Interview with Simo Atso, Guitarist with Intrepid and Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: How would you describe yourself or your band as an artist?
SA: The best word to describe us is our name – Intrepid. We love exploring the boundaries of extreme metal and showing the world how this style of music can be made in many different ways. We’re not concerned with anyone’s expectations of us, our next moves, or our next release, not even our fans. We are on this journey to serve ourselves.
PD: Can you tell us briefly about your background – i.e. where you’re from, how you came to make music, etc?
SA: We all have musical backgrounds in one way or another – me, Madis Kaljurand (the drummer), and Siim Soodla (the bassist) even attended the same music school when we were about 8-9 years old. The craziest thing about that is that we didn’t know each other back then, we all met for the first time when the band came together in 2016. I had just moved back to Tallinn after living out of town for a few years, during the years prior I started to take playing guitar more seriously, even if I consider myself more of a drummer. I bumped into a guy wearing an Iron Maiden T-shirt in school and found out that he could play bass. That guy was Harry Ein, our original bassist. I had been planning to form a band anyway, so this was a good starting point. I asked a few friends if they knew literally anybody who played any instrument. Two of my friends delivered – one guy knew Madis and another guy knew Karl Korts, who played violin and later also took up vocals for us, as we hadn’t found a proper vocalist for 10 months. We all agreed to learn Megadeth’s “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due” and to meet up at a rehearsal space on February 9th, 2016. It’s pretty safe to say that we played the song quite poorly but nevertheless, that was the start.
PD: Who and what inspires you to make music, both in terms of musical and other influences? What do you like to write about in your songs?
SA: Music makes us write music! Everything we do is because of the fact that we are complete geeks when it comes to extreme metal. Our biggest influences so far have been Death, Morbid Angel, Obituary, Hate Eternal, Pantera, Napalm Death, Bolt Thrower, Internecine, Nile, and Terrorizer. However, we also love Satyricon, Fear Factory, Thorns, Cynic, Atheist, Crowbar, Type O Negative, Mayhem, Triptykon, Celtic Frost, and Meshuggah, to name a few.
PD: What are your aspirations as an artist?
SA: At the end of the day, we play this music because we love it. We’re not too concerned about “making it”, because we know that the odds of that are very slim. That being said, our main goal from the very beginning has still been to become an actively touring band and do so without compromising our music to a more consumer-friendly algorithm. We just had our first European tour at the start of the year and we hope there are many more to come!
PD: What is the proudest moment in your music career so far?
SA: Our first European tour, which took place in January 2023. We were the opening band for Monstrosity and Origin – to have such company on our first tour ever is absolutely insane to us! Everyone was really supportive, I had to pinch myself to make sure that was really Lee Harrison or John Longstreth watching us side-stage! The experiences we had on that tour will serve as memories for a lifetime.
PD: Promoting one’s music is such a challenge these days, especially with so many new artists emerging from bedrooms in the day of the home studio. How is that going?
SA: I think it’s going pretty well, considering we’re answering your questions right now! There are many PR agencies and other services that everyone can use nowadays to maximize promotion, and it just boils down to if they want to put the effort in. We’re just doing the most we can, one can never promote enough.
PD: And how do you book and promote your live shows and tours? Are any performances coming up?
SA: We’re working closely with the company Knife Fight Media, led by Alexander & Gunter Ford – they helped us get that first European tour as well. However, locally we organize most of our shows ourselves – this is to ensure that we have kickass opening acts and also to have complete confidence in many other aspects of the event. The only exception to this is when some of the “big boys” roll into town, and they need an opener. We opened for Napalm Death in 2019 and this coming April we’re going to be doing the same for Suffocation.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online? What about streaming sites like Spotify?
SA: I love how accessible it is, a lot of music that I love would have stayed undiscovered if it weren’t for streaming services. However, the “music business” side of it is a real shame, and we can only hope that Spotify’s tyranny will come to an end sooner rather than later – after all, every regime is toppled eventually. It is important to note though, that all the criticism towards streaming services comes from the artist’s side! Life could not be better for the consumer. That’s why I think bringing change to the way we consume music will prove to be rather difficult.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
SA: My favorite riff of all time is the main riff from Celtic Frost’s “Dethroned Emperor”, Cannibal Corpse’s “Decency Defied” is also stacked with one killer riff after another. Right now I’m obsessed with Fear Factory’s “New Breed” – the way they have made synths and machines work with extreme metal is just plain genius! I hope that I’ve written (or will write) a song that will make someone headbang as hard as I’ve been to Fear Factory this past week.
PD: Is there anything you don’t like about the music industry, which you would change if you could?
SA: I think anyone who willingly would even come into this industry has to be a bit out of his mind since it has always been a hotspot for slimy businessmen to scam the creators out of their money. But since it has always been that way (and probably will continue to be that way), I don’t think about it too much. I just want to write and play my music. If anyone enjoys what we do or wants to sign us or whatever, then that’s all just a bonus!
PD: So, what are you working on at the moment?
SA: In a few weeks, we will start mixing our 2nd full-length album, due to be out at the end of this year or the beginning of 2024. I’ve already started writing our 3rd album as well. We have a few gigs booked for this year, but we are primarily focused on getting that next tour, so keep an eye out for us!
PD: Where can we learn more about you and buy your music/merch online?
SA: I’d say the best place to follow us is Instagram since over there we share the most behind-the-scenes stuff and also goof around a lot. If you only want to see the “official business”, then you can check us out on Facebook. If you want to support the band, you can do so on Bandcamp!
Band/Artist location – Tallinn, Estonia
Facebook – You Tube – Bandcamp – Merch –
Instagram – Apple – Spotify – Amazon – Deezer – Last Fm
Check our page for Intrepid