During these unprecedented times, lockdown has meant that we are spending most of our time inside with only ourselves, or our very closest, for company. As it looks like the world won’t be returning to normality for the foreseeable future, we thought we would find out how our favourite bands are handling things, what they’re getting up to, and tips and advice they could share.
Finnish rockers Throat‘s third album ‘Smile Less’ shows a significantly darker tone than we’ve seen from the band and while the foundation of their sound remains in 90s noise rock, the album greets us with post-punk and harsh noise. We caught up with vocalist Jukka Mattila to talk about his experiences during the national lockdowns.
DP!: How are you managing lockdown?
Jukka: There hasn’t actually been a proper lockdown in Finland during the pandemic, just certain restrictions and recommendations from the government, so I guess the situation hasn’t been as severe here as compared to other countries. Basically this has meant it’s been possible to live life quite normally, although obviously trying to avoid crowded places/events, wearing a mask in public places etc. Personally I’m not that big on social events and big crowds anyway, so keeping away from them has not been an issue.
DP!: Are you on lockdown on your own, or are you with friends or family?
Jukka: I’ve been juggling between working from home and the office when necessary. Same goes for my wife and luckily our kids have been able to go to school/daycare normally most of the time, so it hasn’t been that much of a problem apart from a few periods of remote school education etc.
DP!: How do you personally feel your government is handling it so far?
Jukka: As far as I’ve been keeping an eye on the whole situation, there’s been a lot of uncertainty on which restrictions should be applied and to what extent. Like I said, we haven’t had full lockdown over here even though it has been talked about a few times. Some say it would have been better to have full lockdown, some say not, but I guess it’s impossible to know what effects a lockdown would have had in the end since the effects have been different all over the world.
There has been a lot of talk about the government’s inability to make clear decisions about live events and festivals, so the whole industry involved in organising live events as well as professional musicians have voiced their disappointment with how things have been handled. Several festivals/shows have been cancelled a few times already, venues have been forced to close doors for good and people usually making their living from live events have been having a really hard time making ends meet during the pandemic.
It remains to be seen how the government ends up supporting the industry and the people involved in it for all the losses. The best thing that can come out of this ordeal would be that people are more interested in supporting live music once shows can happen again, but right now all we can do is wait and see what happens.
DP!: What have you been doing to keep yourself entertained?
Jukka: To be honest it’s been business as usual: work, family, music.
DP!: Have you been using the time to write and/or record any new music?
Jukka: We had most of the music for ‘Smile Less’ written before the pandemic hit, so it didn’t really affect this record at all. We were able to prepare for the studio pretty well and since Tonehaven Recording Studio is located pretty much in the middle of nowhere, there was no difficulty in spending a few days secluded over there.
Now with no shows happening, we’ve had time to start writing new material again whereas normally we’d be busy rehearsing the live set for some shows around the release of the new album. As much as I enjoy playing live, I prefer this situation where we can just throw around new ideas without having to focus on live shows at the same time. Maybe later this year when we can get back to playing live, we’ll be able to road test some of the new material as well.
DP!: Has the extra free time in lockdown (if any) allowed you to pursue other hobbies and interests? If so, what?
Jukka: I wish I would have had extra free time, haha! Whatever time I have, I tend to direct to the stuff I always do, so if some extra time magically appears it just means I spend more time on the usual things. I’d definitely like to work more on music, also outside of Throat, but time and energy tends to be limited.
DP!: Any tips or suggestions for others to keep themselves entertained?
Jukka: Do whatever brings you joy and don’t waste your time reading the news.
DP!: Any advice for people who may be struggling mentally?
Jukka: I’m not really the person anyone should look up to for advice, but I guess seeking professional help would be a good start.
DP!: Final words?
Jukka: Check out our new album ‘Smile Less’ coming out on Svart Records in May and maybe that gives anyone having a hard time coping with lockdown some relief?
Throat‘s new album ‘Smile Less’ is scheduled for release on May 15th and you can pre-order the album from the Svart Records official webstore here.