Hello people! Here's one of the interviews we've done for the new album. Thanks to people at Zillo for letting us use it.
1. “The Scope
" was written in 4 months whereas “Light On The Path
" needed 4 years to be finished. Why did it last that long this time?
Antti: Of course there were also – or perhaps even mostly – practical matters that forced us to have this long a time between the two albums. Both Roope and I moved to a new city and started studying, for some time Roope also studied some 100 kilometres from Tampere where I’ve been living, so it wasn’t possible to meet every week and write music. But besides these mundane practical things, I truly think that the music just needed that long to come through us. To someone who’s a musician, it might sound ridiculous that it took us four years to write seven songs, but I must say that in that sense I’m not nor do I wish to be a musician. I don’t just pick up the guitar and DECIDE to write a song, it just doesn’t work that way for me. I need to feel compelled to write music, and I need to be totally free of distractions. We’re also pretty fucking critical when it comes to our music, so a huge amount of ideas and song embryos got thrown away during those four years. We wanted to be sure that once we have the second album ready, it’s absolutely the best we could have done at that time.
2. Where do you see the main differences between these 2 albums? Was there a new/different kind of approach when it comes to writing/recording music?
Antti: I think the main difference is that with the first album we were still experimenting a lot with what we can do with the acoustic approach. In many senses the first album was also more coincidental than the second one – The Scope just seemed to ”happen”. The second album is a lot more elaborate, especially in the arrangements and general approach. It has also been a lot more profound and conscious experience for us. Light on the Path was also recorded a lot more professionally in every respect. I could draw an analogy between the two albums by comparing them to relationships. The Scope was more like the ”first love”, the crush that happens to younger people and makes them go ”oh, this is what it CAN be like”, whereas Light on the Path is the ”true love” that more mature people feel, the feeling that ”this is what it SHOULD be like”.
3. The most obvious new aspect are the strings. Do they underline your interest in classic music? Are there any composers you like?
Antti: Both Roope and I are indeed classical music enthusiasts, but then again strings are and have always been used in a lot of other genres too. So I don’t think we incorporated strings just to underline our interest in classical music. Instead I think that there are certain emotions and moods that can only be expressed with strings. If used correctly, I think strings can be the most subtle and powerful instrument in the world.
Antti: There are a lot of classical composers I like, but by far the most important one for me is the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. If you haven’t already, just try his pieces like Fratres or Litany – just otherworldly music!
4. To me the new album is less ambient and a bit more graspable in a non-ethereal kind of meaning. It is more direct. True?
Antti: Yes, I think you’re right there. I think we needed to take the music to another level and in order to do that we needed to be more careful and more elaborate with what we’re saying with the music. At times The Scope was a bit too sketchy even for our own taste. It was like we knew the language we were supposed to speak, we knew the words, but couldn’t yet form sentences.
5. The piano sounds as if someone was thinking about something. How important is the stream of consciousness-like effect you music creates?
Antti: I really like the idea that our music makes people think, even though it would be closer to stream of consciousness than more organized thinking. Perhaps I prefer the latter anyway, because it’s more authentic and more genuine. Organized thinking can always consist of faked ideas – something one doesn’t really subscribe to but thinks cool to say or something. It’s interesting that you should say that about the piano in particular, because 95% of the piano parts were improvised during the two days we spent recording the piano, so there were a lot of stream of consciousness-like processes going when the piano parts were recorded.
6. In how far does Tampere and the landscape around influence your music?
Antti: It’s always infinitely difficult to say what influences our music and what doesn’t. Even though I love Tampere and I go for a walk or a jog in the forests and the lakeside nearly every day, I think Light on the Path was influenced more by our inner worlds and feelings. I think it would be overly romantic to think that something like seeing a beautiful flower would set me to write a song. In many respects Light on the Path isn’t an album about such everyday experiences. It’s about feelings and experiences we cannot fully understand and grasp and therefore need to put them into somekind of graspable form, in this case into the form of music.
