Interviews Music

Bitchin’ all over Europe

{mosimage}The Donnas may not be the correct daughters that every papa
dreams about, but surely they would be excellent partners for some wild
fiesta! They are at these moments touring around Europe with their new
album Bitchin’, and dedicated some time to answer the questions that
FREE! Magazine shot at them.



Power to the girls! Lately our website seems to have been overwhelmed with female rock bands (a dream comes true!!!). From the young new Finnish talents of Stalingrad Cowgirls or Pintandwefall, to the raw power of the British McQueen or the older generation still able to attract a big mass of fans in Sweden Rock like the American Vixen. But if we would have to talk about an American female rock band that is able nowadays to remove the foundations of the venues where they play, that would be undoubtedly The Donnas. We were lucky to contact the girls from Palo Alto while being on tour, and Allison (guitar player) and Brett (vocals) kindly openly chated about everything related to their past and present.

Was it difficult during your first years to study at high school and play at the same time? Could you have a normal attitude in the classrooms just after touring Japan, or the rock and roll lifestyle affects?

(Allison) No, we mostly focused on school the whole time we were in high school, we practiced a lot after school and played shows here and there, but mostly just high school shows with other bands from the school. We didn’t go on a full on tour until after high school, and our first trip overseas as a band was to Japan near the end of our final year, so at that point we were pretty much nearing the final days of school anyway!

How is the present tour going? Do you have time and energy to party between the gigs?

(Brett) The American leg of the Feather Nation tour was amazing and so fun and so far the European leg is proving to live up to the first half. We love the bands we’re touring with so that gives us something to look forward to watching every day, and the audiences are great so we look forward to playing too! Having a bus is the best because we have time to see some sights for once and have some great food and even… shop!

It seems like one of you had a not very nice incident with the police, because of drinking whiskey in the street, in Canada during your last American tour. Can you tell us a bit more about it?

(Allison) Yeah, our bass player was drinking on the bus and ran outside to sign something for a fan, unfortunately not realizing that it’s illegal to have alcohol on thestreets in Canada (and the US as well). The police rolled up and she resisted which enraged the officer, but luckily our smooth talking friend was able to get her out of trouble nicely!

In November, you were visiting some Scandinavian countries, but not Finland. Why? Didn´t anybody show interest in booking a gig?

(Brett) We actually LOVE Finland but there is a lot that goes into booking a tour besides where you’d like to play. The length of the tour, money, and the route the bus takes and whether the opening band can keep up in a van are all factors that a booking agent and tour manager has to consider.

I saw you a couple of years ago playing in Provinssirock here in Finland. Do you remember that concert? As far as I remembered, the feeling with the audience was great.

(Allison) Yes, it wasn’t so long ago! I enjoyed the show, it was rocking and sweaty!

There is a young Finnish female rock band called Stalingrad Cowgirls that is getting quite a big success lately. Have you heard anything about them?

(Brett) That’s a little off my radar, but I’d be interested to check them out! Maybe we could come and play in Finland with them!

{mosimage}Male rock bands usually have a lot of female "groupies" around. How is it among your fans, the Donnaholics, are there many male fans following you? Is there any special anecdote you can tell about this, male underwear thrown onto the stage or something like that?

(Allison) Haha yes, we do get male underwear thrown up on stage sometimes, boxers and briefs galore, even female underwear and bras! In Belgium and Germany we had two different flashers jumping onstage, and just recently in North Carolina a boy jumped onstage and started unzipping his pants. Our guitar tech clobbered him!

How does it feel that you can play Take it off in the Guitar Hero videogame? Have any of you played the videogame?

(Brett) It’s surreal! It’s really fun to play along and look at the characters and hear the funny fake track!

Tell us about your new album, Bitchin’. In what way is it different (or similar) to previous ones? Do you feel  different from that teenager band that was rehearsing in a garage a decade ago?

(Allison) The funny thing is that this album is like a return to that feeling of being teenagers in our garage, because we had all the time in the world to work on it, just like back then. Once we graduated and signed onto Lookout! records and then Atlantic, we were just touring, recording, touring, non stop—no time for anything in between. Now is the first time we could just chill out with our ideas and bat them around like we used to when we were kids, and it greatly affected the outcome! It is much more fun because of that extra thought we put into it and we had a killer time making it!

Do you consider the 4 of you friends on and off the stage?

(Brett) We’re definitely friends first before we’re a band, that’s how we started and that’s always what’s most important. I feel sad for bands that aren’t really friends off stage, what do they do for the other 23 hours of the day? How do they handle sharing hotel rooms and sitting next to each other for 11 hours straight on international flights? How do they write fun songs with inside jokes that make them laugh every night? It seems like a bad life to me, but hey, I guess that’s not my problem! And I’m thankful for that!

Why that title:  Bitchin´? Do you consider yourselves to have sometimes a "bad girl’s attitude"?

(Allison) Well we of course called it "bitchin’" cos that means "awesome" or "radical" and it’s very Californian. I think we prefer "bad ass attitude" to "bad girl’s attitude"!

Books Interviews

When disability turns into virtuosity – Interview with Kaisa Leka

Editor of a yoga publication, graphic designer, cook, politician, teacher, traveler, comic artist… Kaisa
has not had an easy life. She had to take the terrible decision of getting her legs amputated due to an illness. But she has learnt and taught how to see the positive side of life and make the most of it!

Who is Kaisa Leka?

I’m a 29-year old artist, designer, teacher, and politician… a typical freelancer. I live in Porvoo in an old wooden house with my husband and our ridiculously large collection of toys, books and old typewriters.

How did you start to draw comics?

I drew comics as a child, and started again when I was 19. I fell immediately in love with how easy it is to both read and draw comics; it’s a really easily approachable art form. This enables me to deal with difficult issues such as disability and reach readers who wouldn’t otherwise pick up a book about it.

Kaisa Leka

What is different in Kaisa Leka´s comic strips from other authors? Most of the times, there are some characters that appear repeated while having dialogues. Can you explain a bit more about them?

A friend of mine said that my comics are like TV’s sitcoms, and I think it’s a pretty good way of describing them. No fancy drawings, exciting car chases or pretty girls with big breasts, just simple drawings and thoughtful texts. Or at least I hope they’re thoughtful!

I suppose the amputation of your legs it is something quite dramatic and a turning point in your life. Do you want to discuss openly about it? Is your wok I
am not these feet
directly aimed at that experience?

I was born with a disability that first seemed to only be a cosmetic one, but turned out seriously restricts my ability to move. I decided to have my feet amputated, with the consent of my doctors. With I am not these feet I wanted to let healthy people take a peek into the life of
disability, and also share my experiences with others who have had to spend time at a hospital. A lot of people have appreciated the way I’m breaking the tradition of silence and shame surrounding
disability and sickness.

You are active in other roles, such as politician. What things need to be improved in Finland for us, the young generations? Is Finland a country that pays a lot of attention to culture?

We have a great system of social security in Finland, but it’s built for people who have traditional 8 to 4 jobs, not for freelancers. Our generation isn’t going to have those jobs, and the system has to be adjusted to our needs. When it comes to culture, I think that the focus needs to be shifted from the masters of the 19th century to today’s artists. Culture is still often seen as something that can be supported if there’s some money left over from the "real investments", and if there is money it’s spent on projects celebrating the works of people like Sibelius

Kaisa Leka

I can see that you are also very interesting in cooking and yoga.Tell us a bit more about those hobbies, and the works you havepublished about it.

I used to be the world’s lousiest cook, considering macaroni and ketchup to be a full meal. But then I met my
husband, whose food is the best I’ve ever had. Cooking has become more than just filling the belly, it’s a way of spending time with my husband and our friends, and experiencing new tastes. As a part of my
campaign for the parliamentary election this year I was able to publish a cookbook with two other Green candidates, and share some of our recipes with the Finnish public. A larger cookbook containing
more of them is one of my long-term plans.

Last year I did a book on bhakti yoga, the yoga of devotion, with a friend. As you might imagine it hasn’t been a huge financial success, but as I publish my books myself I can also publish stuff that’s not
aimed at the mainstream audience. We had a lot of fun doing the book, and have gotten some enthusiastic feedback for it from other practitioners of bhakti yoga.

You also publish a magazine, Ananda, with other friends. How is that project going?

Doing a magazine means a lot of late nights by the computer and long days working for others to finance the magazine. But it seems we’re doing something right since we were just named the Quality Magazine of the Year! A lot of people are interested in yoga now, and we want to offer a deeper look into it, as it’s so much more than just plain stretching. Through our own magazine we can let people who usually are invisible in the mainstream media get their voice heard.

Now other young female comic author, Milla Paloniemi, is getting quite popular in Finland. What do you think about her work?

I’ve only read a few of her strips but, to be honest, it’s not one of my favorite comics. But of course I’m glad
that a comic by a young female author is getting so much attention and making it easier for others to get their work published. I’ve held a lot of comics’ workshops for children and students, and I’ve been happy to see so many young girls doing their own zines and taking over this art form previously reserved only for men.

Kaisa Leka

One of your passions is traveling. You did a comic stripe saga about traveling for us in the past. In how many different countries have you been, and what are your favorite ones after visiting?

I’ve traveled quite a lot in Europe, and also visited USA and India. Traveling is my big weakness, even though I know it’s really un-ecological to fly around the world all the time! I do offset my carbon emissions through and try to minimize my emissions in my everyday life by using public
transport and saving electricity.

