Interviews Music

Estonian fairytale in USA – Interview with Kerli

Born in the small population of Elva (Estonia) in 1987, Kerli is a singer not afraid of big challenges. Young, talented, intelligent and beautiful, she decided to pursue her musical dream at a very tender age moving out of her native country to USA. Many put in doubt that she would ever achieve anything important, but the time and the effort seems to be paying off after the good success of her album Love is Dead. Although very busy, Kerli had some free time to answer the questions of FREE! Magazine about her past, present and future:

When you moved to USA, you were just 18. Was it difficult for you to leave friends, family, etc behind?

I actually moved to Sweden first, when I was 17 and to Los Angeles on my 20th birthday. I was sitting in my hotel room with two suitcases. One of them had a blanket in them and the other one had candleholders and some clothes. I sat there like this for a month and cried every day. It was really difficult at first but I never doubted that it was the right thing to do. I guess I sort of always knew that many sacrifices had to be made for me to become the best that I could be. I always felt like I was on some kind of a mission to make beautiful things and inspire people.


What were the most shocking things to discover in those first years abroad?

I never thought it was going to be easy but I never expected it to be this difficult, either. It was shocking to discover that a lot of people in high positions actually have no clue what they’re doing, so an artist has to do it all on their own. Los Angeles in itself is kind of shocking. I guess it’s the most weird that you will ever find. It can almost be scary how many broken dreams this city contains. And then there’s of course the fact that everything is BIG in America. It used to freak me out but now every time I travel to Europe, I get pissed about the small coffee cups. Hahaha. I got into many bad habits and was around many sad people but I wrote some good music.

Can you say that the feeling of loneliness shocked you?

I felt lonely but I’ve always felt so misunderstood that loneliness wasn’t much of a new thing.

How did you overcome it?

I didn’t. I escaped… meaning I got into many bad habits and was around many sad people until I realized my time on earth is too short to waste it on anything that doesn’t make me the best that I can be.

What else did you discover about yourself?

This isn’t even so much about me as it is about human nature I guess. I was standing outside a restaurant and had just broken up with my boyfriend. I didn’t know anyone and I had nowhere to go. I was so scared that it felt almost beautiful. Being scared of things and then overcoming them is one of the best things that can happen. It makes u push the limits and do things that you didn’t even know u were capable of.

Do you visit Estonia often?

About once or twice a year.

I happen to know your town Elva. Do you ever miss the contact with nature there? What is the best and the worst feature of the place, from your point of view?


I do miss the nature. The older I get the more I start appreciating the green forests. It's funny you start seeing things so different when you grow up. I think I'm a fairy, so I'm supposed to live in a forest.

And actually it seems that Elva is a great source for successful Estonian female singers in the recent years. Is there something in the water there that make girls be more interested in music?

Repression and pain is what makes u seek beauty I guess. And there's nothing more beautiful than art, in whatever form. I walked by a painter on the street today and he was surrounded with such great energy it instantly made my day.

Can you imagine yourself to live in a forest all the time?

Not all the time. I love the internet too much :). But if I could disappear for a couple of months with my recording gear, I’m pretty sure something beautiful could happen. I’m thinking of going to Siberia sometimes soon. Or Amazon..

What do you do to fulfill your wish to live in a forest? Or is it just an idea?

I want to make some great records that would touch many more people than just the ones I would meet in the forest, so I’ll stick around the big cities for awhile and make that happen. One day when I’m old, I will build a little hut inside a hill and decorate it with sparkling things and old charming furniture. I will write books and make tea to pilgrims who will travel to my house to get some insight and learn a few secrets about life.

You have commented in past interviews that in Estonia you were feeling a bit “in a box”, not free to show creativity. Do you still keep that feeling when you visit back, or do you notice changes in the mentality of the people?

Nothing ever changes there, that's why I can't live there. I really believe in constant change and growth. If I'm not better today than I was yesterday than my day is wasted. But I have started to realize how great my friends and family are here. They’re just such solid people.

Could you please explain in what sense do you mean ‘great’ and ‘solid’?

Solid as of real. They do what they say and when they say they love you it will stay that way. When I go home it’s just about the simple things. At the end of the day the only thing that is going to matter is how much you love and were loved.

Are you aware of what happens in Estonian music scene nowadays? If you would have to recommend any Estonian band or musician to a foreign listener, would you have some to choose?

We have so many talented musicians. Their shows and styling is getting better all the time. The world is so easy to access now; therefore u can't really ignore what's being done by the best artists in the world. So there's like a constant push to grow, which is really cool.I really like our rapper Chalice. He's the shizz. And our classical musicians of course.

“I really don´t know how to chill out at all”

In the artwork of your CDs and promotional pictures, you have a bit that image of “blonde femme fatale”. How is the real Kerli, when not working? Would people find you easier in a trendy club at night, or having a coffee with friends in the bar around the corner?

They would find me in my room writing music or working on something else. I really don't know how to chill out at all.

In your MySpace page I can see that you say that “it is not important the place where I am from”, but at the same time you have there pictures of your hometown. So… how is your real feeling when you think back of your home? Are you proud of being Estonian (or having been raised in Estonia influenced the way you are nowadays?), or do you prefer more to be considered more like a “citizen of the world”?

I think Estonians have some qualities I really admire. Like when they love you, they REALLY love you. They are good people. And I think that coming from nowhere and hopefully becoming a true citizen of the world is so much more challenging than growing up with all the great things. And I'm always up for a good challenge.

What could be your next challenge?

I want my next record to be bigger than the last one.


If somebody asks you when being abroad to teach them a word or a sentence in Estonian, which one do you choose?

Whichever one they ask about. They usually want to know the dirty ones.

Being still quite young, you have a lot of experience behind your back. Do you see yourself in the future living still in USA, or have you ever thought you would like to come back to your native country at some point of your life?

Not Estonia. Maybe I'm going to change my mind some day but right now it's just too small for me. I love  living in the US and being from some weird fantasy place next to Russia and just doing my thing in a place where everyone wants to become larger than life. It forces u to grow so much, so fast.

Do you think that for new young Estonian artists, are there chances to get their dreams staying in Estonia, or the music industry is so small there that there is no other way than emigrating?

I don't know. So much is online now. I don't think territory has anything to do with anything very soon. love wins. good music wins.

I heard that you were supposed to tour with the Finnish band The Rasmus this year, but it was finally cancelled. Can you explain a bit more about it?

Yeah, I would also like to apologize to all my fans who wanted to make it to the show. I was just about to leave to the airport when my label called and said they need me in the studio as soon as possible to work on my second album. I had all the outfits made and all… boooo!

What are your plans for the rest of 2009?

I'm working on the new album and hopefully can release it soon.

Anything else you want to add for the readers?

When love is your intention, nothing else matters.


“Q&A with Kerli

Favourite song ever?

Bjork, Joga

Alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks?


If a man wants to make you a nice present, what is better, flowers or candles?

Both, please! But flowers always work.

What is your most pleasant memory of your musical career so far?

Listening to my first album being mastered.

And any embarrassing moment?

My dress almost slipped down during a show. I had to hold it up the whole time to make sure my boobs weren’t showing.

How many languages can you speak?

2 and music.

For more information about Kerli, you can visit her official site:

Interviews Music

Brüssel Kaupallinen – Interview with drummer J-P Aunola

Brüssel Kaupallinen is a rock band from Oulu that has achieved to be well known in their native country during its 2 decades of existence for owning a very personal style, not so easy to classify in the overpopulated Finnish rock /metal scene. Maybe they are not the band with the biggest discography in the world, but certainly they have something good and fresh to offer with their newest release, Musta Polku, produced by no other than Hiili Hiilesmaa. Juha-Pekka Aunola, the band´s drummer, kindly attended our quesitons and explained a bit more about BK and the "Oulu´s particular way of understanding music".

It seems that everywhere is written that BK sounds different to most of the other Finnish bands. So how do you define your sound then?

It’s hard to say that about your own music, because you are so close to it. Don’t know. Maybe it’s our style to make music that makes it sound different. Every song comes from rehearsal jams. Everybody add their own spices right away to songs and we don’t have too much limits. That makes it sound little strange and different. Our sound today is quite nineties; quite rough and little bit grunge with hint of metal.

Brüsell Kaupallinen

Does Musta Polku sound similar/different to your previous works?

I think MP is closer to 1996 released Aika ep, than two previous albums at 2005 and 2007. Somebody said that we found our lost soul again.

Black color seems to be an important theme in the album. It is in the title of a couple of songs, and even the artwork is black and white. Does this represent any kind of philosophy of things or state of mind?

Yes, it’s some kind of northern darkness; it’s easy to write about dark things, when you live up here with long dark winter. But still there’s some white in it. Also in this time everything is so black and white for many people. Black and white represents our world today.

At least when I was much younger (and probably even dumber), I used to enjoy full length albums with 14/15 tracks, but it seems that the trend nowadays is to make more condensed albums. For example, yours has just 11 too. Why do you think that this happened? Is the fast way of life nowadays making that people get bored if an album lasts too much?

You left out all shitty songs and that’s what is leftJ. With this kind of music about 40 minutes is enough for most of the people and in 40 minutes package stays still tight. But at least I have heard many great 1 hour albums lately. Today for many youngsters even one song is too much to listen at once.

In 1996 you launched your EP Aika, but it was not until almost 10 years later that you had your release album. What happened during those 10 years of “pause”? Is it not weird for you to say that you have been around 20 years but have only 3 studio albums?

At that time we’re making kids and working; normal life that didn’t include playing childish music. Life has changed so much nowadays. Now we’re making kids, working and playing childish music. I know many bands that hadn’t had any studio albums in twenty years. So that doesn’t feel so odd.

The “magician” of Finnish rock music Hiili Hiilesmaa has collaborated with you in your newest album. How did you get in contact and what can you tell after the experience of working with him?

I got to know him few years ago via our old record label (UHO production). So I just asked him if he was interested and he said yes. First he mixed Valheiden kirja album at 2007 and after those sessions we decided that he’ll do whole production for Musta polku. He is great guy to work with. So mellow but still demanding. When he says things are ok or shitty, then they are as he says. You better believe him. And he’s always in time, no stupid rock shit from him, never.

It seems that your songs get a lot of promotion online, in social webs like MySpace etc. Are you active users of social networks? Do you think that it is easier to keep contact with the audience there?

BK Drummer

Of course. Ten years ago you didn’t have this kind of promotion channels, just posters. Today posters are almost gone. Many cities deny posters, and if you put them anyway, they send you cleaning bill. Via Facebook and Myspace you can get more personal contact to fans too.

Noisy, ironic and mean, that’s Oulu" 

What represent for you and your band coming from Oulu? Does your native place influence your music?

