Historian siipien havinaa – Babylon Whores, Meathooked ’zine #1, 1998

Kirjoittanut Riku Mäkinen - 5.5.2013

babylon whores-logo3Kaaoszinen “Historian siipien havinaa” – osiossa julkaistaan legendaarisia haastatteluja vanhoista pienlehdistä, ajoilta jolloin miehet olivat vielä rautaa ja lehdet paperia. Haastattelut on kopioitu sivustolle täysin kirjaimesta kirjaimeen, jotenKaaoszine ei ota vastuuta mahdollisista kielioppi- tai kirjoitusvirheistä.

babylon whoresWov… I have square eyes… This was one helluva interview to transcribe. Every time when Ike Vil (vox.) speaks the tape starts to resonate and when Antti (gtr.) talks, almost nothing can be heard. Ewo’s (gtr.) voice is at good level, but he remains silent almost all the time, eating his pizza. So, I have consumed many pots of coffee and my head aches. However, the interview was done in one thunderous autumn night in August by me and Ville in Ike’s apartment just when “Cold Heaven” was released. What am I babbling about? Just read on!

First we asked these Babylonians to introduce theirselves to our dear readers.
Ike Vil: “Well, Antti is a knight of a dismal gesalt. He’s a man with a thousand secrets, who I have learned to understand, though I still do not know him. If I had friends, Antti would be one”.
Antti Litmanen: “Ike Vil is a highly reformistic and convert person, who creates art from his own setbacks. He is also a very empathic fellow, but the seeds of destruction have been sown with a very hard hand. He’s a noble man”.

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Antti starts to describe the music of Babylon Whores. We find out it’s low tuned, with different tempos drifting modern music, which is yet very traditional bound in it’s own way and called as ‘Death Rock’ by the masses. Well, what else can we say?
The stable line-up was assembled in 1996 and from that point Babylon Whores has been able to do their own thing without a need to adapt with any new personalities.
“This is authentic human relationship porn. We got to turn our lives to living hell and then write songs about it”, as Ike puts it.

We were very curious about the feelings they have towards their new album ‘Cold Heaven’ and we just had to ask them about it.
“Well, maybe it has started to sound a bit obsoleted nowadays, but the level of disturbance could be a little lower than I would have thought”, says Antti.
“They say that the new album should be a document about the current state of the band, but I don’t really know about that… maybe rather a sacrament… It’s Cold Heaven.”
“It’s like a coffee pot”, tells Ike. “It’s painful, beautiful and even anxious some times, but at least it’s our own”.
“It’s better to learn to live with it”, defines Antti.

“Are there any expectations towards the record sales?” was our next question.
“I don’t know about record company’s expectations, but I hope it will sell enough so we can release another album too”, tells Antti.
“It would be nice if the album sells so much that I could buy new shoes and some tobacco”, adds Ike.
“We have ideal circumstances considering our record company. We have this great promotion machinery and marketing, and on the other hand, on a human level our business is took by pleasant people who have great attitude and some view over things”, praises Ike.
“Personal management…”

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babylon whores6The music of Babylon Whores seems to have moved into a more sophisticated vein. We wondered if the musical change could have something to do with Misanthropy Records demands, but our doubts were swept away.
“It’s not possible really, because we didn’t even know who would release our album when we were recording it”, tells Ike.
“This is a fact. When we entered the studio we weren’t sure if we were even able to bear the studio’s cost. Therefore the only persons who we wanted to please were ourselves”, confirmes Antti. He continues: “If we start looking for reasons for becaming more sophisticated, as you said, we can find at least one. That’s the bands development into a tighter unit. After all, we have played quite some time together after our earlier recordings”.

We were eager to know if there has been any comparisons between the music of Babylon Whores and other softer kind of metal acts like e.g. new Paradise Lost.
“There’s plenty of odd comparisons. In one interview Ike’s vocals were compared to Manowar”, tells Antti.
“Guitar, drums, bass and there’s some moron yelling on all of that… no wonder if there’s comparisons between different bands”, states Ike.
“I was rehearsing together with Ewo and we made a song which sounded very much like At The Gates in our ears. But we added drums and bass… it just didn’t work out at all”, says Antti. He adds: “We can’t consciously make songs which would sound like some other band than Babylon Whores. The result is no good”.
“We have to count on that we’ll manage to practice some kind of personal/ collective alchemy and create gold or something more solid material out of shit”, recounts Ike.
Well that reminds us from Misanthropy’s catalogue, where Babylon Whores were called as a jewel, but Ike claims they haven’t been in such a strong pressure that’s necessary for formation of diamonds. Not yet.

