Niko Skorpio interviewed for Propaganda Zine, late 2005. Top image: Niko Skorpio live on stage with andOceans, Turku 2005; photo by Ovro.
So how are things in the world of Niko Skorpio right now?
Great! I’m about to have my new album finished. I’ve been working on it for years so it’s about time… It’s going be released in spring 2006. I’m also preparing the set for a Haeretici 7o74 gig for late January. Other than those, it’s the usual label busy-ness and post-Saturnalia / pre-New year moods.
Would you tell me how Thergothon originally got together and some of your early inspirations for both your music and also your lyrics etc?
We formed the band in 1990 out of general willingness to play in a band, and we were certainly inspired by the wave of death metal at the time. Quite ordinary beginnings I would say… however we quickly grew tired of death metal as it seemed like an overflowing cup to which we couldn’t add anything new. So we started looking for the slowest, darkest and heaviest sound imaginable…
Apart from the death metal roots, we were influenced by classic bands like Black Sabbath and The Doors as well as early 80’s (black/other) metal like Celtic Frost, Bathory or Sodom. My lyrics were obviously influenced by H.P. Lovecraft who I really adored at the time.
There were also some non-metal influences within your music too such as ambient, goth, prog etc. What were these bands that inspired you?
Pink Floyd, Christian Death, Dead Can Dance, Fields of the Nephilim, Lustmord, Coil, Black Widow, Mana Mana, and many others I forget…
Why split after the release Stream From the Heavens? Do you feel that Thergothon had reached it’s peak or do you think, had you stayed together, the best would have been yet to come?
We felt we had done the best we could under that name and concept. Also, the relationships within the band had suffered somewhat, and some of us had some personal problems that had certainly some influence on the decision.
What do you know about the other members of the band? Are you the only member still involved with music anymore?
Jori produces pop music, the others I don’t know anything about.
Do you think you would ever return to doing metal music or are you happy in your own world right now?
Despite the fact I’m not interested in the metal scene as such, I listen to some metal just like I did before. I don’t subscribe to the separation of music to “metal” and “non-metal”, music transcends such genres! Most of the fans don’t mind either, I guess, as I know many “metal” people listen to my “non-metal” music and vice versa… But to answer your question, some of the stuff I’m making right now could be called metal, some not, and yes I’m quite happy in my own world.
What did you think about the black metal bands that were emerging from Finland at about the same time as Thergothon such as Beherit, Archgoat, Impaled Nazarene etc?
I’m great fan of Beherit since their first demo in 1990! They were such a great band, totally dark, chaotic and original. I’ve also tried to follow mr. Holocausto’s later endeauvors, most of which I find to my liking as well. Impaled Nazarene made a couple of great 7″ ep’s back in the day, but I wasn’t so keen on their albums. Archgoat was a newer band, local people who I used to bump into sometimes, but I don’t remember what they sounded like.
Can you tell me a bit about the Hammer pf Damnation fanzine you used to contribute to? What exactly did you do and did you get to interview some interesting bands?
Hammer of Damnation was my fanzine that I ran in 1990-1996 or so. I did most of the work from writing reviews, interviews, layout, artwork, etc.etc. I had some contributors but most of it I did all by myself. From the top of my mind I remember having interviewed bands like Mayhem (Euronymous), Burzum, Beherit, Blasphemy, Monumentum, Sentenced, Emperor, Brighter Death Now, Two Witches… and a load of others.
What have been your musical projects since Thergothon ended?
I formed Cold Once Turning Dust in 1993 or -94 to experiment with noise, location recordings, dark ambience etc. Then in 1994 I formed This Empty Flow with Jori (also from Thergothon) for a more dark pop sound, or gothic if you will. I quit TEF in the end of 1996 as I wasn’t happy with how things were in the band back then. Since then I’ve been mostly making music by myself (as Niko Skorpio), but there have been side projects, collaborations etc. whenever I see something interesting and worth trying. Current bands, besides my solo stuff, are:
Haeretici 7o74 (ritual dark ambient with Ovro)
Reptiljan (digital grindcore, breaks & noise)
Rajapinta (noise with Ibrahim Terzic)
Kaaos in Eccentris (improv band/collective with many members)
What are you working on now both in and outside music?
I’m putting finishing touches to my new album called “Escape from Heaven”, to be released in Spring 2006. With Haeretici 7o74 we’re preparing for a gig to be played in late January. I also work as a graphic designer, and run the label / mailorder / shop Some Place else.
I’m also planning a video for one of the tracks off the forthcoming album. Besides all this I’m trying to find time to read (currently reading “Perdurabo”, an extensive biography of Aleister Crowley, recommended reading!) and to have some kind of a social life, too.
Also could you tell me about your record label? What kind of bands have been released on there and what are some of your most recent releases?
Some Place Else has been around since 1997. It’s first of all for my own releases and for friends and certain collaborations etc. It’s more like a channel to realize our works, not intended as a money-making machine. Obviously…! We may release an album if we like it, even if it probably didn’t sell at all. All the work is done to support the music we make & love and to give other music lovers and enthusiasts the chance to hear them. Our releases are small editions, mostly sold through our own mailorder/shop and distributed through experimental underground networks. You won’t see this stuff in a regular store.
Recent releases are:
Ovro: Gegendurchgangenzeit CD (dark ambient)
Reptiljan: The Hellbender Suite CD (digital grindcore, breaks & noise)
We’ve also released albums and eps by Clop Neplat, Janko, Krul’ Albanskaj, Ibrahim Terzic, Sine Nomine, Kaaos in Eccentris, Reptiljan, Liddikoatight & Leif Elggren, plus several releases of my own musick… Many releases are sold out by now but some of the back catalog is still available. In Spring 2006 we intend to release:
Niko Skorpio: Escape from Heaven CD
Ovro: Mosaick the Serpent / tba. double-CDEP
Please see our website www.someplaceelse.net for more info on everything if you’re interested.
I’m assuming you don’t pay much attention to the metal scene as much as you used to. Anything in and outside the metal scene that has impressed you recently?
In the metal scene, I was very impressed by the so-called “OBC split” CD recently, it’s a split between Enochian Crescent, Black Dawn and O. Other than that, I’m looking forward to the new Celtic Frost album. But in general I don’t follow that scene. I have no time for that. Outside metal I’ve been very much into the new albums of Coil, Fields of the Nephilim, Last Rites and Black Sun Productions, why not also stuff by Clear Stream Temple, O Paradis, Infidel?/Castro!, and many others… but to be honest I try to simply enjoy silence as well, ie. NOT listening to music all the time.
I’ve read in one of your previous interviews that you’re interested in doing your own artwork. Would you describe it to me and how did you become interested in art in the first place? Have you studied it?
I’ve been interested in drawing and painting since birth I think, even before I got into music anyway. I do some graphic design for album covers etc., for example all my releases since the days of Thergothon have had my artworks and/or design on them. During the years I’ve had some courses on various techniques of drawing, painting and etching etc., and studied the history of art a bit, but I really like to focus on doing it myself instead of studying it. Unfortunately, nowadays I don’t have enough time to give on this as I’d want to, but I hope this to change next year…
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview. Feel free to add any additional ‘propaganda’ here if you feel I’ve missed anything out or you wish to contribute something else.
Thanks for your interest. Everybody please check out my new album, out in Spring 2006. Also check out my website (www.nikoskorpio.net) and my label’s site (www.someplaceelse.net) for news, artwork, downloads etc. Have a nice new year.