Ghost Brigade | Interview with Janne Julin

Since the release of the 2009’s album “Isolation Songs”, Finland’s Ghost Brigade has solidified as one of the most engaging and inventive acts within the metal scene. Their break-through record was elected album of the month in both Metal Hammer and Inferno magazines and now three years the Finnish group returns with another mesmerizing release that proves that “Isolation Songs” was no fluke.
Scratch the Surface questioned bassist Janne Julin to find out more about the newest album “Fear No Longer Define Us”, which was released this past September.

[Ghost Brigade]
Photo: Jussi Ratilainen /

Do you think you were subconsciously pressured to write songs that would equal or surpass your most successful album when you first started approaching the writing for this new record?

I think everybody wants to and is pressured subconsciously or not to make better record than the previous one, otherwise no reason to continue. Where this pressure comes from or what are the reasons for it is another thing then, in our case it is because we wanted to come up with songs that we are satisfied with, songs that we enjoy and pass through self-criticism, time will tell how we succeeded. There was no pressure to gain maximum attention from the media, to reach mass sales, to please our record label, to make any sort of break through etc., that was not on our mind. 
We simply wanted to push ourselves forward to please ourselves and to fulfil our demands, and if more and more people enjoy it as well, we don’t mind it.

The process of making records can take a considerable amount of time and can be a daunting challenge for musicians. In your case, did you immediately figured what you wanted to do and soon struck the right songwriting mode?

We started to write the songs pretty much immediately after “Isolation Songs” was released. We didn’t have any strict guidelines, a detailed master-plan or concept for the record, although we do know what we want from our songs, we kept writing songs until we had enough material that works together on a record. Sometimes it takes more time to complete a song, others are easier to complete, but the whole writing process for a record takes around a year/a year and a half.
This record didn’t differ that much from the two first ones, you just have to be patient and take your time and the songs will come up, no need to hurry, better to make sure you’re not forcing it and end up with some useless half-assed crap.

So what inspired you when it came to writing “Until Fear No Longer Defines Us”?

Broadly speaking, things you do and experience in daily life on this planet earth, feelings and situations you go through, what goes around in your head, our surroundings, then of course music we listen to, movies, books and so on. 
There’s not any specific influence that you could point out, more like a picture painted from all of those influences but trying to keep it coherent and not wandering off to too many directions and of course adding your own touch to it all.
Musically those influences mainly come from metal, rock, pop, electronic direction, with some underlying connection between them all being some sort of dark or atmospheric general feature.

How do you feel about the record now that it’s coming out? Now that it’s finished, can you give us your thoughts on it?

I feel good about it, it’s strong and tight, the whole works well together with good continuation from song to song bringing all the atmospheres and emotions to fullest and all in all it’s very good picture of this band, what it’s made of and what it’s about. But it takes time to make up your mind about your own record, we finished this record in the end of April so it’s way too early to say what is my complete opinion about this album, I’ll have better idea of that in a year or two, that’s how it seems to go. 
And we haven’t played these songs live yet and that’s also one thing that might affect your opinion of the record. But as of now I have to say I’m satisfied with our latest grand opus.

Luca Niero

Read full interview here.