QUICKIE OF THE WEEK: A short interview with Karra Väisänen (RIDDLE ME THIS)

written by Marko Jakob | 24.04.2022 |

Pix666: Hello Karra. Thanks for your time. How are you doing these days? How are the other guys of Riddle Me This?

Karra: Always a pleasure, thanks a ton for having us! Me and the others are doing good despite everything that’s happening in Europe as we speak.

Pix666: What kind of music does Riddle Me This make and how and where did you meet your band mates?

Karra: We like to describe our music as dread metal. It means distressing melodies, heavy riffs, and brutal and clean vocals. I’d like to think that there is something in every song that can be recognized as Riddle Me This. Our shows are also very visual, which in our opinion contributes greatly to the horror experience we provide.

All of us grew up together in a small town called Mikkeli. There are also a couple of other metal bands that come from Mikkeli you might have heard of, Bloodred hourglass and Balance Breach – so we’re in good company, haha. We four met in high school and have been making music together ever since. We tried few different musical directions when we were young and formed Riddle Me This somewhere around 2013. That’s when everything started to shift towards more ambitious and goal-directed as well.

Pix666: Your artist name is Kannibal. Is there a cool story about how you got that name?

Karra: We all have our alter egos who take over every time when we step on the stage. The alter egos also play a crucial role in the Riddle Me This universe we have created. My alter ego is called Kannibal who is a creature of sheer brutality. All of those with pure intentions have nothing to be afraid of but those fallen too deep into egoism can already consider themselves as good as dead. For Kannibal sees through the lies of men and will hunt down and devour the impurest of Souls. Not even the despicable tyrants are safe when this entity prowls free. That’s pretty much how the story of Kannibal goes. One could describe him as a merciless hunter of Evil.

Pix666: Recently your new single ‘Megalomania’ was released – how were the reactions to this song so far?

Karra: Yeah, our latest single ‘Megalomania’ (feat. Mikko Kylmänen) was released April 1st and the music video a week later. The song got radio time when it was played on Finland’s number one rock channel, Radio Rock, and was praised as the best song of the month. But other than that, the song hasn’t made it to any editorial playlists nor has it accumulated that many plays as we had hoped for. We have gotten amazing feedback, though, and many new listeners, which we are of course super grateful for – don’t get me wrong – but to be frank we had bigger hopes for this single. I think it is one of the best songs I’ve ever written.

Pix666: Your album will follow in May. What can fans expect from ‘Universal Ego’? Is it already possible to pre-order the album and do you have other merch for sale in your shop?

Karra: That is correct! Our debut album ‘Universal Ego’ will be released on May 13th. It is a theme album containing nine tracks. It’s been in the works for about two years now and we’re super stoked to finally be able to publish it! The album addresses grim issues concerning collective humanity and self-centeredness of humankind. The songs are deeply woven into the Riddle Me This universe as well. You can learn more about it in the lyrics 😉

The album has a wide range of different songs with different moods. It will also contain features from very talented artists who we can proudly call our friends: Eemeli Bodde (Mors Subita, Detset), Tuomas Välimaa (Ember Falls, Everwave), Mikko Kylmänen (Dead End Scene) just to name a few. The album can be pre-ordered both physically and virtually from next week onwards and the merch shop is being set up as we speak. Album related merch will follow shortly after but we do have limited edition items for sale at the moment.

Pix666: Do you plan to tour this year, or at least to play a few shows around the time of the album release?

Karra: That would be ideal, indeed. We don’t currently have a manager or agency, though, and despite our countless emails everywhere we are yet to book an album release show and a tour. This pandemic has moved everything forward a couple of years now and it feels near impossible to get a show booked without an agency. However, those shows will happen, that’s for sure.

Pix666: Your band has been around for a few years now – why did it take so long to finish your debut album?

Karra: The early years of RMT were a bit vague, we didn’t really have a clear direction to head to. I guess it’s the same with every young band. When we started to find our shape in 2015-2016, we finished second in the world’s biggest band competition, Emergenza, Finland’s finals and got a slight boost from that. We had shows all over Finland and even got invited to play in Russia’s Emergenza Finals! Man those were wild times.

