Interview with Tyrantti — “All we want to do is make heavy metal.”


One of the newest and hottest additions to the Helsinki heavy metal scene is TYRANTTI. With searing guitars, huge choruses and the promise of a lot of leather, the trio managed to catch our attention already in 2017 with their debut single “Tulipyörä”, and their other single “Toteemi”. In 2018 the band released the critically acclaimed “Kobra” and re-released their old classic “Tulipyörä”.

The band invaded the stages of Tuska Open Air 2018, and are now finally ready to release their self-titled debut album to the masses on 8 February 2019 through Playground Music. Tyrantti will also release a second version of their popular beer “Kobra 2”, a strong NEIPA of 6.66%. The beer is now available at CoolHead Brewery’s shop in Tuusula and later on in Alko’s selection.

When the band had just released the first version of their beer, we had a chance to talk with the trio, right after their show at Tuska Open Air. We talked, of course, about beer, their upcoming release and all thingsTyrantti

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© Antti Angeria

Hi guys! Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. Was this your first time playing at Tuska?

Nahka-Sami: We played the afterparty on Friday, last year. But this was definitely our first time on the main stage of Tuska!

Unfortunately, I had another interview at another location, so I did hear your show from the distance while queueing, it sounded like a lot of fun. How did it go?

Henkka: It was pretty nice actually.

Paha-Tapio: It was pretty great.

Nahka-Sami: Yeah, it went really well. It was the first show of the day, so that means there aren’t that many people yet, but still it was a good and active crowd. People were singing along, clapping and shouting our name after the show. It was really really cool.

That sounds amazing! You guys are still a relatively young band, can you give a brief introduction to Tyrantti to those who haven’t heard about you yet?

Nahka-Sami: We have formed 2 years ago, in 2016. We’ve known each other for a longer time. We’ve played in different bands, but I never played together with them. We just met up in a bar, and that’s where it all started. I heard the guys started jamming together to some sort of Black Sabbath styled music, very old school and heavy metal. I immediately asked oh fuck, do you need a bass player? And they did! I’m glad we did it the way we did. We spent a lot of time in the rehearsal room, instead of just putting songs out and releasing demos, we really did spend time on playing together. We’re a trio, which means you can really hear if something doesn’t work. In fact, you can hear it really fast. We’ve mastered playing together.  Henkka and Paha-Tapio had been playing together for years, so they already had it in them, but I needed to fit in. We needed to fit our vocals together, because we have two lead vocalists, and I’m glad that in 2017, which was pretty much a year ago, we played our first gig, and we were already quite prepared for that. A Finnish tour followed in the Fall, since then we’ve been on the road all the time and releasing music videos from time to time. All the time we hear the progress we made ourselves. We see clips from our shows, and we feel ourselves getting better and better and better. So, it’s not an old band at all. But, we’re also not 15 anymore, we have played in different bands for years. Just now we found the right fit, the right combination, at least that’s how it feels like. Actually, we are releasing our debut album soon, some of those songs on there, are songs from the first sessions we had together, from jams we had, we played riffs and added an element and another element and some vocals on top. Exciting times!

So, do you already have quite some followers since you played at Tuska already?

Nahka-Sami: I wouldn’t say we have a lot of fans, but there are people that we don’t know who listen to our songs (laughs). And buy our T-shirts and cassettes.

Oh! So you have cassettes?

Nahka-Sami: Yeah, we released a single on cassette late last year.

Paha-Tapio: “Toteemi”.

Nahka-Sami: Yes, “Toteemi”. That was our second single. So far, our only physical release. We’re working on our debut album right now, that’s gonna have more than 4 songs (laughs) Hopefully!

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© Antti Angeria

You mentioned you are still working on your album, but you have played quite many shows already without having any material out. It seems like bands do this more and more nowadays. How does this affect you as a band?

