Lyijykomppania is ancient band from Kantala, Finland. Being formed in 1981, it lingered ’till 1983 as Lead Company (English translation) and then disbanded. It was resurrected in 1990 by the same lineup – Esa Moilanen (drums), Timo Rautiainen (guitars, vocals) and Olli Jaatinen (bass), and since then (with five years long pause between 1998 and 2003), Lyijykomppania perform a kind of energetic heavy / doom metal with Finnish lyrics.
Actually doom metal elements in their sound do not dominate, so people sometimes tag it as “proto doom”, and it makes sense. Meanwhile despite the number of authentic features, the trio exists in its own quite isolated world. That doesn’t prevent them from recording new music, and Esa Moilanen (who’s now the only original Lyijykomppania’s member) records new songs with new lineup. After eight years of silence he releases the fifth full-length Tietoja Epäonnistumisista Ja Päättämättömyyksistä Tai Väkivaltaa Ja Vääriä Lääkkeitä and continues to work on next one with new members.
Esa, there’s eight years long break between Sota Nälkä Rutto Kuolema and Tietoja Epäonnistumisista Ja Päättämättömyyksistä Tai Väkivaltaa Ja Vääriä Lääkkeitä albums. How did you spend this period?
Short after S N R K-album both Virtanen and Rossi quit the band so I was alone again. I tried to found new musicians but didn’t succeed. At the same time I had serious health problems. Everything seemed to collapse. Finally I went to an operation in private hospital and for the time being got well. To do something with music, I formed a new band Der Greif (The Griffin). It’s me playing bass and singing and a couple of very young other musicians playing guitar and drums. I wrote some new songs (heavy metal with slight punk and prog influences, Finnish lyrics) for Der Greif and we played some Lyijykomppania songs too. After a while both other musicians quit – so I hired the new ones. Before I moved to Lapland in 2013 I played one minor festival gig with Der Greif. The reasons to move to Lapland were personal.
In Lapland I did fishing and hunting with my dog as well as some teaching things to earn my daily bread. No musical activities to mention during this period. I lived alone in a cabin on Salla-tunturi (something like mounting in English). I returned to the south in 2014 and managed in few months to reform both Der Greif and Lyijykomppania with new line-ups. Der Greif recorded an album in 2016 (Sotaa Ja Verisiä Vaatteita – War And Bloody Clothes?) and in the same year a documentary DVD Lyijykomppania: Ensimmäiset 35 Vuotta (The first 35 years) came out also.
Beside Lemmy our former guitarist-vocalist Strandman joined Lyijykomppania for a short period to play some anniversary gigs.
Oh! So let’s sort it out! Your new band Der Greif – what’s with it? Do you have a released album? And what’s the band’s current status?
Der Greif has released one 6 track album (CD) RAM007. Current status is active, we’re making new songs, I and our guitar player Antti together. All the songs on album Sotaa Ja Verisiä Vaatteita were written by me – both music and lyrics with all arrangements.
What’s about video Lyijykomppania: Ensimmäiset 35 Vuotta?
Ensimmäiset 35 Vuotta is a kind of “History of Lyijykomppania” (and a good one I suppose). It includes mostly interviews – in Finnish of course – of past and current members of the band including Timo Rautiainen, rah rah – and some live performances (merely poor quality, taped by fans or our technical assistants on tour). 1h 44 min, format DVD. Sold out, only a very little pressing (100? 200?) made. I don’t know if a copy of it can be found on net. A previous “history” of Lyijykomppania Viinasta, Kuolemasta Ja Maailmanlopusta – Lyijykomppania (something like “About alcohol, death and end of the world – Lyijykomppania) video seems to be available (of course with no legal rights grrrr…) on Youtube. This video includes several not-true details. I had no chance to say my opinion to the last version of this video. There are no English texts in both documents. And about Lyijykomppania information in English: not a slightest idea. Maybe someone has written something somewhere (in Wikipedia and some metal net pages) but we have no promo material or whatsoever for our foreign friends – not needed (at least this far).
The Lyijykomppania’s album is recorded by you and two new members – Lenny Lindstrom (bass) and Vuorinen (guitars, vocals). How did you recruit them and did they take part in songs writing?
