Radio Rock April 25th 2012
You can listen here
Thanks to Dark Side of Light for translating
Host: That was of course Korn and Narcissistic Cannibal. But let’s move on to Finnish music: Marko from Poets of the Fall hello.
Host: It’s been a little while now since your album came out.
Marko: Yeah, it’s been a while but it’s still a very current thing for me. We’re just buzzing, running around and going abroad and different places in Finland, talking to people about it on radio, on TV and at gigs. And magazines.
Host: A little here and there.
Host: Temple of Thought is the name of the album. And like you said, you’ve given a lot of interviews to other countries as well. What’s the most exotic one that you’ve come across so far?
Marko: Right today I had one from Egypt. Nothing special there, the English was good and all but if I remember correctly I’ve never done an interview to Egypt before. I’ve given some to Israel and some other places which you wouldn’t first think about giving an interview to.
Host: Well at least when it comes to rock music consumption, it’s not the first country that comes to mind.
Marko: At least it’s not the first and foremost country that Finnish rock musician would think of.
Host: But this is your fifth album already. So how is the creating process… does it become easier or more difficult the longer you’ve been around?
Marko: Well, some of the things we know how to do already. So in some ways we have our own ways of doing certain things already and they work very well. But there are times when you need to take a break from everything and live your life and to experience and run around and bang your head on the wall. You have to have experiences so you will know what to write about and what to feel and what to bring forth in the songs. So the more you go into the extreme there, the more difficult making the music gets. And as an artist you’re always careful not to repeat yourself.
Host: Your new album is kind of… it makes you feel very visual. When you were planning… When you started to work on the new album, did you have any specific vision about the way it should sound or did you have some landscapes on your mind?
Marko: Let’s just say that the landscapes appear when something starts playing in your head. For me personally… Actually I should map out how Olli and Captain see this thing, or feel, or hear. But I see stuff like pieces for movies and I can just look at it and write about what I see. Or it feeds the feelings and feelings in turn feed the music. If anyone plays something that creates a feeling, I automatically start to hum or sing something on top of it.
Host: When it comes to making notes… When this clip of a movie comes to your mind, how do you write it down so that you will remember what it was about even later on?
Marko: It has been pretty much a mess and a stream of consciousness. And usually I write in a bit of a panic, because I need to find a piece of paper to write on or a mobile phone so I can turn on the recording program. And then you hum something very vague into it which is really difficult to interpret later on. But then I always get empty envelopes from the paper trash basket. Maybe we could photograph some of them and put them into the booklet, like “this is how we worked on it”. And they’re full of all kinds of little doodles and pieces of phrases which end up in the final song either partially or fully. That’s the first impression on the song and a stream of consciousness, like I’m trying to say something here and I have something to say. And you write something like la-la-laaa and then in the end it ends up being the third phrase on the right in that song. Maybe. Something like that.
Host: Maybe… How was the album making process this time? Was it blood, sweat and tears or did it come easy?
Marko: It never comes easy. It really is blood, sweat and tears in many different ways. You have to experience and live and take in the painful things in life and take in the painful things at the studio when we don’t agree on something. We have happy moments too of course, like this worked out perfect. But we get into arm wrestling when the timetable is starting to get tighter along with everyone’s nerves. And last year we were doing a lot of management stuff at the same time, we were going through a large amount of possible affiliates in Finland and abroad, bigger and smaller record labels and we negotiated contracts with them and it was like “read up this contract and then work on the lyrics a little before we start to record some of your vocals and I’ll do the guitars in the mean while and program in the drums and we should think about updating our website and check out our Facebook” and stuff. It was a really bizarre mix of things. I… Last year I learned to escape from the studio somewhere to the beach with my recording device and some paper. Every time I got a piece of music from Olli for example, like he had created a structure for the song and I went to write the lyrics at the beach so that no one would know where I was.
Host: Like “Please, let me just have a moment of peace”.
Host: Let’s listen to a song I just had to pick from this album: the last song, The Happy Song, which is very different from the rest of the album. What can you tell us about it?
Marko: I think it’s really great that it’s on that album. When you’ve listened through the album in a certain kind of mood you have to let go of it before you can listen to it again. That’s why it’s in there as some sort of a… well, a bitch slap to your face if I can say so.
Host: That’s exactly what it is. Let’s listen to it now, Poets of the Fall – The Happy Song.
Host: I’m guessing that there are quite a few people out there who are now wondering if this really is Poets of the Fall. But it really is. We have Marko here in our studio to talk about the band’s new album but… That really was a different kind of Poets of the Fall.
Marko: Yeah, you have to be able to do the kind of stuff that feels good and what comes out. It’s fun to look at some of the things in hindsight, like “so that’s the kind of stuff we used to do, guys… what were we thinking?”
Host: What were we thinking…
Marko: But that was a really fun song to record. Because there are like 5 to 8 different characters that you have to pull off. Like first you’re this schizophrenic killer and next you’re the miserable stalker and this character and that character and this one again and then you have to sing through the whole thing like that. Like “Ok, how does it sound? I told you I’m a psycho!”
Host: Your music has… and always had, a very visual element to it. Your music videos are excellent and so forth. So when are you going to be making a movie?
Marko: Oh-hoh-hoh-hoh, when we have a shitload of money.
Host: But how important is the visual side to the band? Do you all share a love of movies for example?
