Concerts Music

Iron Maiden at Helsinki Olympic Stadium 2013

In what will be remembered by probably all Finnish Maiden fans as a great evening of metal, Iron Maiden visited the capital of Finland again to offer a show full of power. In around 2 hours, they played a not very long but impressive setlist collecting most of their greatest hits for delight of their many followers.


But the evening started several hours before that with the opportunity to see 3 great opening bands, something unusual nowadays unless you go to a summer festival. The Swedish Ghost, with that charismatic singer dressed like a pope from hell and a band that seem to be dressed as big bugs, started to set the mood of the audience at a stadium that was filling step by step until reaching around 28.000 spectators when Maiden stepped on stage. I enjoyed Ghost, but certainly maybe 18:00 in the evening with the sun shining is not the most suitable environment for them playing live. All in all, a pleasant band that mixes it up great music with a good theatrical performance onstage.

After them, Swedish Sabaton and local Amorphis took the stage. Sabaton has a strong reputation in Finland and certainly people seem to enjoy their lyrics and warrior attitude on stage. With Amorphis performance, honestly I cannot comment much because as most of the audience, I was dedicated to take advantage to have the final drinks in the drinking area before Maiden’s show would begging. A little slap to the organization in the question related to portable toilets. People had to wait half an hour to be able to use them. When almost 30.000 are gathered in a stadium, these things should be a bit better planned, because obviously most of them are going to be concentrated on the drinking area…

Bruce Dickinson

A few minutes after 21:00 the British legendary metal band Iron Maiden irrupted on the stage starting with Moonchild, and what followed was a total battery of metal classics, with the audience getting ecstatic for some moments and losing the voice screaming the lyrics of arch-famous hits such as Afraid to Shoot Strangers, The Number of the Beast or Run to the Hills. Vocalist Bruce Dickinson as charismatic and with such a great voice as always dominating the stage from the top and running around, but it is true that the age starts not to have mercy on him, the band looks old, the physical aspect has deteriorated in the last years, and obviously they cannot hide they are already in their mid fifties. In any case, this did not affect at all the professionalism shown on stage. Fans got exactly what they expected, with Bruce changing outfits dressed as a British soldier or as a strange gothic vampirish character… Eddie visiting the stage as a dead pirate… Fireworks, the decoration at the back of stage changing and showing different album art covers for every song… And when the encore starts with such a powerful song as Aces High, you cannot really get it much better than that in any metal concert around the world! Solid performance once again of Maiden, one of the most beloved metal fans in Finland. And they show why, always pleasing the fans.

Iron Maiden

Setlist. Iron Maiden. 20/07/2013 Helsinki Olympic Stadium

Can I Play with Madness
The Prisoner
2 Minutes to Midnight
Afraid to Shoot Strangers
The Trooper
The Number of the Beast
Phantom of the Opera
Run to the Hills
Wasted Years
Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
The Clairvoyant
Fear of the Dark
Iron Maiden
Churchill’s Speech
Aces High
The Evil That Men Do
Running Free

Articles Misc

Top 5 Gambling Locations

Gambling holidays are incredibly popular, with people traveling far and wide to splash some cash and feel the thrill and adrenaline that comes with the roulette wheel. While the option to stay at home and use sites like Gaming Club is there, it doesn’t have the same feel as being there in person.

Rather than just list all the American gambling locations, the list is as international as possible, to offer a whole range of gambling hotspots, some might even surprise you!

5. Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

It’s impossible to think about a gambling holiday without considering Las Vegas; it’s the most famous gambling location in the world. If you’ve never been it’s worth going, with iconic casino’s, miniature world landmarks, 24 hour gambling action, Elvis Presley impersonators, and all the shows you could ever want to see – it really is a testament to human entertainment. It’s not number one on the list because that’s too obvious, I wanted to show what the rest of the world has to offer, rather than just America.

Las Vegas

4. Aruba, Caribbean

While you might be looking for a gambling holiday, you’ll still want other things to do between trips to the casino, and what better way to spend a day than lounging in the Caribbean sun, on one of the finest beaches in the world, with a rum based cocktail in hand? After a day of relaxing you’ll enjoy the adrenalin rush of the casino even more. With some spectacular casinos like Allegro Aruba Beach and Crystal Casino, you’ll never spend long looking for somewhere to spend the night and earn some chips.

3.Sun City, South Africa

South Africa is becoming more and more popular, and while it might not be an obvious choice for a gambling vacation, casinos are quickly spreading throughout South Africa, with Sun City being the number one place for gambling. Luxury hotels and fine restaurants back up the casinos of Sun City, they even have shows that match up to what Vegas has to offer! In some respects Sun City top Vegas, since it is placed next to Pilanesberg Game Reserve, so during the day you can go on safari and see the spectacular wild life and scenery of Africa!

2. Macau Region, China

Macau is separate from Mainland China and has an economy heavily dependent on tourism and because of that casinos became big business in Macau and it is quickly becoming the new hotspot for gambling in the world. Casino owners from Las Vegas have even started opening casinos here, which says a lot about the future of Macau. The largest casino in the world, The Venetian Macau, is in Macau, one of the casinos opened by owners from Las Vegas. So this seems like the new gambling vacation destination!

1. Monte Carlo, Monaco

While Las Vegas has the bright lights, Monte Carlo has the elegance. One of the most beautiful places in the world, its likely that while at a casino here you’ll end up competing against celebrities, royalty, and billionaires. It’s certainly no cheap holiday that’s for sure, but after visiting all the other destinations you should have enough winnings to go and rub shoulders with the elite.

Concerts Features Music

10 things that rocked (and 10 things that could rock harder) at Rock the Beach festival

Rock the Beach

A new strong festival is added to the great array of summer events to enjoy in Finland: Rock the Beach!

After the good experience with Rihanna playing at Helsinki´s “Hietsu” beach, Scott Lavender, the promoter of the event, admitted to FREE! Magazine that actually this year the idea had evolved based on the choice by Rammstein, the German band loving the location to play open air, and they hope that the festival can continue in following years.

We were there to enjoy it to the max, and these are the things we liked the most and also a few things that could make this even more awesome in future editions!

Rock the Beach

1. It rocked… the resting area with hammocks close to the food area. Great to relax and eat something in the middle of the shows.

1. It could have rocked harder if… there would not be damn seagulls everywhere trying to rob of your food.

Rock the Beach

2. It rocked… to have Queens of the Stone Age in Helsinki!

2. It could have rocked harder if… they would have played more than just 1 hour.

Rock the Beach

3. It rocked… the whole Rammstein show! The Germans showed once more that they are one of the most amazing bands to see live, with a show full of power, pyrotecnica and good music!

3. It could have rocked harder if… there would not be so strong daylight to appreciate to the fullest all the fireworks and pyrotecnica around their show. Also the stage was a bit too high and far from the audience.

Rock the Beach

4. It rocked… the dirty jokes from Canadian Danko Jones. Great music and great connection with the audience!

4. It could have rocked harder if… Jared Leto would not be such an asshole. Honestly, maybe the teenagers wet their pants with the singer of 30 Seconds to Mars, but as an artist… the concert was weak, after a few songs we felt like going for a few beers instead of wasting our time there.

Rock the Beach

5. It rocked… that the beer was not especially expensive, 6.5e per can, and that you did not have to worry to get 1e back for giving the can back.

5. It could have rocked harder if… the drinking areas would have a direct view to the main stages… or they would allow to pass your own drinks, as it happens in Pori Jazz… but well, we know that this is asking too much in Finland…

Rock the Beach

6. It rocked… the location! Hietsu beach is just a few hundred metres away from the heart of Helsinki and the sunsets there on summer while listening to your favorite bands are something to be seen!

6. It could have rocked harder if… the concerts would not ended so early, at 23:15, and people would have stayed later. For most of people, the event was a way of kicking out the night and then continuing in some bar. Being also organized on wednesday, friday and saturday due to Greenday being able to perform only on wednesday, it did not have the most friendly schedule for working people…

Rock the Beach

7. It rocked… Rival Sons, a band I had never heard before and surprised me in a gladly way.

7. It could have rocked harder if… the organization could bring some big headliner who does not play usually in Finland. For example, Aerosmith…

Rock the Beach

8. It rocked… Greenday inviting to a teenage girl to the stage and giving her an electric guitar as a gift!

8. It could have rocked harder if… I would have been the lucky one! Unfortunately, I never learnt how to play guitar yet :)

Rock the Beach

9. It rocked… the great number of people with beautiful tattoos over their skins inside the festival!

9. It could have rocked harder if… they would have a tattoo parlour inside the festival for those who want to remember this event forever with a new tattoo.

