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The band has been around in the Finnish Dark Rock scene since 1996,will finally release their second album "Dead to the Past, Blind for Tomorrow" in mid March.Juha Kylmänen (vocals) and Mikko Uusimaa (bass) explained to STALKER why the band and sexual intercourse have something in common...
So how’s it going, now the studio is over, how do you guys feel? Mikko: At the moment we’re just waiting for the single releases. The album will be out on March, and all of us are very excited about it. Juha: I feel great of course. It’s been quite a while since our debut, so I’m eager to see how people will response to the new material.
What should the fans expect from the new record, any surprises? Mikko: I’m quite sure that there will be some surprises. The whole package is bit different from each note to album artwork. Juha: The new stuff is a bit harder, and I have to say that the new stuff is better in every level that counts. Songwriting, sounds, arrangements etc.
How is the situation with the record label, have you worked together before or is it new, how did you find each other? Mikko: Our new label (Mach XX) released our first album in Europe, and we knew them through that. Juha: Mach XX did their job really good concerning the first album, so it’s was an easy decision to work with them again.
And how was it in the studio, any exciting accidents? Mikko: No accidents, just hard working and quite tight schedules. Juha: Nothing that special. We divided the sessions to four different studios and that way we managed the schedule things. And this time it worked well this way.
How come you’ve recorded at two different studios, first Helsinki and then Oulu?! Mikko: Juha lives in Helsinki and the others in Oulu, so it’s quite understandable decision. And actually most of the drums were recorded in Lahti at Grooveland studios. Juha: Actually we worked in Lahti at Grooveland and Wave Sound studios, in Oulu at Tonebox studio and in Helsinki at Soundtrack and at Perfect Sound studios.
What was it like to work with Aksu Hanttu (Entwine, Tuoni)? Mikko: Aksu is a great guy who knows how to get best out of the band. Juha: Aksu has an exceptional gift to produce songs, simply because he is a musician himself. Not just a technical person but a musician. He had some very good tips and ideas and it seemed to work very well.
So how many songs and what would be the first single? Mikko: The album “Dead to the Past, Blind for Tomorrow” contains in total 11 songs. The first single is “Weak and Tired” and it was released in digital format on January. And another single, called “Twilight Child”, will be released in February.
Who composed the lyrics and the music? What is the main theme of the album? What are the lyrics about, more fiction or personal? Mikko: Juha did most of the songs and lyrics, but there is also one song by me and couple of songs which are co-written by Juha, Juhani and Ilkka. Juha: The lyrics are mainly sad and complaining about why the things have to so fucking hard all the time. Basically my lyrics are stories from everyday life with some twist of black humor, self-irony and imagination.
How do you feel it is different to “Out of the Dark”? Mikko: It sounds much better and songwriting has also developed since the first album. More variety between songs, heavier songs - the heaviest stuff we’ve ever made.
You’ve recorded the new album almost exactly a year after the first record came out! So how long did it actually take you to write the new material? Mikko: The first album was recorded already 2005, and new songs kept coming out all the time, but most of the work for the new album was done between autumn 2006 and summer 2007. Juha: Yep. I think it’s was late autumn 2006 when we did our first demo session concerning the material on the new upcoming album.
We haven’t heard the complete album yet, thus how would you describe it? Which songs would you recommend me to listen first? Which one song would you say describes the essence of the band the best and in what way? Mikko: Those two single songs, “Weak and Tired” and “Twilight Child”, describe the overall sound of the album quite well, but to get the wider view it is necessary to listen to the album completely from the beginning to end. Juha: Like Mikko said earlier, the new album is very variable for its music, so I think that the overall view will be hard to say before listening to the whole album.
What is the idea behind album’s artwork? Who and how developed it, did the whole band participate in design? Mikko: Vesa Ranta (ex-Sentenced) did the artwork and took also the promo pictures. He had the main responsibility but the whole band gave their own ideas too. Juha: We were quite open minded about the artwork, and Vesa had a great idea for the album cover that we all liked right away.
