Attempting generalisations towards one’s nationality is as moronic as trying to circumvent millions of people under the very same canopy of behaviour. Are all Finns quiet, circumspect, introverted, booze lovers, good drivers, hug averters and sauna proselytes? I doubt it; as a matter of fact, I don’t have a clue whatsoever, considering I’m not an anthropologist/sociologist/chauvinistic. But, as a music nerd, I gotta say that Finland always patents its own branches of heavy: grind, doom, sludge, black metal, death metal – Finnish heaviness is unlike any other in the planet and Dark Buddha Rising doesn’t resemble anything we’ve heard so far either. When you met them, you’re in for a treat of psychedelic proportions between kraut clambering and doom ratiocination – it is perception altering material, danger when witnessed at first hand and capable of convincing anyone at Neurot Recordings immediately. Their latest record “Inversum” was released by the American label a couple of months ago and now they’re reading themselves to hit again a festival they love: Roadburn. The following chat happened with V. Ajomo, founding member and man behind guitar and vocals.
I had the pleasure to watch you playing at Roadburn 2012 and it surely was one of the most absurd shows I’ve ever seen. In a good way. Sound and visuals combined created a separate sphere of consciousness, which was for me a rather different approach to psychedelic music. Is this the main goal of DBR – to build an alternative for known reality?
Yes indeed, but mostly it feels that it is born by itself and we are a continuum of its will. Of course, we can control it to some amount, but we have to open ourselves, as well as the audience, in order to enter this current and to become a part of it.
What relation do you have with Oranssi Pazuzu, besides sharing the same nationality? I’ve heard you divide the same rehearsal space and that makes me wonder, since Oranssi was probably one of my favorite performances I’ve seen that year at Roadburn as well.
Besides sharing the same rehearsal space, we are very close friends. We got to know each others around 2010 or something and since then it has been very inspiring friendship. After the first vinyl trading and beer meet with Jun-His and Ontto, we decided to start press together and thus the Atomikylä band was born. It is extremely great to jam with those guys. Between OP and DBR there is a cycle of inspiration and strong sonic brotherhood. We help each others by being outside ears to listen and analyze our music. There is a friendly battle between us that one have to make even better record than the previous one from the other band. OP really fucked up our minds with their forthcoming record. Those bastards. We are making our revenge now.
Are you all responsible for DBR’s symbology and themes? They seem to be a result of some profound research, gathering items from Buddhism, occultism and other fields of thinking. Is all that result of a collective brainstorm?
The visual art is made by me alone, besides some outside artists that I collaborate with. In my life, I’m inspired by various esoteric currents of the mind and DBR is a perfect concept to keep searching, thinking and to go deeper. I must say that in a way the rest of the band is in the process as we create the music together, which is the main inspiration for the geometric and symbolic content of the artwork. It is very important for me that the artwork, lyrics and the music resonate with each other. I can’t say which one is the strongest, as they all fulfill their purpose and make the album as a whole. I’m very pleased that we can make these albums that have strong profound meanings behind them. The albums have continuing theme and they all follow the same principles towards the unknown.
What themes do you actually explore in “Inversum”?
The main theme is two processes of illumination: inner and outer, personal and universal.
You have a very DIY posture in DBR, having recorded “Inversum” by yourself with no help from external personnel. Do you prefer to do everything with your own hands instead of letting someone from outside touch it and change it?
We like to do things ourselves as much as we can in order to learn more. There has been “outsiders” in the processes, but they have been close friends. Regarding “Inversum”, we just needed to do this one by ourselves. It is not a closed option that we won’t use “outsiders” in the future. On the contrary, I’m certain that we will, but they need to be trustworthy and share the same point of view. Doing “Inversum” by DIY mentality was something that we needed to go through in order to proceed.
You’re quite prolific, having already released six full-lengths in eight years. Is creating music the best way to spend your free time in Laitila?
Actually we live in Tampere. Our former vocalist J. Niemi lived in Laitila and he had the label that we used to release the albums. In the beginning, we had only a PA box address for people to contact us and that located in Laitila. It is very pleasing to confuse people. But to answer your question, we are always creating new music and we record it as soon as possible so we can create something new again. This is the way for us to keep ourselves inspired and open to receive what is coming through us.
How did you end up releasing “Inversum” through Neurot? I read that Scott Kelly is a fan of yours. How did that happen?
Yes, Scott was introduced to DBR by a friend or a blog. We had few shows with them and after those they asked us if we would be interested to join Neurot. Of course there was no doubt about that whatsoever.
Do you plan to tour the States anytime soon? I’m asking this because Ufomammut, who are also on Neurot, were able this year to play in the US. Can it happen with DBR?
No concrete plans yet, but it is highly possible I guess.
DBR is scheduled to hit Roadburn next April, a festival from which you officially released your 2012 performance. Is it an important event for DBR to be present at?
Roadburn 2012 was one turning point for DBR and it feels good to return to the crime scene. We will see what happens this time.