My favorite places are Philo in Northern California and Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh, India. They’re places that I’ve visited with my spiritual teacher and dear friends, and homes to many Hindu temples and monasteries.

The good thing about being a freelancer is that I can work like a madwoman for a few months and then take some time off to travel. I guess I could say that my secret to finding enough time
for everything is avoiding housework at all costs.

I have seen that some of your works can be found in French, but is it possible to find English versions (apart from the stripes you did for FREE! Magazine)?

I’ve published several comic books in English, the newest ones are On the Outside Looking in (2006, 160 pages) and Little Fish Big Fish (2007, 30 pages). I’m also planning to publish a collection of comics that have been featured in different Finnish magazines, but I’m waiting until I can put together a really big book with them. It’ll probably be in English, or at least have subtitles.

What are your future projects?

I’m currently working on a new big book about a friend who gave up his graphic design studies, left his hardcore band and became a Hindu monastic. I’m really fascinated about the way he completely changed his life. I’m also going to publish a series of short stories based on Indian mythology; Little
Fish Big Fish
is the first one of them. And I just bought eight new sketchbooks (I was afraid they’d stop selling them so I decided to get a big stash) for my sketchbook blog,
so I guess I’ll also keep doing that for quite a while!

Interviews Music

Interview with Pintandwefall

What can a girl band do with a name about alcohol tolerance, lyrics about game consoles and a stage image full of masks and costumes? Well, just becoming the most popular band of the moment. With a funny mix of rock, garage and crazy lyrics Pintandwefall will surprise you. Guitar player and vocalist Dumb Pint tells about the band and its first album: Wow! What Was That, Baby?


What is the story of the band? How did you come up with such a name?

In the spring of 2006 after another rock band’s rehearsals, I was in a bar and I had the idea of starting a girl band which would play one gig in an school competition. The idea was that everybody would play an instrument which one would have never played.

Next day at school I was asking my friends to join me. We took the name of the band from a poor joke which was about bad tolerance of alcohol and we learned two songs in three weeks. To our wonder everybody liked us! The original plan was that we would have broken up because of musical disagreements, but because of getting extra gigs we couldn’t stop and we had to write more songs.

What about your looks and style: the masks and the names?

Image has always been important to us! Already in the first rehearsals we were planning what type of nail polish and shade of lip stick we should use. The costumes were supposed to match with each other.

In the beginning instead of masks we had huge sunglasses, but then before one gig we went to a joke shop to buy a diabolo for Cute Pint, who plays percussion and sings. At the same time we found these great disguises. We had an idea to wear them to the night’s gig and finally they kind of came our dominating element on the stage by accident. Nowadays audience would complain if we didn’t wear our masks.

We wanted also very stupid Spice Girls -type of artistic names. We should have thought them a bit better if we had known that this will go this far…

You have pretty original and funny lyrics? How do you find inspiration for them or topics like X-Box?

We don’t have any limits, so we write songs about almost any kinds of topics which inspire us. X-box had a bit different story though; the song had originally really dirty lyrics which we had to change to be called as a “family version”.

Your album is becoming very popular, how do you feel with these sudden success?

It feels really absurd! Even though since the beginning there has been small fuss around the band which has grown into new potential during the time. It’s wonderful that people like us so much!

Tell me a bit about your influences.

Since there are four song writers in the band, we are mixing everybody’s personal favorites that can be anything from Toto to The Hives. We haven’t found any great influence yet, though the reporters have invented things to compare to us.


For someone who hasn’t listened to your album or seen your shows, how would you describe your music?

It’s direct, spontaneous, dangerously sticking, wild and conquering. Even if our playing skills are not like diamond sharp, we compensate the lack of virtuosity with an intensive atmosphere and good stage show.

What is your favourite places / bars to play and to hang around in Helsinki?

So far we like as costumer and as players, places like Belly and Kuudes Linja. And we go to sing karaoke in Sweng!

Interviews Music

A man with a past

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos by Nauska

Interviews Music

H.O.G. is in the game

{mosimage}There is heavy metal at the other side of
the Baltic Sea! House of Games has many
bonds with Finland:
they have toured with The Rasmus, recorded with famous producer Hiili
and are visiting Helsinki
to unload their music for 2 consecutive gigs.

Erik Meremaa,
the singer and main composer of the Estonian band, kindly attended the
questions of FREE! Magazine about their first steps, the new album
recently released and the incoming concerts that will include touring again
with WASP in United

For some of our readers you can be quite
an unknown band. Can you explain a bit the origins and roots of the band?

The roots of HOG go back to the year 1993,
when young musicians hoped to make the band that enables them to satisfy the
hunger to make music. Of course we all wanted to make it right and in “very
special way”. Thinking now back to these years and to the skills we had at that
time – well, it makes me smile. Now we know how to analyze better the music we
did. But every brave start is positive, a developing experience.

Finland is living a golden era in rock and heavy metal bands with
international projection. Why in Estonia things are so different,
being geographically so near? Do you think that Estonian bands will begin to
break out in the international rock scene in the near future?

First of all there are 4 to 5 times more
inhabitants in Finland
as there are in Estonia
(we have only around 1, 4 million).

Secondly, Estonia regained independence on
1991 – up to that time we were occupied by Russians and the life was more (very
much) complicated. The borders were closed, there was an iron curtain hanging
over us. Now, as we have been only 16 years free and we live in very (!!)
liberal society, the situation is different.
Finland declared its independence in 1917 – so
there is a huge difference.

About the very
strong  metal and rock bands in Finland – well,
the soil seems to be very fertile for this genre. This suits them very well.
And when comparing them to the rest of the music scene around, Finland seems to
be the most powerful rock and metal empires in the world. I am sure that there
will be internationally very strong Estonian rock and metal bands. It is only
very hard to predict when it all will happen.

How would you define the musical style of your band?

In general it is possible to classify House
of Games
as melodic rock band, but we don’t like this classification, the
“framing” system. And we definitely don’t know what will look like and sound of
our next album. Music means us the movement of sound – without boundaries and

The lineup of the band changed last
spring, and you added a new bass player and a drummer. Why those changes?

Evidently sometimes somebody ‘s strength
will end and the everyday life generates some kind of void – that happened to
our ex-bass player and ex- drummer. It is very sad, as it all happened just
before the more positive and progressive changes we faced in our career (the
European release etc). We grew up and tight together creatively,
as we played music together for 7 last years.Yes, it is all sad, but that ´s life and
there is nothing we can do about it. For sure we remained friends.

was the experience of recording some songs in USA with Kevin (Caveman) Shirley?
How did you get in contact with him?

All these experiences are very tutorial and
instructive when you have possibility to work with the producer from such a
league as Kevin is from.

But in general it is very hard business to
find the producer – the “outsider”, who is able to adjust to the band and to
take and change etc ones “child” – as music is very delicate matter and the
concerned parties’ views can be very different. 
Sometimes band can ´t accept the changes the producer makes.

Fortunately that was not the case with us
and Kevin. The co-operation with Mr. Caveman 
 was positive and we hoped to
mould and form HOG songs with him some day in future.

We get acquainted with Kevin in classical
way – HOG wanted to work with him, Kevin listened to our songs, he liked them,
we agreed the timelines – he had just ended the album producing for John Petrucci
(Suspended Animation), the guitarist from Dream Theater and there
was the possible recording period for us before he went to UK to produce Iron

What the listeners can expect from your
recently released album, Rise and Shine?

I hope – we all do – that people get
positive load from our songs. They are ALL made from the deep of our hearts. It
is worth mentioning, that there are actually tracks from the period of 6-7
years time. There are plenty of different musical and creative movements.

As Spanish, I could not be less than curious
when I listened the song Spanish man, about Cortés, the conqueror. Is it
a trend you want to continue, similar to other bands like Iron Maiden, where
historical events have always a strong role in the songwriting?

Probably it is interesting for you to
observe the song like Spanish Man, as it speaks about Spaniards. I
really hope that we didn’t insult anybody’s feelings. Spanish Man is the
song that dates back some years ago and doesn’t have any contact and connection
with other songs. The message of this song is somehow important for me – as the
history itself. Thos particular track is one of a kind on our album Rise and
This is no trend for us.

You seem to have quite many links with Finland. You
have recorded the album at Suomenlinna with the famous producer Hiili
Hiilesmaa. How this collaboration came out?

As you definitely know, Estonia and Finland are
very close to each other. Connections arise very easily and smoothly. And it is
the same story with Seawolf Studio. We have recorded there many times
and we are always very satisfied with the results and as well with the
atmosphere there. With Hiili Hiilesmaa we met years ago in Finland and we
spoke about the co-operation. But at that time nothing specific. Then later
when we started to record Rise and Shine, we wanted to see and hear his
hand on our songs.  Unfortunately he was
very busy (he is always) and booked with many projects ahead. Luckily he
contacted us later and he managed to make the arrangements in his working
schedule and it suited with our schedule ideally. We are very and very
satisfied with his work – and definitely we’ll work together in future.


And you have also shared tour with The
a couple of years ago. Was it a nice experience?

We all remember the tour as very pleasant
one. The guys and their team are all very friendly and pleasant people. As well
their manager, Seppo Vesterinen. We definitely look forward to meet with
them on the road again. 

Last year you toured with the legendary
band WASP, and it seems that they must be very happy with the experience, since
you are going to repeat tour with them in the following months during Crimson
Idol tour
. What are your feelings about it?

