Musicscan: Who am I talking to? Why have you been chosen to answer my questions? Could you please shortly introduce yourself to our readers?
Callisto: You are talking to Markus; guitarist of Callisto and also i was the main vocalist between 2002-2008. Rest of the guys are so busy and lazy so I got the job doing this.
Musicscan: Being around as a band with an own identity and vision, does it bother you when you see or meet listeners who ignore you or have a different understanding of what your music and your style means to you?
Callisto: Of course it bothers but what can you do about it? We make the music and recorded it and let it out so its up to people do they understand or like it. Maybe we are not the easiest band around here because all our albums are quite different and every album we have something new to offer,some people like it some not. Like example our first 2 eps and first album were done by four of us and Noir album featured fifth member (Arto, our keyboard player) on providence we had sixth member; new vocalist and I stepped away from the mic (at least in the studio) I do some vocals when we play live some older songs.
Musicscan: What is it for you guys to be called post- or prog-something all the time - is it somehow annoying or fine with you? What makes a prog- or post- band from your point of view?
Callisto: ideal deal would be without all the post or prog something but I can understand that people want to define the band somehow and for our record label they need to have something to promote besides the music. But in the end I don't mind what they call our band, it matters if the music has touched someone in a way or another. We have some metal and maybe even some hardcore influences so the post thing fits nicely to that thing? progressive is a freedom to do whatever we want with our music, do different kind of albums, expand our songs when we play live.
Musicscan: Looking on metal and rock in general you can find lots of sub-scenes and styles, the underground is changing all the time. Are there bands you feel connected with that might have a similar agenda to what you have with Callisto?
Callisto: This is nice question and i have always hoped that someone asks this question. I can speak of myself only and some of these bands are not maybe similar musically but maybe some other way; Wovenhand and 16horsepower of course, I feel some connection to Ulver also and Breach from Sweden (one of our earliest influences and they are still a huge inspiration for us) Neurosis was big influence to us when we started the band but maybe not anymore that much and definitely Mastodon also, of course there is many more but there is few to mention, oh and I have to mention one Finnish band; Magyar posse and one small band from Sweden called Closer, Closer only released 2 eps and some demos and then they disappeared, sadly.
Musicscan: The style Callisto is playing is well balanced and having a good dramaturgy to keep things interesting. What is your attitude towards music in general and towards being Callisto in particular?
Callisto: I love your questions! I definitely agree with you. As Callisto we want to create something new (which is difficult now days) we want to explore different sounds, different directions and stay true to our hearts and never to listen anything like “you should do this or that” I don't mind like doing an acoustic or ambient album someday or something else.
Musicscan: Do you still have to deal with limitations when it comes to the songwriting or are you in a position to realize all the ideas you have?
Callisto: Of course we have some limitations but they don't limit ourselves that much that they would bring us down or something. This is the music that I want to play with my bandmates. Now I feel that we gave everything to Secret Youth and I really don't know what will happen in the future? Time will tell.
Musicscan: Has it been easier or harder to come up with new songs this time as you had a longer period to work on the new album?
Callisto: No, not really, the hard part was to get 6 guys to the same building at the same time and I`m not kidding, this is true. Songwriting went really smoothly. Our worst enemy are the logistic problems in this band, it wasn't like this always, this trouble has been present like past 2-3 years when 2 guys moved to Helsinki area and our “new” guitarist lives also in Helsinki. Between 2002 – 2012 our band was fully Turku based so it was quite easy for us to work together.
Musicscan: Is it necessary to create a certain distance between you and the music in order to get a better understanding of its inherent quality – what do you think and how do you handle such questions?
Callisto: I don't know, haven’t thought about this that much because I`m constantly playing or listening to music.
Musicscan: Musically Callisto seems like a band fueled by raw emotion which is at the same time tempered by a “reflected” vibe. What are the motives behind writing in this style, what reactions are you seeking to evoke in your audience?
Callisto: We have always wanted to create moods that are pure and primitive in some sense, create certain atmosphere, whether its beauty or ugliness, they all come inside of us. I don't know, maybe we float between darkness and light, anger and joy, damnation and salvation and the music reflects those feelings.. this kind of music/art comes naturally when we gather to play, there is no-one to tell us which direction we should take, “do that so you can earn more money” or something. The music that we create is pure and honest and I hope people can hear it? I just want people to enjoy our music, go to some other world, feel something, unearthly or something or simply just enjoy the music.
Musicscan: Are there specific aspects on Secret Youth that stand out in your mind, or aspects that have an inner meaning to you, you would like to share with us?
Callisto: No, not really, I just really enjoy how the album sounds like we wanted it to sound. Secret Youth has all the elements I feel that are really important to Callisto. Secret Youth as an album title is really important to me (and some other band members also but not all) Its hard to explain.. I came up the title but didn't write any lyrics this time.
Musicscan: Where do you see the line drawn between progressing on what you do well, and completely offering a new direction or sound – in the context of Secret Youth of course?
Callisto: Interesting question. In some way I feel that we have given everything under the name of Callisto, I don't know, I feel that everything that we can do well is included on Secret Youth. Is this our final album as Callisto? Maybe, maybe not but now i feel empty (in a positive way) and we have given everything (or at least I feel like this) but hey ,this the feeling I have had after all our albums have been finished! So time will tell, next year is our 15th anniversary year, it's a long time for one band.
Musicscan: Every band has a vision of how their songs should sound like after the recording. Listening to Secret Youth right now: Would you say that this was a successful mission or would you even say that you have been able to surprise yourself? If this is the case – in how far?
Callisto: Yes, again I agree with you. I had some doubts when we went to studio “how we can handle this stuff in the studio” because in a way this album is more complex comparing to our previous albums but in some way its more straightforward and uptempo and you had to be really focused all the time, its easier to play slower music comparing to little bit uptempo stuff, at least for us because we have done that thing so long. So yes I am a bit surprised how all eventually turn out because I had some doubts etc.
Musicscan: What about the relationship between music and the lyrics? What´s more important or are they of equal importance for Callisto?
Callisto: on our first eps, True Nature Unfolds and on Noir the lyrics were more important and maybe a common interest and we could agree the lyrics together really well and maybe shared the vision together but it got changed little bit on Providence. Almost all of us write lyrics and on Providence and Secret Youth they have been more personal than they used to be. So the lyrics whoever makes them are still very important to us but maybe in more personal level. We all read the lyrics that are brought to the table and “approve” them and we make our own interpretations but we let freedom to each individual to write what they want but they need to fit to the mood of the song and be well written.