Hi Alexander!! Thanks for getting in touch! It’s really nice to have this chance to chat. I suppose I’m doing okay for the most part. Lately I have been way too stressed out though, and in some ways my life (or at least the way I experience it) has been quite unstable. But l can’t really complain either, as at the moment I have a job which I really like, I’m surrounded by really wonderful people and I have a ton of creative projects that are very important to me, so I’m trying to stay positive you know!
Hello Mr Urho! how are you doing man? Hope all fine on your end, and the beers are cold…
Okay bro, let’s shed some light on the history of your one man band, Tolerance. When did you start out? Why did you choose this dirty raw style of goregrind? What was in your mind when you came up with the first putrid riffs for this project?
I think it started out in 2015, which actually seems quite a long time ago now. I think that was a period in which we didn’t have a lot of activity with the other bands I was involved in and I was getting pretty bored with all the ambient/drone stuff I was recording for my other solo project, so I started to experiment with drum programming and ended up recording some shitty demos on my 4-track.
I actually think Oula from DT80k had initially talked to me about how he thought it would be cool to start a gore band that would have socially conscious lyrics and that would be explicitly political instead of just dealing with all the usual pathological stuff, and I think that it was actually this idea of his that really inspired me to further develop those initial recordings to what eventually became the 26 Trax demo tape. I think if I hadn’t been inspired by this kind of concept the project would have never really taken off the way it did.
Otherwise the sound developed pretty organically with me just trying to make the most of the shitty gear that I had at the time, while trying to rip off Xysma as much as possible. Eventually I realized that there’s actually a lot of room for experimentation with this kind of grindcore and since the first demo I’ve been trying out lots of different sounds while learning new tricks along the way.
I don’t think I ever meant for Tolerance to become such an active project,but doing the socio-politically charged lyrics with a sort of knuckleheaded but positive attitude and the ‘AARGH!! CAPS-LOCK!!’ style of simplistic writing, along with the noisy and totally DIY style of production has really felt right for me so I’ve just kept doing it.
From the very beginning I also wanted Tolerance to be a band that would be empowering rather than just repeating the same old “go fucking nihilist” mantra or trying to be as extreme and negative as possible to appear cool.So instead of all that I try to offer some more positive thoughts and courses of action regarding everything
that’s happening in the world today, and that has felt really good and definitely something that I’d like to keep doing in the future as well.
How hard is it to deal with a band,when you`re only one guy doing everything? Don`t you find it difficult,or overwhelming at times? I mean,you have to do all the recordings by yourself,while still managing to perfect and increase your musical skills/abilities etc..)
Actually I find doing solo projects like Tolerance to be pretty straightforward and in many ways a lot less stressful than other bands, because when I get to do everything by myself I’m not responsible to anyone else for organizing rehearsals, songwriting or making any other creative choices. So in this sense there’s a lot less hassle with everything.
But like you say, that means that sometimes there’s also a lot more work. For example, at the moment I have several releases for which I finished recording more than a year ago, but which still haven’t been released in a physical format because I haven’t had the time to do the cover artwork and other ‘paperwork’ for them…
But yeah, so far I’ve mostly been enjoying doing everything by myself for this project. Of course I still really enjoy playing with bands that have a full live line-up, because then there can be a lot more diversity in the creative output and there’s nothing better than to get to work with good people who have a shared vision. In fact, I think that the social aspect of playing in punk bands has been probably the most rewarding part of the whole experience, heh…
Have you ever considered transforming the band into a full action unit, if it was possible? Playing live gigs in Japan, partying with the boys, and puking your guts out on the floor in the tourbus, haha?)
I actually have been thinking that it might be nice to do some gigs and there’s even been some preliminary plans regarding a Tolerance live performance, but I think it would be just me by myself doing the guitars and vocals with a drum machine playing in the background haha! With Tolerance I think the drum programming is a pretty integral part of the sound and so far I haven’t felt the need to transform the songs so that they would be performed by a full live line-up, although now that I think of it, it actually might be pretty interesting to see how that would sound!
However, I’m really psyched about playing live shows with my other grind band Tunkio, which is in many respects quite a similar project.We have been planning some more shows outside of Finland too, which is cool, although to be perfectly honest I have to admit that I find the idea of touring extremely stressful, even though I know it to be a very rewarding experience… But in any case, playing in Japan would surely be a dream come true, so if you’re reading this and you want to see us live, then get in touch haha!!
