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Enshine - Interview

Interview with: Jari Lindholm
Conducted by: T.V.

Swedish or better said Swedish/French collaboration named Enshine is another great thing on the atmospheric metal fields. This melodic doom/death project was formed in 2009 by Jari Lindholm as a solo project, yeah that Jari who is former Slumber and AtomA member. Later the project become the international music collaboration as Jari invited French vocalist Sébastien Pierre (Fractal Gates, Inborn Suffering, Cold Insight) to join Enshine. The band released its debut album Origin in May this year through Rain Without End Records/Naturmacht Productions and album got very positive response from media and fans of the genre, it was also Album Of The Month - May 2013 here on Terra Relicta! We talked with mastermind Jari Lindholm about just released album, future plans, recording process, other projects and much more.

T.R.: Debut album of Enshine is released. How are you satisfied with the final result?
Jari: I think that in most ways it turned out as it was intended. I spent many months working with it, the mixing alone took about a year before it was completed, and I put a lot of time in getting the details right. Of course there will always be something in any album that could be improved but at some point in the process you have to decide what to do now and what to leave for the next time around. But all in all, yeah, I think it is pretty solid and according to the vision!
T.R.: What was your initial reason to form Enshine?
Jari: I had an urge to create more melodic/doom death and some material had been lying around my harddrive for some time and I didn´t have an existing band or project to realize these ideas, so I started working on them at first by myself and then brought more musicians into it.
T.R.: How this collaboration between you and Sebastien started?
Jari: We came across each others projects online and started discussing different ideas. I had listened to his solo project Cold Insight and I felt there was a similar expression, the melodies and kind of rock driven doom/death sound. He sent me some ideas for vocal parts which I liked and we decided to do the full album together. Also while recording the vocals for the album we did a bit of songwriting together which turned out quite nicely, and have continued with material for future releases together.
T.R.: Can we say that Enshine are the missing link between your former bands Slumber and AtomA?
Jari: I suppose you could see it that way as it has elements of both. Although I´d rather see it as that both AtomA and Enshine are results of the development of Slumber after Fallout. In the end all different ideas and songs didn´t fit together in the same album but the same writing process ended up forming the grounds for both bands.
T.R.: I couldn't figure out what's exactly on the cover artwork?
Jari: The basic idea is the formation of life in these waterdrops, hence the title Origin. It is a kind of "genesis" theme, the beginning of life, possibly being extraterrestrial, so it is a bit of a science fiction theme to that. But just as with lyrics for example we like to leave a little bit open to interpretation aswell.
T.R.: So, there is a deeper meaning behind the title and thematics of Origin?
Jari: Yes, pretty much the same as about the artwork, but I´ll add that Origin for me also connects to the fact that it is a first effort by the band, the beginning of it´s life cycle so to speak, maybe this will have a thematic connection with the next album but that is yet for the future to tell!
T.R.: How did you came up with this idea?
Jari: As for the album title and album cover, these are very much tied together, and I would say that one thing lead to another and back again, haha. Seb had made a temporary cover for promo purposes and we found in this one the inspiration for the title and general concept of the cover art. From that we derived the ideas for the final cover later on. Also, the thematics of the album as a whole includes a lot of different things as the songs are indivudual and all have their own thematics aswell.
T.R.: What can you tell me about the recordings and compositional process of Origin?
Jari: The writing process was quite individual in a way that I spent a lot of time writing by myself, Seb also wrote most of the lyrics at his home in France. I recorded separately with all the other musicians, Oscar, Siavosh, and Sebastién, first the drums, then guitars, then bass and then recorded the guitars all over again until I was pleased with the result before adding the vocals. The editing and mixing part took me a long time and was in many ways a learning process as I had never undertaken a mix with so many tracks and sounds to puzzle together before. Now having done that I have better experience judging how things will work already during the recording, so I think next time it should be a bit easier.
T.R.: So, Origin was produced completely by yourself?
Jari: Yes, it was a do-it-yourself project almost all the way so I did the recording, editing, mixing etc. here in my studio, and only the mastering was done elsewhere. It is almost a necessity since I am very picky about the sounds and how everything fits together so I could never afford hiring someone for the recording/mixing. It is possible that for the next album we might go into another studio just to record the drums and have a drum tech set things up but after that it will probably be a similar way of working again.
T.R.: There's a song named "Cinder" which is quite different from the rest of the tracks. What can you tell me about it?
Jari: I´d say that what makes it stand out most of all is that it is the only one with clean vocals, even if maybe some riffs are different too. It took a long time to find the right vocal parts for this one and was the last one to be completed. It was most of all the fact that it is built with one single "verse" and one single "chorus", both parts made with vocals in mind, but didn´t quite fit with growls. At first I had planned this one to be recorded with female vocals sung in French, even before Seb´s involvment in the band, but as I had trouble finding anyone to sing it (in any language) I ended up doing it by myself.
T.R.: So those clean vocals are your job and was this your first time to sing that way?
Jari: Yes, I had previously never recorded clean vocals in any serious way. I had tried to get different singers to try it but there was always something like they didn´t really seem motivated or our schedules never fit, so in the end I thought well, screw it I have to get it done somehow so I spent a lot of hours just learning to sing into a mic and listening to pitch etc. through the headphones, trying to learn to sing I suppose. Suddenly I have a new understanding why the vocalists take the most amount of time during a recording session, when working as a sound engineer.
T.R.: And what can you tell me about female chants in "Ambivalence"?
Jari: Yeah that is a sort of tradition that I´m trying to keep with every release, we had some vocal parts like this in the Slumber's Fallout album, they were present on AtomA - Skylight, although in a slightly different way, and they had to be on Origin aswell, I´m pretty sure I will try to add parts like this in future releases too. It adds an extra dimension and makes these parts a little more dramatic, it is like a movie soundtrack thing.
T.R.: You are absolutely true about this. It seems that you work mostly on finding right ambiances and atmosphere in the music. Who's your main musical influence?
