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Rain Diary
Interview mit Joni [Rain Diary], 07.07.2008, phoner



Sie nennen sich Rain Diary und kommen aus Finnland. Und von dort sind wir bekanntlich die düsteren Klänge gewohnt. Und diese finden wir auch in der Musik von Rain Diary wieder. Die Band zählt sechs Mitglieder und Sänger Tommi dürfte dem ein oder anderen noch von der Band Soul Relic bekannt vorkommen. Aktuell arbeiten die Finnen von Rain Diary an neuen Songs und einem Video. Um noch mehr über das Schaffen der Band zu erfahren, rief ich Gitarrist Joni im Irish Pub in Helsinki an, wo er nebenbei arbeitet.

Joni, it`s nice that you found time for this phone-interview. Maybe first of all: How would you describe the sound of Rain Diary for someone who has never heard about the band before?


Joni: It´s dark, spherical, melancholic, progressive and beautiful. Music is like candlelight. The shade is great on the wall. In our music there are also some pop influences. We don´t wanna make music that only one percentage of the population can stand, but still it has to be a challenge. One dream would be to make an album in time.

The band was formed last year in spring. How did the band members find together? Do you know each others from childhood or from school times or from where?

Joni: Me and the other guitar player Teemu, we play together like eight or nine years and we both come from Lahti. It´s probably the most awful city and you can use this against me. (laughs)

It`s not awful. I have been there. It`s a nice city. It`s close to a lake and you have the ski jumping area there.

Joni: Yeah, and it´s easily to get out. That´s probably the best thing. (laughs) But yeah, then Tommi, I knew him from the times when he was still singing in Soul Relic. And I saw them – I can`t remember the year – but they were playing in Tavastia and I was astonished by his voice, the dynamics in it. Then Tommi and me got to know each other through a friend. But Tommi has never been like a best mate for me, just like a “hello”-company in a way. We started with a line-up of three, quite acoustic, but at some point we reached the limit “Yeah, let`s bring some other noise into our music!” And then the bass player Teemu came. He has such a different background. Tommi, Teemu [guitarist] and me, we all admire bands like Pink Floyd, Anathema, like dark, melancholic music in a way. But Teemu [bass player] brought the Red Hot Chilli Peppers into our music. (laughter) He can play basically all the songs of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, so we got a great bass player. And then Topi, he is also a friend of us from Lahti. Our guitar player Teemu knew him quite well before. But I just met him in Tampere the first time, even though we have been in the same bars, being in the same companies. The last one to join was Tytti. She´s just cherry. But the most important thing with the band in the end is that it´s like a family, a strong unit. That`s our short story. (laughs)

And is there any story behind the name Rain Diary? What does the name express and who came along with it?

Joni: Well, it was basically Tommi. I love the word rain, but rain is a quite used word and Tommi agreed, but we really struggled with the name. It wasn´t like “Oh, what a brilliant idea.” It was so hard to find a name that would describe the music. And then one day Tommi called me. I think it was quite early in the morning, around seven or eight. “I got it!”, he said, “It´s Rain Diary”. And I was like “Really?” “Yeah, Rain Diary. Just listen how it sounds and that’s how we make the music.” Every song is just another part in the diary of our music. And all the lyrics are taken from the diary. I just love the idea. There is the idea that the next EP we gonna make is somehow connected to the first one that in a way it would remind as a diary. And with the first EP the idea was that there wouldn´t be any names for the songs, there would be only dates. But then we recognised that it would be quite hard to promote the songs then. (laughs)

Do you write diary by yourself?

Joni: No, that´s basically Tytti and Tommi. They write diaries. I have always felt that it was too girlie. But the funny thing is, the older I grow the more sad I feel that I really haven´t wrote diary. It would be so nice to read about the emotions of the 10 years old boy, about the teenager boy or the boy just coming into the men`s age. So it`s a really sad thing and I would recommend for everyone – for girls and boys, for women and the men – to write diary. Of course people take pictures and in a way it`s the same. It brings the memories. But written you always add a bit more.

