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The members of the Finnish death metal quartet Tinnitus were our guests on the Art For The Ears Interview Message-Board! This resulted in an interesting interaction between the band and any visitor wanting to ask them questions. Below you can find the results of this online interview.


Discography: Iron Will (1998), Veritas (1999), 2000 Years (2000). Available through: Tinnitus. Official website: Tinnitus.  Interview by: Mpomusic, Theophilus, Rogoth, Warrior, Victory,  Guitar-Junkie, Todd-Pope,    Daphne, Joanna, Headbanger, Mafa, Metalhead. Article work-out by: mpo. Date: February 10-16 2001


Mpomusic: Can you first introduce the band to us?

Tinnitus: Tinnitus have been around for about five years, playing progressive deathmetal. We've been touring in Finland since that, and so far three recordings have been made. But the most important thing for us in Tinnitus is to be a testimony of God's grace in a fallen world.

Theophilus: Can you specify your type of music? As in what bands your music relates to?

Tinnitus: Dream Theater, Mortification, Schaliach and early Deuteronomium are among others the bands that people often relate us to when talking about the music of Tinnitus.

Rogoth: When asked what their influences are, bands always come up with lots of bands and artists, always the big ones. So, tell me what you're really listening to! What's in your CD-player at the very moment you're reading this?

Stefan: Right now I'm listening to Kansas - Point Of No Return. Guess the other guys in the band have to answer for themselves...

Janne: Geddy Lee; My favorite headache, it's the new solo-album released by the singer/bassplayer of Rush. A very fine album.

Fredrik Kass: Emerson, Lake & Palmer; Brain Salad Surgery .

Kenneth "the Cannonball": Dream Theater: Metropolis part 2 - Scenes From A Memory (A real masterpiece!).

Warrior: It's quite unusual that Christian bands listen to non-Christian music as you all mentioned your favorites and what you are listening to at this moment. What is your opinion, should a Christian person (even if he's not a musician) listen to Christian music or not?

Tinnitus: Not all of the members in Tinnitus have been raised in Christian families, some of us have discovered Christ later in life. Before we became believers we listened to all sorts of non-Christian music just like everyone else so we are very familiar with many kinds of music-styles. Now as a Christian it's about time to think it over, music can cause you lots of trouble. We do encourage everyone to mainly (hopefully only) listen to Christian artists. Some of our brothers have destroyed all their non-Christian records after receiving Jesus in their lives. We have not gone that far but we don't think that it's a bad idea at all. Of course we have our limits, there are for example bands with a satanic image that we don't want to hear at all even though their music might be good. We believe that as long as you're aware of how the music affects people you can listen to it in another way, not swallow all the lies in the lyrics. It's actually quite frightening to see how many people are given a one way ticket to hell through their musical taste. Without noticing it you can even get brainwashed by getting caught in a subculture. Subcultures are not always good (punk, reggae), people start "living music" instead of just listening to it. Before you know it drugs and all kinds of other crappy things take over. These kinds of people are the ones we're trying to reach with Tinnitus, 'cause we have some good news for the lost souls... Back to your question. In the long run it's much healthier to listen only to Christian music. We in the band Tinnitus listen to all sorts of music and we sometimes even realize hey, why am I listening to this record? -It makes me depressive and makes me hate instead of love. Those records are usually smashed into small pieces with a big hammer. Who knows, maybe in the future there will be only Christian music in our CD-players after the hammer has been swung for the last time... Long live the hammer!

Victory: You have made some of the best tunes I've heard. But do you know what I'm missing? With such a guitar-shredder that you have in Janne why don't you make more solos? Just as I start to headbang to the solo in No Regret or 2000 Years it ends! They are way too short! A 10 minute epic song would be cool!

Janne: I'm actually an "anti guitar-solo type of guy". When I listen to records I find it very frustrating when a boring two minutes long guitar-solo appears in an otherwise perfect song. The solospot should be that little extra that shivers down your spine. It should absolutely not be just an opportunity for the guitarist to play as many notes as possible (get a life!). But yes, I could shred for hours and even worse, I would probably enjoy it too. The problem is Mr./Mrs./miss(?) Victory is that recording music is expensive and I hate to say it but I'm broke. Let's see what the future brings... An instrumental tune would be great!

Guitar-Junkie: For the past two years I have been listening to bands like Arse Slaughter and Tinnitus. I was really surprised when Janne explained that he is an anti-guitarhero type of guy who doesn't like people playing fast if the main purpose is to demonstrate technique. Don't you have (musical) idols just like everyone else, aren't you impressed when hearing an, in your opinion, technical genius?

Janne: Yes, sure I've been a fan of many guitarists throughout the years. Steve Vai and Frank Zappa, for example have both made a big impression on me. Yngwie Malmsteen, Frank Gambale and all the other sweepers are also interesting. Django Reinhardt, Marty Friedman, Slash, Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana and Alex Skolnick are quite interesting. The list is endless but I don't listen to these in the same way anymore. Why sit and listen when you can stand and play? Musically I think it's very important to have as many different influences as possible and to keep on developing as an individual. This is something that fans don't like though, people usually want their idols to keep playing the same old songs for 50 years. If a guitarist quits his mainstream-band and goes for a solo-career instead just to experiment with different style-combinations, then his former audience won't be interested anymore. This is a tragic fact, in my opinion a good musician should never settle for playing the old well-selling songs for a whole career (sorry Angus!). There are millions of bands out there today but the really interesting musicians are hard to find so to all you young guitarplayers, and especially for you...Junkie..?? Start practicing and don't forget to send a demo to Master Bengan!

ToddPope: Being a musician myself, I wonder how you guys go about structuring and arranging your songs.  Is it jamming on a riff and developing or does one guy generally write a bulk of the music?