We, the editors of this mighty magazine, have seen only some reviews of “Cold Heaven” and they all have been quite positive (and it’s no wonder). Has all response been so good?
“Well, you can’t complain… ”, says Antti. “We haven’t seen any totally bad reviews and some people have caught the concept of “Cold Heaven” and liked it very much”, continues Ike.

We wondered how come did Babylon Whores even contact Misanthropy, label whose best known act is the mighty Burzum. But the truth was that they never contacted Misanthropy. It was Miko Mattila from Isten mag. who sent a tape which included music of some Finnish orchestras, also Babylon Whores.
The second guitarist of the band, Ewo, arrives. He starts to warm a pizza in a micro wave owen. Hopefully I won’t catch a cancer…
“Our technic for marketing the band might not be the best possible. We sit down on our asses and wait for someone to take us”, reveals Ike. “But after all someone did”.

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As we know, Misanthropy formed a side label, Heroine, for Babylon Whores.
“This was a clear clarification of Misanthropy’s policy. Now this won’t get mixed with that BM-line”, thinks Antti. “Now they won’t accidentally cheat any poor little Black Metal fellows to buy this record. But on the other hand it would serve right those idotic clowns, who buy millions of Black Metal CD’s just because they’re BM”, expresses Ike.
“On Heroine, you will find Metal quite untypical for Misanthropy, yet somehow strangely connected to it”, quotes Antti from Misanthropy’s catalogue.
“Right, indeed. I must rudely admit that we have much more In common with Burzum’s first releases than some fucking German Kurzum will ever have”, states Ike.
“It’s great to be signed on a label the artists of which are rather quite obstinate and actually very gifted musicians”, states Antti. “Rather on same label with Burzum than with Bugs Bunny”, he continues.

babylon whores4There have been some delays with the distributor Music For Nations. “Cold Heaven” was late about six months, but then again, there have been lots of advertising, interviews and such. Has Music For Nations served Babylon Whores well?
“I can’t complain, they have done good job with interview arrangements. There has been quite many radio interviews and stuff like that with Babylon Whores. That’s of course very positive, but things don’t always work as they should. Some time ago we called to a radio show as it was scheduled and we heard some incomprehensible babbling. Later we found out that we called over the Chris Barnes interview. I can’t understand how things like that can happen”, Antti tells.
“And as a matter of fact, those delays with the releasing of “Cold Heaven” were for our own best. It’s a fact that we can’t compete with e.g. Paradise Lost’s new album”, he reveals.

Babylon Whores were also touring in Germany. I don’t know if there was some chemical adventures (or maybe magical) taking place, but all we succeeded to squeeze out was this confusing tale via Ike Vil.
Monster’s attack in the Travemünde harbor:
“Our bus caught fire and we had to stay in harbor to wait for another ferryboat. When we started to sleep at night the monsters attacked us. They were monsters of Id, that’s where all the monsters come from. Guys tried to convince me that it was a bee, but I don’t believe”.

Enviousness plays a great role in Finnish mentality. So it would be easy to imagine that there would be a big fuzz because of the fact that Ewo happens to be the biggest importer of Metal albums in Finland.
“Well, because of this Finnish mentality, it’s as a matter of fact a damn good thing that Spinefarm doesn’t have any cards up its sleeve”, tells Ewo.
And so shall it be. After all, Babylon Whores isn’t even signed on Spinefarm. So there goes for all of you jealous people out there.