7. What feelings/thoughts/ideas come up to your mind, when you hear the term “silence”?
Antti: The very first thing that comes to my mind is the word ”bliss”. Then I get to think about death, which is the ultimate silence. So if silence is bliss, death is ultimate bliss! Without death there would be no real life. I don’t really think that total silence exists in our world, because we don’t live in a void. There are always some sounds that catch your attention, and while it’s most often just some irritating sound of traffic or some other static noise, luckily there are also many sounds that can inspire you. So during my lifetime I’m happy to enjoy the sounds, because I’ll get my share of silence when my time comes.
8. Another thing your music conveys is “balance”. Is your music a way to stabilize equilibrium?
Antti: Perhaps one could put it like that. For me writing music and lyrics is a very cathartic experience, and by that I’m in a way trying to achieve a sort of balance, a more peaceful state of mind. On the other hand, I feel that with Light on the Path we pushed ourselves in every possible way to such lengths that it couldn’t be described as an attempt for balance of any kind. Balance is interesting in the sense that one can always TRY to achieve it but never will. Then again, chaos inspires me a lot more than balance does. Chaos is the weird interval of notes that sounds inexplicably beautiful, balance is the sine wave that just sounds sterile, synthetic and uninteresting.
9. Your music is also ethereal and light. Do you want to evoke an airy kind of atmosphere which makes people feel better?
Antti: When one makes the decision to not only write music for one’s own amusement but also perform and release it, I think the artist hopes that there’ll be people who’ll be on the same wavelength with the band. For us, and I hope for many listeners as well, our music is a breath of fresh air that allows our thoughts to flow more freely, perhaps to learn something new about ourselves. If some listeners think our music makes them feel better, that’s great, but to be honest we don’t think about that sort of things when we compose music. I think it wouldn’t be an honest way to approach music, and honesty is the one thing I value in music above all other things.
10. Are you as emotional as your music in real life? Or is music a tool which helps expressing emotions which cannot be expressed otherwise?
Antti: Ha, I wouldn’t perhaps characterise myself as a very emotional person. I feel that I can express the everyday joys – and there are many – by ”normal” feelings such as laughter, smiling and so on, but when it comes to feelings of sadness, loss and frustration, for example, I often keep them to myself. I think I need music to deal with those more difficult emotions and feelings, whether it means listening to music or writing it.
11. Would you agree when I say that the lyrics are more abstract and more thoughtful now? They also seem to be more personal.
Antti: That’s all correct. The lyrics for The Scope were for the most part pretty abstract, rather written with a certain aesthetic than a philosophy in mind. Writing lyrics for The Scope was painting with words more or less. For Light on the Path the whole process of writing lyrics was much more thoughtful. There are certain things in the lyrics for The Scope that just sounded good, but there was nothing deeper behind the lines when I wrote them. It was only afterwards that I came to realise what I possibly meant with certain lines. With Light on the Path it was vice versa, I first had an idea, and only then did I try to put it into words. That’s what makes them more personal as well. At times they’re also more abstract in the sense that I deal with more abstract things like the spiritual side of life. The form of the lyrics, however, was meant to be less abstract – less fancy words, more brutal reality.
12. Which influence did William Blake’s works have on the artwork, booklet, music and lyrics? What is the most interesting thing about Blake’s life and his function as an artist?
Antti: Oh, this is one of those questions that could keep me going for hours. To sum it up, William Blake is probably the most influential artist for me EVER! No matter how much I’ve read literature and poetry, Blake still is one of a kind. Also, he wasn’t just a poet, he was also an amazing painter. His esoteric take on human spirituality is what fascinates me infinitely. He wasn’t really understood and respected during his lifetime, and even today he’s not namedropped as often as many other great poets, which I think tells about the fact that some of his views are so esoteric and at times strange that it’s hard to really grasp what he means. Blake said about Milton that ”he was of the Devil's party without knowing it”. Well, I think Blake truly was of the Devil’s party, and that’s also one of the things that makes him more fascinating than basically any other artist. Blake was really ”out there”, crazy and mad in many respects, he was a true visionary. The influence he’s had on the Light on the Path artwork and lyrics is well documented, as both Blake’s poetry and art is used in the booklet. On the musical side his influence is perhaps more limited but it’s still there in the atmosphere, in my opinion.
