The Reverend, The Bizarre And The Lord – Interview With Peter Vicar   2 comments

Peter Vicar Peter Vicar a.k.a Peter Inverted, a.k.a. Frater Moles, a.k.a Kimi Kärki is a cult god of Doom Metal. When the final nails were hammered to the coffin of Reverend Bizarre (1995-2007, R.I.P.), their guitar player Peter Vicar set out to create a new Doom band and Lord Vicar was born. Being such a prolific musician and visionary, one band wasn’t enough, had also another band Orne as well. These two bands are vastly different from each other, Lord Vicar carry on the Doom Metal traditional that started with Black Sabbath, Trouble, Witchfinder General and Saint Vitus while Orne have a much more early 70’s Progressive Rock edge. Here is a interview conducted by Russian doom writer Aleks………Enjoy……Ed

Q: Salute sir Peter Vicar! I appreciate your time very much but this interview is going to be longer than both of us expected; what do you wait for if you’re in two great bands and have a pair forthcoming CDs in hand? So I hope that you do not mind it and I hope that my questions will not be too boring for you. What kind of interview questions do you dislike the most?

A: Hails, Aleks! The interview is indeed a handful, haha, but I’ll do my best to provide detailed answers. I dislike ignorant interviews where the person who has made the questions has no clue or real interest in the band. Evidently that is not the case here, so I am happy to sit down and work to make this a good read.

Q: What do those miserable ones who never have heard about Lord Vicar or Orne (as I think that everyone who visits this place knows Reverend Bizarre) must know about the man who stands behind these bands? Who are you – Kimi Kärki or Peter Vicar?

A: I am Kimi Kärki, and that name already means different things in different contexts. Peter is a mask I wear for the sake of heavy musical rituals. By the way I have chosen to use pseudonym Peter Inverted these days, as the band Lord Vicar has moved to have additional meanings, for example combining Lord Chritus and Peter Vicar. He got rid of the Lord, I dropped Vicar.

Lord Vicar

Q: Lord Vicar is obviously an all-doom-star band, and I still wonder how you all gathered in a certain moment to and moved to a certain place together. It’s not an original question but really, Peter, how did you meet each other and decide to start the band?

A: Well, I met Milly, our drummer, when his old band Centurions Ghost was supporting Reverend Bizarre in our last European tour. He later offered his services when I was looking for a great drummer for the new band. I know Chritus had been basically off the radar after Terra Firma’s second album, and I needed a great vocalist, so I asked from Renfield (of Count Raven fame) how to find him. I got his number, gave the call and a bit later visited his home in Sweden. We drank some ale from a horn and saw that we were both keen to do a band together. With bass player I had to go overseas fist, for the 7″ EP we recorded. My dear brother Jim hunter (of While Heaven Wept, Revelation, October 31 and Twisted Tower Dire fame) gave his helping hand for the bass duties. Later Jussi, who used to drive Reverend Bizarre around Europe, become the permanent bass chief. All in all, forming a band was a puzzle where a lot of thinking was about chemistry as well. And now we bring the thunder, the mad dogs of doom!

Q: The band was named Lord Vicar and you were well-known as Peter Vicar in Reverend Bizarre, so are you still the “main guy” in the band?

A: I like to think about it as a collaborative effort, where each person brings the best out of him. But when it comes to handling stuff – there are notable exceptions to this rule, I am especially glad that Jussi and Milly have sometimes relieved me from some of that burden with gig arrangements – and making the long term plans, I like to keep the final say. That said, we have some focused and strong willed people in the band, and we tend to carefully find agreements about all the steps we take. So far it has been quite natural, setting the goals and then making sure we get there. I don’t wish to be a dictator, I believe in meritocracy of the capable.

Q: Ha, by the way, Peter, you called yourself the ecclesiastical title though you play most of the time, songs about witchery and occultism. So, how much of “Vicar” is there within you? You named yourself that way not in vain, right? Is it some kind of classic inner struggle or just some tribute to the genre?

A: Actually Albert “gave” me that name a loooong time ago, back in the 1990s. He wanted to find us all names that somehow represented how HE saw us, but also fitted the doom metal aesthetics. So the drummer became Earl of Void. There’s a lot of humor in that of course as well. I was the “respectable” one in Reverend Bizarre, the one with “future” with family and work stuff. I still do, but there is less Vicar in me these days, I certainly hate organized religion as it has mostly been causing so much suffering to the people who dwell on our planet.

Q: How was The Demon of Freedom EP created? As I’ve read there’s some kind of epic story about this album being recorded in four countries. How long did you wait after Reverend Bizarre’s split-up to create a new band?