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Ok, enough babbling about labels and distros, it’s time to go to the point itself… the music.
For the composing of a hit songs these fine young men have a guaranteed recipe. And the process goes like this (don’t try this at home): Ike picks up a snow ball from the frozen hell, Antti gives some speed for it and Ewo puts a carrot as a nose. And now we have a snowman of Babylon Whores. And in the end it will be a song, which is out like a snowman.
“But in the arrangementing process participates the whole band. If not in any other ways then at least by fucking us over”, says Antti.
“Yes, these songs have their born in a trance-like state of mind. I play guitar and lose my sense of time. I’m working as a correspondent with the other side. I just don’t think like, well, let’s do a song from the C key. I don’t even know where I can find that damn C”, reveals Ike.
Well, they say that Hendrix couldn’t play on notes, so why should these guys. But as Antti tells, perfectionism of Babylon Whores is directed towards something quite different than in showing off.

babylon whores3Though these fine young men in Babylon Whores are claiming not to have any straight musical influences from other bands, we were very certain that Ewo is ripping Isvind off But frankly it isn’t right so:
It was a dull, rainy evening when Ewo was drinig back home from local post office, where he just picked up some promotional CD’s from. He decided to listen to some nice music while driving, but unfortunately the first record Ewo had a grab on was Isvind’s brand new album. He put in on CD player and instantly threw the CD out from the car’s window after hearing the music it included.
So, if you want to hear truly black, evil and forest music, which drives all the normal people insane, run to your nearest record store and buy an Isvind release, it’s not too late yet!!
The destiny of the poor little Isvind record is still nothing compared to what happened to two boxes of mighty German Kurzum (orwhateverwhocares) –demos in Babylon Whores European tour. We would tell the true story about the day when it happened, if it wasn’t so brutal act of pure hatred and blasphemy that it would cause nightmares to most of you.
But remember, it was not yet another manifestation of Ewo’s bad temper. Keep on sending him those shitty Black Metal demos. He just luv’z ‘em! (and if you get signed on Spinefarm, you can make a score song for a Finnish hockey team Kiekko-Espoo.) By the way Marko of Beherit is a very cool lad.

I think we all have heard mean rumours that Babylon WhoresIn Arcadia Ego”-video has been running on Finnish music trend TV-show Jyrki quite often lately. Aren’t there any limits in selling out?
“No one can blame us on adultery!”, shouts Ike Vil.
“The truth is that whatever happens, it will happen on our own conditions”, insures Antti.
Well, I believe that, though I could question Ike’s statement just because of the name of the band.

The lyrics of Babylon Whores are very profound. They are still based on a way or another on reality, because ones views on reality are always very subjective.
“I think the things that happen on a another level effects the thing happening on this level and the realities are overlap one another. And these things are very real for me and sometimes I’m trying to make them a bit less real”, tells Ike the poet.
Antti instead has written lyrics for Thy Serpent’s “Forest Of Witchery” album. But he is not very fond of the idea to present any interpretations considering the concepts.
“They are lyrics I’ve done for Thy Serpent and they fit well into Thy’s concept”, is Antti’s comment on the subject.
“I find it great when Antti is able to direct his lyrical abilities somewhere, because I know Antti has the talent”, tells Ike.
“In fact I like the idea to give almost a finished concept for someone else and look what will happen to it. It’s kind of chaos and magic”.

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Babylon Whores have a strong magical image. And at least Antti and Ike are very much into magery.
“Well, someone is snowboarding and someone is trying to find the truth. Everyone has their hobbies. Of course we won’t have a sponsor from a local snowboard company”, tells Ike.
“Maybe an Ouija board company?”, proposes Ewo. Laughing…
“Yeah, this is not skateboard music, this is Ouija board music. Sometimes that fellow just drops us all…”
“Well, we have always controlled that occultism section. It’s not just in my personal interests, but we’ve made something out of it too. It’s a very complex issue and it makes me feel sick when people turn magic into a selling point. It’s a part of your life, not a thing that you should press upon others. I won’t even mention those “emperors of magery” who we can find from every damn Black Metal band”, thunders Antti.
“I have chosen “Scandinymous” as my pseudonym. No one other shall use it!”, informs Ewo.
“Occultism is a way to control your own conception of the world. One shouldn’t practice that kind of reality facism which is very common these days”, states Antti.
“Magic gives you an opportunity to interpretations of your own”, Ike tells.
“I think that very often the word “arts” has been left out from “Magical arts”. People just repeat the phrases they have learned from the most common books. You should get an individual view over this subject”, Antti says.
“It’s a tragic that in some point in this taxi of history of Satan, magic and occultism were seated on the same seat…”, bemoans Ike.
“The conception of the world that science offers has let me down. One should be able to tolerate the existence of different kinds of cosmogonies. You should not push your own views on other people’s shoulders”, expresses Antti.
“It’s a bit like it is with drugs. When you are living for your hallusinations, you are going badly wrong, but it doesn’t mean that they couldn’t open something in you”, he continues.
“Drugs are a bit like television, but magery is like an interactive CD-ROM game based on a movie. They are both nothing but attempts to perceive the reality”, specifies Ike.
“Magic is a bit unfortunate subject, because it would demand lots of time and premeditated strains, which are not so fitting in a Rock ‘n Roll interview”, regrets Antti.

