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ShamRain
Interview mit Kalle Pyyhtinen [ShamRain], 06.07.2011, Skype



Vier Jahre sind seit ihrer letzten Veröffentlichung vergangen. Doch mit "Isolation" präsentieren ShamRain endlich neues Gehörfutter für Liebhaber melancholischen Düster-Rocks. Am Mikrofon ist jedoch nicht mehr Mika Tauriainen zu hören, sondern eine Frauenstimme. Die Gründe für die lange Pause und den Wechsel am Mikro verriet Gitarrist Kalle Pyyhtinen im Interview.


Four years have passed by since you`ve published the last ShamRain-album "Goodbye To All That". But now your fourth album "Isolation" is waiting for its release. Why did it take so long to create a new album?


Kalle: I think, we already started in 2008 making the first songs and recording them for the new album. But sometimes there were months we just didn`t do anything. We were concentrating on our other bands. I think, we simply needed a small break. Maybe in 2009 or 2010 we talked about that it has already been a bit long time. Then again we changed the lead singer in 2009 which was also time-consuming.

What has caused this change? Why is your earlier vocalist Mika Tauriainen (Entwine) replaced by Minna Sihvonen nowadays?

Kalle: There were different reasons…mainly it didn`t function anymore on a musical level. It has always worked with Mika on a personal level, but sometimes it has been quite hard working together on a musical level, because of different opinions.

Maybe Mika has been too much influenced by his other band Entwine?

Kalle: Yeah, I think so. He had this other band which was very important to him, and there weren`t any gig cancellations and such things. Many people might be a bit pissed off that we changed the lead singer, but we felt that it was the only way to continue.

Which criterions did Minna fulfill that she became the new singer of ShamRain?

Kalle: Actually not that many, because she has been singing on all our releases except for the first EP. We already know Minna for a long time. She has a beautiful soft voice. Quite fast we got the idea to ask her.

It seems that the title of your third album "Goodbye To All That" (2007), which was the last one recorded with Mika`s voice, already gave some kind of hint that there will be a change within the band. Or was this just a coincidence?

Kalle: It was more a coincidence, I think, but who knows? We had quite rough studio sessions at that time. The hint in the title wasn`t something planned, but maybe it was subconscious…

To change the vocalist of a band is always a risky thing: But why is ShamRain still ShamRain? What defines the band?

Kalle: Of course we have talked a lot about this matter, and we came to the conclusion that Matti and I have always written all the music and lyrics. So we felt that on the base level ShamRain comes from us, you know. Of course Mika`s vocals are something easy to recognize, and many people think that this is the voice of ShamRain, but we just needed to end an era and start another one. We also changed the musical style a bit. The songs are now a bit faster and maybe rougher or something like in the vein of early 80ies or late 70ies.

Mika left during the creation process of "Isolation". To what extent has he still contributed to this new album?

Kalle: In one song there is this chorus vocal arrangement which is partially based on Mika`s vocal melodies. But Minna has done all the vocal melodies now, and we think she did a great job.

Another new face in the band is Jukka Laine replacing Janne Jukarainen on the drums. How did this come about?

Kalle: In the beginning of 2010 Janne announced to us that he feels that he can`t give anything to the band anymore. So he decided to leave and said that it would be better to give the place to someone else. Then we found Jukka quite fast to replace him. We placed a nameless advertisement on a music site. We didn`t mention that we need a drummer for ShamRain. We just posted our music style there.

So you didn`t know Jukka before as you found him via advertisement?

Kalle: No, we wanted a person being interested in the music and not in the band`s name. That`s why we published an ad without any name. Jukka has been playing in bands like Varjo and Silent Scream. We have known both bands and actually played with Varjo maybe in 2006. Jukka wasn´t in the band at that time. So we didn`t know him, but some other guys from the band.

How did the creation process of "Isolation" look like? Music and lyrics were mainly done by you and Matti…

Kalle: Yeah, that`s right. There is also one song done by Mikko. It was done in the "Goodbye To All That"-era, and it was one song that didn`t fit to "Goodbye To All That". But we recreated it, so it`s arranged a bit.

Is ShamRain a democratic band, although you and Matti are doing the most?

Kalle: Of course we always ask for the other`s opinions. For example I do everything at home. I play all the instruments and create some drum machine beats. When a song is ready, I introduce it to the rest of the band. Later we rehearse the song with Jukka and maybe he changes some drum things. Then I give the lyrics to Minna and she does the vocal melodies and so on. So Matti and I work as individuals first, and at some point we present our stuff to the others.

