Interview with The Jade

The Jade is probably one of the most exciting new rock Finnish bands that you can listen to nowadays! Building up their reputation in the past years with amazing songs and hard work, they finally have been able to please the big community of fans they gather all over the world with their first studio album: Seconds Away from Salvation. All the members of the band kindly participated in this interview where they show that, apart from great musicians, they are friendly easy going guys!

Thanks a lot for your attention guys! You have finally an album in the streets, Seconds Away from Salvation. For a listener who would approach your band for first time, how would you define your style?

Wille: If you want great melodies and lyrics with a sincere depth of consciousness of the mind, and your taste of music is somewhat rock-oriented; this album is the way to go. We are not like the other bands you have been listening before. The Jade is absolutely a unique band, but people can also hear familiar aspects in our music. Therefore, your style could also be mainstream. Spend an evening with us in the pubs and you’ll know what I’m talking about when I say we have four individuals in The Jade.

Pekko: Thank you! I’d say it is a heart full of melodic rock’n’roll, a fistful of punk, another fistful of metal with dashes of pop. Words about life, death, hope, desperation, faith, anger, solitude, love and mental health.

Jann: Yes, well the guys pretty much nailed it down so there’s not much to add. I think it’s timeless rock’n’roll with real life lyrics. Great tunes and we flirt with the darker side.

Do you have any favorite track in the album?

Wille: I love them all.

Pekko: Same here.

Sirpa: Me too. If I have to pick one, it’s Solitary Soul.

Jann: That seem to change about everyday but right now I’m loving Wake Up, Roses Are Burning, Yesterday’s Rain and Solitary Soul. Listen to the Solitary Soul when we’re going to the solo part, it’s just pure art. And yes, Beautiful Things is my favorite. At the moment as well. There’s a little hidden message in that song and it’s not in the lyrics. I’d like to meet a person who picks it up. I love things like that.

Let’s jump back in the past. Can you explain a bit how did you meet all of you to form the band?

Wille: Jann and Pekko had an ad on the internet where they were looking for a lead singer and then I replied to it. That usually never happens, but I noticed the first time we met that the guys were good song writers. We didn’t have a drummer in the first few months, but since we all knew Sirpa and she was eager to join; she was a clear choice to us.

Pekko: At the first time we played some cover songs with Wille and we noticed right away that he has got a very good clear, boyish and sharp voice and there were good vibes around. Usually when some one new comes around for jamming for the first time the situation might be slightly uncomfortable but that time it wasn’t.

Jann: Yes, I remember when Wille came and he sang Alice Coopers’ I’m 18 and it was just unbelievable. He also played acoustic guitar which was extra. I thought this guy has the voice, the range and he’s musical, so gotta check out what’s gonna happen with him. I have no regrets. There was some kinda Mick Jagger meets Steven Tyler thing going on with his vocals.

If I am not mistaken, some of you were living previously abroad in England. What made you come back to Finland? It seems that Finns sometimes have a love-hate relation with their country, they complain about it a lot, but when they go abroad, they end up coming back to their roots. Did that apply for you?

Pekko: Yes, it was same thing for me. I was fed up living in such a small town as Joensuu is, as I was quite young. During those years spent in London I grew up and realized where I belong. Moving to Helsinki was not an easy choice but that time it was the only option. I’m very glad for it now. For me living in London was very tough and I don’t miss that part of my life at all. I have some good and weird memories of that period, though.

Sirpa: I totally agree with that. I remember complaining a lot about everything of Finland before I moved from here. It did not take long time to realize that life was not actually that different somewhere else. You still do same routines. Anyways I’m glad I left couse it opened my eyes and I learnt a lot over there. Decision to move back to Finland was easy. I guess the reason to move back was that there simply was not anything interesting for me anymore.

Jann: I was born in Helsinki but parents dragged me to Joensuu when I was kid. The town really sucked. I was getting beaten up every weekend because of my looks, so I thought yeah, I’m gonna get the fuck outta here. It wasn’t to escape, if I wanted that I would changed the way I dressed. But a boring place filled with rednecks didn’t sound as good as London. I have no regrets. Anyhow, moving back from London was a clear decision. After one of my best local friends passed away something was clearly missing. It was kinda end of an era, maybe you have those in life. I dunno, I just try to follow what my heart, which was the feeling at the time. Still, I do have some good memories as well. I met great people and got to play in some interesting venues and got to know and meet some musicians that I dig.

The Jade Live

I see that some of the songs that appeared in your EP were included in the CD. Did the EP help you a lot to get a record deal?

