Radio SuomiPop (PopStudio TV) – August 2014

Marko interviewed at Radio Suomi Pop. Watch video here.
Includes acoustic performance of “daze” by Marko and Olli.

And here under you find the transcription in English, by the ever-awesome DarkSideOfLight =)

Jenni:Welcome to PopStudio TV. Our guest today is a wonderful man, Marko Saaresto from Poets of the Fall band. How are you doing?
Marko: Thank you, I’m just fine.
Jenni: How did your summer go?
Marko: Well, it was a very hot summer and I liked it immensely.
Sami: Three weeks from now your new album will be out. We already got a taste, the latest single. How has your life changed, if you think that 10 years ago the first album came out versus now, autumn 2014?
Marko: It’s changed quite a lot compared to back then. But some of the things are still the same. It feels like back then I was kind of drifting and we took a huge risk to do this thing, none of us really had anything. And since then I’ve gained so many experiences and many albums have come out and my situations in life have come and gone and changed along the way. If you think that I’d like to write my autobiography, there’s definitely a lot of material from all these years.

Jenni: What would the autobiography be called?
Marko: Oh…!
Sami: And is one coming out?
Marko: Oooh, I don’t know… What would it be? Cold Breeze from Under the Pier.
Jenni: You’re 43 at the moment, right?
Marko: Yeah.
Jenni: When you write songs now, are they about different things than from 10 years ago when you started out?
Marko: Mmmh, when I write lyrics I always try to find a new perspective or a new topic. But the same themes are there, and it makes sense to write about them because… if you think about general topics like well-being, love and hope… and the way many things have many perspectives to them. If anyone picks something good in there that suits their situation in life, that boosts them up or helps with something, it can become forgotten over time. And it might come up again later in life in some song. And it happened to us, and to me as a song writer with this new album. I looked back to the old albums to see if there’s anything in common and with a couple of songs I noticed a connection, almost by accident. And I was glad I had thought about it before, but I had forgotten all about it in between. And remembering it again made my quality of life better.

Sami: You’ve had a long career now, and touring is demanding. And then there’s publicity and all kinds of extra stuff on the side. Have you knowingly had to give something up because of your career as a musician?
Marko: Hmmm… At one point I thought I had had to give up my privacy and the freedom to move around and such things. Because at some point I thought people recognize too much who I am. But in the end, with experiences or events like these, I try to find the opposite in there, so I wouldn’t have to give up on anything. Because everything you do is with a hope that it will take your own life and personal growth a step forward.

Jenni: About that… I don’t know if you’ve made a conscious choice about it, but as a avid magazine reader and a consumer of interviews, a lot of things are known about Poets of the Fall but very little about you. So, when the tour bus reaches home and you close the door behind you, what is your life like?
Marko: It’s pretty much an ordinary life. And a quiet one, I’m not very talkative. My friends sometimes laugh, because… well, I can be a chatterbox when I’m in the mood. But I like to talk in this way, even though we have cameras now, but there are just a couple of us here. But my basic characteristic is slightly introverted, and I like to work on my own stuff on my own and spend quiet time in a small group of people and I like being alone too. But then with work, I perform a show to some 5000 people and it’s another side of me and it comes just as naturally. But I guess I don’t need anything else on top of that. I like meeting with friends, cooking, just basic stuff… work on all kinds of things. And I’m an eternal student, so if I don’t have any kind of studying project going on, then I fall for it at some point anyway.

Sami: Do you have a studying project going on right now?
Marko: I just graduated in February, licentiate in Chinese medicine, in acupuncture. I’m an acupuncturist. That’s a good band name for someone. And all in all it took… I studied it over 11 years, but 5 years altogether. It’s a 5-year-degree but it took me 11 years because of touring. I had a break in between so I could continue and finish it up.
Jenni: So now when you’re all back stage, you can free your band mates’ muscles with those needles?
Marko: Yes! Yes, I can.
Sami: So from now on the band won’t be seen as frozen from being nervous?
Marko: Yes, I think we have to put them on stage before the gig while they’re still relaxed.

Sami: In 2003 the band started up with a storm. You gave up your advertising agency, you let your apartment go, you moved in with your parents.
Marko: Yes, yes.
Sami: Kind of like all in.
Marko: Yes.
Sami: How did you dare take that risk? We know now that it was worth it, but did you think about it for a long time back then?
Marko: Yes I did, but I also felt like I had reached a certain point in my life where I needed to do something. Because I knew I wouldn’t later on be happy with the way I had lived and what I have achieved. And I had dreamed about being a musician, and about creating music. And I thought I had to do it. And if I was going to go on the same way, I might have found it more difficult to break the habit. Although now I believe it would still be possible, to start from nothing right now. And it was a little like… when I decided with Olli to do this… it was a jump into the unknown for both of us. And when Kapu joined us it was the same thing for him too. And when you mentioned giving up something, that’s when I gave up everything. And the money I got from the advertisement agency and all that ran out four months before the album came out. And there was no guarantee it would be a successful album. For four months it was pretty much like… I couldn’t even afford to buy food. It was good to live at your parents’ basement, and make visits to their fridge. “Mom, do you have any macaroni casserole?”