Marko: I could imagine that the visual side is very important to all of us. And since we all are addicted to perfection in a way, like total junkies, we want to be very much involved in it. The music videos are very much a part of the songs so it’s nice to be able to work on those as well. At least I find all that close to my heart and very important. I guess it comes from seeing the first music videos as a kid and thinking that they suck and I’d like to do better ones.
Host: You were watching Michael Jackson’s Thriller and thought it was just shite.
Marko laughs: Yeah, like I should get to do it myself so that it would be properly done. I guess it came from defiance like that and being a visual person, things really have to look like something and fit just right. And of course one works through their own vision of it and other people will see it the way they do. It’s good to go with your own vision.
Host: Yeah, music videos are starting to be an extinct species. Is it worth putting all the money into really good looking videos anymore?
Marko: That’s a good question. You can basically create music videos without spending much at all. But on the other hand you can spend insane amounts into them and in my opinion there’s no sense in doing that. Even though it’s marketing and a tool for marketing the cost can be something that you start to think if you’d rather just start smoking and get yourself a cancer than pay that much for something like that. But, well… I think some things are worth doing if you want it. Of course there are things that pull you back to reality, like money. But still.
Host: Those little details.
Marko: But music videos are still pretty much necessary in the music business. If you try to get ahead to new territories, they want the whole package. They want the album published, they want the concerts, radio play and interviews. And the music videos. In a way it’s simply a part of it.
Host: How much do you think your music videos, which are really brilliant, have actually advanced your career out there in other countries where they actually play the videos on some channels?
Marko: They are important in my opinion and they have helped a lot. If you think about Carnival of Rust music video, it has over 10 million views. And every time I do an interview to some foreign country they always ask about the videos. So I get to talk about them a lot. And it’s really cool that people take notice of them because we’ve put much thought into them and we’ve invested money into them and we’ve tried to do them as well as possible. And it’s great to see people interested in them. And the characters I play in the videos, they change ever so slightly in their appearance and even name, but it’s very much a part of our concept as Poets of the Fall and so. It’s theatrical in a way, and something we like to aspire to. I think it would be really boring to get on stage if you can’t let go a little bit. If you take on a character do the concert through the character, it’s much easier to depict the stories behind the songs and to live in the moment.
Host: Yeah, if all you did was stand and hold on to your mic, it would be really boring to watch.
Marko: Yeeeeah, and it’s a bit of a performance. You wear your character and you are the character for a while it gives you a sense of surreal madness and everything’s simply a lot more fun.
Host: It’s more fun for you too? During the song we talked about going abroad and your album will be coming out there as well. When was it, at the end of summer?
Host: What kind of buzz do you have going on in Central Europe for example?
Marko: Surprisingly good. Our fist singles have started to roll and we didn’t even expect something quite so big to happen. We got a list of several radios from large to small ones who have added out single to their playlist. We were like “what?!” It’s really nice and now we have all our fingers crossed and thumbs up so that it would start to go forward from there. We’ve been doing a lot of ground work there for years and now we’ve found a really good bunch of people to help us out with creating a buzz, so all we can do now is to hope for best.
Host: You’ve always done things by yourselves a lot. How difficult has it been to form contacts when you don’t have a bit multi-national record label backing you up? How difficult is it to get people even to hear you out, what you’re about?
Marko: Well, if you think about the fact that today is Poets of the Fall’s 9th birthday and this is the point where we are now. It’s clearly taken a few years to work on all of it and to look for contacts and to find the right ones.
Host: So it hasn’t been the easiest thing in the world?
Marko: No, it hasn’t necessarily been the easiest thing in the world.
Host: Have you ever felt like “oh shit”?
Host: Like now we really have to get that deal in that country.
Marko: Yeah, you sometimes start feeling like it’s not going to work out at all, let’s just call it quits and something comes along that we could get but it’s just totally shit, but should we take it anyway. We’ve ended up not taking that route.
Host: Like you wouldn’t have to do everything all by yourselves?
Marko: Yeah. Stuff like that comes along. On the outside it might look like we’re going up to the sky like a rocket but when you’re on the inside there’s a fist coming through every single door and window that you bump into before you reach the end of the corridor where the light is shining.
Host: That sounded pretty bad! That’s where the light is shining.
Marko laughs: That’s where the light is shining.
Host laughs: Don’t walk towards the light.
Marko laughs: …towards the light.
Host: This is a good place to end our chat, except please tell us where your next gigs in Finland are going to be.
Marko: During the weekend we’ll be in Helsinki, at Pressa. And we have a couple of boat cruise gigs coming up and then we go to Tallinn. And for the rest of May we’ll record some stuff in the studio. And during the summer there are going to be some open air festivals and nightclub gigs in Finland and we’ll have those along the autumn until winter if I remember right. Check out Poets website for more information because I only know that our tour manager tells me where to be on that day so I should remember to come to the tour bus so that we can put you on stage. I never know where I am on some specific day. All I know that tomorrow I have a gig.
Host: So they tell you that it would be nice if you were on the bus as well so that you can be taken to the gig. You don’t need to know where it is.
Marko: Olli always comes to pick me up from home, like “let’s go, now”.
Host: That sounds somehow endearing.
Marko: Can’t deny that.
Host: You don’t have to worry about a thing.
Host: But hey, thank you for being able to visit us.
Marko: Thanks, it was fun.