What are the songs you are the most proud of? Mikko: That one own song of course. And from the others, “Dancing in the Air” is one of the best songs on the album. Juha: I’m quite proud of “Dead without you” as that song is my own writing, but Jolma’s song called “Just one word (Goodbye)” is definitely one of my favorites too.
What kind of mood and state of mind were you, when composing music and writing lyrics for the new album? Did it take a lot of time and inspiration? Do you even believe in inspiration? Mikko: Well, I don’t know whether it’s inspiration or not, but at least for me, composing music is melodies and other stuff that just come to my mind. And usually the lyrics are related to the past things. Juha: Writing music is like built in to me. It comes automatically, or should I say naturally, if and when it is to come. So yes, somehow I believe in inspiration, because I can’t write music whenever I want, I write when I feel like it. The situations changes, sometimes I get melodies in my head while sitting in my car in a horrible traffic jam or something. But definitely most of the ideas come to my head at the middle of the night when I should get some sleep, but I just keep rolling in my bed thinking about some melody that bounces my head without mercy. I have to get up and write it down to get some sleep.
How do you write your songs, what it the process? Wine and candlelight, moonlight… Juha: No wine, no candlelight. Piece of paper and an acoustic guitar does the trick. Mikko: First we do some demos with the computer, then rehearse and arrange them with the whole band and after that record them in our rehearsal place. That’s the way it usually goes. Though in October 2006 we were in our summer cottage in Lapland and composed many songs for the upcoming album together.
What do you think makes Reflexion unique and gives it a personality among other Finnish bands? Mikko: I don’t see our band so unique that I should invent some nice terms or genre definitions. For me, it’s just hard rock with some northern melancholy. But the personality for the music comes from five totally different persons who still have something common and unique in a musical manner. Juha: I agree with Mikko. I would say that if you are looking for something different DO NOT listen rock music because it’s never unique , It wasn’t meant to be unique. Reflexion is like bad sex. It’s about having fun and giving yourself a change to feel happiness and sadness during a four minute act.
Having adopted this kind of very beautiful name, with an obvious deep meaning, you must have some believes in paranormal and supernatural? Or what do YOU believe in? What is your philosophy? Mikko: Mostly I believe in the truth and the people who carry it. Juha: I believe in today. Today is the most important moment. Not tomorrow, not yesterday.
At what point in your career did you realize that it’s actually going somewhere more serious than just a hobby? Mikko: At this point this is a very serious “hobby” which is part of my everyday life. But at the moment, I don’t see it more important than some other everyday parts of my life. Wholeness comes from many little pieces and music is one piece that can’t be missing. Juha: For me this has never been a hobby. It’s a way of life.
Now a few words about the band members:
The WEIRDEST thing about Raymond? Juha: I don’t know if its weird or not but Ray likes to scratch his balls, smell his fingers and then he offers the fingers to others to smell them. I’ve got used to it during these years.
The CUTIEST thing about Ilkka? Juha: Ilkka is one of the most warm hearted and caring guy I’ve ever known
The FUNNIEST thing about Juhani? Juha: Juhani likes to tell the worst jokes ever and laugh at them with Ilkka. Usually I don’tget them and I think they are mostly laughing at me.
The most ROMANTIC thing about Juha? Mikko: I haven’t spent any romantic moments with Juha, but I think that ability to share his feelings and experiences trough music makes him most romantic person from us.
The most ANNOYING thing about Mikko? Juha: When Mikko drinks more than he should to, he can’t see anymore, it’s weird but true.
