Interview: Rough Grind

We recently featured the track Dreamchaser by heavy rock band Rough Grind in a round-up review of songs containing elements of metal music. They have a fantastic sound to their music and I wanted to find out more, so decided to have a chat with vocalist/bassist Sami.

By Jane Howkins

You recently released a single titled Dreamchaser, which we reviewed. What can you tell us about the track and where can it be purchased?

First of all, thanks for the review. Dreamchaser is a true riff rocket that will irresistibly take up permanent orbit inside your head. The first single (The Road Song) off the upcoming album was a stroll down the memory lane to revisit the age of hard rock giants, however Dreamchaser is more like a metallic juggernaut, although you can sense some old school vibes in that one as well. And like the title suggests, the lyrics tell about about the importance of reaching out to your dreams, no matter what the universe will throw at you. Don’t fear the future, just keep going and enjoy the journey. Dreamchaser is available on all streaming platforms.

You’re based in Finland. What is the music scene like in your part of the world?

Finland is renowned for great metal bands and there are a lot of hidden gems under the radar. Actually, I think Finland is the world leader in terms of metal bands per capita, and the metal scene shows no signs of slowing down. Of course, the pandemic has thrown a few spokes into the wheel and many gigs/summer festivals have been canceled for two years in a row, but this situation is not going to last forever.

What is the writing and recording process like for you?

Usually I’ll come up with the ideas, process them into songs, make demos and send them to the guys. If they like it, we proceed further with it. The lyrics are written by me or Mikko Mutka, with whom I’ve been collaborating for years. This time the whole process (writing and pre-producing the Hardened album) was a bit different for various reasons. But the recording process was the same as on our previous album (Pieces of Resistance). Only the drum parts were recorded in the studio. Everything else is ‘home-made’. Lassi Tiainen then mixed the songs in his studio and also mastered the album. Lassi is a great guy and a true professional, and we really appreciate everything he has done for us.

Have you got any plans to release a full-length album or an EP anytime soon?

We will release our second album Hardened on January 28, 2022 via Inverse Records.

Do you plan to release any singles at any point in the near future?

We’ve now released two singles from the upcoming album, and we won’t release any more before the album is out. We’re planning to release a music video on the same day when the album will be released. The song is about a very serious problem in our world today, and we’re not afraid to take a stand on that issue. Unfortunately I can’t tell you any more about it just yet…

What/who influences you most as a band? What have you been listening to recently?

We all have different backgrounds, so I can only speak for myself. I’ve always liked the heavy metal of the 1970s. Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Whitesnake, and so on. And of course I wish I could sing like Ronnie James Dio, haha. I’d also like to mention Tarot and Kingston Wall. Those two (late) Finnish bands mean a lot to me. I guess Zakk Wylde has also influenced me in terms of both guitar playing and songwriting. When I started to play bass in our lineup, who else could have been my “role model” than Lemmy? All of our band members like Motörhead, and perhaps these influences can be heard on some of our songs too.

Has the pandemic hindered your work much?

Like I mentioned before, it really has. We released our previous album Pieces of Resistance just before the pandemic hit in 2020. All our gigs got cancelled and that was a real bummer. It felt that we couldn’t promote the album the way we would have liked to. However, I wrote a lot of new stuff during ‘the lockdown months’, so there was a thin silver lining in that big dark cloud – which still hovers upon us.

Do you have any tour dates lined up?

Let’s just say that things are more than complicated right now, because of the pandemic and also because of the lineup changes. Hardened will be the last album of this lineup. However, it does not mean the end of Rough Grind by now means. I already have some plans for the future, but I’d like to concentrate on releasing this album first. It’s possible that I’ll start a new lineup (with a couple of familiar faces) and we’ll tour in the future, but it’s too early to predict if that will happen. I guess it’s more likely that I’ll write a third Rough Grind album before that.

Any last words for the fans?

You should definitely check out our new album. If you’re expecting just our trademark blend of hard rock and heavy metal, we’ll surely meet your expectations, but we also might have a few surprises in store for you…