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Abandoned Elysium
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Kuratino asking questions

I guess one can boldly state that Loits is one of the most famous local names outside Estonia (save for Pšrt, TŁŁr, a couple more classic musicians and the Ninjas). Thereís nothing strange about your success. You are a band thatís in the right place in the right time.

1. A lot of the emphasis is on the message and most of the younger fellow countrymen think the way you dare to say through the microphone. Thus obviously such great recognition. But what is the key to your success outside Estonia? There an SS uniform is still viewed rather with scorn than with adoration; and most of the audience there doesnít know the real cause for your appearance.

The key to Loitsí success is originality. Our biggest trump abroad is quality and original music. Of course you musnít under estimate the role of the message. After all weíre playing black metal and a certain provocation and aura noir always benefits you at that style. We are spoken of, and if we explain our ideological background simple enough in our interviews, then weíre also understood. And so one gate opens after another...

2. So you still consider yourself black metal? Is it possible without a satanic message?

Nowadays each group is trying to define black metal in their own way. To some itís just a style carrying a serious ideological message, to some itís the darkest side of all metal styles, to some itís music carrying a satanic message. Theyíre all right in a way but I myself tend to think that if a band doesnít carry a satanic message, then itís really not exactly a true black band. And thatís why Loits uses the style-name Militant FlakíníRoll! Brighter minds surely immediately recognize that FlakíníRoll is actually a derivation from BlackíníRoll, but usually the expression black metal has to be used when introducing Loitsí style because our music resembles to that genre the most.

3. Do you somehow associate your success to the deceased Alan Rahumeel? Perhaps is his sudden demise a sacrifice to your wellbeing? Things that may be hard to explain happen in the world, things that one can still sense and interpret in such a way...

How did Loits get started? How great was his contribution, heís role in getting the show on the road? Was his death a tremendous loss or did it rather give the rest of the band more space?

Good that you ask about Alan. For some reason heís been in my thoughts and deeds a lot recently. Surely one of the reasons is that this year weíre re-issuing the old ĄEi Kahetse MidagiĒ album, that has as a bonus track, an earlier version of ĄTűelised KuningadĒ, where one of the guitars and the backing vocals are Alanís. We just finished remastering the material last night. A night before that I saw Alan in my dream. We talked for a long time and I asked him to join the band again.

The joining of Alan was surely of great assistance to the quick rise of the name Loits. After all his projects Kalm and Vaikus weíre extremely popular among the young metal fanís these days. Alan started the webpage and quickly helped us into a studio. But I donít think his death helped bring Loits any kind of success. The entire scene here lost a young, talented and an active musician.

Loits started as my solo project. It was funny that the name spread very quickly without anyone actually having heard Loits. I guess the local scene was just tremendously hungry for new and hard bands. The mid 90ís were relatively shitty times in the Estonian scene. At one point I started playing the songs with Karje and tried to get mister M.Divine to join the band. Back then I played with him in a band called Pirit. Massacra and Draconic on their own assisted us with their might and wits. Massacra helped us record drums for a basic Loits song in 1996 and later programmed drums for our songs. Don Draconic also helped us with that.

At 20.03.1999 I was celebrating my birthday in Kadrina and since all the aformentioned people involved were invited we also had our first rehearsal. On the eve of that day anoter guest arrived who became our guitarist the same day.

4. If you invited Alan back, whom would you throw out of the band?

Well that was just a dream, but lifting the curtain of secrecy I can tell you that after Hard Rock Laager there may be some changes in the bandís line-up. But Iíll talk about that more specifically when itís all crystal-clear for ourselves as well.

In addition to satysfing the CD needs of a mass-consumer you are also loyal to your true underground fans Ė youíve released quite a few records in the vinyl format: two 7Ē EPís and the latest album also has a gatefold version. Where from the idea? Does it pay to release a vinyl with such music these days?

5. Do you believe that thereís still a market for metal vinyls, or is it more like a matter of posture to be more UG? Even in the world of dancemusic, more and more DJís are using just CD-players. The vinyl is trying to be important, but itís still in kind of a state of coma isnít it?

