Awake at night
Each visit to the workshop of Ruokangas Guitars is an enthralling experience to me. Ever since our first encounter, the time we’ve spent together has always been inspirational in a multitude of ways.
The combination of tranquil and beautiful surroundings, awe-striking level of master craftsmanship, incredible materials with their own stories to tell, our philosophical exchanges, generous amounts of humour as well as the unforgettable hospitality keep on elevating our spirits.
With this in mind, I would like to channel some of that high vibration, pour it onto this page and elaborate on some keystone aspects of what we’ve set out to do in collaboration with Juha and his crew. I have long pondered upon what such a contribution could look like; arriving at the conclusion that this writing needs to be intimately personal and transparent in order to serve us all in its full right.
It is time to share some insight into the genesis of the craft of Elding and where we are going from here onwards. I will begin with our nowadays brotherly endeavour’s humble origins.
The Toll It Takes
Early on in life, I set out into the world with a poor mindset – ruminating on a narrative of victimhood, mentally constipated with frustration and desperation; which in turn led to a plethora of physiological ailments across time as well, as one might expect.
Delusion had crept in: I gambled on that if I could channel old woes into music, perhaps some recognition could overshadow and “justify” a past which I didn’t want to live with (while actively ostracising myself from the world, ironically).
It turns out, as stated countless times throughout history: Whenever one assumes they’ve buried their issues, those tend to become even uglier upon their return – perhaps even more malevolent in their expression from the strain of suppression too, judging by my experiences.
I genuinely believed that I could resolve my hardships by intellectualising and dissecting them in ways which I had learned from studying psychology. Add countless self-help books, experiments with diets as well as workout programs in alignment with such an approach and still – it was as if I ultimately had granted an infernal entity passage out of the abyss and into this world through my being – unable to reverse my actions; no turning back. The pain had run too deep; affliction felt like a terminal blight as its corruption festered. Irreversible damnation.
My entire existence seemed to orbit around hurting, by extension – the only “high” I deemed to have left; I couldn’t imagine there being anything else beyond its pull. No matter the generous offerings of the inspiring and kind people who I met throughout this journey – I see, in hindsight, that I truly was unreceptive to anything beyond the self-destructive mental blueprint (imprisonment) which I couldn’t help but keep perpetuating as if by possession; shut off from the possibility of meaningful, lasting change.
Crisis after crisis, it finally dawned upon me: I couldn’t think and rationalise my way out of something which was established by maladaptive “reasoning” (read: self-sabotaging compulsions) to begin with. I had confined myself to being trapped up in my head for so long that I had forgotten how to feel any different (grounded within and through my body altogether, really).
No matter how, from a relatively pragmatic perspective, well off things might have seemed on occasion – old pain had me disconnected from life like an all-enshrouding miasma in the form of a horrific (brain) fog. Seldom did I feel as if I was living – existence equaled “dwelling” somewhere between the living and the dead to me. Come years of murderous sleep deprivation and I tapped into the domain of all-devouring madness – as if descending into a feverish purgatory reminiscent of the horrors of Silent Hill. I can imagine that this might have been the plane where H.P. Lovecraft harnessed the inspiration for his craft from.
Ultimately, but two options remained: Give in and suffocate under its weight or take off like a rocket out of that unfathomable pit of torment. Put it this way: It’s good to be here to tell you about it, I say in all modesty. Adrenaline can make humans do things which might seem otherworldly – like people lifting cars in order to save lives and the like. A fascinating topic to delve into for, but let us savour it for another occasion.
Looking back, I can envision a greater meaning to all of it; which plays a fundamental role in the mythos which we’ve established for our music in order to make it more immersive and offering something beyond entertainment as well.
With this awakening process initiating, it felt as if my mind (libido more specifically, as elaborated upon by Carl Jung) began “unclogging” and that I had touched upon some invaluable lessons – ones which I would love for us to incorporate within our music and lyrics with faith in helping others who feel overwhelmed with hardships.
Not in attempt to compensate for my personal shortcomings and wrongdoings, mind you – but with the intention of supporting our kindred in elevating the collective human consciousness altogether; as much as our modest endeavours can contribute with, at least.
Like fire onto flesh
Throughout a lifetime, I fantasised about creating something akin to Elding. However, it would not work out from the position of “selfish compensation” – it needs to be offered as a gift to the world from selfless generosity; embedded with the lessons of transmutation and transformation for everyone ready to embrace it. Hence, all the artwork, music and storytelling which we invest the best of our current abilities into are portrayed and offered with a spiritual undertow.
