JUKKA PELKONEN (OMNIUM GATHERUM): “Some People Say It Is In Our Blood And Our Long Dark Period Of The Year That Makes Us Love Metal”

Omnium Gatherum band photo
Photo: Terhi Ylimainen Photography

Finnish Melodic Metal band Omnium Gatherum are set to release their new EP entitled Slasher on June 2nd. Omnium Gatherum’s frontman Jukka Pelkonen took the time to talk with Metal Express Radio about their upcoming EP, their cover of the 80s hit song “Maniac,” their recent North American tour, and more. Check out the chat below!

Metal Express Radio: Omnium Gatherum’s new EP entitled Slasher is set to be released on June 2nd, what can you tell fans about the upcoming release?

Pelkonen: Hello, hey. Of course I can tell you about it. Slasher is our very first EP ever so in that case too we are pleased to release it. Musically of course it is something that a little bit moves us forward which is always one of our goals. Slasher has 4 songs in it. 3 original and one cover, ‘Maniac’ originally by Michael Sembello from the 80s movie ‘Flashdance’. The idea was to release this EP in between albums. Our latest album Origin and the forthcoming one which is still without a title. Slasher follows the style of composing and sound we started back in our 2019 album Burning Cold. In that album we started to play around with synth wave style soundscape and it got more intense in OriginSlasher also is a move towards a bit more darker and straight forward when it comes to composing and lyrics. So musically the release is in a way a pathway between the old and the forthcoming.

MER: How did it come up to cover the 80s pop hit “Maniac”?

Pelkonen: This originally was Marcus’s idea. I think it went something like he heard/was listening to the original song and it dawned to him that here is a song which can be greatly molded into OG’s Melodic Death Metal style. So he went on and made some demo versions and I learned the lyrics. After that I just sang on top of the demo. So we listened to it and both thought this really is a good and original idea to cover this song. We were aware of the fact that more than a couple of groups in the Metal genre had made a cover from this song before but we were not intimidated by that because it is a great song and we managed to do a version of it that really does sound like OG. When covering other musician’s songs, it is always a delicate process where in our opinion one must have a certain respect for the original but also enough bravery to mold it into something special. That way the music of the song continues to thrive in a whole new area and potentially for a very different audience than it was originally designed to reach.

MER: What kind of feedback have you received on the cover of “Maniac”?

Pelkonen: Mostly positive I would say. People have been pleasantly surprised by the choice we made with the cover song. A lot of folks have said it is super cool we made this sound like an OG song and are glad it does sound like Melodic Death Metal. Some of the younger fans have, at first even thought it our original song . Of course one can not please everyone so there are those people who have said we would have been better off not making this particular cover. For this there are a couple of reasons that stand out. First of all they just don’t like the song and this is perfectly fine. Secondly some people think too many covers have been made from ‘Maniac’. This also is fine but just an opinion really and not real critics. Still like I said before the feedback has been mostly positive so we are glad people are welcoming and enjoying this cover. The video from the song we made has also been receiving a lot of positive reactions and I think Cold Stone productions did a fine job with it. They got a really talented and professional dancer to perform in it and the video even has Marcus’s dog Heta in it.

MER: What do you see as plans for yourself and the band after the release of Slasher?

Pelkonen: Our plan for now is to do the summer festivals and after that hit the road in Europe with Paradise Lost and Primordial. There is a slow cooking plan also to slowly start to write new material for our next album. I really can not say when this baby is going to be released but hopefully in 2024. So good things in general.

MER: Do you feel like Slasher gives fans an idea on what to expect from the band’s next full length album?

Pelkonen: Being something in between Slasher does give a little hint for things to come. Still, writing new material is always a process that can shape the forthcoming album in many ways. The mold is there for the OG sound but we like to stir up things a bit and leave room for exciting ideas that may surface during the writing process. Slasher is made bearing this in mind so fans will definitely get the OG sound in it and a small preface of future songs to come.

MER: You recently just wrapped up a North American tour, how did the tour go?

