Interview: CATAMENIA
Title: Raging through snowy woods

Catamenia were founded 1995 in Finland. Their pretty fast, fully melodic and intensive grooving Nordic Black Metal convinced both fans and press and marked a great first step for these highly talented musicians with the awesome debut album „Halls Of Frozen North” three years later.

Now time has come to celebrate their fourth album effort „Eskhata”, another excellent piece of ice-cold and majestic Black Metal with tons of finest catchy melodies. My questions were answered by guitarist and mainman Riku Hopeakoski.

Riku, the magnificent, tremendous and majestic music of Catamenia is totally different to all known Epic Melodic Black Metal bands in the scene. What has been the reason for this in your eyes?

„Firstly thank you very much for your kind and generous words! One reason for our different style of music is that we wont stuck on the one music genre we listen to, example what I listen to is from classical to Techno, from Techno to Black Metal. You got to be open-minded towards the music `cause music is changing all the time, you get different vibrations, different inspirations from different kind of solutions and styles. So I think that is the biggest point our music´s separated from the others. And we have the courage to be different, heh!”

Please give a band history!

„Well, history of Catamenia starts from the year 1993 when it didn`t carry the name Catamenia, yet. Together with Mika Tönning we started to play some kind of punk-rock-grunt styled music, just for fun and we wanted learn the music (cause of founding). We made songs and learned to play our instruments... Few years after that we decided to make music more seriously and went to the studio to make our first demo `95. That was the time when the name Catamenia stepped in, and also our bassist Timo joined the band. Before that we hadn`t any `permanent` bassist or drummer. So to speak, Riku and Mika is the founders of the band. After the first demo we had lot of good feed-back from the audience and labels, which led to the second demo `Winds` in `96. `Winds` led to the contract with Massacre Records which was signed in the spring 1997. Then Catamenia had it`s first actual line-up and it exists on the debut album `Halls of Frozen North`. It was appreciated on the press world-wide. The second album `Morning Crimson` was released in next year `98. And the line-up was the same. But after that when we went to make our third album, Catamenia had very hard times because of the line-up changes. Our drummer Toni Tervo went to the army and lost his touch and skill there!? Toni was replaced by Sir Kimmo Luttinen (The Black League) and rhythm guitarist Sampo Ukkola was replaced by Ari Nissilä. That was the line-up to go on `Eternal Winter`s Prophecy`. After the third album`s release our keyboarder Heidi left the band cause of her studies, and the drummer Sir Luttinen said that you play too fast and I`m an old guy, heh! So on the new album `Eskhata` we use session drummer named Janne Kusmin (Kalmah). So that`s about it in short!”

How did the musicians of Catamenia came together?

„Catamenia`s members came together cause we are long-time friends!”

In which city in Finland are you located?

„Everybody of Catamenia is from Oulu, the Metal-Mekkah of Finland. So Catamenia is from Oulu.”

Exists there a (big) Metal scene?

„Yes. Here in Oulu is very big metal scene... Although Oulu isn`t a biggest town in Finland we have the biggest Metal scene, I dare to say, and still almost everybody knows each other. And generally the Finland`s Metal scene is great, lot of great bands, young and old.”

To which band(s) out of this area existing good contacts?

„I think that we haven`t really a strong contacts for anyone... But to say few important ones they are Charon and Kalmah. They are great guys and have they feet on the ground (that is the one thing I respect a lot). Personally I have contact to Italian band called MacBeth but I haven`t heard of them for a while!”

Finnish Metal bands entered the scene with much success in the past. I love amongst others Alghazanth, Thyrane, Thy Serpent, Count De Nocte, Throes Of Dawn and Funeris Nocturnum.

„Yeah... and you named only few, heh... So this is a hard to pick bands from here but mans got to do what mans got to do... First which came my mind is what you also mentioned, Thyrane, fast and evil music! And to name few ever-fav´s, Thy Serpent, Children of Bodom, Barathrum, and etc. It`s great to acknowledge that from Finland comes so many great bands that are known world-wide, including Catamenia, heh!”

