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Apocalyptica (I)
Interview mit Perttu [Apocalyptica], 30.10.2007, Köln/Tourbus

In den 90ern haben Apocalyptica zueinander gefunden und beschlossen einen vollkommen individuellen musikalischen Weg zu gehen: Sie rocken mit Cellos. Anfangs coverten die jungen Männer Stücke großer Rock- und Metal-Bands wie Metallica und Slayer. Doch seit geraumer Zeit kreieren Apocalyptica bevorzugt eigene Stücke. Zu hören sind diese auf ihren Studioalben, wie kürzlich erschienen ihr mittlerweile sechstes Werk namens „Worlds Collide“. Im Oktober stellten Apocalyptica ihre neue Platte auf großer Deutschland-Tour vor. Ich traf Perttu von Apocalyptica am 30. Oktober in Köln zu einem Interview. Im Tourbus gab der Finne Headbanging-Unterricht und erklärte, warum er sich zu Hause einen Motor ins Bett einbauen will. Was er sonst noch zu berichten hatte, erfahrt ihr hier.

How are you doing, Perttu? How have been the shows so far?
Perttu: This has been absolutely amazing Apocalyptica-touringwise. We had wonderful audiences all around. First we toured in the Baltic Countries and in Finland and now we already had many gigs here in Germany and the response from the audience has been really positive. We have had our best time so far in our career together on stage. We`re enjoying the playing more than ever and it just feels really, really amazing. It must have something to do with…because we spent over a year doing this latest album in rehearsal rooms and the studio. We didn´t have gigs during that period. So we have been waiting for getting back to play live on stage.

On your new album “Worlds Collide” you`ve worked together with a new producer. How did the work proceed with him?

Perttu: It was really interesting. Actually Jacob Hellner`s way of working is that he comes to listen already to the rehearsals and like taking part to this composing- and arranging-process. He wants to be inside the music from the very beginning, so he kind of became a real band-member for this period. Then we continued the work in Stockholm in Sweden. We spent five months in a studio and re-recorded everything many many times and it was quite hard. Jacob was really demanding and almost never satisfied for anything and we had many worlds colliding moments in there. (laughs) It was a rough period. But the result is, I think, really great. The album sounds beautiful. There`re lots of many interesting ideas in it.
And again on this album there are lots of other musicians involved like Christina, Till and Corey. Was it uncomplicated to work with them?
Perttu: All of the co-operations they have like different kinds of story behind, but basically why there are for example four vocal-tracks now, was that we just composed a huge amount of songs like 40 or 50 and some of those just felt from the beginning that they are going to need vocals. The melody-lines they felt that they are more for human voices than Cello-styles. So then we begun just to search for different possibilities. But for example Till appears in “Helden”, the David Bowie-Cover, because that was Jacob Hellner`s idea. He has had a dream to do this song for many years already. And now when he realised that he is doing an album with us and knowing that we have a background together basically with Rammstein-guys – we have done some remixes for them and already covering “Seemann” in previous years and had a wonderful time together couple of years ago – so it was really natural for us to ask now Till to participate our album and he was really willing to do it. With no questions.
How does the formation phase of an Apocalyptica-song look like? How do you create the songs?

Perttu: For all the songs it might be different. There`re many tracks that are clearly like fast and furious instrumental tracks and then we just begin to build up solos in there. This time we worked much more as a band than in previous years. We now had our own demos, went into the rehearsal room and begun to play them and practise them a lot already in this pre-production state. In this sense we had like really full versions already, when we went into the studio. Earlier we always begun the studio work from zero-level and wondering “Ok, what should we do now?” This time we had full arrangements when we went into the studio, but the arrangements still changed like ten times during the recordings. And one of the coolest phrases that Jacob said, was…one song, which we already had done maybe four times from the very beginning…he said one day, he begun to listen it again: “Yeah, now this sounds sooo good, that we have to do it once again!”

