Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.
The band started back in 2001 in Hämeenlinna, Finland, under a different name then though. I had been playing guitar in hardcore punk bands like Sharpeville and then some metal in a couple of small modest bands, but there had been talks with my band mate Pasi "Putte" Lehtinen then that we should really start a band that plays more like At The Gates and stuff like that. So then one day I got in talks with my old buddy Janne Honkanen and suggested if he'd be interested in playing drums if we started doing this. He was immediately in and Putte suggested our old mutual band mate Markus "Marcus Moberg" to play bass.
So here we had the core of the band, and we started rehearsing, but still felt that if we wanted to do harmonious melodies, we needed a second guitarist. After some disappoing candidates we left an ad in the local music store and finally a guy named Teemu Raunio answered. We didn't know him at all, but he proved to be a great bloke so we recruited him. We did a couple of demos with this line-up, until we started feeling that Teemu didn't have enough time for us since he was studying hard. We had to let him go - a bit reluctantly I must admit - and we also felt that the band's old name was a bit naive, so we took the name Dead Samaritan.
The music style also changed a little bit, we started taking new influences to our music. Jussi Leppänen - who nowadays plays in Nation Despair - was soon recruited as a second guitarist and we became a tighter unit. We released a five track demo called Bone Hill Revelation somewhere in 2004 and immediately started getting good reviews and attention. The attention deserved us some interviews of course, but the gig wheel starting rolling as well. We got to play some very nice gigs with some of the finest Finnish bands, but after one gig somewhere in 2005 Jussi said he had to quit the band since he didn't have enough time anymore. Of course we were disappointed as he was such a great dude, but we did find a new guitarist in Eetu Tingander (also in Nation Despair nowadays). We did one gig with him and made some new songs, but suddenly in the late 2005 our bassist Marcus said he had to leave as he was like building a house with his family or something like that. We tried to continue for a while, but I was very tired too because I was working full days and I also studied. So somehow it all kinda dried up, we went on to spend hiatus, but not knowing for sure if Dead Samaritan would ever come back.
A few years went on, and somewhere around 2008 I started talking with Janne again, that maybe we should give it another try since I had graduated and had more time again. He agreed, and we just started this again with me sending him some guitar demos in his email. We started taking laid-back rehearsals in a small town near Tampere, and making proper songs. Janne mentioned this guitarist guy called Matti Viholainen with whom he had played together while Dead Samaritan was on hiatus, and soon we recruited him since he turned out to be the fastest learner ever, and he didn't need any tablatures! So there we had three guys, but still needed the bass player. Matti suggested his then band mate from a band called Standard Issue Death, guy called Eero Virtanen. Eero seemed to be a skilled player and a great personality, so it was clear he was in.
Then we concentrated on finishing a pile of songs, and after that we started the search for a vocalist. I dunno if I actually even asked Putte to come back again, but I knew he was having a baby with his girlfriend, a job that required working late and he played in the band named Dead In The Water, so I didn't think we could build our future on that. I also wanted some change to our sound. So we saw some good candidates, but then Janne said his friend had suggested that "what if my girlfriend would try out for you?" We had no prejudicious thoughts about possibly having a female vocalist but I wanted herself to contact us. She did and she blew us away in the auditioning session. We knew she already had a doom/sludge band Herem, but we were quite interested to hear how it would work with our faster material. It did work well and in December 2009 we were proud to announce that we finally had a new singer and a complete line-up. Nowadays we are located in Tampere since all the other members than me are from Tampere. The samaritan may be dead, but Dead Samaritan is very much alive!
In February/March 2010 we recorded a four song CD called Counting the Body Toll and we felt it was definitely the best work we had done. It has got some good reviews again and some more attention. But I've noticed that during this long hiatus there have come so many more new bands, it's a lot more difficult to get attention anymore, even if you were a quality band. We've had some label interest though, but no deal yet. The year 2010 was a wee bit challenging as Valendis gave birth to her daughter and the band was doing gigs. She's a tough woman though, she sang for us on a gig even being on her fifth month of pregnancy and did it well! And about a month after she'd given birth, she was doing gigs with us again, haha. Amazing, huh? One gig we had to do using a fill-in vocalist, but that was no problem cos our old band mate and a good friend Eetu Tingander handled it well.
