About Me

Interview with Dispyt

Dispyt, a Blackened Crustpunk from Finland, has released its second full-length "Under Tiden Jag Sålde Min Själ Till Satan" via Immortal Frost Productions, in December, and it has been receiving extraordinary reviews. The trio consists of Owe Inborr (drums and vocals), Juuso Englund (guitars and vocals) and none other than Mathias Lillmåns (vocals and bass), also famous for his work with Finntroll and ...And Oceans. Metal Imperium caught up with Mathias for an intense, heartfelt and interesting conversation, regarding the new album, the virus, his new job and all his bands… read on to find out more! 

M.I. - First off, how are you? 

Yeah, I’m great. 

M.I. - I know you just started a day job. How’s it going? Was it because of all the inconveniences caused by the coronavirus?

Yeah, I decided to do something good about this since we had a half a year we couldn't do anything. So, when I got the news that it will be half a year more, then I decided to do something… go back to school and it comes with an internship. I try to make the best of a bad situation and study to do something new because you never know... this can happen again really soon!

M.I. - Your new album “Under tiden jag sålde min själ till Satan” has been receiving some awesome reviews. How does it make you feel?

Yes, definitely, it's really good, you know? We have been working on this album for quite a while. We recorded it in the summer of 2019 and, after that, we had to sit on it for a while because our record company lost so much money because of the coronavirus, so they couldn't afford to release it when it was finished. Therefore, we had to wait for almost a year until it was possible, so I am really happy and I hope it really works well and everybody likes it.

M.I. - The recording of the drums was done in an abandoned, haunted house near Wolfthrone Studios in the summer of 2019. And when were the other instruments recorded? 

It was actually in the same weeks! We just wanted to record the drums in a bigger place and we went to this abandoned house and we set it up in the living room, so we could have a bigger sound. We could put the microphones very distant from the drums and we recorded the drums in two days. Then, the day after, we started with the guitars. Then we went back to Wolfthrone Studios and we recorded the rest of all the instruments in the same week.

M.I. - The album was released on the 11th December… was it always the plan or did you have to rescheduled it because of the pandemic?

Yeah, sort of, it wasn't really booked to be released at any time. We thought about releasing it last spring but then this happened and we needed to postpone it for half a year. There was never any release date because we didn't want to put any bad news out there, so we just played it safe and and had the release moved to December instead.

M.I. - On the 10th December, Dispyt premiered the whole "Under tiden jag sålde min själ till Satan" album! And the whole album is available for streaming on Immortal Frost Productions’ Youtube channel. Is this a wise sales idea? Does it help increase sales?

It's been really good because it's still a part of this pre-sale campaign and people usually get excited if they can go to some special place to listen to it the day before. When people still bought albums and the business looked different, we always had these pre-listening parties in the local metal bar or something, the day before or a couple of days before, so people could come out and listen to the new album and that was really good. So, this is the same thing but in a modern and more digital way.

M.I. – I hope it increases the interest in the band because you actually deserve it!

Yeah, I can say it's really good because we have more 20 times our monthly listeners already, so it's really good, it's an increase of two thousand percent!

M.I. - On the 10th December, you were active in the chat during the premiere for fans to ask you stuff... how intense was it? Did many people log in to attend it?

Yeah, it was pretty good, you know?! We did the same thing when we released the first album and it was kind of slow, nobody was really listening and there was only a couple of people, only the diehard fans were there. Now we actually had a really good conversation over there and people asked lots of things. It was a good thing! 

M.I. - Dispyt have released some studio videos showing the recording sessions… is this a way to connect with the fans? Do you usually have a great response to this kind of video?

Yeah, definitely! With this band we need all that kind of stuff, we really need to build it up because it's such a new band still, we only have two albums out. I think, maybe in the end, we released a little bit too much, we could have made a long one of the whole thing, and that could have been it. But, with this band, we always have a lot of cameras and stuff when we are traveling or doing something because Wolfthrone Studios has all this kind of equipment, so we always film a lot and there's lots of material all the time to choose from.

M.I. - The new album title translates into “During the time I sold my soul to Satan”… why is this the best title for the album?

Well, this is funny because Dispyt is not any kind of religious band at all and we really don't push any kind of religious views or anything. The drummer and I wrote most of the lyrics, and we were brought up in this conservative area in Finland where there are lots of small cults from christianity and really conservative people. This title comes from when I was studying in school and all these religious people, belonging to this kind of cult, told me that I would not become anything, I wouldn’t make anything because I had sold my soul to Satan so... it was kind of funny. A few years after, we had quit high school and college and all those things, I met all these people and they were really interested in what I was doing and they were telling me that I had done so much and they didn't do anything, after school they started working for their dad's company and then they got kids and just stayed home... so, for me, it was kind of funny to write these lyrics because it was like I was asking people what they had done while I sold my soul to Satan.

M.I. - It was like your payback... 

Yeah, a little bit like that! 

M.I. - Who’s responsible for the lyrics? What do they deal with?