Nice! (laughs)
Perttu: Yes! And we were like “Nooooooooooo, two more working days!” (laughter) So we re-recorded everything, but it was so important for him to get the right mood and right groove. And this time drums were really important from the very beginning. Earlier we just added drums into our music, but now we considered drums to be an equal instrument comparing to Cellos and all these arranging things. We were thinking how the riff-parts and drums are talking to each other and spending lots of time to get this right mood into it. And then when it came into the melodious-solo-parts, which is basically my territory, there were some insane things. For example to record this melody-line of “Peace”, which is the last song-ballad, it took three days. And if we would have done that just by ourselves alone, it`s not so difficult and I consider that I`m an okay Cellist (laughs), so I would have done it in two hours basically. But Jacob was like listening it and “Perttu, this what you`re doing is not talking to me.” And then I try to understand “How can I talk to you with my Cello?” “I don´t care whether you play beautiful or not, but I want to hear some story even out from the instrumental ballad!” And then, you know, I was trying to find the right mood and how can I do now something mysterious. So actually it was really interesting, because he made me to play absolutely somehow different than what I have been used to play. So I had to forget all like classical details and really, you know, getting as beautiful sound as possible all the time. He was not interested about that. He wanted to hear a real drama. And that was interesting and colliding.
Isn`t it hard to find titles for your songs when there are no lyrics?

Perttu: Yeah, it´s really hard and it always happens in a huge rush like the record company guys they call us that “Now you have five minutes to give us the album-title, because the booklet has to go into print and we don´t have the titles yet!” (laughter)
So you do it in the last five minutes…
Perttu: Yeah. Many times it has happened so, that for example Eicca called me “Open a dictionary! Let`s pick up some words!” And with the latest album-title it was the same that we just found it the same day when they had to begin to print the booklets. It`s really difficult to bring some simple word or two words which tell a bit about the mood of the song but nothing too much. Everybody should feel own stories behind the songs.
I`m not an expert, but which of your songs is the most difficult one to be played live on stage?

Perttu: None of them. (grinning) Well, from this newest album the maybe most difficult at least for me is “S.O.S”, even it`s a simple song. But if I want to play it like 100 % and I´m never satisfied to my own playing and if I want to play this melody as beautiful as I ever can, it`s the most difficult. And always actually the ballads have been the most difficult ones for me to play. It`s more a mental thing.

So not referring to the technical playing?
Perttu: No. But I want to go into some really different world when I play and it always happens especially in the ballads, when you calm down and play this beautiful music. It`s really taking you somewhere else. Basically this song-ballad “Farewell” from the previous album is absolutely the most difficult song for me, because, okay well, that was my own song. But it was reflecting my really hard times in my life and so I think there was no single concert I wasn´t crying when I played this song. I felt it so emotional every evening. Nowadays we are not playing that luckily. (laughs)
This time one of your support-bands is Sturm & Drang, very young Finnish guys. How do Apocalyptica and Sturm & Drang fit together?

Perttu: I don´t know. I don´t see the guys there. (laughter) They are going different paths. But Stam1na, which is the first band, it´s our favourite. Eicca and me, we´re really huge fans of Stam1na and that`s the reason why we asked them to participate on this tour, because I think they are maybe if not the best metal-band in Finland, at least the second best and a really incredible band. So good musicians and this is their first tour abroad. Because they are singing in Finnish, they never thought even that they could come to Germany or something. But now they have played many evenings like really successful things and people have loved them, because they are just so fucking good. And even if you wouldn´t understand the lyrics, they play so good and have a right sense of humor on stage…so I can recommend Stam1na to all people who like good metal. It`s kind of progressive. There`re melodious parts and then really huge energy. And they are insane on stage and live, headbanging more than me, which is already a lot. (laughs)
In this year you were guest at the Eurovision-Songcontest in Helsinki. How did this come about?
Perttu: We were asked whether we would like to come and then we got a little bit money out of it and we thought that “Okay!” (laughter) But of course it was great to be there. If people are open-minded, it`s really great that even rock music or in our case heavy music can fit into the Eurovision. And Apocalyptica is a nice band in this sense that it works basically almost wherever obviously. We have ballads that are from 70ies discos in their mood and then we can play something like this “Inquisition Symphony” which is something absolutely different and insane. So it was nice of course and I guess, there were a couple of people watching it also.
Me included. (grinning) How would you continue the sentence “Music is…”?