The beginning of 2011 we've been working hard finishing new songs and some gigs too. We put one gig on DVD, but the material still needs to be finished, so maybe you'll see the first official Dead Samaritan video in the near future. We have songs enough to make a strong full-length debut already, but we still want to record the three tightest new songs during this summer. They are verygood tracks so I really urge all you guys to check them out as we unleash them!
How would you describe your style? Which bands influenced your music?
At first we were more like melodic death metal, but nowadays it's more like death and thrash metal combined. We really want it aggressive yet with some memorable melody to it, and last but definitely not least: groovy! I like the term "Rot'n'Roll" which was created by the world's best band ever, Carcass. Somehow it just fits us well. I guess the biggest influences have been Carcass, At The Gates, Overkill, Slayer and bands like that. I'm an 80's thrash metal buff myself, but also love old Swedish and old American death metal, and since I make the music - so far at least, hehe - that's where the influences come from.
Why should a metalhead buy your demos/albums?
Cos simply they get to hear very good songs! I think we have a strong combination of all the good elements in good metal music: melodious solos, strong groovy riffs, fast aggression and heavy banging.
What have you released so far and how were your releases received by the public/media?
Under the name Dead Samaritan we've released two demos, named Bone Hill Revelation (around 2004) and Counting the Body Toll (2010). Before that we made two demos called First Kill (2001) and Dark Matter (2002). We've also participated in a couple of compilations and stuff like that.
The first two demos got okay reviews but nothing spectacular, which is no wonder as they had their weaker moments in my opinion, and they weren't that tightly played. Bone Hill Revelation got great reviews and we still play some of those songs live, cos they really kill! Counting the Body Toll has also got good reviews, but this time we paid more attention in sending the CD to labels, gig organizers and such rather than the media. And the media we sent the CD's to was mostly Finnish as we felt we needed to get back on track especially in our own home country first.
Do you play live as well? How's your live activity so far?
We do play gigs and try to do it as often as we can of course. We've been playing gigs every now and then during the last year and we're gonna keep on doing it, since we really love it. I think the last few gigs have been our strongest ones when it comes to aggressiveness! We've only done gigs in Finland so far, but we have no trouble climbing onstage abroad if necessary.
What sould labels/zines/promoters know about your band? Why should they be interested in it?
They should know that we can really make great memorable and enjoyable metal music. We know from the heart that we can also get stronger as we go on. If you take a good listen to our songs and to our lyrics, you should get hooked if you're into some honest good death/thrash metal. It is hard to stand out today from all this huge mass of great bands, but one has to look at it as a challenge that must be beaten! I think we just need to believe in what we do and work, work and work. There will be a reward for us at some point and for example if we get signed to a label, in Dead Samaritan the label will get a true quality band in their roster.
What plans do you have for the near future as a band?
First we need to record those three (or so) strong tracks and make sure the recording gets enough attention, this time worldwide, and I think our deal with The Pain Fucktory is one of the right steps for getting more attention to a good band. Later we'd really want to record our official debut album and start doing a lot more gigs to support it. Playing live is something so thrilling, it's hard to explain if you don't do it yourself...
We're also planning on finishing our first official video, but we just recently got the main material, so this is still very early to talk about. But I suppose the video song will be Laid to Waste, the song that so many seem to like.
Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?
You can take a good hard listen to us at www.deadsamaritan.com or www.reverbnation.com/deadsamaritan. We do have MySpace too, at www.myspace.com/deadsamaritanband, but I honestly think that this whole MySpace is about to die soon. Really, MySpace was a good idea but crappily finished, and the new version is even worse. If it wasn't for the contacts we have in there, we'd had left the sinking ship years ago.
The promotional version of Counting the Body Toll is pretty much out of print, but you can buy the official CD version from our store at http://www.deadsamaritan.com/store.cfm. We also have some shirts for guys and gals over there, so if you took a listen to our music and liked it, you can decorate your body with a great shirt!
Rot 'n Roll!