LOST SOCIETY recently dropped a bombshell by releasing their latest single “No Absolution”. After checking their show at Tuska Open Air, we had the opportunity to talk to frontman Samy Elbana about what has been brewing in the LOST SOCIETY camp. Read the complete interview here.
Sami: I’m sorry, where are my manners. I’m Sami!
I’m Laureline. Nice to meet you!
Sami: Great to meet you! Sorry, I’m in a completely different world. I’ve done about 20 interviews. How are you doing?
I’m exhausted as well, running from one stage to the other. What a weekend.
Sami: We’re lucky that it’s not hotter than what it is outside because if it was the same as yesterday, it’d be fucking terrible [laughs].
Yeah, it’s been quite okay. Thank god. Are you ready for this?
First of all, thank you very much for squeezing another interview in.
Sami: Absolutely, absolutely! Happy to do it.
How are things? How do you feel the show went today?
Sami: I’m doing extremely well, thank you. As I said, I’m still in a totally different world after our show. It was one of the sickest shows I’ve ever played with the guys and you know when you come to Tuska Open Air, you know that it’s going to be a good time. Everyone’s going to take care of you and the crowd’s going to be wild. But we had no idea that it would be that crazy at 14:00 in the day. So we’re doing pretty good and I’m doing pretty good, thank you [laughs].
Was it your first time to play on the main stage here?
Sami: No, actually, the funny thing is that exactly 6 years ago, in 2013, we played for the first time in Tuska and it was on the main stage and it was that exact same slot, and we were just thinking about it. Let’s say there were hundreds of people in 2013 and today was thousands of people, so it was pretty unbelievable to actually see the growth after all these years. We’re pretty mind-blown.
How do you feel, from 6 years ago, you have developed as a band?
Sami: Lots of things have happened in 6 years. Obviously, I’d say the biggest thing or the biggest factor is just that we still rehearse almost on a daily basis, we’ve toured so much together, which means that it’s brought us closer as musicians and as a band. Ultimately, we just play tighter than ever before and we still have a good time even though we’re getting older. We’re still having a good time.
Shut up, you’re not old (laughs)!
Sami: I mean, the whole damn time I’ve been saying to everyone that I don’t want to sound like a dick, but we’re getting older [laughs]. But when I started I was 16, so I am getting older. I’m 23 but you know, fuck it. But as I was saying, of course, we’ve matured as songwriters, as musicians, but we still keep on having a good time. So let’s say the changes have happened where it matters.
You mentioned that you were 16 when you started out. Do you feel like you had to grow up really fast?
Sami: No, no, no, absolutely not. I’ve said to many people… because, I’d like to say in a good way, I’m a control freak. I founded the band, so of course this will always be larger than life for me, and I’ve always liked to take care of stuff for us and I’ve said to so many people that I can’t imagine that going to the army or anything could be close to what touring has taught me as a person. I’m eternally grateful that I’ve got this possibility to grow up with this music and ultimately living my dream.
That’s really nice! You recently released a new single. How has the reaction been so far?
Sami: The reactions have been actually really good. Obviously, before we released it, we knew that there’s going to be… I mean, we hoped that there’ll be conversation. There’s always a divide no matter what you do because there’s no way you can ever please everyone. Well, you shouldn’t in some ways, but it’s been really good, very positive, extremely positive, and we are very happy with the way it’s turned out. It’s streaming unbelievably well and people are talking about it, which is always the most important thing. We’re really satisfied with it right now.
A lot of people seem to also think it feels a little bit less thrashy and a bit more metalcore. Is that a direction you’re going to take with this new album?
Sami: Well, I’m saying no, but actually it’s everything. If anyone’s listened to LOST SOCIETY and followed us since the first record, on “Braindead” you can hear a lot of different elements in the music, which makes sense because there’s four of us who write the songs. Everyone listens to… well obviously we listen to metal, but there’s a lot of other stuff that we like to listen to, so when you get four people to write a song and everyone has different things they like, you’re going to get a mixture that will be strong, because it offers the public something that others can’t offer. I think absolutely there’s no exception to that. It’s a metal song. I can’t really go into further details, but it’s a LOST SOCIETY song, it’s a metal song, and it’s something we wrote, we’re proud of, and we’re going to be proud of in the future.