The cause for pressing vinyls is definately not the desire to appeal to UG fans. Those who have read our latest interviews know that we have our own relationship with the so called true UG. The releasing of vinyls is more like a gift for those who to this day appreciate this format. The vinyl has a more exclusive look and the music off a vinyl is in times more lively than music off a silver disc. You can experience that extra well when a DJ plays songs off vinyls and CDís in turns. Itís hard to explain that phenomenon but thatís how it is.

On itís own, releasing a vinyl is not exactly a marketing stunt, quite on the contrary. At the same time the format keeps gathering more and more popularity in the metal scene today and when you talk to right distributors who also think about vinyl-freaks then releasing 12Ē EPís and other vinyl formats pays off.

When expressing a personal point of view then iím haunted by a feeling that if your album has not been released in LP format, then itís not really like an official release. These days anyone can release a 200-issue CD of his mumbling. Only when holding the vinyl you get the ārealí feeling. Thatís why Iíve been looking for such a publisher for the ĄEi Kahetse MidagiĒ material whoíd make a vinyl of it, and by today such a publisher has been found.

6. Is the slightly exaggerated sticker ĄVaba Eesti Eest!Ē on Loitsí standard formatís casing your idea or the labelís brainchild to attract attention? Iím sorry but in case of an album thatís entirely patriotic as it is, it feels something like a sticker on some hit-collection saying ĄIncludes 80 minutes of music!Ē.

To a person whoís aware of our doings for a longer time, the sticker might indeed make him grin. Then again, to people who have only grazed the name Loits the sticker is a good guide Ė ĄOh right, thatís the band that sings about EstoniaĒ. The idea for the sticker came out in cooperation with the leader of hyper.records, thanks to whom Loits ended up in the official Estonian distribution network in the first place. I canít exactly remember whoís idea it originally was but I guess the reason for the creation of such an addition was the fact that the album cover hasnít got the bandís name on a visible spot.

7. Do you stand as one man (and woman) for your beliefs with a deeper ideology or are there a couple of leaders and the rest just follow their trails of thought? I just donít want to believe that bandmembers with very different backgrounds now think as one. Do you often encounter differences within the band? Or are the spokesmen and leaders considered as such authorities that others just stay silent and obey if they donít have a word?

I wonder why arenít you working as an investigating reporter!

In that matter you are totally correct that the ideological course and the musical side are set by certain characters in the band, whoís word weights more, and that there is a certain hierarchy within the band (with hazy borders though) that is accepted by everyone. The latter is very important. Democracy doesnít work in our band. Let those decide who know more of certain things. That doesnít mean that none of us has itís own and important role in the band, or that not all of us support the bandís ideological side.

8. Youíve sold your debut ĄEi Kahetse MidagiĒ a lot; itís been released in various tape and CD formats and as I know, now itís re-released by Nailboard Records too. Do you think the good sales figures and the re-releasing of ĄEi Kahetse MidagiĒ has something to do with the sensation and popularity achieved by the ĄVere Kutse KohustabĒ album?

ĄEi Kahetse MidagiĒ, released earlier by four different labels in four different formats is indeed to be re-released again in four different formats and by four different labels this year. Above all the material has promoted itself. Thanks to good distribution it has made itís way to the right people and we keep getting new and interesting offers from behind the border. Often they havenít even heard of our new record. Thus the ĄEi Kahetse MidagiĒ paved a decent road for our latest album ĄVere Kutse KohustabĒ, which is now on itís own as you suspected in your question, making ĄEi Kahetse MidagiĒ sell and spread.

9. What do you think of the infecting of young bands? Surely you are aware of whatís happening in Estonia right now Ė there are more of little Loitsí out there than mushrooms after rain. Donít you think that in order to spread such a deeper message one would have to have a bit more depth and experience? That itís not a subject that you can bring to the people knowing it only superficially. Young bands tend to come up with the attitude first rather than with content (logo and bandname before all that of course).

