Once again a Finnish band raised our attention, at Trash Fest III (see our report here). It´s quite astonishing that SPIRITRAISER (Vocals:Jaakko, Guitar:Uula, Bass:Ande, Guitar2: Tommi) are still trying to land a record deal, although they have been around for a while and just released a single on iTunes. Yet if label people were present at those shows, they soon should be presented with a contract... until then we can present them as our new Fresh Act of the month, hereby introduced by Jaakko and Uula before they went on stage.
When did you found the band, and why, what was your inspiration? Jaakko: I think it was summer 2005, and we just happened to meet... Uula: ... we just met each other and it felt right Jaakko: We both had been in different kinds of bands. I first met our old drummer, who has now left the band, we were playing more Rock´n´Roll kind of music, besides we were doing rather psychedelic Stoner Rock stuff, with the Bass player and Uula, and then at one moment we felt we have to try something together, and it worked, it was like… magic (laughter) magic, really, yeah! Because it worked. Although we were not as good as we are now, but it worked ... Uula: Yeah, and it sounds like that... Jaakko: ...and it sounds original, at the most...
How did you end up in the Mama Trash family? Jaakko: That´s actually a quite funny story. I had added Mama Trash as a friend on Facebook, because we have a lot of friends in common. And one morning I was late for work, and I went to Facebook, it was 7 o´clock already and I should have been half an hour ago at my job, and the only one online was Jo (= Mama Trash, the ed.). And I was like “oh shit my phone is lost, could you please call me? I cannot find it” (laughs) and she replied “what? who are you?” “Doesn´t matter, I have to find my phone, I lost it last night”, so she called my phone and obviously checked my profile, discovered that I am the singer of this band, and then with little steps forward it happened, she asked us to join the family.
That´s pretty cool! Jaakko: (laughs) Yeah, that´s a strange story Uula: ...that losing your phone can lead you into something like that
Well, bad luck can be not such bad luck after all Jaakko: No it can change, sometimes you have to think that things happen for a reason... I think so.
You released your first official singe “Apollo´s Child” (available on iTunes, see the band´s websites, the ed.) – so tell us something about the song, how was it written, who wrote it, the lyrics, what´s the story behind it?
(laughter) Jaakko: Actually, that´s another funny story... Uula: It started as a little bit of a joke, perhaps four years ago I was playing this silly riff, really fast....
Jaakko: ... like Psychobilly kind-of-stuff... Uula: It sounded like Country Rock or something... Jaakko: ... and I was like “come on, this is good, but lower it one or two octaves”... Uula: ...and I played it more slowly... Jaakko: ... if that riff is played some octaves higher and fast, it really sounds... funny, like Country... Uula: But it started with this riff, and we have been building it since, and now it feels like it´s finished Jaakko: Actually Sammy, the singer of Private Line, produced the song and did the final steps to make it complete
So who is Apollo´s child then? Jaakko: It´s a metaphoric story ...
(Bass player Ande comes in to say “HI!” but disappears right afterwards) Jaakko: Apollo is in Greek mythology the protector god of musicians and artists, and it is a story about being outside of this circle that kind-of runs people to act like robots
Oh you mean that “you cannot escape your destiny” stuff? Jaakko: No, it´s more about being an artist and not following the rules... Uula: Don´t live in the box, live outside of it – kind of Jaakko: Yeah
You also made a video to that song – so where can it be found? Jaakko: It´s not finished yet Uula: Some editing needs to be done, but it can soon be found on our website, and of course YouTube
You also participated in a band contest of Finnish Radio Rock, and you ended up in the top 5 of over 800 participants – so how was that experience? Jaakko: Well... (laughs) Uula: For me it was nothing special – and I don´t mean it like that, it was fun to do, but I don´t like competitions, because I think you should not compete in music. But – we got some good new contacts from it and got to play live shows Jaakko: And actually because we participated, we have been promised a spot in the Radio station´s play list, as soon as we release the single officially, and that´s going to be useful for us.
As I see this poster here on the wall, this other famous Finnish band competition for young people, “Ääni ja Vimma”, I heard that so many now famous bands are connected with it, so have you ever been part of this youth center scene? Uula: No, we haven´t been playing there with this band, that´s for younger musicians.
So even when you were kids you haven´t started making music like jamming in a youth center rehearsal room and then starting a band or something? Uula: No we started in our own ways, and eventually then somebody told me that there´s a band looking for a guitar player and bass player... something like that.
