Stefan of Havukruunu: ”It’s stupid as fuck to pose in the woods”

Anxious crusty punks.

Finnish Havukruunu have released three great albums in a row. Their latest one came in the middle of August last year. The same year the band expanded to a four-piece, with Stefan (vocals, guitars) being the only founding member. Bara Metal took the chance to know more about the music, the future, the dark humor and what’s wrong with oaks and beeches. Stefan answered the questions.

First of all – what did 2020 and corona-virus mean to you? Did it affect the album in anyway, slow things down, hurry things up? 

– Well, all gigs have been cancelled thus far, and we have been trying to rehearse this whole time and I just wrote new music for us to record and EP during the remaining winter time. All is at standstill, but we are trying. The positive thing is that I got time to finish Uinuos Syömein Sota, but besides that it has fucked everything up and shaken our existence, as with many other musicians and artists.

Did understand correctly. A new EP – already? When will it be released? 

– No release date, sometime maybe this year. We will not wait for another full lenght, because EP is a wonderful footnote, to try different things out without the pressure, so to speak, of full lenghts. And its hardcore, well, not really, but hardcore enough for die hards to check out.

So, how many song? 

– Five-ish songs. Can’t spill more beans, everything is uncertain and this makes me calm.

Okay. So your latest album Uinuos Syömein Sota has been described/reviewed as “experimental” with “livelier drums”. How would you describe the music of Havukruunu overall, and the progress you have made?

– Our drummer is so good, he doesn’t break a sweat playing like he plays, so he can play lively, easily. The progress has been natural, I think, no wonky decisions to do things different on purpose, but a natural progression and elevation of the music. To the point where I think we have had to now kill what our music became and you will see the “spectre” of Havukruunu in the future, metaphorically speaking. 

The spec… What does that mean?!

– Well, it’s just more of the unnecessary shit cut off. And maybe the more accessible stuff cut out. More evil, but you’ll know it’s us, so no need to be afraid. Just embrace the dark. Ha ha! 

You have a good sense of humor. When I look at the photos of you at Facebook, I noticed that you call yourselves: “…cityboys tryin to be cool black metal woodsmen.” Is that important? To laugh at yourselves? 

– Yes, and more importantly to laugh at others. We have had this problem of trying to take cool black metal photos, but we end up laughing at each other and the stupid pompousness that this shit really is. So it hasn’t ever turned out as we planned. Also, it’s stupid as fuck to pose in the woods, as if that’s what you were doing naturally. The rotting cellar in the city where we dial in guitar sounds and smoke indoors is our natural habitat. Being anxious crusty punks, with nothing better to do.

Do you think black metal bands, and folk metal bands with folky instruments, take themselves too seriously?

– Well, yeah. And you have to be serious to some extent, about your music, about your writing. But the way many act, is so full of shit, it’s unbearable. Luckily I do not know these people, and have no interest whatsoever in knowing them. I don’t really give a fuck, and do not need to, I have my personal record collection of the old godz to listen to, and I have my own little world that no one can ever enter or understand.

So, what is it with a coniferous crown (kronan på ett barrträd), or a desolate dark forest that captures the feeling of your music that much, that it became your band name?

– You speak of what you know. I was a very lonely kid, growing up in the middle of the woods, so I think it’s only natural that the name came out as it did.

– The woodlands capture my whole being and existence, there’s nothing else to it. 

So, what’s wrong with broad-leaved trees like oaks and beeches? 

– They drop the leaves and hibernate through winter. We strive in winter, and do our dark rituals when it’s cold and dark and no one is there to hear or see you, that’s why.

Ha ha ha! Do you ever go out trekkeing in the forest? 

– Yes I do, it’s mainly for my well being, and brain health. We are not meant to live in cubicles and dwell in dark thought. Stop internet and stop focusing on the wrong things. We’d be better off just surviving from day to day, and living in rural small communities.   

Is that how you live? A small place in Suomi? 

– We are small town boys, but even this way the problems of society are painfully obvious. People living in “suicide cubicles”, how can this be healthy?

– Small community where you matter, and can help one another, would make life meaningful, and I guess it could ease with all the mental problems today’s people are facing.

A lot of people care about what you do, and you are constantly on so called AOTY-lists. How do you notice this? And what does it mean to you? 

– It does not matter at all. Labels can stand in line to nothing, festivals can keep mailing. We can choose what we want to do, and we do only shit that matters. No sense in burning all your firewood the first night, when the wolves howl many a night to come.

You stick to finnish in your lyrics, and titles. And even the first message on Facebook is in finnish: “Valovokaa koko talvi sytyttäkää yön taivas palamaan” – why? 

– The message, the very first and last message, is in essence our very being. I have been sticking to finnish, because I have been writing my whole life, in finnish, and it’s my native language, and I can express myself best that way in writing, otherwise my first language is Music with a capital M.

You have been writing your whole life? Do you write things besides lyrics? Like novels or poetry? 

– Well, it’s all anyway going into my lyrics, or rather, my lyrics are rewritten poems, I have written some novellas and short stories, but only for myself and/or for fun. I am not going to release any in other format than lyrics.

– It’s just something to put my thoughts into, like in music and painting. I watched too much Bob Ross younger, and found the joy and calm in painting, though all my pictures are much darker and nasty.

So, you speak perfect English, do you speak Swedish as well?

– I speak a bit of Swedish, yes. I’m of the understanding that I come from an immigrant family från Sverige so I can exchange a few words, and hold up a basic conversation.

I’m impressed. Well, Havukruunu are now a four piece band. What does that mean to the input? 

– Well, I still write all the music and lyrics. The individual arrangements come from the remaining members, and as of yet I have been producing and overseeing everything. Henkka might be more participating in production and mixing in the future releases though, but it’s mainly me writing.

Why did Humö leave? And who are the founding members of Havukruunu?

– Humö left because of personal reasons, and the fact that we wanted to do different things. As I am the sole, and only founding member, the child was left with me. No court cases here, ha ha, we have an understanding still to this day, and are in contact and in many other mutual musical projects.

– I did the first album by myself, and I have been doing things mainly alone until the current line up.

Is there anyone outside of the four of you that is very important to Havukruunu? 

– The artist who has done our cover art all the way, we have a very working relationship and communication. And Robert of Naturmacht Productions helps a lot with everything. We have much support from the label, and basically total freedom to do whatever the fuck we like, no pressure at all. Very relaxed and easy.

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