Beyond the Gates of Fall - CD 2000
Tomorrow Will Be Worse Than Today - CD EP 2009
How did you come about obtaining the band name?
Jani K: By accident actually, but due to reading a booklet of some traditional Spanish folk music CD. Vergil felt like the right name, all tough at that time as I had no idea about the backgrounds of the name. The name originates from a Roman poet, Publius Vergilius Maro.
How would you describe your music?
Jani K: I would say that it's dark rock. The original idea was to write something that would be in the direction of such influential bands as Sisters of Mercy. We wanted to play music that that would respect our gothic rock influences. However, out of respect for Goths, I think that it would be wrong to say that our music and appearance is Goth or Gothic.
What one thing do you feel sets you apart from the rest in this genre?
Jani: A lot bands who are playing this kind of music that people often relate to as Gothic Metal are sort of 'metal' bands, who are influenced by other 'metal' bands, but not by the other original source; Gothic Rock. I think that there is the difference, if there is a difference?! We don't try to sound like the U2 and Depeche Mode kind of soft and poppy 'metal', but rather create something that would link us to groups like Joy Division, Fields of the Nephilim or Sisters of Mercy.
Jani Koskela - Guitar - 34
Joined the band in 1997
Influences: Traditional Gothic Rock and Metal
How long did it take to record your latest material?
Jani K: 'Tomorrow Will Be Worse than Today' was recorded and mixed within five days and nights. The way we worked at D-Studio is quite time consuming, but in a way it also pays back the input and all the time that has been put into making this EP.
What is the inspiration behind your latest material?
Jani K: The lyrics are rather dark. They are mainly influenced by the darker side of life. Musically the first two tracks on the new EP are quite straight forward and catchy kinds of songs. The title track of the EP is a bit more dynamic and darker, while the closing track is quite epic and dark. Musically the closest things that come to my mind are Paradise Lost and Sister's of Mercy and some touches of Joy Division and Moonspell here and there as well. The production of the EP is rather modern and probably makes it clear that, as musicians, we have strong backgrounds in Metal music.
Any plans for a music video?
Jari: I might share my opinion with this question. Nowadays making a video is easier than ten years ago. Internet has made video promotion very popular and almost every band nowadays has something available on Youtube and not many of those videos contain quality. So, whenever we might decide on a video, it will require some time and a decent budget to do it.
When you go into recording mode, do you find it easy or challenging?
Jani K: Sure it is challenging, but in Vergil things are also quite liberal. I would say that some of the solutions that have been made are natural and spontaneous, instead of being carefully planed.
Jukka Penttinen - Drums - 32
Joined the band in 2006
Influences: Metal and Rock in almost every form
Is there a particular market or country you are trying to reach?
Jani K: Not really. We're quite an old band, but we're still very much unknown and have made only two releases so far. We're still very much in the position to observe where all the people who like this kind of material might be.
What kind of message are you trying to relay to your audience?
Jani K: It's a dark world, but you can always use the darkness as a source and turn it all into your advantage by accepting its existence; around yourself and within yourself.
How hard has it been to get to this point?
Jani K: The only hard thing about Vergil is to get all the involved persons at the same place at the same time. Sometimes we manage to do that.
Jari Koskela - Keyboards - 34
Joined the band about ten years ago
Influences: 80's Metal music, Gothic Metal from early 90's and good old Rockabilly stuff from 50's
Who's responsible for the bands artwork?
Jani K: The layout and the graphics for 'Tomorrow Will Be Worse Than Today' are done by Johanna Asikainen. The photo for the EP was taken by Marko Kekki. Most of the live pictures and the 2008 promotional photo on our Myspace are taken by Anne Rajala.
Where does your main fan base / support tend to lie?
Jani K: Lately we've been playing only in southern Finland, but have been receiving interest from elsewhere as well. Fanbase... hmm... I'm guessing that it lies in Myspace these days. Time will show how many of them will leave their houses on that day when we manage to book ourselves into a location that is near to them.
What are some of your favourite local acts? And have you had the chance to play alongside them?
Jani K: Embassy of Silence is pretty much the only band in our area who are playing in the style that is somewhat close to ours. There are some Finnish bands with whom we have played in the past, such as Two Witches. It's always a lot of fun to go to Helsinki and to play with the almighty Personal Demons!
What is your favourite venue?
Jani K: That's difficult to choose. All of them have their good and bad sides. The feeling during the concert is the most important thing.
Mika Musakka - Vocals - 24
Joined the band in 2007
What would be your most memorable gig / performance to date?
Jani K: For me it is the show that we played in Sweden at the Club Greyscale in Umeå. Around 2001 we supported the Finnish rock band Yö in our hometown. That was cool. Then again, playing the Tavastia club in Helsinki with Dark Side Cowboys and Two Witches was something rather extraordinary. Wuppertal in Germany, with the House of Usher, was a lot of fun as well.
Have you got a favourite song you like to play? And is there one in particular you've noticed your fans have started asking for?
Jani K: Last weekend in Helsinki someone was asking us to play 'Nightingale' from the first demo. Too bad we couldn't do that! Someone was expecting us to play 'Sister September's Soul' from the new EP and that one we did.
If you were playing at a metal festival, who would you prefer was playing alongside you and where would that be?
Jani K: I'm not sure if a Metal festival would be the right place for us, but it would certainly be cool to play with Paradise Lost or maybe Fields of the Nephilim. Any audience into dark rock music would be ideal for us.
What kind of instruments do you use? And have you done the 'Rock Star' thing yet and smashed any equipment?
Jani K: Sonor drums, Framus Cobra and Marshall Valvestate guitar amps, Korg Trinity keyboards. One of our guitars has been driven over by a car.
Have you had many chances for signings?
Jani K: We should sign one CD tonight. Thanks for reminding us!
Antti Ahonen - Guitar - 31
Joined the band in 1997
Have you ever had any Mystical experiences?
Jani K: Sometimes we wake up from places without remembering how did we got there!
Where can people purchase your music and merchandise from?
Jani K: From us! You can Email the band: vergilband [at] gmail.com or if you prefer digital mp3 form, then try The Ground
What words of advice can you offer anyone looking to enter the music industry?
Jani K: The things that you can and want to do by yourself are the things that you should do by yourself. Besides that, you should probably also consider handling some of those things that you don't want to handle by yourself. Trust no one! It's a cliché, yes I know.
Fame, fun or finance?
Jani K: This is a perfect way to figure out how one can spend his earnings and have some occasional fun while doing it.
Anything you'd like to add or say to your fans?
Jani K: Check out our new EP! Thank you for taking your time to read this interview and thanks to you Déa!
Jani Loikas - Bass - 34
Joined the band in 1997
'Interview with Vergil' by Déa di Morté © 15 June 2009
Hails! to Jani, Jari and the crew from Vergil for agreeing to participate and taking the time to complete this interview.
All pictures courtesy of Toni Salmelainen, Anne Rajala and Vergil