But what inspired you to become musicians when you were kids? Jaakko: LIFE! (laughter) Art is a way to express yourself. Music for me was the only way to find myself, actually... Uula: Yeah, music has always felt like the right thing to do, first I listened and when I started to play, it felt that I really NEEDED to play, there was no other option, you just have to do it Jaakko: There was nothing else for me that I could finish before this, you know, that I had patience to work with - this is just who we are!
Maybe it also has something to do with Finnish winters...being stuck... Jaakko: We´re not a very Gothic or melancholic band, just like – I don´t know, making music straight from our hearts...
I have this theory about “why there are so many good bands from Finland”, that in Finnish winters, when it´s sooo cold outside and there´s so much snow, you simply cannot do much, except hanging out in a rehearsal place and make music... Uula: Yeah... Jaakko: Yeah. I think, probably the one thing that has been a connection for us is The Doors, that´s the thing we both love and started with...
So what are your plans for this year – besides finishing the video? Jaakko: Actually making an album, getting the financing for it. We have a pretty good chance now to get there. Uula: Make new songs, get the album out next year and starting with it this year.
So how about tonight, are you a bit excited? Jaakko: Of course, always Uula: You always have to be a bit excited, that helps
Final question – what is your biggest wish, what do you want to achieve with this band? Jaakko: I want to be the biggest Rock star in the Universe, of course Uula: I want to make a living for myself, with playing... and to travel, I´d love to see the world while playing, in different countries... Jaakko: ...with somebody else´s money (laughter) Uula: Well, yeah, that too... but... just play and keep playing.
As continuing our chat at Trash Fest after their show(s) didn´t work out, Jaakko agreed to answer a few more questions via e-mail: As your drummer (and founding member) Arttu Stenius left the band in January, who played with you at Trash Fest, and do you have a replacement already?
The drummer Kristian Merilahti has been with us for a few shows and yes we are thinking about keeping him in the band as a permanent member.
Your summary of the Trash Fest?
I had the time of my life that weekend and I had a great time with my friends, and made some new ones too. Mama Trash is the kind of person this planet should be filled with :) Kind and not a bit selfish.
I heard that a band member works at Nosturi club, so was that a factor to be extra-nervous?
I´m not sure, gotta ask Uula about that. But i think he managed that very well on Saturday. Thanks to Sammy from Private Line for mixing the stage monitors during our show and other stuff ;)
One thing that popped up watching your performances was "Soundgarden", because your voice reminds me of Chris Cornell, the other association was "The Tea Party" - which is not that easy to pin down WHY ... so what´s your theory why my brain connects Spiritraiser with The Tea Party?
I think Spiritraiser has this Soulfulness and Shaman thing going on that The Tea Party does as well (amongst others like The Cult), maybe its because we all fell in love with The Doors music when we were little. We are trying to bring the 60´s/70´s Charisma to 2010 and play the music by heart, rather than overthink/produce everything and lose something in the process. But I personally like some of the 80´s/90´s stuff also alot, like Skid Row, Gun´s N´ Roses, Mötley Crue, Soundgarden etc. That´s propably why I sing like i do. High pitched.
Why the ape in the logo? Are you planning to free the animals at Korkeasaari? (= The Zoo island of Helsinki, the ed.)
The Ape logo is designed by my good friend Antti Meriluoto and it came from our idea of monkeys (people) going round in this mood cycle and theres this one big monkey (Spiritraiser) screaming to them to lift their spirit back up when they go down :D I love monkeys, have one monkey head tattooed on my back also.
There´s this huge retro-movement in the Pop scene (60s sound -Amy Winehouse, Duffy etc), so do you think also the Rock/Metal scene would go further back than 80s Goth/Trash/Power Metal (which had happened already)?
I really do hope so.
If the band members were characters in Star Wars, who would be which character?
I think Uula would be Obi-wan Kenobi, I would be Anakin Skywalker, Ande would be Chewbacca and Tommi, Jabba the Hut.
Imagine one of your songs, e.g. Apollo´s Child, would be chosen for a TV commercial - for TAMPONS. Would you agree to do that...?
Never ....or what else would be "the band´s worst nightmare"?
My personal nightmare would be that we would lose this brotherly feeling in the band and at the same time, ability to make magic.