13. What does the title “Light On The Path” mean? The light stands as metaphor for what? The light also seems to be a leitmotiv in your lyrics.
Antti: Most importantly light stands for the more spiritual, esoteric take of the album. It also serves as a metaphor for many other things. And definitely, one could say that light – with the element of water – is the leitmotiv of the lyrics. I always hate it when artists say that they don’t want to explain what certain things mean in their lyrics, but for the album title I’m afraid I’m going to do just that. As always, there’s not just one meaning or interpretation behind the title, but I’ll only say that it’s extremely personal for me.
14. The other leitmotiv seems to be about a woman and her absence. So it is about a broken relationship or did she even die?
Antti: No dead women in my personal life, if that’s what you mean. But in the lyrics there is quite a bit of death, and also dead women on a symbolic level. For example, it can mean an experience that makes one see someone (a woman, for example) in a totally different way, which means that the old way of seeing her is killed. Or it can definitely mean a broken relationship. But as much as I like women, I don’t think women or love relationships are a leitmotiv by any means on Light on the Path.
15. What are the “Alms Of the Sun”? The light? Warmth?
Antti: First I must say again that a listener shouldn’t think there’s only one ”correct” way to interpret our lyrics, and the things I’m about to say about these certain songs are by no means exhaustive interpretations. But yes, in concrete terms the rays of the sun are the alms I’m referring to in that song. More philosophically, however, the alms are tiny bits of knowledge and understanding we can gather in this life, and in that meaning the sun also becomes a metaphor for the true source of light, whatever that may be for each of us.
16. “Had I seen you I would've forgiven for not breathing new life into me”: what do you mean by this?
Antti: That’s about the feeling that right things tend to happen too late or otherwise at the wrong time. Like, even though the gesture is nice and beautiful, one can’t revive a person once the person is dead, no matter how hard one tries. The lines can also refer to the feeling of not getting enough support, or it can be a line that is addressed to a muse who has failed you, in a sense. The overall taste in those lines is really bitter-sweet, in my opinion.
17. What does the world of sleep and dream symbolize?
Antti: For me dreams are sort of like an extension of memory. I mean, dreams often bring up real things and events from the past that one has already forgotten, perhaps even wished to have forgotten. Usually one can’t control one’s dreams, and that’s what makes dreams interesting for me. They throw at your face whatever terrible and horrific sights they want to. Dreams and sleep can also be real eyeopeners, and that’s definitely one of their symbolic functions in my lyrics. The Scope had quite a bit of stuff in the lyrics that was from my dreams, but Light on the Path is more real in this sense. Sure, there are some ethereal visions from dreams but usually processed through a more conscious mind.
18. Do the ocean and water stand for the subconscious?
Antti: As I already said above, the reader shouldn’t feel the need to ask me for confirmation. My reading of the lyrics isn’t essentially any more correct than anyone else’s. In a way subconscious is one small part of what the ocean and water stand for me in the lyrics. I’d say that the ocean and water refer to the unknown, the spiritual, the limitless/nonfinite, the no-thing, and the ultimate death. Of course you can refer to parts of the unknown as the subconscious, although I usually avoid doing so nowadays, because saying something is ”subconscious” is often just a way of saying ”I don’t know what it is and am too lazy to find out”. Rather I like to try and dive/drown myself into the unknown in order to come to understand it a little better perhaps. One always has to die a little in order to understand something new. I think the ocean, like death, is a very soothing but also a very treacherous element.
19. “Let them beat out of me everything that is me” refers to what?
Antti: That refers to the feeling when one thinks other people don’t accept him the way he is, but rather try to change him into something he’s not. It also refers to verbal beating or backstabbing that I took quite a bit some years ago due to certain circumstances. By being truthful to myself, I lost a lot of people that I used to call friends, but who turned out to be pretty false and faked people in the end. I felt that these certain people were trying to beat me up mentally, but no matter how hard they tried to batter me, their blows didn’t do any damage to me, because they weren’t targetting the real me, but only the outside appearance... I think the second verse of ”Now that we’ve spent all the light” is about not giving in to outside influence too much. Be yourself and trust yourself, and always be honest with yourself. I think a person is only responsible to himself for his actions.