Oulu is mental thing. Our kind of music has been called Oulu-noise twenty years. Radiopuhelimet is maybe most known in this genre. Noisy, ironic and mean, that’s Oulu

I know that you will be playing soon at Provinssirock, one of the biggest Finnish festivals. What other plans has the band for the rest of 2009?

Hopefully more club gigs. We’re planning 20-years jubilee tour for next fall and winter. Composing new material is of course great challenge for this year.

Anything you want to add for the readers?

Just “lööv”!

Q&A with Juha-Pekka Aunola

Most influential bands in your life?

AC/DC, Faith no More

{mosimage}Last CD you heard?

A Perfect Circle; Thirteenth step.

Who is the one in the band who drinks more?

We don´t drink, at least not too much.

Is there anything you did on stage that you felt ashamed next morning?

Nothing, or maybe just few mistakes.

What is the coolest Finnish band you have shared stage / backstage with?

Toni Kandelin

Photos extracted from the band´s official MySpace site and Official site. 

For more information visit:

Interviews Music

Interview with Jan Kuehnemund of Vixen

In the rock scene, there are women who have really made history and it would be nice just to remember them a bit since media does it only when there is something to get and never takes it as just a matter of rock & roll.

Women and their bands that are part of the rock history? Girlschool, Doro, Lita Ford, Joan Jett, Heart, L7, among others of course. All of them are important and unforgettable. We bring you a bit of this history, talking about a band that was worldwide famous in the 80's as the "hard rock queens", "the female Bon Jovi" in a time when, although it may seem a little out of date nowadays, it was REALLY a big thing. Our fireworks go to VIXEN and its "man", the wonderful woman who's been leading it and keeping the band alive, Jan Kuehnemund, band leader and guitarist of this 100% female rock representative Hard Rock band who's got to a stage and to a level only a very few women got in rock business when talking of an 100% female band.


You founded Vixen in the 80´s and very fast the band got to a level only a few women´s band got to. Nicknames such as the Hard Rock Queens, the Female Bon Jovi were adjectives all rock fans agreed to give you. Could you tell us a bit of what it has represented to you as a musician and as a woman? Was it more special, a better victory for the fact of being a “woman in a man´s world” according to society patterns?

Actually, I just wanted to mention that we worked very hard for quite a long time, before we got signed, and had any success. In the beginning, the original band from Minnesota played all around the USA for several years, then one by one 3 of the 4 original members left the band and were replaced, eventually ending in the lineup with Janet, Roxy, Share and me. Once that lineup got signed, things came together more quickly, and that’s the story most people know! When we started to have some success in the late 80’s and heard the band being called the “Female Bon Jovi”, etc., we were honored and thrilled!! It did feel like it was an accomplishment both as musicians and as women, playing rock & roll in a mostly (back then) man’s world. I don’t know if it was a better victory, but we were enjoying the ride, and doing what we loved doing, and we just happened to be women!

In the band´s official website I read a new album is coming out. What kind of changes can we expect for the coming album and what hasnt´s changed at all in the bands attitude and music? When is it going to be ready and debuted?

We learned a lot while recording Live & Learn, and we certainly hope to put all that we’ve learned into our next record!What has NOT changed, is our love & respect for each other, our vision for Vixen, and our love of music, and our attitude about wanting the band to progress, and make more records and continue writing and touring, and keep getting better and better at all of it! We don’t have a release date as of yet for the new record, but we will post updates on our website as we have them –

Have you ever stopped working with music? What have you done in your career and in your life besides Vixen?

No, I’ve never really stopped working in music! When Vixen broke up, I worked with a guy band, POULATION 361, for the first time in my life and I really enjoyed that, also!! I also worked with some other female friends and songwriters, and our band was called DRAWING DOWN THE MOON. We released a CD called Angel In My Dream.

What made you decide to go back with the band and how did you choose the new line-up?

My manager that I was working with in 2000, came to me and asked if I’d consider working with the old lineup again, even though we’d just been through a lawsuit and weren’t on the best of terms. I said yes, so then he asked the other girls if they’d consider working with me again, and Roxy & Janet said yes. Share had her band Bubble going and so she declined, so Janet, Roxy & I, along with bassist Pat Holloway did a “reunion” tour in 2001 called The Voices of Metal Tour with Vince Neil, Ratt and Slaughter. Part way through the tour, things on the road were not working out so well, as it was a really rough tour. So when I saw it all falling apart, I had to decide if I wanted to call it quits, or try to find new members to replace all 3, and finish out the tour. I chose the latter, and miraculously I found Jenna, Lynn & Kat, and we finished out that tour and we’ve been together and going strong ever since!! I truly feel that was a miracle!!

Can you remember your first gig? How old you were? Who were you playing with? How did you feel? What memories from this day you carry until now?

I can remember one of the first gigs for sure. It was at a roller rink, with the original members from MN, Cindy, Gayle & Laurie, and the audience age was from about 4 – 16 years old, and we were about 15 or 16 ourselves! We signed autographs at that show, so we felt really excited about that! Then when we were all done playing and our equipment was packed up, I called my dad, who was our very first roadie, to come pick us up! He had built a little trailer especially for us and our equipment, to haul us around town! I still carry all those great memories with me, to this day!


Unfortunately we cannot see a large number of women really working as musicians in the rock scene. Why do you think most of women don´t get attracted by rock ´n roll? What do you call rock attitude? Any example?

There are definitely more females in rock & roll today, as players/musicians than there were in the past. I think women ARE attracted by, and to rock & roll, in the role of playing it themselves, more and more every day. I think that is really great!! I would call a “rock attitude” a feeling, a vibe, a love of music and sometimes including the rock & roll “style” that goes with it. Examples that come to mind are: Joan Jett, Lita Ford, Pat Benatar, Ann & Nancy Wilson, to name just a few. Pure “rock attitude” – all of them!

“If somebody could write my biography, the title could be Vixen: A Little Girl’s Big Dream"”

What has attracted you?

The love of music – creating it, playing it, listening to it, living it, loving it!

Do you think a woman has a more difficult path to walk on and has to “prove” more than men to achieve goals?

I think it’s easier today because there are more proven successful female artists/musicians in rock. From past experience, yes, we did sometimes feel like we had to “prove” ourselves. There were times when we were asked if there were really guys behind the curtain on stage playing our parts!

Do you like to listen to your past stuff, watch pictures, read articles and interviews, do you listen to your own music a lot? Does it feel good?

I don’t listen to our old stuff very often, or read old interviews, etc., very often. But if I happen to hear or see one of our videos on VH1 or hear a song on satellite radio or something, I still do get excited and it makes me smile, and yes it feels good!

Among all your stuff, which one do you consider the best and why? And what has been the best moment for you so far? Why?

Edge of A Broken Heart is still one of our best songs, I think, because that song was our first single, and it put us on the charts and on MTV, and is the song people know us best for! One of my favorite and best moments and one of my best memories, is still, the night we heard our 1st album – “Vixen” – had gone gold!! We were in France on tour with the Scorpions, and we had the night off, and our manager called us at the hotel, to tell us our record had gone gold!!! I remember thinking and feeling that we, at this moment, had accomplished something big!! It was a feeling of – wow – we “did it” and it was like my original dream was coming true!

If you leave behind “Jan the rock star” for a moment, what do you have to say about and how would you describe “Jan, the regular woman” who goes shopping, does the laundry. Do you enjoy it?

Haha! Yes! I enjoy it! I love shopping, being at home, cleaning to my favourite CD’s, reading, going for a walk, just going about my day, etc… it’s certainly a lot different from being on the road, but I love both, and I like to have a balance between the two…

Tell us something you cannot spend a day without doing.

I cannot easily spend a day without drinking coffee!

You have a long career and probably a lot to tell. If somebody wrote your Biography, how would its name be?

Hmmm….maybe something like, Vixen: A Little Girl’s Big Dream

If you hadn´t become a musician, what do you think you would have been?

Wow, I’m not sure! I believe it would have been something that involves being creative, though…


Which other female rock stars do you admire? Is there any actual band with female members you like to listen to?

I admire Ann & Nancy Wilson, Pat Benatar, Lita Ford, Joan Jett, and many more…I like Evanescence!

I don´t know if you´ve got a play list but could you tell us your moment top 5?

1. FOO FIGHTERS (any of their CD’s)

2. I will be getting the new U2 record – No Line on the Horizon, I think it’s called. I just heardone of their new songs and loved it!

3. FUEL ( I still listen to their 1st 2 CD’s)


I need something else NEW to complete my top 5! 

Leave us a message!

Wow – that’s a tall order! ; )I would first like to say THANK YOU to all who have supported Vixen, back then, all through the years, and now!! We love you and thank you all for your very loyal support!!! : ) Follow your dreams, believe in miracles, believe in yourself, stay true to yourself, don’t give up on your dreams, no matter how tough it seems, try to smile even when you don’t feel like it, live each day to the fullest, tell your family and friends often – how much you love them, try to love even those you don’t really want to, forgive (it will make you feel better!), and at the end of every day, pause and think about as many things as you can, that you have to be grateful for! Much Love, Peace & Rock & Roll!! 

For more information about Vixen visit:

Read more articles from Maila Kaarina at:

Interviews Music

Reborn from the Ashes – Interview with Janne Kärkkäinen

Musician Janne Kärkkäinen could have not chosen a better name for his new band: Phoenix Effect. A couple of years ago he was in the middle of a bonfire, being “invited” not to continue as guitarist by the other members of Sunrise Avenue, the international successful Finnish rock band. Now in 2009, he has got musically reborn with a new and super strong project that is hitting very high in the Finnish charts surrounded by the good company of the friends of Poets of the Fall, bringing on great lyrics and demolishing songs… and with a new role on stage as vocalist!

Phoenix Effect

Hello Janne and thanks a lot for dedicating your time to answer the questions. So here comes the debut album for this new project. How can you describe Cyanide Skies for the people who would have not yet listened to the album, and in what direction would you like to see Phoenix Effect to progress?

I could say that it is a modern rock album with all the smoothness and edges still in place. We tried to make songs pretty much as they came up, and not to think too much how they would fit the “radio-hit-format”. As a result, I hope the songs would last a bit longer than songs nowadays do.  And that’s the recipe; I want to do the creative process in the future as well.

Would you like to count with “fixed” members for the band for the future, or is more an idea of having your personal project + invited musicians?

Even though PHNX started as a solo project, I’ve always had a vision that one day it will evolve to be a “real” band. Today we are getting really close to the point because we are only missing a drummer now ;) Pyry Nikkilä is playing guitar and Lauri Hämäläinen is on the bass. Do you have any favourite song from the album? I sometimes think that I have but then it changes… The songs vary quite a lot from each other so it pretty much depends on the mood that I’m in. Every song is precious, so I don’t dare to pick just one.