We also had one change in line-up a few years after, which was when we four realized what we actually wanted to do with RMT. We started heading in a completely different direction and began creating our own thing. All the alter egos and the RMT universe came along super smoothly. We felt that everything just fit in and we were free to do whatever we wanted. So all of this, finding our calling and defining this dread metal thing of ours culminates in the debut album. Listening to the album will be a visual journey as well, I’m sure.

Pix666: Let’s talk a little bit about your songs. How do you create your songs? Is there a certain plan? Who in the band is responsible for what and what themes are the lyrics of your songs about?

Karra: Usually it happens in my living room with an acoustic or electric guitar. I come up with a melody or a riff and expand from there – as simple as that. After that, I write all the other instruments and add symphonic layers later. However, I never write full songs before I introduce them to the others in the early stages. We want everyone to be involved in the creating process the whole way and the songs really go through a lot of change along the way.

For example, even though I write down rudimentary drum lines, Jaro hardly ever follows them through, which is great. Pieti plays solos that I’ve composed with -50% tempo (because I often can’t play those myself :D) and adds in harmonies to make them sound fuller. Iivo often takes the liberty to make the bass lines jazzier and groovier. That way all of us contribute to the song and the sound is us – not just one person. When the song starts to take shape, I usually write lyrics afterwards from a short story I’ve been sketching along the way. The themes are often very dark and gritty yet contemporary and ambiguous. I love it when people interpret my lyrics in a way that didn’t even ever cross my mind! Sometimes I ask the guys to come up with a story, which usually gives me a lot to draw from, and then proceed to write the lyrics.

Pix666: You have pretty cool outfits that can be seen in your videos. How important is the visual aspect of a band for you and how important is social media in general?

Karra: Visuality means everything to us. Everyone knows how important it is to escape real life every now and then and we want to offer people a chance to do so – an experience.  As one says, you go see a show, not just listen to it. I think that I speak for everybody in the band when I say that we have grown into our alter egos. It would feel impossible to let them go.

Social media is everything to everyone nowadays. Everything happens there. It would be pretty difficult to find new bands without social media anymore, for example. Of course, what social media has done to the industry, is that now everyone can make music. The supply and demand don’t meet anymore, which is why there are an abundance of super talented and skilled artists everywhere today who you would want to succeed.

Pix666: Where do you see Riddle Me This in about five years – do you have any dreams or wishes?

Karra: I see Riddle Me This touring Europe. We will have released our second album for sure – which is already under development by the way! 😉 – and gathered a bigger fanbase. That’s our dream: to make music for people to listen and to live to; to create experiences and memories that last; to bring about different feelings in people; and of course enjoy everything ourselves all along as well.

Pix666: Do you have some – typically Finnish – hobbies? Here in Central Europe they say that ice swimming, drinking alcohol, ice hockey and sauna are a must for Finnish men 😊.

Karra: Haha, well you guys are not wrong 😀 We swim in the ice a lot, which is also super healthy(!) and everyone should do it on a regular basis. We also just recently won our first Olympic gold medal in ice hockey, which led to a lot of drinking. For example, I was up for almost 48 hours just drinking and partying with my friends. It still feels difficult to fathom how the f*ck your body can endure such torture. But I think it’s in our Finns’ veins, comes with the mother’s milk, haha

Pix666: Do you have any other news about Riddle Me This, that you would like to share with the fans?   

Karra: We just recently published our official website. It’s developed by our drummer, Jaro, and the result is beautiful. We recommend all the readers to take a glance at it! We of course have the album coming 13th of May, which is very soon! Following the album, extra material (in the form of a music video!) will also be released in the summer. We hope that if you made it this far you’ll check out our social media and drop a follow if you enjoy what we’re doing! 🙂

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

Karra: Thank you, and thank you so much for having me! Stay healthy and as we say in the Riddle Me This camp: Spread the dread. X




photos © by Tony Paldanius