The title of the album and that song is really a comment about the area where we come from. We draw lots of inspiration from what we've been through, like I said before, there are lots of conservative views, so it has some huge impact on our lives. Dispyt is a way to channel the dark side of myself, sometimes stuff starts building up inside of me and I need to get rid of it some way so Dispyt is a channel to release all this kind of built-up issues I have inside… it's for me at least. I'm looking critically at what's happening around me, what I've been through all my life and I also have a critical view at myself and I reflect myself in these lyrics as well.

M.I. - Dispyt is a band that sings in Finnish… how important is it for you to use your native tongue?

It’s not Finnish, it’s Swedish. I grew up listening to this kind of music in the 90s and lots and lots of stuff that sounded a little bit like this coming from Sweden. So, for me, Swedish being this kind of melodic language, I think it really fits well and, as I said, our drummer and I grew up listening to Swedish black metal, to Swedish punk, to Swedish hardcore, so it's really natural to sing in Swedish.

M.I. – You are listed as the vocalist in 10 bands. Do you write lyrics for all of them?

Not really! For many of those bands I write parts of the lyrics. On the new Dispyt album, i've probably written maybe three quarters of all the lyrics. With ...And Oceans I wrote almost the whole last album… I think that out of 10 songs, I wrote eight. Magenta Harvest is a little bit on ice right now and that was kind of 50/50. I got bands I don't write any lyrics for.

M.I. - The band will be releasing a pink cassette because the fans have voted and chose that colour. Do you regret asking them for their opinion? 

No, not really! You know, we couldn't decide... we had lots of choices to go with and I wanted one colour, the other guy another colour and the record company wanted a third one, so we just decided to put all our choices in there and then we just take some random stuff and let the fans choose. They chose and this is how it will be now. 

M.I. – Yes, I know, but who choose pink to put there in the first place?

We were just joking about it since we couldn’t agree on which colour, so we thought “why don't we take pink?” and that's a good one, you know? Take something that's equally horrible for everyone! 

M.I. - Do you think Red Truth Productions will agree to this?

It seems like they chose the cassette already, so yeah, it's been ordered, it's on its way!

M.I. - The artwork drawings were done by Timo Timotimo Konttinen & Jani Kaarlela and the Layout & Design by Wrathdesign. It looks a bit like a scratched sketch of a bust… what’s the message behind it? 

Jani made all the backgrounds that you can also see inside the artwork, there's lots of details. This is basically a collage, a sort of different emotions. We have a really good friend of ours that makes this kind of strange sketches. Actually, on the first album was an oil painting he made that was on the cover, in the same style. For some reason we wanted to to take his stuff and I’d been looking at his picture for a long time and I really wanted to have it in this. I felt that it described how sometimes I can feel, so that's why I wanted that one and, on the moment, I showed the guys that sketch, they were really sold on the idea.

M.I. – You were supposed to have a vinyl version of the album but corona virus screwed you up. Why has it messed up your plans? People who collect vinyl still collect it no matter what… why change the plans anyway?

Well, there wasn't any money for it, so we could have waited another half a year maybe and then release the album. But we decided that we wanted the album out and not wait anymore, because we already had waited half a year. We could either release something or wait for the coronavirus to go away, but we did a choice and this is it. Yeah, I really hope that we can do something in a later release, like a re-release on vinyl or something, but still so much depends on how the festival situation will look like, it’s all up to this thing. When you work with a small independent label, stuff can happen and when these bad things happen, it's like this.

M.I. - But are you hopeful things will be back to normal this summer with the festivals and all?!

I really hope so. You know, this was such a big setback to releases. In 2020 I released three full-length albums and we have not been handed a chance to tour on any of those albums. So, of course, I really hope it's gonna get back because that's what I live on, that's what I've been living on for the last 15 years. I definitely hope it's gonna come back and I can live normally again as soon as possible and give all the bands the tour promotion they need!

M.I. – Yes… and the income they need as well!

Yeah! That also! It's nice to pay your bills sometimes. (laughts)

M.I. - Your first full-length was released independently in 2017 and had a limit of 60 copies, but then in 2019 Immortal Frost Productions signed a deal to re-release your debut full length album in a limited amount of 1000 copies on CD & digital streaming platforms. Would you say this was a major help for Dispyt? 

Yeah, definitely! Our drummer has been working with him for a long time, because he and our guitar player have another band signed to Immortal Frost. We were really waiting to see if he wanted to sign us as he was talking that he really liked the albums. So, we didn't know if he was gonna take a chance because it's a different kind of music than he the one he has on his record company… but he decided to take a chance and we were really happy with it. When we see now that we have the second album out and it's getting bigger and bigger, I think it was a good decision in the end.

M.I. - Your new album also has a limit of 1000 copies. With the attention you’re now getting, do you think 1000 copies will be enough? 

Well, it's a small record company, so that's the way it's done. I cannot really say anything about the amount, I really hope it's going to be enough. 

M.I. - You are signed to Immortal Frost Productions and now they’ve teamed up with Season of Mist for the North American territory… 

Yes, yes, and in Europe as well! But, of course, he's got his own channels in Europe...