Which were your early idols out of the Metal scene and which have influenced you?

„Early idols... I recall I was six- or seven-year old when I got my first Heavy Metal album and it was Iron Maiden (bought by my dad). That time I knew this is my thing. Bands like Accept, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Twisted Sister bring great memories to me... But there was one band over the others, and it was W.A.S.P. Just awesome music, character of Blackie Lawless, everything, I was sold to the demon, heh! And to be honest, everyone of these bands has occured and influenced on Catamenia`s music, there is no doubt about it!”

Which is the current line-up of Catamenia?

„Catamenia is nowadays four-piece band and the actual line-up is following: Mika Tönning is still the screaming demon (not the guitar pick-up), me (Riku Hopeakoski – plays the lead/clean guitars and the synthetic choirs/keys), Ari Nissilä plays the rhythm guitars and Timo Lehtinen thunders the low frequencys! At the moment Catamenia has no drummer and is searching for one which is skillful and rich for ideas of the drumming... So if interested, contact us!” 

How is to understand your band name? I´ve red in a magazine, that it means a „monthly blood-flow” of women... Ahm, really, a „menstruation meaning”?

„Yeah... it actually means women`s periods. And for us it`s just a coincidence. It was Mika who invented it in `95 and we thought that it sounds good. We didn`t knew at the time that it means something, but hey... it means! When we first time heard about that it means `bloodflow` by women, it was too late to change the name, and actually to think more, it sounds good despite what it means!”

What does the title of the new release, „Eskhata”, mean?

„It`s Greek language and means `last events`. We have taken it from the writings of the Revelation when we were searching the option for the English version. I mean that `Eskhata` sounds better than `Last Events` or Finnish version `Viimeiset Hetket`. To explain more this ends the four-album saga. First we are in the `Halls of Frozen North` searching for the answers and meanings, we made out of the halls and saw the beauty of the `Morning Crimson`, on the crimson we saw the prophecy, `Eternal Winter`s Prophecy` and the prophecy said the ending of the world where the strong ones will only survive...`Eskhata`!”

The new album is a another majestic masterpiece of ice-cold Nordic Black Metal. It´s running in my player again and again. How long did you work on these new tracks?

„I started to write and compose the new songs immediately after the recording session of `Eternal Winter`s Prophecy`. To be more specific after the mastering session in Germany. When I was mastering the third album with Gerhard Magin, in the end of the day I started compose new songs cause there were no disturbs... Just me, guitar and of course few beers. But after two or three six-packs it was better leave the guitar alone and go to the bar. But how long? Hard to say cause there are times that it`s useless to start compose, no ideas! And you should never compose with force. It has just to come to your mind and you have to be open-minded! It also depends on individual, some like to do it other way than others!”

There are again wolves on the frontcover to see. Please be so kind and explain me your relationship to these fascinating animals – their instincts?

„Wolves are beautiful animals and unpredictable... itself the wolves doesn`t represent anything for us in spiritual or physically way. They are just so mysterious so I think it`s more mental. Why we use them on our albums is that they fit to our music cause it presents the coldness and darkness of our music. And wolf, Canis Lupus, is a representive of evil, it spreads fear among the people... The flesh-eating demon in a wolfs outfit!”

You guys still wearing corpse-paint, what I appreciate. While most of the bands lost it during the years, you don´t deny your dark roots. For what it still stands inside Catamenia?

„The corpse-paint brings us the evil mood on stage. It reliefs you a lot when you`re on stage... you are much more confident. Of course it`s also for the fans, Black and Dark music needs evil kind of appearance... And the corpse-paint does the job. And before the gig, it is some kind of ritual and mark for us that we are going on stage just in a few moments. More to say on another following question... heh!”

How long you guys will use corpse-paint?

