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Pearly Gates

Interview with Antti Silkela of Pearly Gates

Antti Silkela of Finish “so-hard-to-categorize” band Pearly Gates answered our question about the band’s sixth EP release “Unchained,” a great four-track EP that is a release for everyone. He also talks about the influences, favourite albums, and unforgettable moment of the band’s career so far.

How would you describe your new EP “Unchained”?

Unchained-EP includes 4 songs that combines prog rock arrangements, heavy riffs, dark lyrics and big wall of sound. It was recorded during one year in studios, cellars and cabins in DYI spirit.

Unchained EP

Do your personalities reflect on the lyrics or music?

Me and our singer Jonne are responsible for all the writing in the band at the moment. It’s natural that your personality shines through the lyrics and music. I can say I’m a sensitive person, who tries to see the world trough an analytical lens. In music you are allowed to express a bit naive thoughts and emotions so that’s great therapy. Our music and lyrics are basically about soul searching and reaching to the unknown.

Do you see the band’s music as serving a purpose beyond music? 

Composing and playing music is just one part of being in a band. It’s a perfect reason to travel, drink beer with the fellows and meet new people, a way to challenge your sonic and visual creativity, follow your childhood dream and impress the ladies. Quite neat way of life I would say.

Do you believe in progress, and how does that reflect on each new Pearly Gates release?

If there’s no ongoing progress happening, there’s no reason to release anything new really. We want to keep getting better and better and reach the band’s full potential some day.

Are you satisfied with where Pearly Gates stands currently?

We have been doing this since we were young kids: spending hundreds of hours in the rehearsal place, playing gigs for full bars and empty ones around Finland and Europe, writing songs, doing long recording sessions and trying to get our voice heard.

It’s been a great ride but financially it’s still a nightmare. We hope that this new EP and music videos get more people exited so we start to get more following.

Pearly Gates

Which bands influenced your work at the most?

Pearly Gates has taken influences from the bands like Pink Floyd, Tool, Karnivool, Black Crowes and Hellacopters. The list could go on and on… Our band has had our Action Rock and Southern Rock phases in the past but now days we are more into some more heavier and complex stuff.

What are the benefits and drawbacks on technology and Internet in your opinion?

It’s not the best music that is heard, it’s about who makes most noise to be heard. Internet is an incredible tool to promote your band’s music globally but you are one in a million who is doing it. It’s hard to stand out without the help from big media companies.

New technology has made possible to record albums with perfect sounds and no mistakes whatsoever. For me it doesn’t necessary mean it’s laking soul because of that. I love big and wide soundscapes! Sometimes the lack of technology can bring more to the sound too. If you are listening Robert Johnson for example you know what I mean.

What are your all-time favourite albums and why?

My favorite albums are Pink Floyd’s The Wall and Iggy and The Stooges’ Raw Power for very different reasons. The Wall deals with themes of alienation and loneliness which I’ve been struggling with especially when I was younger. Classic songs and the whole concept of the album made it really special to me.

Raw Power is dynamite to our senses. It makes your heart race, your feet move and you feel like you are on fire when you are listening to it. I took the CD with me to all the parties I went to when I was about 14 years old.

What was one of the most unforgettable moments you guys experienced as Pearly Gates?

The first thing that comes to my mind is our trip to Trieste, Italy at the end of our first European tour in 2012. It was the perfect couple of days after some big problems we had encountered on the road. Some one had broke into our van couple of days earlier in Prague. They stole 5 guitars, bass and a laptop from us so we had to drive to Germany to buy some new equipment to keep going. Then we drove to Udine, Italy where we found out that our Slovakian promoter had lied us about our gigs in Italy: we didn’t have any.

We were forced to cancel couple of gigs booked to France for the next week, because there were no money coming in without gigs. We drove to Trieste to chill out before our long drive home and while playing guitars on the beach we met some amazing local people who showed us the best places in the city and partied with us for couple of days. I miss that town and the people.

Enjoy “Unchained” by Pearly Gates from the band’s Bandcamp page, and like them on Facebook. They are also on YouTube and Soundcloud.

Pearly Gates

Pearly Gates – Unchained EP

It makes perfect sense that Pearly Gates came together as a result of a planned hybridisation of Tool, Black Crowes, Porcupine Tree and Pink Floyd. This Finnish quintet are wholly infused with the same penchant for adventurous art introspection.

Pearly Gates tether themselves not only to the erratic expressionism of progressive rock, but touches of alternative / pop rock styled consciousness expansion as well. A bombastic affair, Pearly Gates are predominantly led by gracious singing of Jonne Nyberg, who also handles guitars, saxophone and harmonica.

Unchained EP

Their incisiveness and edgy tones cut the path for the excitable raw guitar work and ever unpredictable percussive collapse that follows. Despite its heady nature, a sense of playfulness is exhibited throughout the four-track release.

White the guys are certainly enjoying what they do and have fun, there is a determinism instilled wishing their songs that keeps them pulling to an eventual conclusion. It is a meaty listen that runs the sonic gamut from and to wide spectre of influences.

Dynamically charged and musically gifted, Pearly Gates plow through a colourful array of punchy grooves and extravagant melodies. But rarely do they get lost in the clouds thanks in part to the considerable weight of their low end focus and continual efforts to make their sound diverse. Abrasiveness emerging from heady indulgence rather than overpowering distortion is a refreshing change of pace.

It may not be a pick for everyone, but those who have record collections that include the mentioned groups are in for quite a treat.

Unchained” is available from Bandcamp. Follow the band on Facebook here.