Nahka-Sami: If you have an interesting product and an interesting band, then people are going to come and listen to you, even if they don’t own the five records that you haven’t made yet. I believe, so far, as we are filling venues, also outside of Helsinki at the moment, that people hear about us from their friends. Word travels fast. They might tell them that this is really good, this was an entertaining live act, and ask them to come with them for the next one. People don’t listen to music the same way they did when we were growing up. Back then it was all about albums. You needed to have 3 albums out and only then were you big enough to play a festival. Right now, there were what? 1000 to 2000 people listening to our show… They could just stay home, but instead, they came here in the morning to have a good time! I believe they did have a good time!

Talking about having a good time. I was marching my way towards the festival, I passed by this bar and I noticed that they had a Tyrantti beer. Can you talk a bit about that?

Henkka: Of course, heavy metal and beer have always been two peas in a pot. They’re so connected and of course, our idols like Iron Maiden they have done their own beer. All of us, are beer enthusiasts, so it was pretty natural. Since we have the contacts and we enjoy good beer, why not release it before our debut album? You can do that, you don’t have to wait for thirty years, and have a lifelong career before you have a beer.

Paha-Tapio: Priorities, man! First beer, then album! (laughs)

Nahka-Sami: Exactly! (laughs) We might just be the first Finnish act ever to release a first commercial beer before the first commercial album. And for that we are proud, we are very very proud.

You’re drinking wine now, though. Why are you not drinking your own beer? 

Nahka-Sami: Yes, someone gave it to us! But it was for free, so we should drink it.

Struggles of the backstage life.

Nahka Sami: Exactly! (laughs) it’s horrible!

You don’t even have your beer here?

Henkka: Oh we do actually!

Paha-Tapio: We just drank it all. (laughs)

What does it taste like?

Paha-Tapio: It’s juicy, fruity.

Henkka: New England IPA.

Nahka-Sami: It tastes really dangerous, like our music. It’s easy to drink. It gets to your head really fast. When we had the release party of our beer and fourth single, and music video, we played a gig. That was a dangerous party. There was this guy who bought our beer worth of €100, it’s like €8 a can. He was really drunk. There were like reports the next morning from people throwing up all over the place because it’s so dangerous. The combination of heavy metal music and heavy metal beer can be lethal.

Can people also try it out, you know or buy it in a store?

Henkka: There is one store, right in the center of Helsinki, called Pien and Pien sells it. And there are many bars who have it on tap and also cans.

Nahka-Sami: Yes, it’s all over the place, it’s in select places, it’s also in Joensuu, Tampere, and Jyväskylä.

Paha-Tapio: Yeah, there are many places.

Nahka-Sami: Except for Northern Finland. People of Oulu are asking me if they can find Kobra around there. There’s no Kobra around there.

What a shame! Although I’m sure, someday it’ll be widely spread globally. Let’s step away from the Kobra beer and instead talk about the track. Can you talk a bit about the song, what is it about?

Paha-Tapio: I think we should be honest, but well, it tells a bit about drinking and then being hungover.

Nahka-Sami: Metaphorically.

Paha-Tapio: Metaphorically. The first comment we got after we performed the song for the first time was from some dude, none of us knew him, but he asked us if we wrote the song while we were drunk.

Nahka-Sami: Yeah, it sounds like this song, its lyrics, were written while drinking. Maybe there’s an ounce of truth in it. Kobra is a venomous, dangerous snake. We thought it’s a really cool title for a song, and first, we had the catchy sort of scream that the song starts and ends with. Then we started building from that.

Paha-Tapio: I think the chorus came before the verse.

Nahka Sami: Kobra is hungry, Kobra is thirsty, he doesn’t give a fuck. He doesn’t play any fucking games… You get the idea. And then when you hear the song, you drink the beer. I believe people enjoy our shows, and today, I could see people really like that song. It’s aggressive and it’s fast. In the studio when we made it, Paha-Tapio plays really tight drums, but we decided that we’re not gonna fix them. Modern metal bands fix a lot of drums, but we didn’t want to do that because he played it like he’s running like downhill. It’s so aggressive when he plays it, we started to make the whole song like that. It’s still tightly played, but with that slight thing that you don’t hear that often these days.

Paha-Tapio: Danger!

Nahka-Sami:  Yes, that slight danger!

