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Beauty comes from the ice. That is what Paavoharju Finns show to us. Fragile music like crystal that seems to become broken at any moment and transmits the deepest and diverse emotions than we pruned to imagine. For those who thought that the frozen beauty only comes from brilliant bands like Sigur Ros and Múm, Paavoharju demonstrate that they also want to become their hollow. A Letter For The Stars has been in touch with Lauri who amiably has acceded to have this pleasant talk.
Hello Paavoharju, how are you? Is there really cold in Finland?
-We are fine, thanks! It's not very cold right now, but a week ago snowstorm came out of nowhere and covered the land with snow and ice. So autumn turned to winter in a couple of days. That's unusual.
Well, to start with, I would like you to tell us something about the beginning of Paavoharju. Is was something you have always on your mind or it happened without planning it?
-Me and my brother Olli have recorded stuff since we were kids, so beginning of Paavoharju was very natural. We met Jenni (lead singer of paavoharju) and Soila (other stunning vocalperformer) year 2002 and thought that their vocals
fit our music perfectly. Male vocalists Toni and Joose joined the crew later. When I & my friends found a man who had hanged himself from an dark abandoned milk factory we got new perspectives to music (year was 2003). In the year 2004 we moved to that old milkfactory & got even more new visions.
As you are 12 people on the band, I mean that it could be really difficult to achieve agreements in the way your music must sound, is it right?
-It's not difficult, because mostly I decide what fits to Paavoharju-sound and what doesn't. Ofcourse Olli has also something to say, because he composes most of the songs. People of the liveband just play in the (live) band and don't even try to influence how we make the records. Ofcourse they got artistic freedom in their own playing and I'm not saying either how they should play. Liveband is usually 7-9
persons and we are all very good friends with eachother. No problems :)
Actually our liveband's bassist Ykä and drummer Uju haven't played in our studiorecordings at all. Liveband and studio recordings are two completely different things.
Members of the liveband are:
Olli Ainala - keyboards/piano & guitar
Jenni Koivistoinen - vocals
Toni Kähkönen - vocals & guitar
Lari Lätti - bass
Jussi Lahti - drums
Johannes Pitkänen - guitar & keyboards/piano
Joose Keskitalo - vocals & guitar
Lauri Ainala - background video, ambient-sounds, electronic percussion ect.
Are the weather conditions and the enviroment you have in Finland influences to your music?
-Maybe the contrast between summer and winter is some kind of influence. It's nice to create romantic visions about summer during the winter. Also darkness and dullness of the winter may bring some darker visions. When it's summer we record stuff a bit differently too, because we can use places and spaces that are too cold in the winter.
It seems that almost any instrument or sound can be part of Paavoharju´s music,how you create your songs? can anything that sounds good be part of them?
-Of course if something sounds good to my ear then I use it, but of course we prefer some instruments above others. We create songs very slowly and let the songs evolve naturally. Time is our friend. I add new sounds to songs always when I see it's necessary. Usually Olli or somebody else plays some melody and I start to build stuff upon it. Sometimes I use some fieldrecordings or samples I find from my computer and start to work with them. When the song feels like it needs vocals then we record vocals. If vocals don't fit - then we remove some or all vocals and think/watch the song in some new way.
It was difficult to record the beautiful “Yha Hamaraa”?
-No. It was a natural process. Hardest song to record was 'Kuljin kauas'. Easiest song to record was 'Kuu lohduttaa huolestuneita'. Those two songs are my personal favourites on 'Yhä hämärää'.
Most of the times, vocals make your songs even more touching, what about the importance of lyrics? how do you decide if the songs have to have lyrics or not?
-I can feel if the song needs lyrics. If there are lyrics they must be good and fitting. Lyrics back up the mood of the song. I'm very satisfied with the lyrics of songs 'Kuljin kauas' and 'Syvyys'.
“Kuu lohduttaa huolestuneita” is one of our favourite songs, could you tell us something about it?
-As I said earlier that song was easy to record and it came out very easily. Olli invented the great pianoline and we recorded it at Savonlinna's railwaystation using some old television's speaker as a microphone. The sound of that recording was just perfect. Jenni had some lyrics and I added a finishing touch to them. Then we recorded Jenni's vocals. Some ambient sound were added later by memyself. I
think that is one song where we could capture some pure feeling.
Why do you decide to offer on the net your EP “Tuote-akatemia / Unien Savonlinna" for free?
-Because I don't like that EP as much as 'Yhä hämärää'. I don't see it as a perfect release (but I still like it very much) so I thought that everyone should hear it for free. The songs of that EP are mostly b-sides of Yhä hämärää. There is also one song from our older EP 'Mitä sinä et ole'. I guess we'll continue releasing some stuff for free in the future.
Do you think about the internet as a good way to expand your music all over the world?
-Yes. I love the internet.
Here in Spain is nearly impossible to find bands on the same wave as you, can you tell us some of your main musical influences? Is the
traditional finish folk an important one?
-Finnish hymn-music, iskelmä-music (traditional Finnish word for a light popular song), black metal, all kinds of romantic music and trackermusic from early 90's are the biggest musical influences. I love romantic piano music very much.
What do you think about the well-known “Iceland scene”?
-Múm, Sigur rós and Björk are great. Not my top-10 favourite stuff, but still very good music. I like their music more than finnish "freak folk" music.
What are Paavoharju listening by now?
-From finnish music I'm listening currently Liekki, Michael Jamson, The Gentleman Losers, Joose Keskitalo and Sami Kukka. Other music I've been listening to lately are Goldmund, Svarte Greiner, Burzum, Michael Jackson, Gorillaz and Xinlisupreme.
Olli listens much pop/rock music like Muse, Mew, The Beatles, Ratatat, HIM, The Crash ect.
Talking about live performances, Is it difficult for you to play your songs on live acts?
-Some songs are harder and some easier. For example 'Musta katu' is very easy to play live, but 'Ilmaa virtaa' or 'Ikuisuuden maailma' are impossible. Of course all of the songs sound very different as live versions. You can check some short liveclips from youtube.com. Just type 'Paavoharju' to search-field!
"Kuu lohduttaa huolestuneita" live video
Have you ever thought about being on tour around Spain? (It would be great to see you here in Valencia)
-Yes we have thought of that! It would be a pleasure for us to play there :) If someone there like to organize something it would be great. By the way my father is studying Spanish as a hobby :)
Can a band as you have music as a job?
-Maybe not, but who knows.
What do you use to do appart from Paavoharju?
-I'm doing all sorts of projects in the fields of art, decoration, literature and philosophy. I've also studied educational science in university. Olli is a father for his 1 year old son. He's also a cook. Jenni studies art in some artschool. Toni studies and Ykä builds instruments. Joose is a vagabond.
What are your future plans? Are you working in an new EP or album?
-We are working with our new full lenght cd which will come out from Fonal records next year. I guess after that a b-side ep will follow. I also collect stuff for a Paavoharju DVD.
Finally one last question, could you tell us how can I say “A Letter For The Stars” in Finnish?
-It's "kirje tähdille" in Finnish. I don't know how Spanish people pronounce finnish words, but I guess it might be hard to pronounce :).
Well, that´s all, thanks for all and we hope to see you in future. Bye
-Thanks! Questions were good and I enjoyed answering to them :)
That´s the end of the interview with Lauri. It´s clear that Paavoharju must be followed by us.
Free download "Tuote-akatemia/Unien Savonlinna EP"
11 noviembre 2006
(Accede a la versión en Español)