♦♦♦ Aurora Borealis ♦♦♦
Interview mit Joonas Lepistö [Essentia], 25.04.2008, Köln/Eiscafé

Für sie war es die erste Deutschland-Tour. Essentia nahmen an der TREvolution Tour 2008 teil und mit ihren Kollegen von T.A.P. und Renoise rockten sie unsere Bühnen. Essentia ist eine junge Band aus Tampere Rockcity, gegründet 2001, und besteht aus fünf Bandmitgliedern. Die Jungs kreieren heavy Musik und hatten in Finnland bereits zahlreiche Gigs. Nun wollen sie ihre Musik auch nach Deutschland bringen und um die Band ein klein wenig näher vorzustellen, traf ich Sänger Joonas Lepistö auf der TREvolution Tour zu einem Interview. Am 25. April trafen wir uns in Köln und hatten ein kleines Gespräch in einem Eiscafè.

Hello Joonas! I`ve heard it is the last gig of this Germany tour. How have been the shows so far?
Joonas: Wunderbar! Everything is very great and we love this tour and we hope that we can come back here very soon.
Have there been a lot of people during the last gigs?
Joonas: Yeah, yeah! I am surprised how many people have been in these gigs. I wanna thank all who have been watching us.
The roots of Essentia lie back in 2001 and the line-up changed during the years a couple of times. Did also the sound of Essentia change during these line-up changes?
Joonas: Yeah, very much. At first we were a not so good band (laughs) and we have created our own sound world for a very long time. But I think we have become better and better each year. And what we`re doing now in presence is, I think, the most important thing Essentia has done in recent years.
Who are the faces of Essentia nowadays? Maybe you can introduce the band a little bit for the German audience?
Joonas: We`re Essentia and we try to bring hope for the people and we believe in that every human being is very important and unique. We wanna tell everyone that you should live your life as best as you can and don´t kill yourself. And we have five members. One is Sammy Black and he is also in Lovex. Maybe you guys know the band? And we have also Bailey, our drummer. And then there is Adam, the guitarist. And we have Chris Thomas, base player, the newest member of the band and he is our guardian angel.
How would you describe yourself in a few words?
Joonas: I`m happy and honestly, I`m crazy, but in a good way, I think. And I like to do very much stuff all the time. I have lots of visions in my head and right in this moment, too. And I`m trying to create new things every day and like I said, I try to live my life and I make things possible referring to those ideas which are just ideas in my head. But maybe tomorrow there is some action. And I have a bad humour. And people are laughing for me because of that.
How did this tour through Germany actually come about?
Joonas: I don`t really know. I just had a call “Do you wanna go to Germany?” And I said: “Hey, what the hell, of course!” And there are some very good people who like us so much that they are ready to arrange gigs for us. So I´m happy, because some people are so nice for us and try to help us. And we try to help them, too. So when they come to Finland, they can sleep with me. (laughter)
There are two other bands with you. Maybe you can also introduce those bands a bit!?
Joonas: T.A.P. and Renoise – they are also from Tampere. T.A.P. is more like Negative rock, like the band called Negative. And then Renoise it`s quite heavy stuff, not like us, but also a very good band. And I think the whole tour started, because some people wanted to see Renoise here and they wanted also us, so here we are because of that. You have to go to the websites of those bands [www.tapband.net, www.renoiseband.com], because it´s hard to explain what kind of music it is. Maybe it`s a little bit more mainstream than us, but in a good sense.
Is Essentia the only thing you do at the moment or are there any other jobs?
Joonas: I`m a journalist like you. (laughs) I do lots of interviews back in Finland and the magazine I`m working for is called kansanlehti.fi and it´s a web magazine. Then I also study International Politics in Tampere. You should also come to Tampere in the summer time. We have lots of gigs in there. You should all come to Tampere, because it`s the bellybutton of Europe.
At last you released the EP “Between the loneliness” including three songs. About what are you singing in your songs, about what are you writing?
Joonas: In Finland we have lots of problems with violence between the homes, I mean, in the families. People hit each others and their children. It`s a very sad song “Between the loneliness” and tries to tell the people: Don´t fucking hit each others! And “Don’t let it be” it`s a more worldwide song and it comes from the Beatles “Let it be”. We don´t wanna let it be, because I think people care about each others too little and if people would try to think a little bit less about their own bellybuttons and take a look around, this world would be a very much better place. And “Servants” is all about that people must serve each others. We`re servants for our audience. So come to our gigs!
How would you continue the sentence “Music is…”?
Joonas: …my love, my girlfriend.
Tomorrow there is a gig in France. How did this come about?
Joonas: There are some people who just wanted us to come there. And they paid us for coming, so we are really happy to go there. I have never been in France, but it`s nice to chat with the people there.
But have you been to Germany before?
Joonas: Yeah, I have been here by travelling. I really love this Country and I have just planned with my friend to come to Cologne in July. We just saw the church, the dome…
Have you been upstairs?
Joonas: Yeah, we just came from there. And (laughs) it`s a huge place, lots of steps, a good exercise before the gig, warming up. I really love old buildings and the architecture of Germany. In Finland we have lost our passion to guide for the old buildings and we just crash them down and it`s very sad I think.
Is there any special thing in Tampere you would recommend for the audience?
Joonas: There is not very old stuff, but there is a high building, 150 metres, and you can see the whole city from there. You should go there. There is also Särkänniemi, our amusement park, close to the lake. There are a lot of things…good museums, good arts, and it`s a really cultural city I think, including hundreds of festivals in one year. And we play in Tammerfest. It`s in July and we also play in Kukkaisrock. It´s in August. Very good festivals.