What is your inspiration source for creating new songs?

Kalle: It depends very much. Sometimes I get musical inspiration from a cool and old song. Or there`s just suddenly a melody playing in my head and I start working on that. It can come from everywhere…

Do you always have pen and paper with you to write down some ideas as soon as they are coming into your mind?

Kalle: I used to have a little book and pen, but in these days I use my iPhone. [laughs]

To what extent are your own emotions and experiences reflected in the songs?

Kalle: In a way they are personal and you`ll find some points which are familiar to you, but in the end they are made in the way that everyone can put an own interpretation on them.

Is "Isolation" based on a concept or isn`t there any connection between the ten songs?

Kalle: It`s not based on any concept or it`s not meant to base on any concept. When I´m feeling in a certain way, maybe a bit depressed, I usually do the ShamRain-stuff/lyrics. But when there are some more positive vibes, I write music for my other band Scarlet Youth. It`s some kind of shoegaze/indie band. We made our first album last autumn.

What does isolation mean for you?

Kalle: That has been the main idea behind ShamRain. At least in some way it has always been there, because there are a lot of songs telling about isolation or the feeling of isolation.

Are you completely satisfied with the final result or did you already find something you would have done in a different way nowadays?

Kalle: I`m actually more satisfied with it as I have ever been with another ShamRain-album. The earlier stuff is in some points quite polished and clean. This time there might be some rougher songs. We didn`t want the CD to sound too mainstream. We`ve tried to get some influences from the bands of the late 70ies and early 80ies.

What is your personal highlight on the new album?

Kalle: It depends on the mood. And it seems that it changes by time, but at the moment I think "Horizon" is quite gloomy stuff. But sometimes I prefer the faster songs like number one, two and four.

Are there any anecdotes to tell us about the recording sessions for the new CD?

Kalle: Nothing comes to my mind. [laughs] The final mixing session with me and Matti were quite rough because of a lot of drinking, but that`s usual I think. We worked hard during the day and partied all the night.

You have been your own producers. Where do you see the advantages and disadvantages of working without any external producer?


Kalle: The advantage is of course: If you have a vision, you can just decide how it should be. But usually you wanna hear other opinions. Mikko for example, who mixed the album, gave us some hints about what we could change. The reason why I never think about having an external producer is that I´m afraid that the sound will differ too much from my vision. I´m afraid that it will ruin the whole thing.

Are "Blue Room" and "Nightlight", the studios you worked in this time, your own ones?

Kalle: They are own places, yeah. Matti has his own studio, and mainly it`s a home studio with all the stuff we need.

How would you continue the sentence "Music is…"?

Kalle: Music is necessary…

How are you going to celebrate the release of "Isolation" in August?

Kalle: I`m not sure yet. We`ve been trying to arrange an album release gig. If this is not gonna happen, I will maybe meet with Matti, who lives in Helsinki as well, and we will hang out in the city and have some beers.

Are there generally any gigs planned?

Kalle: Yeah, they are planned, but I am not sure about the dates yet.

How long have you been living in Helsinki now?

Kalle: I`ve been living in Helsinki for three years now. I like it so much that I don´t want to live anywhere else in Finland. Originally I come from central Finland, from a very small place with 6.000 inhabitants. It`s quite close to Jyväskylä, maybe 15 km from there.

Do the other band members live in Helsinki as well?

Kalle: Mikko lives in Mikkeli, it`s in central Finland. Minna lives in Tampere and Jukka in Helsinki.

Isn`t it hard then to meet all together for rehearsals?

Kalle: Sometimes it`s quite hard to arrange dates, because people are working…

What is your job besides the music?

Kalle: I`m a graphic designer. I have my own company since 2006, I guess. I´m offering graphic design services mostly to record labels. I create cover artworks for bands, magazine advertisements, websites and so on.

What are your plans for the rest of summer?

Kalle: Currently I`m on holidays – since last Friday. So I`m taking it easy. On the weekend I will go to our summer cottage and maybe enjoy swimming and sauna there. In August I have another holiday and I´m planning to go abroad, maybe to Croatia. Mainly I`m trying to take it easy during the summer, because during the winter it`s cold and dark. Last winter was a quite snowy one…



Interview: Lea S.
Fotos: taken & (c) by Santtu Särkäs
Website Band: www.shamrain.net


(c) Zillo Musikmagazin / Ausgabe 09/11 / www.zillo.de

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