QUICKIE OF THE WEEK: A short interview with Santtu Rosén and Mikko Virtanen (DEAD END FINLAND)

written by Marko Jakob

Pix666: Hello and thanks for your time. How are you doing these days? How are the other guys of Dead End Finland?

Santtu: Everything is fine, thanks for asking. The last couple of years have been a bit quieter in terms of DEF’s releases, but we have focused intensively on working on the 5th album that will be released in March. All in all, the coming year looks really good.

Mikko: I’m doing good, thanks. Everyone is very busy with children, work and several music projects.

Pix666: Please introduce your band to the readers in a few short sentences. What kind of music do you make?

Santtu: It has always been difficult to place our music into a specific genre. We have sometimes said that our songs contain everything from punk to classical music. We’ve often been referred to by the somewhat roundabout definition of “melodic metal” and that probably best describes us if you have to choose a specific genre.

Mikko: I would describe our music as grandiose, melancholic, very melodic. At times it’s quite aggressive, but it always feels strange when the definition ‘death metal’ is mentioned in any way with us…

Pix666: At the beginning of 2020 you released the album ‘inter vivos’ – then came the Covid pandemic. How were the reactions to your album and which plans did you have to bury because of the pandemic?

Santtu: The album was very well received and it found it’s audience nicely. Now, at the time of writing this, it has already exceeded 2 million streams. It is our most listened album so far. We work on two songs at a time. That cycle continues fairly evenly throughout the years. Even during the pandemic. Since DEF doesn’t play gigs, the effects on the music were quite small for us.

Mikko: In our opinion, the album turned out to be successful and it has been very well received.

Pix666: Now your new single ‘Heavy Rain’ was released a few days ago. In march 2023 Your fifth album ‘Victory’ will follow. What can fans expect on the album – are there Any musical differences to your previous albums?

Santtu: DEF fans will hardly be disappointed with the new album. Although we have once again succeeded in bringing new nuances to the concoction, those recognizable DEF elements are also strongly present.

Mikko: This album is clearly related to the previous album, but we’ve come quite far away from the debut ‘Stain of Disgrace’.

Pix666: … And How Do You Create Your Songs And What Are Your Lyrics About?

Santtu: Our process of making music is quite standardized, so that as a guitarist I first write the body of the song, which is worked on in the rehearsal room with our drummer. After we go to the studio, the songs are modified to their final form, when our keyboardmaster Jassi gets to arrange and work his magic. After that, Mikko does the most important part, i.e. the melodies and the lyrics, which are still polished forward in the studio.

Mikko: We really have a very special way of making songs. I always hear a song for the first time when it is completely finished, recorded and mixed in the studio, basically a track ready for release – which, of course, still lacks the vocals. Then I sketch the cleans and growls on it at home with the lyrics in jibberish and send the drafts to Santtu for possible suggestions for changes. After everything is confirmed as good ideas, I write the correct final lyrics. Then we record the vocals in the studio and refine the details. It usually takes two evening sessions to finish singing one song. In different ways, the words tell about the downsides of life, difficulties, darker feelings, the worrying state of the world, and sometimes even defeating these things.

Pix666: Finland is one of the leading and most important countries in the field of rock and especially metal music. Are your songs on the radio in your home country?

Santtu: Unfortunately, commercial radio in Finland is almost entirely focused on pop music, and metal music is only a curiosity in some late-night programs. Fortunately, alongside these radios, there are also many online radios. DEF has been well represented in them.

Mikko: I don’t remember that our music was ever played on a commercial radio channel, even though ‘Inter Vivos’ made it onto the official Finnish album chart.

Pix666: You have been on the road with your band for about 15 years now. What were the most unforgettable or craziest moments for you with the band?

Santtu: Since our band doesn’t perform live, the unforgettable moments happen elsewhere than at the concert venues. One unforgettable moment has been, for example, the filming of our upcoming video. The video is made with motion capture technology, and in order to capture the movements of the members, the band needed special spandex-like suits. Jumping around the empty room in them was a sight to remember. Surely this vision has burned into the retinas of the working group as well.

Mikko: I also remember dragging a gigantic cargo box in a snowy forest for hours, drenched by the freezing sleet. This can be seen in the music video for the song ‘Lifelong Tragedy’. In addition, the funny thing is how my wife started giving birth to both of our children at the moment when I’ve been in the studio recording vocals. My son and daughter have their own songs and they are ‘Screaming Back To Hell’ (2015) and ‘Tightrope’ (2017).

Pix666: Is there merch from Dead End Finland available for purchase?

Santtu: Yes there is – everything from a cap to a hoodie. Our merch can all be easily found at one address www.unomas.fi/deadendfinland

Mikko: We’ve even had our own sunbeds and coffee mugs, hahhah!

Pix666: Do you have dreams and wishes for your future with Dead End Finland?

Santtu: Quite a few cool things related to music have already come true with DEF, but I still hope that the audience will grow even more. In addition, the dream is to make a concept album and a supporting music video/short film.

Mikko: For example, a double LP vinyl is in the plans. Let’s hope it comes true.

Pix666: What do you do when you’re not busy with music – do you have any unusual hobbies, like ice swimming?

Santtu: As I mentioned before, our music-making cycle is quite steady, but of course there is also room for other hobbies. In addition to video games, my hobbies include swimming. Not among the ice, though.

Mikko: I don’t think there’s anything unusual, but playing video games and drawing are things you hope to find time for.

Pix666: I’ve read that more than every second finn has a sauna – so in theory one of you could be a sauna owner, right? So, who of you has his own and have you ever been in the sauna at the christmas market in helsinki or in the skysauna in the ferris wheel?

Santtu: Hahah… We all have a sauna, if the summer cottage is included, then two. Skysauna is familiar, but I haven’t been to a sauna there.

Mikko: Yeah, I guess we all have a couple of saunas. I haven’t been to the saunas you mentioned, but at Tuska Festivals, for example, I’ve been in a tent sauna between watching bands.

Pix666: It is said that santa claus lives in rovaniemi. What is your own relation to christmas and how do you celebrate it?

Santtu: Santa really lives in Rovaniemi, Korvatunturi. From time to time the Swedes try to steal Santa for themselves, but it’s a lie. For me, Christmas as a holiday mostly means a few days off from work, but because of the children’s enthusiasm, I can manage to get a little more excited about it myself.

Mikko: To me Christmas is a one week vacation to spend with my family, to eat too much and just chilling without schedules.

Pix666: Do you have any other news about dead end finland, that you would like to share with the fans?

Santtu: 2023 will certainly be a good year for DEF. Everything cool is on the way. Now if ever you should stay tuned.

Mikko: The new album is worth the wait. So just listen to our music and spread the word to others who might be interested.

Pix666: Thank you very much for the interesting answers – good luck for the future and stay healthy!

Santtu and Mikko: Thank you for the interview and the best possible year 2023 to you and all the readers.



photos © by Janne Pappila and Dead End Finland