And I actually don’t drink anymore, but of course that doesn’t have to stop me from partying with ‘the boys’, or ‘the girls’, or as I’d really prefer, just ‘people’, regardless of their gender. Smashthebinary!! And as I don’t drink anymore I think the puking would also unfortunately be due to extreme nausea rather than awesome partying, heh…
I know you as a very active individual in underground scene. How many bands are you involved in? And out of those, which ones are still going strong/active? Could you also tell us a bit about your recent trip to Russia.
Oh that’s very nice of you to say!! I don’t really consider myself as that active though because I’m not that much involved in organizing shows, running a label or stuff like that, but it’s very nice to hear that you think so! I’d definitely like to be more involved in the broader scene infrastructure as well though, in addition to just making the music, and this is something that I hope to achieve in the future.
At the moment my really active grindcore projects are Tolerance, Rust and Tunkio, which me and Temsu (Hävitys, Synti, ex-Beer Terror, ex-Total Recall etc.) started after we stopped playing with Beer Terror. Both Tolerance and Tunkio are constantly recording new stuff and Tunkio has also been doing quite a few shows recently which has been awesome. Rust, which was initially a project of Oula and Tomi from Death Toll 80k and that I only joined quite a bit later, is also still doing shows and recording new stuff and we are hoping to get more active again in the summer! In addition to these we are also planning to finally finish up an old recording with our now inactive grind band Synti, and we also recorded some new trax for Mr.Bogus recently, which is a project I’m in with ex-Arroyo guitarist Miska. I also have a solo crust project called Squalor which also has two tapes coming out sometime soon (I hope) and some new recordings planned for the future.
I’m also in an alternative rock band called Luuydin which just recorded a studio EP this winter. We’re looking forward to getting that released soon and we’re already working on some new material for the future. Some teaser trax for the EP are due to come out online any day now… I also make drone/ambient with my project Fields of Grief and noise under the name Nössö. These latter projects have been pretty inactive recently but I’m hoping to have some time soon to make some new recordings for both of them.
I’ve also recently started playing in a powerviolence band, a hardcore band and a sort of experimental rock band.In addition to all of these I’m always recording some random stuff at home that doesn’t really fit with any of these projects, but who knows, maybe there will be some new solo projects coming up at some point. I’m pretty psyched about all ofthese new projects as well and I’m looking forward to see how they will turn out when we have more time to rehearse and figure out the concepts in more detail.
The trip to Russia with Tunkio was so fucking nice!!! I was pretty stressed out about it beforehand though, because there was quite a lot of paperwork to be done with visas etc., and I was worried that the trip would turn out to be quite expensive, but we got a lot of help with all the paperwork etc., and when we got to St.Petersburg everything went really smoothly!! We traveled with Sisli, the vocalist of Houre, and she was the best guide we could have hoped for. We didn’t have to really think about anything,haha!!She translated for us and showed us all the best spots in the town and was simply awesome company to travel with! The show was also really nice!!! Olga had organized everything really well and it was so great to go to a show where there’s only total grindnoise filth all night long with the crowd going crazy!! We don’t really get that kind of gigs here in Finland! All the bands were superb but I think my favorite set was from Infernal Disgust! Highly recommended!
A week ago, you published news on your Facebook band profile, regarding some new noise in the works… do you want to share the “secret” with us, what you have in store? Could this possibly be fresh material for new split Eps, or even the very first full length album?
Hahah for sure, but unfortunately I don’t have any huge news for you, as unfortunately at the moment I’m not working on a new major solo release, so no EP’s or LP’s anytime soon, sorry!! Although if you’re interested in releasing something like this from me please get in touch and I can start working on that right away, haha! I have been planning to do some sort of a benefit cd-r for a charity in the near future but I still have to figure out a lot of stuff related to this, so it’s a bit too early to say anything more about that.
I’m practically recording new stuff for splits all the time so this post you mentioned was basically just to let people know that there will be more noise coming out soon! And I can tell you that the newest Tolerance session will be the dirtiest piece of lo-fi shit that I have made so far! It’s so stinky that I’veactually uncertain of whether I should even release it,haha!! I’m not sure what split that will be used for yet, but there are several splits planned despite the ones that have been already announced ‘officially’.