Do you have a release date yet for the new album?
Sami: We do, but I’m not entitled to disclose that. But there’s going to be a lot of cool things happening this year. Everyone can tune into our social media accounts and all these platforms and shit to see what’s happening. There’ll be some new music, there’ll be some tours, there’ll be some shows, there’ll be stuff like this. But yeah, obviously there is a record coming.
A lot of people also commented about Joonas Parkkonen in the video. What was his role in the song and in the album as a whole?
Sami: Johnny boy, we’ve been working with him for the better part of 2 years now. It started off just as an idea that we started experimenting with co-writing, which essentially means that, for us, we write a song and then we bring in a fresh pair of ears to listen to it, and then we start going through the song together. So what started off as a test became Johnny producing this record, which I think is unbelievably good. Obviously, he brings a lot of new things to the table, he knows what he’s talking about, he’s a phenomenal guitarist, phenomenal songwriter, and I think the best part is that he really respects what we’re doing, what we’re trying to do. He’s not trying to change it to any direction but he thinks about the song and he thinks about how we could make it better.
That’s one major thing that’s probably changed in the songwriting as well?
Sami: Yeah, absolutely. We had written quite a few riffs and songs and beginnings of songs before we went into this whole thing, but yeah, absolutely. It did change a lot of things, but only in a good direction.
Was there anything else that had changed in the whole [process]?
Sami: Not really. Obviously just as a main thing, for the first time in our careers, we wrote a bunch of songs and we didn’t write it with the mentality that we’ll write ten songs and record ten songs. We wrote about 30-40 songs and we took a while, then we listened to them again, then we took a while just to analyze them and think about what we want to do, and we want to offer the absolute best to the crowd, obviously.
Is that also why it took a bit of time?
Sami: Absolutely! Of course, we’ve been touring a lot during the last 3-3½ years, but we’ve been writing a lot. It’s those kinds of things where you’d love to tell everyone what’s happening just so they don’t think that you’re just slacking off. But no, we’ve actually been working a lot [laughs].
Do people actually think that?
Sami: Nah, I don’t think so. I don’t know [laughs].
Also, the music industry nowadays, everything has to be very fast.
Sami: Exactly. That’s one of the things where many people might go wrong. If you write a song and you think it’s the best song ever if you can still say that in 6 months then it actually is genuinely good. But after 6 months if you already feel that it’s just okay, then it’s not going to last. So that’s the good side of doing things the slow way.
Obviously, you prefer quality over quantity then.
Sami: Absolutely, who wouldn’t? [laughter]
You guys have a lot of energy on stage. What is the secret to your live shows?
Sami: The secret that isn’t such a big secret is just the people and the crowd. When you get up on stage and you genuinely see even one person in the crowd who has bought a ticket to see you, you feel obligated to give that person the best show that they’re ever going to see. Obviously, we love doing what we do. It’s not a job for us or anything. When we get up on stage we kind of change into these different personas and we just go nuts. If we get an hour, we’re going to use the hour to do anything we can and I think people can really see that. But the number one thing is the crowd. That’s where we get our energy from.
Can you tell a bit more about what your plans are for 2019?
Sami: We’re going to be touring quite a bit. We have some headlining [shows] happening, we have some support [shows] happening, but mostly we’re focusing on putting the final touches on the record and as I said, there’s going to be some news coming in very soon, some new music maybe, and stuff like that. Stay tuned, it’s going to be a cool year and next year especially is going to be big.
Do you have any last words for the fans and people reading?
Sami: All I can say to the fans is thank you for the unbelievable support that we’ve been getting ever since the beginning of LOST SOCIETY. Thank you, keep supporting metal, keep supporting live music, and see you in a town near you!