Rock the Beach

10. It rocked… to cover the festival as a journalist! Why to deny it, to be accredited for probably the festiva of the year in Finland rocks big time!

10. It could have rocked harder if… Rammstein would have given interviews. Unfortunately they came here just for playing more than for talking. But as far as they keep on giving those amazing live shows, they can keep that way.

Rock the Beach

Features Interviews Music

Interview with Gary Hector from Jointpop. Rock from Trinidad and Tobago!!!

An editor who writes about music receives dozens and dozens of albums every month to review. There is often no time to listen to all of them, nevertheless to say that many end up not being impressive. However, from the start I got totally hooked when I first listened to The Pot Hounds, a great rounded album full of good rock, and my curiosity grew even bigger discovering that the band behind was from exotic Trinidad & Tobago. So FREE! Magazine contacted Gary Hector so he could tell us more about his band, concerts, projects, hobbies and how rock is experienced in his home country.

Hello Gary and thanks a lot to attend our questions! So Jointpop has been around already for many years since 1996. Can you explain a bit how the project started and also how you personally gave your first steps into the music industry?

I had just parted ways with my previous band called Oddfellows Local, and was just sitting around at home for some months. Then I started writing songs again, so I called up a few guys from the local scene and put together jointpop in 1996. We actually recorded 5 songs even before we played a gig in Trinidad and Tobago.


Like I suppose that many of our readers, I must admit my knowledge of the music scene in Trinidad & Tobago is almost non existent. How is the music scene and specifically the rock scene there? Is it easy to find venues to play around?

Well the live music scene here is based on the Calypso and Soca music, which works along side the annual Carnival festival.The rock scene is really deep into the underground. There is a decent following for the various rock bands but the people here seem to love Tribute bands or bands like Air Supply, Peter Cetera and The Outfield. Plus there is also a vibrant Metal scene. We just need to “Roll” more than we “Rock”, but so its goes. jointpop just pay no attention to it all and just do what we do.

Are you currently living in Trinidad or somewhere else? I see that you have been touring quite a lot in UK and USA during the last years.

Yes… We all live in Trinidad and Tobago. Born and bred. We tour when we can, to promote a new album when we release them. We played gigs in USA and did 3 tours to the UK. The next tour will be to Canada in Sept 2013.

I notice in your music some influence from classic British rock bands like Rolling Stones, The Beatles… Were those bands the ones you like listening the most as music fan? What bands do you like listening to nowadays?

Classic British Invasion rock n roll bands are my main thing yea…Stones,Beatles, Kinks and also UK Punk rock like Pistols,The Clash and all that. I am very much a Dylan disciple.
Some of the stuff of recent times would be anything from Jack White .

What other hobbies do you like practising when you are not playing or working on your music?

I’m a very big sports fan and player,so football, cricket, golf. I’m also a qualified football coach. A family and friends man.


Any favorite track in your latest album? And why that particular interest in dogs/hounds? At least 2 songs have dog in their titles plus the title of the album itself

Here in Trinidad and Tobago, A “Pot Hound” is a stray, street dog, and there are lots of them. No owners,no love, and they just roam the streets, and eat from garbage cans and live off the scraps. People would throw stones at them, and sometimes just run them over and leave them to rot. So this album is jointpop being “ Pot Hounds”, which we are, in relation to the local music scene. So its like semi fictional band a band called “The Pot Hounds” with an album called ‘jointpop”. Mini confusion situation really.

Plus I own 5 dogs..and yes, they are all Pot Hounds. I really like all the songs on the album, but will mention Sweet Nothings,Man Dog Millionaire,Dead Frog Perfume,Sexy Garbage Can and Treat me like The Dog I am.

It looks like you are a band that loves being on the road travelling. Do you have any particular special anecdote to share of these years touring around the world?

I just really wish we can do it more, as we are really good close friends also. So we have lots of fun and just love being on stage together and playing our songs for people from various parts of this world.

What are your future plans for the rest of 2013?

A 2 week tour in September to some cities in Canada, with gigs at The Pop Montreal Festival and also in Toronto,Ottawa and Quebec City, and would try to get back to the UK in November.

Anything you want to add for the readers?

Thanks for interview and to the people reading it and checking out jointpop and our country Trinidad and Tobago. Visit us someday, and follow us on the various social networks… cheers..takk!

For more info, check out:

Concerts Features Interviews Music

Interview with Johannes, singer of Swedish metal band Avatar

Text and Photos: Antonio Diaz

What does a Spaniard do at the backstage of Nosturi in Helsinki surrounded by Swedish metal heads while Finland plays against Sweden in the ice hockey world championship? Talking relaxed to Johannes, singer of the Swedish band Avatar. There will be time later to see how Finland loses (damn, not again!!!) against its nemesis Sweden, but meanwhile we are sitting on the sofa with a friendly easy going Johannes offering a cold beer to fight the humid warm that wraps the Finnish capital and chatting with FREE! Magazine about their trips, music, lyrics and expectations for the concert that will take place a few hours later in the same venue. Johannes is pretty familiar with Helsinki, since actually he dates an Italian lady who lives there and visits often.

Yes, I have been in Helsinki now countless times. I visit at least once a month, so I am starting to find my way around. I know the bars, well the bars because I always end up in the same one, in Base Bar. It has the feeling of a beer hall that I really love.

So are you familiar of the traditional “ferry culture”, those famous boat trips between Finland and Sweden where all kind of crazy things happen?

Oh, I fly usually, but yeah I know them. We have been on tour on those ferries. Beautiful experience! Hehehe. It is something special, like for example sharing a stage singing karaoke with Finnish truckers!


Before coming here, you were touring in USA. How was the American experience?

It was really really cool! The thing is that although we are close to start recording the next album, we are still touring with Black Waltz album and it was the first one that got released in USA, so we did not really expect much but we did really well over there, having the opportunity to do our first real tour there. We were blown away and we had the opportunity to blow people away too.

In Europe, especially in North Europe where the drinks at the bars and venues are so expensive, people go directly to see the headliners, but maybe in USA people are more open to arrive earlier and see the opening bands too, right? It must feel much better to play for packed venues…

Exactly! We play for full venues and that was really special. After that, I try to make a point to arrive earlier to the shows I want to see as spectator! Hehehe. Even the coverage with the radio stations is so different what they have there going on radio wise. I guess here the biggest coverage for metal music is printed media and webzines and there is radio and then webzines. We get played… not at all at the radio stations in Europe. But in USA, being a big country with a common language, they can reach all the few metal heads here and here and there and there, so in the end adds a lot of people. I think that is the reason… and maybe that they do not like reading so much… hehehe.

“Sharing my energy onstage with the audience is something bigger than punching someone!”

Actually I met some months ago for another interview in this same venue with the guitarist another band you toured in USA, Cristiano of Lacuna Coil, and he commented me how the economical crisis around the world makes more and more difficult for them to promote their music and keep afloat. Have you got a similar feeling of the crisis affecting your band?

The thing is that we have been around for 10 years, releasing albums for 7, but still when this crisis started in 2008, 2 years after our first album came out, and at that time Napster was “old”, you know. So we are a bit part of a different generation when we do not know any other way than the current situation here now. I guess is different for older people when they were playing already in the 90s and then they saw this transition, like “what happened to the world?”, but for us this world we are operating right now is pretty much the same one that has always been.

Have the social networks been a good tool to reach your audiences?

Definitely! And we have been learning about that. Actually I am more personally an “anti social networks” person. I was not so dragged into it, to begin with, but then you realize that the people are there and there is where they are looking for us, they are looking for us in Facebook and places like that. So it is pretty cool we can do our little competitions about answering questions and have this direct contact. So that is very cool, as far as you avoid all the shit around it.


Your latest released album, Black Waltz, took a bit longer to be released than the previous ones. Any special reason for it?

Uhm, I guess so… Let´s count… The first album must be January 2006 and then one and a half year… and then 2 years. So yeah. We took a bit of time to focus on other things we wanted to take care of before releasing the album, the videos, the photos… Due to preparations, it needed a bit of delay. We tried to figure out how to get deals to release it everywhere and that takes time. And you cannot do that before the album is finished, because you want to send the record company the pictures, the videos, the songs, all the cool material. That made it take a little bit longer, but I have no regrets about it. That for example led to the US release that we talked about before, so it was good for us.

So you mentioned before that you are already working in the next album?

Yes, we have been working on it for a while and again, it is a bit too early for me to be too specific about it, but I think we got really cool stuff and now is about making all fit in the same box. I have hopes to have it released it this year, but expectations are always hard. Whatever we do, we want to do it 200%, so we still need some decisions to be made along the way. As I said, too early to be more specific, but for sure I can say that as soon as we are back at home, we will be working our asses off on it!