Perttu: I would skip the “is” and only say “Music sucks”.
Really? Don´t lie to me! (laughter)
Perttu: Noo, music is not my everything but almost, because it just takes most of my time and I either love music or hate music. It just depends on the mood.

Do you know any German sentences?
Perttu: Ich habe…(thinking)
Don’t say…Sauerkraut in meinen Lederhosen. (laughs) Cos it seems that every Finnish band I asked about some German sentences, the first thing they say is this sentence.
Perttu: Actually that was the sentence what I was looking for, but I can change it. Ich habe Flitzekacke in meine Lederhose. (laughter)
That´s even better! Okay. Is playing Cello a sport?
Perttu: Yeah, kind of.
Can you teach me how do I have to bang my head in the right way?

Perttu: Ehm…you have to find your own limit and balance how you stand and then you have to nod. For me it doesn´t demand anything else than really listen to and live inside the music and you get this rage automatically. But it`s a tricky thing to headbang with a Cello. But years and years we have done this already, so that´s why we have learned it. But it`s really fun and it is amazing that…we`re getting older of course like everyone, but somehow the energy on stage is growing. I don´t understand what is wrong with that. (laughter) I`m getting all the time tired and tired, but still every evening giving more and more and headbanging more than the previous days and I´m really dead after the shows. It´s really weird, but fun.
Who of the band-guys does always have the last word within the band?
Perttu: We have a quite good democracy. Everybody listens and everybody has an opinion and then we decide. And normally we have three against one. And then the one has to accept. (grinning)
What is the best activity when you`re travelling from one venue to the next? What do you do in this time?
Perttu: I play playstation mostly on tours. This tour I am often playing “Gran Turismo”, an auto game. I have been really addicted with playing every evening till 6 o`clock in the morning. It`s really cool.
Where is the best place you can sleep? In the bus, in the hotel room…?

Perttu: I sleep very well in the bus. It feels like you would be in a cradle. So actually like after one months touring in a bus, it`s really difficult to get asleep at home in a stable bet, so maybe I should build up a motor in it that it would be a cradle as well. (laughter) And then you would also need someone farting or a fart-machine, because it smells horrible in here especially in the night-time when people are sleeping and farting. I`m gonna miss that when I´m at home.

(still laughing) How do you stay in contact with your families and friends during these longer touring-periods?
Perttu: Sending them text-messages every now and then: “Everything is fine in here!”
How does a typical Apocalyptica-fan look like?
Perttu: I think there is no typical Apocalyptica-fan. And our fanbase is so widespread to all kind of people: everything from little kids to elder people, older ladies, gentleman, headbangers, chicks, everything!
What or how much would I do have to pay you or to give to you that you would sing one of the Apocalyptica-songs by your own on stage?
Perttu: I would`t sing.
So you hope that all the people inside will sing later on like in a big karaoke show?
Perttu: Yeah and they don´t necessarily have to sing, because I think the instrumental versions of the songs are interesting as well. But it`s really nice to see when people are singing and taking part for the song, because then you know that at least those people really are enjoying the thing and that gives us more energy to survive.
Tomorrow it`s Halloween. Do you celebrate it? Do you have anything special planned?

Perttu: I didn`t actually even know that there is Halloween. Thank you for the information. (laughs) Maybe we should find out something.
So you won´t dress like a witch or a ghost or whatever?
Perttu: Nooo, I would be maybe naked.
Alright. (grinning) And what`s your motto for tonight?
Perttu: One good try.
So and at last some Finnish greetings for fhradio`s audience.
Perttu: Jumaliste, terveisiä sinne koteihinne kaikille jotka tätä kuuntelette, täältä Perttu Apocalyptica-yhtyeestä lähettää teille lämpimiä haleja ja suukkoja, pusuja ja muuta mukavaa.
(Greetings, hello to all of you, who are sitting at home and listening to the radio. Perttu from the band Apocalyptica is sending warm hugs and kisses to you, kisses and all the best.)

Interview & Foto 6: Lea S.
Foto 1: taken from apocalyptica.com
Fotos 2-5: taken by Kerstin T.
Website Band: www.apocalyptica.com

(c) fhradio, darkmoments / www.darkmoments.de

copyright: Aurora Borealis 2007-2015
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