♦♦♦ Aurora Borealis ♦♦♦
Interview mit Joonas [SaraLee], 15.12.2008, phoner

Bald beginnt das neue Jahr, doch was wird es bringen? Die Band SaraLee! Die jungen Herren spielen Gothic-Rock/Metal und überzeugen mit starken, eingängigen Melodien. In diesem Jahr begab sich das (derzeitige) Quartett ins Studio, um am zweiten Album zu feilen. Herausgekommen ist der Neuling „Damnation To Salvation“, welcher bald auch in unseren Läden stehen soll. Am 15. Dezember 2008 telefonierte ich mit Joonas, dem Sänger von SaraLee, und konnte ihm noch weitere News entlocken.

Hei Joonas, how are you doing?

Joonas: I`m doing fine and waiting to go on holidays to Egypt tomorrow. And we had a gig two nights ago and it went well and I´m feeling all in all pretty good.
Are you going to spend Christmas in Egypt?
Joonas: No, I will be there for only one week. Then I`ll come back and go to my parents having a traditional Christmas.
Are you already in Christmas mood?
Joonas: Not yet. But hopefully soon. (laughs)
You´ve recently created your second album called “Damnation To Salvation” and it starts quite heavy with the track “Scars”. Where did you put the main focus on this time musical and lyrical wise, I mean in comparison to the previous album “Darkness Between”?
Joonas: This time we had a producer with us who also brought the hardness and the songs automatically came like that. We just wanted to try something and take our style a bit further and stretch the boundaries.
Aksu Hanttu, who`s also known from Entwine, has produced your second album. How was it to work with him?
Joonas: It was totally great. He`s a really hard working man. All the guys have said that it was so rewarding and the best sessions we had.
The title words “damnation to salvation” can be found on the track “Turning Point”. But what does the title of the album actually mean for you?
Joonas: It means something like the new start or like we want to rise again and be better this time than we were last time. And the cover of the album also refers to that. It´s a bird that rises from ashes.
Which songs of the album are potential single tracks?
Joonas: Maybe there are also some other, but the song “Scars” is the main one that we focused on maybe a little bit more than on others.
And your personal highlights?
Joonas: I like the last song “Last Day Alive” and then “Scars”. Actually I like all the songs. This time they´re so much closer to us. Last time there was this gap between the oldest and the newest songs. It was almost like seven years on “Darkness Between”. But now the songs are mainly from a two years period. The album is much more tighter and much more personal at this point, if you know what I mean.
Who´s Carmen by the way? A fictive person?
Joonas: It´s a person who´s name has been changed. (laughs)
You already mentioned the song “Last Day Alive”. You`re asking in there “What would you do at the final hour?” But now I´m asking you what you`d like to do then?
Joonas: I would like to talk to all of my loved ones. Yeah, maybe I would like to do that and be with them, with my family, friends, the band and my dogs. I have two dogs. Really small ones. I think it`s a German race. They`re Kleinspitz. Really small.
Do you believe in life after death when we`re still talking about the song “Last Day Alive”?
Joonas: In some way. I don´t think that we continue to be reborn again. I don´t believe that. But I think that our path is continuing somewhere else. It`s a difficult subject to express. But I think our path is much longer than our life is.
On a scale from 1 to 10 – how personal are the songs on “Damnation To Salvation”?
Joonas: I think maybe 7 or 8, because there are subjects that are universal like “Crimson Sky”. It´s about something what I see in religions and what they do to people. This time I have more universal subjects, but also very much personal stuff.
Are you religious?
Joonas: No, or maybe in some way. But I don´t believe in any certain religion. I have my own. (laughter)
How would you continue the sentence “Music is…”?
Joonas: Music is the biggest part of my life. I don´t say that it is the most important, but the biggest. It´s one of the important things.
There`s a slogan on your first album that says “Darkness will come and unite the pretty ones…”. I guess there is a deeper meaning behind these words?
Joonas: Yeah, but this is hard to explain. I´ll try: It`s a statement. Well, the first album was much more gothic than this new one. At least I think so, but I don´t know what you or someone else thinks. So it´s a statement that I like darkness and I like a group of people that likes darkness and we`re all united in some way.
For the opening track “Scars” on the new album you shot a video. In there you`re playing like a double role and had to act a little bit. Would that also be an option for you maybe taking part in a movie or something like that just as an actor?
Joonas: I haven´t thought about it actually. But if that looks so good, why not?
What kind of movies do you like?
Joonas: I like horror movies and almost every kind of. I watch a lot of movies almost every night.
