I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing the Finnish band Bullet Trauma, which has a very unique and distinctive choice of themes for their music. They have recently released an EP called “Hunting Season”. Check out what we talked about!
Hello Bullet Trauma, how are you doing?
Rob: Pretty good.
Rob: Fine. Yeah. We just had a training session last night and still made a bit of recovering from that, which is good.
Jonni: We had a gig on Saturday, January 27th in Helsinki. So we’ve been rehearsing, which is nice.
Since I’m also one of your new fans, how would you describe the band to someone who has never heard of Bullet Trauma?
Carlos: Well, I think that at least in our biography, we covered pretty well. It’s pretty raw, primitive, aggressive, or maybe some adjectives that I would use to describe the music itself.
Rob: Yeah. It’s like roughened-up concrete.
Jonni: If you like Slayer, then you like us.
Carlos: But I’d say, I mean, you can use those adjectives and apply them to a lot of different bands. That’s not something that would identify us as a whole even if it does. But I would say maybe, I don’t know, rougher than concrete sounds pretty good to me at least.
Rob: Yeah, I agree.
Jonni: It has a good vibe to it. One could say, if someone hasn’t heard us before, come see us live. You’ll get the idea.
You have recently released your EP “Hunting Season”. How do you feel when your work is published and all the audience can enjoy it and listen to it?
Toma: Everything happened so quickly. Because if we think that this band was formed like a year ago, and now we have this, our first EP released, and actually it’s on the physical format as well, so I’m very proud of all our effort that we have get to this album and it sounds very good. We made a cassette.
Jonni: So it’s cool. We have 50 copies. It’s a very limited edition.
Rob: Yeah, and I think like how publishing this stuff we’ve worked on and how it makes me feel. One thing that in particular comes to my mind is how we have had this kind of a message or something to show, and we have things to say. Being able to see how people have clicked with that message we have has been nice. I don’t know what adjective I should use, but it’s been a really positive thing. For example, I’ve read a couple of reviews where people have talked about our cover art, which includes the fox in an agitated state, and how people have been interpreting that. It has been joyful for me to see what people think and how they interpret all these little messages. So, yeah, that’s something I’ve been really glad about.
Jonni: Yeah, the response has been great, which is cool. And we’re off to a good start, I would say.
Carlos: Yeah, the message is pretty clear. The musical and lyrical message is something that clicks as well, which is really nice to see because it’s pretty straightforward still, so that’s also a positive thing.
Absolutely. Has there been any real-life situation that inspired the songs from the EP?
Carlos: Music-wise it started a little more than a year ago, basically we just clicked with Rob and thought that we’d tried to make a demo and then the next day we had our first demo. And we did sound good.
Rob: I asked you, “Do you have any riffs? No double bass or anything, just good riffs”. And you went “I think I have something”, and in like 10 hours you sent me the first demo.
Carlos: And that’s just the music. I mean, of course, lyrical-wise Rob and Jonni can probably talk more about those, but there have been several occasions to just think like this “I’m going to write a song about this”.
Jonni: Just reading the news, basically, makes you angry. There’s a lot of disappointing stuff happening in the world, and it’s kind of natural to write about it. It kind of fits the music, I think.
Rob: Yeah, just taking out all the frustrations we have, and also dealing with some things that disturb me or disturb people. On the EP there are songs about being social outcasts, for example.
Jonni: Not songs about drinking beer. Yeah, we’re not that kind of band.
Can you share with us a funny moment from the recordings of “Hunting Season”?
Jonni: Well, it was a busy, busy weekend.
Rob: I think it was the first heat of the summer. We spent all that time locked up underground in a dungeon, making this music, sweating our asses off. At some point, we just realized that we had a couple of friends there, but the space was small, and it was full of dudes. It was refreshing to get out of there at the end of the day, yeah.
Carlos: There was actually at least one funny moment, but one that came to mind… A friend of Jonni’s came over, he had a couple of beers under him; he said that he’s got this forum kind of thing where he had to record a short audio clip of a scream. And our producer said “Yeah, yeah, sure. Go ahead.”, it’s just a short thing.
Rob: He asked us, “Hey guys, do you know what an anal rail gun is?” And then he went on this rant about what is an anal rail gun, which is… you can imagine. And then he said, “I basically need to record a scream, which embodies the anal rail”. We did record that and it was hilarious. We underlay the scream at the beginning of the track “Bullet Trauma”.
Carlos: So it’s there.
