|Interview mit Mika [Entwine], 16.01.2009, phoner
Das Jahr 2009 ist hereingebrochen und für die finnische Band Entwine begann es mit der Veröffentlichung ihres neues Studioalbums “Painstained”. Aktuell sind die fünf Herren mit der neuen Platte auf Tour unterwegs und auch Deutschland soll bald wieder ein Besuch abgestattet werden. Noch vor der Veröffentlichung der neuen Entwine-Platte und vor den ersten Konzerten hatte ich die Gelegenheit, mit Sänger Mika zu telefonieren. Doch richtig gut ging es dem Frontmann am Tag des Interviews nicht.
Hi Mika, how are you doing?
Mika: I´m kinda fine, but I´m having a flu. So it´s not the best situation, but okay.
But did you have a nice New Year`s Eve?
Mika: It was okay. (laughs) I went to Tampere to my friend`s place.
And as you had birthday recently, congratulations still from my side!
Mika: Oh thanks. But I don´t know, if it`s an age you still congratulate for.
Why? You´re still young!
Mika: Am I? (laughs) I`m not that young anymore. Okay, ages are just numbers.
In a few days your new album “Painstained” will be released. Did you enjoy the studio sessions with Hiili Hiilesmaa or was it just pure pain here and there to refer to the album title?
Mika: Actually I have to say that I felt good in the studio for the first time. It was relaxing to work with him. You can hear it from the sound, cos it sounds more natural now as we didn´t produce the vocals that much. Of course we did, but it wasn`t the same, because Hiili wanted to have something very fresh, but still very natural sounding. The studio sessions were kind of easy. We had one or two weeks when we didn`t do anything, cos I had to rest my voice and we had a couple of songs still to come in. I really enjoyed the sessions. But the title comes from the working part, from my point of view.
Is there any anecdote you can tell us about the studio recordings?
Mika: Mm, I don`t know. Nothing special actually. (laughs) Usually the writing part is a hard job and when you enter the studio it`s the part when you can release the whole shit out.
“Painstained” will be released almost three years after the last album “Fatal Design” and recently the release date of the new album was delayed. Why do we have to be so patient?
Mika: I can´t tell you. (laughs) Shit happens in this industry and we´re not very happy about that, about the delay, but it is what it is. The album actually should come out on the 14th of January. Now it`s delayed for two weeks and comes out on the 28th. We have our releasing party next Saturday and the album won`t even be released then, so it´s kind of a fucked up situation.
But life goes on still…
Mika: Yeah, but the thing is that we put the album out via myspace now. Actually we have a link there. We had to do something that people can listen to it before the releasing party takes part.
About “Fatal Design” you told me in our last interview that it is about a lot of bad things that happened in your life and the album is your so called “dear diary”. Referring to the cover and the title of the new album it seems to me that the hard times in your life are still not over…
Mika: The new album is not so personal. Of course there some personal things, but it`s more like thinking and getting deeper. There are some thoughts about things. It´s probably more fiction than before. Of course there are some happenings (laughs), but it`s not so personal than “Fatal Design”.
But what does the album title “Painstained” mean for you in this case?
Mika: We`re going through a lot of shit and you can be shit stained, you know, but the pain can give some same kinda effects. (laughs)
Maybe you shouldn`t think too much?
Mika: That´s true, but the thing is, if I wouldn`t think, I wouldn´t write. (laughs) So it`s kind of a devil´s circle. When you`re going through a lot of shit or whatever, it leaves a mark on you. So the pain stains you kind of a way, if you know what I mean? It leaves a mark. If it`s too much you`re totally stained.
On the last album we could find a lot of political hints. How is it this time?
Mika: A little bit more. (laughs loudly) Tom has actually written two songs and there are a lot of things in it. The thing is that I never really wanted to mix music and politics. You have to have a different kind of band for that. But somehow it started to grow up in me during the last years, cos the situation is what it is. So I can`t be quiet anymore.
Do you read the newspapers every day?
Mika: No, I use the Internet. (laughs and then has to cough strongly)
Oh, oh, you should go to bed and become healthy again!
Mika: I`ve been laying for three days and still have two days to recover as there is a gig on Saturday.
The new album starts quite heavy with the track “Soul Sacrifice”. Did you try to be even heavier that on the previous album or where did you put the main focus on this time musical wise?
Mika: We didn´t try anything. It just came, you know. And I was really afraid when I got the whole package for me, because the way we`re working is that the guys are doing songs. I go to the rehearsals for a couple of times and say if we can do something here and here. But I heard most of the songs for the first time when I got them. And then I took my computer and went to our rehearsing room to my hometown, a small place, and I spent over two months in there. I was very afraid, cos there were a lot of guitar riffs and some parts sounded like thrash metal or something and I was like “What the f*** is this gonna be?”. I had to keep something old in there, that it doesn´t go too far. If I would go with the guys, we would sound like Pantera or something. (laughter)
So your bandmates are a lot into heavier stuff?