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What do you think about the production and mixing of albums nowadays? Everything sounds so polished and sometimes even plastic. There is not much “danger” in those productions.

Henkka: It works for some people. But I feel we’re that kind of band where it’s just not the best solution for us.

Paha-Tapio: It depends on the complete picture of what you want to give out to the audience. We want people to have a good time, that’s why we play good, but not too polished, you know, just like having a good time. At least for me.

Nahka-Sami: I guess that sums it up. We want people to have a good time when they’re listening to our music. We believe that when you polish every single detail and make it sound like a machine played it, it’s not the same thing. This is heavy metal. This is not the way it is supposed to be played. The way it’s supposed to be played is on stage, while doing extremely high jump kicks, screaming around, beating your instrument. That’s the whole concept. When you put it on record and it sounds completely different, it sounds like modern pop music. It’s not right. It wouldn’t work that way.

I think that already describes quite much of what we can expect from the new album! I’m looking forward to it. What are your plans for after the release? Can we expect a tour?

Nahka-Sami: We are playing a Finnish tour from February on, which is going to be our record release tour. We have gig offers from different cities, we’re playing mostly in Finland, but also in Estonia, we have played three times there before. The crowd has been great. That’s gonna come next. Early next year, we’re gonna play a couple of bigger shows, with some bigger artists [Cyhra, Arion and Battle Beast] and we’re gonna see how that works out. Mostly we hope that when we bring this album out, we’re gonna play more festivals next summer. This experience has been amazing.

Does that mean that this show was your first festival show ever, as a band?

Nahka Sami: Let’s say that this is our first proper festival with the band. Last summer we played a smaller one, which is awesome as well, but yeah we’re thirsty for more of these.

Talking about thirst, apart from beer and bars, what is the main source of inspiration for you guys when you write the songs?

All: (laugh) Well, that already sums it up.

Paha-Tapio: I think there are two names that are the biggest influence for us: Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. That’s something we grew up with, that’s something that never leaves. I don’t know if there’s anything to add. Those are like the foundations of NWOBHM and the foundation of heavy metal in general.

Henkka: All we want to do is make heavy metal! But they definitely are the driving force for us!

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You label yourself as New Wave Of Finnish Heavy Metal. Are you the first band to do so?

Nahka-Sami: We’re not the first. We’re among the first. There were some bands in the eighties as well. Right now, I believe what we are doing is something that is still surprisingly fresh for a lot of people, especially since we sing in Finnish. It stands out. People listen to music sung in Finnish more and more. You can see that from the success of acts like Mokoma or Stam1na or Kotiteollisuus and so on. But none of those played the same genre of music that we do. We were wondering what would be the most potential Finnish bands that we could play together with, bands we could tour with, that would be bigger than us, but still the same type of music and the same sort of scene. We couldn’t really find that many acts. One of my personal favorites is Battle Beast, they draw inspirations from the same place, sort of, but they go the other way, more poppy, more disco. They do that well. We’re not even trying to go that way. When our agent was planning a tour with us, he was like well you guys should play together with Huora, or Pää Kii, which are hardcore punk bands, which was surprising to me at first, but then I started to think about it, and we talked about it, in that sense we understand it. Those bands also have that kind of relentless live act and they have catchy choruses and all that, they’re kickass bands. It’s just that we are way more melodic and we draw from Iron Maiden and Priest, but I believe that’s the way we could go.

I do think that the audience is pretty similar, in a way. Also, I would maybe put you together with some very oldskool thrash metal bands. 

Paha-Tapio: Actually, we have played with oldskool trash bands.

Nahka-Sami: Yes, the first Finnish tour we did, was together with the almighty The Hirvi. We could see that even though we don’t play a similar kind of music, still all their fans understand what we’re doing and all our fans understand what they are doing. That’s a good combination, there’s no comparison in that sense because our music sounds different enough.

It seems like our time is running out, unfortunately! But we’re excited for what the fall season will bring for Tyrantti, and the next year! Do you have any last words for our readers?

All: Varo Tyranttiä! Watch out for Tyrantti!