Tinnitus: There are mainly two ways of composing when writing for Tinnitus. The first is to start with harmony, making a melody that we're totally in love with and then try different chord-progressions over it, this is where the song takes its shape and it's the most demanding part of the whole process. We experiment with different modes, different key-modulations, pedal-tones etc. When we've found what we're looking for the music is finally listened to and analyzed over and over again. At this point you get totally brainwashed by the music so it's a good idea to leave it for a while and pick it up again after a couple of weeks. If we still believe in it after listening with "fresh ears" then it ends up in a song. Lyrics are usually written afterwards. The other way of making music is to have a strong rhythm as motive, the guitarist and the drummer discuss the rhythm and look at the possibilities of making something nice out of it. For example, after jamming the rhythm for Why Should I Fear? for hours we had figured out how to place the drumbeats right and of course how to make it as progressive as possible without making it sounding boring. Again the lyrics were written afterwards and while listening to a demotape the singer usually fits in the roaring. A new song has appeared but in our opinion it's never finished, we still try out different variations on our old tracks. There is always something new to discover so we never stop searching, gradually the songs start sounding better and at a certain point the material is finally recorded.

Rogoth: I saw the cover of Veritas and was wondering what it depicts. Is there something you would like to depict with it? The handshoed hand trying to pick the key?

Tinnitus: It's quite up to you to decide what the symbols stand for, but here are a few hints to help you on your way...The Evil is coming up from the sewers to take your key to heaven (your belief?) but the key is too big. It will never pass that hole. The hand could also stand for someone trying to get up from the abyss, the key could be that person's last hope. Veritas is Latin and means "truth". Looking at the key as "the truth" (Jesus Christ) could give some more light to the meaning of the symbols. The Veritas cover could also be a terrible illustration of a poor boy who got locked up in the bathroom. After thinking it over he realizes the only way out is through the pipes...

Daphne: I was wondering if you do some sort of Public Relations to promote your band. I suppose you do of course, but in what way? Do you have a band-logo, or someone special doing your PR? If not, in what different way do you promote Tinnitus?

Tinnitus: Our management, Master Bengan Management, does it all. He (Master Bengan) has a separate graphics-department continuously working with Tinnitus promo material including photos and videoshots. Another department is the Wormcorporation which is developing the official Tinnitus-website. The master regularly sends out Newsletters etc. And he is probably seeking new contacts right now. Master Bengan is a big fan of Tinnitus and he doesn't make any profit on his 24-7 business and he seems to be really happy about that. All he really wants is to help Christian bands to get on the field with their music and message.

Joanna: If you guys would be forced to quit the band (I certainly hope not). What would you be up to then? I cannot imagine you being anything less than Tinnitus.

Janne: I would probably be sitting in my apartment on that same old sofa, drinking coffee, watching Bill Cosby Show along with that same old Stefan wondering why we didn't make it.

Stefan: I'm sure I'd still be sitting on Janne's sofa drinking coffee, watching Bill Cosby Show, thinking it was all Janne's fault we didn't make it.

Fredrik: I would move to the countryside, back to my father's farm and feed the cows (I love milk!) until I'd retire.

Kenneth "the Cannonball": I would like to become a president, primeminister, space-engineer or something like that. But since I didn't make it to senior high... Guess I'll have to settle with saving the rainforest.

Tinnitus: Actually, we have no clues of how our future would be without the band...

Headbanger: Have you been badly welcomed at concerts and in the metal scene in general because you are Christians? Or have you had positive responses?

Tinnitus: We have received a lot of different feedback from our audience, both negative and positive. Normally people (Christians and non-Christians) think it's OK for Christians to play metal, and they usually think it's great. Though we have seen long-haired guys with pentagrams cursing us and telling us that metal is ONLY Satan's music and that we are gonna burn in hell... On the other hand we've received quite much negative feedback from people in the church, people who "know" the absolute truth about rockmusic.

Mafa: Hi. I saw your legendary appearance at Fuckelheim 2000, that was one crazy night. Don't you ever hurt yourselves during gigs?

Mpomusic: What sort of event was Fuckelheim 2000?

Tinnitus: Fuckelheim 2000 (the place of no pop) was an underground festival in a place called Såka here in Finland. Tinnitus and Lyrical Empees were the only Christian bands that night...That was one of those nightmare-gigs (we've had a few of those). None of the bandmembers got hurt that night but our manager was beaten up pretty badly. If you saw what they did to Master Bengan after his stagedive that night you understand that it was an unpleasant atmosphere. The audience was too drunk, police-officers had to come and get the worst troublemakers... This is Finland.  Master Bengan has recovered well and has forgiven the people who attacked him.

Mafa: Yeah I saw the fight but I didn't know that it was your manager. I must say that I admire him since he didn't try to defend himself.

Tinnitus: That's right. Master Bengan is really nice and peaceful man, we all have a lot to learn from him.

Metalhead: What does the members of Tinnitus think about the music scene in the future? There are many good Christian metal bands (most even better than the satanic ones!), still the big names that kids listen to are bands that sing about suicide, anarchy and stuff like that. Will Christian music take over the charts in the future? And how will Tinnitus be doing? Do you believe that you have any chance to become more famous than say, Marilyn Manson?

Tinnitus: Because there are so many good Christian bands nowadays, that has to make some kind of impact on the music scene in the future. And yes, many Christian bands could take over the scene if it wasn't for that ugly attitude of MTV. Though one has to remember that Christian bands are normally not fighting for a name on the scene, the important thing is to exalt Jesus Christ through music. But we think it's great that bands like for example POD make a name, guess there's a lot of people who hear the message through bands like them. One also needs to remember that most of the Christian bands could beat many bands on the secular scene what day ever…