Jonni: Actually, the scream ended up in the EP, so that’s pretty. Lovely guy. But yeah, he was going fast.
Toma: He’s one very big person, to be honest. Yeah, a very room-fulfilling person action happens when he arrived at the studio.
Has your practice technique changed during the course of the years?
Carlos: Well, probably to some extent.
Rob: Yeah, yeah.
Jonni: This is the first project that I play bass. I practice weekly, guitar is my main instrument. I don’t practice that much on guitar since I’ve been playing for ages, but bass is kind of new to me. So just the idea of practicing weekly is something that has changed and it’s kind of refreshing.
Rob: I think, before Bullet Trauma, my vocal style was more like old-school death metal oriented. And not as raw as it is on this EP, but yeah, Carlos pushed and encouraged me to find the raw sound. That technique for sure has developed over the course of this band. He told me to make a sound like someone was striking your back with a hatchet.
Toma: And drum-wise, I think this band has had this unwritten or written rule that we don’t use double bass. So for me, this is the first metal project and the band, that only includes single-pedal action. That was new for me because I have been double-pedal drumming for quite a long time. It was challenging as well. I think we will stick to that.
Jonni: Absolutely. It’s great that it gives the music a space and that kind of a punky vibe that I absolutely love.
Carlos: I totally agree. I think the single bass pedal strokes is something that is a part of our sound as well because you can’t hear these insane double bass sections, so we need to fill it with something else. Regarding my own practice, I’ve always practiced pretty much in the same way. And now of course I’ve practiced because this is such a new project. Learn the songs and so forth and just keep repeating them. That’s pretty much my routine. Hopefully at some point some maybe some new songs as well.
Do you think that social media had a good or bad impact on the music industry?
Jonni: Depends on the social media, I guess.
Rob: There are many aspects to that question and many ways to answer. Because undeniably, there are very many artists nowadays who make songs, and your first principle is to come up with a good short section that could blow up on platforms that use short-form content like TikTok or Instagram reels or something like that. There’s been a huge surfacing of these kinds of remix songs, having an old school song and then people just do that same song all over again, just to make a viral thing. So in that sense, I think that has had a bad influence on the music industry, but there are also these kinds of social media or internet pages like SoundCloud or Bandcamp, which have undeniably livened up certain underground scenes. It’s hard to answer because it offers good things, it offers also bad things and yeah, at least that’s how I see it.
Jonni: Yeah, that kind of inclusive point that you can release music without a record company or radio station. There are mediums to put out music without this infrastructure. I think that’s good but yeah, what Rob said very much.
Carlos: I think that’s also where you can take basically any social media outlet, for example, Instagram which provides a lot of reach. But then again, also by that reach I’d say the listeners become more selective of what they wish to hear. So it works both ways, just as Rob said.
Jonni: But at least, to me the end product is still the live gig as opposed to a viral video or any viral song. It’s still, you make music to play them good live and that’s the process in my mind.
Carlos: Especially in our genre I’d say that it’s all about showing or about bringing it out, so to say. You can listen to our EP on Spotify, but we would still to share it with you live, of course, because it’s such an intimate occasion, so to say.
Toma: It’s also hard to say, would it be easier if we didn’t have social media? Because I think all of us have been releasing music just within this social media time. So, truly, we don’t have any experience with releasing music without social media or so, because I think every music that I have ever been participating in has had something to do with social media. The future will tell, I think the direction that social media goes will tell us if it’s bad or good for the music business.
Jonni: I think that’s a great point that we are all kind of social media natives when it comes to releasing music. Haven’t ever really thought of that, but yeah, that is very true.
I wanted to play a little game with you if that’s alright. Imagine that there’s a ship in the sea, and there’s a pirate and a ninja fighting on it. Who wins the duel?
Rob: Absolutely pirate.
Jonni: The pirate.
Carlos: Pirate. Yeah, 100%.
Rob: The pirate. Yeah, he knows the ship. He knows the sea. He has the advantage of that whole thing. So yeah, he will win.
Jonni: Do you know why pirates are called pirates?
Jonni: Because they aaaargh. Oh my goodness. I’ve been waiting for a chance to say that out loud. Thank you. It’s been years.
You have made your dreams come true today.
Carlos: Yeah. Congrats.
Well guys, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview! Would you like to add anything else to our readers?
Carlos: Keep hunting. We’ve embraced this hunting theme for some reason, but I think it’s pretty cool, so we’re probably going to stick with it. It also has some kind of meaning, at least in our EP.