 It seems yes, that our co-operation was good and smooth. And now in October – November we tour
together on the stages of UK.
We wait for this trip, as UK
is very good place to go be around. Very pleasant country with warm people. We
hope that audience and we all will get positive emotions from that tour.

What can the Finnish audience expect for
your incoming gigs in Helsinki?

What we always wish they’ll get: good music
and good emotions.

23.10 – London Pub, Helsinki – 10pm
24.10 – Semifinal, Helsinki – 10pm

Interviews Music

Teenage sensation


are young, they are pretty, they rock. Stal
are the new teenage sensation. These three young ladies
from Salla, a small town 60
km North of the Artic Circle

might not be allowed to enter the night clubs yet but they have already
released their first album, opened for Iggy Pop and The Stooges and
been on the cover of the most popular music magazines. Bassist Henna
tells FREE! about it.

Stalingrad Cowgirls practice some basic and fun music: Ramones oriented punk rock like other young girl groups like The Donnas or Swedish Sahara Hotnights. While still being in high school, they keep on touring across Finland and being rock stars.

How was opening for Iggy Pop? He could be your grandfather! 

As young rocker
girls we felt very humble! Iggy is very old but he has also an
amazing amount of energy. It makes you realize how long he had been
doing his thing and how well he can do it. We have very much respect
for him. Two of us met Iggy after the gig. Unfortunately our drummer
went already home by train. We got good comments and feedback from
him. He watched our performance. We put the advice behind the ear.

Why did you decide to start a band? 

We live in a small
village in the North. There are about 5000 inhabitants in Salla.
There the possibility to do things is very limited, you can do only
sports or music. We are not that sporty, and we have classical
background of music, so it felt natural to start a band.

How did you come up with such a name for the band? 

This is a long
story! We were going to one of our first gigs in the Youth Culture
Train event. There were performing people from Sweden, Norway, Russia
and Finland. One performance was in Russia, in Murmansk, and this was
the biggest reason for choosing the name Stalingrad Cowgirls. Indeed,
we didn’t invent the name, it was proposed by one friend of ours.

Two of you are not even twenty, isn't everything going very fast?

No. We could have
sit and wait in the training place for that for 10 years! But we
wanted to save the feeling of this moment and this huge energy what
comes out of us to the record, and it has nothing to do with the age.
We have so much time to do this for so long time!!

How was the recording of Somewhere High?

Making of our first
record was very interesting. Fortunately we had a very relaxed
producer with who we came along very well. It wasn’t anything about
“ok, now I press this red button and you play the bass”. We
learned so much all different kinds of thing and next time when we go
to the studio, we might not be so lost and stupid.

If you wouldn't have recorded an album already, would you dare to go to Idols?

Not at all, in any
point! In Idols, the people go there, who
want to sing, we want to play and be a band.

What are your favourite bands?

Everybody has their
own, but we also share some favourites. Like Sahara Hotnights,
Backyard Babies, Hardcore Superstar, The Donnas and also some older
bands like Rainbow, Whitesnake and Thin Lizzy.









Interviews Music

She’s not an idols star

{mosimage}Janita is
one of the most sensual Finnish singers. A teenage star in Finland, she moved
to New York when she was 17. During eleven years there, Janita has built a
solid career based on an elegant R&B of soulful and jazzy sounds. While on
holidays in Helsinki, the singer took a bit of time to speak with FREE! about her
career and future plans.

How do you
remember your first years in the music business?

I was a
kid, 13-14 years old and I grew up very fast. When I was 17 I felt like an
adult. I wasn’t, though. This time was one of the best parts of my life. I met
a lot of people. Everybody was older than me so I learned a lot from them.
Getting into touring, performing, having an 11 piece band… That was pretty
amazing for such a young age. I was able to fulfill my dreams.

And you
didn’t need to participate in Idols.

No, no.
This happens a long time ago. 15 years ago!

You were
also very young when you decided to move to New York

New York was
something exciting and new. I had some interests from record labels. There was
something going on there. But it has been a struggle to find my place there.
There are so many artists and everybody has to struggle for his existence. I
felt that I had the freedom to really find my own voice. New York gives you the
opportunity to find who you are as a person.

Why did you
decide to go there?

Finland is
a small place. After a while in the business, you know everybody. Everybody is
expecting certain things from you. Growth is harder. Everybody thinks you are
one kind of person, but in reality one is changing all the time. Sometimes when
people expect something from you, you stop growing. In a place like New York
you have to keep growing, to try to find new things. You have to evolve. It’s
lovely to know everyone here in Finland. I love that aspect but it can be
restricting too.

How was
playing live for the first time there?

It was very
liberating. Here everybody knew my face, my name and there I had freedom. Nobody
knew me. Fame can complicate your life.

How do you
feel when you come back to Finland?

It’s great.
I love this country. My roots are here, although I have spent already almost half
of my life in the States. I feel part American, part Finnish. Honestly. But my
roots and my family are here. But I love coming back and spending time in

Do you know any
Finnish people there?

I have some
friends and my partner in crime is Finnish. We speak Finnish all the time of
course. I haven’t forgotten it. I speak it perfectly still. And I read books in
Finnish too. I am proud of it. I would hate to lose part of it.

In New
York, you had an accident that it was a turning point for you. What did it

It was in
my first years there. I was walking down the street and scaffolding fell and
hit my neck and back. It made me realize some things. I used to be very shy.
Typical Finnish: very humble, introverted, trying not to make a big thing about
myself. Finns are brought up that way. But it’s tough when you are too shy to
start creating. For me songwriting was something I only dreamt about it. I
didn’t have the balls to do it. After the accident, I realized how fragile life
is. I needed to express myself and do everything I want to do. You don’t know
how long you are going to be here. Things can change in one moment. That’s when
I started to get over my shyness.

What was
the first song you wrote?

I’ve been
writing some things here and then, but the first real song I wrote was Heaven.
It’s a very easy song, but it has a deeper meaning for me and I know. People
might not realize it or find other meanings.

It must be
funny when people give a different meaning to your songs.

I think
it’s great that you write a song about something that happened to your life and
somebody else finds a different meaning. That’s the whole point of it.
Everybody has their own life and his own way of thinking. That’s very positive.
Nobody has to thinks in the same terms as I do.

Are you afraid
of critics and reviews?

No, because
so far they have been pretty good. There’s no need to be scared. I’m still
finding my way, my audience. I think there are more and more people listening
to my music, but I still have lot of work to do.

Were you in
New York when the 9/11 happened?

I was in
Brooklyn. I heard of it because my mother called me. Everybody was awake in
Finland, but I was sleeping in New York. I turned on the TV and saw what was
happening. I felt it. I felt when the towers came down. All the smoke came to
Brooklyn. The smell of it lasted for four months. You couldn’t escape it. It
stayed in your mind.

Do you
follow Finnish music?

A little
bit. I checked Iltalehti and Ilta-Sanomat from time to time. I feel proud when
a Finnish band do well. But I don’t listen to the radio that much. I discover
new music from friends, recommendations.

Any favourite
Finnish singers?

I saw Risto
at the Flow festival. It was great. Also Tuomo. And Jaana is my friend and a
wonderful singer. There are many

Your last
album so far is from last year, Seasons of Life. How did it do?

Fine. I’ve
performed around the States a bit and I went to Japan twice. I get emails from
people who really reacted to the album and felt the music. That’s wonderful. I
always wanted to do music that it’s meaningful for people. How many people? It
does not really matter.

How was

I loved it.
I’ve only been to Tokyo, though. But for a Finn, it feels pretty easy, almost
like home. The culture, the quite and shy style of the Japanese people… It
feels easy for me.

In that
album you did a cover of Depeche Mode’s Enjoy the Silence. Was it your choice?

The label
wanted a cover and luckily I could decide which one. Normally covers are
no-brainers. You usually choose something easy. I could have done something
from Stevie Wonder, for example. But this time I wanted to do something
different and Depeche Mode has always been one of my favorite bands, so I
thought it would be a good idea to make this cover. It’s a beautiful song.

Are you
working on new music?

I keep on
doing new music, but it is going to be more edgy. I’ve been listening to a lot
of alternative rock and some folk music. I feel like those things are
influencing me. Before I was more into soul and jazz. Now I’m expanding my

What are
your favourite bands and artists at the moment?

Death Cab
For Cutie, Keen, Jeff Buckley, Crosby, Stills & Nash and one Brazilian
singer from the seventies, Milton Nascimento.


Photos by Eduardo Alonso 

Interviews Music

A quick q&a with Martti Vainaa

Vainaa & Sallitut Aineet
. This pop band went big with the song Pelimies.
Even The Smurfs covered this hit. Moving towards a disco direction, the band
released last May a new single, Toinen Nainen, and prepares a new album for
this autumn.

What's the
background of the band? Where did you guys meet and come together as
a group?

Max is from
Jyväskylä, which is also the place where this band was formed. The others
have spent their early years in Pieksämäki. They actually have known each
other for many years before this band started in 2001 as a trio. The first
three members were Max, Dan and Dick. Lazy and Wolf joined finally in 2005.

When and
where was the band's first gig?

On the 20th
of May 2001.

What was it like to hear your song on the radio for the first time?

We felt
like singing along. Not! But close.

Since our
readers are mainly non-Finns can you explain/translate the band's name
for us? 

It's easy.
The name is: The Late Martin And The Legal Substances.

One of the
big questions many Finnish bands face is deciding whether to 
sing in
Finnish or English. What made the band decide to sing in Finnish
as opposed
to English?

