Interviews Q&A With LOMM

Q&A with Pauli, Meiju, and Liv from Coldbound

Arising from Finland , Pauli Souka’s former solo project Coldbound, was left in front of the spotlight by adding to its ranks the wonderful talent of one of metal’s most beloved queens, Liv Kristine and Slumber of Decay is the first taste of Liv‘s addition to the band along with Meiju Ehno on keyboards. Check out below what the three of them had to say about their careers, the band, and their interests.

LOMM: Can you give a little biographical and historical info; who is involved in the band, and how did you guys meet up? 

Pauli: Coldbound start somewhere back in 2013, in Vantaa Finland as a solo project and basically something that was done for fun. Later on I realized that this thing could become a personal main musical project hence every different album sounds different as being part of this personal growth and musical understanding.
Liv Kristine came into the picture through a good friend and old working partner, Mikkel Hansen (who is the husband to be of Liv as well). Mikkel brought us together as there was the idea of “Slumber Of Decay” collaboration already back in February of 2020.
Meiju came highly recommended from a good friend and co-composer of this upcoming album, Markus Riihimäki and instantly we were all stoked by her dedication and devotion aside from the enthusiasm she presented initially.
And the rest is history. Coldbound is an entity consist of three people with only goal to deliver unique sound waves and frequencies, each of them telling a story.

LOMM: Pandemic has taken an emotional toll on everyone yet the arts have been hit especially hard. The musicians are vulnerable to financial upheaval. How have you guys have been holding up?

Pauli: Luckily we all have side occupations at the present moment that help us to balance our financials. Before corona it wasn’t that simple to make a living out of playing rock music anyways and now corona came to confirm this. Of course Corona has unfortunately affected us in the worst positive way. We already have music out and we haven’t met yet. Liv Kristine was supposed to visit me in Sweden and everything was booked. The day after we confirmed the booking of her trip, restriction hit Europe and all flights got cancelled. And Meiju just lives in the other side of the Bothnian gulf and yet we can’t travel from Sweden to Finland or vice versa. This really hurts, I’ve got to tell you.

Meiju: Thanks to the unbelievable synergy we have, we have been able to do an amazingly intensive cooperation, work and idea exchange with virtual tools.

Pauli Souka

LOMM: On the other hand you seem to have had a productive time. Is that right?

Pauli: Definitely. Personally, I have been off work since November. As a chef, our industry is bleeding so we decided to shut down for the time being until the situation balances itself a little bit. This gave to me endless time to focus into things that I have been neglecting the previous years and of course music is a priority at the moment.
To be more specific, I have created this routine of 5 days a week, 09-18 that these hours belong to Coldbound and the rest of the day I can tweak mixes or compose demos or even make songs for fun.
I could never imagine living without music. This is the essence of the music creator’s I think and that’s the magic of the creation that balances everything else. Is a very safe form of escapism and yet again a very intimate and productive one.

Meiju: We have been working seamlessly and been able to bring amazing results, which you will be able to enjoy quite soon

LOMM: Tell us about your genre, what does it means to you, why did you choose this genre?

Pauli: We are doing something mixed here with this upcoming album. We aren’t limiting our visions into a certain music genre. This would be such a shame. What we have here is a beautiful flavory blend of all the genres that we love and have shaped our musical direction through the years. I got to be honest and mention that if people are seeking for yet another Doom Metal , Gothic Metal, Melodic Death Metal or Symphonic Metal album, this aint gonna happen.
Our music is directed towards lovers of music! All of our favourite genres are blend nicely into our music.
From 70s’ prog rock to the more modern catchy riffs. Not to mention the wide variety of the instruments involved into the production of the album. For example we have got flutes, cellos, violas, violins, sequencers, hammonds, cinematic whispers and dialogues, chimes, big walls of orchestration even saxophone passages. This is what it feels right and I could not imagine these songs without the addition of these, unconventional music instruments for metal, if you may.

Meiju: I love the progressive and symphonic touch of Coldbound, I enjoy making music the most when it’s exactly this wild, untamed flow.

: How did the initial musical and thematic elements evolve?

Pauli: Is all product of years listening to good music and feeling highly inspired by the vibe this music reflects.
Prog rock has played a crucial role into my music making process and I am very thankful about it. Even if our music is not straight prog rock, the direction that prog rock gave to me made me to understand that a song can change multiple shades but still be a whole entity without changing the meaning. An important thematic element is of course the lyrics. Our lyrics are based on real life. Real struggles, real dreams, real fears aside from the eternal questions such as time and universe. From innocence to hardships and so on.