I have noticed that Avatar also loves paying special attention to the visual aspect and quality of the videos. For example I think it was actually very challenging to sing the lyrics backwards in “Torn Apart”, right?

Oh, yeah yeah! I would have needed two more months of practice, I guess! I was also looking for messages from Satan there, but sorry, nothing came out. Only I think I say something in a weird kind of German that is like “the trolls will stop right here”, but yeah, apart from that, no hidden messages. I have to disappoint you. But yeah, it was very tricky and funny to do! The theme was a bit of “Fight Club”, angry young men beating each other up out of pure frustration, and then came this fact that we are a bit of “circus” band in many ways and pro wrestling is totally like a circus thing to me, the extravagant showmanship fits perfectly. It was a fun way to portray this theme about frustration.


How is it for you guys when you are on tour? Do you also get those moments of frustration when you need some aggressive activity to relieve the feelings, or just booze kills the pain?

Well, beer keeps me happy, and well, maybe sounds like old cliché, but makes sense when you get onstage and you get the chance to scream and do something positive with that energy you have on you, especially when you get to share it with the audience, so you make a common experience out of it. That is something bigger than punching someone! It takes you and the audience to a better level.

Other theme that gets repeated in your music is the decadence. It seems that people find appealing the change between 2 eras, lights and shadows…

Yeah, it is a rich background to paint. It brings you automatically to some parts of your life where your actions have been maybe more decadent than other parts of your life, and that is all part of it. The transition between eras… that is when something is happening. I guess is a bit of a journey, every human being has some kind of experience of going up and down, this journey up and down, and I think those times are the most interesting to describe. And in that sense is because we like the circus theme. It has some mystery to it, the mystery of the circus.


I heard you feel very welcome in the previous American tour we just talked about by the other bands. In general in your musical career, what is your favorite band to tour with?

I have never had any real bad experience with other bands, the only dramatic one was our first tour because we were kids and we did not know how to behave, what to do or what not to do. So we gave Impaled Nazarene a hard time, I think, because we were kids that someone should have slapped us! And that was our fault, not theirs. Other than that, when you get to know how to work and be together, a circus company travelling, it is always good. We got the chance for example with a band we admire a lot, Halloween, so we could see them live 8 nights in a row and I got the chance to sit with Michael Weikath and ask him everything. That was super cool and they were super friendly. With other bands like In Flames is easy because we share a common background coming from the same city, we were swimming in the same swimming hall and walking the same streets. Now it is very cool to be with Engel because we know each other for a bunch of years, they were our rehearsing neighbors, and although before we played sometimes in the same shows, this is the first time we can do something together “for real”, putting our names in the same poster.

So what will be the next projects for the summer, I suppose pretty much dedicated to the incoming new album…?

Yes, we have 1 more show in August, but this summer will be pretty much devoted to writing and recording and creating a new great chapter for Avatar!

Cover story Interviews Misc

Interview with Minna Kemell-Kutvonen, Creative Director of Marimekko

Text by Eva Blanco

Marimekko is all about colour. That is the first thing you realize when you step into the headquarters of the brand located in Herttoniemi (East Helsinki). Suddenly your eyes start travelling from one canvas to another – their patterns being all around the building as part of the interior decoration-, and you get the growing conviction that you have just entered into some kind of wonderland, where people are stylish, smile at you for no reason, and, most probably, are also able to levitate and make themselves transparent to avoid being disturbed. Anything is possible when you are surrounded by all those fabrics printed with their daring designs. But, be careful before continuing to read! It has been proved recently that colour, when consumed in large quantities, may have dangerous consequences on your brain – it can enhance your creativity or put you in a summery mood! We have already warned you, from now on, it ́s your own responsibility!

Translated into English, Marimekko means “Mari’s dress”. Mari, Mery, María… For Armi Ratia, who founded the brand in 1951, this ubiquitous name contained two of the most fascinating characteristics, simplicity and functionality. All of us – you too, unless your mother was told you were to be a boy- could have been Mari. That is why it seems so easy to identify ourselves with the name, maybe as easy as Armi wanted it to be for all of her fellow citizens to be able to also identify with her textile designs. A personal wish that, more than sixty years later in the history of the brand, has not only been widely accomplished but indeed seems modest compared to the growing international dimension of the house.


In 2011, the year of its half-century anniversary, Marimekko opened its own flagship store on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Broadway in New York, together with six more commercial spaces in the United States – especially located on the West Coast. Plus, due to the strong sales growth, the Asia-Pacific region became the brand’s second-biggest market, following the lead of Finland, which represented up to 64% net sales in the same period. Last year the company entered the Chinese market via Hong-Kong, thus securing a concrete business strategy that has been defined by its President and CEO, Mika Ihamuotila, in these words: “Dynamic expansion requires patience from the company and its shareholders, but I am convinced that this will be fruitful for Marimekko in the long term”.

With the arrival of Spring , Minna Kemell-Kutvonen, Marimekko’s Creative Director, has allowed us into their offices and beloved textile printing factory so that we can visit them and discuss the future challenges a brand with a well defined local identity needs to confront when its products are being sold in approximately 40 countries. Minna gives me a firm handshake, smiles generously and, as if to break the ice, confesses that it feels so good to finally have a face to face interview, rather than speak only by phone as she had been doing lately. Then, when she begins to talk with passion about the brand’s creative philosophy, I can’t help wondering…Would it ever have crossed her parent ́s mind to have called her Mari? After all, both names did start with a capital “M”.

If you had to describe the brand to somebody who has never heard about it, what would you say?

All in all, Marimekko is an aesthetic understanding and interpretation of our everyday life. We translate it into shape, colours and patterns. We could say that it is more like a way to live. More than sixty years of history has proved that our aim is to be present in every detail of our customer’s world – not only through fashion and clothing but also through fabrics where print creates a special atmosphere in the home, or even through the cups you use for your daily coffee break!. When you are an aesthetically orientated person, and you love to arrange space in a particular way, you have to take into account that you look at the same objects constantly and, thus, a very special bond needs to be established with them. So, I believe they are also an active part of your life.

Then, of course, there are some days when you wake up longing to introduce some new, and often contradictory, products into your personal space, and though it may seem to be a little disturbing for the usual harmony, by doing that you can find something truly fresh. In this house we are always open to these kind of contradictions. For instance, if you think about our history, in Finland it is commonly known that the creation of the brand after the war, in 1951, coincided with a time when the most part of the population living in the countryside decided to move to the cities. And their life there was different from the one they used to have back in their villages, their regular activities now were much closer to the academic spheres and to the office work. So, from Marimekko they were able to find some of those things they were missing the most from their homeland…maybe even some emotions like the one inspired by the sunrise, interesting winds, rocks, sea landscapes….In short, they brought a reinforced romantic feeling back into their lives. And that ́s how the brand became a part of them.


So, we could conclude that some concepts such as the reinterpretation of the rural world, or the search for comfort inside the Finnish nature are key issues for the company…

Of course those are key concepts for us, but, if you think about the present context, now that people have been living in the cities for several generations, there is a growing opposition between constructions and natural spaces. And I consider this to be a very interesting collision concerning both nature and architecture: they must coexist together, understand each other, and somewhere in that dialogue there is an intersection which Marimekko also tries to be part of.

So, how would you say the creative philosophy has evolved over more than sixty years of history?

The main idea for our creations is related to the aesthetic thinking. In every decade we have trusted our designers intuition, how they perceive the world and reflect the time they are living in through their compositions. But I have to say that now the world has become bigger for us as a brand than it used to be. We didn ́t operate at the same international level in the past as we currently do – though we had some interesting global contacts, we worked mostly in Finland and Scandinavia. Our beginnings go back to the first printed fabrics, which later on were transferred to women’s fashion collections. Back then we were a smaller company, but now that we are immersed in a global market with customers in varied locations, we need to have a deeper understanding of different cultures and religions, as those are two of the factors shaping people’s everyday lives.

Thus, we try to conceive our designers ideas and creations also as an ingredient of the global discussion. In Finland, due to our geographical situation, there is a very interesting conversation taking place between East and West, and we got a lot of influences from the Russian esthetic but, at the same time, also from the whole of Scandinavia that surrounds us. Also, Finnish people we are quite practical – we tend to solve things without complicating matters. I believe that approach has helped us in Marimekko to give effective answers in this new era of global demand.

What do you consider to be the main challenges for the future in this global market context?

In my view, one of the biggest challenges we will have to face in the near future is maintaining our ability to discuss and look at things from an open perspective – normally the creative team have that broad vision, but sometimes they are also challenging. So, as a designer, you should follow your intuition and expertise, but at the same time you are required to be receptive to that demands coming from people located in different market areas, like, for instance, the west coast in US.