How much expirience in touring abroad do you have? For example, Russia… How was it there? Any memorable stories? Excited fans? Mikko: We have been once in Russia and once in Germany. Russian journey was probably the one of the best ones and audience was totally awesome. It felt like we’re bigger than we actually are. Also WGT gig was great because we had an opportunity to play in main stage with such a good show time. Juha: It was awesome to be in Russia I’m really looking forward to be there again (be aware, we’re coming back on April!). Germany was quite a short trip but it was great to play in a big stage and to see how different kind of people liked our music.
You obviously get a lot of female attention, do you enjoy it or is it annoying sometimes? Mikko: I’m quite neutral with that and it doesn’t affect to my personal life. Juha: So far I don’t see the attention annoying. It belongs to any performers life to get attention whether you want it or not.
What were you like as a child? Mikko: I was small and introvert. Juha: Weak and worried.
And then, do you see yourself as a family man in the future, children, etc, or a wild rocker for life? Mikko: I guess we’re already so old guys that we wouldn’t change much though something big and wild happens. Juha: I’m a proud father of a beautiful little boy and it only makes me a better rocker and a deeper thinker. I have understood many new things from life after becoming a father.
What is love? Mikko: Usually it’s load of emotions but sometimes it’s just a one word among the others. Juha: Everything.
What kind of opportunities has music given you? Mikko: Live gigs are absolutely the best thing! And touring with good guys and some other good bands. Juha: To have fun with great guys and of course going to gig trips is awesome.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten? Mikko: Be yourself and take care of yourself. Juha: be helpful and caring.
Would you ever like to re-locate to Helsinki or another big city? Mikko: Maybe, but at the moment I rather stay here in Oulu.
What else musical/artistic would you like to accomplish? Mikko: I think we should make a music video and probably we also will… hmm… About other artistic issues I don’t have any idea. Juha: It would be great that we could keep recording our music and share it to the ones who likes it enough to keep listening it.
Would there be a video in support of the new record? If so, tell us about the story, what will be in it, etc. Juha: At the moment there are no plans of making a video.
What about For My Pain, should we expect something new fin the near future, or is there future for this band? And other side-projects? Juha: No plans what so ever at the moment. Mikko: Currently we don’t have any other projects but maybe something will come up in the future.
Especially for Juha from Turkish fans: any tips on hair care? Your fans seem to be very interested in this subject… Juha: Don’t wash your hair every day. Eat and drink well.
What is your own dream and motivation? Mikko: To stay sane and healthy. Without those things it’s quite impossible to do anything so I guess it’s also motivating thing for me. Juha: To be a good father and too keep doing music.
Would you ever see yourself competing at Eurovision? Mikko: I don’t know, why not? Juha: If there would be a chance, then of course.
Do you have any funny incidents during your band’s career? Juha: Nothing that interesting. Well ,.. At our first gig in Helsinki many years ago we missed our sound check because our gig bus bursted into flames in the middle of Helsinki’s most vivid center road and of course it was friday, four o’clock pm, and a hell of a traffic jam going on. The men in their Volvo’s and Armani suits stared to us when we jumped out of the burning bus at the middle of the road…huh it was quite something.
Who are the people behind the band? Do you study or work, since underground music such as yours, by definition shouldn’t bring in any income, so what else do you do for a living? Mikko: Musicians and weirdoes with high education. Most of us have our daily jobs.
Do you want to do collaborations and with whom? Mikko: Maybe, but it’s easier to say than done… I could do something with Paul McCartney. Juha: I can’t name anyone but it would be great to work with some other band sometime also.
What’s the most annoying question you’ve been asked? Mikko: There hasn’t been such a thing. Juha: “Tell us about the history of the band how it was formed and etc.” I’m sorry but I can’t stand the question anymore =) Mikko: Don’t be ashamed of your own history…though maybe I would also be ashamed if I would have played ten years with you guys
Are you happy? Mikko: Yep, most of the time. Juha: Only when it rains.
http://www.myspace.com/reflexionmusic Author: Marina Sidyakina, transl. K. Weber, M.L.Führ, photos: Vesa Ranta Date: 2008-02-20