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06/12/2007 – Interview with DEPRESSED MODE

DEPRESSED MODE (official website) is a project/band that started in 2005, with Ossy Salonen being the sole member and creator, obviously. Everything was very much keyboard-based at that time, but to popular demand he searched for other members to fulfill the empty positions, especially for the guitars. Natalie from SHAPE OF DESPAIR also joined soon enough. Now, two years later, a first release is ready "Ghosts Of Devotion", which came out in September. The review can be consulted at this location. This album is the first result of their signing to Firebox Records.

I sent some questions to Ossy back in September, but it seems other things occupied his time schedule and I couldn't do much else but wait. A few weeks ago, Ossy found the time to reply and last week I finally (!!) got the answers to process this interview. Enjoy some in-depth talk and be sure to check out DEPRESSED MODE and "Ghosts Of Devotion", especially if you're into bleak Funeral Doom or bands like SHAPE OF DESPAIR, SKEPTICISM, and alike.

Depressed Mode logo

The name DEPRESSED MODE, where exactly does it come from and is there a connection with DEPECHE MODE? Or would this be too obvious?

No, there's no connection. When thinking up bandnames, DEPRESSED MODE sounded cool and we didn't think of DEPECHE MODE at the time.. Later on we had lots of comments of "connections with DEPECHE MODE".

Depressed Mode bandYou play two roles: vocalist and keyboardist. Which do you prefer and why? Both are probably well balanced, but if you really had to choose?

I prefer singing ('cause I do it live). It's better for me to just sing at gigs - cause I can focus on it 110% - than synth and vocals at the same time.

With all this growling, do you use a certain method to keep your voice intact and powerful enough for future recordings, gigs, ...?

I practise a lot. At the moment, I can't practise, because of a surgery that was performed on me. :-) But when I'm healed, I'll start to rehearse every day, both growling and clean singing.

The band was formed only a few years ago and steadily the line-up was completed. What musical background did you and the others have before proceeding with DEPRESSED MODE?

I have played every kind of music from Jazz to Classical and from Folk music to r&b, but Metal is my own kind of music. Everyone of us has a lot of experience in metal and everyone has played since quite a long time.

Before you had an entire line-up, there were no signs of guitars. Due to outside requests and commentary you ultimately decided to ask Tomppa for some guitarparts. Were you then afterwards convinced that this instrument might add more power to your songs?

Heh.. I was quite sure that it might give more power to my songs, but I didn't want any guitars at first, 'cause this was my solo project and I wanted to play everything myself. At the time I had not practised my skills with the guitar in a long time, so I didn't have a need to play them. :-) But when people requested guitars, I decided to ask Tomppa to play the parts.

When you started making music under the DEPRESSED MODE banner, did you have a long-term vision for the band? Or was/is it more like 'one step at a time'?

When I started, I didn't think that we would even ask for a record deal, or that someone else would be playing in this project (these days a band), so everything has been really great and our contract seems great too! When people convinced me that DEPRESSED MODE's music is great, I decided with Natalie and Tomppa that we would try to get a record deal, and after we sent our so-called shitty demo to Firebox (the first and the only place we'we sent one) they sent us the contract. We were quite shocked that they wanted us to be a part of Firebox!

The debut, "Ghosts Of Devotion", has just been released. Is it like you envisioned it to be? Or would you still have changed something if you had more time?

"Ghosts Of Devotion" is like I imagined it to be, or even better! The only thing I would have changed is the sound of the bass drum: it should have been a little more bass based, but when I listen to the songs, I think that it's like it should be. Time was nothing to consider. I've composed the album over one year, so I made the songs sound like they sound on the album.

Could you give a brief description of what each song is about?

The opening track "Alone", describes the time I composed this album, and I composed it all alone and by that time I was very lonely.

"So Long" describes a life from the past, when the future didn't seem so bright and I had not much motivation to anything.

"Words Of Silence" is a very personal song to some of my unfortunate moments of life.

We all need to "Suffer In Darkness" once at least! This song describes the making of "Ghosts Of Devotion" album, all the tears, sweat and blood I've shed for this album.

"Ghosts Of Devotion" is all about everything that haunts every mans past.

"Sun Is Dead", you can guess this! It's all about winter in Finland, when the sun seems to be dead and no light anywhere.

"Fallen Angel" is about beauty and sorrow, tears and joy.

"Cold" is also about winter, but also about the freezing feelings of mine, for some people I knew once, and for those who turned their back on me when I had a very difficult time a few years ago.

Depressed Mode - Ghosts Of DevotionThe cover also adds to the 'depressing' mood of the songs. Is that the tree of death or a metaphore for 'the end of life', or anything in that vein? And what's the link with the title?

It's the tree of death, where the ghosts of devotion are born. It also describes the composing and recording process; moves on like the trees are growing (really slow), but really steady.

On "Ghosts Of Devotion" you also added the BURZUM song "Dunkelheit". In terms of atmosphere it fits with your own songs, but you can still hear this isn't a DEPRESSED MODE composition. I'm very unfamiliar with the works of BURZUM, but that song was quite ok for me. According to your page, BURZUM is one of your favourite bands. What makes "Dunkelheit" (apart from its meaning, "Darkness") for you a perfect song to cover and add to the album?

It's a really personally touching song to me because of the lyrics, and I love the hidden beauty and despair of the song. It's quite dark, so it fits perfectly on the album.

