wrote the lyrics for our own songs. It was more of a hobby band that met and practiced once a week for about 3 hours. Despite this fact, we played some gigs and recorded two demo/self-produced releases of our own songs. After we moved to Tampere, travelling from Tampere to Helsinki for practicing was a bit too much for me, so that was the reason for me to leave the band. I know the guys still play together.
What made you want to do a one-man band? There are more and more one-man bands coming out now. Is it that you have control over what you play, and how the process is all done? That’s how I am about the blog. It’s just me so I don’t have to argue with anyone about what I put on or don’t? I think we are both OCD lmao.
I also think that there are one-man bands more and more. Probably one of the reasons for this is that the means of doing music and sharing your own songs are easily available nowadays, which I think in general is good even though there are opinions that this kind of one-man-bands should go to the dark smelly hole as deep as possible and leave the arena for the pros.
For me, the original target was to just play and write songs for my own fun and learn playing and composing as doing it. The key asset I was holding on to by having it as a one-man band was time. Meaning: I didn’t want to make it schedule-driven, as you need to schedule things more when you have more people involved. I wanted to be able to work on songs and play whenever I had the feeling to do that instead.
The other aspect was that I was not sure yet about what Kalmo would be, other than my playground for doing things. There was no clear vision, only an idea.
Of course, when you do everything by yourself there is lots of freedom doing things and less negotiation. However, in the one-man band, there is no one to share the joy and burden of hard work, no building ideas together, and fewer people to bring their share to the common vision.
When I started this one-man show I would have never believed that in about 6 years time there would be three releases and almost a dozen music videos produced. Over those years the vision for Kalmo has crystalized and I have learned a lot – and there is still so much to learn. With all this, I have found myself thinking about what would it mean to have more Cadavers in Kalmo to share the darkness. That is something I am still pondering and slowly thinking that it could be something worth
Now that is an interesting idea. I can’t wait to see what becomes of that.
Then there is the corpse paint. Lol. How long does it take to put that on? You really do a great job with it.
For that, all the credits go to my spouse Mari. She is the one who makes the corpse paint whenever we have had promo pic or video shoot session or other reason to wear it. I am not sure how long it takes to paint it, but it is somewhere around one hour.
I didn’t know Mari made the corpse paint. She’s really good at it, I’ve seen some on other bands and it looks lumpy and cracks. Maybe she should think of opening a side business.
Hmmm, now I need to try to remember when the first Kalmo corpse paint was painted…It must be still when we lived in Tampere as I can remember us visiting the theatre supplies store so well before Demoni was released. I think I didn’t think of corpse paint at all when setting up the Kalmo project. It came along when we shot the first promo pictures. It has also evolved over time. First, it was more skull kind of round and not that visible. Now it has evolved into more sinister, thicker, and visible. That represents better the music, I think.
I agree 100% with that, there has to be corpse paint definitely.
Do you ever plan on playing a live gig?
As a one-man band at this point no plans to play live. However, as I mentioned about contemplating inviting more Cadavers to Kalmo. If that realizes on that level that there is a full house of Cadavers, of course, it would be more than awesome to get to play a gig in a corner of some dark cellar.
Tell us about your plan for Kalmo’s future.
At this point, the focus is on finalizing the tasks related to the Dominus Meus release. There are still some actions in the project plan like releasing the lyric video for the song Dominus Meus. Once I consider the EP release project completed, it is time to change very project execution-focused mindset to creative gear and write new songs. There is also a handful of draft songs on the demo stage that need to be finalized. The mind has wandered already towards Kalmo’s 4th release.
Those thoughts are more questions at this point to figure out possibilities. Questions like: should it be a full-length album, what should I invest in terms of skills and external help to get Kalmo’s sound and style to the next level, what about if I find Cadavers that share the same ambition and vision that I have? What would that mean for the next release?
Learning more and developing songwriting skills is never a never-ending task like learning more about playing guitar and vocals. My idea is very much learning by doing. The focus has been a lot on using my own songs as fertile ground and a motivator to learn. Perhaps now the time is right to take a few songs from the bands I like and work on covers out of them and learn as working.
Then in the longer term making Kalmo as a true band is still a vague idea I need to see how to approach it to give it an opportunity to realize.
There you have it my HeadBangers. Check Kalmo out on Facebook, his website is listed there and contact information. Trust me this man has worked hard to reach the level he is at now, I know you will love his music as much as I do…