Download audio (contains interview + You’re Still Here acoustic performance)
Thanks to Dark Side of Light for the transcript
Interviewer: How are you Marko and Olli?
Marko: Good, thank you, just good.
Olli: Good, I’m starting to cheer up by now.
Marko and Olli laugh.
Marko: Definitely. We both are restlessly hysterical by this time of the day.
Interviewer: What time did your day start?
Olli: Today at 3.20
Marko: yes, in the morning, or in the middle of the night
Marko: Last night it ended at 11 in the evening. You can count from there what kind of days of work we have.
Interviewer: Right, so you’ve been on morning TV.
Olli: Yeah, yeah
Interviewer: So how does warming up and performing a song happen at 4 am, the first rehearsals are right up aren’t they?
Marko: yes, they are right away. But still, uhh, for the first half an hour I just spent warming up my voice and then we ran the songs through a couple of time as rehearsal before… then all of a sudden it just happened, the energy flowed into your body and the voice was warmed up and you were able to perform. Surprisingly easily, because sometimes there are situations when it takes you two hours to get any decent voice out of yourself.
Olli: yes, we had time to train a little, it did good, you got your guitar to tune and yourself to the right play mood, the warm up helped. We couldn’t have done any better under the circumstances, it went surprisingly well so we’re satisfied with the performance.
Marko: We didn’t doze off in the middle of it.
Olli laughs: Exactly.
Interviewer: So now we are sitting in a studio where… it’s pretty comfy for a radio studio, they record all kinds of political debates here and such but what situations have you gotten yourselves into wen you have to do promotional work and stuff, what are those weirdest situations?
Marko: Something along the lines where I’ve been sleeping in the back room with a fever of 39,5 celcius and someone comes and wakes me that I have to do this one interview before the gig and..
Olli: yes, these situations when someone is sick are always unpleasent, but you just have to do it anyway, you can’t leave it undone or… once you’re doing this then you take care of it, but then there is India, it was just totally crazy.
Marko: Olli had a situation once where… after the gig in the middle of the night without no one telling us anything before hand these people came to get us and told us we are now going to be judges in this local band contest.
Olli: oh yes, in India, right.
Marko: And we were like “what is this thing?” and they tell us that it’s a thing that starts now at midnight and ends at 5 in the morning.
Interviewer: Oh my goodness.
Olli: It actually ended at 6 in the morning but we were able to push the task onto someone else.
Marko: Delegating is a wonderful thing.
Olli: Yes, but these things just sometimes come along and they would have been really insulted if we didn’t do it, so once again we just somehow had to take care of it and do it. All kinds of things happen. Sometimes you get locked up somewhere when you get lost or something else. I got locked up in out tour bus once, just before a concert, so all kinds of things happen.
Marko: The back-up tape was already on and everyone’s wondering why Olli isn’t here. He was locked up in the bus.
Interviewer: What kind of things do you refuse to do because I’m sure you get all kinds of requests to appear on shows and…
Olli: At least those that have nothing to do with our music. So if they want us on some reality TV, so far we have declined those rquests.
Marko: Celebs in the crazy house, it may be that we’ll never make an appearence.
Olli: Anyway all kinds of parties, and flaunting yourself in front of the press, we try to avoid those. It’s a 2 sided thing. On one hand it would be good to get a lot of attention and visibility, but you just have to decide if it’s worth it to go or pass.
Marko: I suppose it’s about why you’re involved in something, does it contribute to the thing you’re doing, your music and that you can advance in your career or is it fame for the sake of fame, that’s what we don’t… we don’t want to end up as so called tabloid trash.
Olli: Being in publicity when there’s something to say.
Marko: yes, perhaps there’s an idea like that behind it. We are the kind of guys who are in this for the music and making music, not for fame. Publicity is something that is part of the job but not the purpose of
Interviewer: So no Dancing With The Stars or Chorus War?
Olli: No, but Marko was actually asked for the Chorus War and he said no politely.
Marko: I don’t remember… actually I was asked for Dancing With The Starts, I’m not sure.
Olli: It’s very flattering to get asked, no problem there, but yeah, we decline those.
Marko: And then there’s the fact that we have so much work, we take care of our own record label, we take care of the band, we compose and write lyrics for other bands too than just for ourselves so we are already so busy with our thing that between the three of us we don’t have the time or energy to agree to just about anything, so we have to choose carefully what we do.
Interviewer: What kind of work is this managing a record label?
Olli: Yes! And you have to do some real work, hehe.
Interviewer: To earn your bread.
Olli: It kind of makes you feel that now that you’re also doing this so called real work, it’s easier to justify to yourself sometimes the… because sometimes you feel like that if you spend the morning playing my guitar, are you really working or not? Of course you are, but even I have this general notion of what’s real work and what isn’t and..
Marko: and it’s really difficult to stop that way of thinking.
