Today (08/15/2020), here at the Dark River Festival, I have the pleasure to interview Kuula (aka Marko Utriainen, guitarist) from Diablo. We meet backstage in a ‘kota’ (tent-shaped logcabin) that has no windows. So the only light falls in through the open door. However, it is somehow cosy and provides a very relaxed atmosphere. I am curious to learn how Diablo manages with the ongoing pandemic situation and to learn about their creative processes.
“Well, let’s get started with Diablo’s world today; how are you doing?”
“We are doing great thank you, making our new album. Our new single “The Extinctionist” released a while ago.”
“How about the audience liking it?”
“People like it a lot. There are those who’ve never listened to heavy metal and rock, and they liked it.“ He laughs. “Maybe ‘cause it’s easier and simpler than before. And when we were at Smugglerok, I realized it was fun play some simple songs also! But that’s the reason why I think they like it.”
“I’m not that kind of person who gets worried quickly about anything”
“How about the coronavirus at this time? How has it affected you all?”
“Well it hasn’t affected us much, ‘cause we see each other rarely. Demos can be transmitted via internet. Sadly, few gigs happen, that’s what feels bad. But we are glad to have these gigs here and at Smugglerok. We got the Dark River gig ‘cause two Swedish bands couldn’t come here ’cause of corona.” He laughs again. “I am still not afraid of the future, I believe there’s gonna be vaccination someday to this disease. I’m not that kind of person who gets worried quickly about anything, that’s why this time is easier to me. I like travelling lot, that’s the only thing I miss and it annoys me in this situation. It will be sad if the next generation can’t travel in the future like us older ones. ‘Cause then the Heavy-Metal Family can’t go together all around the world seeing each other. Streaming shows on the internet is not the same at all as a live show.”
“Let’s speak of how making music works in your band. How does the creative process flow?”
“I make the composition and Rainer [Nygård] lyrics. First, I make the music and then Rainer does the lyrics. My wish it’s that someday at least once Rainer does the lyrics first and then it will be turn.” He laughs. “’Cause it’s harder thinking of something without words and then imagining how the lyrics fit into those melodies.” Kuula is laughing even more.
The Chicken-Meat Moments in Composing
“How about creation pain, do you feel it at all?”
Kuula replies laughing: “Yes very often. But melodies come very easy to me. I use guitar and keyboard, change keyboard melodies to guitar and there they are. If I had a rough day and I feel I can’t go on, I just stop and breathe a little while, and then I move on. No panic at all ‘cause I know that music can come on any day. I’m glad that I have peaceful place where I can do my music. I know that I am working on a good song when my own skin is saying “chicken meat”. He laughs out loudly.
“How do you see the music world in the future?”
“Hard to say. If live concerts get ever smaller or cease almost completely, it’s sad. ‘Cause if you can’t get in touch with fans as before, things are harder for bands. We haven’t made a live stream ever, and it’s feels like we are on strike. But, never say never. Maybe someday we will if the situation stays like this for much longer. The reason why we haven’t made it yet, is because we are living in different cities, and we can’t find a time to do it.” He is laughing again.
“Everything is Easier These Days”
“Have you ever felt like a married old couple? Or got to the point of : ‘That’s it, I’m done!’”
“No not these days. When we were kids, teenagers, it was me and my brother, and Rainer and his brother making this band stuff. Rainer was, in those days, a bit of a short-tempered guy. Sometimes he just disappeared and didn’t come to rehearsals at all.” Kuula laughs again. “Then he just walks in again after a few days or a month has gone by, and then we moved on again”, still laughing. “But that’s all a long time ago and nowadays when we see each other, we always have fun together. Maybe time helps? But I believe what also helps is that we live in different towns and don’t see each other so often anymore. What is also helping us is that me and Rainer could say if we don’t like something that the other is doing music-wise. Then we only do what we both like.” He is laughing once more. “Everything is easier these days.”
“What do you wanna say to our reader?”
This is truism, but the artist always says that the new one is better than ever.” Kuula laughs. “But if you like our new single, I’m sure you will also find lots of songs on our new album that you will enjoy. And you people outside of Finland, we miss you all and hope that there’s gonna be a day when we could go to gigs again and see you all there!”
Very big thanks to you for this interview and all the best to you and Diablo!
“Thank you, too”, Kuula replies with a smile.
Kuula proved to be a true Metalhead gentleman. We went with the natural flow and had a good vibe. Very apparently, he enjoyed the interview as well.
The current situation is tough and I’m afraid that everything is getting even harder and tougher. Probably more gigs are going to be cancelled and perhaps there will be more live streams? Maybe those will become more powerful? I agree with Kuula that online shows can never replace the contact between musician and crowd a true live show has. Although a bit on the pessimistic side I hope for the vaccination to come and help the situation – at least until the next pandemic comes!