«’Distances’ is a very personal collection of feelings.»
Finland’s Skein deliver a thrilling trail of post-rock and alternative metal. The musical soundscape created on the band’s new effort “Distances” combines mournful vocals, elegant atmospheres, expansive guitar work and a pleasant rhythm section. Did we go too far with the fancy adjectives? Well, they deserve it and here’s why: «The central idea of “Distances” is an examination of the experience of alienation from different perspectives. Each track takes a personal look through different contexts, such as religion, generational differences, polarized political atmosphere and the connection between two individuals. So in a way, it’s a very personal collection of feelings about slipping away from something that used to be important, but the things that are handled here are also themes that we think many people can find a connection to.» These words were divided between Jarno Ojala (guitars) and Juha Höyssä (bass), and according to the latter, he felt that the songs on “Distances” just had to be done. «The starting point was to unload some of the things that I personally needed to go through at this point in my life, examining some past and present thoughts and surrounding phenomena. We also started the whole process quite organically and the thing built up as we went along. The very first drafts of the concept might have been briefly thought to be a long single song, but very soon we decided to challenge ourselves [to go on a different direction].»
That different direction led to a mature, bold and beautiful record that rejoices with complexity and freedom. «We have always been ambitious with song structures and composition. It is quite usual for us to have a melodic or rhythmic theme that we modify and build other elements on», says Ojala. «Skein’s music has always been hard to place in a single category and the new release won’t change that. We wanted each track to play their own role on the release and, as usual, we manoeuvred musically on a versatile landscape. Our post-rock or metal tones are there, as well as the more alt/prog metal building parts. There’s something new in the subtle flirtation towards almost stoner doom moods in one of the tracks, too.» Skein believe that the capacity of following their own path is what differentiates them from other bands, as Höyssä explains: «We’ve allowed ourselves to humbly give small bows to our influences, but most of the time we try not to think about too much of what’s happening outside our own musical bubble. As we’ve found a home in no man’s land when it comes to genres and labels, we are not restricted or guided by their characteristics. It might not be the easiest way of approaching the “music market”, but it’s the way we need to do things.» His colleague Ojala adds: «It’s important that bands address political and ecological issues on their music. It is more important these days when there is a growing amount of small-mindedness, nationalism and pure ignorance [in the increasingly] polarized viewpoints of people.» We applaud that!
Ojala agrees that the most effective way of spreading music these days is through digital platforms, «however, for us, it is important to create something physical and maybe a bit exclusive for those who are interested in actually holding the album in their hands. Vinyl is the best way to present the artwork. Listening to music on vinyl also requires concentration and dedication from the listener, which fits our way of looking at our own music very well.»
“Distances” is out July 30th on vinyl. Order here.