We chat to Viljami Jupiter Wenttola, singer and guitarist with Finnish prog metal band Joviac
PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF FOR US WHO ARE NOT FAMILIAR WITH YOU AND YOUR MUSIC AND TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF.
My name is Viljami Jupiter Wenttola, and I’m the main dude behind the Finnish progressive metal band Joviac. Most of the time I sing and play the guitar, but I’m slowly but surely trying to learn keyboards as well. Music has been the main focal point of my life since I was a teenager, and right now Joviac is my main vessel for self-expression and self-actualisation. I founded Joviac in late 2016/early 2017 but we’ve been together as a real band since the fall of 2017. During this time we’ve released two albums and two stand-alone singles, even though looking back now the first album feels more like a glorified demo compared to everything else. Still proud of it though!
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR NEW ALBUM OR SINGLE?
We released our new single, “Misplaced” on September 10th via Inverse Records. It was originally recorded as part of the “Here And Now” album sessions, but ultimately I set it aside because I felt it didn’t quite fit in with the rest of the album. It’s definitely not a B-Side though, it stands on its own two feet as a separate single. It’s at the same time both an in-your-face rock song but also a soulful song with loads of emotional depth.
WHAT INSPIRED THE ALBUM OR SINGLE?
I wrote the song when I was in a dark place in my life. I had just ended a relationship with a person that I cared deeply for, and I felt a lot of guilt for it. In many ways, I felt like a villain, so I decided to run with it and write the lyrics around that feeling. In the chorus, we arrive at the heart of the matter though and realise that I just wasn’t at the right place at the right time emotionally for that relationship. We had some bumps in the road but were also able to shoot a great music video for the song and I really have to give a shout out to Lakea Film for a fantastic job! This was the third video we produced with them and it’s always been a pleasure.
CAN YOU SUM UP THE ALBUM IN A FEW WORDS?
Our second album “Here And Now” was released in April, but due to the coronavirus, we’ve only now been able to finally celebrate the release. Last week we played a great show in Helsinki, it was also streamed and you can find it on YouTube on Inverse Records’ channel. After tomorrow on Friday September 18th we’ll be playing our hometown of Tampere and we can’t wait! The album explores two main lyrical themes: mental illness and the discourse that we engage in online and otherwise. I have a history with anxiety and depression and music is a crucial form of therapy for me, so I write a lot about overcoming emotional and mental challenges and hurdles. I’m also very interested in global politics and I like to keep up on what’s happening with the world. This isn’t easy though, and it leads to me needing to vent every now and then and it bleeds into my music. Musically I’ve always liked to think that Joviac is progressive metal in a tight package, that we have some more complex and outside-the-box moments but that they’re usually arranged in such a way that they don’t break the flow.
WHAT RECORD CHANGED YOUR LIFE AND WHY?
There have been a couple. Even though I don’t listen to that kind of music much anymore, I wouldn’t have started to play guitar as a teenager if it hadn’t been for Children of Bodom’s Hatebreeder album. It blew my mind when I was around 14 and music has been my main interest ever since. My mind got blown even further a year or two after that though, by Dream Theater’s music. I’m an all-or-nothing kind of guy so if I get into a band I usually have to find out who the members are, where else they’ve played and I have to listen to their full discography, so sometimes it’s hard to narrow down just one album by a band that I’ve really been into. After Dream Theater I got into the whole progressive metal genre and that’s more or less still the path I’m on, even though nowadays I listen to a lot of other stuff too from jazz to 70’s-90’s pop.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE MUSIC VIDEO FILMED BY YOUR BAND OR ANOTHER ARTIST?
I’m really happy with all of our music videos. Our philosophy with videos has been “if you’re going to do it, might as well do it right”, so even though we’ve always had quite strict budgets, we’ve still put in as much resources as we could so they would end up looking good. Also we’ve had great people to work with. One music video that really made an impression on me recently though was Kvelertak’s video for their song “Crack Of Doom”. It’s perhaps the coolest music video I’ve ever seen.
WHAT WOULD WE FIND YOU DOING WHEN YOU'RE NOT MAKING MUSIC?
Depends! Probably playing Super Nintendo or Nintendo Switch games or having a beer with my friends. Music does take up a lot of my “free time” though. None of us make a living doing this obviously so we need to work day jobs. So in a way we have two jobs, the day job and Joviac, the rest is free time and that’s precious.
DO YOU GET NERVOUS PERFORMING LIVE, IF SO HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THAT?
I get really nervous actually. I have a long history with anxiety and my body reacts very clearly to nervous situations. My hands shake uncontrollably and it robs me of at least 50% of my playing ability when it’s at its worst, also my singing goes out of tune at times, I hate it. It also makes it really hard to focus on singing and playing guitar at the same time. Just last Friday we had our first gig in a year which was a cool new venue and the show was streamed. All of that fed into my stage fright and I felt like everything was going to hell on stage, I was dying up there. By the time the encore came I had gotten over it and could finally enjoy being on stage, but then it was over… I haven’t found any 100% effective cure for my stage nerves. They’re not as bad when we have more frequent shows, which is why my dream is to build Joviac to the point when we can go on tour abroad. If you have a show almost every night you start getting used to it. I’ve found that beer helps, but I don’t want to rely on an external substance and after a certain point it does more harm than good.
HOW DID YOU FORM THE BAND?
My previous band came to an end in 2016 after some bad personal chemistries. I took all that I had learned (the hard way) and formed Joviac to replace it. I had learned that I have to be the creative leader of the band and write the songs. I was too afraid to admit that to myself before and it led to bad times. I had always thought “who the hell do I think I am?” When I thought about starting a band with my songs and vision as the focal point, a very Finnish sentiment. I took the leap though, and started Joviac. I thought the simplest way to get things rolling was for me to write and release an album first and then to try and find members, but I had asked our bass player Antti Varjanne if he was interested and he was already on board back then. The first album was also the project part of my bachelor’s thesis so I was able to kill two birds with one stone. After the album was released the band grew quickly into a real band with the addition of Rudy Fabritius (drums) and Janne Korpela (live guitar). Nowadays Joona Niemi is our live guitarist. He’s there to fill in the gaps that I can’t play, I’m only one man after all and I have to sing as well.
HOW DO YOU WRITE? - DO YOU HAVE A KEY SONGWRITER, OR DO YOU ALL WORK TOGEHTER?
I write all of the music (with the exception of “Black Mirror” which Antti and I wrote together) but we arrange the songs as a band. I record full song demos at home with demo bass and I program demo drums. I then send the files to Antti and Rudy respectively and they arrange their parts to better fits their hands and playing styles.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Many things, but most of the time it’s a feeling that sparks inspiration. I try and get myself in the right headspace where I can be creative and just go with it. Guitar is my main instrument so I come up with a lot of ideas and riffs just by noodling around and playing guitar. I always try and think in layers though, for example, “would this melody or riff work better if it were on the bass or keyboard?” Mainly I just throw ideas at demos and if it sparks emotion within me, then it’s a good idea. Emotion is key.
WHAT IS NEXT?
I’ve been trying to use the coronavirus downtime efficiently. I almost drove myself to the brink of burnout this summer trying to write as much new material as possible! I’m going to spend this fall refining those ideas and we’re probably going to record some of it this winter! I have no idea if it’s going to be singles, EP or album, but I’ll share once things clear up!
PLEASE TELL US ANY SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS SO WE CAN SHARE.
You can find everything Joviac at www.joviac.com
Music video for Misplaced: https://youtu.be/3e2Td8rKl7w