You can only be glad that we have so many followers. We have been doing the right thing and we have done it well. Of course we have a small splinter in our brains that what if some of the young ones messes things up quite bad, but you have to admit that younglings are tempestuous and often a bit superficial. Letís see how they withstand the test of time. Loits too was a bit hot-tempered and uncut in itís beginning. I sincerely hope that nationalism hasnít become a simple trend in the metal scene but a serious movement. Then again, most important is still good and quality music.

10. On almost every Loits release, one bandmember has changed. Upon closer inspection it turns out that the guyís the same, only his artist names keep changing Ė Mantas, M.Engele, M.Divine. Why is that? Does time change a person and his belonging?

As I mentioned before answering to the previous question, Loits too has been rather hot-tempered and uncut. The artist name M.Engele was pure provocation and it served itís purpose well. Today we donít need such things anymore. Loits has become quite mature. That on itís own doesnít mean of course that there wonít be any changes in artist names in the future. The latter is actually a relatively common sighting at our style.

11. Loits is one of the few Estonian bands to have been on an European tour. As I know the next tour has been planned too already. Tell me more, how did it go? What were your relations with the other bands like? How exactly was the case with that negro at a backstage in Holland? With whom are you planning to go on the next tour? How much does a tour or performance in another country contribute to record sales or the spreading of the name?

The first European trip was a big success for Loits. We engraved our name on the so-called European metal map quite firmly. Itís just too bad that the trip fell on us so suddenly and that we couldnít promote the thing enough by ourselves. Dispite that we had a decent crowd at every one of our concerts; we keep getting positive letters to this day.

Our fellow-travellers surely behaved better on the trip than we did. From time to time we get greetings from Salacious Gods from Holland and also from Horna. These guys we have managed to see quite often actually. I must add that their last album turned out real well. Of Behexen I still communicate with the ex-guitarist Pertti quite frequently. Namely he works for a Finnish label called Dynamic Arts. Business...

According to most recent news we head for the next European tour with only one band, and that is Obtest. Everything is still quite unsure and Iíll belive the tour is happening when Iím sitting in the bus. Now itís of course much better to set off as Loits has gathered a lot of fame in the meantime and the new record is backing the tour quite strongly.

The thing with outside gigs is exactly that they open a lot of gates. Itís a lot easier to get interviews with foreign magazines when they know youíre coming. Itís also a lot easier to find distributors for your albums. The best way to go is when your album has already spread to some extent in that country. You are known and people come to check you out. If you play a good gig, your album sales increase etc.

Trust me, much more extravagant things happened to us on that tour than the incident you inquired about Ė that after the Rotterdam concert the first person to come thank us and shake our hands was indeed a black guy. The entire tour was quite mindblowing for us.

12. Your band also includes the Atso-family. When you go on tour, what happens to their offspring? Is making a band distracted by family, or do you all have understanding spouses/children/parents who respect your creational activities?

An active musician doesnít indeed live the life of an ordinary citizen; that should be quite clear to the readers here. When a standard citizen goes home after work, grabs a beer out of the freezer and sits on the coutch and watches TV, not leaving until his eyelids turn heavy then dudes like us get in front of the PC after work and answer to letters and interviews or head off to the rehearsal room with their instruments on their backs. Free weekends and vacations Ė what are these anyways?

Thus you cannot exactly be a regular person to be able to carry that burden. Wether you like it or not you have to make sacrifices to all that and not all necessarily like it. Bandmembers and those who wish to commit themselves to them have to accept that. And so it happens that one day a bandmember is forced to quit the band.

I can be happy that so far Iíve managed to set up my life in such a way that music surrounds me everywhere. Itís my work, passion and hobby. Quite a few of the bandmembers are in charge of their own lives and can make time for bandstuff when need be. We donít tour long Ė a month maximum Ė and so such things donít mess up our lives too bad. Meanwhile the kids for example can do their stuff at their grandparentís.

Author: Kuratino
Zine: Hard Rock Club

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