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Jari Kuusisto: “We cannot change the past but we can make the future great.”

Na een stilte periode van maar liefst twaalf jaar keren de Zweedse thrashers van Carnal Forge weer terug aan het metalfront, wie kent ze nog? De band rondom de broers en gitaristen Jari en Petri Kuusisto brachten in de periode van 1998 tot en met 2004 vijf succesvolle studio albums uit en waren in die tijd ook regelmatig op de Nederlandse podia te vinden, tot de klad er een beetje in kwam na het laatste album ‘Testify For My Victims’. Door bandinterne strubbelingen keerde bandoprichter Jari Kuusisto de band de rug toe en lag de band lange tijd min of meer op zijn gat. Sinds 2013 werkten de heren aan een comeback en met het nieuwe, zevende album ‘Gun To Mouth Salvation’ kunnen we wel stellen dat dit op muzikaal vlak in ieder geval geslaagd is. Lords of Metal spreekt met Jari Kuusisto over de totstandkoming van het nieuwe album, het verleden, heden en de toekomst van Carnal Forge.

Door: Dennis – 3 maart 2019

First of all, congratulations on the release of your seventh album ‘Gun To Mouth Salvation’! You must be psyched to have it out after such a long time of no Carnal Forge releases?
Thanx a lot. Yes, it feels great to finally be back on track.

Your last album ‘Testify For My Victims’ dates back to 2007, so there is a gap of twelve years between your new album and the last one. That is a helluva long time. What happened?
There were so many things that happened in the band at the time so I do not even know where to start. Besides the fact that both me and Jens decided to leave the band because we were just fed up with the music industry, CF had other problems in the band. Band members with different kind of personal problems became more and more something that nobody in the band no longer managed to take care of. Music should be fun and because of the personal problems in the band we just felt that we needed a break from CF. With that said CF actually tried to keep the band going with new members, but I guess that it just wasn’t the same.

’Gun To Mouth Salvation’, as said, is your first album in twelve years and the first one after the band was revived. Do you consider this a new start for the band and what are your expectations in regards to this seventh album?
I guess so. It’s never a good thing for a band to be away from the scene for that long time, but at the same time we have a lot of diehard fans all around the world. We understand that some might have left us during the absence, but we hope to get them back with this new record. We hope that both new and old fans will like what we done this time and hopefully we will meet them when touring and playing gigs. We are stronger, better and more into the band than ever, and I think that you can hear that in the songs.

Last time I checked you guys out you had a new singer, Jens Mortensen, who followed up Jonas Kjellgren who sang on the first five Carnal Forge albums. But Mortensen is out of the picture, after just one album? How come?
As I said earlier Jens became a member right before everything started to go south. Jens was actually supposed to sing on this new album, but he just became a father for the very first time right at the time we started up the band again. He just felt that CF would take a lot of time away from his family and decided that he did not want that. Jens is an awesome guy and we understand his decision. We wish him and his family nothing but good things for the future.

Tommie Wahlberg is your new singer. Where did you find him, how did you meet?
Tommie has been a good friend to all of us for as long as we can remember. Me and Petri (Kuusisto / guitars) have recorded stuff with Tommie before but never released anything with him on vocals. When Jens said that he would not be able to stay in the band we just felt that Tommie was the natural choice for CF. An awesome guy with a really powerful voice and a good friend, we just felt that we wanted to give him the chance to show the world what he is capable of.

The new album ‘Gun To Mouth Salvation’ contains eleven new Carnal Forge tracks. Was it an easy process this to write the new material? At least you have taken your time this time around…
I would say that it was the recording process that took extremely long time this time. Everyone has their day jobs, families and so on. We just had to take time whenever possible to record. At the same time we just felt that after being away for so long we did not want to rush things. But I can admit that it took little more time that we would have wanted from the beginning.

Can you tell us something about the recording process of ‘Gun to Mouth Salvation’? Did you do things differently than with other records? And in which way do you think this record stands out productionwise?
It was actually pretty much the same procedure. The only thing that we wanted to do differently this time was to have someone to help us mix the album. Jocke Skog (Clawfinger) had reached out to us earlier mentioning that if we ever would need some help he would gladly help us. So when the time came to mix the album we reached out to him to ask if he would like to be a part of the mixing process. We just felt that it would be nice to have someone else his opinion on how the new album should sound. We sent everything to Jocke and asked him to make something really solid sound wise and that we would do the finishing touches. We just love what he did and we think that the album sounds super heavy. So I guess that you could say that it was a successful collaboration between Jocke and CF. And then Dino Medanhodzic (who replaced me on guitar when I was out of the band) mastered it and he just added the sugar on top.

How did you end up on ViciSolum Productions Records, where you are one of the biggest bands on their roster, together with Diabolical? What do you expect from this cooperation and can they give you the same support that you got from Candlelight (or Century Media before that)?
Lawrence also plays in Loch Vostok and they have a deal with ViciSolum, so he had already mentioned to them that CF were making a new album. We just contacted ViciSolum when we had the finished album to see if they would be interested in CF, and the rest is history. What ViciSolum will be able to do for us remains to see, but we really hope that it will be a long and successful relationship.

Back in the day you released five albums back to back almost every year from 1998 to 2004. How do you look back on that period with the band?
We were pretty young at that time and had all the time in the world to make albums. Some things could have been done differently, but it’s always easy to look back in time and see what we could have done differently. Much of it was really good, at the same time some of it was not so good. I think that with age we also have become more mature and I think that CF has a great future to look forward to.

Do you think you got everything out of the band that was in it back then? Were there any chances that you missed that could have taken Carnal Forge to a higher level, do you think?
Oh yes. If everything had been done without any fuck-ups concerning members, bad luck and especially no long breaks, I guess that CF would have been a much bigger band these days. But as I said earlier, we cannnot change the past but we can make the future great.

I noticed you shot a video for the track ‘Bound In Flames’ which will be out on January 18. Can you tell us something about how the video came about, and why you choose this track in particular for the video?
We choose this track together with ViciSolum. ‘Bound in Flames’ is maybe the most melodic song on the album, but it also has a lot of grove. I know that some of our fans will probably think that it’s too melodic but it is just one song. CF is still a very aggressive band and I think that there is something for everyone on the album. We recorded the video with Owe Lingvall (DreamDay Media) who shot both ‘Burning Eden’ and ‘Numb’ for the album ‘Testify For My Victims’. Owe is a great guy and friend to the band so we contacted him to see if he would be willing to shoot a video for the song and he instantly said yes. We met up with Owe in Stockholm and shot the video in 5 hours. How the video came out can be seen on YouTube.

So ‘Gun To Mouth Salvation’ will be out on January 25th. What’s next? Can we expect to see Carnal Forge on a full European tour or are you just going to do festival shows and mini tours?
We will try to tour as much as possible supporting the album. All of us are really eager to get out on the road again.

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