: Are you happy with your product? What aspects of it do you think you guys nailed, and what parts do you think you could improve upon?

Pauli : What we have right here is a work of 3 years of continuous work. This project has evolved to a baby of mine. I was there from first one until now and all I see is this baby growing and all I can feel is proudness. As about questions about improvement, is hard to tell. So far we are doing the thing we want and try to reach this unique sound that feels right. Music making is a very delicate progress and that is something that people need to understand. We can’t have standards of the sound (ss. This snare sounds like that and the vocals should be like that). However aspires these kinds of opinions is simply toxic and dangerous towards this community. Production is a magical process where all sounds blend into a full entity. So far we are very happy with how things sound like. Cause so far everything sounds organic and pure, music made from the heart.

Meiju: Thanks to Pauli’s incredible vision and the professional level of all musicians involved, the entity is immensely unique, a pioneer work. I am very happy to do something completely new in the metal genre. Our biggest challenge is that we permanent members (Liv Kristine, Pauli and me) live in three different countries. When we finally will be able to work together in the same studio, I already see we are able to speed up the process even more.

Liv:”Slumber of Decay”, our new single completely resonates with my passion and love for experimental music, contrasts in metal compositions, and doom, which I love. The track gives me the space to evolve and unfold in my melodies. 

: Having released your first single, how has the overall reception been?

Pauli: Beyond any expectation. Of course there was this feeling that it will work because of the given circumstances and the anticipation been built through the promotional stage. Of course taking into consideration our promotion partners that are one of a kind and I can’t thank them enough, we were promised a good outcome of this single.
And I am glad to say that they were right. This single achieved the biggest goal and the biggest goal is the initial target.
This wouldn’t have happened without the support of all the wonderful people that took some time of their precious personal time in order to check our music or even share it. This means the universe to us.

Meiju:  The response exceeded all our expectations, it was really heartwarming and emotional seeing all the positive feedback that the audience gave us.

Liv: Overwhelming

: Have you ever been on a tour? Given live performances? Is it tough for you not to be able to do so now?

Meiju: Due to covid restrictions we haven’t been able to hit the road just yet, but we are planning to do so as soon as it is possible. We would love to meet all you guys!

As much as I love playing gigs, I love being in my creative cocoon at home

: What is the next step for you? How is the future looking?

Pauli: We are focusing currently into our full album production. This is what the next weeks are all about so we can send everything into our engineer for mastering. And then we take it from there, whatever happens. Step by step.

Meiju: The future is looking very exciting to us and there are a lot of plans. The first thing for us to concentrate is to complete the album and release more singles to give our audience more soundscapic trips.

: Could you tell us about the lyrics / themes /concepts you focus on or plan to focus on? How did the ideas come about, and how do they influence the writing process? Who is writing the lyrics?

Pauli: As mentioned before, the lyrics are product of real life. To write lyrics is the hardest process upon producing songs. I am happy to say that we are all involved into this lyric writing process. Band mates and guests musicians.
Is important for everyone to be heard. Making lyrics all by myself would make this sound like a “Pauli’s Coldbound and Friends” but this is not the point here. In a bad, everyone needs to share a personal story. It makes the music so much rich. Especially when the people involved, somehow resonate with each other.

: Who is composing the songs?

Pauli: For the moment being I am composing and producing the majority of the songs.
Meiju has as well composed and produced a song for this upcoming album as well. Probably one of the most epic things that I have ever listened.

: What bands do you draw your inspiration from?

Pauli: The list is long. As mentioned before, 70s’ prog rock music has played a crucial role into the personal music growth. Bands such as Pink Floyd, Kansas, Wishbone Ash etc. Even the newer band Kingston Wall has played a very very important role as well.

Meiju: Dead Can Dance, Devin Townsend, Garmarna, Massive Attack, Daft Punk, Prodigy,  Amorphis

: Which is more exciting? Being on the road or studio?

Pauli: Definitely Studio. Is fun! Is a magic process. To bring life to songs. Touring has its own perks, you get this opportunity to see how the world looks like. The ultimate form of escapism if you want to use your eyes only and less brain capacity 😊 .

Meiju: I am never able to choose! When you get on the road it feels super amazing, and when you get back to the studio that feels super amazing too! 😀

Liv: I love both. But I find life on a tour bus terrible.