Can you tell us a little bit more about your main markets nowadays?

Well, basically we would be talking about Finland, Japan and the Scandinavian countries. Then, in the last two years we have opened stores in the U.S, Hon-Kong and Australia. So it is very exciting to compare all these different markets, and realize that, despite the cultural gap, people act in a coincidental way everywhere. There is not such a dramatic difference if you look at the broad landscape. All of us have to sleep, eat and to go to work, and, at the emotional level, we are all looking for similar things. Plus, the Asian market seems to be really close to the Scandinavian one, overall in the kind of attitude they manifest…they are more profound, sophisticated, quieter!.

Minna Kemell-Kutvonen

Due to its undeniable success, the Unikko pattern (1964) was one of the main achievements in the Marimekko’s history, which other do you have?

First off, let me give you a little context on the Unikko pattern. Armi Ratia, the founder of Marimekko, had strictly told the designers she didn ́t want to see any flowers in their patterns because natural flowers are already so beautiful and there was no point in trying to copy them for our fabrics – she thought it was not possible to capture that beauty. However, moved by a very strong inspiration, our designer Maija Issola decided to draw a floral pattern so powerful that Armi herself couldn ́t deny its authenticity and spirit. So, through that independent way of thinking she created this graphical flower from her own perception and interpretation of this natural gift. In my view, it contains a very strong attitude that gets reinforced through the graphical elements. You can immediately see there is an intense flow coming out of it, and, either you love it or you hate it, but it certainly won ́t allow you to remain impassive.

Then, I think there are some other momentous in our history as a brand that have to be mentioned, like when at the beginning we started to adapt our printed patterns to female fashion collections – mostly dresses made of cotton. Also, in the early the seventies, we printed our canvas back packs and launch them to the market, it consisted on a very basic pattern suitable both for children, students and also for women going to work. Last but not least, we have our “Tasaraita” pattern (“even stripes” in English) designed by Annika Rimala in 1968. This fabric became an icon of the equality thinking, cause both men and women could wear it on their clothing. The message it sent was that everybody was at the same level. So, it had a big impact on society… and we are really proud of it.

What can you tell us about the work atmosphere in Marimekko?

At Marimekko we usually have open and fruitful discussions related to the projects we are developing, I guess it is because we are a very flat company. So, we are working quite closely to each other, and, though of course we have at the same time built up a well-structured organization, in any case there is a lot of interaction and dialogue among employees.

How do you normally face a new collection?

We start with a “kick off meeting” in which we settle the main theme the collection is going to be based on. Then, we launch this theme to our designers and establish some kind of deadlines to see how the three lines of the collection ( fashion, interior, and bags and accessorizes) work together. Once we have decided which designers are going to be in charge of the different parts of the collection, they start to sketch inspired by the theme we have settled on at the first meetings. We try to meet with them every week – most are freelancer designers, so they don ́t have their studio at the headquarters- and agree on some guidelines for the next steps of the creative process.

Which kind of themes do you usually work with? Can you give us an example?

Our themes are usually very abstract – and quite open in any case! That way it’s easier to come up with fresh and innovative ideas. Once the designers show us their first sketches we can start the discussion to add new concepts to their proposals. For instance, the upcoming fall collection (2013) is based on how beautiful different kinds of weather are, like rainy days with their gray skies, and the emotions they make you feel…we try to reflect that on our lines. Our designers have to find out which different elements the changing weather can bring to you, how you are exposed to it or interact with it. Actually, there are many angles to look at it, sometimes the final images on the patterns are more concrete, some others the whole process gets really subjective and artistic!.

What was the main inspiration you had for the Spring Collection we can now see in your shops?

The idea behind this Spring Collection was related to colour block and colour thinking. How colours influence your everyday life. Following this idea Tuula Pöyhönen has designed her beautiful “Suprema Collection”, inspired by supremacist Russian painter Kazimir Malévich. The thing is that we have a very good taste for colors in our house. In that sense, our designers get to work so freely cause we have our own printing meal and color kitchen. Sometimes they even bring references, like a special piece of wood or a stone, and try to find the exact pigment measurements to recreate it in their patterns. Something interesting happens also within an overlapping area (when printing two colors on the same canvas’ spot) as you can appreciate, for instance, in the Unikko pattern. That way you come across colours you had never seen before.


As regards to your work as a Creative Director, which are your main responsibilities, how do you go through the collections and put things together?

I am always working very closely with the people responsible for the improvement of the collections. That means, the head of fashion design, the interior line manager, and the bags and accessorizes line manager. They are all in my team. Once a week we go through every detail of the collections and discuss about the new sketches and colors proposals. Then, I am also responsible for the space design at our stores.

Could you tell us about your favorite patterns?

Well, it is so difficult to say! I love almost all, plus, different compositions bring different emotions to me. But, all in all, I am more of a graphical person, and I love those really clear and geometrical shapes…tough romantic or sophisticated patterns have the ability to somehow warm my heart. If I had to choose just one, I have to say that my favorite is “Isot Kivet” – big black “stones” on a white background, created by Maija Isola in 1956. There is also a more recent reinterpretation of this pattern, the Astro (2012), made by designer Jenni Tuomisen, and I love to mix them both!. In my view, they combine perfectly together even though they are totally different, not only in the design but also in the decades they were created.

Finally, which place does Marimekko represent on the Finnish design scene?

There is no doubt that Marimekko is a strong component on the national design scene. There are two other big brands in this field, which are Artic and Iitala, and I would say that the three of us together have helped compose what we could call the Finnish aesthetic. Probably all of us have also inherited many aspects from the predominant functionalism of Finnish architecture, and this kind of strong attitude derived from Alvar Aalto’s work. We need to reflect on how people experience the interior spaces and, at the same time, how well communicated those spaces are with their natural surroundings – that defines a core part of our philosophy.

Finally, we have a very close connection with design schools in Finland and we enjoy organizing design competitions so that we can find new talents, even recent graduates! We take them on as interns and, if we consider they are ready, we give them the possibility to print their ideas and to keep on growing under our maestros guidance. That is our way of taking care of our corporate responsibility as the big brand we are in Finland.

Features Interviews Music

Interview with Adam Ciminello from The Carnival Kids

FREE! Magazine brings you an exclusive interview with multitalented American musician Adam Ciminello, who tells us about the imminent release of his band’s debut album, The Carnival Kids, and many other interesting opinions about the music business and the complexities of building up a new musical project. Enjoy it!

When I was reading about your musical talents, I was impressed by the wide array of instruments that you can play. Can you tell us a bit how you started in the music business and how was studying music in Boston?

Thanks so much for the kind words Antonio! It really means a lot to have people support my music and artistic vision. I first started to really take music seriously towards the end of my high schooling. I played in a couple of bands that toured around the area regionally and by the time I started college, I was hooked! Boston is a really great place to get your start in music. There are many places to play and lots of college students who love live music. I’m grateful for the experiences I had there and the many talented musicians I had the privilege of playing with and getting to know.

Adam Ciminello

Do you have your residence nowadays in Boston? How is the music scene there (my knowledge is pretty limited to knowing that is the home town of my beloved band Aerosmith).

Currently, I live in Poughkeepsie NY, about an hour north of NYC. I still play frequently in Boston as a solo artist and with other groups in the area. It’s a great city that’s constantly churning out fantastic new artists due to the many colleges and music schools located there.

I have seen you stated that the music in your debut album is very positive. Actually the name of the band and the art cover are already exhaling a positive feeling. So what can a new listener expect there, in the album that will be recently released on April 27th?

The music and overall message on this LP is very much intended to be positive. Some of the individual songs relate to darker themes but on the whole my aim was to make people feel good and describe relationships and events that everybody could relate to. I think listeners can expect from this LP to hear music that sounds familiar yet different enough to resonate.

Actually the country where I live nowadays, Finland, is also famous for the melancholic feeling in most of the music produced here. Why is it that seems trendy nowadays in music to be a depressive emo? Do you miss the kind of more happy-naïve compositions that people could listen in the clubs, for example in the 80s?

As both an artist and avid listener of music, existing on both sides of the equation, it’s difficult for me to really answer this question with any sort of objectivity. I don’t know why other artists make the art they choose to make because, frankly, I really don’t know why I make the art I choose to make! Composing is such an intimate process with yourself and it all happens so fluidly that it’s very difficult for me to specifically describe why I choose to write my music. Similarly, as a listener, I really don’t know definitively why we choose to listen to the music we enjoy. Duke Ellington once said “If it sounds good, it is good,” and I try my hardest to not allow any other thoughts dilute this concept when I am composing. If I enjoy it and feels genuine, then it probably is worth sharing. As a listener, if I enjoy it and feels genuine, its probably also worth sharing!

