Spring is generally associated with the re-blooming of nature, sunshine and singing birds. So what would fit better to that than a Fresh Act who promises spring not only by their name? But who thinks that Birdy are representing shallow Radio Pop Rock, is on the wrong track and will notice that at the latest when seeing them live. And it was at a gig in January, when STALKER discovered those five Finns in Helsinki. Let´s find out what lures Tintti (Vocals), Teemu (Guitar and Keyboards), Visu (Bass), Jarmo (Guitar) and Teemu (Drums) every now and then to the cold north of Finland, and other things...
First of all, would you like to introduce yourselves? Tintti: Well, we are Birdy, a quite young project, as you know already. We start to play shows and we are making new songs. And now we are at the point that we make our first EP. It will be done the upcoming week. After that we start to conquer first Finland and then the whole universe! [Laughter] Teemu: [to the other bandmembers] The whole universe, not only the earth... Tintti: No, the whole universe is better!
It was planned to do this interview in the studio but then, all of a sudden, you had to hurry up with the recordings - why? Tintti: Because we are having this quite big gig next Saturday in Ruka, at the "Spring Break" event, and there will be amongst others lots of important people so we need to have the EP done till then, to promote ourselves. Teemu: The songs should be mastered and finished next week, the mixing was done last week. We`ve been in a rush but I think we`ve got a pretty good result anyway. Visu: Yeah, and I think we were in the studio about three days only so actually not that long. And we recorded only three songs so it`s just a small EP. Tintti: Yes, and it`s mainly for promotional uses.
So you are not going to release it? Tintti: No, not at this point, because we are waiting to get first some new gigs and... Maybe someone gets interested about recording something with us... You never know what will happen... Or maybe we should continue to do it by ourselves because nowadays it`s not so...
Do you think it makes sense to have a record deal nowadays? Visu: It depends. It`s probably much easier if you have a deal and, of course, if you really want to be huge, you really need to have a big company behind you... Tintti: At least, someone who knows the industry well and who works behind you. Of course, you need someone. At least, we have a person behind us... Teemu: It`s not necessary to have a record deal but, of course, it helps. But the deal has to be a good deal. I don`t think that anyone wants to have a bad deal... Visu: Yes, there are so many horror stories about bands who are first like "Yeah, yeah, we get a deal now!" - and then they are really fucked up... Tintti: I think each of us has that much experience already... Of course, we have a lot to do, a lot to wait... Teemu: … a lot to learn also, of course. Tintti: That also, yes, and... Everything at the proper time. I think no-one in the band is in a hurry, like: "It has to be happen fast!" [Laughter]
Actually, I think that things are happening quite fast in your case. You only played two gigs but you are already our Fresh Act now and you are even involved in the charity organisation "Rock Against Child Pornography & Abuse". Can you tell us more about that? Are you currently doing something in their mission? Tintti: No, I was talking to some people of the organisation and now we are waiting that something happens. It`s a quite young organisation in Finland and they have to work quite much to get something concrete. And when it happens, some concerts or something like this, they will contact me and we will see what we can do. Of course, as soon something happens concerning this organisation, we will tell you immediately. We stand behind this organisation 100%!
Are you involved in any campaigns of them? Tintti: We are not that far yet because of our things and work and... "Rock Against Child Pornography & Abuse" mainly organise concerts and festivals to call attention to this sensitive topic. And if they have any gigs coming, then we are going to play there but I don`t think that we can do much more than that. At least not at the moment. But it`s great that we are able to be a part of an organisation like this right from the beginning. Already when we started with Birdy, I told our manager Mika Andersson that if there would be any opportunity to help with our music, we definitely would do it. And this is a quite good start, I think.
"Start" is a good point: How has everything started with Birdy? When and where the band has been founded? Tintti: Well, the first time we met is about two years ago... Visu: We first had another guitar player and another drummer but the guitar player went to the States and the drummer went to the UK so we had to find new bandmembers. It took a while till we found these guys [points to Teemu (Drummer) and Jarmo]. And then we had a band and started again. Tintti: Yeah, we started the whole thing again and even got a bit of a new style but I think... Well, if you can say "It`s better" then in that way that we are working more effective now. Of course, we don`t see each other that often because each of us has currently other things to do as well. But I hope that this thing is going to change some day and that we are going to meet each other more often. But at least we are more productive these days. We use every minute we have for the band; to rehearse and so on. Teemu: It takes a while when you have new guys in the band. It takes a while till everything works within the band. But I think we are finally at this point and I`m really happy about it.
