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What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I was around 13-14 when I was in grade 7 or 8 when my classmate (a real metalhead) got it into his head that he was going to make me into a metalhead as well. Up until then I listened to Nirvana, Pink Floyd, etc but also whatever was popular at the time like Eminem and the like. He made me listen to Children Of Bodom’s song “Bed Of Razors”, and after the initial shock due to the growling vocals I was hooked. Bodom was all I listened to for about a year. Before Bodom I had played drums as a hobby for about four years, but it all changed then as those insane melodies made me want to learn how to play guitar. It was also then that I found my calling, I was going to make music the main focus of my life (to the chagrin of my parents). I’ve been playing and writing music ever since. There was never really any alternative, but I’ve always been fascinated by languages (and it was the only thing I was ever consistently good at in school) so maybe I would’ve gone into linguistics.
What do you like to do when you’re not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I’m really into video games, especially retro Nintendo games, but I keep up with news from the whole industry. Besides that I keep up with politics, movies, shows, pop culture, etc. I’m pretty nerdy I guess (adjusts glasses). I’m not sure how it affects my music, except I do feel the need to vent about politics and the state of things in the world generally so it bleeds into my lyrics at least. I should learn to switch that stuff off every now and then though, I’d be a lot happier.
How long has your band been around?
I founded Joviac late 2016, but it was really after our first album in the fall of 2017 when we became a real band. I’m proud of our debut album, but it was more of a way to get things rolling, a means to an end. Our first work as a full fledged, touring band was our single “State Of Mind”.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We’re based in Tampere, Finland. Finland is definitely a metal country, so I guess that’s influenced us quite a bit. Even though my journey as a musician started with Children Of Bodom, I don’t see myself as a metalhead anymore, it was soon after Bodom that I found Dream Theater and went crazy with the whole progressive metal genre which, in turn, lead me down many different paths outside of that label. Even though Finland is a metal country, it can be as big of a hindrance as it can be a good thing. The popular metal bands, the ones who have broken through and seen success, they’re the ones you hear on the radio on a pretty short loop, and to differ from those already established styles can make things challenging for you.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
My full name is Viljami Jupiter Wenttola (no it’s not an artist name) and when I founded Joviac, I wanted a simple name to communicate that the music that I write is an extension of myself, an honest representation of how I see the world and how I feel. The word “Jove” is an age-old English word for the god, Jupiter and since it’s in my name I thought I’d use it. I just changed the suffix. It reminds me to stay true to myself and not listen to others when it comes to the kind of music that I make.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
We haven’t had any real Spinal Tap moments yet! I am writing this as I sit in a van on the way to our first show in a year, so maybe tonight will yield some ridiculous stories! The one gig that comes to mind was a show in Turku, though. We were supporting a band called Gladenfold, they play symphonic metal, so we didn’t really fit on the bill. It was maybe the best show we’ve ever played but there were around 20 people there if even that.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you haven't already?
One of my favourite venues is Klubi here in Tampere, my hometown. It’s where many of my heroes play when they come to our town. I’ve watched bands like Pain Of Salvation, Anathema, Kvelertak, etc play there and it was a privilege to be on that same stage. One venue which I’ve dreamt of playing at is also in my hometown, it’s called YO-Talo and we’re playing there in a week! Wish us luck!
If you could play any show with any lineup who would be on the ticket?
I really hope Joviac gets to warm up for some of our heroes one day. Bands like Haken, Leprous, Pain of Salvation, etc would be a dream come true to share a venue with!
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band?
That’s a good question. There are so many lessons out there to learn, but I’m the kind of person that has to make his own mistakes, I don’t listen to advice very well. It’s taught me one thing though: be yourself. One other thing that I would recommend is to sit down and have a really good think by yourself about what “success” means to you. What is your definition of success? Because if that definition is “to make it big and to be rich”, then you should perhaps reconsider, at least if you’re into marginal music like we are. We have a long way to go before I’m satisfied, but at the same time I’m very satisfied with how things are going. I’m making honest and sincere music with some of my best friends and we’re constantly moving forward, that’s a pretty good definition of success for me!
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
To not wait so long in life until I went to therapy. It’s really changed everything.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Probably “Straws”. In that particular song I managed (in my opinion) to walk that tightrope between pop and progressive metal really well. There are progressive elements under the surface, but it’s also a very catchy and hook-filled song. Also the subject matter was very personal. It’s about having a panic attack and desperately trying to come to terms with what’s causing it.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
I love playing the whole “Here And Now” album. It feels fresh and it’s a lot of fun. Actually tonight and next week will be the first times we play the whole album. It would’ve been a lot sooner, but the Coronavirus pushed everything back for us. We’re super lucky that we weren’t affected as badly by the pandemic as many other bands that I know. Some had already paid for expenses for US tours. They were left with nothing.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
I write the songs in Joviac, but everyone contributes. We’re very dependent on technology in this band. I write and record song demos in Logic Pro X, I then record demo bass and program demo drums, then I send them to Antti and Rudy respectively and they arrange their parts to fit their playing style better. I’m inspired by a lot of things really. I never know what exactly gives me that “spark”, often it’s just a feeling!
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Personally I never want to sound preachy or tell the listener what to think. Most of the time I’m just exploring a concept or a feeling, other times I’m venting about something that bothers me like social media or the political climate of the times we’re living in. Actually most of the time I’m really interested in how the listener perceives the lyrics! If there’s something I’d hope for, it would be for the listener to be moved or inspired some way. I also write a lot about my hurdles with mental illness such as anxiety and depression. If a listener can find solace, help, comfort or understanding for their own challenges, that would be wonderful.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Actually it’s a funny thing. I know from experience how you can end up in a band with all sorts of personality chemistries. So I also know never to take from granted the great chemistry the three of us have. We never fight. If we have disagreements then we talk them out, but even those are rare. I think it’s because everyone has been on the same page since day one. Everyone knows their place and nobody has a destructive ego.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that's coming up?
We’re constantly doing our best to move forward as a band. In the spring we released our second full length album “Here And Now” and now FINALLY (because of corona) we are celebrating it by playing a headline show tonight in Helsinki and in our hometown of Tampere in a week. We released a new single yesterday too! It’s a song called “Misplaced”. We recorded it during the Here And Now album sessions, but set it aside because I felt it didn’t quite fit on the album. It’s no B-Side though, it stands on its own two feet as simple, in your face kind of rock song but it has loads of emotional depth and soul. I wrote it when I was in a pretty dark place getting over a breakup. I painted myself as a villain in my head and ran with it in the lyrics. In the end in the chorus I realise that I was just not in the right emotional place at the right time for that relationship. Thank you for this interview. It was a pleasure answering your questions! I hope you and your loved ones are all staying safe. Sincerely,