We sing
stuff that is so down to earth so it's got to be the native caveman
language, Finnish. Even though Max writes some of our songs first in

So, you are
currently in the studio and working on a new album. What can fans expect
of the new single/album? Are you moving in a new direction?

It is going
to be more dance and more pop, but also more rock. What can we say?
Hope you like it. The single is called Toinen nainen and it's in
stores since May. The album release is in autumn.

What can
you tell us about your hit song Pelimies?

They are
still playing it in restaurants and clubs, and that's cool. It is a
sporty song with a hint of night and lovelife.

What has
been the effect of your success with the song Pelimies on the band?

We got a
record deal and some special fans because of it.

What has
been the highlight of the band's career so far?

"Onnellinen nyt" tour during which we were welded together as a

What's it
like to have The Smurfs cover your hit song Pelimies?

It's an

what are the band's plans for the coming months? Touring?

We are
currently in the studio, but we'll make just enough touring to keep us in shape
for autumn.


Name: Max
                                                 Name: Lazy

17th October in Jyväskylä                               Born: 14th March in Pieksämäki

Vocals                                                 Instrument:

Any Former
Bands: Duo Väkisin                                Any Former
Bands: About a dozen bands in childhood

Floorball, music, running                            Hobbies:
Running, reading and radio


Name: Dick
                                                 Name: Dan

11th February in Pieksämäaki                          Born 22nd February in Pieksämäki

Keyboards                                            Instrument:

Any Former
Bands: So many                                    Any Former
Bands: Several (currently also Portrait of Beyond)

Hobbies: Texas Hold'em, jogging,
floorball, reading    Hobbies:
Agriculture, taekwondo, languages, history


Name: Wolf

Born: 22nd July in Pieksämäki 


Any Former
Bands: Aikuiset Naiset, Pikku Enkeli

Outdoor activities, music, internet, Pro Evolution Soccer










Interviews Music

Lauri’s ethnic futuristic rock’n’roll

Tähkä and Elonkerjuu

are definitely a fresh band with a very personal style, rooted deeply in their
native South Ostrobothnia region, different from most of the others that wander
the Finnish rock and roll music scene. On the 19th of September they release
their new album, Tuhannen Riemua. With the first single, Hetkeksi
ei Sulle Rupia
, scoring very high in the radio charts, Lauri kindly found
some moments to introduce his projects to the readers of FREE!


us more about who is Lauri Tähkä. About your past, and how you started to get
involved in music business until nowadays.

Tähkä is a singer and songwriter in a band called Elonkerjuu. I love being out
on a gig and making music. I was born in Finland, South Ostrobothnia, in Teuva,
which has about 6,500 inhabitants.

you have any special singer or band that you admire?

I don’t
have any specific singers or bands that I actually admire. I respect them
rather than admire.

music style is a bit different from other pop/rock bands, with more roots into
Finnish traditional music. Tell us why that approach to this music style and
what features can make the music of your band different from other Finnish

We are an
ethnicfuturisticrock’n’roll band that uses the dialect of South Ostrobothnia in
its lyrics.

us a bit to your band Elonkerjuu. How did you started to play together?

Us boys
have played together for fifteen years and when we started to do
ethnicfuturisticrock’n’roll we wanted to take Johanna along. There just weren’t
any other players in Teuva than us at that time. We have been playing with this
composition for about seven years. We have released five albums and been on
about 500 gigs.

know that you also play “solo” just with your guitar. Actually I saw you in one
show for one private company last year in Manala in Helsinki. Do you play alone

There was
a very nice gang of people in Manala and the atmosphere was great. I go
out on about 3 to 5 solo gigs per year. The gigs with the band take up so much
time that there just isn’t time for any more.

about you playing solo, you participated last year in this album with other
many notorious Finnish artists, Soolot, with people there like Jonna
Tervomaa or even Ville Valo. You had this song: Synkkien laulujen maa.
How did you get involved in the project?

producer Riku Mattila asked me in on it. It was a great project!

seems also that you are quite popular with the female public. Your image is
warmer than most of other Finnish singers, even you look more “latino”. How do
you assume the contact with the public?

Being a performer and going out on gigs is my job, which I love and enjoy. I
don’t think it’s stressing at all! Latino comparison was quite surprising. I
guess The South Ostrobothnians are the Finnish Latinos, hehehe… I have not
consciously created a Latino image.

on Renki
your first album with Universal, was a kind of breakthrough in your career,
becoming a platinum album. Does this cause pressure on you now that you ´ll
release a new one: Tuhannen Riemua?

It’s true
that Maailma on Renki has sold over 45000 copies and it’s been a real
surprise. I just can say that we have enjoyed making Tuhannen Riemua.
The songs came easily.

tell us more about the new album. In which ways is different (or similar) to
the previous works. Do you have any special songs from the album you like most?

I love
our album and even though it might sound like a cliché, I think it’s our best
album yet. It’s dynamic! We worked with this album longer than with the others,
which made the project quite hard but rewarding and interesting as well. My
favourite song is Susipihan portilla.

Lauri Tähkä want to achieve in the future?

A long
career in the music business as a songwriter.

message for the readers?

Keep The Baltic Sea clean!

Cinema Interviews

Watching the sound

{mosimage}Once again,
the reputed Finnish filmmaker Mika Kaurismäki focuses on music with the
documentary Sonic Mirror. Guided by legendary jazz drummer Billy Cobham,
Kaurismäki’s camera travels to different parts of the world to present music as
one universal language. From Espoo to the kids in the streets of Brazil to an
community of autistic people in Switzerland to the primal music in Nigeria,
Sonic Mirror is a vibrant trip where there is rhythm is the only language. The
film premieres in Finland this Sunday as part of Espoo Ciné festival
and Mika speaks to FREE! about it.

{sidebar id=10}What is Sonic Mirror for you?

It’s an
attempt to demonstrate that rhythm is one of the main things in human life. It
is something that unites all of us. It does not matter where you are. It’s a
universal language.

Billy Cobham, a drummer who played in Miles
Davis’ Bitches Brew and with John McLaughlin's
Orchestra, is the central figure of the film, but Sonic Mirror is nothing
similar to biography.

We decided
from the beginning that we didn’t want to make a portrait of Billy. That would
have been too easy and obvious even for him. We wanted to do something
different. Billy Cobham is the central figure, but Sonic Mirror is not just a
portrait of him. That would be a completely different thing because he’s
involved in so many activities. We wanted to make a film about rhythm and

How did you translate rhythm into the language of

Cinema is
also rhythm. I think music and cinema are very close. In both of them there’s
nothing concrete. Everything comes from imagination. It is hard to think of a
movie without music. Even silent movies had music.

You worked on this movie without a previously
written screenplay. Like in music you had to improvise. How was the experience?

In the
beginning the only idea I had is that music and rhythm are a universal
language. In many occasions, like with the autistic people, we didn’t know what was going to come out of it. It was an experiment. It was impossible to
write a screenplay. You can't tell beforehand how autistic people react to music.
It was the same thing in Brazil. I shot in different stages. In one year, I
shot during five or six different periods. I shot a bit and then thought what to do
next. I was writing the film with my camera.

Did you change much during those stages while
the film was in production?

I changed
some things. For example, I didn’t use anything of some shooting session. It’s
not because it was bad or I wasn’t happy, but somehow when I found the right
line between the autistic, the poor street kids in Brazil and the Nigeria
scenes, everything was in place. That shows how the music is born in its tribal
mode. It’s like the heartbeat. Then there was no room for many things I shot
before, but I will make some other products with it, some dvd or something

It was
during editing When the film really took shape. We had around 200 hours of
material so the editing was very challenging. When I think back to that moment,
I realize that we got most of the final film in the first cut, but then we
changed the order of some things. It was very complicated, indeed. It was like
writing the script after shooting.

What are the plans for the material that is not
included in the documentary?

We filmed
much. We have a lot of material about Billy Cobham’s life. There will be
something about it. Also we want to release the Cobham’s concert at April Jazz
with the UMO Jazz Orchestra. It will be a DVD of the complete show and maybe
some extra material like interviews, making of and more.

Do you have any plans for the future?

making three music documentaries, I’m planning some fiction. I’m writing the
script now and I will do it in Finnish and I will shoot in Finland.

Sonic Mirror
at Espoo Ciné – Sunday 26.6 at 19.15 in Louhisali, Tapiola. More information and tickets:

Interviews Music

Just fucking love, beer and vampires!


These wise words are thrown at the Finnish
audience by Fernando Ribeiro, the front man of the gothic metal band Moonspell,
during last Tuska festival in Helsinki.
The Portuguese singer is, apart from an excellent showman who knows how to
encourage the public, an interesting character who splits the time between his
band and his passion for literature and philosophy. FREE! Magazine had a
long and exciting talk with him at the festival backstage just after the show,
with some cold beers cooling down the hot summer evening.

How was the gig today?

Well, we started at 2 p.m. and there was a lot of daylight! They
have this midsummer sun here, but I think that it was a great show. Definitely
different, less “atmospheric” and more “rock and roll”, but worthy every minute
of it.

Some people say that Finnish audience is a
bit cold. Did you have that impression?

