Today, I have the pleasure of sharing a conversation with Aoghori, the vocalist of “transmutating extreme metal” act Hukutus.
Hello guys! Let’s kick off this interview by introducing Hukutus and the meaning of your band name.
Hi there! Hukutus means the act of drowning in Finnish, a forced act, I might add. It’s not really specific what is being drowned and into what, I like that. It could be happening within one’s subconscious or it could be just a brutal act of baptism. It’s also a good introduction to what we’re about as a band. The music, like water, is amorphous, murky and dynamic. Sure, we are rooted in extreme metal, served with an organic, raw sound, but the psychedelic dimension, progressive elements and experimentation are equally important. The six people involved are also a rather diverse bunch.
It appears that everything started back in 2011. Could you share briefly the story of what drove you to form this alliance?
The boring answer would be just the right time and the right place, but that’s how it was. Most of us go a way back, but it had been a while since any of us had done anything together. You can’t force creativity or passion to do music like this. In the beginning we had the drive, but our vision was blurred. So for a period of time it was mostly the three of us (me, Opakaj and Tamas) demoing songs and collaborators came and went. In hindsight, I’m very glad we didn’t just rush into releasing anything we had. It took a while to actually get here and find the right musicians to complete the hexagram.
Upon my first listen of your single “Nadiirit“, I depicted psychedelic elements, a pinch of insanity and sheer fright. I felt as if the protagonist himself is running from somebody or something. Can you elaborate on the storyline and the components that build up the lyrics of this track?
The lyrics aren’t really about running away from anything, on the contrary. They are about taking a dive to one’s own nadir. And then returning from the depths as something supreme. An entity that knows no fear and instead turns other people’s fears against them. The lyrics feature a number of names or aliases for an energy or a force of nature that pushes us to embrace our insanity. It is something that is equally horrifying and infatuating. Actually, the lyrics to all of our songs contain different names (or ideas) and there is a recurring theme, at least in my mind. But, as it’s all in Finnish, we’ll probably make translations available in future.
The video to “Nadiirit” shows off a rather unique and equally disturbing concept. Stripping off completely naked and rushing into the dark forest makes an impression of either trying to escape an impending danger or unleashing the primal self of the main characters. Does the exhibition of nudity symbolize personal catharsis or maybe a manifestation of freedom?
You are definitely on the right track. The video is meant to symbolize a catharsis of some sort, making yourself vulnerable and facing the darkness that comes forth. Completion – as above, so below. It’s about the union between the primal wilderness and the wisdom of the few. Knowing yourself and embracing it – whatever it is – is the ultimate freedom. When you master that, you should be immune to indoctrination and peer pressure. And forests are an extremely important element to me, as nature and as a symbol.
Other that, what is the ultimate opposition that Hukutus marches against?
I don’t really think and categorize in terms of antitheses anymore. It makes things black and white, and they rarely are like that in reality. Figuratively speaking – the rest of the world can burn for all I care. But to sum something up, I do take offence to anyone trying to police what other people can say or even think. The world moves forwards with friction, not with stagnant consensus.
If you have to translate the lyrics into occurrences/issues from the everyday life, could you point out the most influencing outlets of disturbance that fuel your visions nowadays?
This world is filled with emotional dead-ends, bullshit and shambling. If one wishes to dance through it and remain sane, knowing yourself is vital. Strengths, weaknesses, dark secrets and what is in your marrow. It’s all about your point of view and where you stand. To quote the Comedian: “It’s all a joke.” But you can choose who is the jester and who is the man who laughs. Which one is the better position? I’ll leave it for you to decide.
By the way, I remember that before this interview, you mentioned that you were working on your debut album. What stage are you at now?
The album is recorded and in final stages of mixing. I can’t give any solid dates, but hopefully it’s all done pretty soon. We just need someone to release it and that’s what we’re working on right now.
When did you start working on the new material?
The songs on the album are from a long period of time. Some are the first we ever wrote for this band and some were just finished this year. Sometimes old skeletons need fresh flesh to produce perfect alchemy. I won’t elaborate which ones are old or new, but there’s a clear progress to be heard, and a hint of what’s to come.
Did everything go as you expected?
Nothing ever does. That’s how creativity works, it’s a beautiful chaos that needs time and reflection.
I must admit that Finnish extreme metal landscape is flourishing and there’s a rich palette of choices for everybody. What do you consider is the driving force that pushes many musicians towards metal, in general?
There’s probably a ton of reasons and I’m sure I have nothing in common with some people. At it’s best and most honest, metal is a raw release of energy – it’s primal and uncensored. But you could say the same thing of rock, punk or industrial. And they can all still end up as a totally pussy and commercial product. I don’t know.. If you grew up listening to metal, it’s bound to influence what you do, even if you get bored with it and seek new genres. But maybe you’re right, the diversity is appealing. Even within black metal, you can have bands like Dödheimsgard, Mgla and Blasphemy, that sound nothing alike, but they still share an idea. Of course, that’s inspiring.
In my humble opinion, 2016 was a strong year for the black/death metal division. Could you name your personal 5 favourites that have had an impact on you?
I’m seriously behind on checking out new releases, there’s stuff from 2015 I still haven’t listened. “Memento Collider” by Virus is the only one that has literally blown my mind this year. As for actual metal albums, I really liked Korgonthurus’ “Vuohen siunaus”, Darkthrone’s “Arctic Thunder” and Bölzer’s “Hero”. The new True Black Dawn album also sounded very good. But I haven’t had the time to really listen to anything in peace.
Alright guys, before wrapping things up, please share what are your plans for the near future?
Definitely more live shows and getting something released. Hopefully 2017 will surprise us positively. Thanks for the interview!