I read that the decision that you would be the singer was taken when most of the material for the album was already composed and you needed someone. Did you have previous experience as vocalist? How do you compare it to the role of guitarist that you had, for example before, in Sunrise Avenue?

Well, yes that’s true. I never really thought that I would be the one to sing the songs, but the guys from Poets talked me into trying and step by step it started to feel more comfortable. So I pretty much have no experience of being the singer so I think there’s still a lot to do in that section. In another words, the role comparing to the SA days is totally different.

Janne Kärkkäinen

The album has had a very good reception in the Finnish charts. Were you expecting this, or did you think that maybe after the departure from Sunrise Avenue, media would not pay so much attention to your following musical steps?

I wondered about that quite a lot when we were recording the songs, but I have had a feeling that, in general, the music is the one that will make the difference in any case. Of course it helps that some people know me from SA, but at the end of the day you always need to start from zero with a new band in any case. And what comes to the chart position, it was a wonderful surprise. I really didn’t know how it would turn out.

“My role compared to the Sunrise Avenue days is totally different”

I know quite a lot of people have found some kind of grunge influence in the album. Actually it also happened to me; it reminded me a bit of for example Pearl Jam in some riffs. Do you agree or disagree with it, or was a kind of sound you were looking for intentionally?

That was something that popped up after the release of Broken Promises. I had never noticed about it before but now when I think about it now, I can agree with you totally. Pearl Jam has always been one of my all time favourites, so I take it as a big complement!

Please tell us a bit more of the collaboration with your friends of Poets of the Fall. It seems that happened quite naturally, isn’t it? Do you think they will be involved in future albums again?

To be honest, the whole process felt really light in a way. We seem to share a lot of opinions so we had no need for arguments or anything. Of course there was a lot work but then again when you are doing something the thing you love, it does not feel like you’re working. And we will continue to co-operation for sure.

Probably some of the readers have read more about it, but maybe some others do not know much of the reasons of your departure from Sunrise Avenue. Can you explain a bit more in detail what happened (if you are not too bored of answering always the same question…)? Do you keep some relation or contact with them or not after these months?

This is still a question that I cannot answer properly. The whole thing happened within a couple of days and I was given an explanation that did not make any sense. At least not to me. We have not spoken since.

What are the plans for 2009? Finnish summer festivals or gigs abroad in perspective?

We are aiming to play as much shows as we can. And naturally we will go anywhere we are invited, even abroad!

Anything you want to add for our readers?

Stay true!

Janne Kärkkäinen

Q&A with Janne Kärkkäinen

Favourite band you have shared stage with?

Pearl Jam

Favourite memory of a concert?

Das fest, Karlsruhe

Hobbies when you do not work as musician?

Playing Ice Hockey

Favourite drink?

Ice cold skinned milk

Do you remember the last CD you bought?

AC/DC – Black Ice

Place you would like to play on live but you have not had yet the chance?

Conan O’Brien -show

What is the craziest thing a fan has done in front of your eyes?

Maybe not something that was done in front of my eyes, but one fan bought me a star from the sky(!). It’s called “Phoenix Effect”.

And the craziest thing you have done backstage?

I’ve watched Scott Weiland play playstation wearing a poncho and a cowboy hat.

Photos by Tiia Öhman

For more information, visit:

Interviews Music

Interview with Jeff Loomis of Nevermore

Nevermore is an American metal band created in 1991 in Seattle, Washington. Since then, they’ve been on the road with seven albums and a legion of fans around the world, mainly in Europe. Jeff Loomis is the impressive guitarist and main songwriter for the band.He auditioned for Megadeth when he was 16 years old, was listed as one of the fastest guitarists of all times by “Guitar World”, has his own signature Loomis guitar by Schecter and will soon have his own signature distortion pedal. To top off the successful career, he just released his first and very inspiring solo album, Zero Order Phase, by Century Media. I had the pleasure of speaking with a laid back and funny Jeff Loomis and my interview with him can be read below.

In September of 2008 you released your first solo album, Zero Order Phase, was that something you always planned on doing?

It was an idea I had in mind for quite some time, it was just that there was never enough time to do it because of all the touring that we were doing with Nevermore. When the touring cycle ended for the "This Godless Endeavor" tour I knew we would have a lot of time off, so I called Neil Kernon, my producer, and we got the project going. I called my friend Mark Arrington, who actually played on our very first self titled CD, to play drums on it and he was more than happy to do it. One of the really cool things about recording this CD was that the majority of it was done right in my own house. We recorded the drums at a studio down the street, but everything else was done in my basement. This really made the whole project very relaxed without the feeling of being rushed like you would normally be in a real studio environment. I've been a fan of instrumental music for a very long time, so I’m finally glad I had the opportunity to show a different side of my playing to Nevermore fans and fans of experimental music.

Does the album reflect exactly everything you intended it to reflect when you first started the project?

I think it exceeded my expectations. I knew it was going to be very cool once I had made the initial demos, but once we started recording, things really started falling into the right place. I think it was just a matter of the right people being together at the right time for the whole project. I was really fortunate to be able to work with a lot of talented people that made this recording a reality. Neil was a big help with many of the arrangements and Mark was the glue that made everything cohesive and sound like one entire piece of flowing music. The entire CD is a big journey of different musical soundscapes (laughing), that may sound like a weird way of describing it but it's the best way to explain how it sounds, sonically speaking.

How has the response been so far? Nevermore has some very passionate fans, how has their reaction been to your album?

The response has been very, very good. Most of the reviews have been excellent and the fans seem to really like it. I think I’ve gained a bit of a new listening audience as well, which is really cool. To be honest I really just wanted to make this CD for myself, just to see if I could pull something like this off. I didn’t want to make a CD just to show off some fast guitar riffs. My intention was to make a CD of a wide array of different musical styles that incorporated many elements of my playing intertwined. I'm always playing very aggressive stuff with Nevermore, so it was cool to be able to experiment with different approaches to writing music on Zero Order Phase. I also know that the fans want a new Nevermore CD…we have been together as a band for 15 plus years, so taking a break from that was a very healthy thing for us to do. It will just make us come back stronger with new music and a fresh start. We are working on a new CD right now as a matter of fact! 


If you were to describe Zero Order Phase in three words, what would they be?

Relentless experimental “riffage”.

Do you normally listen to your own music at home, like when you're cooking or doing laundry?

After the final mix I listened to my solo CD quite a bit…but if I’m cooking or cleaning usually I’ll be listening to other stuff for whatever mood I’m in at the time. It could be Classical music or Cannibal Corpse!

In the end of last year Nevermore released the DVD The Year of the Voyager and you guys are already working on a new album, what else can the fans expect from the band in 2009?

Yes we are finally working on the new stuff. Yes it will be heavy and yes it will be very melodic too. The fans can expect a new CD and a world tour in the very near future. Our first show will be the “Wacken Festival” this summer in Germany. From there on out we hope to be on the road for a long time. I have about 7 songs written for the new CD. I can't give you any working titles yet, but I can guarantee it will be some of our best work yet.

I know that you were very moved by the guitar playing of legends like Jason Backer and Marty Friedman. Is there any new guitarist that blows your mind?

There is a guitar player from the UK by the name of Guthrie Govan who is just amazing. I really come from the old school of guitarists that I grew up with, such as Brian May, Eddie Van Halen and Yngwie Malmsteen. These are players that really inspired me to play and stay in my room practicing hours a day. I love Fredrik and Martin from Meshuggah as well, these guys are doing some killer stuff that I love listening to. Jason and Marty are my all time favorite players. I got a chance to work with Marty last year in L.A., I played a guest solo on his new CD called Future Addict. He's an incredible musician and composer and a very nice person. It was a total honor to be able to spend some time with him and learn a few new things about his approach to guitar playing.

One of the coolest times was being on tour with the band Death" – Jeff Loomis –

What have you been listening to lately? What was the last album you bought?


I've been listening to this crazy band called The Faceless. They are kinda like a combination of Cannibal Corpse meets the Jazz guitarist Alan Holdsworth. It's strange but works so well together. I like Blotted Science too. I can't remember the last CD I bought! I think it was the new Soilwork CD, I’m a huge fan of those guys too and I'm very happy to hear that Peter Wichers is back in the band.

Do you have any musical guilty pleasure? Something that you only listen when you're alone, that you're not proud of listening to and would not tell your friends about.

I think that Natasha Bedingfield is cool…I saw a live concert of hers on TV and she has a really strong voice and has some catchy tunes too. I don't mind saying that at all. As a matter of fact, I have a close friend who likes Beyoncé! Oh, and I almost forgot that I’ve listened to ABBA a few times too. Cool production and great vocal harmonies. I think I got that from hanging out with many Swedish friends on past tours.

In your opinion, what were the most important moments in Nevermore's career?  Why?

Well, one of the coolest times was being on tour with the band Death. Being able to hang out with Chuck Schuldiner was a great experience. He had asked us to come out and tour with them in 95. I was really bummed out that I didn't get a chance to see him before he passed away. He wrote some great music and he was a genuine friend that I will never forget. We also got a chance to play the “Dynamo Festival” in Holland that same year in front of 150,000 plus people, it was an unreal time that I will never forget.

Do you get anxious/ nervous before a live performance? Have you ever performed under any bizarre circumstances? What were the most remarkable gigs of your career?

I still get nervous. I guess something would be wrong if I didn’t get nervous, it's just a natural thing. We've had to perform with the tour bus rolling into a gig just a few minutes before doors were open many times due to bad traveling weather. I don't know how our roadies and sound people pulled it off, but those were some of our best gigs! Aside from the “Dynamo Festival” I would say all the shows we do in Greece are just always great because the crowds are so loud…at times they are louder than the PA!!! And the now legendary “Wacken Festival” is always incredible. The one we will play this summer will be our 3rd appearance.

What accomplishments in your career are you most proud of? Is there something you would do differently if you could go back in time?

I am happy with the accomplishment of the longevity of the band. Many bands break up after just a few recordings. I've always felt most comfortable onstage with Nevermore and would not change anything or do anything different from the past. The way we have done things in the past has made us who we are today.

In the end of last year Guitar World put you as one of the 50 fastest guitarists of all time, having Born, from This Godless Endeavor, as your signature song. How does it feel to figure in the same list as Marty Friedman and Jason Becker? Would you pick Born as your signature song?

It is a great feeling to be up there with the names of some of the best guitarists as one of the fastest players. I didn't know what to think of that when I first saw it in the magazine…I always thought there were faster guitar players than me. I've always concentrated on playing with equal parts of speed and feel and everything in between when it comes to guitar playing. One of the tunes that really showcase some of my best playing would have to be The River Dragon from the Dead Heart in a Dead World D, a heavy tune with some cool lead sequences that are part of my signature style.

