Interview with Mikko Myllykangas (vocals, guitar in Antipope)

Hi! Tell me about your band and what kind of previous experience do you have as musicians?

Hello Music World readers!

Well, Antipope has been around since 2004. Before that, I had some garage band projects, one black metal thing in the 1990s, some progressive stuff too. That’s how Antipope came to be, I wanted to combine those previous elements, and we started off as a progressive black metal band. Since then, and especially since our first full length album Desert (2010), we have broadened our scope by including various other styles of metal to our arsenal. On House of Harlot (2011), we went towards gothic industrial sound, and some reviewers even compared that album to Marilyn Manson’s Antichrist Superstar.

After our 3rd album, “3 Eyes of Time”, we took some time off from band activities. We had been working pretty much none stop since 2007, and constant writing of new music and endless pursuing of gigs took the fun out of playing music. After three or so years I felt that I wanted to get the band going again, and I finalized the album that was already written during the downtime.

Currently, we’re enjoying the fact that our fourth album “Denial/Survival” is just released. We’re making plans for possible return to playing live sometime next year. And there’s already some preliminary ideas floating around for the next album.

Why did you pick your band name? How did you form? Why did you decide to play the genre or genres you do?

There was no specific reason behind choosing “Antipope” as our band name. We wanted something to represent various styles that we were incorporating in our music. I like the fact that “Antipope” is open to interpretations, some see it as purely a black metal band name, but for me, for example, it stands for independence of thought, making your own decisions and carrying the weight of your own responsibility.

We didn’t necessarily decide to play any genre. I did want to explore black metal a bit more, as I had had a black metal project years ago, and I thought it would be fun to play black metal after doing all kinds of progressive metal things in the meantime.

What can you tell us about your latest record?

Denial/Survival was written as a departure from the style of our two previous albums, House of Harlot and 3 Eyes of Time. Even though I still like both, I wanted to explore the more progressive side of music writing, especially in the sense that the album would consist of songs of various styles. While I was writing the album, the situation with the band was rather unclear, so I didn’t think too much about how well do these new songs fit in with our old material or how would they work in live setting. After all, there’s are a few nice live pieces there, though, and we are currently re-working our setlist to included songs from Denial/Survival.

I think it’s an album for the kind of listeners who actually like to sit down and listen to an album all the way through. It has explosive energy, darkness, humor – not very often found on metal albums –, things that you would want if you watch a good movie. Because of that, it might be a difficult album to wrap your head around, as there are various kinds of moods and tempos and all that. So, on the first try, it might even be a little exhausting, but over time I hope that it will keep on giving new things to those who come back to it. Luckily, there are people out there who don’t want to listen to monotonous albums that keep repeating the same attitude on each song. To my surprise, most of the reviewers have also appreciated the multifaceted nature of our new album, which is nice. 

What the kind of album feedbacks are you waiting for?

I don’t really know what to expect. Usually the reaction has been quite black or white, some hate it, some love it, very rarely anything in between those two extremes.

Are you gonna to make some world tour in the future? Do you think this is available for everybody option to tour around the globe? What do you think band have to do to get such opportunity?

Not at this point. I think we have to settle for a small tour of Finland or just a couple of gigs at the local club.

Do you believe in heavy music scene without money?

No, I really don’t. I don’t believe in any music scene without money. First of all, even the strings on my guitars are bought from a store, with money. Same goes with the bills of electricity and so forth. We’re not necessarily making all the money we need with our music, but to keep things going, someone needs to insert coins into the machine.

What do you think about online music sharing? Do you ever give your music away for free? Why?

We have some free downloads available for promotional purposes, but generally you need to buy our albums or subscribe to a streaming service, like Spotify. If you want to download our music for free, there are dozens of sites where you can download our albums. We didn’t put them there, some nice people have done it for us. At the end of the day, I don’t really care if someone pays or doesn’t for our music. If that person finds it interesting to listen to, that’s cool, and maybe he’ll buy an album or a t-shirt some other time.

Who are your musical influences? Have you ever think your band could be so famous as your favorites?

Oh my, those are simply too numerous to list. But there are some influences that I have listened to for years, like Iron Maiden, Cradle of Filth and Nine Inch Nails. And then there’s individual musicians who have inspired me to play guitar, like Steve Vai. On the other hand, there are bands that I listen to for a while and their music may give me an idea or two to be put on the next album.

Do you have a formal music education? Do you think it’s a Kind of important thing?

I did study classical guitar for a few years in 1980s, but that’s about it.

How do you balance your music with other obligations – mate, children, job?

In the past – not so well. Presently, I try to live rather well-organized life where there is room for each activity. Sometimes you need to make compromises, but at the end of the day I try not to take all this music stuff too seriously. I has always been more or less a hobby for me, and that’s the way I want to think about it. I don’t want to build too much pressure on become successful in music, and I try to keep it as a creative outlet where I can express stuff that I can’t in my day job. It’s important to be honest with yourself about what you want with your band or musical project and be careful not to become too ambitious if you don’t have time and energy to actually pursue it all the way through.

How do you handle mistakes during a performance? Or you can assure there are no any mistakes during your gigs? Do you get nervous before a performance or a competition?

I’m kind of person who doesn’t really get nervous before a gig. It’s more like excitement what I feel.

I don’t worry about mistakes, everyone makes them. Even if you watch these world-class bands perform, there’s all kinds of little things going on that are not supposed to. I just keep my cool and act as nothing happened, unless the mistake is not something actually funny. Then I might direct attention to it and make it part of the performance.

What’s next? Thank you!

That’s a pretty deep question. I don’t know for sure. We got more rehearsals planned, and like I said, the next album is being in the early process of writing.

For anyone who read this far: if you haven’t hear our new album Denial/Survival, go and check it out on Spotify or at antipope.bandcamp.com

Cheers!

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