Wille: The first one did not, but the second one called Slow Motions On The Fast Lanes helped us to get a record deal. That EP was the cd that inspired the label North & South to sign us. The record chief Kari Kallonen came to see our show in Tampere and was enough impressed to sign us. Before that gig he had heard Slow Motions, which we had sent to him.

Pekko: Yes, Kallonen liked the songs on the Slow Motions On The Fast Lanes and signed us after the gig. He had not even seen our sites before. So when we together chose the songs for the Seconds Away From Salvation we all thought it would be very natural to make updated versions of the certain songs in the very good studio with great producers.

Jann: Yes, the songs are your babies and you want the best for them. So we were lucky to have a chance to go to the Seawolf Studios. It’s a great place and the guys over there are great as well, very professional. Well, they’re also members of Havana Black so it was a pleasure to work with them really. Major Leiden Team rocks!

As well, for a band that some years ago did not have a CD yet in the streets, you managed to build up a big community of followers through Internet. Do you think that it would have been more difficult to spread the voice without the new technologies?

Wille: Of course. In these days, internet is a very big part of the band promotion strategy. It’s the only media that can reach such a huge amount of people globally compared to other ways such as TV or radio. Almost every other advertising choice cost more.

Jann: And it’s a different kind of channel. Let’s say that the people aren’t that manipulated via internet so if you catch someone’s attention over there, I think it’s a good sign. You know, like people have 8 zillion bands there while on the radio or tv you’ll see or hear something between 20 and 100. Personally I have found some great acts via net, and I’m not only talking about porn, it’s fascinating.

Wille: Patience and consistent work for your dreams is the key!

Are you active users of Internet and do you have time to be in contact with the followers of the band personally?

Wille: We try as much as possible to answer emails that we get, but sometimes we just have to prioritize, because we always have so much to do.

Pekko: I like to be in touch with our friends who like the music we play. We definitely do our best to talk to the people. It’s really precious that there are still active friends who have been around since the first ep, Heatwave, was released.

Jann: We do our best, quite a lot on official sites. Then again on my own site I’m sometimes a bit lazy, well not lazy, but I’m a cancer in a horoscope and sometimes cancers just wonder, I wonder. Well, the time is limited.

What do you do when not playing music? Do you have other daily jobs, or hobbies?

Wille: I think everybody does also something else to survive or to get an inspiration from, whether it’s movies or walking in the park or drinking beer in pubs. Still, music is the soundtrack of my life. All my dear memories hold the thought of great songs that I have listened with passion.

Pekko: Music and everything around music takes most of the time but that is just a good thing. The day job helps to pay the bills. Not always, though…

Sirpa: Well I don’t have any hobbies what I do regularly. Watching movies is best way to relax. And yes, day job is something you do to pay the expenses.

Jann: I don’t have a job, I’m on a dole. I’m interested about different things. I have some hobbies like decathlon. Sometimes I read books, poetry, watch documentaries and go to see the gigs at times. I also keep checking out different bands via net. Write poems at times, watch Capri, I wonder what’s gonna happen to Totó, you know the usual…

The Jade Drums

For you, your dream of climbing higher in the musical scene is getting closer. What advice could you give to all those new bands that try to breakthrough?

Wille: There are no quick routes to the top. Patience and consistent work for your dreams is the key.

Pekko: Spend long hours rehearsing. Especially during the first years. Don’t get too wasted while rehearsing. Or on the stage.

Sirpa: Enjoy what you are doing and don’t give up.

Jann: Well, I don’t feel that I’m a right kind of person to give advice as everyone have their own routes to wherever they’re goin’ but something like: don’t play it safe, play it from the heart, play like you mean it and get along. Get deals checked and join your local musicians union –they’re on your side. Main thing, enjoy the music itself.

Is it especially difficult for a new band to catch attention in Finland (being a country where seems that every 1 of 3 guys plays in a band), or otherwise it is easier due to an industry well settled?

Wille: It ain’t easy to get the attention if you don’t have the right connections with the right people. Not all of my friends play in a band. Not even 1 out of 3. There are many bands out here. However, I believe we have room for everybody.

Pekko: Not easy at all. Finland still is “The Bandland”. Yet we do work hard to spread the word around so that’s why I believe it is possible. But if you sit around and wait something to happen it’s very likely that nothing will happen.

Jann: I think it changes. Some get attention fairly soon and some later. Also some bands just vanish and some keep on rocking. So it kind of depends, you know. But yes, if you sit at home no-one’s goin’ to find you. Who knows? We’ve been lucky enough to gain interest from abroad and that’s great.

What are your future plans for the end of the year and for 2010?

Wille: We will probably make another video and single. Also doing gigs and we will let you know as soon as we know more about the future. There is one cool thing coming for us in the near future. Can’t talk about it yet, though.