Olli: yes it is, in a way it’s good when you tell people that you manage a record label and they’re like “oh, yeah, right” or if you tell them that you’re playing guitar in that band… it just gives a different kind of… even tho it’s the same thing.
Marko: when you say you play guitar in a band, the thought that other people form in their head is that you don’t really work.
Olli: yeah, “just playing little tunes”.
Marko: However when I have done all kinds of jobs during my career and studied and graduated to different professions, I have to say that this is the hardest job so far that I’ve had, and I’ve had pretty tight schedule work previously, so this really does pass for real work alright.
Interviewer: Talking about hard work, we already talked a little bit of touring and India that we talked about the last time you were here…
Olli: Yes, for sure, it’s the topic that always makes us talk.
Interviewer: Right, that you were able to… I think it was the initiative of a fan that you were able to play there.
Marko: Yes, yes.
Interviewer: So after India, have you had any other interesting experiences?
Olli: No, not really, we haven’t… or we learned from that trip that we won’t go to such exotic countries again without a reason. I’m not saying India was without reason, on the contrary it was a wonderful experience and very significant, but from now on we will try to focus on areas which are closer and concider carefully… But if we got a great offer from say Mongolia, I’m sure we would concider.
Marko: Yes, you have to have a focus point when your resources are limited. It was great to visit India, it was a real eye opener, a significant experience and there’s so much to tell about it, song themes that it inspired and… but we go to Russia a lot and we’ve been talking about going to China, but those are new areas. Our album has been released in Indonesia and such, but when you think about it purely as work, and what is sensible and what isn’t, then I’d have to say that focusing on a specific area that you actually have time and energy for is what pays off.
Dreaming Wide Awake is playing in the background.
Interviewer: A New album, the 4th, Twilight Theater and even we have already been playing Dreaming Wide Awake, and the first time it played some swedish speaking listener called and asked “what was that good song, I don’t understand finnish”.
Interviewer: What kind of contact do you have with your swedish listeners, do you get feedback or anything?
Marko: Yes, we get feedback from Sweden and all over the world, the listeners are quite enthusiastic about giving it to us. They’re in our facebook, they follow our twitter and send us messages there and of course people often want to see you before or after concerts, they wait for us outside or something. So they are quite eager to take contact.
Olli: Yes, very clearly, for example in Sweden now that we have Dreaming Wide Awake out now, it’s been playing nicely in radiochannels, much more than our earlier songs, so it looks like we have more swedish fans these days as well, and it’s easier to stay in touch with Twitter and FaceBook and all. We’re getting feedback and it’s useful, gives us an idea where we stand.
Interviewer: And there you just heard the ending of Dreaming Wide Awake, which can be found in the band’s newest album Twilight Theater. Soon we’ll be talking with Olli and Marko about touring in Russia, the state of music business today and these men’s views about it. Also conversation about console games. Many listeners all over the world found Poets of the Fall from a Max Payne 2 game, which displayed a Poets of the Fall single Late Goodbye. And now the same trick is renewed in the game Alan Wake, which includes their song War.
The radiostation plays War.
Interviewer: Right at the beginning of your path you had the song Late Goodbye in Max Payne game and it must have made a difference in how the news of this band spread to perhaps a little unexpected listeners. And now you have your song War in the game Alan Wake.
Marko: Yes, that’s true.
Interviewer: Do ou have any expectations of it, does it seem like a good idea and a good trick to spread your music to have your song appear in this context?
Marko: That it is, absolutely yes. Whenever we’ve had the chance to do this, we’ve thought that it’s well worth it, so if you get an opportunity that it works out, then yes we’re in. Of course there’s the thing thatin the game industry, especially with some Alan Wake where our song is in, the success in the world is still only increasing and it means that the amount of listeners we’re getting through it is enormous compared to what we could do on our own or invest into our marketing. So it’s very good, and movies where you can get into, TV-shows and even some bigger advertising campaigns are excellent tools.
Late Goodbye playing.
Interviewer: Well it would be interesting to hear your opinion about the talk of these days revolving around music industry, how it’s in so much trouble and you hear very different opinions of it. Some artists and bands you meet say that yes, it’s a huge problem and some say that it’s only the big labels who have no idea what to do and how to make more and more money and that now small labels have the advantage in the markets and yatta yatta. What is your opinion on the matter?
Olli: Do you mind if I answer this?
Marko: Go ahead.
Olli: See, I was just in a conference, in this meeting for small labels in Finland, and I didn’t notice any kind of give up-mentality at all and I don’t want to start instigating such moods either. It isn’t the nicest situation when people are listening more music, or at least not less, than before, but it’s not selling well, so something is wrong, and it’s ofc the illegal sharing and distributing of music. But when you think outside that particular problem, I’d say it’s not too bad and we try to make the best of it.