If I am not mistaken, you are the only current member-founder of the band (which is interesting cause maybe because of the name of the band in plural, everybody would be expecting a formation with more members). How is the feeling of putting an album together by yourself, do you like the freedom of creativity, or is it actually a more painful process in some ways to put everything together?

I am currently the only permanent member of The Carnival Kids. I do have a live a band that I perform with, and two of those members make up the rhythm section who recorded most of the LP with me, respectively. I can’t tell you how liberating it was to make this album largely by myself. I’ve been in collaborative bands since I was 14 and while that feeling – that of camaraderie, teamwork and equal partnership – is wonderful, being able to create/record in a scenario where I was in complete control was something I had always dreamed about. It’s been a pretty rewarding process watching this LP come to life and I feel I’ve learned a lot about myself along the way.

The Carnival Kids

I have seen also in some Youtube videos that you have company of quite some other musicians. Can you tell us a bit more about their collaboration, and it is expected that they would play with you live, or could the formation and the musicians playing with you change? Are there plans to go touring during 2013?

Yes, those members make up my live band and I couldn’t ask for a more talented group of musicians. I’ve been blessed throughout my life to share the stage with some amazing artists and when it came time to put together the live act, I immediately knew this group was perfectly outfitted to bring my songs to life. I’m very lucky to be working with them.

I have a good friend who is a great fan of Government Mule, so seeing that you have played with them, I could not less than ask about the experience of collaborating with such a legendary band.

I’ve only played one show with them, which admittedly was almost six years ago, and unfortunately I can’t say that I collaborated with them creatively (I wish!). But I can say that they are incredibly nice people, grateful for the opportunities they’ve been given, and extraordinarily talented musicians.

Although it seems that music is really the centre of your life, what other hobbies and passions do you have?

Outside of music, I am an avid chess player and a lifelong fan of the New York Knicks! Looking forward to hopefully watching them bring home their first championship in forty years later this spring!

Anything you want to add for our readers?

Thank you so much for your time and support of independent music! Hope to tour Finland soon! Also, here are our various social media sites for everybody to check out! Thanks again!

Concerts Music

Helloween + Gamma Ray in Bucharest. Concert Review

Written by Elena Paraschiv

Power metal back in line! Helloween started their world tour “Hellish Rock tour Part II”, together with Gamma Ray, at the end of February. The band first hit the stage in Barcelona, and after Italy, Greece and Eastern Europe, the pumpkins are heading to Scandinavia. First stop : Helsinki, on March 29, at The Circus. In Finland, Helloween will rock the Finnish audience three nights in a row. After Helsinki, it`s Tampere turn to be energized to the maximum on March 30 at Pakkahuone, and Oulu on March 31 at Club Teatria.

Helloween in Bucharest

Helloween was formed in 1984, by members of bands Iron Fist, Gentry and Powerfool. Since its creation, the band has experienced various line-ups. Among members who have taken part in this project, include Michael Kiske and also Kai Hansen, now the lead guitarist, and vocalist of power metal band Gamma Ray. Helloween released their fourteenth studio album, “Straight Out Of Hell”, on January 18, 2013. The album produced by Charlie Bauerfeind, who works with the band since 2000, is a masterpiece that lasts just over an hour. “Straight Out Of Hell” is a return in force of one of the most popular power metal bands, proving to even the most pessimistic of their fans that Helloween is back in business! A comeback to the real Helloween sound. The album picked position No.4 in Finnish Albums Chart.

Seeing on the same stage Gamma Ray and Helloween in Bucharest, those two emblems of the genre was delightful. The night was opened by Shadowside from Brazil. It was not a very good start. 30 minutes of pure torment. The lead-singer was trying too hard to reach those high notes and to sing the melodic parts. What was supposed to be a power metal start was nothing but an attempt with no success.

Next, Gamma Ray. Even though Hansen had some problems with his voice, the show was flawless. The public reaction was one to match with the show, as they played throughout the setlist along with the Germans from Gamma Ray.

Helloween in Bucharest


Anywhere in the Galaxy
Men, Martians and Machines
The Spirit
Gamma Ray (cover Birth Control)
Master of Confusion
Empire of the Undead
Future World (cover Helloween)
To the Metal
Send Me a Sign

And finally, the long awaited band takes the stage in force in the praise of the public. Helloween show started with two tracks from their new album “Straight Out Of Hell”, “Wanna Be Good” and “Nabataea”, (the best song of the material). So, the band threw the first power metal pill of a really dazzling night. Helloween`s show, had two moments that are fully enjoyed by those present. First was Daniel Löble`s drum solo: spectacular, incredibly, unbelievably good, and the second was the song “Hold Me In Your Arms”. This moment escapes from the power metal sphere with acoustic guitar and a more soft interpretation of Andi. Definitely, one of the best Helloween`s ballad-type song. But the show returns immediately to the power metal vibe, electrifying the public.

Helloween in Bucharest

The full set, the lights, the sound…all entwined with the perfect voice of Andi Deris, the magnificent drumming of Daniel Löble, the perfect bass of Markus Grosskopf, the majestic Gibson of Michael Weikath and the beautiful “Youth Gone Wild” of Sascha Gerstner, made the night a classy power metal show.

So, if you haven`t buy the ticket to see those two great bands…it`s time to hurry up, because this show is one of those shows that stays in your memory forever.


Wanna Be God
Eagle Fly Free
Straight Out of Hell
Where the Sinners Go
Waiting for the Thunder
Steel Tormentor
Drum Solo
I”m Alive
Live Now!
Hold Me in Your Arms
If I Could Fly
Hell Was Made in Heaven
Encore 1:
Are You Metal?
Dr. Stein
Encore 2:
Halloween / How Many Tears / Heavy Metal (Is the Law)
I Want Out (cu Gamma Ray)

Cover story Interviews Misc

Interview with Finnish designer Jenni Ahtiainen

Jenni Ahtiainen belongs to the new wave of young fresh Finnish designers that keep up with the high standards and international reputation of Finnish design around the world. With the music always as inspiration, her designs have been worn by rock stars such as Ville Valo or Michael Monroe and appeared also during the last Golden Globe Gala Awards. FREE! Magazine met Jenni recently and was able to ask her a few questions about her designs, hobbies, passions and future plans:

Hello Jenni and thanks a lot for your answers beforehand! When did you discover that you had passion for design, and particularly for designing neckwear? Had you also experimented with other arts or fields in design?

My label gTIE started out accidentally. I was a boyish girl in the beginning of year 2000. I was wearing black shirt, black jeans and black 50s’ style shoes. Every day, in every occasion, every day, every night. Then in 2006 I turned 30 years and wanted to celebrate it somehow. So I got an wild idea: no trousers, but a skirt with a tie. The skirt was my statement, not the tie. The tie designed for myself was just a something boyish enough to be able to wear a skirt. Without the tie i would have looked too ouch of a girl. Those days I didn’t wear necklaces or earrings at all. After sewing this one tie, i started to think about the fact that men don’t have that much of variations in neckwear possibilities.

One night I was jogging in my home street where also lives one of the most famous stars of Finnish rock scene; Ville Valo, the vocalist on HIM. While i was running i started to think about what he would wear for a tie, if he went to a party where he is supposed to dress more formal way. My imagination brought this weird looking lace scarf in front of my eyes, and when I got back home, I made it. I sent it to him, put a not beside the scarf “I designed this for you cristmas celebration party” and the guy put it in independence day party at the presidential hall. Media saw it, wrote about it, made stories in papers about it and that’s how gTIE was born.

Before I was working as a graphic designer. I was designing book covers, web pages, logos, details for visual marketing, and now, I’m basically hanging around the same context, just that the details are around people’s necks, not in corners of posters or company web pages.

Jenni Ahtiainen

In your latest collection My name is Kenneth. What’s your problem? there is a clear influence of your favourite rock bands and artists in the designs, naming them after those ones. Is music a very important part of your life and an inspiration when designing?

My latest collection My name is kenneth, What’s you problem? collection models are named by the artist and bands I have listened and which I appreciate, but also because they have their own kind of historical style genre I find interesting. I get my inspiration from music. I do everything with music, I mean everything. I was born with music. Thanks for my dad who had loudspeakers in every god damn room at our house. It depend on the feeling I have at the moment what kind of music i need to act. If i need to focus, I usually play music without any lyrics. If I go jogging, it has to be power – even aggressive – music. I was asked to go to Iceland to keep a course for children, and the idea was to play different kind of music, different kind of genres of music to them and to see what happens in the imagination and thirdhand works. We didn’t get funding, so maybe we’ll make it happen next year.