{mosimage}Did you always dream of becoming a "guitar god" and an influence to new players? Did you have a career plan B? Are your parents proud of you?

No, I never thought about it like that. I just always new I wanted to be the best I could be when it came down to good songwriting. I would rather be able to write a great piece of music than play a million miles an hour all the time. That can be a very limiting thing to a guitar player and can only take you so far. I never had a plan B either. I always knew what I wanted to do and just had a very concentrated mindset. If you put all of your work into something, it can happen for you if you don't give up. I was really lucky to have very supportive parents as well. They are both retired teachers, so they could have surely said to go to college and get a real career, but they always pushed me to do what I loved. Music is something that's been inside of me for a very long time and I never intend on doing anything else as far as a career goes. I don't know if it will always be Metal…I would love to write movie soundtracks one day, which would be a cool goal to shoot for in the near future.

I've been asking you everything that I ever wanted to know. Is there anything you would like me to ask you and I didn't?

Hmmmm…oh, you could have asked me if I plan to record more instrumental CD's. That answer would be yes, I signed for two more with Century Media. You could have asked me if I have any new gear coming out. That answer would be yes, I have a new distortion pedal I’m going to work on with a company that I can't mention yet. And, hmmmm, you could have asked me about my signature Loomis guitar model. It is still available through Schecter (laughing)!  

Now, to wrap this up, give me an inspirational quote, a few last words of wisdom…

Be an innovator and listen to ALL styles of music. There is much out there to be heard. Thanks for the awesome interview, I look forward to seeing everyone on tour real soon.

Photos by Stephanie Cabral and Karen Mason Blair

Interviews Music

Interview with Mika Tauriainen of Entwine

Entwine has a new and kicking studio album, Painstaned. For celebrating this, we had a great chat with Mika Tauriainen, vocalist of the band, a few minutes before they played at Klubi in Tampere. While Mika kindly invited us to a beer and cigarettes, there is time to talk on and off the record about almost everything: yoga, philosophy, football, religions, reggae…  and of course a lot of heavy metal! Tired of the eternal comparisons with other Finnish bands and the twisted ways of the music business, Mika is just back to the same position of 10 years ago when he started with Entwine, caring just basically about enjoying purely the music!


Thanks for your time Mika. So the hottest piece of news for Entwine is the recent release of the new album, Painstained. I know you do not like analyzing much the lyrics, but otherwise what can you tell us about it compared to previous ones?

I think this is a bit more organic and dynamic. We wanted to find something new in the sound. That is why we took Hiili (Hiilesmaa) to produce it. It is hard to explain. We got out of the Finnish metal sound; guitars are kind of rustier.

In the past you already had comparisons with other Finnish bands like The Rasmus or H.I.M. and now collaborating with Hiili (who has produced the previously mentioned bands), I suppose you knew that people were going to come back to the some topic again…

Actually we did not think about it so much and I am not thinking about these comparisons anymore. If people want to compare with other bands, it is their thing, I do not give a shit, really, because I know where we are standing and I try not to care about it. So the whole feeling of the album is different than before, from my point of view. It is maybe a bit harder to get into it, it does not open so easily than others before.

Why do you say that, because I have heard it and I think that maybe it is more catchy and easy listening than previous Entwine´s albums?

Well, the whole album sounds a bit rawer. It was not so produced than before. Well, of course it was in a way more produced than before, but I am talking for example about when recording the vocals, it did not take a hundred takes to get something good, it was coming more natural and that is why it sounds fresh you know, that is why I like it, it is more rock!

There were a couple of weeks of delay in the release. What was the reason?

No comments… I was pissed. The thing is that we had the releasing party the 17th of January, but the album was not even out when we had it. We actually put the whole album out at MySpace from the 14th to the 17th so we had something for the fans there and they could have the possibility to listen to the songs.

You use MySpace quite a lot to be in contact, you also did a quiz to give away merchandise for the fans. Do you believe about these social networks being effective to keep contact with fans?

It is a very good way to find people, it is free advertising!

I am not a rookie anymore. I do not need to be the typical rock asshole" – Mika Tauriainen –

How were your beginnings as a metal musician?

I played drums for 5 years and actually the second guitar Jaani was at that band too; I started my career with him. We had a band called Billy Goes. it was kind of Seattle rock style, a good band, if you know a band called Iconcrash from Finland, the singer played drums at our band at that time and he is a fucking great drummer still.

And what was the reason to change the role and become a vocalist? You do not feel tempted to switch in some gigs the position with Aksu (Entwine´s drummer who plays vocals in Tuomi)?

Hehehe no. Sometimes I feel like well, I would like to play drums but in general I am happy singing. I used to play the rock classics, Led Zepellin, Deep Purple, old school stuff. When I started to think about singing is when the entire Seattle wave came. Bands like Alice in Chains or Pearl Jam. The thing is that I jumped from behind the drums because I wanted to be on the front of the stage. I just wanted to sing. I never took singing lessons, maybe only ten and a half hours in total, some breathing exercises and so on. But nowadays I do not like singing much with “pure voice”, many Finnish power metal singers sing just very high and very clean and I think it is boring. Some of those singers sound just the same.

{mosimage}Now that Finland is a more metal country than ever, do you feel the scene different than a decade ago when you started?

Of course it is different. It is not so glamorous anymore. Sometimes it feels more like “work”, but I can´t say that I feel it like pure work, because after all it is fun. If we are talking about album wise, I am not thinking anymore “if it hits the charts or how much is going to sell”. Before with previous albums I could be like “ok, now it is going to be the time” and then when maybe it did not hit so big it was bad, but now I feel calmer, I enjoy music more purely, maybe in the end it takes some time to realize that it is only music. Now in that sense I feel like ten years ago, it is fun and leave the rest for the record company. If they do good job great, and if not, well, it is not my fault. At least I get to make albums and play live, and that is the main thing for me.

The only female member of the band, the keyboard player Riitta, quit a few months ago. What were the reasons?

She had a kid and she started school at 2007, so she had to stay at home, because her parents live far away and she did not have so many possibilities to go on tour and things like that. Maybe we would do a couple of shows with her, but not likely that she is going to be part of the band anymore because the kid is her priority number 1 now.

Mika Tauriainen

And how do you feel with so many metal bands in Finland nowadays. It seems that one of every three guys is in a metal band…

Yeah, and especially in Tampere. Everybody is in a band! Well, I am not really thinking about it, I know of course that there are many other bands, but I am over that. It is not about competition for me. I am doing my job, and if somebody likes it, it is good, and if somebody does not, I do not care. Maybe it is because I am not a rookie anymore, I am not 20 (Mika is 34) so I know my place. I don´t need to be the typical rock asshole, like I see with some other people.

What is coming next for Entwine? I know you will be playing more in Finland and other places like Russia, so then…?

There are plans to go to play to USA, I don´t know exactly when, but maybe in autumn hopefully. We were talking also about going to Spain. Let´s see what is going to happen. In Moscow I have been once before…and basically we were drunk the three days we spent there. We had a release party and then took the train for 12 hours and when we arrived, we had a great hangover. I slept probably 2 hours in 2 days. I was totally fucked! Now I suppose it is going to be a bit more relaxed than that time.

Q&A with Mika Tauriainen

{mosimage}Favorite place to play in Finland?

Qstock in Oulu  last summer, best show in Finland ever!

Best concert abroad?

In Barcelona last year we had a great show! People started to shout asking for the encore like if it would be a football match. I was touched and very close to burst into tears.

Who is the guy who drinks the most in the band?

Uhm..It is Aksu, I think so. I try to keep up his “good” work…


I like sports, I play tennis and badminton and football. But I have had problems with my back for the last couple of years.

Favorite drug?

Nothing hard. I only like “natural” things that grow from the earth…

Last CD you bought (not downloaded)?

I have never been collecting albums. Of course I love music. I do not remember the last one I bought, but the first one I can tell you that was Yngwye Malmsteem´s Rising Force. That album was fabulous!

For more information about the band visit:

Interviews Music

Interview with Finnish Accordion Player Kimmo Pohjonen

I meet Finnish accordion player Kimmo Pohjonen in the cafeteria annexed to the Vanemuise Concert Hall in Tartu (Estonia), the venue where he will be playing one hour later together with Samuli Kosminen and Proton String Quartet. Pohjonen is a very popular character in Estonia and people really love him, nevertheless the venue is totally packed and sold out to see live this talented and unorthodox musician. Opposite to the stereotype that hangs on Finnish people, Kimmo is talkative, happily speaks up his mind when reflecting about his life and work and… he is also hungry! The previous sound check took a bit longer than expected because they have a new guy debuting with the lightings and Kimmo devours mercilessly a plate of fish and potatoes while answering my questions minutes before the show:

Kimmo Pohjonen

Thank you for your time Kimmo. You have just recently released the second studio album with your band KTU, Quiver. What can people expect from it and what are the differences with the first one 8 Armed Monkeys?

The first album we recorded it pretty quickly, during the first gigs and the material was made in a few days; Lots of improvisation on that first album. So for the second one we wanted to make more a “studio album” and differently, my goal is that I wanted to get more “colors” from each person, each of us had so many good things they could make an album alone so this was about putting all that together. There was more dialogue here, I would say that in the first one it was like altogether talking at the same time and here we have work from everybody and then sometimes we shout. I like this record a lot, with some records you have the feeling that it could have been better but I am very happy that we did this as we wanted.

Samuli Koskinen (who is also an active member of the Icelandic band MUM) is not an active member of KTU anymore, although he has collaborated in some songs of the new album. What was the reason for his “departure”?

Samuli has a very busy family situation, he has a small baby and he really wants to be home. And then he also works with MUM and they try to take it easy with MUM also. So when it was found out that he was so busy it was natural that he was a bit put aside, meaning he won´t be playing in the live gigs. So in a way we are now only three so something happened for the band also, we became more communicative and maybe with a different energy than before. But when we made the recording we sent all the material to Samuli and asked if he wanted to mix something and play so… his shadow is there with us!

Is there a chance that he could come back in the future?

Well, we feel now very comfortable as a trio. If the day comes in the future that he wants to come back, we will have to see what is the situation but at the moment we continue just the three because it really works. I thought, ok it is a pity that Samuli is not with us but then when we started to play we felt like “ok, but it is a great move also”. There was also so much stuff coming from everybody so in a way now with 3 guys talking, it is easier to keep the speed.

Are there many crashes when everybody is so creative?

Well, of course we have too many ideas and we have a process where sometimes we are having arguments; it would be stupid if it would not be like that. That is the thing when 3 artists are working and they put the 110% there so sometimes we crash but it is also wonderful to solve these things.