Pelkonen: The latest North American tour really was a blast indeed. The crowds were great and seemed to enjoy all the shows each night. The whole working crew, bands, technicians, merch personnel got along splendidly which made the tour super easy going but with everyone having strong work ethics also smooth in that sense. There was also a real sense of a family because I and Adrienne from Seven Spires (the opening act on the tour) did songs on stage for the headliner Eluveitie. They had the unfortunate situation of their singer Chrigel not being able to do the tour. So we were asked to sing songs during their set and we were both glad to help our brothers and sisters in Eluveitie out. Saying that, I must also point out that touring is still always hard work and I was super happy to see that whilst enduring the long late nights and lengthy drives across North America everyone kept their spirits up and helped out and listened if someone was feeling a bit under the weather sometimes. I must also say this is not always the case. This tour was a total blast but there have been tours where peoples’ chemistries have not aligned and that makes things more challenging. Still as professionals we will always do our job, our passion, the shows, to the best of our ability.

MER: Who do you hope to tour with that you haven’t yet and why?

Pelkonen: This is always so hard to answer. We indeed have toured a lot and with many bands but still there are so many bands we definitely would gladly tour with. To name a few, let’s start with Soilwork. There is a band that we would like to tour with. Their music is a little bit similar to ours and they have been around for a long time so I would presume they know all the tricks and things included in touring life. Gojira would also, in my opinion, be an interesting choice. Musically being quite different from us we would make an interesting package for people attending the shows. The Haunted would be a good choice, maybe also Testament. Basically if the routing is good for the tour and the other group is not so different musically from our part of the genre gives the possibility to have a good tour.

MER: Do you have a particular place that is your favorite to play live? If so, why?

Pelkonen: I personally do not have a favorite place to play live, you know that kind of place that supremely stands out from the others. Each country has its unique feeling and vibe so this kind of choice is impossible for me at least. Of course I have to say the more exotic places compared to Finland do have that kind of feeling of beautiful strangeness in them, with their interesting heritage and customs. In these places (Hong Kong, Serbia or Dubai for example) the positive clash of cultures between the band, the local crew and the audience makes one feel the joy of spreading our music into really new territory. In these places our professionalism is challenged and we do like this kind of challenge because it gives us also the opportunity to learn new things and to be prepared for the future shows also.

MER: How would you describe the Metal scene in Finland?

Pelkonen: The Metal scene in Finland is alive and well I think. There is a healthy underground and new bands bursting into existence from within it. Also many of the bands that have had long careers are still touring, releasing new albums and being active in general. I think this is the mark of the fact that we have a strong connection to the Metal genre and we are willing to put our efforts into keeping the genre vibrant and pulsing. Some people say it is in our blood and in our long dark period of the year that makes us love Metal. I can’t say if this holds a difference compared to other countries but that much I can say the darkness can give some of us the inspiration for this kind of music. Maybe it also makes our blood boil and feeds us the right kind of strength to motivate us in the works of our art. Lastly I would like to say that in general young people within the Finnish Metal genre are quite motivated to pick up an instrument, start practicing, writing their own material and to chase their dreams however far they reach.

MER: Out of the Omnium Gatherum’s nine studio albums, what is one you would suggest to a new fan and why?

Pelkonen: In this modern age I would suggest giving some OG playlist a chance at first. Then, if some particular song really kicks ass then find the album which contains it and give it a spin. For my personal favorites I would steer to the direction of The Redshift or Burning Cold. Those two just sit with me so well they remain my favorites to this day. I would also say give our latest material a go because that is the stage OG is at the moment. Live captions with good quality are also the ones I watch when I discover a new group.


  • Matt Zaniboni

    Matthew is an interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He started his passion for music journalism back in his college radio days serving as the Heavy Metal Director at WKKL out of Hyannis Massachusetts. During Matt’s tenure in radio, he has had time working for commercial stations in Boston Massachusetts such as WAAF, WZLX AND 98.5 The Sports Hub before landing with Metal Express Radio. Anytime you want to talk heavy Metal, hockey, Guiness, and dad life, Matt is your guy m/

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