Happy Halloween! If you’re into the Finnish industrial scene, you may have heard the name RIESA pop up in the last handful of years. Hailing from Seinäjoki, these face-painted northerners have been mixing punk, industrial, and metal for a short time, yet aren’t to be passed over. We did a quick interview with them recently to learn more about them and their very horror-like aesthetic to share with you this October 31st!
Before we get started, tell me a bit about your origins: how did you meet, how long have you been playing, etc.
We are childhood friends from a small town and we have played together in various projects throughout the years. RIESA was formed in 2018.
For the English-speaking listeners, what does your name mean? Why did you choose it? Does the capitalization have any significance?
“Riesa” means nuisance, something that bothers and teases you. When it first came up we knew instantly that this is it. It perfectly describes our band and our music. The spelling came from the logo, no bigger meaning behind it. Maybe it stands out better this way.
Tell us a bit about your stage look and paint, with the white, black, and red.
It came really naturally. First just a little eyeliner and then something more and more. We think it is important that the band looks cohesive on stage.
Since many of our readers aren’t Finnish, what sort of things do you write about in your music? Do you have any sort of message you share or is music more important?
With this new “Paholaisen musiikkia” EP, we have a horror theme. The lyrics have many meanings and layers. In every song is kind of horror story level and real life level. For us, lyrics and music are both important and they serve each other. Every song has something to say, but the band doesn’t have one big agenda.
Is there a specific reason you sing in Finnish, or is it simply because it’s most comfortable for you as your native language?
There is that and as a lyricist, my biggest influences are singing in Finnish. I love playing with this language. For example, when writing in English, I wouldn’t get so much content in the text and it would make it less meaningful to myself.
How has your first album been received so far?
The first album was fairly well received, but more began to happen [in 2019] when we released the “Pahasta” and “Hullut Hurtat” singles. For us, the first album is kind of a prelude to those singles and the new EP.
What separates you guys from other bands in your genre, like Rytmihäiriö or STAM1NA?
I think that the biggest thing we have in common with those bands is the attitude in making music and performing it. No one mixes punk and metal just like us. Our thing comes very naturally and I think that we can do pretty much anything and still sound like the same band. The coolest thing is that even when we think we play pure metal, people hear punk in it. It comes from the way the three of us play together. It’s in us.
For anyone who hasn’t seen you live, what can we expect from your performances?
It’s always a blast. High tempos and high energy. Lots of sweat and, of course, kick ass songs.
What is the hardest part about being in the music business right now, in your opinion? What is the most rewarding?
This is largely a matter of attitude. For me, with this kind of music being out of the mainstream, the underground and indie culture are constantly getting stronger. Social media and Spotify are heavily criticized, but without them we would not have been able to stand out so well as a self-published band. Distinction and personality are the most important. The best thing about [the business] is the gigs and the most rewarding is when the audience is having a good time and knows the lyrics. Good feedback is everything.
Finally, where do you see yourselves in 5-10 years?
In studio or on stage 🙂
Interview by Bear Wiseman