And you are a bit different than the average Finnish guy, not keeping your mouth shut!

Yeah, as Pat says, the sign that this is made is when Kimmo is happy hehehe. I thought we were kind of sharing but then I think…umm maybe it is me! But well, anyway, it is an interesting process. I like also that we have some duets there in the record opposite to the first one where everybody is just playing, giving now more air and space.

We are very comfortable as a trio now in KTU" -Kimmo Pohjonen-

How were your beginnings as musician? I know you started quite early playing as a child.

It was a long path, a long process. I was playing folk stuff first and then playing just normal accordion music and then going to lessons, I was supposed to be a classical musician and that was at that time my really big goal, to play in big concert halls some classical material as a soloist. I thought I did not want to play accordion anymore.

So how was the experience in Sibelius Academy?

I was supposed to go to classical music department but then I changed my mind at the last minute and I heard about Folk Music Department and it changed my life upside down again. I liked the idea that it was about world´s music, it was everything, and with many different instruments. Then at the end of my studies I found “my instrument” again.

You were also learning to play and travelling around the world in Tanzania, Argentina…, weren´t you?

Yes, that was also part of that idea that I was in love with the instrument, that thumb piano in Tanzania and in Argentina with  bandoneón, but then when I realized the guys playing bandoneón, they were born for that, they are so good! For being at the same level, I should have been born there or training 10 years and maybe I would not be as good as they were. So I thought, ok maybe I should turn back to my instrument, accordion. But I wanted something different, with more electronics, more improvisation, I wanted also do solo, I did not want to think about other people if they liked what I do or not.

I met a couple of years ago dancer Tero Saarinen, you have collaborated also with him. It was interesting that for him, same for you, he likes freedom and experimenting with his dance; he traveled and studied in Japan… Do you find that it is important for a Finnish artist to travel and opening the eyes abroad?

It is more about that when you are young and you are studying, it is important to be into different things: to go to concerts, to see dance, theatre, movies… But then you have to find your own way to do your own thing and forget about the rest. Like Tero did. I learnt Tanzanian music, Argentinean music, etc but now when I do my thing I realized I did not want to put any of those things into my music. I improved learning those things but it was also about all the life before learning these things. Before you build the house, you must have the materials, and then you build your own house. I would suggest to every young guy, hey go and see different things and enjoy them but when you start to do your own things, maybe it is not so good anymore to follow those others and follow just yourself and find your own way.

How did you feel when starting to play the accordion? How do you describe the relation?

It has been rolling upside down all the time. When I really remember that day when I remember “this is now my instrument and I know what I want to do with this instrument”. That day was 24th of June, a day I was doing my first solo at Sibelius Academy. I had a good sound system there and when I was packing my instrument, I heard new sounds from my instrument with the echoes. I thought “this is the thing for me”. Finally I heard something I had not heard of anybody doing. After that I continued that dialogue with my instrument and I did not have any doubt with my instrument.  It is very difficult to develop the instrument because not so many guys have done it, but then for 10 years I have been very happy with the instrument, no problem at all. When I was a young guy I was kind of ashamed of playing accordion and now I am so happy I did not start playing guitar or something like that, because with this instrument you are always radical or innovative going on stage while with guitar everything is already done. It is not that I want to do different things just to do things nobody did before, it is just that I want to please myself with new ideas and that keeps me going.

I want to please myself with new ideas and that keeps me going" -Kimmo Pohjonen-

I heard also that you have broken many bellows in your career…

Yeah, that is a perfect example that I was so frustrated and then in an interview I told about it and somebody read it and called me and told me that he could build better bellows, and after that no more problems, I can play several concerts with the same bellows. That is how it goes, you struggle and then you find the solution.

You project a bit of a rebel image; your look for example is out of the stereotype.  Does it has anything to do with having had strict teachers in the past  and then trying to act later totally the opposite than expected?

No, I remember in the 80s that I hated all the hippies with the BMWs and so on, and I did not want to have the same look, so in a way that is being rebel.  I don´t know if something to do with music but with my personality. I wasn´t afraid of being different. That was not so easy. When you are under great teachers and then you start to do something totally different with confidence. In arts people are studying, but at same point they have to kill their “teachers” and do their own things, and some students do not have enough confidence to do it. It was like that with the first solo concert I did, I did not want to please my teachers or my father, just myself. Of course it is great if other people like it too but that is not the first thing. If you see the music people are doing nowadays, it is done just to please audiences, radio stations, buyers… I want to be totally against that thing. If there are no people in the concert, then hey I play for two people.

Kimmo Pohjonen

You have created soundtracks for movies, created music for multimedia projections, for circus, you have collaborated with Ismo Alanko… what is left that you would still like to do?

Luckily there are still many projects I would like to do. If it comes a day that I am tired to do new things, maybe it would be about time to finish with what I do. I have many ideas, but the problem is the time. 8 years ago I wanted to do a project with wrestlers. In Finland there was a tradition from 1920s to 1960s, there were wrestling competitions and when the guys are grappling, they literally farted, so they need music, accordion players, to cover the sound of the farts. It is such a great story! I even talked to some old musicians who had played in those competitions. I wish I would have been there seeing wrestling and accordion playing. Of course I would need to do it again in my own way. Maybe that project could happen next year, it is just one idea. The sound of the accordion is an endless world. I combine acoustic accordion together with electronic accordion in the same instrument. As long as I feel developing the sound and getting different sounds, that is enough for me. When I won´t feel it anymore, that will be the end of my days as an artist.

Have you had guys coming to you interested in learning to play accordion with you?

No, they have asked me to teach, but I can´t teach because I travel so much, but there has not been a guy yet who came and say “hey, I want to explore the sound as you do”. If that kind of guy would come, I would be ready to help and give some guidance. I really wish to see some day that people continue with that work on their own way. But yeah, the time is always the problem because you have to concentrate also on your own stuff.

Some years ago you did a project with Tapiola Sinfonietta, Kalmuk, and you pushed the musicians there to experiment more with their instruments, trying new positions, etc. Have you done very weird things playing the accordion?

I think there are no limits for it. If for example I want to spin around with the accordion, I do it. I want to find new things and that makes me explore. Of course for example when I see the cello musicians I play with, sometimes I can see things like “hey, this guy could do something better with that” so I try to encourage people to do something, even very small things, new for them. It is the whole idea of being human being and then you do not need to do your work exactly the same every day. You can have different rules. You have one life so you have to be carefully not to get stuck with one idea or only one way of doing things. I try to do it with myself and open my eyes and of course I do with other people also.

What can you tell me about the Earth Machine Music Tour? You played some gigs last year in farms and see that this year you will continue with it?

Yes, it is a great project planned to be a kind of “side project”, but now we will continue with it.  I did it in England and Finland and now we will go to Australia also. I collaborate with farmers, who have never performed. They are unbelievable! People are not so much into farms or countryside anymore, so when somebody shows interest about what they are doing, they are so nice and helpful! They come there with their machines, you have audience. They come in front of them and they have their machines sound with microphones. Then I sample the sounds from the farm, so basically it is music made for that particular farm. I perform with people who have never performed before, a new thing for them and me. And they really liked it a lot! It is a great reward. Some people in the audience had never watched a concert before. There are many great aspects in that project. I would like to do it here in Estonia some day in the Leigo Lake festival in Otepää.

How do you feel about being in Estonia?

Estonia is definitely one of my favorite countries. There are really always good concert here, and it is easy to come and easy to play due to the short distance with Finland. I have many friends also here.

Do you plan to make gigs with KTU?

Yes, we plan to do gigs in June-July. We have plans to play in some festivals, we still have to confirm. (Phillip, his manager, intervenes at that moment to give some names and locations almost confirmed like Ruisrock in Turku, Czech Republic, German gigs, Tallinn) so hopefully we can come here.

You always said you express yourself the best when playing solo; any chance to have a solo album in the near future?

I have been thinking about it a lot, but there are always so many projects ongoing that it turns to be at the bottom, and I wonder why. I don´t know how to answer this question. At the moment, I know that I won´t do it in a near future because there are so many projects now, but I wish I would do it again at some point.

Photos by Kalle Björklid, Mikko Hannula and Marita Liulia

For more information you can visit:

Interviews Music

Interview with Mikko Viman of 45 Degree Woman

45 Degree Woman are back with a brand new album called Revival, although they were never dead. They count with one of the best live shows in Finland, they have gained step by step the heart of metal fans and they also have in the band one of the best vocalist in the actual (and very competitive) scene, Mikko Viman, who kindly answered our questions. They just need a little stronger push to break through the international charts, and we hope that their time for that is about to come!

45 Degree Woman

Thanks for being so kind to answer our questions. So the new album, Revival, is here! What can the listeners expect from it? In what ways it is similar or different to the previous 45 Degree Woman´s albums?

You´re welcome. Revival is an album about Love, Understanding, Respect and Pain. It’s filled with heavy riffs and pop melodies. The previous album was mostly about pain, now it’s more about love.

By the way, what is the story behind the name of the band?

It´s a secret. I can´t tell you anything about it. Well, I can tell you that she is a Spanish speaking lovely lady.

How did you start in the music business and when did you discover that you wanted to become a metal singer?

I started in music business about 10 years ago. In my early age, I always wanted to be a blues singer. But maybe I´m a metal singer, I don´t know. I think I´m more like a rock singer than metal singer, with blues attitude and feeling.

Your previous album How To Handle The Pain, seems to have a strong Spanish influence (my native country). You even run the bulls in Pamplona and shot a video for the single The Wait about it. How was the experience there in Pamplona, and in general in Spain?

Pamplona was a lovely place. Nice people and lot´s of sun. And I think that all you Spanish people are great!

You also used the motto “La vida sin dolor no es vida” (life without pain is no life). Is that representative of the career of your band? Have you had more painful or happier moments?

I have had definitely more happy moments than painful ones. Life is good. And love is good.

I am more like a rock singer than a metal singer, with blues attitude and feeling” –Miko Viman, vocalist of 45 Degree Woman-

Mikko Viman

You were playing together a few weeks ago with HIM, probably the most international Finnish band, in a mini tour in Finland. How did it go?

It was great! Wonderful, wonderful… Him is a lovely band to tour with.

I also know that you were in Sweden Rock, which is probably the best metal festival in Europe. Was it a good experience? Has it been the best festival where you have played so far?

I don´t know… Sweden Rock and Tuska are both great festivals.

What plans do you have for 2009?

Play in every Finnish summer festivals.

Anything you want to add for our readers?

Have a good time, all the time

Q&A with Mikko Viman

Favourite drink?

Red Wine

What has been the best Finnish band to tour with so far?


What is the craziest thing that has happened to you backstage?

Kissing deeply with a man

When you do not work with the band, what other hobbies/projects do you have?