Pekko: We are certainly hoping to find a good booking agent. That is the priority.

Jann: And finding a capable manager is what we’re looking for as well. The one who really does his or hers job. Not one of these who just go: This and that will happen and then they’ll do fuck all. I’ve seen those all my life and it really makes me puke. To get a great team behind us would be cool. But hey the New Year starts like it should. On the 1st of January we’ll play at Gloria here in Helsinki. There’s a great event with quite a many interesting bands so it’s a nice start. Let’s see what the life brings. Keep on doin’ not planning that’s the thing. In the end, heaven knows where it leads.

Anything you want to add for the readers?

Wille: The album Seconds Away From Salvation is out now in almost ten European countries. I’m sure you will love it as much as we do. It’s from the heart and you can order it also to your country, if you don’t happen to live in Europe.

Pekko: From the heart and soul. Seconds Away From Salvation.

Jann: R’nrolls!!

The Jade Song

Q&A with The Jade

Favorite concert you have watched recently as spectators?

Wille: Dingo at Pressa was the latest.

Pekko: Matthau Mikojan in June at Liberte. I like what they are doing. I don’t go to see the gigs very often.

Sirpa: Hmm… That’s quite a long time I have been in concert. Aerosmith few years back in Helsinki was absolutely amazing.

Jann: Hanoi Rocks at Tavastia, their farewell shows in Helsinki. They played there maybe 9 days in a row. I saw the Friday show, it was just awesome. My all time favorite band.

Best band to share stage or tour with?

Wille: U2.

Pekko: Foo Fighters, My Chemical Romance, 69 Eyes and Matthau Mikojan.

Sirpa: My Chemical Romance, Linkin Park and Nightwish.

Jann: Hard to say as there are at least 100 that would be interesting. I have a m-day: Michael Monroe, Manic Street Preachers, Motley Crue and Matthau. Ok, I think Uniklubi and Apocalyptica would be cool too. And Negative. Then again I’m always happy to share a stage with most bands.

Best venue to play in Finland? And abroad?

Wille: Blue Shell in Cologne Germany was cool. In Finland, I liked Gloria in Helsinki.

Pekko: Fourooms in Leipzig. The stage is not big but the atmosphere is something very special. In Finland, I’d say On The Rocks.

Sirpa: In Finland Semifinal and abroad Wild and Heart in Berlin.

Jann: Well I usually feel comfortable to play anywhere as I love playing live. If I have to name some let’s say that Logo in Germany is great. The Garage downstairs and Dingwalls in London were good. And over here I really dig Klubi, Tampere.

Place or country you would love to visit and play there, but still did not have the chance?

Wille: Every damn country on the face of the planet is fine with me as long as there are eager fans to see us. My dream is to tour in Asia and South and North America in the future.

Pekko: Same here. Especially in Mexico and Japan.

Sirpa: Anywhere would do!

Jann: Many places actually. I’m interested to see and experience new places. Tokyo, and Japan in general for example. Far East and the States for sure. Also we haven’t been to Russia and Eastern Europe and I’d love to tour there. But of course it would be just great to tour all around the world.

What community of fans is the most active around the world?

Wille: I believe South America has the most passionate fans even though I have never visited the continent before. It’s in their culture to express emotions in a very open manner.

Pekko: Friends from Germany, Japan and Mexico, I think.

Jann: I dunno. Hmm… Not sure, I’ve been getting quite a lot of mails from the States, Japan and Germany lately. Maybe those…

Best moment on stage?

Wille: On stage, it’s when people are singing along the words to our songs and when you see the happy faces in the audience. It´s also fun to take pictures with fans and sign autographs.

Pekko: Every moment on stage is special. The best feeling is when after the gig there are no clear memories. It means that there has been state of trance again. And to get into that state you only need the music.

Sirpa: Beginning of the gig when there is that certain excitement going on.

Jann: It’s a great feeling when the adrenaline rush hits you like a rocket. For some reason on stage I feel that I’m finally home.

What would be the first sentence in Finnish you would teach to a foreigner?

Wille: Suomi on surullisten laulujen maa. (Finland is the country of sad songs)

Pekko: For this one I have to quote one of my favoutrite Finnish songwriters, Ismo Alanko. The sentence goes "Syksyisen metsän luurangot ovat nöyrinä hiljaa" (Skeletons of autumn forest are humbly silent). I’m not sure if it’s any useful but beautiful line of Finnish language it is for sure.

Sirpa: Askel kerrallaan portaita kiivetään. (Step by step climbing the stairs)

Jann: Elämä on laiffii. (Life is life by Matti Nykänen)

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