Marko: Let’s put ut this way. Making a living by making music is still very possible, but we also don’t like to downplay the problem at hand, because if you sweep it under the carpet with the mentality that it’s just fine, then people will forget that improvements need to be done. Of course the world changes and the way buyers behave changes and it affects what it affects but it can also change to a different direction with any luck.
Interviewer: Are there some different new things that you’re focusing your efforts on? Do you think about this in the view of your own label and its artists and your own band?
Olli: Well, yes…
Marko: Yes, we do think about it from that view, because when you think about the starting point where we were earlier, that is we were trying to get signed on a big label but then created our own, so we already have moved to the direction that we think is sensible these days, at least we see it that way. We anticipated it years ago, but I still think that we have the best resources to invest in ourselves than anyone else has. Except if we were Tokio Hotel or Lady GaGa.
Olli laughs: Yes, exactly, the situation for us is that we can choose how much we want to invest on ourselves, so in that sense this is an ideal thing in this music business situation. Big labels are investing more and more on big stars and very carefully focus on just few newcomers. So if we were a less important band in a big label it would be very difficult to get the financing or support needed from a big label, or why not a small label too, but now that we are our own masters, we can choose to focus on Sweden and Germany for example, and this is the direction things are moving these days.
Interviewer: Then a little bit of your future plans. You’re going to Russia for a few concerts right in near future.
Olli: Yes, we’re departing on Thursday. St. Petersburg, Moscow and Yekaterinburg and we’re excited. Actually I just heard that the concerts have been selling well so we should have full venues.
Interviewer: Ok, so what kind of places do you have concerts in?
Marko: They’re concert halls for about 2000 people where we have them.
Interviewer: Ok, about your life on the road. We were talking earlier that you had a real muffin feast in your hotel last night, you went grocery shopping a little bit. When you go to places like Russia, do you have any time to get acquainted with the local foodculture… or drinking culture?
Marko: Yes we have time.
Olli: Yes, yes!
Marko: Both of them.
Olli: Russia actually has a very interesting and delightful food culture from a finnish point of view. They have some things that feel strange, like the use of salt everywhere, even in bottled sparkling water, but they have the wonderful blinis, very good alcohol products so all in all I don’t think food has made any kind of a negative memory about Russia, we’ve had some culinary pleasures there.
Interviewer: Actually this is what I was aiming at, you rarely hear about the good sides of touring. Do you have any personal interests that you have time to do or is it only the bus and concerts and hotels?
Marko: In new places you always try to see the city a little, to get a feeling what it’s like and it’s very nice and adventurous to go roaming as a group or as a pair or alone, some people jog and run around the place and the guitar players always check out the instrument stores. You always try to infiltrate yourself into the local population and just go. In some countries it’s a bit harder to do that when you’re the only blonde and really stand out in the crowd like that person is definitely not local.
Olli: Yes, but it’s really true, we were thinking about it a while ago that maybe this year but at least on a longer tour we might take these folding bikes with us and have one more option for sight seeing because you really have to try and get everything out of travelling when you get to do it, so that it doesn’t become the bus and hotel routine.
Marko: Yes, that’s true, because that makes you numb very quickly if it’s all about the concerts and it’s the only thing you do, it’s too much of the same and becomes uncomfortable if you don’t get to do or see anything else at all.
Olli: Right, and we have very culturally knowledgeable musicians in our band, we have an arcitecht and allso we usually have looked up some interesting places to visit beforehand. For example the last time we were in Germany we went to see all kinds of well known sights. You get so much more out of the experience if you try a little.
Marko and Olli laugh.
Olli: Because you really have to make an effort there, because usually you are so tired… very tireing job, travelling.
Marko: Now that is true.
Olli: I’m tired…
Interviewer: Oh but hey, you got up very early in the morning, it’s great you visited us. How is your day going to continue?
Marko: Pretty much the same, we’ll go to the next place, talk nice things with nice people and at some point just pass out in the taxi most likely.
Marko: It’s happened before.
Olli: Right, right, let’s just try to make it to the airport so we get home at the end of the day. But we’ll see, these are always very fully booked days. No matter, more interviews, bring it on.
Interviewer: Thank you very much for visiting.
Marko and Olli: Thank you.
Interviewer: What have you been drawing there this whole time?
Marko: I drew this little dragon, see I doodled the whole other side of this already so I moved on to the other side.
Interviewer: This seems somewhat familiar. I think it happened last time too.
Olli: Yes, it’s also all over our sheet music and my little chord notes and Marko’s lyrics sheets, everything’s filled with his drawings when we’ve been sitting in the studio, brainstorming, so if Marko happens to have a pen, then all the pieces of paper get filled with them. But they’re really great memories for us.
Interviewer: Is it alright if we ask around if there’s a big Poets of the Fall fan out there who wants to have this and then give it to them?
Interviewer: Thank you!
So, the e-mail to ask for the drawing is firstname.lastname@example.org
Make sure that your reason for having it is the best possible. Only one person will be able to have it.