LOMM: What first got you into music?

Pauli: Music came into my life at the age of 5 through a Beatles best of collection CD. Ever since it has only been music. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.

Meiju: My father played a lot of music in our home. Jazz, musicals, old rock, synthesizer music…and finally one day in kindergarten I started to play little melodies with their old, yellow piano, and my father took me to have some lessons. 

Liv: Black Sabbath, Abba, my hairbrush (microphone) and the mirror (audience and stage

LOMM: What do you like the best about being a musician? And what is it that you do not like much?

Pauli : The creation process is pure gold. Is a fantastic process. Also talking to my beloved family/ bandmates on daily basis just blooms my heart as this kind of communication brings us closer and it feels more intimate than just mailing only music related topics. As well getting to know all these wonderful people that support us is just fantastic! All the new friends I have made through this; is just something unique!

Meiju: Being able to sink in to the creative flow is like heaven for me. I forget all time and space, and easily food and sleep as well…! The most frustrating part for me is to finetune all needed tiny details either in studio or the rehearsal room, I am not the most patient person in the world. 

LOMM: If you weren’t musicians, what would you be doing?

Pauli : A sad person.

Meiju: My other job is healing chronic physical muscle and joint pains of my clients in my therapy room with a traditional Finnish massage technique.

Liv: When I’m not a musician I work with autistic children. What a deep and beautiful task. 

LOMM: If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Pauli: At this point in time we are all cought into a vulnerable situation. Corona overpowers everything. Music industry is heavily affected by the pandemic situation. This pandemic seems to bring the community closer cause right before the first wave hit, you could feel this division happening. It felt that there isn’t much more to give and that the music world tries to overpower every single human endeavor. History has tought us that such behaviors always backslash and come right back to us. Corona should not be the reason nevertheless to stop the creativity. Some musicians tend to support the trend of “art is work” but all I have to say that “art is art”. I never liked the word “work” as it rings very aggressively into my ears. If I decide to transpose my art into “Work” then I can guaranty you that the magic will be automatically gone, evolving to a more “Generic” or “industry-friendly” kind of music making.

Meiju: I would get back to some old magic: prioritizing the genuinity in music which has been lost recently due to harsh profit-making structure in the industry. A long-term devotion aspect instead of the short-term hit circus

Liv: SHARE. Every release that an artist does that benefits culture should be rewarded with a certain and fixed fee. Why do only play offs count? Chart entries? Radio? Major label support – you name it! It’s so unfair how the money in the music business is divided and not shared. There is no share for others than those who hit the top chart positions. The big ones get the complete pot. The European Union decided that. What about the rest of artists and bands that contributed to cultural history, investing all possible, but couldn’t get the air plays, nor a profitable deal with a serious and fair label? They end up with nothing. And probably invested more than a top-ten rockstar. 

LOMM: What’s more important to you? Catering to the audience or music for its own sake?

Pauli : It should be all about music in first place. A good song can reach the heart of the audience.
If the focus is targeted into the music, then the rest will happen. Music first – then trusting the process. This equation never goes wrong.

Meiju: The true message of the music is the most important thing, always the true message. But it doesn’t mean it couldn’t be very beautifully prepared and performed to the audience. 

Liv: My authentic music and the exchange with the audience. Both. 

LOMM: What is the most memorable gig that you have played to date?

Meiju: My biggest show was for sure The Wacken Festival with Ensiferum, most memorable was performing in big Finnish medieval festival with my own band, Mamyth.

Liv: All my gigs in Norway ever

LOMM: When you look back your music career, what do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?

Pauli : Every single day is a great accomplishment. Been able to make music with Liv and Meiju makes automatically every single day to be greater than the day before. I am sure that tomorrow’s will be great and that today’s will suck comparing tomorrow. But also today’s feels super and yesterday’s seems like a day that sucked 😊 .

Meiju: All composing, recording, rehearsing, releasing and performing works are like babies, I really don’t want to put them in any order. Sometimes even a small step means the world to the maker.

Liv: My voice is authentic and I can now pass my self-didactic knowledge of 40 years of experience and learning passionately and with great consciousness on to my singing community. It’s an inner call. And a blessing.

LOMM: Who would you like to collaborate with?

Pauli : Hehe, every person that I wished to collaborate is part of the upcoming album. Well, Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon) is a person I would really love to collaborate with. Arjen has done so much to the music and I strongly believe that world would have been so poor without Arjen’s input! Way to go Arjen! You’re the best! All my love and support <3

Meiju: I cannot hope for any better collaboration in the whole world than it is with my dear Coldbound family Pauli and Liv Kristine.

