It can be said that a Finnish progressive death metal act Perihelion Ship offer an rollercoaster ride through Prog with their sophomore full-length release “To Paint a Bird of Fire.” Indeed, it feels as an album that has everything specific for the Prog genres since its inception in the late ’60s until today.
Mastermind Andreas Hammer walks us through the creative process for the new album.
Alright, first thing is first. Before we dive into all the music stuff, how’s life?
All is well. Trying to balance work, music and free time.
Speaking of new music, you have an album. What can people expect from “To Paint a Bird of Fire”?
“To Paint a Bird of Fire” is a little more straightforward than the debut, but the instrumentation is pretty much the same: a lot of Mellotron and Hammond Organ over heavy guitar riffs. The idea was to create a single 40-43 minute record to fit into one 12″ vinyl, like classic prog records. It ended up being a kind of a concept album, which is very evident in the lyrics.
There are two longs songs, two semi-long songs and two short songs, each displaying a variety of style in playing and composition, but still flowing nicely together.
What was it like working on the album?
It was fun at first: I recorded the backing tracks for drum recordings with guitars and virtual instruments after the songs were written last year.
The drum recordings went very smoothly and we had much better environment recording drums than last time and the sound ended up fantastic.
After the final bass and guitar tracks were recorded and re-amped, things started to get slow and frustrating.
Jani (keyboards) had a lot of work in his hands and had to really push to get the keyboards done in his free time.
I recorded the vocals at home during spring and mixed them as well. This was the most frustrating part, as the songs did not end up sounding the way I had envisioned them at first. Even though Kris McCormick (production, engineering) had the skills to put everything together nicely in the end, the negative effect of these events started to show a bit on the practice room during spring. Due to the growing pressure, Jani and Jouko (bass) decided to quit the band during Summer. Thankfully we found replacements: Pirkka Maksimainen (keyboards) and Mikael Aalto (bass) have joined us. Both are very capable players.
Are there any touring plans in support to “To Paint a Bird of Fire”?
No not touring in the traditional sense; we are an independent act and don’t have the resources or time to tour. But we will play as many shows we can through the winter and next spring with the new lineup.
While we are on the subject of touring, what countries would you love to tour?
US definitely, cause that’s where most of our fans reside and I haven’t personally been there yet. I’d like to see the nature and smaller, more inner-cities as well as the west coastline.
In Europe, I personally enjoy Germany and Italy and their neighboring countries. And maybe visit the dear Sweden next door sometime.
Who and what inspires you the most?
Inspiring art, nature and scientific advancements. For me, artworks have to have some kind of personal and emotional touch with them that shines through, and purely technical achievements do not really interest me (usually). This year, the new Pain of Salvation record as well as the new Bell Witch record are great examples of such art.
What other genres of music do you listen to? Have any of the other genres you listen to had any impact on your playing?
I still try to find great prog rock bands, but mostly I listen to underground metal and avant-garde. I do like synth/retrowave (you should check out Nightstop and their album “Streetwalker”) as well as classical piano music.
The fourth track from the new album; ‘River’s Three’, is inspired by classical guitar piece ‘Asturias’ by Isaac Albeniz, as well as the original Diablo -video game “Tristram theme” OST. Jani really nailed the Mellotron orchestrations in this song.
I really appreciate you giving us your time today. Is there anything else you would like to tell us and the fans before we wrap things up?
Thank you for the opportunity of being here. As most of our fans reside outside of Finland, it would be cool to record a live set and/or playthrough videos of our songs. You can find us on Facebook or www.perihelionship.fi