A friendly, humble reminder: Mankind has admired such phenomena throughout the ages. Consider this: Under the most daunting of circumstances, the genius within people being stirred from its slumber. There’s an abundance of records detailing such occurrences; transformation of one’s trauma into something that keeps on serving generations. A fitting example of it within this context can be J.R.R. Tolkien’s story of how he transformed his harrowing experiences of war into the epics of Middle-Earth, which keep on inspiring people across time. This too is a fascinating subject, isn’t it? It sure is something we’d also like to acknowledge and honour with the tales that we tell with our ensemble.
Exhale The Ash
In the aftermath of aforementioned events, I reached out to my dear friend Aleksi Kärkkäinen and invited him over for a stroll in a forest on the outskirts of Helsinki. As we were toying with the idea of embodying and revitalising the concept of Elding that is here for everyone to see today, we decided to give it our best and observe what would unfold.
With one of our long-time favourite, multi-talented musicians, Mathias Lillmåns (of Finntroll fame) now onboard as well – we’re thrilled to present the prologue of our own epic; a story which will span across multiple releases. After a long and arduous journey, here it is: Blood Will Tell. Like the legend of the Phoenix rising from the ashes, further hinting at the duality of fire as a force of creation and destruction; which is paramount to the foundation of our material.
This signification is embedded within our band’s name as well: Elding is the Icelandic word for lightning bolt. To us, however – it rings in a way which makes us think of it as a formidable, legendary fire-imbued weapon of Norse mythology.
That symbolism is ingrained at the heart of our craft – to temper one’s pain in the fires of suffering, transforming it into strength. Like iron engulfed in flames, conscious suffering can also be like fire onto flesh and spirit. Fire may also be swayed and turned into torchlight; a guiding light – insight. Meaningful change is often painful in some way; by physical and mental exercise as in growth of character.
With Elding, we wish to craft music that inspires. Ideally transmuting our fascination and deep appreciation of cultural heritage, literature, nature and wildlife, philosophy, psychology and spirituality into artwork, music and stories that pull at heartstrings and inspire noble aspirations that may resonate with people long after they’ve heard us strumming notes on tape.
Elding – Blood will tell
Mathias Lillmåns: Vocals ⏐ Finn Windsval: Guitars ⏐ Aleksi Kärkkäinen: Guitars & Vocals
Pyry Hanski: Session Bass ⏐ Heikki Saari: Session Drums
Faith in others
Now, how does all of this entwine in regards to our relationship with Ruokangas Guitars? Well – Juha insisted that such an elaboration deserves an article of its own. Hence, here we have it: The first chapter of our history with Ruokangas Guitars – the Heart Of The Forest. Plenty of gorgeous pictures in there too (thank you Emma)!
With all of this said, I hope that we can stir and ignite faith in something greater than the temptation of pursuing (and escapism by) fleeting pleasures. One may observe that there is nefarious intent subduing mankind by cunning means, surrounding us in many areas of everyday life. There is an awful lot of noise cluttering our minds and distorting our spirits’ harmony; warping our perceptions what living should entail.
Ideally, I’d love for our work to be the counterbalance to all that marginalises sentient beings by manipulation and exploit, that which is executed in favour of catering to the insatiable gluttony of envy and greed – among other atrocities.
A Newfound Horizon
Many times, the opportunity and momentum for tremendous positive change makes an entry through the backdoor of something which might come across as a bleak scenario.
Upon meditating, I’ve realised: There are things being orchestrated within this universe which our feeble senses cannot help us wrap our heads around. Remember that from before the dawn of the Internet? The beauty of mystery?
I’m giving the following a shot: Whatever happens from here onwards, I think of it as experiences which we need (but not necessarily desire) – though we might not be aware of why and may not ever find out in this life. I think of it as life happening for us, not to us.
On a daily basis, I work on making peace with the idea that we cannot predict whether something happens for the better or worse (whatever we tell ourselves about that, anyhow) and observe how life seems to unfold in ways unseen before (from my humble position). We are waking up – one at a time.
I would like to finish writing this contribution by thanking all the remarkable people who have supported me personally and us as a group so far on this journey, apologise to everyone who I passed the hurt unto because I was not aware of how to help myself, paying tribute to Juha and his crew for enchanting us with their magic, celebrating the countless souls who keep on inspiring us as well as thanking our fellowship for sharing the entire experience of this adventure we’ve embarked on together.
Lastly, I want to thank you for making the time to read all of this through – I hope to have stirred your curiosity and perhaps even inspired you in some way. Take care.