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slow #5/winter 2001

The first rule of fanzine writing is take your dictaphone everywhere, even if you just use it to annoy people at random. Take today, weíre wandering the streets of London, probably on the way to Rough Trade or something, looking forward to the Gonzales show later in the day, and we get stopped on Charing Cross Road... weíre easy targets for religious pamphleteers at the best of times, but today weíll talk to anybody. This guy is different — heís trying to sell us a CD. Heís not from round here. Letís see what he has to say...

Tell us about this — what is it called?
Itís Finnish drumíníbass. We have our own label called Absolute Truth Press, and the heart of the label is three guys — me and my friends. We have our own studio, one guy is a jazz drummer — he studies in a Finnish jazz academy so we have a good connection with all kinds of live instrument players. And simply we make it, print it, and I go around Europe selling it on the street.
How many have you sold so far?
Eight thousand.
Thatís amazing — how long has it taken you to sell them?
From last year's summer — about ten months.

Is there much of a drumíníbass scene in Finland, apart from you?
Iíd say actively maybe 6,000 people — and almost all of them have this. But Iíve been in Denmark, Sweden, this is my first time here. Switzerland, Germany, Holland, these are the places Iíve been since. I think weíve sold more like this than any record label.
Are there any other Krishna drumíníbass bands around?
There is a big scene in hardcore music. If you go to the internet ant type in Ďkrishnacoreí youíll find many hardcore bands, but drumíníbass... we are weird, even for Krishnas! And for big Krishna-oriented bands there was Kula Shaker, they have quite a lot of the same ideas. What else?

Are you trying to stay independent?
Well through this record we got some contacts, for example Formation Records was us to make some tracks. But this project is completely independent and as a matter of fact I think for some of the persons here they like it, because then as an artist you are really free to do what you want. Because, at least in Finland, to get your things done you immediately have to put it commercial, then if you are an artist who really wants to express yourself, your ideas, you cannot.
In this thing I said to the boys that whatever you do, Iíll sell it if itís good, because I trust that they are professionals. In the street I have it here (on a CD walkman) and I put it in peoplesí ear and they can hear the sound. But here in London the difference is that I have to use much more energy to get over peoplesí suspiciousness because they have millions of ideas of what could I be doing. When I go to girls in Soho they think Iím a lusty guy just looking for I donít know what, or selling drugs or whatever.

While one of us keeps him talking the other one has a listen to the CD. Itís nice. Nice and funky, and a bit jazzy in a Peshay kind of way.

Do you have a website?
We donít yet have, but we have email. The guy who made this knows how to work on paper but now he is learning, so I think soon we are going to have our own website.
* stop press — website is www.absolutetruthpress.com

Often Krishna bands are just seen kind of chanting, but youíve got lyrics on here?
This is almost instrumental, there are sampled speeches. We have a conception that the consciousness you have when you make the music also affects the listener, and if youíre making spiritual consciousness music it affects each person. Raga is one way of Indian music — itís completely instrumental but still they are called prayers, but theyíre instrumental.
Okay, so none of us were really prepared for this interview to happen, and to be honest when we eventually played the tape back we couldnít work out the name of the band. Then, when we were putting Slow 5 together, we discovered it was Damodara; like Govinda — itís another name for Krishna (weíre told), but being simple country folk we forgot to research it properly for months. Our new Finnish friend (who we now also know is named Kardama) is a bit bewildered by the whole being interrogated thing too, itís like people donít normally stop to talk to strangers or something.
From Shadow To Substance is the name of the album. This is really spontaneous...
Weíre here to interview somebody else later on, so weíre prepared, to a certain extent (then we get the cameras out...)
Hahaha, this is just incredible!

Do you have a live act as well, or is it just a studio thing?
These guys have live things, but they are just productions — this is simply a studio project.

It all got a bit much for us after this, so we wished our friend luck, tried to give him our spare travelcards, and strolled off into the London afternoon. I think we all learned something that day. Our immense thanks go to Kardama for not running away when he had the chance, and to Kaisa at Absolute Truth Press for giving us the facts we so desperately needed for this article to work. We got there in the end — weíre just a bit slow.

 

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