Cutdown stands amongst the few of currently longest standing, still active hardcore bands in Helsinki. They were also pretty much the first band to introduce heavy chugging New Jersey, NY and PA -influenced hardcore here in Finland, that wasn’t very big thing back then. Cutdown has always had their own style and they can easily be matched with bands such as; Down My Throat, Bolt, Morning After and St. Hood, who all are, names in heavier Finnish hardcore, that you just need to know.
What’s up guys, if i remember one of your first (second or third?) shows was actually in Turku at Beatdown By The Laituri, any recollections of that?
-Hey what’s up! You’re absolutely right, Beatdown By The Laituri (2002) was our first show ever and it still feels like yesterday. That was really a trip to remember. We went through everything from searching our drummer from basements and garages after his hard partying the previous night to sleeping on Kupittaa football stadiums field the night after the show. Good memories!
Cutdown has been around for years already and you haven’t had many line-up changes in the band. Guess that kind of great group dynamics can easily also then be projected into making music too, your new release, Undefeated, was released while ago, was it easy effort to put together?
-There’s been only minor lineup changes during the 14 years of existence. Häkki joined Cutdown to play guitar immediately after that very first show and we’ve had two drummers before Arttu. However, Arttu has been playing drums on all of our releases, so in a way he’s been there all the way since the beginning as well. Jude took over bass duties maybe 5 years (?) ago, when Kalle had to leave the band to take care of top priorities in life. So yeah, the lineup’s been quite solid and it definitely makes some things easier, even in song writing process. Then again, we’ve never been a band that comes up with 20 new songs each year so it always takes time to get anything new recorded and released. If we sometimes managed to come up with a new song in one or two practices back in the beginning, nowadays you probably couldn’t even recognize a song from our album if you compared it to the first version of it. Those just tend to change a lot in the process… But at least most of times during the process, all of us feels pretty same way about which parts and riffs should be changed and which ones are definite keepers. So back to the actual question, Undefeated was definitely not an easy process, as some of the songs took a long time before we were satisfied in them, but the problem wasn’t that we couldn’t come up with new riffs and ideas. It was only that we wanted to come up with better ones. If we used 25% of the riffs and different parts, that were written for these songs at some point, we could easily release two full lengths right away.
In hardcore so to speak, style wise, you have always stayed true to your game, Cutdown just sounds like Cutdown, but do you see the band taking a lot more of different influences, than you took back then when the band started?
-Not really, I wouldn’t say that. Of course we still listen to hardcore and you get to hear new good bands and songs all the time, which might give you some new ideas too, but it’s never been about wanting to sound like this or that band. All we really want to do is sound like Cutdown. There might be some small flavours in the sound, that might change on every record, but Cutdown must sound like Cutdown or it wouldn’t be us anymore you know. I’d even say we take less influences from other bands nowadays than in the beginning, after getting better in playing and songwriting and therefore coming up with our own sound. I mean, we really aren’t reinventing the wheel or anything and in hardcore you always sound a bit like that some other band. But also it’s important you have your own little twist in it, so that people can still recognize a band when listening to a song.
Release of the new record in only digital format was still rare, at least in Finland where most of the people are used to picking the cd or LP, will there be any physical release and how you came to the conclusion that digital release was the best way?
-The idea just kind of matured during the songwriting process. There were some plans about maybe doing a split record with some other band and some of those plans almost went through. Also we thought about coming up with more songs for a full length. But we’ve already released two full length cd’s and one 7” vinyl, so maybe this was just the next step? We felt like we just want to record the new stuff as soon as we think the material is ready for it and then to get it released as soon as possible. With a label it always takes months to get something released and you just find yourself sitting and waiting on top of recorded and mastered material, so this was just the easiest and fastest way for us to get it out for everyone. Other reason is, Finnish hardcore has always been a bit difficult to get your hands on, if you’re not from Finland. At least now that obstacle is taken out of the way. Money is not an issue either, as anyone can download it for free. This record is ultimately made for listening, not to be a collectors item that gets dusted on a bookshelf. Will there be any physical release later on? I have no idea, but highly doubt it. If some label wants to put it out, of course we can discuss about it. But even if that happens, Undefeated ep can always be downloaded for free by anyone interested.
What plans you got future regarding Cutdown, new full-length, touring?
-Rock hard and stay young till we die! We really have no actual plans. We’ll just see what comes our way. Extensive touring is anyhow out of all plans as we have too many obligations back home with work, families and kids. Weekend trips are still a definite go and hopefully we’ll get to do a few of those somewhere. Full length… Only time will tell! Surely we’ll start writing new stuff soon again but no one knows when it will come out and in which form. This has been a good way for us of doing the band for 14 years, so why change good habits anymore at this stage.
Any hints what kinda set we’ll be witnessing at KTL Fest, some old classics maybe?
-It’s been almost a year since the last time we played a show, so we’re really looking forward to it! Don’t expect any big surprises, it will be Cutdown on stage instead of some trendy hipsters playing their positive progressive funk pop techno hiphop tunes. You’ll definitely be hearing a bunch of new tracks from Undefeated, as well as some older classics from previous albums. See you all soon!