No, they are just different. I mean, I
always think that speaking about an audience is something always very
difficult, and people jump too fast into conclusions, especially people from
Portugal, Spain or Latin America, they always think that the others are cold,
because they are very reactive, they have this “caliente” Latino feeling, but I
think that people in Finland are quite “into the music”. You see it here, where
metal scene is huge. Metal music scene is respected by everyone, from the Prime
Minister to the metal fan, and that does not happen in Spain, or Portugal or Latin America, so I think that it is just different ways
of appreciating. For Moonspell, when we get into the stage, we know how is
going on, and I think that in their own way, Finnish people were enjoying very
much, believe me, they were not cold at all.

Do you know that this year there is this
huge “heavy metal trend”, even in Idols TV show, the winner is heavy metal

Oh, is he?

Yes, his name is Ari Koivunen.

No way!!!

You have had a tight relation with Finland all
over the past years. During the recording of your album The Antidote you
were working with the producer Hiili Hiilesmaa and also with the bass player
Niclas Etelävuori from Amorphis. So how did it happen that you had these links?

I think that all started on the road. We
love playing in Finland.
First time we played here I think that it was in 95. Our album, Irreligious,
always charted very high here. So basically we had already a very good
impression about the Finnish crowd and the Finnish scene. Then we did a Tour
with Amorphis in the States, and even when they were from up north and
we were from down South, we got along very well. A big connection and we became
friends after that. This was a butterfly effect. When we thought about
recording Darkness and Hope (the first album we recorded in Finnbox in
2001) we said, why not to try Finland?
So we spent 5 weeks recording here, and we loved it, because it is much laid
back, very relaxed. albums, especially

Did you record on winter?

Yeah, we always record lots of stuff on
wintertime. But for us it was a break from the routine.And then when we came
back from The Antidote tour with Hiili it was even a better experience.
We were always switching a bit the producers, not to get them “used to our
work”, so it can be a novelty from album to album, but we loved our time in Finland. I mean,
recently we did a 5 days tour here; we played Helsinki of course, Oulu, Jyväskylä, Nivala and Tampere. And it was very successful. There is
a great empathy between us and Finland
and I think that playing here in Tuska was like the cherry on top of the ice

Do you have preferences for other Finnish
bands, apart from Amorphis?

I like a lot of Finnish bands. I like the
early stuff from HIM, especially up the Razorblade’s Romance, I like The 69
, I like Before the Dawn, Swallow the Sun…they are countless. There are so
many bands from black metal, heavy metal…

It is kind of amazing how relatively small
the country is, and how many great bands come out!

Yeah, it is amazing, and a thing I know
about the Finnish, very different from some of Swedish bands for example, it is
that they can be the biggest band in the world, and they are still very nice
people, very down to earth, and they like what they do, they like the music and
hang around, and they have this metal feeling inside, which is basically a great
thing to be around them. There are so many bands… Apocalyptica is a great band
as well, Ita-Saksa… lots of them…

Were you thinking when you started in music
business that you would reach so far? Do you consider yourself a privileged
being able to tour around the world?

Yes, of course. Sometimes you do not even
have time to think, because this life is very fast. We only started to think
about our career in 1998, when we were doing Sin/Pecado,  I was not expecting it but at the same time I
worked hard to get it, so I am happy that I have it, and I am happy to have the
consciousness that there is nothing for granted, and you have to work everyday.
I now come here to Tuska festival in Helsinki,
and we have an excellent position in the band list, we have a 75 minutes set,
in the big stage, but I don´t come here thinking “we are Moonspell”. I come
here to seduce the audience, so they will have a good experience and they can
have what they paid for, rewarding them in many ways. When bands take things
for granted, believe me, they start to do shitty music and shitty things.

It is quite notorious this collaboration you
did with the Portuguese writer Jose Luis Peixoto. How was it?

It was great! We always had this literature
influence in Moonspell. We have learnt from the best, from Iron Maiden, from
Celtic Frost… they always quoted authors in their lyrics. So we didn’t do
anything groundbreaking. We just introduced this influence to Moonspell as
well. My other activity is doing books; I have already published my third book
of poetry and is doing great in Portugal.
At any time I am invited to write short tales, but I do not have much time to
do it… In any case, I always try to find the time to read…

Tell us more about how started this project
for The Antidote with Peixoto.

Peixoto is a big metal fan, and he always
wanted to do something like this. And we are big literature’s fans, and
particularly Peixoto's fans, so I think it was something, like a marriage not “in
heaven” but “in hell”, or something like that… He invited us to make some music
for a crazy presentation of his book. People from book industry are quite
conservative so they were not much into the idea, so we switched around, and
the idea was that we did the music. We did all the energy for the music and he
took pieces of the lyrics, the images…and he wrote a novel composed by short
tales, and each chapter was based on a song. It was a big success in Portugal,
people were very interested in it, and I think that turned out to be very
original. I mean, it is not that we are planning to do this in every album, but
I loved it, and I am very good friend of Peixoto, and it was something really

Have you read the Kalevala?

Yes of course. Well, it is not the kind of
book that I would read from page 1 until page…2000 or whatever… but I reckon
that it is a special book. I bought a paperback copy, I have read a bit. I
think Tolkien ripped off a lot!

{sidebar id=8}Saramago, the Portuguese Nobel prize of
literature, was here visiting Helsinki
a couple of months ago. What is your opinion about him?

I love Saramago. I am very proud that he is
Portuguese and I am very sad that he had to move out to Spain, to
Lanzarote, because his country could not accept him as he is. I haven’t read
all the books but I think that he is an amazing writer and he is worth every
word that is written about him and the Nobel Prize. We had a show where there
were Saramago, Peixoto and Moonspell playing. We met him, he is very old, he is
like 82 but very lucid, and he told us that he liked what we do. He was very
nice and his label gave us a lot of books. We were very nervous, playing a
metal song for a Nobel Prize, but in the end came out very well. 

And you are also kept busy translating books.

Yeah, I am translating one now: I am a
; it is going to be a movie now with Will Smith. The book is going to
be translated into Portuguese and released by the time of the movie. It is a
great story. Richard Matheson Is a very good author, very well known in the
States, he did a story called Duel that was the script for the first
Spielberg movie, and I am going to translate it into Portuguese. Honestly I do
not have time for that, but I am so hooked into books and literature and
translations, doing something else than the band that I also find time to do

Have you read or seen any horror story you
specially liked lately?

I have been reading a lot of fiction, but
not really horror fiction. I read the book Behold the manEcce Homo; it
is a good book. I am reading now fiction about philosophers, about Schopenhauer
and Nietzsche…but it has been a while since I have read pure horror literature.
I am definitely going to read again I am a Legend. I already read it 2 at
least, but it is a fucking great book!

Do you give a lot of importance to the
concept of death?

Of course. In Portugal there is no bigger
obsession than death. There is always a conception about the end. Not that I
see myself as a morbid person but it is something that fascinates me in all the

I heard you are going to work in your new
album in Denmark.

Yeah, we are already settled in Denmark. The
album is recorded and we are going to start mixing next Wednesday.

How was the experience?

It was amazing, considering that it is just
a re-recording, but it is a project that we assumed very seriously. We wanted
to give a chance to play good songs that were badly played and very badly
produced in the past. So it will be a bit of a surprise for many people. It is
not our new album but it is not that we are just doing for people to buy it. It
proves that we already did good songs when we were very young. It is all the
stuff pre Wolf heart and it is going to be called Under Satannae.

When is going to be released?

Probably in Spring or Autumn of next year,
2008 .I am very happy with the work of the producer Tue Madsen. And I was very
happy to work in Denmark.
It was very relaxing; I was like on vacation in a way. We did it in Aarhus, very quiet place.

Talking a bit about the near future, you
will play in Wacken festival, that is one of the most important metal festivals
in Europe. Excited about that show?

Well, for us it is just another festival.
Being honest, we could have played in a better position. A lot of people go
there to see Moonspell. I think that Wacken could have shown a little bit more
of respect for Moonspell, because we showed a lot of respect for Wacken, but
well…maybe the festival is becoming too big…

So you are not so happy about it?

I am happy about playing in Wacken but I am
not happy about the position. Moonspell deserves much better but on another
way, that is not what is stopping us for making a show. But for me Wacken is as
important as Tuska, or as important as other festival where we could play for
2000 people, as important as Istanbul,
where we are playing in August. I hate when people are making a ranking of
festivals, for me it does not matter, I respect all the festivals and all the

Wolfheart (1995): Our first album. We were
kind of “marking territory”. I think that it was an album that nobody thought
it would work, but it became a classic in the underground. I am very proud of
that album because I think that it is very original in the scene.

Irreligious (1996): It is probably
altogether our best album, because it has really great songs, and normally it
is all about the songs. And still today when we play Opium or Mephisto. Those songs were ahead of their time. I don´t want to sound big headed, but for
me it is one example of how gothic metal should definitely be.

{mosimage}Sin/Pecado (1998): It was a rupture album.
It was a very good album with different stuff, and hits like Second Skin,
but a lot of people were not interested in listening to it, because they were
totally hooked to Irreligious and they did not give a chance to the
album, so I think that it is one of our most sensitive albums, and I still love
it. Probably a lot of people did not understand the album. For us it was an
album that we had to do.

The Butterfly Effect (1999):  It was going completely nuts in London. It has to do with
the fact that came out in the period of 1999-2000 and I was very interested in
what was going on, about this tension. Now we settled down, well…not exactly,
but not so crazy as in 1999. It seems we are fans of that album more than

Darkness of Hope (2001): It is probably our
most heartbreaking and sad album… it is not called Darkness of Hope for any
reason. It comes from the heart and it is very dark, but I think that it is a
great album. Not to listen when you are depressed because it can get you very
down, I think.