Jari: Hard to narrow it down, I often mention the older works by Katatonia and Novembre as having been very influential for example, but also stuff like Pink Floyd, lots of old black metal stuff aswell, movie soundtracks, post rock... I also get a lot of subconscious inspiration I would say. But the old melodic metal bands like that are probably what has shaped my playing/writing style the most, Katatonia, Novembre, Opeth,... I try to mix in enough other influences in our music to make it interesting. Sometimes I even avoid listening to genres that are close to ours as I try to get fresh ideas from things further away.
T.R.: There are quite some labelings of Enshine's style, from doom death, gothic doom, post-metal, blackened doom, etc... Do you bother with things like that?
Jari: I´d wish I didn´t have to, but as a new relatively unknown band I guess we have to be able to describe the music that way somehow. I guess ambient or atmospheric doom/death is the description I use, but I mean, there´s also a dash of rock n´roll and maybe even black metal in some parts, it´s hard to be that specific. I do see it as a good thing however that it gets put in some different categories, it shouldn´t be as easy as saying that it is one single genre.
T.R.: How did you came together with Rain Without End Records/Naturmacht Productions and how are you satisfied with this label so far?
Jari: We were connected via a mutual friend online, who had seen our songs on YouTube I guess, I guess the thing is that we managed to reach a good agreement and way of working together for both parts, so I´m pretty happy with it so far! It is a small label with a small scale distribution but things are working a bit differently these days, and I´m pretty happy as long as those who really want a physical copy of the album can find a way to get one, even if it´s not available everywhere. We have a lot of freedom working with them which is what I appreciate most of all.
T.R.: Is Enshine your first band where at least instrumental side is completely your job, or were you the main man also in Slumber and AtomA?
Jari: On this first album it has been that way yes, although me and Seb have been working together on the instrumental side in the new material. In Slumber it was me, Ehsan and Siavosh more or less sharing equal parts of both the instrumental sides and lyrics writing, we were always working together. In AtomA we had a somewhat similar process in the beginning and I was part of writing a lot of the basic song structures and guitar riffs, but later on in the production I was not so much part of it.
T.R.: I came across the news that AtomA are put on hold for some time. What was the reason?
Jari: I can´t really speak for them as the last time I played with them was in March 2012, but I think it is pretty much like they wrote, at this time they want to prioritize studies to have some kind of stability for the future, so they have their personal reasons.
T.R.: It seems also that each band where you are involved has kind of international character. Is this just a coincidence or what?
Jari: Oh, didn´t really think about that but I guess that´s almost right. I mean Enshine is the first one with members actually living in different countries. Then I also have my post rock band, Seas Of Years, which isn´t international at all, me being the exception there as being half Finnish.
T.R.: I'm glad that you mentioned also Seas Of Years, because I wanted to ask you some more about them...
Jari: Sure...
T.R.: So, what can you tell me about this project?
Jari: Well, I have known Ville, the bass player since many many years and we all happened to be at a party at his place and some of us decided to try jamming together, quite simply put. It turned out that instrumental/ambient/postrock type of stuff was what we all had in common and after a while we recorded this digi-ep which will now also be released on CD by Weary Bird Records. Really looking forward to that and we are currently working on a follow-up aswell.
T.R.: Do you intend to leave it just as instrumental band or will you add vocals in the future?
Jari: Probably instrumental, or perhaps with some very sparse vocal arrangements. For the time being at least.
T.R.: Ok, let's return to Enshine. Do you intend to play live with Enshine?
Jari: I definitely hope so! Right now we have already started the work on the second album, and maybe it will even have to wait until after the recording before we do any live shows. I don´t know now when it will happen to be honest, because it requires some travelling just to get us in the same place to rehearse. So it might have to be at least a mini-tour or something like that.
T.R.: You mentioned that you are already working on new songs. Are new ones in the same directions as those on Origin?
Jari: More or less, but they have a slightly different flavour that is hard to describe. They are the same basic style, but the mood is a little bit different. It is still too early to say how the next album will sound as a whole, maybe a couple weeks from now I will have a better perception of this as we will continue our work in about ten days from now.
T.R.: Before you said that Katatonia played a big role for you as an influence. What do you think about their last two or three albums?
Jari: I have huge respect for them as musicians and they are great well-crafted records. But at the same time it is nowadays a little further from my personal taste. The rhythm guitars are somewhat more simplified and are mainly there for the heaviness while the harmonies and melodies are added on top. What I like about the older stuff is how the notes blend together in the distorted rhythm and lead guitars, it also wasn´t so extremely downtuned for example. I liked the clear and crunchy chordplaying from the old stuff. Also I´m a bit more into the growl vocals. I am always extremely impressed with Daniel, the drummer, if I see them live these days.
T.R.: What's spining right now in your music player?
Jari: Latest album purchase was Sun Of The Blind - Skullreader and a couple days ago I ordered the two latest from Ava Inferi, so they will be in there very soon if not yet! Also a bit of Caspian - Waking Season and October Tide - Tunnel Of No Light, which I´m just getting into.
T.R.: What's your main goal that you want to achieve with Enshine?
Jari: Above all to create memorable albums that will still sound fresh ten years from now, that is what I hope to do. Hopefully they will grow with time and not just become something that passes by briefly.
T.R.: I think that is too early to ask as Origin was released only two months ago, but still, when can we expect your next album?
Jari: Yes, truely so, I can´t even make a good estimate myself, and you never know how things work out and what happens during the process. I guess I wasn´t expecting to be mixing Origin for one years time for example. So by previous experience I have learned not to make early estimates because it might end up being frustrating when you can´t keep them. It will come when the result is as good as it´s supposed to be.
T.R.: Have you already thought if you'll use the same team of musicians for your next album?
Jari: Not really, since the completion of the first album it has been just me and Seb working on new songs, so we'll see who are up for it when we go from writing and go into production mode once again.
T.R.: Since you got quite some experiences with production, have you ever thought about producing also other bands?
Jari: Yeah, I have produced/recorded/mixed bands since 1999 or something like that, but on a pretty small scale. I also have two "regular" part time jobs so it´s mainly something I do for friends bands or friends of friends etc., when I have time, I don´t really do any marketing of that because there are some limitations in my studios working hours and so on. I have had thought about building a pure mixing studio elsewhere and do that on a more professional level.