Was the band already called "Birdy" when the other two guys played in there? Teemu: The name was already Birdy, yes. Visu: And we still have the same songs we played with them back then. Tintti: And some of the new songs are also from the time with them. Visu: Yeah, even some of the new ones but everything is more mature. Tintti: Yes, and we played only one gig with them, also in Ruka at the snowboard event "Wappulounas", and then they left. Teemu: That`s about one year ago. Actually, it was last summer. And then I called you [points to Teemu (Drummer)] and Tintti called Jarmo. Jarmo: We have a history together... Tintti: Yes, we have a history together... Are you going to tell more?!? Jarmo: We were in the same school. In the same elementary school, to be more precisely. We were young. Very, very young. And we played Alanis Morissette back then. And then I moved to Helsinki. And then we saw each other sometimes but I don`t remember where... Tintti: Well, I remembered him as a good guitar player and I knew him anyway so when Birdy needed a guitar player, it was the easiest and best option to take Jarmo. Jarmo: And I didn`t had any band here in Helsinki back then so that fitted, too.
Apropos: Did you play in any other bands before Birdy or do you have other projects beside this band going on currently? Tintti: Yes, all of us has done something with music in the past. The guys have always been professionals... I`m not so professional... [laughs] I`ve been writing lyrics and I`ve been recording some songs for some producers but… I felt that the time to create something own had come.
Are there any big hits you have written? Tintti: No, not really. I`ve been singing for some producers but my lyrics were mainly written for this band and we have made some songs out of them later on. With the new line-up, we`re doing it more like "together" - but the lyrics are still written by me.
Where do you get the inspiration for your lyrics from? Just from life or...? Tintti: Of course, it`s life but it`s not just the everyday life; it`s life in general. The inspiration comes sometimes from my own life and my own experiences but in that case I, of course, adorn the lyrics so it`s not going to be my story. Sometimes I get inspired by something I hear or read or see... So, it`s the whole world and the whole life that inspires me but mainly the things that I`m wondering about. And things I don`t like that much. Maybe to make a difference of them one day, hopefully...
And how about you, guys? Teemu: My inspirations? Well, when I heard Tintti`s voice for the first time... She came to my house and we have started with plans to make songs together and then I heard her singing and it reminded me much of PJ Harvey and Patti Smith and... You know, that kind of vibe. I try to get my inspiration out of the lyrics, her expression and her singing. At least, that has been my inspiration for the songs we have made so far. And about my musical past: Actually, I am playing keyboards as my main instrument for about more than ten years now. I haven`t been in any nameable bands but I played cover songs and actually all kinds of music from Jazz to Pop and Rock and so on.
Does your musical past have an influence on your current work with Birdy? Teemu: Of course! Everything has an influence on everything. Everything you do, everything you hear... Sometimes you`re not conscious of what influences you. However, I think our different backgrounds support that we are so versatile as a band. Visu: I played in quite many bands. Underground bands and cover bands. Now, I also have another band beside Birdy so currently I play in two bands but that`s not a problem for me. The other band is called "Mona" and you can check it out on www.myspace.com/monanspeissi. Make sure that it`s the Finnish one `cause there is another band with the same name from the US but I play in the Finnish one with the Finnish lyrics and we are more Pop.
So how would you describe the musical style of Birdy? Visu: Birdy?!? [Silence] Tintti: Now you get us silenced... Visu: It`s hard to describe your own music... Well, mainly Rock music but... Tintti: A kind of Melodic Rock maybe. There are so many spices of different kinds of musical styles... As Teemu said, we have that different backgrounds... Teemu: We don`t have a category - We make our own category! [Laughter]
And who came up with the band`s name? Tintti: Oh, that was not easy! To find a name for the band was a problem in fact. There were many options but everything sounded too difficult or not so... Jarmo: Who invented it? Tintti: It was Mika, our manager. Visu: He has done a lot for the band! Actually, we just play in the band... [Laughter] Tintti: Yeah, it was Mika who came up with the idea of that name and... Well, I liked it a lot. It`s short, it`s easy, it`s beautiful... I think that our logo is quite nice as well. And if you hear the name "Birdy" you can`t really guess what kind of music we are playing... Teemu: By the way, "Tintti" is also the name of a bird in Finnish - and Tintti is our singing bird! [Laughter]
It`s all about birds; you even have a tattoo of a bird in a cage on you arm. Did it hurt? Tintti: A bit. It started at some point to hurt but the session took some hours so... I got it about eight, nine months ago... And I want some more!
