In music, there are many genres/sub-genres, and numerous more artists. One of them, can easily play music which is classified as death country, doom blues and thrash folk. His moniker is Uncle Wormwood’s Medicine Show. And for those who want to make a trip on their inner selves, his music will help them accomplish this. Welcome to his reality, welcome to his nightmares…
Hello and thank you for this interview. Let me ask you for the beginning, how did you end up with this name of your band? Personally, I believe that it is one of the best ever names for a band…
Hello and thank you. This is my first interview ever, I hope I can make it entertaining.
The name came to me in a dream. I met a man who looked just like me and he said his name is Wormwood and that he is my uncle. He told me that I could help people to cope with life by pointing out how terrible it is with my music, he also gave me the Chords of Salvation; Em, Gm & A# to use in my spiritual healing I call Doom Folk, or Trash Blues. So I took the name of my dream mentor and made it my own, and added the Medicine Show in the end to make it clear what I am doing.
The name Wormwood also has a nice natural but also biblical feel to it.
I guess you are an one man band, or are there any other equal members in the group?
Yes, it’s just me. One of my major flaws is that I don’t really get along with people, not because I don’t like people, but because people usually don’t like me as a person. I also like to have full control of my music, so it’s easier to do it alone.
Your lyrics, are not that optimistic, and they have a weird sense of humor. You can easily say in a verse, that words totally differ and make sense. Is this something that you find interesting in music or are you like that in your life?
If you find my lyrics funny, there must be something wrong with you. I don’t really write words or verses, I write feelings. I can kinda like see or taste my lyrics, it’s weird, and that’s also what I look for in the music I listen to, I’m not that into stories or anything, I prefer the feeling and atmosphere the lyrics convey.
Subjectively, your album ‘Down To The Devil‘ is the corresponding of the Dante’s book “Inferno”. But Dante wrote a book out of his imagination, I believe that you did go to Hell and came back as you said?
Never really thought of that, but you are right, guess I ripped off another great piece of art! Thanks for pointing that out.
I wouldn’t really make that comparison, since the “Divine Comedy” is a masterpiece, and my album is just something I threw together.
I’ve been to hell, and I’m still here. Although I like the idea of christian hell, suffer forever for masturbating or saying Yahweh out loud, I don’t believe in it. I think the only hell we are ever going to experience is the one we have built on earth.
So yes, I’ve been through hell, now I fear nothing.
Do you want to change your music that you like, for more money and publicity?
What? You can make money with your music? Thanks for telling me!
If somebody wants to pay me to do a pop album or something like it, of course I’m going to do it. Everything is for sale and nothing is sacred! But I would not enjoy it.
I like what I do, it makes me happy to play these miserable songs. I’m not in it for the money or fame, so I think the risk of me changing for either of these things is very unlikely. Gonna just keep preaching my gospel of doom, gloom and destruction.
Correct me if I am wrong, but in Finland there is not a (significant) gothic americana scene (unlike heavy metal for example). What did inspire you to get closer to gothic americana?
If there is a scene I haven’t heard of it. Maybe they already love their Uncle, but are too shy to tell me.
It was a dark winter night back in 2014. I was boozing at a friend’s place after releasing ‘The OddBeats‘ with my ex-band Seuora. I was getting pretty tipsy, or even drunk, and in this drunken confusion I decided to check my email. Because why not? Somebody might want to contact me.
In my inbox I had one unread message, it was from some guy called Izedis, he asked me if I wanted the new album featured on his label, the Death Roots Syndicate.
And that’s the story of me discovering the world of gothic americana, and the greatest label operating in it.
I never really set out to play gothic americana or even roots music, I just do what I do, but I have to admit that the genre has had a huge impact on my music, kinda gave me a nice box to keep my shit in.
Which are your future plans? New record, gigs, or anything else?
I don’t really plan anything I do, I just go with the flow. When you don’t make plans, you can’t fuck ’em up.
There’s going to be all sorts of cool things in the future. I want to make more music, or I have to make more music, not really sure which, but I’m going to make new music. My head’s full of terrible ideas.
I am going to tour Europe and USA, don’t know when or how, but eventually, somehow. It would also be nice to play Russia, because Russia is cool, or at least the roots scene seems cool.
At least I’m going to play Dark Holler Festival this summer in GB, that much is planned for the future.
Name some bands that you like and have been influenced by…
I guess I got the spark to write my own songs from The Residents, their minimalistic and primitive sound taught me that anybody can be a musician if they want to be.
The style of my music was then influenced by bands and artists like Tom Waits, Hellblinki, The Scarring Party and The Peculiar Pretzelmen, this list could go on forever.
I’m really into dark roots stuff, or gothic americana.
Would you like to give a message to your fans?
A big ol’ thank you to every single one of yous. I’m really grateful for all of your support.
XO – Your Uncle
Photo credits: J. Kiiveri