Coming back from films to music: In SaraLee you´re the vocalist, but you also played the guitar back in the years. Don´t you miss that?
Joonas: I don´t miss it, because when I write songs, I can play and release my inner guitarist. (laughs) On the stage I really like to sing only, because the guitar is tying my hands and I don´t like to play guitar on stages.
…or is the rumour true that men are not multitasking able, I mean that they cannot do two things at the same time?
Joonas: (laughs) Maybe that is also one point.
At the moment there are only four members in the band. Kimmo left last year and now also Saurus said “Goodbye”. What has happened?
Joonas: When Kimmo left, it was mainly our decision and we thought that we needed to do something, because we were having a hard time. We didn´t have enthusiasm. So we tried that and it went better. Then we did the new album and suddenly Saurus said one night to me “Is it okay for you that I leave SaraLee now?”, because it`s not the kind of music he plays and he´s a much better drummer and bass is not his instrument. So we talked about it and we`re still really good friends.
Who´s now playing the bass guitar in the band?
Joonas: Actually Arzka is now our guitar player and we have two new guys for bass and keyboards. They have done two gigs now and it seems like it`s working better then ever. They`re hoping that we put them on our roster. (laughter) And I think that the two new guys have a really good chance to become real members of the band. We`re not searching for anyone else.
The next SaraLee-gig is announced for February 2009 in Helsinki together with Tiamat and Gotham O.D. I hope you´ll also come over to Germany some day. Are there any plans for that?
Joonas: We have talked about it with our record company and gig promoter. We actually had one chance last fall to come there, but it went bad. But still we`re planning and I´m totally hoping that we can come this time, because our career has been so long and we´ve never been anywhere else than in Finland. We really would love to come everywhere. And Germany is one of the top places. There are two bands we might come with, but I won´t say anything about it by now.
Will your second album also be published here in Germany?
Joonas: Yeah, I think it`s gonna be released in February 2009.
Do you actually know some German words or sentences?
Joonas: Yeah, I know something, but it`s really not anything to publish. (laughter) My Mom talks German really well, but she hasn´t taught me any. I only know maybe one or two of the bad words and I´m not even sure if they`re right.
Well, if I´m right you didn´t study German, but something like “Multimedia Communications”. Did you ever finish it or have you been too busy with SaraLee?
Joonas: I have finished it and now I´m working in this metal factory. I´m just doing something to have money, but nothing from the multimedia communication field. It´s hard working in this metal factory, almost like exercising every day eight hours. I´m lifting some steel stuff and it`s just a way of working out.
Which was the strangest job you ever had?
Joonas: I`m not sure, but maybe when I was at this advertising/print house or something like that. Here in Jyväskylä we did some adverts for the local ice hockey team. We put some stuff under the ice and then we iced it and that was pretty strange. (laughs)
But actually your job at the moment should be buying Christmas presents. Do you already have the gifts together?
Joonas: Yeah, I have. I´m early this year. I did all of the shopping in one day.
Do you think about the presents before or do you just go to the shops and get the inspiration there?
Joonas: I think about it before, maybe even too much, because when I find something better and I already bought another present, then it`s “money bye bye”.
You already said that you`re going to celebrate Christmas with your family quite traditional. But what about your plans for New Year´s Eve?
Joonas: I haven´t planned my New Years Eve. (sighs) I don`t actually know. I have two options: I can celebrate it somewhere in the countryside in a cabin with my friends or at the city. I don´t know which one I will choose.
Do you like the Finnish nature?
Joonas: Yeah, sure. I like it a lot. I´ve lived all my childhood long in the countryside, near Jyväskylä. It´s a really small place called Hankasalmi and I have lived there for 19 years.
How old are you now if I may ask?
Joonas: I´m 26.
Do you also have an own Mökki in the countryside?
Joonas: Yeah, we have one near my childhood home. There we have a nice cabin.
When is your plane tomorrow?
Joonas: It´s early in the morning. We have to drive to Helsinki. I guess, I have to sleep a little bit, because I`m driving.
Then I wish you great holidays and a nice Christmas time.
Joonas: Yeah, thanks, same to you.

Interview: Lea S.
Fotos: taken & (c) by Jussi Miettinen / taken from myspace.com/saralee

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

copyright: Aurora Borealis 2007-2015
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