Wednesday, December 15, 2010

DOTDR interview Finnish sludge/Doom act Horse Latitudes

I’m always up for finding the obscure and heavy and Finland seems to be an endless source of exactly that. I’m a HUGE fan of the Finnish avant-garde bands like: Anguished, Ride for Revenge, Skull Fuck, Irritate; and the crazy Dutch act Urfaust that fits in with these guys really well. Although not a black metal band, these guys are black and heavy like cooling molten lava drips and the sludgy black steaming textures seen after a volcano eruption is the perfect visual to go with this black sludge/doom metals sound. These guys found me and already with an impressive demo that created some demand they now have a full length that is really incredible as well. Definitely check out the links toward the end of the interview to sample this stuff.

DOTDR: You guys are about to release your first full length, Gathering, in October and has some success with your demo selling out already this year, so tell us about Horse Latitudes?

Horse Latitudes: Horse Latitudes are a Finnish three piece regressive doom band, Heidi and Vellu on basses, Harri on drums and vocals.

DOTDR: You guys have been receiving a lot of praise in the underground, how long have you been active and how did HL come into being?

Horse Latitudes: Horse Latitudes came together in the summer 2009, when Vellu and Heidi came with an idea of a band together. Both played and wanted to play bass so the first idea was to make some serious low end stuff. To do riff (and why not also drone) based music with a minimal set of instruments. After a one jam session together Heidi had an idea of Harri playing drums. Harri, who had been playing guitar and singing in a few different kind of bands and projects, had been playing drums for about half a year in a thrashpunk band and had just become very interested in different kinds of slow, doomy and sludgy stuff, so he was delighted to be a part of the band.

First half a year was just diving into the different variations and possibilities these instruments provided and as the collective view of the band became more and more focused, the songs started to exude from our minds. First it was mostly instrumental stuff, but soon the lyrical dimension rose and became an important part of our music too.

We did our first gig in December 2009, and the demo was recorded from that starting point: the same three songs we played live with the addition of the final track “Healing Stones”, which is more like a primitive improvisation than a song. We made two little pressings (overall 150 copies) of the demo and during springtime, as we started to work on new material for the album that was planned with Aurora Borealis Records, we decided not to make any further pressings of the demo.

DOTDR: I’m partially biased as a bass player myself, but I really love the fact that you guys consist of two bassists and a drummer and feel that it really adds a uniqueness to your sound, not to forget the extra heaviness in the riffs.

Horse Latitudes: Like said above, it was the whole point of the band right from the beginning: reducing the number of different kinds of instruments while at the same time as concentrating on the essentials; crushing riffs and primitive vibration with the powerful beat.

It’s actually pretty hard to balance two instruments that deal in the low end of the sonic spectrum so that both are audible and recognizable from one another. While the basic configuration stays the same, our sound is constantly evolving. The quest for the perfect sound, or brown note if you will, continues..

DOTDR: Your sound is somewhere between epic sludge and classic doom, but it’s also really hard to make direct comparisons to anything specific. What did you guys aim for in sound? The classic doom styled vocals really add something special to the delivery in your tracks and might be enough to persuade stubborn folks who prefer pure doom over the stoner/sludge varieties.

Horse Latitudes: From the early point it was also clear that the vocals will be presenting the lyrical, somehow subtle, side of the music. If the instrumentations were adjusted to the most primitive and earthly oscillation, then the vocals alongside the lyrics are to reach for the symbolic side of being, making the connection and forming the relation between the rumbling cosmos and the shivering self. Reaching for the understanding, maybe. But of course, sometimes the vocals regress too and just combine to the droning base, fusing with the core of it all, but that’s all more or less necessary from this basis!

Our somewhat different musical backgrounds also helped shape our sound; while the punk influences may not be evident in compositions all the time, they’re definitely part of the overall aesthetics and work ethic. Even with our full length album, we strived for a live feel to the sound. The traditional doom elements are also a very natural part of our sound.

DOTDR: I honestly was leveled with shock when I first heard Gathering, it was classic but also fresh and just mature in sound and composition, so in closing is there anything else you’d like to say?

Horse Latitudes: Thanks for the support!

Band Contact/audio samples:

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