Though Ike isn’t so glad because of the fact that Satan and magic are often connected, there’s still a band photo in the booklet of “Cold Heaven” and everyone can clearly see that there’s a book with a big side print saying word “Satan”. So what does Prince of Darkness mean to the band?
“Satan is a very useful symbol because it has so many ways of appearance in our western culture. It’s connected to people’s lifes in so many different ways, and though it doesn’t belong anymore in the official conception of reality, it still hides many strong chargings. I’m talking about the romantic prometharian Satan, who brings the light for people, but also a danger to burn in that light”, explains Ike.
“But the Anton LaVey kind of Satanism is pure crap. It’s just pure capitalistic materialism which is totally the same thing that Christianity has driven forwards in last centuries”, he continues.

Many people in Black Metal acts are claiming to be some kind of Übermensch, what about that?
“Well, it’s funny really. These BM guys with their Hordes who are declaring themselves to be Übermensch and keeping a lot of noise from that are undoubtably the same persons who would have sunk a long time ago if Euronymous said that Black Metal movement isn’t going to raise if you won’t jump in a well. My purpose is not to try to mock the Black Metal goings-on, because you can find many independent individuals from there too. It’s just so good example”, laughs Antti.

babylon whores2Jake Babylon, the bassist of the band, is participating in notorious live action role playing games. Hopefully the rest of the band is aware of the bad influences that it might cause to the young listeners of Babylon Whores
“If there’s any questionable influences, their source is very different from role playing games”, says Ewo.
“I don’t know if Jake’s/ Babylon Whores’ example is a bad example to follow, rather it shall be a warning”, reveals Ike.
But it’s always positive when people have hobbies.
“As long as Jake won’t appear on stage with a goan and tusks”.
“I can’t understand this new vampire cult: People are using internet only in nighttime and won’t leave their homes. People are pale, anemic shapes. My vampires are happy old movie characters”, barks Ike.
“Of course I can see lots of psychic vampires all around me all day long”, Antti sneers.
“I’m not either aware of all those things that are going on in this ‘scene’”, he continues.
“But it’s better when kids are biting each other necks than if they were joining in some “Young Eagles” and wearing a red flag and spending their holidays on some ‘concentration summer camp’”, Ike defends.
“Yeah, rather hanging drunk in a railway station than breaking each other skulls”, agrees Antti.
“When you’re drunk enough you can’t harm anyone”, Ike philosophicates.

Interview is getting close to end and now it’s time to reveal all the secrets. The mean rumours tell that Ike is collecting old Commodore 64 games.
“The games to C64 are the things that I’m going to dedicate my old days to. I have two c64 central processing units, one C128, four cassette drives and… v(The list is endless. I won’t bore you to death just yet, so I’ll cut this short. –ed.)”, Ike babbles.
“This statement could be driven to very far, but what so wonderful has this development brought?”, snaps Antti.
Ike ignores Antti’s comment and starts to list those games he has played through.
Ok. What else? At least Ewo is the greatest Phantom fan in Finnish rock circles after Ismo Alanko, though he won’t comment on that subject and Antti is as the matter of fact the same person with Jari Litmanen of Ajax Amsterdam.
“Yes, I’ve thought to start again that rock football thing too”, he admits.

Haastattelu: Kalle Partanen & Ville Sorvali