German thrash metal band Sodom were recently announced as part of the artist line-up for the Finnish Steelfest event. When the band announced the news on their social media, many fans of the band commented on their disappointment.
The disappointment is that some fans do not want Sodom to play with bands of dubious reputation. The upcoming Steelfest line-up includes bands with links to the NSBM (National Socialist Black Metal) scene.
“I’m disappointed to see Sodom in such a disgraceful line-up,” one fan commented.
The band then offered an statement distancing themselves from political bands:
“Hey pals! To get it right up front. Once again, we distance ourselves from bands that abuse their musical platform to express their political views, whether right or left, to the outside world. But we stand for freedom of expression for everyone and we won’t let that talk us to death. When the Steelfest promoter booked the show with us at the end of 2019, these supporting acts and the billing were not even up for discussion. So we have a valid guest performance contract. We are currently clarifying the legal situation. We generally perform on behalf of ourselves and our fans and not for the other bands.
“The politically correct bands, whatever that means, are in the majority at Steelfest. Will they all cancel their performance? We will definitely talk to the organizer again about this situation and will form our own judgment.
“We can’t always please everyone and we don’t want that at all, but if we have to bow to some kind of political pressure every time, then we artists/musicians can soon quit our jobs. And after 40 years in this exciting business, I don’t need any instructions about what to do or not.
“We have a strong fan base in Finland and many are happy to see Sodom again receiving a special setlist exclusively. After this long dry spell, we are of course happy to be playing in Finland again. This is our job, our passion. That’s what we are living for. We won’t let that talk us to death either and decide for ourselves. We will of course keep you up to date on the current state of affairs.
Soon after Steelfest released an statement:
We have been contacted by some (not all) artist agencies/managements, these agencies represent some of the bands which should perform in Steelfest 2022.
NOTE! So we havent talked with BANDS straight about this issue below. We do not know what all band`s or its member (related to these agencies) think about this situation.
These 2-3 agencies had mainly one message. Steelfest should re-consider its lineup “or”.
As I have asked from these 2-3 agencies “I understand completely your point of view, and would like to hear your opinion on which bands in particular you feel are the problematic” we got two lists of bands, some of the agencies didn’t reply.
So, we got different lists which included totally 12 different bands what Steelfest should “reconsider”. 12 bands I should “reconsider/cancel” and then maybe more lists to come.
Steelfest can not negotiate or let “third party” effect/decide, which band can play or not in Steelfest or any our events. Also, realized that I am guilty of creating a way too controversial mix to handle for these agencies. This genre is just money to them.
So, we have to stop this. We cannot be tied to this kind of conversation and controlled by any “third party” and we cannot allways check from agencies or etc. and their “professionals”, or measure any kind of social pressure might some artist receive, which band is ok to play in Steelfest or not.
As we “cut” this conversation it means that we will have cancellations to come for Steelfest 2022.
Social media pressure specially on parts of world is strong and as one wise guy said to me “it all goes nuclear, no one will want to be in the blast zone with you”. We are staying and we know may of you are staying with us. Never ending support of Steelfest audience, volunteers, artists, staff and support of local community etc. etc.
Again we do not have accusations towards the bands, for some of them this is their job, agencies decide big part of that and in the end its all about money and social pressure. We do know that many do not want to cancel but thay have a lot of pressure from many sides.
Steelfest have made it extremely clear in the past that we reject any political movements or racist ideologies that people want to portray our artistic creations as parts of.
We are and will be targeted as we will not pick a side as all sides are equally repulsive, nor will we ever apologize for our past, present and future artistic choices.
After that Sodom announced that they will not perform at Steelfest:
“We would like to announce that we are canceling our appearance at Steelfest in Finland. We made this decision solely on the basis of our own conviction. Have a nice one…cheers!”