POISONBLACK/ex-SENTENCED frontman Ville Laihiala recently spoke to Rockdetector.com's Welsh interviewer Anthony Morgan. Topics of discussion included the latest POISONBLACK album "Lust Stained Despair", new single "Rush", the reasons for the demise of SENTENCED and its toll on the lead singer, and the long-awaited SENTENCED farewell DVD. Several excerpts from the interview follow:
Rockdetector: If you had to supply an adequate definition of "Lust Stained Despair", how would you do so? Why should fans purchase this record particularly?
Ville Laihiala: "To give an adequate definition of 'Lust Stained Despair' is next to impossible. This is due to the fact that even though all those three words present the elements found on the album which lingered in my head during my music writing sessions, they still hold so much within. At that time my personal life was pretty messed up, so I was moderately releasing emotions through sex, combined with feelings of worthlessness and despair — selfish self-pity I'd say. Creatively speaking it was great cos when the music started coming out, it was a truly cathartic experience which helped me see some things from a different perspective. It didn't take much time writing the album, four months if I remember correctly."
Rockdetector: Why was the name "Lust Stained Despair" chosen, and what made you settle upon this name?
Ville Laihiala: "The working title was 'The Music for the Junkies', which had nothing to do with drugs. You can be addicted to emotions also. Anyway, how should I say this? Since I was twelve I had two channels to get rid of feelings, and these were masturbation and music. It hasn't changed that much to date cos in a way I'm still escaping on a daily basis, so therefore 'Lust Stained Despair' is the title. Try jerking off and tell me if you don't feel those feelings during and after!?"
Rockdetector: Tell me a little about the first single "Rush".
Ville Laihiala: "The song pretty much contains all the elements found upon the whole album, so basically that's the reason it's the first single. The song is about sex, namely an intercourse which took place back in December 2002; that's the foundation from where I began writing and composing it. It's in a kind of tongue-in-cheek fashion, and isn't meant to be taken seriously. We didn't make a demo of the track 'cos it pretty much found its final form at the first rehearsals. 'Rush' hasn't really changed a lot from the first sessions to the final version, maybe it's a bit slower on the album."
Rockdetector: If you had to pinpoint the fundamental reasons why SENTENCED is no longer with us, what would they be? Creative exhaustion, personal conflict, boredom? Could you talk me through the band's ultimate death and the cause of that?
Ville Laihiala: "Well... the ending of the band had nothing to do with our music, not at all. Personally for me it grew to be a burden — I drowned myself into the bottle and totally lost my grip of reality in a sense. Still, it had nothing to do with the brotherhood we had together and all that creative energy. The tours just grew longer, and so did the frustrations, the drinking, missing our families and all that, so I started feeling sorry for myself and convincing myself that booze is the ultimate escape. In a way the band to me is a kind of sacrificial lamb, so I could realize the life around me and take my head out of my own ass. Overall, though, I don't mean to put the last ten years down. No, it was a hell of a ride which I'll remember with warmth and great pride. I'll be SENTENCED 'til the day I die. Aren't we all...?! I'm not gonna explain things on behalf of the other guys, so this is all I'm going to say about it."
Rockdetector: Do you still have any contact with old SENTENCED members?
Ville Laihiala: "We talk to each other sometimes, but everyone has moved on with their lives which means it's more or less on a monthly basis. Myself and Tenkula (Miika Tenkula; guitar) get together for drinking and going down memory lane occasionally."
Rockdetector: Could you tell me about the farewell SENTENCED show in October 2005, and when this is likely to surface on DVD?
Ville Laihiala: "It'll be released this November I think, and will contain the last show, the videos, a lot of pictures and behind the scenes footage from the last tour we did. The last show itself was something so emotional it's hard to explain what we went through that night. The feeling of togetherness within the band and between those 2,500 people and us was truly a unique experience. Before the show, the mood was surprisingly mellow and laid back — we were just talking shit and laughing, but still you could see everyone was pretty nervous inside. About 40 minutes before showtime, we asked everyone to leave the backstage, though what we said to each other during those 40 minutes will stay in that moment forever and we'll take that moment to our graves.
"Then we went on stage and gave every last drop of sweat and emotions, playing our hearts out for ourselves and for the people there that night. We played over two hours but it felt like 15 minutes. After the show five men were crying and laughing at the same time. Personally I think we were more open than ever before towards each other."
Rockdetector: If in several years to come you were asked to reunite with SENTENCED, what would your answer be?
Ville Laihiala: "There is no life after death."
Read the full interview at Rockdetector.com.