Lemmy has played twice before in Lyijykomppania and Vuorinen joined the band soon after. It was Lemmy who found him. In this line-up (at least this far) Lemmy composes all the music, I write all the lyrics and Vuorinen makes all the vocal melodies – team work, as are the arrangements too.
How do you solve the problem with songwriting? You know, Lemmy writes music, but he has joined not long ago. Do you guide his hand to fit his music to Lyijykomppania’ features?
Lemmy has played twice before in Lyijykomppania. Truly there’s no need to any guiding – our situation was different in autumn 1996 when Lemmy and Strandman joined Lyijykomppania. I wrote two songs “Maan Povessa” (“In The Grave” or something like that) and “Sukeltajan Päiväkirja” (“A Diary Of A Diver”) to show them I want simple exact rough, solid riffs and gloomy monotonous beating – no f….. solos or nothing-meaning choruses or whatsoever. My co-operation with Lemmy has been fruitful – we respect each other very highly.
By the way, how would you determine features of Lyijykomppania sound?
Everything we play must mean something – every single sound. Nothing too much. Especially in live performance: you have only guitar, bass, drums and voice. You have to know what you want. We use devices very little, only distortion and octavers, the basic thing is the wall made by guitar and bass playing the same riff.
Esa, how was organized recording session for new songs? Do you feel yourself a dictator in the studio?
All the recordings were done with Juha-Matti Koppelomäki’s mobile studio in several short sessions. It appeared to be a quite pleasant way to work so we continue it during our sessions going on right now. Dictator? Me? Have you been drinking, comrade?
Ha-ha, actually, I’m already sober! And as I’m sober, I can’t skip a question about matter of your current sessions, but let’s deal with another one first – did you ever work with sound producer? Do you need someone in the studio who could guide you or point some rough edges in your songs?
About producer: never any outsider producer used. I guess Tuomo Valtonen (recording engineer on our records 1991- 2007) had a strong influence to create our studio sound. Juha-Matti Koppelomäki (our recording engineer now) has followed Tuomo’s tracks successfully.
Esa, so you’re in the studio and you write new song, one of these tracks was published online. Can we build an impression about the whole next album by “Yksinäisen Tähden Harhailija”, the only song published online?
In fact our next album is in “work in progress” situation. Obviously it contains ten new songs. All the demo versions are finished and probably they won’t chance much, but who knows… ‘Yksinäisen Tähden Harhailija’ is one of the “fastest” (uh huh!!!) songs on the album. The lyrics in this song are a kind of “funny”: heavy drinking etc., but after all they include also serious scenes about loneliness, poor social skills and lack of proper views to your own life, especially concerning us men.
The Tietoja Epäonnistumisista Ja Päättämättömyyksistä Tai Väkivaltaa Ja Vääriä Lääkkeitä title could be translated as “About Failures And Indecision Or Violence And False Drugs”.
Concept… to make you curious? (I think a bit better translation for Vääriä Lääkkeitä would be “Wrong Medicines” – how the hell should I know…).
Esa, what are your influences in the world of heavy rock; doom metal; folk music?
Heavy rock: most of it has been spoiled decades ago (thanks to Metallica on those millions near by). Older stuff has influenced me a lot – and it still does. I can listen heavy metal only in short periods: album or two in the same evening is maximum. And then several days, sometimes weeks: no sound can be heard… I don’t listen to doom metal. I don’t know the bands properly, so better not to make any statements. A part of it interests me. It has some melodic solutions or traditions you can’t find in pop music.
The band started in 1981, how do you value its popularity both in Finland and abroad?
It is not popular in Finland or abroad. Hey: where’s the money?
Don’t you see it as result of lack of promotion? As I understand you release your albums on your own, without any labels or distributors behind you, so how do you deal with promotion?
Lyijykomppania is not interesting enough for bigger audiences. It is a marginal phenomena. That’s why larger promotion has not been needed. And I guess that’s the way things will go on.
Esa, thank you very much for your time! How would you like to finish the interview? When do you plan to release next Lyijykomppania’s album?
Thank you. Our next album is coming out next year.
– Aleksey Evdokimov