And what about travelling diary?

Joni: Travelling diary? Oh mamamia! (laughs) I should travel more. That is one of the reasons why I would like to come to Germany.

Well, at the moment it`s rainy here…

Joni: But in the end it would be a rain diary then. (laughter)

Yeah, you´re right. Could you maybe introduce each band member in one short sentence?

Joni: Okay, I´ll try. I start with Tommi. Tommi is the wisdom and fragility. Our guitar player Teemu, he is the niceness and insanity. The bass player Teemu, he is a solid rock. And our drummer Topi, he is the kindness and the heart and Tytti, she is everything above. She is the most beautiful. And myself, I cannot describe. (laughs)

Why not?


Joni: It´s hard to describe myself in one sentence. I`m between the heaven and hell. Let´s say that!

You have already released one EP with the band. Is there any certain red line on this CD?

Joni: Oh yeah, all the songs were made by myself and that´s probably the leading line. I had a really rough time when I made those four songs for the first EP. All the songs I am making are quite melodic and as I don´t sing with my voice, I try to sing through my guitar. But of course I spoke with Tommi our singer about the topic of the songs, about the mood when I was making them and what kind of lyrics I was desiring about. Of course Tommi made what he felt like, but it was funny when I saw the lyrics when they were finished. They were sooo right and felt like “That is it!”

In the end of this year you´re going to release another EP. Have you already been to the studio to record some new songs?


Joni: Apparently it won`t be ready until the end of this year. The date will be I think January, February. Like I said the first song roots, just the basic things were made by me, but we have basically four members in our band that make the music. Of course the band is still young. It was formed a bit more like a year ago. Now we got to know each other better and that also made some arrangement how the songs are. We decided it`s better to take a little time to rehearse and get the music grown and find the strength of the band members and so we thought about a delay of the second EP just to January, February. But then again we get to do a video. So there`s something to do. And we gonna record this “It`s only rain”-song again with Mr. Iconcrash Jaani Peuhu. So he is also gonna bring new influences and if this will be successful in the studio with this one song, it might be possible that Jaani just find some time to make the next EP with us. He is such a genius person, one of the most genius ones that I know.

You talked about creating a video. Can you already give us some more hints about it?

Joni: (laughs loudly) I have to say „no comments”.

It`s a big secret?

Joni: Yeah, it´s secret in a way, but it will be a quite artistic video. It won´t be like a normal Britney Spears-dancing-video (laughter), well, if you can imagine Tommi dancing like Britney Spears…that would be quite sexy.

You can suggest it to him. (Joni laughs loudly) I already know the answer what he will think about it.


Joni: We will see what the video will become, but of course it will be a budget thing. The music videos they are really expensive, but we try to keep it under 600 Euros all in all, including all the shootings and the re-recording of the song in the studio and the mastering. It´s a tight schedule with really short money. But I`m quite sure that there are such good people around us then.

How do you create the songs in general? Do you start with a riff or how does the process look like?


Joni: Well, it depends. A few songs, the newest ones, have been just like we went into the rehearsal flat and there was just one riff and then the bands started to develop level by level. But then again once in a while people just bring a fully complete song into the rehearsal room and then of course it gonna changes a bit. But it depends a lot. Of course if the person, a band member has a solid opinion how the song should sound like, we respect the idea and try to complete the idea just to build the right picture and normally we get the right one. We would like to need much more time just to jam around.

And is it only Tommi who writes the lyrics?

Joni: Basically yeah, it`s Tommi. And that`s also one way we have created a few songs. Just based on his lyrics that we read and then we had some inspirations for some lines. But of course Tytti, who is also doing the vocals, she is affecting the lyrics.

Tytti is the only girl in the band. How does she get along with you guys?