Are there artists-bands that you would like to dedicate new designs in the future?

The models I design and make in the future are of course surrounded and surely inspired by music too, but I have no idea yet am I going to name even one more model after any musician. I follow my guts… so nothing is complete, until I get the idea in my head what the model looks like. But one thing is a fact, I feel my stuff belongs next to music. Not just because I get inspired by music and its artists, but because it feels right and natural. Performers have a right and also a kind of a obligation to dress up more visual way than ordinary people, so that’s when I step in the picture. I’m quite good in visualizing what they like, and would look good wearing without losing their credibility.

During last year, Helsinki was the World Capital of Design. What makes this small and cold country such a good place for successful designers to pop up so often?

I think finnish people are survivors. We have a lot of strength – when we really want something. We can deal the cold weather as well as bad financial circumstances.

“I do everything with music. I was born with music!”

What other young Finnish designers would you recommend to follow?

There is 2 designers I recommend on following: Outi Pyy and Mert Otsamo.

You collaborated recently with your designs in the gala of the Golden Globes Awards in USA. Could you tell us more about it? How that collaboration happened and who was wearing your models?

I went to show my designs in pre Golden Globes in January, because I was asked to. They found my label from a fashion fair 2011 and were following me through internet over one year and then contacted me. First I thought it was just junk mail, but after doing some research, I found out from two of my friends, that it wasn’t actually a joke. So I went there, got t know real people, but mainly few really important contacts. I’m going back to LA in the end of April. I’m gonna meet few actors, one producer, one director and some contacts from commercial field: I’m gonna get gTIEs women’s collection in one store and men’s collection to another store there.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? Do you assist to a lot of live music gigs around?

When I’m not working, I’m writing, and drinking some beer like some finnish people do. I go and see gigs, summertime I ride a motorcycle, sports keep my mind straight and makes me like myself more. I love singing. If I get blind, for some reason, I will be a singer.


What can you tell us about your own label gTIE and other collaborations you have around, like for example with Matex Oy?

gTIE turns next week officially 6 years. What I do now for my living is just great. Besides designing for men and women with my own label, I design a men’s line for Matex Oy, the biggest and oldest finnish tie company. I don’t design ties there, but substitutes for ties. Basicly the same thing I do for gTIE but more mainstream way. Matex has the marketing contacts to all biggest stores in Finland, such as Stockmann and Sokos, so as a designer i don’t have to worry about selling strategies and all that “shit”, i can just design. Matex has a lot more powerful engine in their vecihle comparing to what I can do inside of my own label. They offer me a possibility for example to desing my own fabrics. In my own label I don’t have that kind of possibility, mainly ’cause of financial facts.

In the end of March, we publish a new collection for men with Matex named as White Wedding. It’s a wedding collection. And as a designer, I’m gonna make a statement with it aswell. In Finland gay people can’t get officially married, they can just register their relationship, and I think it’s stoopid: First of all it’s against the basic human rights and second, it is jurydic idiotism not to have the same law rights that hetero sexuals do automatically when they get married. So I’m gonna shoot part of the collections catalogue pictures with gay men.

Besides working as a neckwear designer, I have lot’s of product collaborations going on for example with Radio Rock (national radio station in Finland), City of Pori (my home town, they’re actually my sponsor and I’m writing a blog for them) and Porispere (rock festival in August).

I design also clothing for theatre projects, for dancers. For example Aftertaste (2012) and Kaksin käsin (free engines translation With Both Hands, 2010) were my designs. Now I’m making a short movie with modern dancers called Surface Tension. I’s coming out in Autumn. I design and style musicians, artists and bands for their videos and album cover shootings. Top finnish rock bands like HIM, Amorphis, Jari Sillanpää, Lapko and Michael Monroe have worn my designs. I also teach children and teenagers in art schools in Helsinki and Järvenpää. Mainly I do courses in arts and crafts. And all this makes me a really happy woman.

What are your next projects for this year 2013?

My projects for this year are of course making my brand break. I’ve done almost everything I can to make people know it in Finland. Now it’s time to move forward. And for some reasons many signs show me the way to LA. One of my biggest projects besides my ow label this year is doing the whole clothing design for one movie which had a funding from Hollywood. The shooting time is not clear yet, and anything can still happen with that project but if it happens, I will be even happier woman.

Anything to add for the readers?

I would like to say: Believe it, you will get it. The most important sense is intuition. You just have to learn how to hear it. And believe in it. It’s in the guts!

Concerts Music

Concert Review: The Killers in Helsinki. 26/02/2013

Text: Antonio Diaz
Photos: Torey Mundowsky

From the fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada, came the American rock band The Killers to put some sunshine into the cloudy Finnish winter. As its charismatic vocalist Brandown Flowers asserted at the beginning of the show “It had been too long Helsinki” and the people of the capital were really eager to see them live.

The Killers in Helsinki

It was not actually that my impression when I was walking the few meters that separate Pasila Train Station from Hartwall Areena, the venue where the concert was about to take place a few minutes later. Just a bunch of fans were pacing fast towards there, so I imagined that the venue was going to be half empty, being a tuesday evening. Far from reality, it must have been actually my fault for arriving a bit late and missing the opening band Louis XIV, because actually Harwall Areena was almost fully packed with fans, many of them female, eager to move their feet. And they have a good change right from the start to shake the body, with the band starting strong with Mr. Brightside, continuing with some other infamous themes you must have listened to countless times in the radio stations or at the nightclubs like Human or Somebody Told Me.

It is undoubtedly Flowers the one who carries on with the charismatic part of the band. With his neat appearance in leather jacket and perfect haircut, he has this look of healthy young American boy with a touch of mischief in his gestures that get both the approval of the mothers and the screams from the young girls. Alternating fast pace songs with some other slow intimate moments with dimmed lights and Flowers on the piano, the band produced a solid show, if not to be remembered as outstanding, at least totally satisfactory to have a couple of hours of a good time listening to light heartening music and some touching moments like when Branson dared to sing a cover of “Forever Young” infamous song.

The Killers in Helsinki

Of course, after the first part of the show, it was compulsory for the band to come back to the stage for an encore of 3 songs and put the cherry on top of the cake with Battleborn and Flowers jumping to shake the hands of most people in the front row. Good show and good impression for being the first time I saw The Killers onstage, a band that transmit the feeling to know what they want.

If I would have to complain about something, I would say more about the organization in Hartwall Areena. First, because if you have the fetish to try to catch a setlist or a guitar pick from the roadies right after the show, security in Hartwall Areena is inmediately pushing you 20 seconds after the show ends to the exit. Secondly, because actually for exiting the venue, you have to walk all around the sports hall and takes 20 minutes, some organizer should have the bright idea to open a few more doors once the show is over to make the exiting of people easier… Luckily when it is winter in Finland, it is not so bad to be under shelter for a few more minutes before the cold outside bites your skin…





















Features Interviews Music

Interview with Tom Brumpton, vocalist of Akarusa Yami

Today FREE! Magazine has the pleasure to offer you an exclusive interview with Tom Brumpton, vocalist of the British industrial metal band Akarusa Yami. Tom is a person who totally “breathes” metal music, combining his band with his career as publicist (among his clients are infamous names such us Iggy Pop or Maroon 5) and freelance journalist. He kindly answered our questions to enlight us with interesting info about the metal scene in his hometown, some curious anecdotes from the backstage and overall, what we can expect from his exciting project with his own band!

Hello Tom and thanks a lot beforehand for your answers. You were one of the founders of Akarusa Yami a couple of years ago in Nottinghamshire. How did the idea evolve to create this band?

Hey Antonio, not a problem. Thanks for having me. I was indeed, basically it came from a mutual frustration that myself and Tom Clarke (Guitars, co-founder) shared. We’d been in a lot of bands before that, for one reason or another, hadn’t done much. So we discussed working together and over time its morphed into Akarusa Yami.

Had you played in other bands before? Do you currently play in other projects?

I did, and the other guys all have and do but I don’t really have time for any other bands at the moment. I used to sing for a Pantera-esque band called Kallous a few years ago. Tom and our bassist Jake Bennett play together in a death metal band called Cacodaemonic, our drummer Adam Jones plays in a rock band called Scarlet’s Wake, our second guitarist Damian Lee produces bands and does some DJ work under the moniker Mean iDeal, and our Keyboard player Lee Dowling plays in a band called Krossfire. So all of us are usually pretty busy.

Akarusa Yami

You are also connected to the metal industry working in PR with many different bands. Does it help this to promote your band, or actually is it difficult to find free time to combine both activities?