{mosimage}The Antidote (2003): It is one of the best
Moonspell albums. It is very tribal and one of the most original albums. It has
this song that I love called everything invaded, you saw the response
today: killer! It is an album we did very well.

(2006): It is a bloody album; I
would say “In your face” album, with very good metal songs. It was “our baby”
in the past months and I think that people really enjoy it.

Interviews Misc

Professionalism on stage

is one of the most popular Spanish actors in the last twenty years. Although
known by his sweet and kind roles, Echanove adventures into difficult and
challenging performances like his role in Calixto Bieito’s adaptation to
theater of the controversial novel by Michel Houellebecq, Platform, which was just presented during Helsinki Festival.


Platform is
an uncomfortable play. It talks openly about pornography, sex tourism,
terrorism and the differences between the rich Western world and the developing
countries. The three representations in Helsinki are the last ones of a long
year with 200 performances since its premiere in the Edinburgh Festival where the
Spanish actor was honored with the Herald Angel award. Echanove speaks clearly
and frankly. He admits that he is exhausted after so many performances,
although willing to go once more on stage and fight with the demanding role of
Michel. Right after speaking to FREE! Echanove will start warming up his body
and his voice

Why did you
choose to play the role of Michel?

My decision
was completely based on my confidence in Calixto Bieito, our director. I
couldn’t imagine that there could be a play based on Michel Houellebecq’s novel, but if
Bieito was able to see a great show on it, it was good to trust on him.
Probably I wouldn’t have accepted to play this role if Bieito wouldn’t have
been involved.

It is one
of your most challenging works.

The text of
this play is very dangerous. It is very intimidating. It burns. It is a bomb.
In a very precise manner, it tells the lowest qualities of modern Western
civilization, of a nowadays individual from good old Europe. The play shows
normal people of my age, 45-50 years old and their expectations and emotions.
Indeed, it is very challenging and complicated to be for two hours such a
character, with those low human qualities and under the influence of alcohol
and pills.

How did you
create this character?

I went to
Barcelona for six weeks and lived alone in an apartment. I didn’t do anything
else but rehearsals in the evenings and building the character in the mornings.
I tried to make the complex psychology of Michel real, to find out how the
feelings of such a person would be, creating something real beyond the literary
work of Houellebecq. I wanted to know how a person of those feelings and characteristics
would be for real.

Did you do
anything special?

I did the
usual work when preparing a role. There was a lot of background documentation. I
did some research on the main issues that Michel Houellebecq addresses with his
thinking and criticism about society. The issues are the power of money over
poverty, terrorism and pornography and sex tourism.

Is it
easier for you to play a character that it’s so different from you?

No, it’s
the same. Acting is a job. A friend of mine says that being an actor is either
very easy or impossible. With this performance I learned to be shameless of many
things, for example things related to sex. It is not easy to talk about your
father’s dead while looking at a screen showing a double penetration. This is a
very tough role. Every performance I lose two or three kilos and it’s not
because of its physical intensity, it’s because the emotional intensity. But
there must be a good distance between the character and the actor. Sometimes
actors say that they are so identified with the character, that they own it.
That’s bullshit. My job is wonderful, but it is also tremendously complicated.
It’s a job like a pianist or violinist. All my life and education have been
devoted to acting. It’s natural for me to go on stage.

This is a
high point in your career.

It’s funny
because a role like Michel, who has nothing to do with me, marks a turning
point in my life and in my career. It’s a point of growing up. Doing
performances like Plataforma, one realizes that it’s not worthy to go on stage
if there is not a real motivation, if it’s not risky and meaningful.

Do you
think you could have played this part earlier in your career?

not. This was the right time. I think I would not accept if I had been called
next month. But as I said before, Calixto played a very important role. He
called me and I accepted even before knowing what was the play we were going to
do. He’s one of the best contemporary directors in European theater. If you are
an actor, you must be at his command at least once.

How is
working with Calixto?

He is a
sweet guy, very sincere and a very practical person. I like those qualities. He
is honest. He knows the audience; he knows what the audience looks at and why. He’s

Interviews Music

That punk on TV

is one of the most active characters I have ever
interviewed. He has
done almost everything in the show business, from singing in a hardcore
band to writing poetry, acting and touring as a stand-up comedian.
he hosts a talk show on independent American TV. This summer, YLE
Teema brings to Finland the first season of The Henry Rollins Show. Read what Henry Rollins told FREE! He speaks loud and
frankly. He is not afraid to say anything.





How did the
idea of show start?

The producers
asked me if I was interested and then we found a TV station interested in the
program. After the first season, they asked me do you want to continue and I
said yeah, so we did another season that just finished in the US. It wasn’t my
idea. I never thought about doing a TV show, but I like doing different things.
It keeps me awake. Now it takes quite a long time of my year. It needs detailed
planning and it is not easy to make good interviews to people. It burns a lot of

Do you
choose the guests?

Yes, I do.
I’m interested in a lot of people, so my wanted list is huge. We call them and
most of them say: No! There are various reasons: “I’m not interested”. “Henry
Rollins? I hate that guy!” “We are busy, we live on Mars, we cannot make it”.

some of your “dream guests”.

There are tons
of them. Bob Dylan, Al Gore, Keith Richards, David Lynch, Martin Scorsese,
Brian De Palma… There are a lot of interesting people in the world, doing great
things from art to reporting. For example, there are many investigative
reporters, like Greg Palast and Christian Miller.

What about
the live performances? Do you also pick the bands?

I didn’t
pick some of them. Since it’s not my money, I don’t get to make all the choice,
so there are some bands that stick out for their MTVness. Nice people, anyway.
They showed up, they played well, but I have none of their records. The rest of
the bands I both know them and love them or I have toured and played with them.
I’m a fan, I play their songs on my radio show. In the season we just finished
we had Iggy Pop and The Stooges, Peaches, Manu Chao, who made his first American
TV appearance ever. He’s huge all around the world, but not in America. He’s a wonderful
guy, very humble. He came to play at the Coachella festival and all the TV stations
invited him, but he said no to all of them and yes to us. Why? I don’t know. We
were lucky. The Good, The Bad and The Queen played also. That was a highlight
for me. I walked into the the studio, turned around the corner and there’s Paul
, the bass player of The Clash. Wow!! Also Fela Kuti and Tony Allen… I
was like yeah! I love this job.

Conan O’Brien
is very popular here in Finland. Do you watch his show?

I think
he’s good. He does a very normal kind of interview show. They interview pretty
famous people about being famous and pretty. Conan is very talented and funny.
He used to write for The Simpsons! He’s a very funny guy, but it’s not the kind
of TV show I watch. I don’t care about an interview with half of the cast of
Friends. I fall asleep. I don’t care.

You are
very politically outspoken. Do you also follow the events in Europe?

but quite honestly I’m more concerned about the current Administration in the
US. I’m not trying to devalue what goes on in Europe, I think that America
could learn a couple of things from Europe. I primarily focus on and research
on the daily catastrophe in Iraq. I try to understand our relations with Iran
and Syria and what the president is doing to destroy our Constitution. Right
now Europe is not a priority for me because I’m watching my own country going
up in flames.

{sidebar id=4}In spite of
being clearly against the Iraq war, you went there and did a tour for the
American troops.

Yes, I did
it. I disagree with the policy, but I don’t disagree with the troops. They go
where they are told. My argument is not with the soldiers, it is with the
Administration, with Dick Chaney, Donald Rumsfeld. It’s not with the soldier,
he’s only 22. He’d rather be home. I’ve been in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait,
Qatar, South Korea, and few others. I go far for these people.

Is the show
business industry also a war?

business aspect is way more unpleasant. I have my own publishing company to
publish my books, my records. I have a two-person staff. The insights of the
business can be very disturbing. For instance, the distributor of my books just
went out of business, with a lot of my inventory in his warehouse which was now
seized by the government. I cannot get my property and the guy even owns me
50.000 dollars. Guess what? I will never see anything. What is difficult is the
artist who has to become the business man. I have to be the boss and the artist
guy. It’s difficultt to make that separation. I don’t bring the art into the
business meeting and I don’t bring the business into the art.

You are
very active and have worked in many disciplines from singing in a hardcore band to
acting and writing. What is the most challenging?

Writing is
very hard for me. It’s the most time consuming. The talk shows are also very
difficult. There’s no script and It requires lots of concentration on stage.
It’s all difficult, just different levels of intensity and concentration that
you have to give. When you are writing, you have to make it clear. When you are
editing, you are trying to make it better, you have to be aware of the words.
When you are on stage, you need a lot of preparation. When I interview people,
I do a lot of background checking on the interviewee, so I know what I’m talking
about and I don’t disrespect that person. All is a lot of work. Nothing is that
fun for me. I don’t understand fun. I’m a very nervous person. I get stress out
very easily, very much for a long period of time. I don’t sleep very well. I’m
always thinking something needs to be done. I’m a little crazy all the time.

Are you
still a solitary man?

I live
alone. I don’t have any family. I don’t have any kids. I don’t hate people, but
I’m very busy. I write a lot and that takes a lot of my time. Nobody is going
to make that for you. I also travel a lot to places where having someone next
to you could be a liability, like parts of Africa. I don’t want a woman
traveling with me. It’s not that women are not strong and cannot defend
themselves, but in Morocco I don’t want to turn my back when the woman is not
looked out, because she can get in danger. Also when I come back from a two-month
tour, I don’t want anyone waiting for me. I don’t want to have to call someone
and ask: “what is that with the tone of your voice?” I don’t want to have that
conversation. Also, I’m a pretty crazy man and I have seen many awful things
and those things have had a very substantial impact on me. A friend had his
head blown off next to me. I cleaned his brains so his mother didn’t have to
see it. I’ve seen some things that one shouldn’t see.