A: We basically recorded our parts in different countries, that’s not so impossible as it might sound in the days of Internet and portable studio solutions. The drummer first of course, he played on top of the demos I sent to him. And then we built on that foundation, layer by layer. I basically started to think about forming Lord Vicar as soon as I knew RB was finished, this was in Spring of 2006 when I was living in England for a while.

Q: You built a parallel between the subject matter of The Demon of Freedom and the role of Satan in our civilization. Do you think that humankind may gain freedom just by following different rules – simply denying rules of society or some religion?

A: Yes, if you mean by different rules the kind of rules that come from local values, respect for the surrounding nature and the people around you who deserve that respect. But there is too much overpowering hate and greed in the world, I tend to be quite pessimistic really. Satan would famously represent individualism, freedom and unrepresented sexuality in that picture. But don’t take me as a Satanist or Dionysian because of that, I’d rather see myself free from any label. In the end I think most of us are mostly motivated by survival, be it through art, reproduction or just plain hard work. Because Western civilization has become so complex, I don’t think anyone can handle how things are progressing now. Most people don’t even care, really, they live in a shell and dull their brains with mass entertainment. In a way I am in that limbo as well, I partly write doom metal songs as a form of fiction and escapism, release from the burdens of life through heavy sonic rituals, but also I try to include warnings about the state of things. There is a paradox, and I am not sure if it even needs to be solved, these sides can co-exist. I don’t think anything one individual does can change the direction of how things are going, but it’s still a better motivator for creating than good old sex, drugs and rock’n’roll. Even if some of my band brothers are probably motivated by exactly those three things, haha!

Q: You wrote the lyrics for Fear no Pain album – didn’t you ever want to sing it yourself?

A: But of course. If I had a voice like Ozzy, Reagers, Bobby, Albert or Chritus, why not. I do sing some of my singer-songwriter stuff, I feel it is needed with that more intimate stuff. I plan to release some of that material under the moniker Frater Moles some day.

Q: First song “Down the Nails” has interesting verses:
“Suddenly he knew the reason why
A meaning for his pain and misery
Three times he had to tell a lie,
Live to die this day and fight the nails”
Did you try to observe this event from some new point of view? As I understand this is the song about Christ’s last moments of life in human body… Which lies must he tell?

A: Well, first of all, you actually got it wrong. The song is about Simon who became “Saint Peter”, the first pope and the foundation to the church, in all its schizophrenic forms. Peter had to lie to live, in order to pass on the heritage of the teachings of his master. I always found that really funny and interesting, that a pupil of this very very very uncompromising man, Jesus, had to bend the truth in order to pass the memory about this teacher on. Later on Peter, according to the legend, was crucified upside down, as he did not consider himself worthy to die in similar way as the Nazarene. That song stops to the moment when Peter reflects back his actions, at the point of dying. And he realizes he chose well after all, despite the dilemma and the weakness he had within.

Q: “Pillars Under Water” is based on Lovecraft’s story, “Born of a Jackal” reminds me of film The  Omen – there are obvious sources of endless inspiration for any metal band, but you have also songs with original subjects: historical “The Spartan” and “The Last of the Templars” or “A Man Called Horse”, the last of which looks like it has been taken from some folklore tale. Do you still like to read such books? And do you think that modern generation reads less than elder ones? Maybe your songs drive someone to take book or two? (and throw them in the stake where withes burn :-))

A: Actually ‘A Man Called Horse’ is based on the movie, starring almighty Irish actor Richard Harris. The movie was supposed to be an authentic description about the Native American way of life, and the Sun Vow ritual, a very cruel rite of passage. But there are actually quite many ethnographic inconsistencies there in that movie, and as the final nail in the coffin, this white supreme “Lord” who raises from “Horse” to be one of their leaders. In my song he becomes the poison, the anti-hero from the Western civilization, a harbinger of disease, rot and booze. I like to read a lot, and as I teach cultural history in university, it’s also quite necessary. In a way I hope all my actions lead people to read books. But I guess sometimes people just want to drink more beer when they hear the songs, and there’s nothing wrong with that either.

Q: Anyway, the lyrics of Fear No Pain are quite original, do you plan to compose a song about “witch burning” or about “sabbath” for your second full-length?

A: No… I got lyrics and ideas about old myths becoming flesh today, about how people bought into the ‘truth’ of the Third Reich, about old historical cities crumpling down, about endless rain and the horrors that children have to witness in our society. Chritus will hopefully write some on these two last themes. Oh and war is an endless inspiration for me, in all forms.

Q: It seems that Doom is an English privilege, I don’t just mean music style but all this tendency in the world music scene with the musical atmosphere… From this point of view (if my thought is clear for you enough) we can say that Lord Vicar and Reverend Bizarre play English doom metal; do you know bands which play Finnish doom metal? Which certain features must these bands have?

A: Actually I think there is a lot of Finnishness in some of the Finnish doom bands, but of course the aesthetics come from Black Sabbath and other giants of the Anglo scene. There are the usual cliche about the Finnish nature, darkness, violent temper, drinking culture, sauna, sisu, suicides, existing in between east and west, and so on. But there is real power in stereotypes as well, take that how you wish. I think in the end there is no real national culture, or at least some or even a lot of that was innovated and even made up by the power elite to have easier control of the masses. Some of those nationalistic symbols are incredibly powerful tools of course, and most of the people are happy to be treated like cattle.

Q: As you said you’re going to record three split albums – with Griftegård, The Funeral Circle, and Centurions Ghost, which songs will be included in these releases and what bind you with these bands? Oh, stop – Gareth Millsted (drummer of Lord Vicar) plays also in Centurions Ghost, so that part of question is clear.

A: Milly doesn’t actually play in Centurions Ghost anymore, and as a result it might be that the split will not happen in the form that was originally intended. Griftegård are a great doom metal band, the main man Ola Blomqvist used to run I Hate Records where we released The Demon of Freedom EP. The Funeral Circle is a new promising Canadian doom metal band, I just thought it would be nice to offer them some more exposure, and get a great split partner in return.

Q: When will these split-CDs will be ready and through which labels will you spread new tunes of your Doom?

A: They are actually going to be released in vinyl format first and foremost. The labels are The Church Within, which is also our main release channel, Eyes Like Snow, and Ván Records.

Q: Also you’re working with new material for the second full-length album of Lord Vicar, how do you see the forthcoming album from the point of its composing? What components are ready?

A: I think it’s 80% finished when it comes to songwriting. Still building the sum of the parts, considering some structures, and finishing the lyrics. There’s seven songs, one from Jussi, one from Milly and the rest from me. As mentioned earlier, Chritus will participate with two lyrics, and I think Jussi is writing his. I got a quite clear idea how the album will be like, and I am very excited about it. We still need to rehearse the tracks and give them the road test before hitting the studio. I’d say we will record Signs of Osiris before the first half of 2011 closes.

Q: I’m sure that with new songs you will demonstrate to your listeners old school traditional doom metal in it’s best aspects but will the new album grant us something new, something that we didn’t hear in your previous works?

A: No, it’s all the same tired and repetitive slow stuff. I will keep exploring some acoustic elements as well. Do not expect a wealth of synthesizers, violins and female vocals, or experimental ideas for the sake of them. We do what is necessary to let the truth of the material open freely.

Q: Does the process of preparing new releases with Lord Vicar hinder you with your work on the new Orne album?

A: No, the new Orne album, The Tree of Life is fully recorded now.


Q: Is there any difference between record sessions of Lord Vicar and Orne?

A: Yes, there is always a little bit different vibe to all bands. Orne sessions are scattered, there’s not many people around at the same time, most of the time. Orne sessions are also focused and there is less uplifting jokes and fooling around. There is also a lot more room for experimentation in the sound production and the instrumental layers. And there are a lot of textures there, believe me…

Q: Do you know about the German band called Noekk? It’s a project of two gentlemen from Empyrium. I remember them listening Orne’s first album The Conjuration By The Fire because of your similar “progressive” way of thinking; and as I see prog-elements from the past are popular nowadays – Hammond tone, that specific sound of guitars… What is it, man? Or rather, why is it happening? How has this tendency come to modern music?

A: I actually found out about them through this interview, and they sound like a good band. I am happy if and when they found a connection to our music. Those old instruments and progressive, or perhaps these days regressive, aesthetics are really a good platform for longer songs. Sometimes one needs a lot of space to be able to express very profound and simple things. The production of a lot of the old stuff is also very nice to ears, and a direct opposition to a lot of the stuff one has to suffer from the format radio and contemporary ultra-commercial music scene.

Q: Orne sounds more delicate and graceful than Lord Vicar or Reverend Bizarre, how did you turn to this kind of music and where did you find all these kind gentlemen who are in the band now? Hm, it sounds like “Peter, tell me how Orne was born!”

A: I just wanted to play songs in the fashion of the old prog heroes like King Crimson, Van der Graaf Generator, Genesis (Gabriel era and some of what followed in the 1970s), Pink Floyd and so on. I am also very fond of old folk stuff, Neil Young, Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen, etc., so that has also left a mark. Orne has all Reverend Bizarre members and some friends from my hometown in its lineup.

Q: Orne was formed in 1997 but the band wasn’t too active through the years – only 3 demo-albums and finally a amazing full-length CD in 2006. What was the state of Orne in the first years of its existence?
A: We were taking things slowly, learning what it is to play, rehearsing twice a week. A lot of personnel changes throughout the years as well. We played gigs those days, something we might consider in the future again.

Q: Look! I understand how Sami does these things like Opium Warlord or The Puritan or even his black-metal stuff after Reverend Bizarre, but how did these both aspects (progressive rock and traditional doom) get along together for you?

A: Somehow it’s strange that this is not as evident. There’s actually a lot of doom elements in old prog, and a lot of prog elements in many doom bands. This is clear when one listens to Revelation for example.

Q: The band was named Mesmer first, it’s good and… well… it’s a smart name, as Orne is just name from Lovecraft’s story, why did you choose band’s name?

A: There were quite a few of those smart Mesmers around, at least two in Finland, and one progressive band in The States. Was it an easy decision to change the name. Orne has a nice ring in it, and it’s not always as simple a name as it might appear in the first place. We were almost sued because of the name, by the way, but I am not going to dwell on that.

Q: Orne’s songs are dedicated to spiritual and occult search, but do you just like to compose the songs about that or maybe you also practice these matters as well, trying to release your Kundalini power or conquer a power of your mind… Well, do you?

A: No, I am a scholar of these arcane spiritual matters, not a practicing magician. If I am interested in the heating I do not set myself in fire as the first thing, to speak metaphorically. There are SO many bands claiming to be very deeply involved in these things, but their knowledge is shallow. Saying all that, I am interested in ritualistic elements in various religions, and think there is a huge symbolic power in them. But I am not walking around in a cape, burning incense and trying to look evil, it’s much more subtle. And a lot of it has to do with musical performance, focusing ones will.

Q: Who had the idea to use the sax in songs? It’s brilliant solution, sax sounds natural and vital, I bet that its tunes send the shiver not only over my spine… Just like guitar in “A Beginning”…

A: I did luckily chat to a sax player pretty much when Mesmer was founded in 1997, and in the end I have become to prefer flute over sax. But they are both featured in the new album as well, not soprano sax anymore, though, luckily. That instrument can be really irritating.

Q: Yes, about guitars… Did you know from the very start how your guitar will be sound in Orne? Which guitarists of some old bands were your inspires?

A: I pretty much knew what I wanted to do, but had to experiment a lot to find ‘my sound’. Robert Fripp, Steve Hackett and David Gilmour were the important prog guitarists in the days when I needed more direction.

Q: Orne released the split-album with Blizaro in 2010, does it show how the second Orne album will sound? I know you have already recorded it. Though I’m sure that just one track doesn’t help us to foretell such things.

A: It gives you an idea, yes, even if the final album is much more professional sounding when it comes to performance and production. A lot of that split track was constructed in my home studio, including mixing. But it is a great document from the middle of the process, and people should compare the versions when the album will be out.

Q: Sad to say I didn’t yet listen to that split-CD, what is your song “The Return of the Sorcerer” about? Split is a short release in itself so I guess that you’ve prepared a really good song for it?

A: It’s not a CD, it’s a 7″ vinyl. The song is about an episode in Rod Serling’s great Night Gallery, based on Clark Aston Smith short story. I love them to death, Vincent Price playing the occult brothers, Bill Bixby as the translator, Patricia Serling as the beautiful and dangerous witch! And I am happy with the song as well.

Q: What is the band Blizaro? Orne plays rare music if we can say so, therefore I wonder what does Blizaro play?

A: Blizaro is a project of John Gallo, also the head of Rochester based doom metal band Orodruin. Blizaro is more about Italo-horror soundtracks, Goblin, obscure prog avant-garde improvisations, and so on. It’s great stuff, and Gallo is an eccentric madman and a dear friend, and I actually collaborated with Blizaro already on the infamous Blue Tape. Please take a listen here:

Q: And even further than was the case with Lord Vicar, you already have finished material for the second album of Orne? When will it see the light?

A: It’s up to Black Widow Records. They still have to pay the final bill, just today received a word they are doing it, and start working on the layout with me. Things are sometimes slow with them, but it’s the end result that matters the most.

Q: Did you record it with same line-up?

A: Almost, the bass player is different, Jaakko is a very dear friend who I collaborate with in E-Musikgruppe Lux Ohr as well… and the flute player is the original member back from the Mesmer days.

Q: Why is Sami just a guest vocalist in Orne?

