Darkness Is My Canvas is a four-piece rock band located in Helsinki, Finland. The core of the band is Pete (vocals & guitar) and Panu (guitar & vocals) who compose and produce the music. Bassist Gabriel and drummer Juza complete the group live. Our style is a mixture of modern, melodic, progressive rock with influences from metal, pop, fusion, and funk. Some people claim we lean too much towards pop to be considered progressive rock, while others argue we are too progressive to be ‘melodic rock’. Classic rock people say we are metal while for metalheads we are not metal enough…
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR NEW ALBUM OR SINGLE?
A: DROWN is the second single promoting our upcoming EP “White Noise” (release confirmed for September). The single is actually cover version of Bring Me The Horizon’s Drown released a few years ago. The song itself is fantastic originally and we hope we were successful to give it another point of view. We are very happy how it turned out.
WHAT INSPIRED THE ALBUM OR SINGLE?
A: When it comes to themes they usually are pretty dark. I have always written lyrics that are fairly dark and fairly focused on different dark passengers that people have. So in a way, I like to write that kind of lyrics that can be related to. Drown has been one of the songs we have liked already when BMTH released it - so we have played it a few times in our shows and people seemed to like it and some of them even said we should release it, so here we go. Our own songs are usually quite dark themed, so of course most of the cover songs, that we like are also quite dark
CAN YOU SUM UP THE UPCOMING EP IN A FEW WORDS?
A: it gives a fantastic journey to our style. There is one, that is quite poppy such as “Fade into the white noise”, one, that are our view to original song “DROWN”, some songs where we go full speed to fusion-rock “Inverted” (to be released in August), one song which is very technical and quite metal “Tilted Vision'' and one song, that we call protest song - a new version of Salvation (Slava Ukraini!) - originally Salvation was our “pandemic” song, but last February we changed the theming to anti war - song. We are still considering whether we add one of our older songs to it, but let’s see.
WHAT RECORD CHANGED YOUR LIFE AND WHY?
PANU: Kingston Wall - I (1992). This album made me rethink how I should play electric guitar. There was no division between rhythm and solo guitarists - there was just guitar. I listened to KW’s albums a million times and tried to adopt Pete Walli’s style into my own. You can still hear this album’s influence on my guitar-playing style today.
Metallica - Master of Puppets. I listened to it continuously the time when it was released. I was a youngster and I really understood the record that way, that someone has done something that is way beyond imagination. It still is one of my favorite albums, not only by Metallica but metal in general.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE MUSIC VIDEO FILMED BY YOUR BAND OR ANOTHER ARTIST?
PANU: Skid Row - 18 And Life.
PETE: BLUR - Universal. Mainly because I love the feel of Clockwork Orange on it. The song is great also.
WHAT WOULD WE FIND YOU DOING WHEN YOU'RE NOT MAKING MUSIC?
PANU: In summer I like to walk outdoors and ride my motorbike. In winter I might do some coding, learn astronomy or build electronics.
PETE: I’m a nerd - so I occasionally develop a special interest in something, that I will be “addicted” to, usually they are things like political history, new music genres or something like that. Then I’m usually studying from top to bottom. I also have a thing with numbers - I’m pretty passionate about different patterns and probabilities of different things. In summertime I usually spend time in our family’s summer cottage or something related to nature.
DO YOU GET NERVOUS PERFORMING LIVE, IF SO HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THAT?
PANU: I always feel fully relaxed on stage. I feel like being at home there. I may get a bit nervous only if there are technical difficulties.
PETE: As a singer, there are always some things to worry about - have I had time to warm up, are my vocal cords in shape, and so on. In the early years of my singing career, I was very nervous before shows - now, when our band is excellent and I can trust that everyone is doing their part - I’m usually only enjoying the ride. I have some pollen allergies, so summertime gigs are extra challenging for me, so I spend quite a lot of time warming up and quite a lot of time medicating and seeking ways to avoid things that might cause the allergy to get worse.
HOW DID YOU FORM THE BAND?
A: Panu, guitar & vox and Pete, vox & guitar had known since 2005 Pete was hired as a vocalist in a studio session that Panu was producing. From the very beginning, there was an instant connection between us. We liked the same bands, the same songs, and it was easy to find common ground for our style. It did not take long for us to silently acknowledge our desire to collaborate in the future. What stood out to me was Pete’s consistently positive and receptive attitude toward my suggestions. There was never any negativity or dismissiveness, no statements like “You can’t do this because it doesn’t align with my style.” I was given complete artistic freedom to create music.
Fast forward to around 2011 when Pete reached out to me expressing his intention to work on a “solo album.” However, soon we decided to form a band and we started to create music together. Spotify has been unexpectedly beneficial for us. While we are releasing our upcoming EP and a single through our label, Inverse Records, we are curious to see what unfolds beyond that. Our approach sets us apart from many other emerging bands. We construct our songs in our very own studio, meticulously crafting each element. To bring our music to life, we collaborate with a session drummer, but everything else within the songs is a testament to our own craftsmanship.
HOW DO YOU WRITE? - DO YOU HAVE A KEY SONGWRITER, OR DO YOU ALL WORK TOGETHER?
A: We (Pete and Panu) write everything together. We’re like modern-day’s Lennon-McCartney, without Yoko and drama though. We can make awesome songs on our own but together everything we do sounds like Darkness Is My Canvas. We also write songs for other projects separately, but most of the songs that we write for other bands or projects sound very different from Darkness Is My Canvas.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
PANU: I have a creative mind which never seems to stop thinking and making up new things. The only thing I need for my creativity to run is enough rest, peace, and a stress-free life.
PETE: I get inspiration a lot from other artists - I’m all the time spending a lot (too much) time trying to find new artists. There are so many things to learn from other talented musicians. I usually try to find new artists from different genres I normally would listen to. Another thing that feeds my inspiration is literature. I read (listen to) a lot of podcasts, true crime stories mainly and I find interesting (but grim) stories via that. One of the most inspirational things for me is our super-talented band. We try to throw wicked challenges for our band from time to time, but so far we have managed to turn those into total wins.
WHAT IS NEXT?
A: continue touring, hopefully in the near future also in the rest of Europe. Release more excellent music, hopefully for an ever-growing audience. To keep this lineup together for next decade or so
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