Joni: It´s just a great thing. When I met Tytti about eight or nine months ago for the first time, I saw a really shy girl and I was like “Oh mamamia, how does she fit with five guys?” Of course the way we talk can be really rough in the rehearsals and we are drinking beer and getting in the mood. We are in a way of course quite sophisticated that it doesn`t remind anything of being an asshole, but still it can be boy´s talk. But that`s one thing I admire in Tytti so much, that she is one of the lads, but in intelligent way. And it doesn´t matter how we talk, how we behave. She`s more than fine with it. And well, you couldn´t believe, but she is also one of the maddest person in the band in the end. (laughs) She always surprises us in one way or another.

I have heard that some of the band members are coming from Helsinki and some are living in Tampere. Am I right?

Joni: In a way. I am the only one who is living in Helsinki at the moment. So basically all the other members are living in Tampere. But for example Tommi is originally from Oulu. Teemu, Topi and me are from Lahti.

And where do you meet for rehearsals?

Joni: In Tampere. It´s not so far from Helsinki, so that is good. Of course I´m a lucky person that I am a student. I get discounts. Otherwise I couldn´t effort to pay the tickets for the trains all the time as they are quite expensive.

Does anybody of the band members has another project or band running besides Rain Diary?

Joni: No, everybody is just in Rain Diary.

And also Soul Relic doesn`t exist anymore?


Joni: No, it doesn`t, unfortunately, but then again I´m quite happy about it as Tommi is now in Rain Diary, but of course it was a great band.

But I can imagine that it`s not easy to manage if you´re playing in several bands. There are lots of Finnish musicians that play in different bands at the same time. That`s how I realised it.

Joni: Yeah, but if you have different bands, I would call them as a project. But it takes a lot to make a band. It is not only playing and selling millions. You have to get gigs that are worth playing and all the gigs are worth playing. But still it`s no use to play a gig for seven people and two of them will be listening. I feel once in a while by myself that the time is just too narrow, it`s too short. If I could just multiply myself and do a bit more… (laughs)

Do you have any other job beside the music except of being a student?

Joni: Yeah, during the summer I´m a bartender. I think if you`re a musician in Finland and apart from like a really successful band you have two choices: The first one is to work as a bartender, the other one is to work in the music shop.

What are your other big interests beside the music? Any hobbies?

Joni: Well, the most dearest and precious one is of course drinking, but apart from that I´m in school. I´m studying. My major is linguistics and besides that I´m studying philosophy. I´m not really sure what I will become when I´m grown up and old. Perhaps a bartender. (laughs)

And in which semester are you?

Joni: This was my third year. I`m quite happy. It´s good to be a student.

Back to the music: On the 22nd of August there is the next Rain Diary gig taking place in Helsinki. How do your live shows look like?

Joni: Of course at the moment we`re doing everything with low budget. Let`s take the last one as a good example. We played in Tampere in the place called Koti Bar. I think we had about 70 or 80 people there watching the gig and the place was quite crowded at that point. It was quite small as it´s more like a coffee place. It`s not really a live place. But yeah the gig ended by me standing on the table and going really wild with the last solo that I probably managed to fuck up, but nobody apparently cared. (laughs) It`s the combination of really soft and really beautiful songs like just let the music flow and it´s not about the stage presentation. But in some points it goes crazy. And I hope that one day we could afford some lightning or something like that would be cool.

You´re playing with Dawn Delayed next year. Is that right?

Joni: Yeah, yeah.

And you already had gigs with ShamRain for example.

Joni: Oh no, it was cancelled. It should be on the 2nd of August, but the problem was at that point that the ShamRain singer Mika is also singing in Entwine and Entwine was booked for the same day. So I think that was the reason why ShamRain cancelled the gig.

There you can see the problem when you`re playing or singing in two bands.

Joni: Yeah, that`s the problem. But ShamRain and Entwine, they are both in the Top 10 in Finland.

Oh, ShamRain, too?

Joni: Yeah, I just love the band. It`s one huge inspiration. For me. I always loved the band.

They also make quieter stuff. It`s not so heavy at all. Entwine is heavier.

Joni: Yeah and they even get more heavier what I have heard about the new album. But I can´t say anything about that. (laughs)

Okay, sure, but with which other bands would you like to share the stage some day?