Liv: Maite Itoiz, Ozzy, Kate Bush, Tori Amos, Sting, Anathema, Amorphis, Deep Purple, Røyksopp

LOMM: Who would you like to go on a tour with?

Meiju: Napalm Death, they are great guys. On a tour there needs to be a relaxed, cheerful atmosphere to really enjoy the trip.

Liv: Amorphis, Ozzy, Kate Bush

LOMM: Name some of your all-time favorite albums? Include controversial ones.

Pauli: Kansas’ debut is the top of the line ! The eye opener kind of album. Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” as well has been a huge influence. Kingston Wall’s debut as well was a crucial album to my musical upgrowth.

Meiju: I love all work from Strapping Young Lad, Devin Townsend and Dead Can Dance. Can’t point into one album though!

Liv: Black SabbathBlack Sabbath”, “Volume 4”, “Technical Ecstasy”, MadonnaRay of Light” and “Like a Virgin”, all albums of Røyksopp and Susanne Sundfør

LOMM: What does your collection look like? Mostly Vinyl, Cassettes, CDs, Digital? A bit of everything? A total mess?

Pauli : My collection consists only from Prog Rock vinylls (80% 70’s prog rock, 10% 80’s,90’s and 10% from 2000 and after) The only cassette I have is Amorphis’ Tuonela, and that’s because I wanted to check out how Sakari Kukko sounds like through my Phillips audio system from 70’s 😊 . Although I have something like 200 vinyls only, I hope that I will be able to expand my collection later on. There is so much great music out there!

Meiju: Mostly CDs and digital.

Liv: 90% vinyl 

LOMM: What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

Pauli: I reside in Sweden. Sweden is a place where rock and metal music is not of any taboo anymore. The radio and mainstream media has embraced this kind of music and that is just fantastic. There are annual festivals and the society is supporting these kind of events.

Meiju: I am from Finland and the Metal Scene here is super active and strong.

Liv: West-Coast of Norway, black metal. 

LOMM: You can invite 5 people to a dinner party, from the future, the past, rock stars, a movie characters, you name it. Who are you having dinner with?

Pauli : The invitation would go straight to my bandmates Liv and Meiju, as well our soul partners 😊 I am not a person of limitations so if someone tells me I have strictly 5 invitations, is more likely that I will smirk and expand the list into infinite number 😉 .

Liv: Ozzy, Kate Bush, Deepak Chopra, Sting and of course my husband. 

LOMM: What is your weirdest memory in your music career?

Pauli: Hmm, we need to define the term “weird” here 😀 😊

Meiju: One folk show in Estonia, where the stage was a high, dangerous-looking building made from board and tied together with cable ties. The stage didn’t have a roof and it was an outdoor show, so we were really hoping there would be no rain, and checking our insurances before going on stage…

Liv: As I performed the deeply melancholic ballad “A Distance there Is” with my former band, Theatre of Tragedy in Austria sometime in the we nineties, one person in the front row of the audience all of a sudden started kissing my feet and eventually put my toes into his mouth. Someone must have been really much into my feet. I couldn’t help but laughing, I couldn’t continue singing. 

LOMM: What is the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

Pauli : A picture of the band’s first logo been tattoeed on an arm. Johan you are a crazy guy <3 If you read this, I hope you don’t laser your tattoo even if we have changed our sound 😀

.Meiju: I have only received super cool or heartwarming gifts <3

LOMM: If you had one message to your fans, what would it be?

Pauli : Stay true to yourselfs <3 You got all my respect and support to whatever you are doing.Thank you so much for everything you have done and still are doing for Coldbound. You guys rock our universe. Please stay safe, so we can soon visit you somewhere around the world 😊

Meiju: Always keep your inner fire burning and dare to follow your heart.

LOMM: Anything else you think your fans should know?

Pauli: If you wish to stay up with the latest details and informations, please find us on Facebook (check links bellow), Youtube and all social media platforms 😊 We love interacting with you so is more likely that if you decide to drop a comment, you will also get a reply  back 😊 Just be nice and kind 😀 .

Meiju: I love dark, organic coffee and I am a collector of different kinds of natural mineral waters!

LOMM: Thank you for taking the time!

Pauli : Thank you 😊 ! Cheers

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