Another thing that I can tell you is that there will hopefully be some merch available soon! I’ve been planning some shirt designs and I hope that I will be able to get these out during the summer at the very latest. At the moment my biggest problemwith this is the lack of time and resources, so as soon as I get all of that sorted out there should be some more news about this!
If you should pick ONE final record to listen to,right before the world ends, what would that be?) And what would you choose as your farewell drink,in this context also?
Hmmm this is a tough one. I think it would be either ‘Hex – Or printing the infernal method’ or ‘The bees made honey in the lion’s skull’ by Earth, or alternatively ‘Woven into light’ by Elm. These are all albums that I developed a very personal relation to very early on and that I keep coming back to time after time, so I think that these would be pretty appropriate albums to listen to before drowning into the void… So no grindcore for this occasion unfortunately, heh…
And it seems even harder to choose the drink, so I’ll just say that I’d like my last drink to be fucking huge and strong as hell!!! Like I said, I don’t drink anymore, but if the end of the world really was imminent I think I might not care so much about being sober anymore… But of course this also depends on the setting. If I were alone I think I’d definitely end up getting shitfaced but if I was with people I cared about I think I’d definitely rather concentrate on sharing my last moments with them.
Urho, your bandname is Tolerance. Why did you choose this name for the band? Do you consider yourself a tolerant person? And what about subjects like porngrind,vegans or Nazism (fascism)… How does these matters affect your tolerance?
Yes I do consider myself a tolerant person. I chose this name for the band because I wanted to make clear that Tolerance is an explicitly political project and that I’m a strong supporter of humanistic values and a world that is built on tolerance, understanding and equality. Lately I have felt a strong need to be more active in making myself more useful in the struggle for a better world and I definitely wanted Tolerance to reflect the fact that I try to be active in contemporary politics and that I strongly oppose the current climate of intolerance and bigotry, the strongest instigator of which is the rising far-right movement.
I have always had a huge amount of respect for grindcore and punk bands that take a strong stance on socio-political issues like Discharge, Napalm Death, Extreme Noise Terror, Agathocles and Dropdead just to name a few, and I wanted Tolerance to continue in this tradition. I think taking politics into account is very important today, because it seems that for a lot of people grindcore has become just some sort of party music genre and for some it even seems to serve as nothing more but a platform through which to excrete their toxic, sexist and hateful minds to the public, who unfortunately quite often seem to be interested in just about anything ‘extreme’, rather than giving the content itself any real thought.
At this point I feel the need to identify my political agenda somehow, but to be honest I find that quite difficult because I don’t really consider myself as strictly adhering to the tenets of any specific political doctrine to a point that I could call myself e.g. an anarchist or a socialist etc., but rather I tend to let my own sense of right and wrong guide my actions, instead of just blindly following some pre-formulated agenda. I am a member of the Left Alliance political party and I feel that in many ways they represent the economically leftist and morally liberal values that I hold, but on the other hand I do feel more at home with more grassroots forms of politics and I certainly support many kinds of direct action and more radical anti-capitalist movements as well. Getting in any way involved with a political party was actually quite a big step for me, but so far I’ve been totally fine with it and I think that given the current political climate there is a strong need to support good and just political activity at the parliamentary level as well, even if you don’t really believe in the system as a whole.
Of the subjects you brought up I’ll first talk about veganism.Basically I think the way in which we treat animals today is simply put a total fucking disgrace. It is genocidal exploitation and it is based on nothing but anthropocentric criminal negligence regarding the subjectivity and rights of different species of animals. This sadistic system is a consequence of the capitalist economy which is inherently based on the suffering of those who can’t protect themselves against exploitation by those who have the resources required to increase and sustain their power through the oppression of the less fortunate. So I am very much pro-vegan and I stray from all animal products as much as possible. I can’t call myself a strict vegan though, because sometimes, very rarely and usually because of the total lack of alternatives, I’ll have some dairy products or something like that… But yeah, I think that the exploitation of animals is such a horrific yet neglected part of our system that there should definitely be more action against it until the system simply has to change. Oh yeah, and of course eating meat is also fucking disastrous for the environment as well, so even if you don’t give a shit about animal rights you still might want to start considering your diet!