Joni: When Tommi, Teemu and me were in our small rehearsal flat and drinking and playing a little bit, we had a chat about that one goal of the band is that one day we would warm ShamRain, because we just have a deep respect for the band. The second band we talked about was Anathema. If I would be on the same stage with that band, then I could die. (laughs) I`ve seen them only one time playing live. And then I have seen Danny Canavagh, the guitar player, playing the solo gig and at both times, you know, I just cried. It was just so mindful and beautiful. And then of course the band Muse is just outstanding.

What do you think does differentiate a Finnish band from another band from the other side of the world, from other Countries?

Joni: It has to do with this dark, sad and melancholic and of course watch the suicide rate among the Finnish male and you will see it`s the darkest part of the Europe by far.

But actually it`s not so dark there. Even in winter you have sun there, so it`s just a cliché. (laughter)

Joni: Well, take as example this summer. It´s been quite rainy, but still the sun shines and people are sitting on their terraces and in the parks. In the summertime you see people living. They go to festivals and they are living full heart and they are into the life. But when it comes to winter, it`s dark and you would need the light. But there is no light. I think that`s about the sadness. In Finland we would need an artist like Santana (laughter), you know, who brings the light and brings the mood. The Rasmus is a fine example. They started about like over 10 years ago and they were blond and they made a funky style of music. Then at some point, I don`t know if it was like a follow up for HIM, they became Gothic. There are some characteristics in Finnish music like that it`s dark and melancholy.

But it`s obvious that all the dark bands are quite successful. There are also some good ones coming from Sweden and Norway…

Joni: Sweden has Ace Of Base, they have ABBA and…(laughter) Great bands are coming from Sweden of course.

The Ark! Well, I actually don´t know so many Swedish bands, but I really know lots more from Finland.

Joni: But I have to mention one band from Sweden that is probably one of the best ones…

In Flames?

Joni: In Flames is great, but there is also one above: Opeth! Ohhh, they are just like…oh yeah…there are no words.

Do you understand a little bit German or can speak some words or sentences?

Joni: Oh, just a little bit like the classic ones. „Ich liebe dich“. Surprise, surprise. And then like “Danke schön” and I used to know how to present myself. I try to remember. It ends up with “…Joni”. (loud laughter) 

Oh really? What a surprise!

Joni: Like I´m studying linguistics I should know about German and we have this…(thinks) No that`s an English programme.

Do you like films?

Joni: Yeah, this is also one part of my life. I used to work in a movie theatre. It was in Lahti, an independent one that was not only showing movies from the US and the Great Britain, but also movies from the world and one great German movie. It was “Run Lola, run!” Great movie. And yeah, movies are also a great inspiration for music.

What about a record deal by the way? Is there anything in process?


Joni: Well, that is one thing where I have to admit that I´m a bit disappointed referring to the first EP. The feedback has been so low. One half we produced for the Finnish record companies and the other half was for the fellow musicians. We said, even though they are friends, do not be a friend, be a huge critic and tell us what`s wrong. And everybody was like “The EP has such great potential and there are lots of great things in it!” I know the competition is hard in the music scene at the moment, but I am still quite surprised that there hasn´t been basically anything. There has just been one sort of offer for the management, but not anything like a record deal. Maybe with the first one it was a bit hard in the end as there wasn´t really one potential single or two potential hits on it. The next time we have to invest more money to make the EP more finished, so that it could be sold in a shop. We did the last one with really low budget and I have to rise my head and give again huge admiration and respect for the guy who is called Jaakko Kujala who mixed the first EP.

How would you continue the sentence “Music is…”?

Joni: I get two L-words. Life and love. (laughs)

What would you like to say to the German audience from your side?

Joni: I hope you get to listen to our music and like it. And of course I hope that some beautiful day we have the chance to come to your – what I have heard, I have never been there – to your beautiful Country to play some shows over there.



Interview: Lea S.
Fotos: taken from raindiary.com
Website Band: www.raindiary.com


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