There are lots of bands coming from Tampere and it`s already called Rockcity. Is it like a happy big family there or is there a competition between all those bands?
Joonas: I think there are some kind of healthy competitions going on, that we`re trying to create our sound better and better all the time, but it`s in a good way. We really think that we`re a big happy family with a little bit of craziness with us. And we try to support and promote each others to all the Countries and in Tampere there are really over 1000 bands. There are 200.000 people living in the city and over 1000 bands.
And how many of those bands are really successful?
Joonas: Not very many. Uniklubi, Negative, Lovex, Bloodpit…on Sunday we play with Matthau [ex-vocalist of Bloodpit] in Klubi in Tampere. Matthau has a solo-project right now. And what else? There are not so many bands who are known. But there are lots of Finland-fans in Germany, so I think many people from there also know the little bands.
Sammy Black is also playing in Lovex. And the band is really successful here in Germany. But do you and the other guys of Essentia have also other projects beside Essentia or is it the only band for you?
Joonas: I have a solo-project. And I sing in Finnish in there. It`s very different kind of music. It`s almost weird pop music I think. And Adam also plays in T.A.P. and then he has some other projects, too. I think he has really six bands. Yeah, he´s a real musician. We are just some kind of creeps. But he`s a real musician. (laughs)
He`s the youngest of the band, is that right?
Joonas: Yeah, he`s 20. Only 20. Sammy and me are the oldest. We`re 26 and Chris Thomas is 25. And then Bailey is also just 20.
Checking out all the gigs from your website that you have played so far, you already played with lots of famous and successful bands like Mokoma, Negative, Uniklubi and so on. What`s the best gig-memory you have in your head? I there any highlight you would mention?
Joonas: The day before yesterday we played in Bamberg! It was very great. I think it was one of the best gigs we ever had. But then you mentioned Mokoma. We played with Mokoma and TikTak in Finland maybe two years ago and it was very great. There were over 3000 people.
In Tampere?
Joonas: No, in Espoo. It´s near Helsinki. But then we also play every year in Vappu, which is the first of May, a big party in Finland, in Keskustori, the city downtown in Tampere. And last year there were 5000 people.
Do you also have these kind of traditions like making fires on the first of May?
Joonas: No, it`s all about drinking and having fun and have balloons and colourful clothes and some kind of weird make-ups and just having fun. But the real meaning of the Vappu is: It´s for the worker`s rights, so it`s a worker`s party. I think it`s in Sweden, too, and all Nordic Countries. But it`s just for the workers, that workers should have better rights and better salary and that kind of politic background.
You´re saying on the website that you can`t sing. Well, I don´t agree with you. (laughs) But did you ever had some singing lessons? Or just learning by doing?
Joonas: Both: lessons and learning by doing. I just make bad jokes everywhere, so it`s good to say that I can´t sing, so nobody can say that I am a *** head. (laughter) If I say I can`t sing, I just try to say it to myself that I have to sing better every day, so that in five years I would be a person who can sing.
I have just seen that you have a tattoo on your right arm. Buddha? What does it mean for you?
Joonas: Every morning when I look at this Buddha, I realise that peace is the most important thing in life. And to get to the peace you have to be a good person for everyone. And I`m just looking and searching for the peace to myself. And now it`s on my skin and maybe one day it`s inside of me, in my body. So that is all about it. I believe that I will find peace some day. But it`s not a really religious thing.
What does essentialism mean for you?
Joonas: Maybe the same thing, that we try to say the people that “don´t ever give up and try to fight for your rights and be a better person for everyone”. That is all about positive thinking and we really wanna help people in the normal life. I have lent money to our fans that they can pay their bills and stuff like that…
Have you learned any German sentences or words during the time being here?
Joonas: “Ich kann ein bisschen Deutsch sprechen. Ich bin glücklich Person, dass ich kann hier spielen.“
(impressed) Wow. Did you ever had German at school?
Joonas: “In der Schule, ja.“
Ahh, you had to learn it?
Joonas: “Nein, aber ich wünscht, dass ich kann das lernen.“
Sehr gut! Mein Finnisch ist schlecht.
Joonas: (laughs) „Mein Deutsch ist schlecht auch.“
Nein, it`s good, it`s perfect. Your plans for the summer? You have already talked about some festivals…
Joonas: Yeah, I`m a journalist, so I have to go to every festival. Basically I get money for drinking. (laughs loudly) So it`s a good job. And with Essentia we also have gigs in Finland in the summer time. And then I´m going to travel. I`m going to Balkan and visit five Countries with my brother. I´m really looking forward to that and I have to do some school stuff also, because I really wanna graduate some day. It´s MA, Masters.
You`re doing lots of interviews. What was the best interview you have ever done?
Joonas: I was in Ruisrock, the big festival in Turku. I drank with Andy McCoy from Hanoi Rocks and Ville Valo from Him and Joey Jordison from Slipknot and then there was also a guy from Backyard Baybies. And I was doing an interview and I felt really good in that moment.
And is there any person you would love to interview some day?
Joonas: It would be nice to chat a bit with the Dalai Lama.
At last some greetings for the German audience!?
Joonas: I really hope that you come to Finland to see me. I`m looking for a girlfriend. And I think you look good, so maybe we can chat a little bit and have fun and have a little bit beer. And of course just listen to our music! I have a message in the lyrics, so we hope that you like our band and just come to our gigs, so you can see what Essentia is all about.

Interview & Foto 2: Lea S.
Foto 1: taken by Joonas Leppäviita, (c) essentiaband.net
Website Band: www.essentiaband.com

(c) fhradio

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