What is more
dangerous: to sing in Black Flag or to have a big mouth on a comedy show

The Black
experience was physically dangerous. I still have a lot of scars from that
period. I got punched. But I got stitched up. You heal. I hit back. I broke a
lot of people’s noses. Never women, only men. But I’ve beaten the hell out of a
lot of guys. Pretty substantially. No regrets. But I think it’s more dangerous
what I do now in the present climate. To say what I’m saying and about whom I’m
saying it. I think you can suffer.

Do you have
any plans for the future?

I cannot
think of anything specific that I haven’t done. Perhaps catch up with some
reading or get a full night of sleep.

Do you like
reading a lot?

Yeah, I
cannot read as much as I want, but I think you should always have a book going,
you should be reading something.


Photos by: Veronika Vera


Interviews Misc

The spirit of the Dancing Man

{mosimage}When speaking about contemporary dance in Finland, one reference name is Tero Saarinen. He has achieved a worldwide recognition with the best formula: talent, hard work and the collaboration of a great team formed by top-class artists and professionals. Even when sometimes his popularity has been bigger outside the borders of Finland than inside his own country, his merits were finally rewarded in his native country with awards such as the Pro Finlandia Medal in 2005.

After having lived in France for some years, Tero is back in Finland (as long as his other compromises allow him, since he spends a great part of the year traveling around the world, working and performing) running his own dance company, Tero Saarinen Company, and preparing everything for the conquering of the Finnish spectators during the incoming representations of Petrushka / HUNT that will be performed all along August in Alexander Theater, Helsinki.

There are different features that maybe give a key explanation about the success in Tero Saarinen´s works. One is the risky attitude towards his art, always looking for new ways of expression, and not worrying about the immediate success. Tero Saarinen is a person who enjoys discovering new places in the world the same than enjoys discovering new and interesting people all along his career to collaborate with. This natural approach to life is reflected also in the natural dialogue with the audience. During the incoming shows, the spectators will have the unusual opportunity of staying after the performance and talk to the dancer about their impressions, feelings and whatever other question they want to make. Tero affirms that this same experience has been tested before, with excellent results “In general, it is amazing the nice and interesting feedback that the spectators give. I am very satisfied with this idea of having an open discussion after every show”.

Tero does not only take care of his own solo performances, but makes sure that he is surrounded by the best professionals to achieve an optimal result. As an example, we collected the opinion of Satu Halttunen, one of the company dancers and Tero´s collaborator, who has worked together with him creating pieces for, among others, the NDT (Nederlands Dans Theater): "It was interesting to be there. Everybody who works in the field of dance knows the reputation of the place and the dancers and it was true that all the dancers were amazing. But I also think the nature of NDT has changed after Jiri Kylian left the company".

Satu obviously is one of the persons who can give a best opinion about Tero´s style when dancing, having being his second pair of eyes when working together, helping to create a choreography for other dance companies: "Tero uses lots of mental images when creating a movement. Physically he emphasizes a lot the sensitivity of the arms and fingers and feeling of the bodyweight".


Everything can be said in the art of dance.

Tero Saarinen

{mosimage} Tero Saarinen receives FREE! Magazine in Alexander Theater in the center of Helsinki, the place where soon the spectators will be able to assist to his forthcoming performances: Petrushka/HUNT. He is calm and friendly, and makes a great effort to put his many varied thoughts into English language for us, laughing when he gets lost in the middle of an answer. Although being on his forties, he looks extremely young and fragile, but when he starts speaking, (and he does speak a lot indeed!), you realize that Tero is a man who knows exactly what he wants to achieve in life. A man whose personal philosophy is to live under a “controlled risk”, extrapolating this to his performances on stage. A man who is not afraid to explore new ways of expression traveling to remote Asia, or just turning this exploration into a deep look at his soul. Tero Saarinen represents beyond everything else the true spirit of the Dancing Man.

It is very interesting to see in your biography that you spent some time in Japan studying Butoh dance. Tell us more about the experience, please.

I wanted to expand this image of dancing man inside me. I think that it was limited in the National Ballet of Finland, and I had a “hunger” to go outside. I was in Tokyo for nearly a year.

Were you feeling alienated at some point?

It was a lot of alienation feeling when you were there. When you come as an outsider, it is hard to find the right connections. It takes a lot of time to make you “known”. It is very long way to get into this routine of Japanese culture, in a way. So it took two months before I could find the way to go to the traditional Japanese classes. You need to know the right persons. One door opens and slowly you get in. That was a long process

So it is a closed society…

Very close. And the traditions of dance are very different. For me sometimes was very difficult to understand the mentality behind and of course, the amount of people in Tokyo… it is such a huge city… it was a big difference, coming from Helsinki where you can go cycling to your work, and there in Japan I had to travel 1-2 hours to find the places where I studied. The distances were hard, and the amount of people was quite heavy to take at the beginning. I remember that there were days I did not want to go out because I thought there were too many people there. And I was also missing the sea. I am a “water person”, I was raised close to the sea and I had to travel to find some sea.

I know you were practicing also martial arts. What martial art did you practice?

I practiced Aikido. It took two hours to go to the place where I took the classes. It became too hard; the days became too long, so I had to give it up. I thought I could study later martial arts in Finland. So I selected to study Butoh dance “from the source”.

What do you think of the Butoh dancers emigrated to Europe? There are even some big names here in Finland.

There are, starting from the 90s, a lot of people who are teaching Butoh. They are very good teachers. An innovation of Butoh philosophy. But I think nowadays the original idea of Butoh is lost. When it started after Second World War, there was a lot of things boiling in Japanese culture. It wanted to break the estheticism established in the society. It was violent, and now all we see is about beauty, so it was turned around the original idea. The revolution feeling has been lost, but maybe because there is no need of it anymore.

{mosimage} In your dancing style, you like the feeling of “being on the edge”. Is it a reflection of your life?

I think it is. It is an interesting state. But the main idea is that you feel safe, you can take risks but under control. You have the sensation of the leap. When we talk about art, I think that the risk-taking makes it more exciting. If it is too calculated and comfortable, and does not have a possibility for the participants to take risks, then it is not alive. It is a risk with some kind of safety. And I think that is also in my life. I never cared about my contracts, my pensions. You have to take other injections of inspiration from other cultures. It is all about the structure. The ideology of our company is like that, we take risks but under control, on stage and off stage.

Yeah, for example, in your previous piece Kaze you took a lot of risks, you invested a lot of money.

You need to invest for the pieces. Maybe the credits do not come immediately. I always thought the money would come later if you believe in that product, The works of mine defy the time in a way, and they will last. So the reward will come.

Is it stressful to find perfection in your art and to be a business man at the same time?

To be a business man requires stress. Of course it is part of this business. But I think that you minimize stress and the risks when you have the right people in the right places. Years before I had a lot of stress because I took care of everything. I was designing the clothes; I was sticking the posters at night in the streets. It was ridiculous! I had this understanding that you need other people. I went out of Finland and I saw how things were done outside, where people were surrounded by producers and sharing values with the workers. The artistic and the human values, and also the business values.

How many people are there in your company?

Now we have 6 people, including administration. It depends, the body is very flexible. If we go on tour in my solo evenings, it can be only four people, but we can go with 25 people on the road. It depends on the production

You dance and you also make choreographies for others. Apart from all that, you have to run your dance company. How do you take care of yourself?

It is not an easy concept. Running the company is why I have to have good people helping me both in administrative and artistic field. I have dancers with whom I have been working for 10 years, and some of these people come with me as assistants. So they know the “alphabet of the style”. When we go to work with other companies, we really transmit the “alphabet of our style”, something essential about being a dancer. So there is a deeper reason to meet than just getting the money. Dance is not just steps; it is a way to perceive life.

How long do you want to continue dancing professionally?

I read days ago an interview I did when I was 25, saying “I am not afraid of getting old…” So I think that there is this dilemma of the dancer, you feel you do not have to exhaust physically yourself to transmit things. You can do less but still transmit more things. People ask “when do you stop?” I still have not decided when I stop. I am quite critical with myself, so I suppose I will decide to stop when I am not able to transmit anything anymore. When the dialogue with the audience does not happen, I will stop before that.

You have been collaborating with very important people in dancing and art business, like with Nederlands Dans Theater or Batsheva Dance Company. Is there anybody you have as a dream to collaborate to?

I do not think like that. I think that who comes on the way, comes. I do not look like “I would like to work with…” I do not feel I have to work with a person I see in a magazine. I think my best meeting was with the Japanese professor, Kazuo Ohno.

You go to Germany and then back to Finland. What the spectator can expect from the show Petrushka/HUNT?

It is bigger than experience. It is a special evening; it has live musicians who have adapted Petrushka into accordions. It is an amazing adaptation. And the next piece HUNT is my solo. It is a big risk, it has been written for the big unit of men and women, and I dared to make it only for myself, plus Marita Liulia, the multimedia artist who collaborated in it. It is a wonderful integration of different expertises from different fields of art.

Is it not risky to express on stage masculinity and femininity just dancing solo?