Gym and body painting

}What is the best gig you recently saw as spectator?


What situation would be scarier, to run in front of a bull or the members of the band getting free drinks all the night?

Free drinks all night

Interviews Misc

Interview with Finnish driver Emma Kimiläinen

Finnish race driver Emma Kimiläinen is one of the most promising young car racers in Europe. In a sport ruled by men, Emma finds that there is no better way to demonstrate her quality than beating the guys on the track. Emma is also involved in politics, interested in theatre and playing piano, and always eager to give you a ride home. And on top of that, she does not lack of physical attractiveness… Who would not fall in love with this girl?

Hello Emma and thanks for attending the questions of FREE! Magazine. How did you start to compete in car races?

Well I already started the racing career at the age of 3 when I was big enough to drive a little go-kart. It was a family hobby for really long time. However, I drove my first race when I was 5 years old.

What have been your biggest achievements as a racer through last years?

I was 3rd in the Formula Radical Elite championship in 2007. I won the Formula Ford Cup in 2006, got silver in the NEZ (Nordic European Zone), that I lost with only one point and Finnish Formula Ford championship in 2006 and 2005. I’ve been elected as the best female driver in Finland in the years 2007 and 2005. I have also been elected as the best racing driver in Finland in 2005. And Motorsport Aktuellet (The most read motorsport magazine in Germany) readers voted me the second best junior driver in the whole world after Nico Hülkenberg, who won the Formula 3 Euro cup championship

Jani Penttinen

What are your plans for 2009?

The plans for 2009 aren’t quite clear yet. So I can’t say so much about them at the moment. But I can tell it will be something interesting.

Which is your favorite track around the world to compete?

Good question. There are many nice tracks in the world and the opinion of the coolest track changes all the time because I’m visiting new tracks all the time but I like fast tracks a lot, so at the moment I have to say Assen, NL.

Why there are not more women competing at top motorsports at the same level than men? Is it impossible due to physical features to be at the same level?

No. it’s definitely not impossible. If people say that women can’t drive F1 because it’s too hard due to physical features, why can there female astronauts or fighter pilots? There is lot more G-forces than in F1 car. The cars are more developed nowadays and it isn’t hard to drive one.I think the problem is that there are not so many woman drivers in the world. I claim that if you put as many girls as guys in a go kart at the age of 3, for example, later on there will be as many talented girls as guys. Everybody has to remember that there are also a lot of “bad” guys. Only few of them all are talented. So it makes quite difficult to find many talented girls because there aren’t many in this sports in the first place.

“Other pilots try sometimes to hit on me, but I try to keep it professional”

Have you found that people treat you differently at the tracks for being a girl (when competing against boys)?

Of course I have. It’s quite funny that I’m always the target to push off at the track. Most of the guys can’t handle the fact that a girl can be a faster driver. But it only gives me more strength. Unfortunately no matter if I have had good results in past years, when I go to a new series and team nobody believes I can go fast. There are always people saying “well she had some luck last year, there is no way she can do it again”. So year after year, I always need to prove myself as a racing driver to the new team, drivers and public. It’s hard work, no chances for mistakes.


You are quite a pretty girl. Do the other pilots try to hit on you (outside the track)?

Hehehe, well yes they do try sometimes. But I keep it professional.

What is usually the boys’ reaction when you first tell them you are a car racer?

“NO WAYYY, really?? How cool is that!” Then they start to ask more and most of them are really happy for me and thinks it’s great that I beat the guys.

When you go out at night with friends, are you always the one on charge to drive?

Well actually, I am. But because I want to. Nowadays everybody knows I’m always by car so then they want to have a lift home….


Are you planning to continue your career as professional racer, or do you have other goals in your life?

My priority in life is racing, so of course I’ll do whatever it takes to be a professional racing driver, remain one and to develop all the time as a driver and person. But of course I have other things in my life as well, which I think is really important. I’m into politics. I’m part of the Sports Board of Helsinki and I belong to the biggest party in Finland called Kokoomus. But I’d love to study acting in the theatre academy of Helsinki. But I need to find out if I have the time for it.

What have been the best and the worst moment of your racing life so far?

The best moment was when I got invited to an Audi DTM- test in December 2007. I had the chance of my lifetime to show that I’m talented driver, and I did it! The worst moment must have been the whole last year because of the difficulties I had with my team and all the bad luck, including really heavy crash.

What does Emma enjoy doing when she is not competing?

I enjoy especially singing, but also dancing and playing piano.

If you would have to choose one: Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton or Kimi Raikkonen?

Lewis Hamilton, no doubt! ;)

For more information, visit:

Interviews Music

Chasing the opportunities of tomorrow – Interview with Finnish band Automatic Eye

Pete and Heikki are the core of Automatic Eye, a band that is growing steadily fast in the Finnish and international music scene. They recently won the Award to the new best act of 2008 by Ylex-radio and have participated last week-end at the Eurosonic festival in Holland. And opposite to the Finnish stereotype, they run away from depressing feelings and fake humbleness to offer just tones of good vibe. Pete attended the questions of FREE! and both guys answered a short Q&A where you can discover more about their music, their drinking beer habits or the opinion after kissing another man.

Automatic Eye

Hello Pete and thanks for being so kind to answer the questions. So can you tell us a bit more about how you started playing music, and how you got to know each other?

No problem! We had been playing in several small bands before Automatic Eye, and actually we met each other from a mutual group we played for a really short while. We decided to establish this band and here we are now, happier than ever!

You both are the core of Automatic Eye, but do you usually play with the same musicians (at MySpace appear TommyGun, Y and Niko) or do you change them often?

We’ve been playing with the same guys for about 1, 5 years. They are like band members for us, there’s no need to change them.

How would you describe in a couple of sentences to the readers what they can expect when listening to your debut album Don’t let the past come between you and your happiness?

Songs with catchy melodies, I could say that chorus is our god and I believe I’m not typing a wrong answer with that sentence. The album is not too “Finnish”; with this I mean the dark melancholy style we usually have here. On our debut we try to explore the positive and the “happier” side of the music and hopefully succeeding with that.

It is weird, we are Finnish but not too humble" -Pete from Automatic Eye-

And about the title of the album, do you feel often trapped by your past actions?

Yeah, used to. The album is an escape from thinking about the past things you’ve done in your life. It’s so easy to spend your energy worrying about yesterday rather than seeing all the opportunities of tomorrow.

You have recently won the prize for “New Act of 2008” given by Ylex-Radio. Were you expecting that your first album was going to be so well received?

It’s always a really big honor to receive a prize that is a result of a vote; feels really great to be recognized with something like that. The first album has given us a lot of opportunities by so far and hopefully we’ll get more in the near future as well. I could say that we expected some kind of success with the album, (yeah it’s weird, we’re Finnish but not too humble) and here we are pretty well reaching our goals.

You are playing this week in The Netherlands at the big Eurosonic festival that gathers many new bands from all over Europe. Is just another gig more for you, or do you think that could give you much more media attention and promotion? (And in case you answer this after participating at the festival, just let us know what your impressions about it are)

The Eurosonic-festival is a great opportunity for us. We’re gonna play a kick ass-show there and hopefully we’ll receive more gigs and other attention with our performance in there. The guys with suits are responsible for all the other stuff.

If I am not mistaken, you have played abroad before, in Japan in 2006. How was the chance to go there? How was the Japanese audience?

I lived in Tokyo for a year and got to know the local scene a bit. We were asked to play on a small indoor-festival in there and of course we went. It was an amazing show, audience was fantastic and the whole trip there was fantastic.

Finland seems to live on a golden age for heavy metal bands, but also indie pop-rock seems to be in a very good moment. It seems that every one of three young guys plays an instrument in a band. Are you happy with the actual situation, or do you think that there is too much competence for a relatively small market as the Finnish music market is?

I don’t see a problem in the Finnish music scene for new bands. There’s always a niche for new bands if they’re interesting enough. And if the Finnish scene gets too small, there’s a world out there waiting!

Anything you want to add for the readers?

Yeah, help yourself during the dark winter and download our first single “Away From Sunshine” for free!

FREE! Q&A with Pete and Heikki


Favorite bands?

Jimmy Eat World, Anberlin, Fall Out Boy, Quietdrive, and Eve6 to mention a few

Favorite concert you have recently watched?

Too hard to choose.. Muse in Malaysia, Jimmy Eat World & Anberlin & Ellegarden in Japan…

Is there any Finnish band you would love to share stage with?


And any Finnish band you would hate to share stage with?

No matter the genre if the people in the band are great. Hate to share the stage with bands that are assholes.

Automatic Eye

When you are not working on your music, what hobbies do you enjoy?

Scuba diving, Football

Who drinks more beer of the 2 of you?

This is a tough one. I guess that in the end we can’t remember. Someone has to come to judge some weekend!

What is the craziest thing you have done being drunk?

I’m a bit exhibitionist… like to be naked in various places. Yeah, one more thing with almost quoting Katy Perry’s words: “I kissed a man but I didn’t like it”

What is the most embarrassing thing that happened to you backstage?

Rather not tell that…

If you have to choose, do you prefer spending time in a bar or in a summer cottage?

I would take the bar to the summer cottage


Favorite bands?

Rock, Pop, Punk.. Bands like Hellacopters, Bon Jovi, Anberlin, Foo Fighters and Hardcore Superstar.

Favorite concert you have recently watched?

Bon Jovi at Stadium, Helsinki or Foo Fighters at Provinssirock

Is there any Finnish band you would love to share stage with?

Yep, White Flame. These guys can party!

And any Finnish band you would hate to share stage with?

Everybody has their own style, so no.

When you are not working on your music, what hobbies do you enjoy?

Partying, ice hockey, football and writing. But everywhere I go music is always there with me.

Who drinks more beer of the 2 of you?

I think we are both pretty talented on that one. But I think Pete wins, cause I usually lose my memory after 14-15 beers. Sad thing.

What is the craziest thing you have done being drunk?

I thought I was telling jokes with Bob Marley in Spain. But it made more sense when I was drunk.

What is the most embarrassing thing that happened to you backstage?

There was some sound-technician and me. The rest is history…

If you have to choose, do you prefer spending time in a bar or in a summer cottage?

Make a guess… Yes, ten points. Bar – Cause every day is a happy day at Molly Malone’s.

Photos taken from the band´s official MySpace website.

For more information visit:

Interviews Music

Sami sends you dirty greetings

Dirty Fingernails released one of the best Finnish indie-pop albums of 2008, Greetings from Finsbury Park, N4, a great achievement taking into account that it is their debut work. And they did it from abroad. Brother/sister Sami and Paivi decided a couple of years ago that they have had enough of the coldness of Kajaani, and moved to London to pursue their dreams. Sami eagerly attended my questions and the result is one of the funniest interviews you have never had the chance to read at FREE! Magazine… Enjoy it!