T.R.: Any video clip out of Origin in the making?
Jari: Like a video from the studio sessions? Unfortunately no, we didn´t film anything at all. I will try to think more about that next time in the studio though!
T.R.: I thought more like about a usuall video clip for any of songs?
Jari: Currently we only have the lyric videos that have been up on youtube since last fall. We haven´t discussed the idea of another video at the moment because if we do one we´d like it to be done professionally and we simply don´t have the budget for that. I couldn´t justify paying way more for a video than for the album recording. But maybe if we find a good and interesting DIY method for making videos, it could happen.
T.R.: You made album available for streaming before its official release. That seems to be kind of normal practice that many of bands do. Still, do you think that this kind of promotion helps in any way?
Jari: Yes and no. Of course it helps to spread the music and I myself like to be able to preview an album before buying it. The downside is that it ends up on YouTube in about 30 minutes. I don´t mind the songs being on youtube and that is to be expected these days but I don´t really care for them being there before the album is out. Anyway, like I said, I´m rarely interested in an upcoming album unless I can listen to it, or at least parts from it so I guess yeah it´s a good thing.
T.R.: Ok Jari. Beside music what are your interests in life?
Jari: I guess when I´m not working or doing something music related I tend to either watch movies, hang with friends, cook, exercise, drink a few beers, play an occasional pc game now and then. My music interest is somewhere in between my "professional" and "hobby" worlds and occupy a large part of them both and I would include guitar building as an interest that is somehow music and somehow carpentry as well.
T.R.: Do you use guitars that you made by yourself?
Jari: Yeah, I use them sometimes. One was used a lot for AtomA solo parts, later I sold it to Siavosh (bass in Enshine, Slumber, AtomA,...).
T.R.: So, Jari... it seems that we came to an end. Thank you very much for all your answers, but is there anything else that you would add?
Jari: I´d like to thank you for a very extensive interview, and also for giving us the "album of the month" some time ago, has been a great pleasure! So thank you very much Tomaz! Other than that, Skål/Na zdravje! (Hope I spelled that right, haha.)

Enshine links: Facebook

Enshine aricles: Origin review

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