I like risks. I could not integrate other person in that, because I do not feel it. I have a lot of things boiling from inside me to make this piece. All of us have masculinity and femininity. It was interesting and challenging to dare to do it with style and taste. I wanted somehow to talk about the media we are surrounded by. How we cope with the new technologies and this attractive new ways of communicating (and isolating) ourselves. We forget the physicality. There was a kind of frustration that I wanted to talk about it. If we are sacrificing our roots, the knowledge we have and we carry. So I had this battle inside me, and I wanted to bring this battle into the piece. This is why there is a strong connection with Marita Liulia and with interactive media tools she was working with.

Alienation seems to be very present in your work.

Yeah, maybe that is my eternal subject. The thing I want to dive into. I dance because I do not want to talk. Everything can be said in the art of dance.

Any anecdotes from previous shows?

It was very special in Mexico. The tension between the audience and us was special. It is hard to find the right words. In Finland we meet the audience after the performance. I like a lot to talk to audience, it takes out this borders that the artists are something so special. There are no secrets there, no artificial mysterious symbols. It is nice to have a dialogue. The mysticism evaporates.


A man with a team!

{mosimage} Mikki Kunttu – Lightning designer

How did you get involved in Tero Saarinen´s Company at the beginning?

We did a project together with Tero when I was a second year student of lighting and sound in Tampere.

Is there any special feature, difficulty or exception that you find in your job as lightning designer with Tero Saarinen different from other different jobs and projects you have made before?

The real difference is that we have worked together for so long and have shared similar visions of what we would like to create for the stage.

Light in Finland is very important and has radical changes all over the year. From total darkness on winter to the midnight sun on summer. Do you take inspiration from the real nature when applying to your job?

In my opinion you carry your memory with you no matter what you do. So in other words of course it has an effect on my work, but it is a very natural part of me. Nature is one of the most inspiring elements for my work.

We also had some issues ago a long interview with Kimmo Pohjonen. How was to collaborate with him?

Kimmo is really one of the most talented and most original artists I have ever had the pleasure of working with. It is very rewarding to work with someone whose own expression is developed so far and who is so visually sensitive too.

You were involved also in the lightning of the Eurovision show. Are you happy with the experience? Was it very hard and demanding to prepare everything for a worldwide audience?

Eurovision was really a dream job for me. It was one of the rare occasions where you can just set your imagination free without real restrains of budget or other issues. Very, very challenging and complicated structure in the whole production, but at the same time very rewarding. I got to make all the big decisions on who I want to work with and to choose all the equipment. The fact that we had a huge audience was not really anything I would have considered too much. I’m extremely happy with the result!


{mosimage} Marita Liulia – Multimedia artist 

Was it Tero the one who came to ask for collaboration in his company, or was it you?

My collaboration with Tero started with Tarot ( I took photographs of Tero and he became The Hanged Man and Two of Coins and Five of Cups. I liked him very much since the first meeting and collaboration continued in Hunt. During last years we have traveled a lot (100 performances in 25 countries) and it has been a great time for me.

Is it complicated to apply the scent of the new technologies to old classics, without damaging the main essence?

Naturally it is demanding and challenging. I always do a lot of research work for my art work and it helps to avoid clichés and quick solutions. My work as an artist is to bring the contemporary time to a classic. In Hunt the multimedia brings the media world to the classical theme of Rite of Spring. 

You published acclaimed works about femininity and masculinity. Is the dichotomy of the sexes a topic that you like investigating often and deeply? Do you have conclusions or personal ideas you want to share with our readers?

Instead of dichotomy I find femininity and masculinity in everyone. They are deeply rooted roles and models we use in different ways depending of the context. This is something to observe in everyday life. Tero has a sharp eye to the multiple faces of gender. This is one reason I like to work with him. I also share his compassion and aim to understand the complexity of human mind – and body.

Is the reaction of the people usually in favour or applying new technologies and visual solutions to dance, or do you receive critics from purist sectors?

It seems to be that appropriate use of technology brings new audience to classical art forms. I have long experience of both and I must say that I have been utterly satisfied by the critics, also from the purist section!

What people can expect from your work in the next shows of HUNT?

As always, we do our very best in every performance. The audience participate every performance with their presence. I hope the collaboration will be like it has been, touching and unforgettable. I expect this Stravinsky evening will not leave anyone cold!


Tero Saarinen Company: Stravinsky Evening
Petrushka | HUNT
August 2–19, 2007
Thu-Sat at 8pm, Sun at 3pm
Alexander Theatre, Bulevardi 23-27, Helsinki
Tickets 15-40e

Interviews Music

Sister Mary Breaks Her Silence

{mosimage}Pamela Moore is the voice of “Sister Mary” on Queensryche’s 1988 concept album Operation: Mindcrime and it’s sequel Operation: Mindcrime II from 2006. Pamela and the band have been bringing the Mindcrime story to life on stage with a stunning live performance that features everything from costume and set changes to sharing the stage with live actors.

Pamela can be seen on Queensyrche’s upcoming CD/DVD Mindcrime at the Moore which captures the band’s live performance of both albums last October at the Moore Theatre (no relation to Pamela!) in Seattle, WA USA. In addition to her work with Queensryche, Pamela also has a new album of her own entitled Stories From A Blue Room.

The latest Queensryche tour of the States was essentially a hard rock Broadway production. The crucial difference of course, is that you and the band performed each night in a different city. How are you able to do it every night without letting the stresses of being on the road affect your performance?

It was a challenge! The show consisted of three hours of music, acting, costume changes, and media! Some [venues] were not big enough to handle our full stage production so we had to improvise, which at times became a little tricky. By the end of the night, I was very happy to finally get on the bus, head to my bunk, and collapse! It really took a lot out of us all, physically. Life on the road can be a lot of fun but you need to do everything in moderation or you will be sorry. I try to eat right, get plenty of rest, drink lots of water, and take vitamins.  It takes a lot of discipline but in the end you are happier for it…physically and mentally!

It must also be very demanding emotionally, playing such a tragic character night after night. The story is certainly not a happy one although it does ultimately end on an uplifting note.

I suppose you can say it was a bit grueling having to portray yourself every night as a helpless prostitute turned drug addicted nun who kills herself!!! [giggling]. But at the end of the day, the brightest light for me was meeting the fans after our shows. The appreciation I received really boosted my morale and gave me the support and love I needed to keep things going.  Besides, I was really only "play acting" … thank GOD 'Sister Mary' isn't the REAL me!

I was actually at the shows in Seattle last year where you and the band recorded the new live CD/DVD (you guys did a great job!). Did you feel nervous knowing that the cameras were there or did you just treat it like another show?

It was a very different experience to perform the show in front of cameras and camera men and a very exciting experience for me as well. Just the feeling of knowing your performance is being captured live on stage elevates or heightens your awareness and concentration.  There was something magical about it for me…I want to experience it again someday!  I can't wait to see the finished DVD! It will be my first glimpse at what the show actually looked like but with those great close ups, etc.

You have a much more prominent role in Operation: Mindcrime II compared with the original album. Did you enjoy getting back in the studio with the guys after so many years?

I loved going back into the studio again with Queensryche. I guess you could say they have become my second family. I love and respect them so much and I feel the respect back from them as well.

It’s funny how life can take you in unexpected directions sometimes.  Your whole connection with the band began because they heard you singing on a local radio commercial and thought that your voice would be perfect for the character of Mary in their new concept album that they were recording.

Yes, I am constantly reminded of the old saying "I was in the right place at the right time". It has afforded me [my career] wonderful exposure and opportunities that I am very grateful for.

Your new album Stories From A Blue Room is a bit of a departure from the music you’ve done with Queensryche. It still has that hard rock/metal element but there’s also this cool pop & electronica vibe. What’s the reaction to the album been like?

Reaction has been VERY positive. In fact, two songs I released off of Stories From A Blue Room did very well on the Australian charts! The record also received an award for the best regional record for 2006 by Northwest Beat Magazine and the record was voted #4 out of the top 10 independent releases in the Chicago-land area!

You wrote the album with guitarist Benjamin Anderson. Have you worked together before?

Ben used to be in an industrial rock band called Rorschach Test and I worked with him for a bit at a popular Seattle night club called The Fenix Underground. At the time, neither Ben or I had been doing any music projects and I approached Ben about the idea of writing together. He was up for it and the result is Stories From A Blue Room.

Your cousin Terri Nunn (lead singer of the 80’s band Berlin) makes a guest appearance on the song “Satisfied” on your new album.

Yes, what a privilege that was too. We had always wanted to sing together and this opportunity finally opened up for us. I'm very proud of her and very honoured she wanted to sing with me on the record. The song Satisfied is one of my favourites actually.

Any plans on doing any touring this year to support Stories From A Blue Room?

Yes! In fact, after my tour with Queensryche is over in Japan, we are planning shows for this summer and fall.

Since this magazine is for readers living in Finland, I was just wondering if you got the chance to visit the country during your travels with Queensryche on any of their recent tours.

Yes we did! I believe we played Helsinki, Finland and I remember a very responsive and appreciative crowd. The venue was called "Kulttuuritalo" (I think?). I also remember how different it was to experience the sun shining ALL DAY AND NIGHT!

What are your plans for the next year or so?

I will begin writing material for my next record after my tour in Japan with Queensryche has concluded. I've also been chosen to be the voice of a cartoon character which is at the moment “in-development” here in the States.  It's always been my dream to be the voice of a cartoon, so I’m really thinking positive about this one…should be a lot of fun!
Pamela’s CD Stories From A Blue Room is available online at: