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Radio Nova Interview  (July 2009)

Translation: Parte II

By sineresi @ livejournal.

Interviewer: You have traveled quite a bit, and airplanes and all kinds of tour buses are very familiar to you. What do you do on the tour bus because it’s a lot of time you spend there?

Ville: Well, it depends, usually every tour has a theme. On one tour, we watched the program where Timo T.A. Mikkonen [an especially annoying and opinionated “media personality”] interviews Adolf Ehnrooth [a Finnish general and war hero from the 2nd World War] about 200 times – I’m not exaggerating here – so that we knew the whole thing by heart. Why—that’s a whole other question. On one tour, we played poker all the time, but Burton kept winning, so it didn’t work out. That’s it. The theme last summer when we did festivals was watching Lord of the Rings in German. Gollum is really funny in German. Linde memorized Gollum’s part.

Let’s say that when you put five guys in a very small, confined place, of course the stuff you talk about gets a little weird. It’s like taking a case of booze and going to someone’s tiny cabin with three of your best friends for two weeks. The conversation takes its own course and an outsider wouldn’t understand anything after the second day.

On the bus you usually sleep, drink coffee, look out the window, and that’s it. Mige usually reads and eats, and Linde just sleeps, he can sleep anywhere anytime. It depends. You have to remember that Europe is really easy because the distances are short, but in America you have really long distances. It’s easily 600 kilometers a day, and that means spending a lot of time in the bus. It changes the mood completely because then you’re living in the bus. But you get used to anything, and the essential thing is the gig. How you get there isn’t important. Same thing with planes—as long as you’re getting from place A to place B, it’s all right. How you get there doesn’t matter.

Interviewer: Are you a boy band?

Ville: Well, let’s say where not boys anymore. We are like Mieskuoro Huutajat (Men’s Choir the Shouters) type of solution. Boy…? It’s hard to say, I’ve said it myself that we’re a boy band just to take the piss. I think that Jackson Five was a boy band and Black Sabbath is a boy band: it’s boys that had a band and did what they liked. In that way, yes, but if we think about the traditional meaning – a band put together mechanically to maximize profits – I think there are much better examples than us even in Finland.

Interviewer: As long as the band has existed, you have been called a beautiful singer. How do you make yourself beautiful, Ville?

Ville: You mean physically beautiful? I see, I see. I’m blushing. How do I make myself beautiful? By thinking about beautiful things and behaving beautifully. I think that inner beauty is reflected on the outside as well. My physical appearance I can only blame on the genes I inherited from my parents. I don’t have any secret lotions or any powders made from the horns of reindeer to make my skin shine like Cate Blanchett’s in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

I thought you meant that I’m a singer with a beautiful voice. I’m disappointment—it’s always about the looks!

[both laugh]

Interviewer: Well the voice is something else too. Your band is interesting in that it’s really Finnish but at the same time not at all. It’s what I said before about you being really hard to figure out.

Ville: Yes! We’re hard to figure out, just like you said. We can’t figure ourselves out, that’s the greatest thing. I think that nobody knows anything about us, we included. I play an acoustic guitar at home, and then we go to our rehearsal place and make some songs, and when they feel right, when you’re smiling while trying not to cry, then we are about where we want to be musically. And taking it from there is another thing. [laughs] But the not knowing, it’s definitely an essential part of this orchestra. And I’m proud of that because that’s something you can’t build. It happens somehow completely organically and in an obscure way.

Interviewer: How many strings does a bass have to have?

Ville: Jaska from KYPCK plays with one string. But one is not much. D.A.D.’s bass player plays with two strings. Two is pretty okay, but I think he uses E and A, while I would prefer B and E. How many strings…? None. As long as the bass exists, you can get a sound out of it somehow, it doesn’t have to have any strings.

Interviewer: Which chords describe HIM best?

Ville: Gmaj7. It describes us worst. That much I know. Maybe sus4. Chords…? E major or Cis minor. I’m pretty bad with the structure of chords, Puppe is much better. Puppe has so many names too. I mean Janne Puurtinen, Burton, Puppe, Putte, nowadays Putte Piller whose hit from Michael Jackson’s Thriller is called Piller Nähr (?) that he plans to perform on tv one day. But anyway—anything that has 9ths and 11ths. Those are okay.

Interviewer: Okay. I’m not going to ask you to elaborate… What sentence describes you best as a band? If you have to put the whole band in one sentence, what would it be?

Ville: Alea jacta est. [laughs] That describes our band well because it says that the die has been cast and it’s a classic Latin saying, it’s pretty fatalistic and gloomy in itself and also because I learned it from Asterix. It tells a lot about our band. [interviewer laughs]

Interviewer: Is there something you would like to change about the band or your history? What would it be?

Ville: We have been very unpleasant people, or I was unpleasant when Pätkä left the band and Antto left the band. They were difficult situations because in a way I had never been in a situation where you break up. It’s hard when you have many guys, and they all have their own lives and all work towards the same goal. They were difficult situations, and it would have been nice if I could have handled them better, but on the other hand, you learn things that way, and I’m proud that Pätkä and I can talk and Antto and I are like good friends.

What I’d like to change is that after every fill Gas’s first snare is slow. Stuff like that. And this means that I’ve followed Gas so much that I notice that his every snare is slow after a fill which means that I care and that I really pay a fucking lot of attention to him which means that I would probably be disappointed if he got it right. It’s the beauty spots. You can always complain about things, but it doesn’t mean they would be good if they changed. I just hope that everyone keeps their heads together and stays concentrated on the new record. That’s always what I worry about. That all can stay concentrated until the end, and even if your muscles are burning, you can still keep going and do the record so well that there’s nothing that bugs you. That’s what I want now, and about what I would want to change… Probably nothing.