Mika: Yeah, but the thing is that the new album is somehow heavier than the previous one, but somehow it is more rocky now. There are not so many distortions in the guitar, but the sound is more rock than metal. It`s like old school metal-rock. (laughs)
Is the album more danceable, for headbanging, moshpits or to swing?
Mika: That`s actually very hard to say. I haven`t thought about it, but maybe you can have a moshpit with a couple of songs. (laughs)
Is it easier for you to create ballads or rockier songs?
Mika: It depends on my mood. You know, I´m a very moody person and sometimes it feels you can sing like Backstreet Boys (laughs) and sometimes simply not. It`s just about the mood. I can´t say which one is easier for me.
But when you start writing a songtext, do you already know then if it`s becoming a ballad or a rock song?
Mika: No, cos the way I´m working is like singing flick flack first…blablabla…just no words. Then I´m picking up the melody and start to write.
So you have the melody first and then comes the lyric?
Mika: Ja, ja!
But does an album need any ballad at all?
Mika: I don’t know. Of course it´s good to have some slower song. It creates the dynamics. You have to have some up-tempo and some low-tempo songs to make it work and to make faster songs more faster kind of a way, you know, to make the illusion that this song is very fast even though it`s like midtempo or something. Did I answer your question? (laughter)
Yeah. Did the absence of Riitta have any certain effect on Entwine`s sound nowadays?
Mika: I don´t know, cos Riitta never wrote the keyboard lines as Aksu and Tom have been working with those from the beginning. Actually Tom is making the most of the keyboard lines. So there is not that much effect, but the thing is that we have more guitar riffs right now. Maybe it`s because it`s only the guys there now, so we want to put some male power there right now. (laughs)
So you don´t need a woman in the band anymore?
Mika: It would be nice to have a keyboard player in the band. What I can say is that Riitta was one of the guys. We never actually thought that there´s a girl in the band.
In another interview you said that there`s a lot of hidden stuff on “Painstained”. Can you define this hidden stuff a bit more?
Mika: Hidden stuff? (totally surprised) What? Where? Hidden stuff, oh f***.
I think, you said it at this Ylex-interview on the web…
Mika: Ahhh, the thing is that we were talking about the hidden keyboards. I said that I actually never realised that there are a lot of keyboards in there, cos Aksu said there are a lot and then I said “Okay, they are probably hidden there”. You see, no weird things are hidden on the new album. (laughter)
Which person in your family- and friends-circle was the first one being allowed to listen to the completely finished version of the new album? Do you have any personal critic?
Mika: My Mom haven`t heard it yet, just one song or two songs, cos I haven´t seen her for a while. I´ve been very busy. But who heard it first?
Does she like Entwine`s music?
Mika: Yeah. Actually she started to like the rough guitars. She`s like “Okay, I kinda like these, you know, the best songs are where you have these rough guitars” and I was like “Okay Mom, wake up when you´re 60!” (laughter) But I really don´t remember who heard it first as we played it a lot, cos we wanted to know what our friends are thinking about it.
How often do you listen to your own CDs by yourself?
Mika: Now I´ve been doing it, because we´re starting the tour, so it`s kind of rehearsing for me, cos we haven´t got so much time to rehearse. (laughs)
Do you forget lyrics here and then?
Mika: Yeah, I do. I think, everybody does. (laughs) But the thing is that when you`re rehearsed well, it comes from your spine, you know. You don’t have to think about that anymore when it`s well rehearsed.
Do you have regular rehearsals in Lahti?
Mika: Now we have, but when the tour starts, we usually don´t have any time for that. So our rehearsals are on stage. (laughs)
“Painstained” was album of the week at Ylex in Finland and “Strife” became a radio single. Which other songs of the new album are potential single tracks?
Mika: There are a couple of songs. “Beautifully Confined”, it`s the fourth track, was the other one that we were thinking of to put out. But we came up with “Strife” (sighs) and it ended up well in here. Okay, Ylex didn`t like it that much, but Radio Rock in Finland they love it. You cannot always please every radio station. Of course Ylex is more mainstream, but Radio Rock is more like…I think, it happened with the “Surrender”-single that Radio Rock started to play it a lot and then Ylex took it and they played it a lot as well. So we`ll see what`s gonna happen. Sometimes it can take a couple of months that they pick a song up. What is your favourite song of our new album?
Mine is “Beautifully Confined” and also “Caught By Desire”, for example, “Dead By Silence” and “Greed Of Mankind” and the first one “Soul Sacrifice”.
Mika: So you already like half of them. (laughs) I like almost all tracks.
Almost all? Which don´t you like?
Mika: I can`t tell you. (laughs) But somehow “Dying Moan” is kind of the closest one to me. I don´t know why, it`s just a masterpiece from my point of view like that every piece of a puzzle is in the right place. There´s nothing in the song and sound that I like to leave away from there.
There`s also a very beautiful guitar solo in there…
Mika: Yeah, I like that, too.
How would you continue the sentence “Music is…”?
Mika: …it`s everything. (laughs) It`s a life style. It`s me.
Coming Saturday you will have this gig in Lahti. By the way, is it still snowy there? I´ve been in Lahti last week and first everything was white, but when I left it already started melting away…
Mika: Yeah, this is what it`s been for two years. The last two winters were what we call “German winter”. (laughter) No snow, but only rain.
But hei, we have more snow here than in Finland at the moment!
Mika: Yeah, I`ve heard that. (laughs)
And we had like minus 20 degrees.
Mika: What??? In there? Oh my God…where do you live?
It´s near Cologne.
Mika: Yeah, I remember we had that interview in Cologne last time.
Strange weather. Global warming.
Mika: Yeah, that`s what it´s all about thanks to US.
But well, coming back to the gigs: You have the next one in Lahti on Saturday and there will be a lot more following in Finland. But are there also any plans for gigs in Germany?
Mika: Our plans are to come in spring. We have 20 shows in here before, so the whole winter and beginning of the spring, but we have planned to come to Germany in May if everything`s going as we have planned it. Hopefully. So we`ll stay there for two or three weeks and then we come back to Finland and have the summer festivals. But we`ll see how the things go, cos I don´t know how Germany works right now as Century Media is not working with us anymore. I don´t know if we have a licence in Germany. Hopefully the person who`s working for us in Germany does a good job. And I don`t even know who`s working there for us right now. (laughs)
Aksu, who´s working as a producer, he produced for example the new SaraLee-album last year and it´s also going to be published here in Germany quite soon. Why don´t you grab them, SaraLee, for coming over to Germany with you? That would be a nice package!
Mika: Yeah, and we have talked about that we could make a tour with Bloodpit. There´s a lot of talking, but we just haven´t decided yet what we gonna do and we`ll see what it`s gonna happening. I`d like to go with a bigger band to have tour, but we have to check out who`s touring at that time over there.
Mika: Yeah, but they`re too expensive.
How easy is it for you to switch between the studio life, touring life and private life?
Mika: The thing is that I´m a totally different person in personal life. Of course the music is always in me, but I lived my rock`n`roll-years already. (laughs) When I was 20 I didn`t have a big band, but I was a rockstar.
And now you´re no rockstar anymore, or what?
Mika: Yeah, but not the same way. In personal life I don´t need to be like “Okay, I´m a rockstar!” You know? I hate that! We are all humans. It´s annoying, cos some friends in this industry are like “I´m a f***g rockstar and I can do whatever I want”. I never felt that very close to me. I´m just doing the thing what I love, if you know what I mean!? (laughter) The main thing is that I get to know new people. When I´m touring I meet new people and I don’t want to be some kind of a mysterious asshole. I don´t know how to explain it and I hope you get my point. (has to cough loudly)
That doesn`t sound well! But as you`re also part of the other band ShamRain, how easy is it for you to switch between that band and Entwine?
Mika: It`s not hard, cos it`s kind of the other side of me. In ShamRain we`re doing more moody and gentle stuff. (laughs loudly)
Are you schizophrenic?
Mika: No, I´m not like schizophrenic, but of course every person has different sides. That`s what I think. But not in a schizophrenic way. (laughs) If I´m thinking about myself, of course when I´m on stage it`s my place. Nobody comes to jump on me, you know? But when I´m in private life…
…there is always coming somebody who jumps on you?
Mika: Nooo! (laughs loudly) That´s not what I meant. But I´m not that “Harrharrrrr”-person. I´m very calm.
But beside your two bands, do you have any other job actually?
Mika: No, I haven´t got any time to work. It would be nice to get some money. (laughs)
But just being at home and doing some housework is also nice…
Mika: Yeah, sometimes it´s okay.
Are you a houseman, good cook and stuff?
Mika: Yeah, I am. But the thing is that the place is not so clean all the time, because when the artists` life is going, it takes probably two or three months and the place is a mess and I don’t have any power to do anything. But usually I like it cleaned. (laughs) Just sometimes I don´t care so much. That tells me that I´m a moody person.
What are your wishes for the year 2009?
Mika: A simple thing is that hopefully everything goes fine. I´m not awaiting a big success or big breakthrough. If it comes, it comes. The only thing is that I keep my health and that we don´t have to cancel the shows. In past years I had a lot of problems with my throat and stuff, so I hope everything goes fine with that. That´s the only thing that I´m wishing. I´m not thinking about it so much that we have a big breakthrough. The main thing is that I always wanted to play live and that`s why I`m making the albums. Then I get to play live. I´m not making the albums to be f***g successful. The main thing is that I make music that I love. But if it breaks, it breaks. Then it´s a big bonus. Nobody should do music just thinking about the money.
Alright Mika, that have been all my questions actually. Now you`re free to go back to bed. Become healthy again!
Mika: Oh, I´m free to lay down. But I still have to do some stuff today and I have to skip the rehearsals. But tomorrow I have to go even though the feeling is what it is. But that is life! (laughs)
Interview: Lea S.
Fotos: taken & (c) by Terhi Ylimäinen / taken from myspace.com/entwineofficial
Website Band: www.facebook.com/pages/Entwine/137377466320641
(c) Zillo Musikmagazin / Ausgabe 03/09 / wwww.zillo.de