It’s fairly straight-forward really, because I deal with a lot of metal bands so I’m already talking to the kind of people that Akarusa Yami would appeal to. So it’s not a big deal, and its never caused any trouble.

Probably not the first time somebody asks, but certainly the name of the band is peculiar. Where does it come from?

(Laughs) No. Tom came up with it and it translates to “Opposite of Darkness, Opposite of Light” which we read as Balance. We felt it described our overall sound very well.

How is the industrial metal music scene in Nottingham area and in UK in general?

It is pretty good, but I’d say the big scenes in the UK at the moment are probably indie music (Stuff like The Foals, etc) and Djent (Bands like TesseracT). And Dubstep, of course.

In your band´s FB site, it is mentioned the Finnish band Swallow the Sun as influence. Do you follow the metal music from Finland closely? Have you ever visited or played here before in Finland?

I’ve never visited it, no and I don’t believe any of the other guys have. We’re always open to new bands from across the world, and Finland has some amazing artists. Swallow The Sun are an awesome, very distinct band and I love their melancholic sound. I think its brilliant. If you held a gun to my head though, I’d say my favourite Finnish artist is probably HIM. I own every record and I think Ville is a great writer and singer.

For a person who would be a first time listener of your band, how would you describe in one sentence what they are about to hear?

We’ve described our sound so far as industrial music with elements of progressive and extreme metal. It’s served us well, as I think we appeal to a wide spectrum of metal fans.

So far the band is still unsigned, isn´t it? Have there been any conversations with major record labels for the future?

We’ve not approached any labels. We’re not against the idea, we’ve just not done it as of yet but we will be doing so very soon.

Akarusa Yami

Now you have almost ready your second EP “Trace Element Rebirth” that will be released on April. How do you compare it to the debut one “Ouroboros”?

I think it’s a massive leap forward for us; performance wise, compositionally, lyrically, production wise. It’s a bit of a re-invention. Ouroboros as a record was very much a band learning and finding its feet, and dealing with a large chunk of chaos at the same time. This record is more focused and substantially more refined.

The band has already been on stage in some big festival like Bloodstock. What are the plans for 2013? Anything big coming up?

We’re talking to a few management companies and whatnot, and we’re discussing festival options. Once we’ve got something confirmed we’ll make an announcement.

What is the craziest thing you have seeing in a gig´s backstage?

One time when I was 18 I went to a show at Rock City in Nottingham. The band playing was US Industrial outfit Society 1. The show was small but awesome, and afterwards me and a few friends got chatting with the band and we helped them with their gear. I went to check to see where our ride home was and when I came back all my friends were grinning ear to ear. Turns out while we were helping, the singer was back stage filming a porno. Three days later the girl he was making it with added me on myspace and we became friends. That was pretty crazy.

If you could choose a band or an artist to join Akarusa on stage, who would be?

That’s tough. Maybe Trent Reznor or Mike Patton. They’re so unique in their approach to music and such outstanding work horses that I think it’d be amazing to do something with them both! Outside that, for me I’d say Rammstein.

You breathe music as passion and work, but what other things you like doing in your free time?

(Laughs) Thanks. Honestly, I’m a work horse myself. Outside the band and running a PR company I’m a partner in a radio company in the US, I write for Zero Tolerance magazine in the UK and I act and write. I’m not good with time off.

Anything you want to add for the readers?

Thank you for the support and we look forward to coming to Finland in the future.

Check out Akarusa Yami´s Youtube channel:

Concerts Music

Concert Review: Europe + Mustasch at The Circus, Helsinki. 21.12.2012

Just before Christmas Helsinki got ready for a doses of great hard rock coming from the neighbouring country Sweden.

As headliners, a living legend: Europe! I still remember being just 6 years old and seeing Europe performing The Final Countdown on the national Spanish TV. It was maybe at that time the most popular foreign song heard and sang in Spain during that year… For many children of my generation, the first approach to see and listen to guys with long hair, electric guitars and leather jackets.

I would have never suspected to see them finally for first time in my life 26 years later in Finland, but life always has surprises awaiting for you. The venue was The Circus, and this was also the first time for me to see a concert there. On the positive side, I must say that it is spacious and with great acoustic, and its location in the heart of the city in Kamppi square makes it really easy to reach. On the less good side, the lines to wait at the entrance for giving or taking back your jackets from the wardrobe are pretty chaotic, and ordering a drink can take ages…


But before Europe, for warming up the environment, we had another great Swedish band that enjoys great popularity in Finlan: Mustasch. Also first time for me to see them live, and I must confess that their popularity is well deserved. Ralf Gyllenhammar and his boys gave a high voltage performance, making the crowd go wild with some of their anthems like Double Nature, Down in Black or 6:36 while the vocalist sprayed the first rows with beer, sharing great chemistry with the audience while trying to say some dirty words in Finnish or inviting some girls around for “funny times” at the backstage. They acted and sounted raw, wild and powerful, like a hard rock band with attitude should act on stage. Even when I was dreaming of seeing Europe live, I must say that at the end of the night, my feelings were that Mustasch had stolen the show.

And it is not that Europe´s concert was bad. Joey Tempest, John Norum and the rest of the band gave quite a decent show, and I certainly got goosebumps listening to some classics that will endure in the history of rock music forever such as Carrie, Rock the Night or of course The Final Countdown that ended the night. But still I noticed that same than for me, for many in the crowd they did not know some of the new songs and also the acoustic part of the concert left the people cold, so in general it was a concert with more up and downs than the previous of Mustasch, where every song was lava from a raging vulcano.

All in all, you cannot ask for much better than this before Christmas. Legends still keeping the flame alive plus one of the strongest current Swedish bands gathering more and more fans in Finland. Santa Claus did not give me a guitar pick as a present, but who the fuck cares when you walk to the bus stop still humming “The Final Countdown” inside your head…


Europe. Setlist at The Circus 2012

Riches to Rags
Not Supposed to Sing the Blues
Scream of Anger
No Stone Unturned
Demon Head
Acoustic set
The World Keep on Turning
(Fleetwood Mac cover) (John Norum on vocals)
Drink and a Smile
Open Your Heart
Love Is Not the Enemy
Girl From Lebanon
Sign of the Times
The Beast
Rock the Night
Last Look at Eden
The Final Countdown

Mustasch. Setlist at The Circus 2012

Heresy Blasphemy
Down In Black
It’s Never Too Late
Deep In The Woods
Bring Me Everyone
Damn Its Dark
Speed Metal
Double Nature
I Hunt Alone

Photos: Antonio Dìaz

Art Cover story Features Misc

Street art in Helsinki… and in Las Matas!

Written by Eva Blanco Medina

Street Art is finally determined to conquer the public spaces all around the world. Going from small populations that sometimes see their essence reduced to the highway exit number they represent on the map, to those cosmopolitan cities where the reinvented hipster urban culture (people riding retro-bicycles in their cool hats, checked shirts and carefully worn out jeans) seem to be melting the snow.

Las Matas

And that is how, leaving the A-6 highway at exit 24, we arrive at Las Matas – a tiny town located in the Northwest area of Madrid, Spain. The inhabitants of this quiet-to-the-boring place spend their lives surrounded by holm oaks and a never ending succession of residential neighbourhoods, a routine just altered when a new restaurant opens its doors, or when once a year, on the first of May, everybody gets extremely drunk celebrating the municipal festivity.

Las Matas

So, last Christmas, on the morning the villagers woke up to a bright rhombus-shaped sign, placed in the middle of the roundabout that gives access to the district, a mix of confusion and pleasant surprise sparkled the air. ” WELCOME TO Fabulous LAS MATAS. Little Town”. That was the readable message on the board. A creative work done by a fine arts student as a copy of the one that stands in the American Capital for gambling, Las Vegas. The funny thing is that we could play a new version of “find the seven differences” using images of both places each side of the page, but this time we would have to call it, “find the seven million differences”. And that is why the sign was so warmly adopted by the villagers. A pinch of irony accompanied the thought that Las Vegas was so, so far away, maybe not even in the same Galaxy, and, at the same time, that was such a relief.

Then, the Town Hall realized that the sign had been placed without the pertinent Administration´s permission, and thus, it was removed. But just temporarily, because people have the bad habit of fighting for the things that make them smile, and so the locals decided to use the social media tools to start a supportive campaign, so that they could keep their new (and fresh) identity symbol, and eventually, it worked!