A: He does not see it as a real band, in a way the “band” was me and Jari for a long time after the first album. I guess Sami did not want to be associated fully with it, also because it’s my vision, and he is not providing the lyrics. But I of course consider him an essential part of the band, and I hope we will be able to continue in the future. There’s a long history of work with him, and despite many rough times there have also been amazing and great moments. The end of Reverend Bizarre made it possible for us to remain good friends, which is a totally great thing.

Q: There is also Jay Lovely from Reverend Bizarre in Orne… Was it hard for both of you to go on different paths after Reverend Bizarre?

A: I guess Jari P. aka Jay L. aka Earl of Void was as ready to quit as Albert. I wanted to carry on, which in the hindsight could have been really fucking hard on us all. Well, perhaps not financially, as the band was just slowly taking off in the metal mainstream, hah hah! Would have been fucked up, believe me.

Reverend Bizarre

Q: Reverend Bizarre always seems like one piece as a family, its line-up never changed (except your old-time drummer Juha-Petteri Lundqvist), but as I understand that you all have difficulties to be together sometimes and all of you still have more than one musical project… Maybe such things always happen when more than one strong personality are in the same room?

A: Yes, and I am yet to see a band which would be totally without problems. Musicians are usually sensitive people, not robots. And close-knit social units always have to struggle to find harmony, and I guess after my wife and kids and perhaps some work colleagues it’s been my band brothers I mostly deal with. All that driving, waiting, lack of sleep, alcohol, madness on and off stage, it really bares us as people, shows our strengths and weaknesses in full flavor. Sometimes it produces great chemistry, sometimes creative tensions, sometimes, well, just tensions. But it can be so good sometimes that it’s worth all the pain and frustration!

Q: Some parts of lyrical, visual and musical conception of Reverend Bizarre have been reflected in Lord Vicar. Is it just all that you didn’t implement in RB or is it just the way that Doom must be?

A: I have always done things way which intuitively felt right. In Reverend Bizarre it was more Albert’s call, and the differences between the bands might reveal to the listener the subtle differences between our philosophies. Both have their strong merits of course!

Q: What was the secret of Reverend Bizarre? With every album you reached new fans and I suppose that there were a damned lot of good reviews and only a few neutral ones. And do you see – looking back to the RB way – any weak points in it?

A: Our social chemistry was the weakest point, and very strict and determined planning both the main reason for the success (I mean we REALLY knew what we were doing and why) and perhaps also the seed for its ruin. Things became obsessive before they became better near the end. Being in Reverend Bizarre became laborious and incredibly stressful for us all, leaving less and less room for other stuff.

Q: Why did you release so many split-CDs? It would be logical to record just one full-length album instead of them all! Do labels deal with split-CDs eagerly enough? Or is the recording of full-length albums more preferable?

A: Vinyls, vinyls, vinyls, not CDs… There was a scene collaboration element in all those split vinys, and later an effort to break those rules as much as we could, hah! We just had a lot of the records planned well in advance, and the splits carried our more eccentric adventures. Make no mistake, some of our best stuff was on those splits. And, well, we finally released them as a double-CD as well, it’s called Death Is Glory… Now.

Q: Peter, as I said I appreciate your time, but we already have a very long discussion. Truth to be told, I could ask you a few more questions, but I’m afraid that our readers (and you maybe) would simply fall drained of all strength right there in their seats in such situation! Let us end our interview here, accept my best wishes to you and your family! I hope that one day we’ll see one of your bands in Russia. Do you have energy to add few more words?

A: Well, thank you for your colossal interview, very much appreciated. I guess there once was some mad plan of Reverend Bizarre touring in Russia with Barathrum. That kind of tour could have killed us, hah hah! People, please find some time to listen to albums instead of streams or random mp3s, even if I’ll now offer some windows here below. At least I have always written with larger scope, so it should be a rewarding experience. Support the bands, buy merch, and use some time with our albums as they are all growers. See you on the road somewhere!!!

Lord Vicar: Lord Vicar @ Myspace
Orne: Orne @ Myspace
Reverend Bizarre: Reverend Bizarre @ Myspace
Interview By Aleks Evdokimov


Posted September 19, 2010 by doommantia in Lord Vicar, Orne, Reverend Bizarre

2 responses to “The Reverend, The Bizarre And The Lord – Interview With Peter Vicar

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  1. Thanks for putting this together you guys, this website has grown to the number one doom site in the last year.

  2. nice interview, strange taht someone can talk about easty asian culture and mention Tibet and Japan and even sheep herding Mongolia but not the well spring of east asian culture -China.

    I guess China isnt 'cool'

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