Interview with Detset — “We all wrote the songs together.”

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DETSET recently released their debut album, “Vermeil,” via Out Of Line Music. We talked with singer Sami Silvennoinen about the band, the record, and any upcoming plans. Read the complete interview here…

Hi there, thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview. How are you doing?

I’m doing fine. I have a little bit of flu but it is going better now.

Oh, that’s a shame. I hope it wasn’t COVID. I guess tea helps for that. Let’s start off to talk a little bit about your band, because the first time I heard about your band was in the summer, when you were announced for some festivals. So I’m quite curious to hear about your band’s history. How did you guys meet?

It was 2018 and when Jonas and I talked – our bass player – that we should make some kind of a band that is metal, but it’s rock combined with pop elements. Here we are now releasing our first record.

I guess the first record is always kind of special, I would assume. How are you feeling about the upcoming release?

We are quite excited about that record. The first record always gives the direction where we will go with another record, so I hope this first record finds a lot of people who will like this kind of music.

You recently signed to Out Of Line Music as well. What can you tell us about that deal? How did you meet up with them and how did you help or how did they find out about you?

Our manager talked with Out Of Line and a couple of other labels. And we had some contacts with Out Of Line and we heard they’re great to work with. So we decided to go with them.

There are a lot of Finnish bands signed to the label, so it must have been good for you to be able to talk with them about it as well.

Yeah, BLOODRED HOURGLASS, FEAR OF DOMINATION, it’s great to be a part of the label with those bands.

Now, you already kind of described the original idea behind DETSET. How would you describe your music to people who haven’t heard about your band yet, as you are mixing a lot of genres?

Some people say that we are a metalcore band. So I think that labels us a little bit. We try to mix a lot of elements together, so that is our main goal.

Now, the title of your record also refers to silver gilt, which is high-quality silver that is plated with gold. How did you come up with the title and how does it express the themes on the record, or is it just that you referred to the music itself as vermeil?

Vermeil – it means that it’s like gold, but it’s silver underneath. So it means that something shows like gold, like how we show ourselves on social media, but from the inside, there is something else; there are problems and addictions, and those things we don’t share. So that’s the main thing why we named this album “Vermeil.”

I also really liked the cover art. It fits very well with the title of the record. Is there anything you can talk about that, like who’s the artist who came up with the main idea for it?

That was the main artist, Joonas Ennala. He made the cover. We like his artwork a lot. So we wanted to support that kind of artist, that can we can show the world that he makes great pictures, so he is the main man who made the cover.

A lot of the themes on this record are from modern society. You also mentioned that there is a lot of darkness in the band. What I also felt was that some songs have some kind of anger maybe, for instance, “So Offended,” or “Every Murder Has a Father.” I was wondering if things that make you angry or frustrated also inspire you to write lyrics?

Yeah, there are many elements that make me write the lyrics. But the main thing about writing this kind of record was that I wanted to create some kind of fictional character who lives on the other side, who wants to drink his misery and wants to do violent acts, and who wants to destroy himself. So that is the main reason how this came along. And of course, “Every Murder Has a Father” is a fictional story about a man who is a priest, and “So Offended” tells about how we get so offended about many issues that we have in social media that are not related to us. Anyway, so there are many elements. There are real-life elements and there are a lot of fictional things mixed together.

Another side of lyrical themes is maybe a little bit more personal, for example, “In Graves.” Is it difficult for you to open up about yourself?

It is easy to open up, but I want to share some fictional stories to cover some things, maybe not cover but make it a little bit more interesting. If you write a fictional book, it’s not about your life, it’s something that you want to talk about in some other way.

Now, what can you tell me about how you created the songs for this record? Was it a collaborative effort or was there a main songwriter for this?

No, we all wrote the songs together. There were the guitar players who had some ideas and also your bass player. Everybody could say what they wanted in each song, and also the lyrics were all mine, but all the guys have to stand behind my words. So everything is marked for the whole band, for DETSET.

What usually comes first for you guys? Do you start from melodies or riffs?

First thing come riffs and then I will layer some lyrical or melodic ideas on it, then it maybe changes or not. It takes a little while to make a 3-minute song because it’s changing all the time, it’s evolving. That’s the way we write songs.

Let’s maybe talk a little bit more about some songs specifically. I really like “The Mechanic” and I was wondering if there was any story you can tell connected to that either from writing it, or about the lyrics maybe?

