Illusions Dead are a great death metal band from Finland and here is an interview we did with band member Akseli Auralinna.
What sort of kid were you growing up?
An average I guess. I enjoyed reading books, still do, and played football until my early teens. I decided to quit when it got too serious.
Were you into music at a young age or did that come later on?
Passion for music came along later. I enjoyed almost everything that our local radio stations were playing. I wasn't that picky as a kid as I'm these days.
So when did you discover metal music and what were some of the 1st bands that you heard?
I was in my early teens when I bought my first mp3 player from one of my classmates. It was filled with Metallica and I remember listening to "Ride the Lightning" over and over again. Later I got into Children of Bodom, Nightwish, In Flames and Dimmu Borgir to name a few but I grew out of those long time ago.
Now was this music like a drug that you wanted more and more of?
Yes, definitely! Wherever I went I had my mp3 player with me and when at home I'd blast my speakers non-stop!
So when did you end up deciding to play drums? Who are your favorite drummers and how good of a drummer to you think you are?
Only thing I remember about ending up behind a drum kit is it was in the heat of a moment. I think I was fourteen. I started taking private lessons but the teacher I had wasn't too good so I quit after a while. A couple of years later I started taking classes again in a group of three others. Things really started rolling in 2009 when I began playing with our guitar player Johannes. My favorite drummers are Steve Shalaty, Dave Culross and Kerim Lechner aka "Krimh". I really admire Steve's original and complex drumming. What appeals to me in Dave's and Krimh's style is the sheer power and aggression in their drumming.
How did the band form and were you in any bands before Illusions Dead?
It was in March 2009 I think, when Johannes called me one evening and asked if I'd be interested in playing drums on this one-song-gig/culture contest. We had a few scrappy practice sessions before the gig but the show itself went quite well. I think no-one of us had any previous experience playing live. Few days after the show we decided to continue playing and writing songs together. Illusions Dead is the only band I've been in so far.
What were the early practices of the band like?
Mostly fooling around. As we developed more skillful the band practices got more serious too.
How long was the band together before you started to write original tunes?
Since the very beginning. We haven't practiced or performed any covers and have no intentions of doing so.
To someone who has not heard the band what would you say the band sounds like?
Our sound is very similar to mid-90's Extreme Metal. We're highly influenced by that era Norwegian and Finnish Black Metal, as well as Finnish Melodic Death Metal and a hint of NYDM. We draw influence from bands like Gorgoroth, Dissection, Sargeist, Insomnium and Dead Congregation, to name a few.
Now in 2013 you recorded a demo. How long had the band been together when you did that?
For four years.
What are your thoughts on that demo these days?
We rushed the demo's recordings even though there was no real rush at all. There were a lot of complications regarding the session but memories grow sweeter with time. We rehearse the songs regularly and usually play some of them live too. Two songs from that demo, "Shadow and Flame" and "Devoured By Hatred", are featured on our upcoming debut. We're planning to re-record two other songs from that demo for our second full-length release as well.
Now we fast forward to 2016 and you just released your 1st full length called "Celestial Decadence". Where did you go record this at?
It isn't actually released until February 8th. It was recorded the same place we did the 2013 demo, Palokärjentie treenishelvetti, the place we used to rehearse at.
Now this new release is do on your own. Did you try and get some labels to put this out because I am surprised some label has not tried to sign you before this?
No. We haven't been promoting ourselves to labels yet. Knowing that, it's not surprising we're doing this independently. We've already started planning our follow-up album and hope to get it released via some label.
How did the coming of the songs come together? How easy was it going into the studio and were the songs pretty much ready to go when you went into the studio?
We would never go to the studio to compose so everything was set. Some of the songs were composed early 2010's, some just months before the recording session took place.
How do you plan on promoting this release and are you going to send it to any labels at all?
We're being promoted by Clawhammer PR and I have to say they're doing good job. We won't be contacting any labels with this release, however we're having a one-song recording session coming up in February and with that we're trying to draw attention from labels. Whether it's going to be released as a single for larger audience is uncertain.
How did you come up with the name of the band and the title of your new release?
Unfortunately the story behind "Illusions Dead" is lost in the mists of past.
The general theme in "Celestial Decadence" is the degeneration of religion through war, violence and science as well as moral decay. This is what the cover art represents; monuments built with the fruits of corruption to boast with power and influence religious authorities had over common people and kings and queens as well as ever-developing science constantly eating away the need of an omnipotent being in everyday life.
In any given week, how much time is spent doing band related stuff?
I'd say about eight hours. It mostly consists of rehearsing solo or with the whole group.
Where is the band based out of and is there a good underground scene there?
We're based in Helsinki, the capital of Finland.
The underground scene here is quite good. Unfortunately most underground gigs take place on Wednesday or Thursday nights so I have to choose from either that or sleep. Usually sleeping wins.
Have you got to see many good shows and if so what shows have you seen?
Within past six months I've seen Blind Guardian, Slayer, At the Gates and Anthrax, all absolute killer shows. This month I'm looking forward to see Skogen, Dragged Into Sunlight and Demilich among some less known Finnish Death Metal acts.
What are some of your personal favorite bands?
My absolute favorite is Nasheim, a Swedish one-man Black Metal band. Its hypnotizing atmosphere and mostly middle-paced tempo can't really be compared to any other Swedish Black Metal acts out there. Shout out to Intestine Baalism, Vitsaus, Dead Congregation, Aurora Borealis and Drawn and Quartered. They aren't all my top 10 favorites but rather bands that deserve a wider audience.
Please plug any bands websites you have and if someone who likes to order your cd how would they go about it?
"Celestial Decadence" can be ordered here on February 8th (limited to 200 copies): https://illusionsdead.bandcamp.com/album/celestial-decadence
The 2013 Demo can downloaded for free here: https://illusionsdead.bandcamp.com/album/illusions-dead
Horns up for doing this interview and last words to wrap this up?
Thanks for the interview, spread the word and stay metal! Go to gigs and support the underground.
Interview by Chris Forbes