About pornogrind, well, personally I think it is total shit, haha! But I can’t say I think that there shouldn’t be such a thing, because censoring never works, and I believe that genres like this, similarly to any other sort of cultural phenomena, are born more or less out of a causal relationship, or a sort of dialectical necessity. The forms of culture which humans create always reflect the social and material conditions in which they are conceived, so I guess in some weird way even pornogrind deserves its place in our cultural canon, hahah… But on the other hand I have absolutely no interest in collaborating with pornogrind bands or supporting that scene in any way. But like I said, I’m not really into censoring others. I try to concentrate on getting my own voice heard and having faith in the fact that if what I’m saying is good, people will alwayschoose that over something like pornogrind…
As for Nazis, I don’t see any reason to in any way defend or try to reason with such a poisonous ideology, even though I believe its emergence is in many ways subject to similar socio-cultural processes that I described above. But when dealing with a political movement whose aim really is to destroy the lives of entire populations and create a regressive and stagnant totalitarian system that is heavily based on racism, I really think we can’t just sit idly by and say that “oh they deserve to have their opinion too”. Politics is fundamentally about sorting out issues that affect the general public of people, so when a movement seeks to destroy and suffocate an entire section of the population that it’s supposed to serve, based on ethnicity, religion etc., you can’t treat that movement like it deserves to take a part in the political system when their whole agenda is based on destruction, division and hatred! That’s not politics at all!! That’s just some hate filled assholes masquerading their own decrepit issues as politics!!
Having said all that I must also point out that I oppose political violence in all its forms and I believe that we can overcome the threat of the growing fascistic and racist movements around the world through non-violent methods, because in the end, they really are a force that draws from the worst sides of humanity and I don’t believe that people are inherently drawn to that. The recent rise of these movements is largely due to them being very opportunistic in their exploitation of recent global crises, and I’m confident that their ideology will never prevail.
Tell us,how do you relieve stress in relation to your everyday life? Do you go to local squats, or garage shows in your area? Or locally? Explain a bit about the extreme music underground,in Finland…
To be honest going to shows is not really my idea of stress relief haha! But of course I love to go and see punk/grind gigs and other interesting alternative music shows whenever I have the time and money to do so. But for example lately I have been really into learning some vegan baking and that has been a really good way to relieve stress,haha!!
I think Finland has a pretty decent underground scene and there’s a lot of alternative stuff coming out now from a variety of genres. The shows aren’t always super interesting,but I still think it’s great that there’s a lot of them happening and there’s definitely something for everyone. Where I live there are unfortunately no squats, but there are some otherreally nice venues that will book some really weird bands and not worry too much about drawing a huge crowd to the shows.
At the moment I’d say that a lot of people here have gotten really into extreme metal and alternative rock, with there not being as much interest in punk. as there was at some point, but there’s still a strong scene here for sure. I guess that generally what makes me sad about the underground scene in Finland, generally speaking, is that people are usually interested only in one thing rather than going to explore all sorts of underground gigs, but I guess that’s how it is everywhere and always has been. But then again, in a broader scope, there definitely does seem to have been some sort of an increase in people’s interest for alternative culture in general, which I think is definitely a good thing.
What is your Nr.1 all time favorite Heavy Metal album?
Hmmmmm… I’m tempted to say something by Black Sabbath or Venom, but in all honesty the first one that popped to my mind was ‘Death Penalty’ by Witchfinder General, so I’ll just go with that! Awesome and rifftastic NWOBHM! I have so many good memories related to listening to that album…
Okay man, I`m out of questions now. Thanks for your time,and this little chat. Do you have any final words for your followers, and our readers?
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview! It really means a lot to me and I wish you all the best with this zine!! I read it all the time and I hope you’ll be making a lot more content in the future!
I also want to thank everyone who have been supporting Tolerance and made it such a rewarding experience. I hope in the future there will be many more releases and collaborations with all kinds of awesome bands and people. For people interested in splits, trades, releases etc., feel free to get in touch. Don’t worry if I don’t answer right away I’m probably just very busy.
Oh and of course if you are a conservative porno nazi bastard please don’t bother getting in contact because you will just be wasting my time as well as yours.
Be good to each other, always try to have an open mind and keep supporting all kinds of underground culture because only we can make it flourish!! CHEEERS!!!