Stop töhryille-projekti

Töhry is the Finnish word that describes a “mess” in a wall. From 1998 to 2008 the City of Helsinki developed an annually renewed initiative called the “Stop töhryille-projekti”, whose aim was to remove graffiti, stencils, stickers or any other kind of street art expression from public space. In order to assure the walls would remain clean, the City relied on private security operators such as FPS, a company founded in 1997, whose power and influence were specially reinforced over the (also known as) zero tolerance period. However, in 2003, scandals based on the aggressive strategy followed by FPS to fight what they labelled as vandalism damages, started to appear in the media. There were some testimonies from youngsters reporting how they had been beaten up or mistreated by the security agents when they got arrested for supposedly being graffiti painters.

Fifteen year old guys were hit and fined during this period“, says Kukka Ranta, a very fluent in Spanish journalist and photographer, who, together with Mikael Brunila and Eetu Viren, wrote the book “Muutaman töhryn tähden” ( an investigative work to provide an in-depth perspective on this recent decade). Then, while nibbling at a non-curved croissant, she explains that the system established for the payment of the fine added on 16% annual interest if the fee remained unpaid. “This regulation led those teenagers who had been fined to a very complex financial situation in which asking for study grants or any other kind of private loan would be no option, given that they had already contracted a large debt with the Administration”, and Kukka continues, “Isn´t that the best way of ruining somebody´s life for having done a harmless minor act?“.

Unique graffiti designs for the cover of the book

One of the inflexion points was in 2006, when somebody posted a video on Youtube that showed a man being hammered at night by a couple of FPS security agents. The scene occurred in Kontula – one of the most conflictive suburbs in Eastern Helsinki with a serious problem of alcoholism. The publication of these images, together with other initiatives such as the demonstrations organized by leftist political groups, the pressure put on the issue by independent media and online fora, and the creation ( by Kukka Ranta herself and her colleagues) of a website where critical voices surrounding the “Stop töhyille-projekti” were gathered, precipitated the end of the programme two years later, in 2008. By that time, a new discussion based on the possibility of opening public spaces for new artistic purposes, rather than strictly commercial ones, was starting to take shape within the Helsinkian society.

Multicoloured Dreams

The story of the “Multicoloured Dreams” (MCD) project starts, like many others, with a visionary idea. And the first driving force behind it was Pauliina Seppälä (journalist and sociologist) who at the beginning of Summer 2010 launched a question to a Facebook group called RHC – a refugee hospitality club Pauliina herself was coordinating- wondering if anybody would be interested in painting street art messages on construction site walls. The previous year, construction sites in Helsinki began to have plywood walls put around them, which, scrutinized by an incisor look, provided the perfect temporary canvas for a new treatment of street art, which would start being legally protected… without giving up its provocative component.

There were two people who immediately accepted Pauliina´s offer: Satu Kettunen, still one of the leaders of the MCD crew, and an Indian architect named Kavita Gonsalves who was then living in the Finnish Capital. “I must admit that it was a really happy coincidence that the three of us got together, because we were a good combination of vision, devotion, thinking outside the box, and all with hands-on attitudes. So very soon we had planned a nice project“, explains Satu when asked about the beginnings of the initiative. The first thing they did was to suggest having the project included on the official calendar for the upcoming Helsinki Design Week, and, when the organizers of the event accepted, they continued the process by asking for the City Architect´s permission. With the eagerly awaited green light, there was just one more thing to do: spread the word around the social media, so that every artist wanting to participate in the project could have the sketches prepared to be approved. Satu also considers that their modus operandi, based on the ultimate respect for the political and social authorities, helped them succeed in their approach, “The fact that we were politely asking for the permissions, and showing them the sketches before painting…the whole procedure seemed to fit here. They trusted us”.

The Kaunianen Project

After the open-call projects developed for the Helsinki area in 2010 and 2011 (both based on voluntary work, meaning no institution was financially backing up), there is one assignment that occupies a significant stage in the trajectory of MCD: a big, half-year-long, project made for the City of Kauniainen, located inside the Espoo area. Its skeleton as a whole included street art workshops for students and seniors, a painting day for kids, a couple of artworks produced by the 8 people who belonged to the coordinating team and an invitation to Otto Maija to act as a guest artist. The City commissioned all the activities, the teaching, the organization and the painting itself, and this gave regular citizens the opportunity of playing artist role for some days. Not only could they explore their hidden talents and creativity but they could also contribute to the beautification of their home town.

Applying for grants is one of the main tasks the MCD team has to face in order to assure the growth and social impact of their association. “More street art projects need to happen in Finland, that way, the financial support will also increase. That´s how the grant policy works in this country“, says Satu, always pointing out that their goal is far from creating a profitable business. In the same sense, Veera Jalava, a younger -but equally attractive- version of the actress Anna Torv (Fringe), and another member of the MCD organisational team, remembers that “the original philosophy of the initiative relied on voluntary work. It wasn´t thought of to earn a living out of it, but to make the city more alive. To give wider possibilities to everyone to do street art“.

Mural by Antti Mannyvali

Antti Mannynvali agrees to this non-profitable perspective. The artist, who has contributed with his talent to one of the MCD projects in the centre of Helsinki, considers that voluntarism is a core issue, “for me, this is something that is aimed at those who just want to produce visible art. The motivation for doing this is not money. But even then, since the visibility provided here is hard to reach otherwise, that could culminate in other gigs which might involve getting paid“. Then, when asked about the relationship between the city and the possibilities for street art, he claims, “A large part of public space could be open to artistic expressions. It is something that interests and motivates young people to be creative, and I think society should try to encourage them in a positive way. For a long time they spent humongous efforts trying to marginalize those youngsters and force them into becoming hard criminals. I can’t understand that approach.”

Finally, the Multicoloured Dreams project has also been the target for some criticism from the so-called purist sector, those grafters who claim the nature of street art to be illegal, and asking for permissions and handing in sketches to be approved is far from its essence. However, Satu makes herself very clear regarding this point, “I don´t think we are taking anything away from the illegal painters. We haven’t had many old school graffiti artists taking part in our projects, but they are also very welcome. I believe that people need the possibility to make a difference to their surroundings, to leave a mark…to take the city streets for themselves away from the commercial companies“.

Albums Features Misc Music

Competition!!! Get for FREE! one CD from the Finnish metal band 2 Wolves!!!

FREE! Magazine gives away 2 copies of the latest album from Finnish metal band 2 Wolves: “Men of Honour“.

Men of Honour

If you want to be one of the lucky winners, it is just as easy as sending the right answer to our editor antonio.diaz(at), writing in the subject of the email “2 Wolves Competition”. Good luck and horns up!

The name of the band is “2 Wolves”. What was the biggest influence on Aleksi Susi when he was thinking how to name his group?

A. An old Cherokee Legend of Two Wolves
B. His last name (Susi means wolf in english)
C. He has own wolf that lives in his house
D. Continuous dreams of protective wolves

Articles Misc

Finnish Ambassador Nominated for Exporting Finnish Theatre

Pekka Huhtaniemi, the Finnish Ambassador to the UK, has been nominated for the Grassroot Diplomat Initiative Awards for his efforts to export Finnish theatre to the UK. Ambassador Huhtaniemi helped to set up the From-Start-to-Finnish campaign in April 2012. The campaign enables Finnish theatre to gain more exposure to British audiences.

The Grassroot Diplomat Initiative Awards will be celebrating the achievements of politicians, like Pekka Huhtaniemi, who have made a positive impact on society. Grassroot Diplomat, a diplomatic consultancy, aims to bridge the gap between diplomats, politicians and the public. By enabling civil society better communications with high-profile diplomats and politicians, Grassroot Diplomat ensures that an effective and engaging relationship between society, politicians and diplomats is maintained.

Pekka Huhtaniemi

From-Start-to-Finnish is a theatrical exchange programme between the UK based Pleasance Theatre and ACE production in Finland. From-Start-to-Finnish aims to expose UK audiences to Finnish theatre and export British theatre to Finnish audiences. Ambassador Huhtaniemi has stated that the purpose of the From-Start-to-Finnish campaign is to build stronger ties between Finnish and British theatre, and to create a lasting union between Finnish and British theatre.

The campaign has so far been successful in spreading Finnish theatre in the UK. In April 2012 the Ryhmäteatteri independent theatre group performed their adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s The Overcoat. In August 2012 the Edinburgh Fringe Festival also held a showcase of Finnish theatre; another showcase of Finnish theatre will be performed during the 2013 Festival. Nominated under the Social Driver category for the awards, Ambassador Huhtaniemi shows that he is passionate about forging new relationships between the two nations.

Over 50 high-level government officials have been nominated for the Initiative Awards. Join Pekka Huhtaniemi and other government nominees at the Vincent Rooms, Westminster with an evening performance led by Euro-Vision Song Contest artist, Imaani. For ticket information, please visit: Early Bird Ticket sale ends November 2012.