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Leverage: Living the dream

With their second album Leverage show what they are capable of. Critics all over Europe had the same opinion about Blind Fire, that this is one of the top albums of the year. Maybe with it Leverage will come to perform also in southern Europe. Before their gig in Helsinki´s On the Rocks Club, the charming singer Pekka Heino told us more about Leverage, their future plans and their magic spell on the ladies in the crowd.

Hello Pekka, thanks for your time. How are you doing today?
Thanks for asking I am doing ok, well a bit tired, but we look forward to a nice gig. It´s fun.

You will introduce your new songs, did you already had the chance to become familiar with them?
Well, yeah you know usually it takes about 4 to 5 gigs to, really put it in a spine so to say, but well, I´ll handle it, for sure.

Blind Fire was your second studio album; can you tell us something about the process, who´s writing the songs, where did you record it?
Yeah it´s pretty much the same as we did with our debut album “Tides”. Tuomas wrote most of the songs and Torsti did two songs for Blind Fire. He´s done a good job; you know, Tuomas is the main writer. You know, the process is very simple, me and Tuomas live in Helsinki and the rest of the guys live in Jyväskylä, so every time when Tuopi writes a new song and he puts it down on tape in his home studio, and he calls me up: “Hey man I got this new great song, come down and lay down the vocals”. So I go there and do my job and then a file goes to the other guys to Jyväskylä, check it out, that´s how it usually goes. The final arrangements will be put together at the rehearsals right before we start to record or like before we getting of to tours. That´s the process, and with Blind Fire its pretty much, actually the same as with Tides.

So that means that you don´t rehearse that much?
No, that´s true. Its actually, it´s a great advantage that we have that possibilities you know, Torstis studio, is real high tech its one of the best studios in Finland, so it takes usually about two weekends, and those rehearsals are really intensive so everybody has done their homework really well, so there´s no fucking around then when we rehearse.

You recorded the same time the new record with Brother Firetribe, isn´t it hard to give 100% to both bands at the same time?
Ah no, you know, I just so love to be in the situation right now, I just can play the kind of music I really love, with amazing people. You know, Brother Firetribe is the best side project in the whole universe, (laughs) Its just amazing the way we write songs, like still some kind of excuse to have a few drinks and to hang around with the guys, so I have absolutely no problem at all to give 100 %, just take care of my vocal parts.

What about the lyrics? Isn´t it hard to learn that many lyrics in one time?
Well you got that right …. (laughs) I am still in the middle of the learning process, you know. Tuomas writes all the lyrics, Leverage and I write all the lyrics in Brother Firetribe. So its kind of way easier to remember my own lyrics, you know, the way Tuomas writes lyrics, it´s just amazing, it´s really easy for me to kind of adapt them…as they are my own.

So you don´t have the problem that during singing you think,” shit, what was the text now?
I do it all the time. (Laughs) no no, nothing like that.

During the last year the hype around your person and around the bands fame become more and more, how do you handle this?
Well, that´s the last thing I consider. I don´t think I am a celebrity, no, nothing like that. It´s just that I can do the kind of music I love to do and it´s a huge bonus that some of the people seem to like it too. That´s the main thing right now, the music counts - nothing else.

Can you Imagine to have one day that big success like for example, Bon Jovi?
(Laughs) Well, ahm No I haven´t really thought about it. Well mhhh (speechless) I really haven´t thought about it. The main thing to me is to do some good music and that´s enough for me at all. I don´t think of success that much.

So you don´t wanna have that much success?
No no it´s all the same for me.

< What´s the biggest dream for you, concerning the music?
Well, I am living my dream right now, so honestly, yeah during the late 90´s I had a band, and we tried really hard, we all had this big rock ‘n ‘roll dreams...and when all that fell apart, all those dreams fell apart too. So you know I don´t have these castles made of sand, it´s not in my mind to be that big, I am just out there and enjoy myself playing this kind of music.

What are you doing when your not in the bands? (Studying, working, hobbies)?
Ah well I have to work for living, this stuff doesn´t pay the bills, not yet.
I have a lot of hobbies, I like Hockey, all kind of sports, I´m a bit of a movie freak, but mostly it kind of turns around music somehow... I own a lot of cds a lot of music DVDs stuff like that..

So isn´t it hard to manage two bands, family, friends and all the other stuff?
No, I just go with the flow. So far as I could.

Which song of Tides or Blind Fire means the most to you?
Well, I like them all..its kind of hard to name one, and say this is the one I like the best. But right now my favourite song on Blind fire, were we are talking about playing live, is “King of the Night” and mh whats the other song…. Oh “ Heart of Darkness. I really like those songs.

What about the plans with Leverage, is the a Europe tour planed or something?
Well, not at this point, there is nothing confirmed yet, but there is a talk about doing some Festival gigs, but nothings confirmed so..

What about supporting gigs?
That would be very nice. And hopefully something comes up.

I have heard Sebastian Bach is playing in Finland so that would be maybe a good combination?
Yeah that would be great combination we are big fans of Sebastian that would be cool. Hopefully something comes up but that´s not up to us, unfortunately.

I heard that you also work in other projects, I have seen you with Joe Doakes, and you also played with Terry Brock (e.g. Kansas, Steve Morse Band, Strangeways), is that right? How come?
Oh (surprised) well Joe Doakes is a great cover band from Finland, and those guys are friends of mine, so every now and then I just jump on stage with them and do a few gigs, having fun, nothing more, nothing less. They are great guys. And the way Terry Brock came up that was unbelievable, this guy is one of the most gifted singers in the world ever, he´s just amazing and I been a huge fan of his for so long, and for some reason Terry Brock and another great singer Danny Vaughn from Tyketto had this tour in Finland, played all these shitty little clubs everywhere and just this kind of towns that no one can imagine.

Photo: Satu Reunanen, www.rockunited.com

And I missed them as they performed together, and then a friend of mine called and said “hay Terry Brock is playing”. And I was “where´s the gig”, it was at Rock Town. And I was thinking, Jesus Christ yeah I have to go there. Then I can make it, and so we went there, had a few drinks, and then we were really looking forward to see Terry Brock live for the first time ever. So he hits the stage and he´s playing with am.. don´t remember the guys name, some other guitarist (Patrick Luoti, the ed.) and then Erkka Korhonen of Ex-Urban tale he featured in a couple of songs, and I am there having my fifth beer or something ...enjoy myself, and Terrys singing. And suddenly he says: “I´ve heard that there is Pekka from Brother Firetribe in the audience, is that true?” And I was like “Oh shit!” yeah Shoot myself! And then he said „Hey why dont you come on stage and sing a song with me? Let´s have some fun!” And it was so amazing, I went on stage and we the Eagles song “Hotel California “

Must have been a great feeling
Well you know, with a few beers and I haven´t done the song for so long... So Terry helped me out with the lyrics every now and then, but it´s cool and he´s the nicest guy in the world.

If you could choose a big band to support, who would that be?
Oh If I could choose … well, I don´t know ,it would be great to find some big band who plays the same kind of music as we do, so the audience would be kind of talkative but I don´t know, any big band would do, you know, the bigger the better. I haven´t really thought about it. But it would be great, Van Halen is touring right now ..sooo that would be nice. (Laughs)

Who knows, maybe one day. So do you have a final message for STALKER readers?
Well, thank you so much for the support, be careful out there and check out Blind Fire. See you soon.

Thank you
Thank you!

Author: Sandy Mahrer, photos: Leverage, Sandy Mahrer, Satu Reunanen, www.rockunited.com
Date: 2008-04-07

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