13th Breath of the Zodiac, Blood Ceremony, Christian Mistress, Coven, Iron Maiden, Jex Thoth, Jinx Dawson, Led Zeppelin, Living with the Ancient Ones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Mountain, Neil Young, NWOBHM, Purson, Rise And Shine, Svart Records, The Devil's Blood, The Shocking Blue, Tom Waits, UFO, White Witch of Rose Hall
It is a great honor for Psychorizon to welcome one of the most promising apparitions of this age for some further introduction to the world: Jess and the Ancient Ones. This grouping of seven finnish musicians, namely vocalist Jess, lead guitarist Thomas Corpse, lead guitarist and backing vocalist Thomas Fiend, rhythm guitarist Von Stroh, bass guitarist Fast Jake, keyboarder Abraham and drummer and percussionist Yussuf won’t have to hide behind others like Jex Thoth, Blood Ceremony, The Devil’s Blood, Christian Mistress, Rise and Shine, Purson etc. Their brilliance is easily transported into live videos on their youtube channel and even songs of more than ten minutes just flow to ones mind and make them want to dance and sing along. But how do they manage to summon up this magic? Here might be some answers!
Please tell us how and when you got together as a creative gathering.
The idea was conceived a few years back, as a result of long, dark and hypnotizing nights with Mr. Fiend and some other fiends. Loving different kind of music since our birth, it felt natural to explore the other end of the shadows. Lineup came together fairly easy, as all the members were summoned up from close quarters. We’re a young band still, but each member has been around long enough to know, that all that glitters is not gold.
Your self-titled debut album is now available at finish label Svart Records – how does it feel and why did you not pick another name for it?
For the first time ever, we have been most satisfied with the label we’re in, as in the past some of our choices have not been proven worthy. Svart Records has a different kind of game, and it’s a game that is based on loyalty, honour and trust. Did I mention that they do killer vinyls? Well, they do. We left the debut unnamed, as it felt like the right choice. One’s gotta listen to one’s inner voice, and so we did!
How much of the things your lyrics deal with is autobiographical/true to life?
They are very much true to life, naturally. If you mean the so-called everyday mundane life, that is not so relevant when it comes to our lyrics, I think. The mundane world is not the only level of existence and it’s interesting and challenging to describe things and visits to the astral plane since the same laws of reason don’t apply there at all.
Every song, every text, every melody, everything has been honestly conceived from the visions, sights, trips and feels of the authors. Correlating with the metaphysic forces, sinking deeper within in search of self, and thus exploring beyond the laws of the natural world. We’re not in it for the shock effect, just writing what comes from within and thus keeping it real.
Front cover of ’13th Breath of the Zodiac’ 7″ single, released on October 26th, 2011 by Svart Records.
In 2011 you released a 7″-single called “13th Breath of the Zodiac”, the B-Side of this is a cover version of Coven’s “White Witch of Rose Hall” – did you contact the band prior to the recording and if so, was it complicated to get their approval on this?
There were no contact’s made between us and Coven. A little small talk moment with Jinx Dawson would have been great though, as she’s an amazing singer! And of course, she is also the original witch. All hail Jinx! We wanted to honour this great band, and so we did the cover version. Ah, gotta love that song.
Speaking of Coven, would you name them or other groups from the late 60s/early 70s as a major influence?
They’ve definitely had an impact on me, that’s for sure. More from a musical than from a magical aspect. The latest discovery from that era for me is a band called Shocking Blue, awesome stuff.
Their debut will always have a special spot in my vinyl collection, and surely have they left some musical scars to our skins as well. They are not the main influence, but they’re respected for sure.
Neil Young, NWOBHM, UFO, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Led Zeppelin, The Shocking Blue, Iron Maiden, Tom Waits, Mountain etc. our musical scale is really wide, and those fore mentioned bands were just a drop in the ocean. All the members have a very different taste for music, and that’s one of our sharpest edges in my opinion.
Also in 2011 you published a promo – how were the reactions towards this work? Although your native Finland is known to be a real Rock-loving country, are you surprised to be on the charts with your debut?
Yeah I was really surprised that we were not only on the charts but that we were in top 10, at #7. As a matter of fact we were at #1 on the chart which counts sales only from music stores, not from supermarkets etc. It was a really big surprise indeed.
Your band name evokes at least a slight connection the Blood Ceremony’s second album called “Living with the Ancient Ones” but due to the fact that you as a band existed before this was out, it must be a coincidence. Anyhow, what do you think about this Canadian foursome?
I like their latest album, but not because of the name, hah! Love the sound they have (though did not like it a lot around their first album), cos’ it’s a nice mixture between the old gold and their own unique brand of sonic waves. We met them on Lutakko, and they were a really nice group of people. I wish them all the best.
We played a show with them last year. Nice people, good music. I hadn’t heard them at all before the gig, and I really liked both their show and their music.
How would you – if at all – assess the constantly growing number of “female-fronted” bands in the occult/retro/psychedelic or whatsoever genre?
I think it’s only a positive thing. I mean, if you look into the 60’s and 70’s rock stuff, there’s a lot of female fronted groups. And in any case, should there be something weird or wrong in women playing rock music as well?
JATAO live magic 2011 at Lutakko w/ Blood Ceremony (CAN).
Photo credit: Maija Lahtinen.
Is there anything else you want to tell the readers of Psychorizon, like casting a spell, speaking words of wisdom or tell us to go to hell?
I bet me and all the readers are already going straight to Hell anyway, heh. So see you there someday.
Maybe we’ll see you along the lonesome road someday. Until then, be all you can be.