Interviewer: Would you like to add something to your history?

Ville: No, I don’t want to add anything to our history, I want to add a lot of things to our future of course. Anything positive. That I get to Richard Branson’s island to play the acoustic guitar and talk shit with him and [here he says something I really can’t make any sense of]. That could be nice, but if it never happens, it doesn’t mean that my life is ruined. Or you never know, but still… You have to keep your eyes and ears open and see what the future brings and not be afraid to jump into any strange ravines. You can usually always find the bottom.

Interviewer: Now that you’re making the new record, who would you like to work with in the future? Do you have any…

Ville: You mean an artist?

Interviewer: It can be an artist or why not a producer.

Ville: That’s a tough question in the sense that there are a lot of people that I idolize and you don’t necessarily want to work with them because you don’t want to take away the magic. Producers…? No producer is a perfect producer. Production is what happens between the producer and the band, and if you take a producer like Rick Rubin who has done fantastic work with a lot of bands, it doesn’t mean he’s going to do fantastic work with us. We have a fantastic relationship with for example John Fryer and Hiili Hiilesmaa and Tim Palmer, and now we’re deciding who to work with on the new record.

But it’s a sum of so many parts that it’s unnecessary to speculate about it before it’s done. Because there are so many things to consider. You have a studio that a billion people work in, a billion wires, time differences, and let’s say 16 songs that you have to record before a set deadline. There are so many factors that you can’t know what’s going to affect the outcome. That’s the reason something works and something doesn’t. It’s once again the reason why music is made – because it’s so unpredictable. It’s like an abandoned dog whose past you don’t know but who you care about so much.

Interviewer: You have worked and recorded music in Wales and in several places in America, a mansion for example. How about in the future, where are you going to go to look for the best possible sound?

Ville: Our principle has been that we don’t make two records in a row in the same place. It’s nice to be in Finland and make a record, but then everyday stuff gets in the way: you have bills to pay and whining girlfriends and kids – well, they don’t necessarily whine – and a lot of things that take your concentration away from the record. But on the other hand, when you’ve been on tour for a year and a half, it’s wonderful to sleep in your own bed and enjoy the family atmosphere while you’re making music. It’s a two-edged sword.

We did the last record in Finland, so it’s probable that we’re going to make the next one in America, and now the prices have come down too and stuff. The dollar is so cheap that it’s not terribly expensive to record in America. A lot of people think that we go to America and spend a billion dollars, but it’s the same as making the record here. The only difference is that you’re in a different place and the time is different and your phone doesn’t ring as much.

And different climates affect the sound of the songs. I have for example a perversion that Anthony B, a singjay from Jamaica, whose latest record Rise Up is like modern root reggae, works fantastically in the dead of winter in Finland. I don’t know why. I come back once again to what we talked earlier about the combination of different things when it comes to our band. It’s the same thing when you take a really melancholic song and record it in Los Angeles, and you get a strange magic in it. It’s not necessarily a good thing, but at times it happens that you make a song in Los Angeles and record it in Finland and you get like the best of the both worlds. That’s good.

Interviewer: Great. What song describes you best? Is it your own song or something totally different?

Ville: I can’t pick a song that would describe the whole band but a song that describes me damn well is a song with lyrics written by Hector and sung by Freeman. It’s the Finnish cover of John Denver’s Annie’s Song, or Kaikuluotain in Finnish. [sings a bit] It describes me really well because it’s a crazy combination. It has crazy lyrics, and it’s a fantastic song. It’s good. It describes me well personally, but it’s just the combination when everyone else likes everything else. I can’t say that there’s a song – ours or someone else’s – that would describe our band, all the aspects that we have. An elementary school band’s rendition of Sibelius’s Finlandia. That could be pretty close to what we are.

Interviewer: That’s pretty good.

Ville: I don’t know if it would be good, but it’s the beauty spots, they’re important. The little cracks in a glass, you usually look at them closer than the glass itself.

Interviewer: Are these the songs that you would take with you on a deserted island?

Ville: That deserted island thing depends of course about what else you have with you. Is it just the deserted island and one stereo? And what kind of stereo is it. Does it have good lower frequencies or is it an iPod?

Interview: No, an iPod doesn’t fit the picture.

Ville: So it’s whatever setup. I don’t think I would take any music with me because to me music is often an association to the moment I heard the song, how I heard the song and to some other song. So they are like different pages of the same book, and I would be annoyed just hearing that one song. I have all the songs in my head, so if I had a guitar, I could sing all those songs.

It’s surprising how the associations work when we’re for example rehearsing. Linde recognizes them at once. In one new song, we have found Modern Talking, Black Sabbath, Sielun Veljet, and Allman Brothers. Just a harmony and he knows where it’s from. People remember like a B-side from an album from 1973, I think that’s pretty great. I wouldn’t take any music with me. I would just listen to the sounds of the ocean. I’m sure that’s better.

Interviewer: I now thank you so much for the interview.

Ville: Thank you. I’m sorry if my babbling has been a little hard to follow at times, but it’s complicated to talk about a career that in a way is the total opposite of what the word ’career’ means in a dictionary.

 

Ville blabbling?!…nahhhh… :)  Once again thanks to sineresi for the great translation job and patience.

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