Biting the forbidden fruit

If you are in Finland, you can spend the night in an Omena hotel, you can listen to music in your device built by Apple, or you can also be more adventurous and go to check on live a gig of Manzana. The Tampere based rock band has just released their second album Babies of Revolution, and we had the chance to shoot some questions to their vocalist, Piritta, while they were immersed in a mini-Baltic tour.

Taking advantage of my stay in Estonia, and the band had a gig in the city of Parnu, the meeting with Manzana was planned in Tartu. But transportation does not always work as planned, so we did not have the chance to meet face to face this time. In any case Piritta was very kind to answer the questions of FREE! Magazine a few days later, and talk more about this emerging project called Manzana.

Thanks a lot for your attention Piritta. How were these concerts in the Baltic countries, in Riga and Pärnu? Had you played before here in these countries?

Hello and sorry for not meeting in Tartu as we first meant to! We missed the boat….We have not played in either country before, so it was exciting to play there! All went good, we felt really welcome and there were many people in the audience and lovely folks we met after the shows, also press, so we are really happy!

As a native Spanish I am, I am curious to know about the origins of the name of your band “Manzana”.

I studied Spanish a few years ago , just very little, and I remember writing down the word "Manzana Venenosa" , and  "La Manzana Magica" on my notebook on class. It was just a word I liked, and I thought it would make a good band name! I have to admit, that in the beginning I wasn’t sure what it meant hehe.  I think the meaning is good for pop – metal esthetics:  poisonous apple can be nice and fresh from the top, but after you bite….might kill you

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Now you have a new studio album: Babies or Revolution. If you are so kind, explain to the readers a bit more about it, and the differences between this and the previous one Nothing a Whole as a Broken Heart

The debut is a bit more gothic and poppy, in colors I see more pink, blue and ice in there,  while Babies Of Revolution is more rocky and down to earth; red, gold, sand and blood. Lyrically and emotion wise they are quite the same; loneliness’ of a soul, anger & blind believe in fate and love.

The previous album was made with TRC-Records and now you are signed to Dynamic Art Records. Do you find many differences with this change? How is the relation with DAR?

We released the first album with our own TRC- Records, but we had Playground International to deliver it, so it wasn’t like we had to do all the work, but of course there was really a lot of things we did ourselves then. But that’s what we like, the punk  “Do It Yourself “ thinking. Now, when making this album, we had meetings with DAR , and they knew about things, commented , helped and did work on promotion and so on, so it’s been nice. They are a small label, but the guys do a lot of work and they’re nice people, so we are happy.

You are from Tampere, which is my favorite Finnish city (I have lived 3.5 years there in total). Which venues do you think that are the best ones to play there?

Really!! That’s not very common, it’s a small town after all ! That’s great! Then you know them all :  Klubi, Amadeus, Telakka, Inferno, Doris, Vastavirta, Hellä, Dogs Home….I like a lot a lot of places! For food, Namaskar and Gopal. To play, for a band like Manzana, Klubi is the best sound wise, but Sputnik and Yo- talo are not that bad either. For a party with friends, I rather go to little pubs like Oluthuone or Piika ja Renki.

In previous tours, you have been on the road with old friends of FREE! Magazine, like Apulanta or Lovex, and others like Teräsbetoni. Is there any particular band you have good chemistry with when touring together?

We had much fun with Lovex in Germany & Switzerland, they really are great guys. We feed musically from different sources, but somehow we fit together real well! Good band. We have played with many bands; there are always some good new angles when getting together with someone different. You find new sides in your own music, too. If you play with a punk band, you feel like screaming more yourself, if you are playing with a Goth band, the audience is more into that stuff, and it affects on us too. It’s refreshing.

Lately there is a big “metal” boom in Finland, and it seems that there are new bands behind every corner. For example, there are several metal bands with female singers from Tampere like Moonmadness or Cyan Velven Project, etc. Do you find complicated, being a young band trying to find more space in the music business, to find success with so tight competence in Finland nowadays?

I don’t think about it. I’m a bad businesswoman, and I’m too dumb to feel threatened or competed!  I’m just proud and happy for other girls & bands that they are good ! Others success is not away from me, it is always more for everyone when someone makes it big, it pulls others into the same wave. It gets energy up. And all we can do is love music and work on it every day, play all gigs as good as we can, and talk to all people, and the rest is open.

Ville, “Mr Willy”, your old bass player, was replaced in October 2007 by Klasu.  Is it ok if you can tell us what were the reasons behind this?

The problem was that Ville could not play the gigs we had, because he works as a DJ in many places.  So we had to have substitutes all the time, because everyone knows that you get paid better for DJ´n or playing cover songs rather than your own music, so it was a difficult combination for us. We’re still friends, no arguments happened, just impossible equation.  You have to be a little crazy and make sacrifices to play your own stuff; it’s hard to make a living out of it. Our other life suffers from this!

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I read in your MySpace that your cousin Ansku is in the finals of Idols. Have you ever thought you would like to be there too?

I just spoke with Rainer (Diablo) at a party, that it is good that there was no Idols when we started, we would have been thrown out immediately ! There are many good singers, there! I might be too stubborn for that competition. I want to write with the band, have a band of my own, I don’t want people to fuzz around my hair and to tell me what to do. I know there are old men out there (judges & their friends) who write better songs (and get the money), but that’s not the point. I love our songs.  Rock´n Roll is an illusion of freedom, but the freedom is also when you are inside the music, creating it. Ansku dropped out as 5th, good publicity and more freedom as an artist. Best possible combination! I’m proud of her, she did well!

There is also a mention there in the comment of MySpace to her singing Animal Alpha. Did you have the chance to see them playing last summer at Klubi? (We made an interview with them)

No I didn’t see them, but I like the band! I don’t think that Agnete would have won the Idols either!  You cannot scream like that for 29 gigs … Or… Oh yes I can, just did, hehe

Thinking about Animal Alpha, I also remembered how their singer Agnete was so powerful and aggressive on stage and very shy offstage. When you are on stage, you also transmit an image of powerful and confident woman. Are you the same when you jump offstage, or does it happen that you also become more shy when not singing?

I am very kind when not singing, not shy though, but more patient. I hardly ever yell at people, but if they get unfair I get it straight immediately. I have been lied a lot when I was younger, all sorts of slime bags around this jungle when you are young and innocent, that I see quite fast what people try nowadays and just don’t work with them. The problem is how to keep sensitivity that you need for writing, and to be hard so that people don’t fool you. I still haven’t quite solved the problem and I probably won’t in this life, hehe. Heartache is the price…

What are the plans for Manzana in 2009, anything special? Anything you want to add for our readers?

Touring, gigs, interview, meeting new friends, finding new places and fans and friends and writing new songs! Hopefully good festival setting for the summer, and shows in central Europe and Scandinavia too. And plenty of good will and cider =). I can’t wait for summer festivals, swimming in a lake after a gig! Can’t get any better!

Photos by Mia Bergius, Ville Salminen and Balsara

For more information, visit:

www.manzana.fi