Hello Sami and thanks a lot for answering our questions. So you moved from Kajaani to London a few years ago together with your sister. If you are so kind, explain to us a bit more the reasons for this change of location and what your expectations with this decision were?

You can kinda blame it all on the EU; as it’s become so easy to move between different European countries now, it’s really difficult for someone like me who’s into rock & art & going out to find reasons for living in someplace like Kajaani. I’m not sure what it’s like now though I can’t imagine it’s changed all that much. It’s not even a band or a career thing or anything. It’s just: do you wanna live someplace where there’s no jobs and it’s darker and colder than a penguin’s arse or do you wanna go to London and party? Paivi moved to London a few years after me and then we finally hooked up properly with the band thing about 3 years ago now.

How is a typical day of your life in London? What are the best and the worst things of living there?

This is one of the most over-used quotes of all time but Dr. Johnson said that “if you’re bored of London, you’re bored of life.” There’s always something happening but obviously you also got to go out and seek it out a little bit and be creative and active and open-minded. But you have to be those things anywhere. My ideal day in London is: wake up late, head down to Rooz (our rehearsal studio) work on new stuff, head round the corner for a couple of drinks after and maybe check out a band or club with friends. A nightmare day is: wake up early, it’s cold, damp, have to do something all day you don’t enjoy doing, stand on packed trains, crying babies everywhere, automated announcements, noise. A typical day is somewhere between those two scenarios


So if I am walking around London and I pass by Finsbury Park, N4 (the title of the band’s debut album), will you be for real the ones greeting me there at the door?

Ha ha! Hey, if you give us a call we will be! And we’ll take you for a little drink at our local! Otherwise, there’ll probably just be the alcoholics & crack addicts that normally hang around near the station

What are your feelings when you come back to visit or play in Finland? Does anything change about your perception of the country and the people now that you live abroad?

We were shocked by the violence man! Some dude got the crap kicked out of him at one of our shows. And a couple of days before that we were in Helsinki and Charlie (our drummer) was cleaning out the car when a guy nonchalantly walked up to a car about 50 feet from ours and smashed a brick through the side window! It could’ve easily been our car had Charlie not been down there. I also witnessed a very well known rock guitarist (who shall remain nameless) necking other people’s leftover drinks at a rock pub. You definitely forget how keen some people in Finland are for alcohol when you’re away for a while!

It seems that for being a debut album, the record caught very fast the attention of audience and media, for example you appeared in the cover of the magazine Rumba. How was that, were you well known already before? Is it about the good marketing of Poko Records, o just simply happened?

Well, it’s probably a combination of a lot of facts: obviously the label have been working hard to push us to the media. Also, our album was the first release on the new imprint Northern Swing so I think that gave it an extra lift as well. And maybe it was an interesting story for the media to pick up on. After all, they do have a certain number of pages to fill week after week and most bands are just so excruciatingly boring that I wasn’t surprised when people wanted to write about us.

Please resume with your own words what people can expect of this Greetings from Finsbury Park N,4.

It’s what it says on the tin: it’s a bunch of songs that we got together in a flat in Finsbury Park and we’ve sent it out to the world as a bit of a greeting to introduce ourselves. It’s poppy songs about stuff I think about wandering around the streets of London Town

It surprised me a bit that you cited at your website early 69 Eyes as a major influence. Difficult to link the “Helsinki vampires” with an indie pop band living in London…

Ha ha! I’m a rock dude at heart! When I was a kid those guys were more of a straight up rock band than what they’re doing now. When I was 12 or 13 I was mad for 69 Eyes. I even sent for their fan club and after what seemed like an eternity (but I imagine was actually more like 3 weeks), they sent me back a photocopied lyric sheet to go with their album, some fliers for their shows in Helsinki and a ticket stub from the New York subway!


How is to play with your sister, is it easier to play with a relative, or when there is a fight, does it become more “personal” or “touchy”?

I’m not really a laid back guy at all so I can quite easily get personal & touchy with anyone! It’s easy with Paivi, she works hard and I appreciate that. We’ve got a common goal and we’re working to achieve that.

How are the sales of the album working so far, are you having a good feedback?

It’s all good. To be honest, when we started recording the album we weren’t really thinking in terms of it being released or anything like that. We were basically just having fun and trying to be creative and trying to get something together. I love the fact that if people want it, they can now quite easily go out and get it and we don’t have to do the admin either. We’re privileged in that way as a lot of bands have to run their own online shops and I don’t think I could be bothered with any of that. But yeah, money is power and the more records you sell the more stuff you can do so obviously we’re hoping for the album to do well.

I see that mostly you have been touring around England or Finland. Are there future plans to expand your concerts to other countries in the near future?

We should be going to Italy in March so already looking forward to that! We’re happy to go and play anywhere but obviously it makes sense to play in the U.K. where we live and in Finland where the album is currently out.

Anything you want to add for our readers?

All the best for 2009 and don’t forget to stick it to the man every once in a while!


FREE! Q&A with Sami from Dirty Fingernails

Name and Age?

The Salo

Favorite hobbies?

Been doing a bit of roller skating recently.

Best band you have seen on live recently?

Favours for Sailors

Best band you have shared stage with?

With this band, let’s say: Robots in Disguise

What is your biggest musical sin?

Dude, all of it!

If it would not be in London, where would you like to live?

Somewhere sunny. Hawaii

Your favorite word or sentence in Finnish?

Jos et veikkaa et voi voittaa. You gotta be in it to win it!

Photos by Tina Korhonen.

Interviews Music

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


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!


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:

Interviews Music

Those bastards rock!!!

If you like raw and pure rock & roll with guts, and you still do not know Los Bastardos Finlandeses, you are missing one of the hottest Finnish bands of the moment. Though counting with only 2 studio albums (they have just recently released the kicking Return of El Diablo), their members have a long career as musicians and overall, they have tones of attitude! We had the pleasure to make an interesting and funny interview with Olli “Don Osmo”, alma mater of the band, who explains everything about their philosophy of life or how is to play together with legendary American bands like Aerosmith or Motörhead.

For those readers who do not know much about the band yet, can you explain a bit the origins and how you all started to play together?

Well, we all have known each other for a long time, and played together a lot. One day, a few years ago after one studio session I suggested the guys “what if we play all my new stuff?” It worked fine and we started to do more stuff. And then suddenly our first album was ready! Kind of easy!

Why the option of choosing a Spanish name for the band?

Oh, we all love Spanish and Mexican things: music, sun, food, women- everything! We are true Bastardos…That is why we started to call us with our real name, and by the way, it is not only a name, it is a state of mind!

How is the response of the audience nowadays with the snow and the coldness, do they get numb with this winter cold or are you able to warm them up like if you give them some good shots of tequila?

We do our best. Songs like Houseful of Hooligans or White Knuckles don’t let the audience cold!


This second album, Return of El Diablo seems to continue the path started with the previous one My Name is El Muerte. Is there any significant change between both of them in the style or conception of the music?

No not really. We love our first album a lot, but I think that this second one shows up that we have been busy on the road. After playing live, the band feels much more compact. I think we have a good “swing” in our second album.

By the way, you keep with the tradition of naming every album after a member of the band. What would it happen when you release more albums than the number of members in Los Bastardos? Should you recruit more musicians to keep up with the tradition?

Hehehe, maybe, or we can name the sixth album simply “My name is el Muerte vol 2

You have been around in music business for many years. Have many things change in Finnish music industry, or basically does all remain the same?

Everything has changed a lot, but the essence is still that business men get rich and guitar men get only famous…. In Finland it’s really difficult to live with r&r, that’s why we are going to Mexico too

Any particular occasion you really behaved like a “bastardo” on or off the stage?

…both on and off the stage… You should jump in our bus some day and spent some time with us! Don’t take your camera with you!

{mosimage}There are quite many venues and summer festivals in Finland for rock or metal bands, but is it difficult to break the boundaries of playing just for Finnish audience and get to be known internationally?

Yes, we work hard to go out of Finland. I’m sure you will be able to see us up in some European festivals soon.

In the last years you have opened concerts for legendary bands like Aerosmith or Motörhead. How was the experience? Did you get to know them personally?

Yes, we did tours with those guys. It was really great! Yeah, we got to know them and maybe we can meet again in the future. Those bands are truly great and we were lucky to get a chance to tour with them.

I know you are nowadays playing quite intensively around Finland, but what are the plans for the incoming 2009? Any special surprise?

Yes, actually we are working on some nice surprises, but I cannot say more for the moment.

Anything you want to add for the readers of FREE! Magazine?

Hell yeah, come to see our show and get our latest album Return of el Diablo! You will not be disappointed!

For more information visit:

Interviews Misc

Daniel keeps it underground

Daniel Palillo is one of the hottest Finnish designers in urban fashion. Although he exclaims that does not like to be categorized, paradoxically his designs are considered a real hype for the youngsters, especially in the capital Helsinki. Daniel (his name is Italian, the native country of his father) kindly answered some questions for FREE! Magazine after being back from a short stay in Latvia.

Hello Daniel. Thanks for dedicating us some of your time. So my first question would be: who is Daniel Palillo? How do you describe yourself in your own words?

Keeping it underground

Your name is not much Finnish at all, and if I am not wrong, your father is Italian. Do you keep any links with Italy, visiting there, etc? Does your temperament any of that “latino” influence, or is it 100% Finnish?

I don’t like categories.. But I go sometimes to Italy I have cousins there and I like  pizza.


 I have read that you consider your line of clothes in a kind of mix between gothic, metal and hip hop. It is music very inspirational for your designs? Do you follow those music genres; any favorite band?

Music is big thing for me.. I need music to work it is more or less my fuel nowadays. Recently I been listening to this band called Black Violin; interesting stuff.

In your clothes there is always a feeling of darkness. Also in Finnish music this feeling of “melancholia” is very present. Do you think that being Finnish influence your style of designing?

I live in Finland. It is pretty dark here especially in the winter time. So of course the influences come around me.

Finnish design, the same than Finnish music, seem to be 2 of the main “exportable” features of Finland, being such a small country…

I hope there will be a bright future for us all.

Your clothes seem to be very “hot” for the young urban fellows in Finland. How did this fame come, did you have any kind of marketing campaign, or has it been more a kind of “word to mouth” phenomena?

I have no strategy or marketing campaign or profiled costumer. I only do clothes for my self to wear. I am really lucky that some people seem to like what I do.


Do you think that people in Finland are stylish or not? For example, there is always the eternal myth that Swedish people are much trendier than Finns…

We both have our own styles, but both just do it in our own way.

Do you care if famous people wear your designs, or basically you do not really give a fuck if somebody appears in a magazine wearing your clothes?