About obtaining a deal with Firebox Records: --- 1) The first contact was with a French underground label, via MySpace. But that didn't work out, apparently. What went wrong?

They couldn't afford to make any copyright payments and wouldn't pay for the studio!

--- 2) How did you get in touch with Firebox? Did you have talks with one or more bands on their roster or were the contacts already established prior to talking with the French label? In addition, what do you think of Firebox's roster?

A internet friend told me about Firebox and it was the first and the only place I sent a 'demo'. I wasn't really familiar with their roster, and had never even seen any band live from their roster. But they offered an OK deal, so we made a contract.

You are the mastermind behind the music and lyrics. But is there a role division? Do others also contribute, but then with you having the final decision-right, also when a majority is needed to agree about a certain composition?

I always ask for each song from the guys (and Natalie) for their opinion. If they don't like the song (happens rarely, hahaha), I'll set aside the song and maybe I'll work on it later. I usually compose the whole songs, but I always ask for the guys to try to arrange some of their own riffs for the songs, although that ain't necessary very often.

Speaking of writing songs: --- 1) lyrics or music first?


--- 2) what inspires you - in general - to write a song, a melody, lyrics, ...?

Everything! It can be a thing someone can say to me, or a gift I recieve, but often it's a past event or some person.

For the production, mixing and mastering you appealed to ex-MORS PRINCIPIUM EST guitarist Jori Haukin. He also played the cello on the album. Have you been friends since a while or was he your first choice for this technical process? Also, what was it like working with him?

We became good friends with Jori, from the first time I met him. Jori is a great guy, and he's quite easy to work with. He was the first choice for this production. We'll also record our next album in his studio.

With Jori you now have two guitarists. Did you want him on board on a permanent basis or did he fish for the position?

I wanted Jori on board and I wish he'll stay onboard as long as possible! He's a great guitar player and he has amazing ideas, and most of all, he's a great friend!

Depressed Mode - bandIs everyone a full member in the band? I'm just asking this because there's a difference between what's said in the press text and what's published on your MySpace page and Firebox's page. In the press release it's just you, Natalie and Tomppa. The others are mentioned as guest musicians.

Everyone is a full member. So I think the press text sucks. :-)

Bassist Jani left a couple of months ago and so you had to find a new member. Henri Hakala, although still young, seems to be the perfect replacement. How did he apply for the 'job'? Via Myspace or your website or via a third person?

He found us via a Finnish musician site and asked for the job. He's a great bassist and we became good friends in a short time. He's always trying to organize rehearsals and all kinds of stuff for DM.

Do you have any tour plans or will you continue working on the next album and then see if a tour is possible? Or will you go to various countries and play seperate shows?

We had planned a tour in Spain, but the plane tickets would cost so damn much. So I think it's not possible at the moment. But we booked our first gig that will take place in Helsinki, Finland on January 12th, 2008. We are trying to arrange gigs from February to December 2008. Hopefully we'll get to do some gigs!

Regarding the next album: did you have leftovers from "Ghosts Of Devotion" which can be used - partly or entirely - or have you already started with completely new material?

No,we had no leftovers. The first album was planned to be 9 tracks long and I only made songs that can be used on the album, and fits to the atmosphere. I'm currently composing new material and it's a little bit faster and more symphonic, and more brutal in a way.

Next to Doom Metal, what other Metal and non-Metal music do you listen to? Which artists stand out for you, in both camps?

I listen to almost everykind of music: Jazz, Blues, Classical, etc etc. My metal-based longtime favorites are: MESHUGGAH, ABORTED, ROTTEN SOUND, AJATTARA, MOKOMA, FINNTROLL and many more. Actually, I don't listen to Doom Metal. I get tired of listening to Doom. But I'm really trying to develope Doom Metal to a new level and find a atmosphere that really gives the scene a great success.

DEPRESSED MODE is one occupation, but are you also involved in other bands or projects, Metal or non-Metal? How easy is it to combine it all (if not other bands, then dayjobs, hobbies, ...)?

Yes, I'm involved in an un-named band. I have a carpenters occupation, so I'm working from 7:30am to 3pm, and sometimes from 5pm to 9 or 10pm. So all spare time goes to my wife and DM.

Finland is scoring a lot the last few years with releases from SWALLOW THE SUN (their success seems to have given birth to similar-styled bands), SHAPE OF DESPAIR, TERHEN, MY SHAMEFUL, and the list continues with a couple more, incl. TYRANNY. It's a good thing, not only for Doom Metal itself, but also because one of the biggest Finnish bands recently called it quits: REVEREND BIZARRE. How was this news received in the DEPRESSED camp? Do you feel like you're part of the collective of bands that continue carrying the torch?

I think that RB is something so different from us. Since we wrestled in two so distant categories, it's hard to say that we were in the same camp.

I'm done, for now. If there's anything you want to add - a scoop maybe ;-) - post away. Other than that, thank you very much for replying and all the best with things to come.

Thank you and sorry for the BIG delay for this interview. I wish that as many people as possible who read this interview, goes to our myspace or official webpage ( and write in our guestbook or forum, and tell what he/her thought about this interview, and for Doom Metal's sake: OFFER US SOME GIGS! and as last: Stay Doomed!

- Ossy Salonen, DEPRESSED MODE

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