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Interview with

Tarmo Kanerva (drums) of Poisonblack

This spring, Finnish gothic metal formation POISONBLACK released the fourth studio album ‘Of Rust and Bones’ and shortly after that event I caught up via email with drummer Tarmo Kanerva in order to discuss some subjects concerning the new CD and his carrier as a musician in general. I must say that the answers are rather informative and interesting, so read the article below to know for the details.

Reflections of Darkness (RoD): Hi Tarmo! Of course, the first question will be about your new release. What are your impressions after working on the album?
Tarmo: Hi! I must say I’m really happy with the result! Many times after you have finished the recordings you just listen to the album few times through and put it away because you’re so familiar with the songs. In this case the new album has been constantly playing on my CD-player. I think it’s definitely a good sign!

RoD: Do you believe that ‘Of Rust and Bones’ raises the band to a higher level?
Tarmo: Musically I already know that it did. Commercially, it’s impossible to say at this point and it’s not that important as long as we have a chance to make albums and to play shows.

RoD: Were there any difficulties in the process of recording the CD? Which song turned out to be the hardest to complete?
Tarmo: No, not really. The whole recording process went quite smoothly. We had difficulties in recording one song for the album, but it really didn’t seem to fit in with the other tracks anyway, so we decided not to waste time on it and left it out from the album. After that decision everything was quite easy.

RoD: What is favourite track on the new album and why?
Tarmo: Right now my favourite is ‘Invisible’. In my opinion on this one we truly achieved to capture the atmosphere we were looking for.

RoD: Could you please, briefly describe the music-making process?
Tarmo: Usually Ville or Janne have a basic idea for a song where we start to work on. We make our music quite traditionally which is to say we jam a lot at our rehearsal place. Sometimes guys make some sort of demo recordings with maybe one guitar and drum machine, but the most of the work is done at the rehearsals. All of us participate in arranging songs and Ville writes the lyrics. After having enough material for the album, we record a demo as a whole band and listen to the songs if there are still some parts which don’t work and need to be changed.

RoD: And I just can’t miss an opportunity to ask a few questions about the drums. So how old were you when you started to play them?
Tarmo: I started when I was about 10 years old. Though back in those days sometimes there was months that I didn’t even touch the drums. I got totally carried away when I started a band with my classmate at the age 12. After that there was no return!

RoD: What or who inspired you to play drums?
Tarmo: There were and still are so many of them! Back then Nicko McBrain from IRON MAIDEN was a huge inspiration for me. I also liked a lot of Cozy Powell (RAINBOW, WHITESNAKE) and Ian Paice (DEEP PURPLE). And of course I have to mention Lars Ulrich! METALLICA was an enormous influence for me as a kid!

RoD: Do you remember the set up of the first drum kit you had?
Tarmo: Yes I do! Actually in the beginning I had only a snare drum! Then a little by little I managed to get other pieces as well and finally I had a basic set. It was about the same time when we started my first band.

RoD: How often do you practice at home and how do you practice on the road?
Tarmo: Well, I try to play at least a little bit every day, but sometimes it can be difficult because I have a daily job and so on. Usually I spend more time behind my drums when we are preparing for recordings or touring. If I’m honest with you, on the road I don’t practice as much as I should. I guess it’s partly because many times it’s hard to find time and place for it and partly because you have a show almost every night and therefore you are playing almost daily anyway.

RoD: And when you are not making music, what do you like to do? What are your hobbies?
Tarmo: Nowadays I’m quite heavily into sports and I try to take care of my physical condition as much as possible. Besides of that I do pretty normal stuff. You know, watching movies, going out and having few beers with friends and so on. I also read quite a lot.

RoD: What music do you prefer to listen to? What do you listen to when you want to calm down or be inspired?
Tarmo: I listen to all kinds of stuff. Right now I’ve been listening a lot to MEGADETH’s latest album, ‘Endgame’ and I also like a lot of WOLFMOTHER’s ‘Cosmic Egg’. If I want to calm down, I probably put on something from PINK FLOYD. I truly admire DAVID GILMOUR’s guitar playing! I think you can get your inspiration from so many different sources that it’s impossible to mention just 1-2 here. It depends so much on what kind of music you’re playing at the moment. What I mean is that I get inspired by different kinds of music if we are working on something like ‘Down the Drain’ than if we are playing ‘Casket Case’, for example.


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