Jenni: How did the people close to you react when you made such a drastic life change? Did they support you or was it something like “Now, son… get a sensible profession”?
Marko: I think… I think I had done so many so called sensible things by then, I had an education and so on… When they saw that it’s not working out and something needs to be done, then I got support from home too, very much so. They supported me in that situation. It was nerve-wracking, and exciting once the singles started playing at the beginning of the year and they were happy that something like that happened. But for me it was a difficult situation even after it because… and this is something we talked a lot about with the guys. There was four months when all we could do was wait for the album to come out.
Jenni: And just waiting is horrible.
Marko: Yes, and it was like… to feel useful you probably should have gotten a job or something. You didn’t get money from anywhere and you were just moping around at a terrace and just waiting for January to arrive. The day when the album is coming out. So you can finally know how it’s going to go. But there were things bubbling under the surface that gave some hope. So in that sense it was a problematic situation in a positive way.

Jani: Before all that you had a burn out of a kind, if I’ve understood correctly. How did you recognize those signs in yourself?
Marko: Before this thing?
Jenni: Yes.
Marko: It was like… One day I called mom and just said that I’m going to walk out of work and all I want is you to tell me that it’s the right decision. And it took just about a second and she said it’s definitely the right decision, just leave. And I got up from sitting in front of the computer and walked out and didn’t return for two months.
Jenni: So your mom was the one who… What if she had told you to not get up from your chair?
Marko: We would have argued and I still would have left.
Jenni: Ah, a typical child parent relationship!
Marko: You know, I think it was just that I needed one last push of someone agreeing with me that I have a chance to do something else in life besides feel unhappy. And I got a lot of support, and it led to the decision of just leaving. Maybe it was a bit rude, but at that point my only chance in a way.

Jenni: It was quite theatrical. But after that you studied to become a lifestyle coach. Was it because of the burn out that you wanted to do that?
Marko: I think it was the first push, to look for information about things. I thought that if this happened to me then chances are it has happened to others too. And I started to read up about it a lot and to find information. And that’s also when I started studying Chinese medicine and I studied to become an NLP master practitioner and things like this.
Jenni: So that’s the life coach thing?
Marko: In a way, yes. But the way I see it, also the yin and yang philosophy that exists in Chiese medicine has helped a lot. When you look into it there are a lot of down to earth, sensible stuff as well, which helps. Everything affects everything, I never think that only a certain kind of experience can bring a certain kind of wisdom. Things come from many different sources.

Jani: But if we fish out one wisdom that has had the most impact on you and you would like to share some kind of a teaching with us, what could it be?
Marko: The quickest, or the foremost thing that comes to mind, and if you think simple, we all have two ways to live. There’s a creative cycle that takes us forward to a direction where we want to go and where people can get good things from us. And there’s another way to live, where you concentrate on all things negative. And when you do that, then that’s the only thing you’re going to receive in life. And in the creative cycle you focus on what are the good things and that way you start noticing more of them. It’s like you’re in a crowd and spot someone you know. You go “ah, there!” And from a crowd of negative things you spot the things that you know best and if you spot the good things in there that’s a really great thing.

Jenni: So how does it work in real life? If you’re pulling your hair for something and feel negative, how do you turn it around?
Marko: Well, first of all I may throw a temper tantrum and get cranky. It’s healthy, people have a mechanism where all feelings are real, allowed, you can have them. Even the negative ones. You just don’t want to stay in that for a very long time. I make myself realize the feeling I have. Anger or fear or annoyance. And I know it comes from the filter inside me, from a kind of glasses I wear that creates my view and thoughts about the situation. It happens so fast that people don’t really notice the process. But it’s the thought in the background that causes the feeling. And I can rationalize that it’s just a thought. It’s not necessarily the truth, it’s just my experience of this situation right this moment.
Jenni: (to Sami) You need to remember this when you’re doing a show…

Marko: I’ve met people, like two people who both got shot. The other one has never gotten over it and the other one is like “whoa, I got shot!”
Jani: Right.
Jenni: Unbelievable, the power of the mind.
Marko: You have two ways of coping with situations, even one as extreme as that. So when you think about how nervous you are about performing today or something like that, it can be surprisingly easy to get over things like that.

Jenni: One more thing, about self help guides. They emphasize, Eckhart Tolle for example, the power of presence and that you have to be present in the situation. How do you do it, Marko? How do you do it?
Jani: Does it come naturally? Or do you need to use energy and pep it up?
Marko: I think it depends on what kind of day I’m having. Sometimes you have to focus on it more. What I told earlier, the way I like to be in a smaller group of people is because I find it easier to more present. But even with a big crowd it’s very much possible. But I think being present means taking other people into consideration and listening to them for real. Like when you ask me something, I don’t start thinking what I’m going to reply. I listen the question all the way through and after that we’ll see what I’m going to answer. Like this, for example.

Jani: And that’s the reason why our conversation became so interesting.
Jenni: Oh yes, I wouldn’t want to stop.
Jani: Thank you Marko Saaresto. We’re running out of time, let’s include Olli and you’ll be playing the new single called Daze. Do you want to say something about it?
Marko: Yeah, Daze is the kind of song that has all through these years ripened into some kind of a story about the craziness of our lives and what all this is. And in the middle of all those feelings it embraces how you can experience something horrible in the middle of all the great things and in the middle of horrible things you can understand that it’s the salt and pepper of life, and a really awesome thing. And the whole album is about stopping and noticing the little things that make everything worth it.
Jani: Let’s listen to the song. Thank you and have a happy autumn.
Marko: You too.
Jenni: Thank you.
Marko: Thank you.

This entry was posted on Thursday, August 28th, 2014 at 11:07 am by Lisa