Interviews Music

A man with a past

{mosimage}Marko Haavisto had very clear that he wanted to
become a singer and songwriter since he was 9, when he got his first guitar.
This same determination gained the sympathy of the most famous Finnish cinema
director, Aki Kaurismäki, who has included songs and even an appearance
of Marko and his band in some of his most famous movies.

Marko, you were
a member of the Badding Rockers that was quite a popular band in Finland
a couple of decades ago. Why the decision to separate from them and start with

Badding Rockers just came to the end in 1993. It
was my first recording group. And name of the band made honor to great Finnish
singer: Rauli “Badding” Somerjoki. After Badding
, I had another band called Geronimo,
but it didn’t got success and recorded just one cd-single (three songs). But
one of those songs, Jäätynyt sade, is
in latest Aki Kaurismäki´s film: Laitakaupungin
(Lights in the Dusk).

After Geronimo I worked in
traditional dance-bands, which played evergreens. I got good paid in that job,
but two years was enough for my head. I came again very hungry to write a song
and play them with my own band. So in 1997 I founded Poutahaukat.

The name
“Poutahaukat”, is it true that comes from an Aleksis Kivi´s book?

Yes, Aleksis Kivi has been the first one who has used that word to
picturing a man in a book named Nummisuutarit
(The Heath Shoemakers). But I learnt
the word “Poutahaukka” from my grandmother.

How did you get
in contact with Aki Kaurismäki, and how the collaboration to score music for
his films (and even appearing performing) happened?

I met Aki in 1990 at the film festival in Sodankylä. He had invited Badding Rockers to play there. He
collected a song from us for his film Tulitikkutehtaan
(The Match Factory Girl). There
in Sodankylä, Lapland, we shook hands for the
first time. From there our friendship began

Are you
planning to continue this collaboration with the director in the future?

I don’t know anything about that. If somebody knows, is Aki, and he won’t
tell until he is pretty sure about what he will make next. And that could be
something else than a new collaboration with me and Poutahaukat. Aki is the one who makes those decisions, not me.

Aren’t you
afraid that people can feel more curious for your band appearing in those
movies than for your music itself, or do you feel proud to collaborate with

I am proud and thankful that Aki has chosen my songs to his films. I have
also seen that for example radio stations could say: “we can’t play your music;
it does not fit in our style.”  But when
somebody like Aki takes a song for his film, those stations “start” to love the
song and suddenly it’s ok for them. It makes me sad, but I guess that it is just
the way it goes. Anyway, collaboration with Aki has brought only good things
for me and the band. There are fans who wouldn’t know anything about us without
those films.

{sidebar id=36}What can you
tell us about your new released album Hollolasta Teksasiin?

We made it in the countryside of Finland, in a small village named Sysmä, at my father’s summer place. We
took all the equipment into that cottage and recording there was nice and easy
most of the time. We played, but we also had grilling, sauna and swimming. We made
several sessions there during 2006-2007. 
I was very satisfied when the album was finished.

The title, that
literally means “from Hollola to Texas”,
is it a figurative trip or did it really take place?

It’s figurative. It’s picturing our music and influences; from old Finnish
traditional music (Hollola) to American rock ‘n’ roll-, blues- and country
music (Texas), a mixture of them.

Do you have any
idols in music, Finnish or international artists?

There are many important characters for me. Here are some of my favourites:
Teddy and the Tigers, Elvis Presley, Black Sabbath, Rauli “Badding” Somerjoki,
Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Kauko Röyhkä, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash …

You have
played quite outside Finland
also, like in Germany.
And how happened that you played also in Japan? How was the experience

Those all have been exciting adventures for us, something that we
couldn’t even had dreamt about it, because our songs are in Finnish. I have
only good memories, the best are from Japan. Part of the success on those
tours has been because appearing on the film Mies vailla menneisyyttä  (The man without a past), but we have
been bloody good special guests for it! Our music has found many new friends.

When listening
to the album or even seeing the design of the cover and back cover, Marko Haavisto and Poutahaukat gives me
a (bit romantic) feeling of a road band, a band that spends a lot of time on
the road, traveling from bar to bar and always on the road. Does that really
happen with you, guys?

Some of the stories are just product of imagination; some are straight
from true life. But I won’t tell you which one is true and what’s just
fairytale, because that could spoil the whole thing, you know.

Photos by Nauska

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