I am always happy if somebody wears my clothes. It doesn’t matter who she or he is.

What are the best and the worst comments that you remember about any of your design?

The best: “It’s like second skin” and the worst “I think you should…”   

What have been your most recent works, and which are your projects for the future?

My new SS09 gardens of O. D. P collection. I have also done some collaborations: a show with now office, jewels with Lauri Johannson and posters with Laura Laine. About the future I will have an exhibition in a couple of weeks in Belgrade and the starting to work with my new collection. So it’s going to be hectic again.

Interviews Music

Patterson Hood: A guitar and a pen


Patterson Hood enjoys telling stories. He does in his songs. He sings about that “big fat man on a mechanical bull in slow motion” and about Mary Alice who got cancer but could not afford insurance and get chemo. Writing those stories and songs is what Patterson Hood has done since he was a kid. “What else could I do?” he admits. Now, in his mid-forties, Hood looks a bit worn out from constant touring, but enjoying the good moment that his band, Drive By-Truckers, is going through after a few rough times that almost broke up the band.

In the summer of 2006, Drive-By Truckers went on tour with The Black Crowes and Robert Randolph and the Family Band. What a great bill many might think, but truth is that things did not go that well. Financially, that tour saved Drive-By Truckers, but it exhausted the band. A few months later, guitarist and vocalist Jason Isbell left and Drive-By Truckers were back to square one. “The Black Crowes tour was rough”, admits Hood. “It was a hard time for us. We were going through a hard time ourselves and we were playing very short sets. It was very boring a lot of the time. We got to play for 40 minutes a day and the rest of the time we were just at the backstage. It was pretty much like hanging around the parking lot for the summer. It wasn’t a good time. The Black Crowes were great. Good band, good guys, but we were the first in the bill to play, so we play really early to almost nobody, to a big empty space. After that we would go back to the parking lot and drink. We were having some problems in the band anyway, so it wasn’t a very good time.

Patterson Hood remembers such a bittersweet time in a small backstage room at the Nolan club in Stockholm. Today, the band is playing one of the first dates of a short summer European tour. These are the band’s first dates across the pond in several months. Hood looks a little bit exhausted. The night before, they played a festival in Sweden. Immediately after that they packed and travelled by train to Stockholm. “I’ve hardly seen the city. We did not have any time on this trip”, he says. “But it has been a good one. We are playing a bit bigger rooms since the last time we were here in Europe”.

When he enters the room, he carries Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road and his BlackBerry phone. His first replies are short. It is obvious he does not like interviews. But he enjoys a good chat and he soon engages in the conversation, especially when talking about the band’s new album and the stories behind some of the album’s songs.

What is the story behind "The Opening Act"?

Peaking at almost 7-minutes, it is the longest song in the album? Most of the times when I write a song, I do it in one sitting, in 30 minutes or whatever it takes. Or it can happen that I might think about an idea for some time, but when I actually write the song, it happens pretty quickly. However, I wrote the first half of "The Opening Act" several years before the last half of it. When I originally wrote it, it had a different ending and I didn’t like it. But I liked things about it too much to just let it go, so I kept the song in case I revisited later. I wrote the first half of it exactly as the song describes. I was sitting at this bar, there was a mechanical bull, an ambulance came… It felt surreal. It was pretty redneck bar. I was the opening act. I played solo. Nobody was really there to see me and this surreal scene happened. Then I wrote the rest of the song a bit before going to the studio last spring. Then everything came together. It all came right. I had real fun with this song. I really like it. I am very happy how it turned out and how the recording turned out.

Another long song is "The Man I Shot".

That one has an interesting story. On The Black Crowes tour one night someone sent a message backstage that there were three guys that wanted to meet us. These three guys had just come back from Iraq and Afghanistan. They came home for a while and one of the three guys decided that he wanted to go back to Iraq. The other two guys weren’t very happy about the idea. They didn’t think it was the healthy thing for him to do. But he had come back home and gotten a divorce. He had some problems so he decided that he wanted to go to Iraq again. His friends took him to the show like a going away present. They thought it would be cool if they could come backstage and meet us. We hooked up and invited them to the backstage and we ended up hanging out for about two hours backstage while The Black Crowes were playing. We drank a bottle of whiskey. They told us stories and as we got drunker, the discussion got heater. It was a weird night. We had some pretty different political views, but at the same time there was some common ground. After the night was over, we all in the band kept thinking about this meeting a lot. And I wrote the song about that.

Do you try to find special moments to write?

I love writing at any chance I get. But it’s more a matter of getting enough time alone to actually do it. It is hard to do it when everybody is around and Cooley is farting. Whatever else is going on, it’s distracting. After touring I get home and I have a 3 year old kid that hasn’t seen daddy enough. It is a constant battle to get the time to write, but it’s something I must do because this is what I do. It is the first step in the chain so I have to make it happen. But it’s difficult sometimes.

Have you written many times about your own experiences?

Sure, all the time. A lot is about my experiences or the experiences of people I have met. Sometimes it is something I have read about. I don’t have to agree with the point of view of the person the song is about. But I have been to able to relate with it enough to at least be sympathetic with it whether I agree or not. For example, in "The Man I Shot" I didn’t want to put a lot of my political beliefs in that song because the character in that song doesn’t necessarily agree with them.

Do you get inspiration from other songwriter’s characters?

Any songwriter has been an inspiration, all kind of styles… Tom Waits… Bruce Springsteen… it is a big list.

Would you like to write something else other than a song?

I have two screenplays I have been working on, but I don’t like them enough to show them and finish them. I might write a book some day, if I have the time. I would love to. Even if it is just a book about our experiences on the road. That could be a pretty fun book. But I am amazed of the people that can write a book, though. I can’t image how difficult it can get. The book I’m reading right now [Corman McCarthy’s The Road]. I can’t imagine sitting down and writing that. I can’t imagine being in the frame of mind for long enough to write something like that.

After the departure of guitarist and songwriter Jason Isbell, who went to pursue a solo career, Drive-By Truckers needed to reinvent themselves. They put an acoustic tour together and called it The Dirt Underneath. Legendary session man Spooner Oldham (Neil Young, Bob Dylan) joined the tour and John Neff was chosen to replace Isbell.

This was pretty cool tour”, Hood says. “It was a really good time. We were reinventing ourselves and looking at what we were going to do next. It was exciting. We fixed the stuff in the band. The spirits were high. Spooner Oldham spent the whole summer with us. It was a lot of fun.

Are you planning to release a live album from The Dirt Underneath tour?

I don’t know. I would love to. I want to do a live record, but I just don’t know. Recently we changed record companies and there are some legal problems, so I don’t know if we are going to get the chance to do a live record. I’d love to do something with The Dirt Underneath tour because it was such a unique thing, kind of different. We recorded a couple of really good shows that we would be very happy to release but we are not allow too. I don’t know what will happen.

Meanwhile we can listen to the audience recordings of the shows.

They are floating around out there. There are some really good audience tapes. Either of the shows we did in New York, the show in Manhattan or the show in Brooklyn. Those are very good.

Do you listen to those recordings?

Not too much. I listen to our tapes. Those were the two best shows of the tour. Maybe someday they will get to surface somehow.

Even though, DBT have already earned a loyal fanbase, the road to success has not been easy for Patterson Hood. There have been many failed bands and many nights on friends’ couches. But writing songs and playing rock and roll was the only way of living. With your first band, Adam’s House Cat you met failure, but with DBT you toured the world. How do you deal with failure and success?

We spent six years working on our first band and it was six years failing at it. In some ways, I felt like it was a good band but it just didn’t happen. Maybe it was the wrong time, the wrong place. I still don’t understand what it makes the difference. All of the sudden, with DBT, even in the early days, everything worked out. The band was always liked by whoever saw it. It was different from day 1 than the old band. On our show there might have been only a small audience but they really liked it and came back to the second show and brought friends. It has grown that way over the last 12 years. Still we have to keep on working a lot, but it is a whole better than playing for six years and not being able to grow at all.

Did you feel like giving up?

I might have felt that way, but what else I was going to do. I was already working on shitty jobs. I couldn’t think that was all there was. I have been writing since I was eight and this is what I do. So it is just going back on and try again. When this one is over, I will probably try again and again.


Drive-by Truckers performing Let There Be Rock in Stockholm

Southern Rock Opera was a tremendously ambitious album. But it changed your life.

We talked about for years. We worked on it for six years. We spent two years of early touring in vans talking and writing about it. It was what we were doing for entertain ourselves. We brainstormed about SRO. This other beast was building. When we slept on people’s floors touring those days, we often would talk about it in people’s houses and we would get this funny look, you are doing what? Yeah, it’s going to be mind blowing and we started describing and it was “WTF? You are going to write a record about what?” But it turned out to be the record that it changed our lives. Sometimes are the craziest ideas the ones that click.

In spite of how bold this move could have been, telling the legend about Southern Rock might have been the most reasonable thing to do for Patterson Hood. Not only he is from Alabama, but his father David Hood is a bass player and one of the founders of the famous Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, home of recordings by Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, The Rolling Stones, Boz Scaggs, Willie Nelson and many, many others.

How is growing up with a father that is a professional musician?

I didn’t get to be very near the recordings. I wanted to, but they kept me away. No kids here. I met a few like Mavis Staples, Bob Seger and a handful of others. But most of the time I was kept away. I understand now, although I didn’t understand back then. When I was a kid I was pissed off about it. I thought, I’m not going to hurt things. But I understand now. It is not a place for kids.

Did your father teach you or support you in your career?

He pretty much discouraged me until Southern Rock Opera at least. Until then he probably thought I should try something else. The punk rock thing was always a generation gap between us. I grew up really loving that. And of course, he really hated it. He was saying you are never on tune and you are too loud and you can’t sing. What the hell are you doing? But at the time we did SRO and even a bit before he came out, he finally understood what we were trying to do on that. Before it came out, most people thought it was a bad idea and tried to talk us out of it. But even then, my father got it.

The interview looked at the past quiet a bit, but Patterson Hood is already looking. He is already thing about start working on the new Drive-By Truckers album early next year. “I am writing some songs and hopefully Cooley is doing some writing too. I want the next album to be a loud, abrasive, in-your-face record. That is what I’d like. Really ass kicking”, he admits punching his hand.

The conversation continues for a while before Patterson joins the rest of the band while waiting for the gig to start. He likes talking about music, he praises Wilco and My Morning Jacket and he could continue talking about music for hours. One gets the feeling that he could continue talking about music for hours. But he has a show to do.

And that show in Stockholm was a success. The venue was packed and the audience was really passionate. Even a few Finns travelled to see the show. As usual the band shared a bottle of whiskey on stage and at one side of the stage, even the road ended singing the songs.