M.I. – Yeah, will this be an advantage for the band? Do you believe it’ll bring you more attention?

I think it's a good chance to get some more views and more attention to his label.

M.I. – So, tell me, of all the tracks of this album which one is the strongest in your opinion?

It's kind of hard to say! There are some tracks and it depends. On the first album, there was more punk and, on this album, as we are signed to a metal label, we also wanted to put some more metal in there as well. So, it depends on what you are searching for but I really love the opening track because I love that kind of energy of the fast tracks. That's a really, really strong track as well especially when, in the studio, we did that lead guitar in the end. Yeah, that's one of my favourite tracks.

M.I. - Despite the corona virus, you played two shows in October… how was it? Did you play to a crowded room or an empty one? How strange is it playing these days?

There were two shows. There’s this bar in our hometown where they have lots of small gigs and that one was really empty. We were three bands there, so it was almost like we played to each other. There was not that much audience... our friends were there and they saw the show but, other than that, it was not that much. Then, the day after, we played at quite a big place. It was like a two-day punk festival, so it was a little bit more people there but it wasn't crowded and everyone was social distancing! There was really a good audience over there! There were lots of people but there were no circle pits and stuff like that.

M.I. - How strange is it playing like that?

It's a bit weird, but this is everything you can do now, so it’s much better than doing nothing. I don't mind playing these social distancing shows, it's better than playing none at all. You'll have to take what you get!

M.I. - How excited are you to go back to playing live? 

It's gonna be really nice! I haven't been this long away from the stages. In 2020, I think I played 12 concerts, that's the least number of shows I’ve played in 15 years so… I'm getting restless here, I want to go out there and support the albums that we released.

M.I. - I hope you go back to touring because we're still waiting for Finntroll to come back to play in Vagos and you're supposed to come this year but some festivals are already being rescheduled for 2022. I'm afraid the same might happen to that one. I just hope the festival happens...

You know, it's hard to say right now! We have lots of shows planned for the rest of the year so there's nothing we can do if it doesn't happen, but I really hope it does. Last summer we played one festival and there were three small metal festivals in Finland, so let's hope that we can at least play some in Finland.

M.I. - But you're not scheduling anything for Dispyt, are you?

Not really right now, no, we don't know what we're gonna do with that right now!

M.I. - Dispyt has done a tour in which you basically paid for everything out of your pockets… how does it make you feel that it has to be like this? During this pandemic season have you saved some money for future Dispyt tours?

No, not really! But we didn't even pay anything from our own pockets, except from maybe some Mcdonald's here and there, but everything else was paid with the money of the T-shirts we sold before the tour. We sold lots of t-shirts, we printed a tour t-shirt for the tour so we could actually have gas money and stuff like that, so we didn't actually pay anything from our pockets. Every day was with the money we got from the show plus what we sold for merchandise.

M.I. - How different are Dispyt when compared to Finntroll and …And Oceans? Do the bigger bands have bigger advantages, moneywise speaking?

Of course! This period it's sort of plus minus zero! We don't really make any money but we don't really lose anything either, so yeah that’s why i miss it. I can make a living out of Finntroll, I can pay my bills and my rent with that money, but with Dispyt that's a little bit away still! 

M.I. - You are involved in so many bands… how do you keep track of everything that’s being done? Don’t you ever confuse one band’s songs for another? How do you memorize all the lyrics?

I only have three bands right now, so it's not a problem. I used to have many more bands back in the days, so this is easy. 

M.I. - You sing in 10 different bands… which of your vocal styles is your favourite? Why? 

I really don't pick any favourites. …And oceans that's something that I really like to do. If I would say something that is closest to my style, then it's probably ...And Oceans right now. What I really like with Dispyt is playing bass… I really enjoy it and I can finally play some bass as well live… but it's been so long... 

M.I. - So what do Dispyt expect of 2021?

We really are hoping that we can play two long weekends in Finland, at least! Touring to support the new album, maybe play a couple of festivals in the summer as well. But, other than that, we don't really know. We have already lots of songs, because this album was supposed to come out way earlier, so if nothing else happens, if the corona virus screws with our touring, we’ll go back to the studio.

M.I. - ... and then you'll have to promote two albums instead of one!


M.I. - Is there a lesson this pandemic has taught you somehow? 

Yeah, definitely! Earlier in my life I put everything in one basket, so to say, so when everything got taken away, I didn't have any backup plans. So, that's a good reminder, and that's why I started going back to school because you never know... there are mutations of this virus coming, so that's a big thing. Always have a backup plan, that's it!

M.I. - That's indeed a good lesson! Always have a plan B! Mathias, many thanks for your time. All the best for all your projects. Hope to see you play live really soon. Now please share a final message with our readers.

Definitely! I really want to tell everyone to take care and to stay safe out there, because the more we take care of this, the sooner we can all get back to concerts and have fun again... so yeah! I really hope that I'll see a lot of you in 2021 with either Finntroll, Dispyt or ...And Oceans... you never know!

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Sónia Fonseca