„It seems that we wont ever get rid of them... I think that Catamenia will always use corpse-paints on stage and promo-pictures! We were without the paints for a while and the feed-back was almost everyone wanted us to take the paints back to our shows and pictures. So we wont let down our fans and why cause we like also to keep the paints on our faces.”

Which member in Catamenia is responsible for the amazing melodies, meanwhile a appreciated trademark of the band, in Catamenia´s songs?

„The responsibility of the melodies and music is on me (Riku). I have done almost every song for Catamenia in it`s past and future also. Nowadays I make the songs with keyboards and guitar. So that`s the reason for the trademark cause there is only one lead-composer in the band, but of course the rest of the band helps me the best way they can. I need the whole picture of the song, I show them exactly how to play and after that we concentrate on the `fine-tuning` of the songs as a whole band.”

Please be so kind and explain the lyrical contents of the songs of your new album; what is the meaning behind them?

„All the lyrics tell about the final moments or last events of the weaker ones and only the strong ones will survive. Some of them are more mental and some of them are more physical. `Rain Of Blood` is a straight vision of them both and `Astral Tears` is mental, but visioned by the whole galaxy. Most brutal and rawest is the `Eskhata`, mental, physical, galactical and religious stand for last events!”

Which were and still are the main inspirations for the music of Catamenia?

„In fact, I`m a real movie freak... So I think motion pictures music is close to my heart. But first on the book-issue, when read the `American Psycho`, I was amazed that how someone can write such an great book. So twisted and full of hate. I recommend. But the films, music in picture like `Gladiator`, `Braveheart`, `Platoon` and `Alien` are so tremendous and great. There are no words to explain the feeling when I listen to those. Just simply perfect! I really respect classical composers with all my acknowledgement! On these new movies the `Matrix` is great, but you have to remember it`s more soundtracks from different bands... but still!”

What is your definite artistic and idealistic goal with Catamenia?

„First I have the smaller goal... it`s to get finally the long-waited European tour! I think our fans has deserved it and we are also deserved that... don`t you think also!? But the greater goal is to get world-wide known as band which brang new style to the Black Metal music. Get more fans from different countries. In generally speaking to get more attention and more status on the world-wide metal-map!”

Live gigs: when you finally gonna come to Germany?

„Yes, finally there is a tour planned for Fall 2002. There is no dates or places confirmed but it will be surely updated on our website at and Massacre Records website. You are surely invited to back-stage. We are anxious to go on stage through the Europe and will make hell of a show in every country we`re playing... More of that on the next question...”

Here we go: how looks a live show of Catamenia? Lots of effects there to see or do you rather prefer raw power?

„Catamenia`s live show trust on the raw power, we are so alive when we are on stage. Everyone who has seen us on stage said that we are a great live band. We don`t just stand there, we run and mosh like hell. When we supported Impaled Nazarene about year ago, guys just said that `fuck, you really did a great job on warming up the crowd`... but you`ll see when we are coming to Germany!”

Are you guys satisfied so far with the work of Massacre Records?

„From the beginning of our contract with Massacre Records all started just fine, but during the second and third album our opinions mixed up. Nowadays we are getting along just fine and we are negotiating for a continue for contract... so we`ll see what we are going to decide, but we will take proposals from different labels, and go for the best one! Massacre offered us quite good contract and the distributor nowadays better (I think it is Sony/Edel) but we are not going to huzzle with this now as we did when we were young.”

Plans for the future?

„As I said to get new contract and make more albums in the name of Catamenia. To get the tour, which is now very close to come true. Personally I have my project band with Ari Nissilä, called Unwrap, to get contract also for that (music is Rammstein-like, but more aggressive). So the plans are like to continue in music business for a long time... and make fans satisfied with our music which follows the `Time In My Hands`...”

Domain of your homepage?

„ – so everybody visit there cause the pages are great and I think, Markus, you can confirm that after your enthusiastic guestbook entry...”

© Markus Eck, 01.05.2002

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