The story of On Volcano is not much different to thousands: young boys gather on a garage to jam and create some music, they play some gigs and bring up some money to record a self-produced album. In spite of being usual, the story of this indie quartet from Tampere is no less interesting. They did not choose the fastest way to stardom, as they play some enigmatic post-rock with long songs and crude guitars.
After releasing an EP last year that got some attention as far as Japan and a few indie radio stations in the United States, On Volcano are currently involved in recording their first full-length album. They can also be seen touring the Finnish nightclubs regular, opening for bigger bands or headlining their own shows. But let let bassist Lassi be the one who introduces the band that dances on the lips of a volcano.
How did On Volcano start?
We started as a trio and played like that for a year or so. Then we did a gig and Minna saw us. We met there and she said she would like to play with us. We jammed together and it immediately sounded very good, so we continue together, as a quartet.
Can you describe your sound and music with words?
Yeah, from the beginning we had this idea of combining some beautiful atmospheres with some dark hard passages. It’s a bright side and dark side. We play with those dynamics.
How is your songwriting process?
We usual jam at our rehearsal place and 90% of our songs come from that. I think that’s pretty common for bands. We play and get some ideas from a bass line or a guitar riff. Then we spend a lot of time with the arrangements. There are some songs that we have arranged in 20 different ways before getting the final version.
You are currently recording your first album, when will it be ready?
We are producing it ourselves and after that we will approach some records labels to distribute. We hope it will be out this year, but it will depend on the label. Of course, if there are no labels interested, we will release it ourselves, but I am pretty confident that we will find one.
The album is almost done. We are just missing some vocals and details. Songs are pretty long, around five minutes, so we have to be very careful of not doing a very long album.
Did you think about singing in Finnish?
No, we didn’t even consider it. We are not thinking about just playing and being popular in Finland, we rather go and play in some other countries too. We have gone to Russia and the Baltic countries and I am sure we will back there soon when the album is out. I hope we can make it to other European countries too.
What are your favourite bands in Finland at the moment?
There are many good ones. We like Jaakko and Jay, Rubik and I think Delay Trees are very good, they will be big.
Is it difficult for an indie back to book gigs in Finland?
There’s enough for indie bands in the big cities. For example, in Tampere, there are five clubs where our music fits quite well. The problem is with the smaller cities with 40-50,000 people. There might be only one nightclub and it is not really our audience. But working hard, one gets some gigs.
Compared to Helsinki, is being based in Tampere a disadvantage?
Sometimes. It might be a bit easier being in Helsinki. There are more people, clubs. Things might happen faster.[audio:http://www.glue.fi/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/01-On-Volcano-Ride-the-Wolf.mp3|titles=Ride the Wolf|artists=On Volcano]
Photo by Samuli Huttunen