Interview with DEEP RIVER ACOLYTES

Interview with AR (Guitar) and JT – (Vocals)

Interview by Rossy Maguire

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Hey there, and thank you for your time! To begin, what’s the meaning behind the band’s name? How come the name changed from Deliverance?

AR: Hey Rossy, and thanks for the interest! At the time we felt that there were quite too many bands with the same name and needed a more original one. “Deep River” part comes from the Finnish name for the movie Deliverance and “Acolytes” comes from our song The Devil’s Acolytes. Now you can google us with more exact results haha!

Deep River Acolytes formed in 2011. How did you all meet?

AR: We all have known each other before. Some longer, some for a shorter time. At that time we all were actually working at the same place. I, Pete, and Eetu also had already been in the same band for years (Torture Pulse, death metal) so we were no strangers. I had been demoing some songs by myself and had a drunken discussion with JT that he would do the vocals to the recording. It came out sounding great and forming a band became a MUST. I remember Pete asking when we gonna play those heavy rock songs, so he kinda invited himself to the drums. Timo came to “try out” as the other guitarist and Eetu stepped in as a bass player. Things worked out and suddenly we had a band going. This summer we had a personnel update at the bass department when Eetu left and Antti Salo stepped in.

When did you first start getting into music and know you wanted to join a band?

AR: I’ve always been into music but like 8 years old I knew heavy rock would be my thing. W.A.S.P. was the best band and the first album I bought by myself was ‘The Last Command’ in late 1985. It was some years later I got to play guitar, maybe in 1990 or so, and started doing my own stuff right away.

Have you been in bands previously?

JT: I’ve been in bands since the early 2000s. Besides DRA I’m playing in Vonülfsreich and gothic/folk band with my better half…  some other side projects too.

AR: Been playing in bands since 1992. At the moment besides DRA I’m playing in Wolfshead. And in not-so-active-right-now Torture Pulse, HellAriser, Angry Machines (Dio cover), and one Maiden cover band.

You’re about to release your third full-length album album “Alchemia Aeterna” in October this year. What is the concept behind the album?

AR: Firstly it’s a collection of songs that fit well together. It’s our kind of heavy doomy blues album. The next one will probably be again more fast-paced heavy rock/metal. Actually, our releases tend to have a rough pattern faster-slower-faster-slower so people will probably be disappointed every time they hear a new release by DRA! Secondly, the name and the masterful art by Pedro Ruotsalainen matches with the lyrics and makes you think thoughts like the equal significance of life and death, spiritual and material, reality, and dream, etc. Like a great philosopher Ricky from Trailer Park Boys said “What comes around, it’s all-around”.

How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it?

AR: AOR (Antichrist Oriented Rock). Or just Heavy rock/metal. You might hear some Sabbath, Danzig, Mercyful Fate, Trouble, and Burzum influences for example.

JT: Obscure heavy metal

Do you have a favourite track or tracks from “Alchemia Aeterna”?

JT: Cemetery Earth

AR: Ending of Caught Somewhere Out Of Time

Where do you draw your influences from when it comes to producing new music/lyrics, especially with the upcoming album?

AR: You carry your influences despite you want it or not. I don’t mind at all composing a riff with a resemblance to something. At least when it’s good and not annoyingly obvious theft. Sometimes I’m just fucking around with a guitar and getting a song roughly done in half an hour. Sometimes It takes years to finish a song. I’m always doing riffs first and figuring out the vocals later. The only exception being The River Deep which was composed of music and vocals at the same time while drinking a morning coffee.

What is the music scene like where you are based in Finland?

AR: Sad and useless I guess. No, there’s a lot of great underground bands and a healthy DIY mentality.

Adding to the previous question, how has the pandemic affected Finland and yourself for that matter?

AR: The situation hasn’t luckily been that bad here (yet) as most of the countries but you know it’s annoying that this shit goes on and on. Hard to plan any gigs etc. Personally, I’m not the most social guy and would avoid people anyway so it’s kinda OK.

Is there anyone or anywhere you would like to play and haven’t yet?

AR: Anyone anywhere would do if the situation is right.

How do you think the music industry has changed over the years?

AR: No one is buying records anymore. At least not our records. But nobody bought them earlier either haha. I guess it’s mostly Spotify etc. nowadays. In this band, most of us have some kind of vinyl hoarding problems so we’re different that way.

I’ve seen that Deep River Acolytes has been signed to Argonauta Records. Do you think it’s important for a band to be signed to a label to be recognised in today’s society? What are your thoughts?

AR: Really proud of our collaboration with Argonauta and I think it instantly gives some credibility and surely makes it easier to be noticed. At least it’s important with bands like DRA because we’re not marketing gurus nor have a desire to be ones.

What is your writing/recording procedure like? Do you have a preferred way of doing things to get the creative juices flowing?

AR: About writing, I mentioned something earlier. When demoing my song I’m just recording a version by myself with all the instruments and adding some awful vocals. Demoing is my stress-free comfort zone and I tend to enjoy the situation and just let the magic flow, get some drinks, etc. We have recording gear at our rehearsal place so it’s no problem to do so. Then we get the vocals figured out with J and rehearse the song with the whole band. When demoing a song by T or J, a composer is playing guitar and I usually end up playing drums. When a bunch of songs is rehearsed with the whole band, we record a better demo. Or an album, like we did with Alchemia Aeterna.

What genres of music do you like to listen to personally? Any new bands that have caught your attention recently and would recommend?

AR: Mostly classic rock/metal with an awful lot of exceptions. When looking at my “recently bought” section of my records it seems they are all quite old bands…hmmm I might be old. There are surely good newer bands but the latest that hit me really hard would be for example Maggot Heart, Bizarre Occult Ritual, Demon Head,…

JT: Lots of old black metal, gothic rock, hardcore punk, and progressive rock. Some tips: Wulkanaz, Faff Bey, Rodent Epoch, Warning,…

What are the pro’s/cons of being in a band?

AR: + gives frames to the illusion of doing something meaningful

– same as above

Outside of creating music, is there anything you like to do for fun? Any hobbies?

JT: Going into seclusion, watching movies, walking in the woods.

AR: Watching bad movies and sometimes taking a shower.

What are your plans once Covid-19 has settled?

AR: Possibly waiting for a better plague.

Thank you for your time, is there anything you’d like to say to our readers?

AR: No problem! Stay heavy and get the new DRA album.

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