Not long ago I contacted Sami J. Harju is bassist / vocalist of this band that manages to blend the traditional doom with progressive metal so odd. We talked about the beginning of the band, the front cover of the debut which was regarded as one of the most horrendous and other things.
1. A little information is found from you on the Internet. I would like to give us a little preview of how the band came and the idea of a focused sound to doom metal?
SJ.Harju – We started with Garden of Worm somewhere in the latter half of 2003 if my memory serves me right.
Anyway, it was around the same time that me and Erno had went on an indefinite hiatus with our prog rock band, and we felt the needed to get back to the basics and start to play downright honest doom metal.We asked Jani, our long time friend, to play the drums for the band, and so the line up was complete.
2. In 2010 it launched the debut, as the process of recording the album and its acceptance?
SJ.Harju – Most of the songs on the album were written in quite short time period, at least compared how much time we normally spend in the creation process of songs. The material was done in about half a year, except for the album closer “Hollow” which had been in existence already a couple of years before the rest of the songs, and then recorded within a couple of months.
We did the recordings with a friend of ours, so technically speaking the process was really painless and easy. For me, personally, doing the vocals in the studio is always the most difficult and demanding task on many levels as I tend to be self-critical to the point of frustration.
The album has been accepted really well, receiving mostly very positive reviews from the critics and doom metal fans alike. Some aspects of our music seem to divide the common opinion to “love it” or “hate it”, but that of course is only a positive thing. And as far as I know, the album sales have been satisfactory as well.
3. The artwork for the Garden of Worm debut, is where we should not apply the term “do not judge by the cover” because it has a weakened wolf. What is the significance of this illustration, and she has some connection with the lyrical context of the album, especially with the song Psychic Wolves?
SJ.Harju – I found the illustration from Justin Bartlett’s site when we were recording the album and thought that it would perfectly fit the overall atmosphere of the music. While a direct connection to the lyrics may not be that obvious, I think it reflects some of the themes that the lyrics handle, such as isolation or seclusion, quite well in a way.
Many reviews of the album have judged the cover art as one of the worst in history, but we are really glad how it turned out! You should see the gatefold vinyl to really appreciate the whole visual concept…
4. Listening to the older material, you had a sound more toward the traditional doom debut and we can see a call musical evolution and we have some interesting passages even progressive?
SJ.Harju – Looking back, I guess that the influences from certain classic doom bands and some sort of genre rules were much more apparent in our music back then, as the basic idea was start building it all up from the most fundamental pieces. Quite a few years have passed since, and it definitely shows on many different levels in what we do and where we are with Garden of Worm now.
Maybe we didn’t expect the band to grow to be as important to us at first as it did. So, in this light the musical evolution has been most natural for us. The ambition to strive forward and explore different manners of approach to this genre are couple of the most significant forces keeping the band going in the first place.
5. One thing that caught my attention was his way of singing that at times reminded me of the sounds of Geddy Lee (Rush), he certainly was an influence on you?
SJ.Harju – Hahhah, many people have asked me about this before and I’ve never been able to hear the resemblance myself! I guess it is there, although I can’t say he’s had any influence on my singing.
I do enjoy some Rush albums quite a bit, however.
6. Since the beginning of the Garden of Worm has names of songs and passages in his letters that would cause ‘envy’ in many splatter bands. (see this passage: I see her again she’s lying among dead bodied/Rotten fruit on her table swarming with maggots and flies). How the connection of you with this theme not so usual for the doom metal?
SJ.Harju – That’s an interesting remark for sure, and something that we haven’t really ever considered ourselves…
Hmm, thinking about the texts in general, the way they are written is mostly really straightforward and the topics, although dealing with these “everyday” things, can be quite savage by nature. But the way I see it, is that it is all part of the human life which in itself has inspired most of the lyrics that we’ve written. Some of them deal with disappointments, some with joy or even with love, where as others are about death and decay. We’ve never aimed at feasting with any of the gory or gruesome aspects or details, but we don’t avoid dealing with them either when it is necessary.
7. I watched some videos on youtube from you playing live. I like to know if there are plans to launch a DVD, or some promotional material on video? So we can feel the power of the Garden of Worm?
SJ.Harju – I doubt there ever will be a live DVD of any kind, sorry. I’ve never enjoyed watching live recordings that much, and I completely abhor watching GOW on video – I feel that a lot of the magic of the moment is lost. You can’t sense the band’s connection to the audience, you can’t feel the thumping bass on your chest and you can’t smell the sweat.
8. How is the the songwriting process for the next album, and the estimates of release it?
SJ.Harju – Currently, we have some new songs under work for the next album, possibly already enough of them actually. Many of the new riffs and bodies of songs have been created through improvisation – simply jamming with the band. This is a new approach for us, and so far it’s been a really exhilarating and productive way of working as well.
It seems now that the album will consist of four or five shorter tracks and a lengthy one that spans across the other half of the record. But well, at this point everything is subject to change, so no exact promises yet.
Anyway, we hope to record it during the winter, but we’ll see what happens…
9. I’d like quoting your current playlist.
SJ.Harju – It’s a real mixed bag of recent purchases – from obscure French and Finnish singles to contemporary demos and from the heavy metal basics to prog rock classics.
Distance “It seems to be right” 7″
Foetus “Le radio l’a tué” 7″
Forced Kill “Invasion of steel” demo-tape
Hellion Noise “Devil’s daughter” 7″
Helloween “s/t” MLP
Orodruin “Days of the doomed” demo-CD
Penzzer “Premier assault” 7″
Running Wild “Gates to purgatory” LP
Van Der Graaf Generator “H to he…” LP
Whitespirit “s/t” LP
10. Thank you for the interview and would like to leave a message for the readers of Funeral Wedding.
SJ.Harju – Yeah, thanks a lot for the interview, Rod! Stay tuned everyone and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gardenofworm
- Photos by R.Niemelä and was taken at Jalometalli 2011