That was a really, really straightforward rock song for us. Also, the lyrical theme was like, hide your daughter and bring me your mother, it tells all, it’s about living from one one-night stand to another one-night stand. Its lyrical theme was straightforward. You can live that way if you want, I don’t think that’s going to last long for your relationships. It’s not very healthy.

Is it somehow connected to the song titled “One Night Stand?”

It’s the same kind of thing, but it’s a different song. Same idea from my perspective.

The first few tracks are pretty heavy and then there’s “Graves” – was it intentional that you placed it so early on in the record to kind of give a breather to the listener?

Yeah, I think so. The main idea was to give “Graves” because there are some melodic ideas and it’s not a heavy song. We wanted to see how people react, that we give some heavy, really heavy stuff and then some melodies and clean vocals. It was intentional to do it this way. That way we get really good feedback because we have some elements to go there for really heavy songs and then with the melodies.

I thought the craziest song on the record for me was – at least vocally – was “Let It Hurt.” Was there any specific thing you learned during creating this album about your vocals?

I learned a lot from this record. Everyone in this band would say that “you can do better, you can go higher, you can do it rougher” or something. So I learned a lot vocally on making this record and “Let It Hurt” is my personal favorite song from the album.

Yeah, is it also because of the vocal lines that you can go a little bit crazier or why is it your favorite song?

Yes, I can go a little crazier and the theme of that song… it’s about relationship violence that you get when you are the victim. It wasn’t related to me, but it was close to my friend. So it was close to the heart.

I think that song will be really cool to hear live. I’m not sure if you have had many shows over the past 2 years. Were there any songs you already performed from this record that you thought were really cool?

We have played all the songs we have because we have only this album. So we have played every song except “Lizard,” which is the last song on the album. Every time, every gig we have played, “Let It Hurt,” is when the gig really starts to get attention and I love to sing that song.

Do you play it early on in the setlist to hype up the audience?

Yeah, it’s really a pretty early song in our set.

Going back to the album, what can you tell me about the production? Was it a DIY effort?

Yeah, we produced it ourselves and Ville Hautaluoma mixed the recorded. Then, we recorded those drums in Vuortanen. I can say that we produced this record.

Sounds pretty challenging, but I do think that there’s a lot of dynamics on the record, and there’s a certain raw energy in there as well. Was that something that you really wanted to have in there?

Yeah, I wanted the record to go a little bit up and down. There are some melodies and there are rough riffs and fast songs and slow songs. So I wanted to make this kind of a record. I always wanted to make this record. And we have made this record I think 3 years ago, so I can still listen to it. It’s not making my cheeks blush or my ears bleed, so it’s I think it’s still relevant.

You mentioned just now that you’ve been sitting on this record for 3 years. Is there any reason why there was a delay? Was it because you wanted to find the right people behind it?

We wanted to to work with a record label with this record and the COVID situation made it a bit harder. It’s finally coming out.

Now, I think you released two music videos. What can you tell me about the music videos?

We have made our music videos mostly ourselves with a little bit of help. Our newest video, “Mariana Arc,” was made by Tuukka Kiviranta, an outsider who made that, and it came out really, really good. I love it.

Is there a story in that video, or is it a playthrough video?

Yes, there is a story but you can see it on Friday. Yeah, I won’t spoil it for you!

Of course, the pandemic situation is still a little bit unclear. Are you planning to do a tour in Finland in the near future or do you have any other plans?

Yeah, we have a lot of plans. But let’s see how the COVID situation is going. We have already announced that we are going to Europe in March, but you never know where the world is going. And we have summer plans too. But you can’t talk about them before they’re really happening. Because it’s always going so that you can do it but then you can’t do it.

I guess it’s a little bit of a struggle right now for bands with their debut album. Probably you’re all looking forward to play live because I presume you’re also a live band, your music is probably very cool to witness live.

Yeah. We are totally a live band.

Anyway, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me. That’s it for my questions. Do you have any last thoughts you want to share with your fans?

I want to say that we have a Facebook stream coming up this Friday, our album is coming also out on Friday, so there is going to be some acoustic versions of the songs, a few acoustic versions, some interview, and we can talk about it with our fans in the stream. So be there, see you at the gigs when you can come to gigs.

Written by Laureline Tilkin