As you are not rich and famous with Birdy yet: What are you doing beside the band? Tintti: Well, I`m a store manager in a clothing store and I`m quite busy with that. Visu: I do gigs with the other band and I`m doing some other music stuff as well... Teemu: It`s called "freelance musician". We are all more or less freelance musicians but I also study and hope to graduate this spring. Jarmo: I`m a music teacher in an elementary school. Teemu (Drummer): I`m a musician. Drummer. And I`m a freelance musician, too.
After next weekend you will have played three gigs and two of them in Ruka which is near Kuusamo so in the North of Finland and therefore quite far away from Helsinki. How come you play again over there? Do you have connections in Ruka? Tintti: Well, the person who invited us really likes the band and so we were asked to come again to Ruka but it`s a different event. "Spring Break" is a bigger event than "Wappulounas" and the other Finnish bands over there are all kind of big in Finland - and then there will be Birdy. [smiles] Visu: We are the only small band in there. Everyone else there has a quite huge name in Finland, e.g. Lapko, Jenni Vartiainen, Manna, Paleface, Capital Beat...
Who takes care of your profiles on myspace, facebook et cetera? Tintti: I take care of it. Me and Mika. And I think that things are changing a bit when we have this EP and can promote ourselves by uploading the songs on myspace, for example, and do more updates on the profile... Visu: I prefer facebook. Myspace isn`t the same anymore. It isn`t what it used to be a few years ago. Myspace was very good but then something happened, I don`t know what... Teemu: Yeah, and all over sudden our background picture is gone... Tintti: Yeah, that`s because something happened with myspace. And now our graphic designer doesn`t have the time to fix it...
Maybe it`s time to get an own webpage... Tintti: Maybe we should think about it... Visu: I don`t think that bands really need own webpages nowadays. Most of the bandpages have the links to their profiles on facebook et cetera on the starting page - and that`s it.
That`s partly true but with an own webpage you can also have an own webshop with your merchandising. From whom would you buy merchandising? Or in other words: Who are your idols? Tintti: The Grunge period is still going on for me quite strongly... With bands like Alice In Chains, Stone Temple Pilots... When I was growing up, I kind of loved black female voices. And when I was a bit older, I started to listen also to Patti Smith, PJ Harvey... I think only a few voices really influence me or awake strong feelings in me, whether the songs are sung by male or female voices.
Have you ever seen PJ Harvey Live on stage? Tintti: No, unfortunately not yet. Hopefully next time when she comes to Finland. Isn`t she coming to Finland this summer? Or did I just dream it?
How about your own shows? Are there more festival gigs planned beside the one in Ruka? Tintti: Oh, yes! As you know, Turku is one of the European Capitals Of Culture this year and there will be this quite big festival called "Eurocultured". It will take place on 21st and 22nd May 2011 in Turku and you can find more information about that on www.turku2011.fi/en/event/eurocultured-festival_en. I think this festival also takes place in Manchester. There are artists and performances from all over Europe so it`s quite interesting. And it`s for free! And after that: Let`s see. When the EP is done, we will send it to bars, clubs, promoters and so on.
Will you send it also to record companies? Tintti: There are some plans of that kind and we are recording a new song called "A Hole In The Heart" and... There are many good ideas and plans but you shouldn`t talk about things until they are cut and dried.
If the time has come and you are able to do a collaboration with another female singer: Who would it be? Tintti: Of course, there are a lot of bands in Finland which would fit quite well to Birdy... Lots of this Melodic Rock bands... And, indeed, there are some female singers I could imagine to work with, too. But these are wishful thinkings so I can`t give you any names right now. Apart from that, I would prefer to sing with some strong male voices. It has always been my dream...
Can you give us any names for possible male duet partners? Tintti: Well, it sounds like a cliché but: Ville Valo! I think he is quite good. And Mikko Von Hertzen, the singer of Von Hertzen Brothers.
And what would you wish from our readers? What are your famous last words to them? Visu: Well, listen to us and love us! Tintti: We are ready to rock! Are you ready for us? Teemu: Listen to us and love us! Peace! [Laughter]