♦♦♦ Aurora Borealis ♦♦♦
Sunrise Avenue
Interview mit Raul & Sami [Sunrise Avenue], 29.10.2007, Köln/E-Werk

“Fairytale gone bad” brachte sie groß raus. Noch immer läuft der Song in den Radiostationen rauf und runter. Es schlossen sich weitere erfolgreiche Singles an und das Debüt „On the way to wonderland“. Sunrise Avenue aus Finnland wissen, wie man rockt. Das stellten sie kürzlich auf einer weiteren Deutschland-Tour unter Beweis. Am 29. Oktober traf ich Raul und Sami von Sunrise Avenue im Kölner E-Werk, wo sie fast schon Heimspiel vor 2000 Fans hatten. Im Backstage sprachen wir über Staubwedel, Sauerkraut und gemütliche Nightliner-Betten.

It´s the second time that you´re doing a bigger tour here in Germany in this year. How have been the shows so far? Are there more people coming to the shows already?
Sami: Ja, the whole touring has been really fantastic. It´s been a lot of fun and the crowd has been I think louder than ever.
Raul: Yeah, it`s so great to perform for such audiences on this tour.
Last year in August you had your live-debut here in Germany taking place in the smaller venue of Cologne`s Underground. This time you`ll rock here in Cologne`s E-Werk. Where do you see the advantages or disadvantages of playing in a bigger venue like this?
Raul: They are very hard to compare. In a smaller club you can really get the contact with the audiences. But on this bigger stage that we have in E-Werk it`s really cool that we have the room to jump and run all over the stage and have a real show. But actually both are very cool.
The gig on your DVD was also recorded here in Cologne`s E-Werk. Was there any special reason why you chose this venue for that?
Sami: For that tour it was the biggest place, I think. And the stage was the biggest.
Raul: The record-company knew this place and they have the production nearby, so it was easy for them to choose this place.
Sami: And it´s a really cool venue.
Raul: It`s such a nice place to play.
This time your supports on the tour are Grand Avenue and Christian Venus. How do you normally decide which bands are coming with you on tour?
Sami: We don`t decide those things. Usually our record company or management does it.
Raul: They make these choices. Sometimes they send us some links from myspace and ask us if we like the music or not. On a long tour it`s very hard to find bands that can join you for six weeks. So it`s not easy for us to make a decision for another band or something. It´s easier for the managements and record companies to put the stuff going.
Riku is now playing guitar in Sunrise Avenue since Janne is out of the band. Is Riku only replacement musician or will he now stay in the band or are you still searching for a new guitar player?
Sami: We can`t tell you that. It´s a secret. (grinning)
Raul: Riku is a great guy, a great guitar player and now he is just as a hired guitar player on this tour, but let´s see. We don´t know. No one knows what´s gonna happen.                           
But he`s normally playing for Hanna Pakarinen?
Raul: He was. But he got fired there.
Sami: …yeah, like a year ago. (laughs)
I`ve heard that Samu has recorded a song called “White Rider” with the Finnish band All Of Us. Do you know about that?
Raul: It´s not a Sunrise Avenue thing. It`s Samu`s. Ja, he did something by himself in there. I think it´s a project. It´s not kind of a band. It´s a big project for the guys who wanted to do the songs and they had really, I think, quite many Finnish guest singers there.

When you create your music videos – at last for “Heal me” –, how many of your own ideas find their place in the final shot?
Raul: About zero. (laughs) There is really no kind of our own ideas. Everything starts from the record company. They have some kind of idea of something and then they send these ideas to the video-directors and then they send their ideas…
Sami: We don´t actually have time to…
Raul: …yeah, we make music. The video-guys they do the video stuff and marketing…it`s so much, too much for our heads.
But would you be interested to give your own ideas into that?
Sami: Maybe in some point, if we have time, like have some ideas on the paper.
Raul: But it`s kind of the same when you´re driving the nightliner or bus and you tell the busdriver that “Could you just drive a little bit better!”. Let the busdriver drive the bus!
Sami: We trust the directors.
Raul: Yeah, they`re professionals.
How does your wonderland look like?
Sami: At this point a really small room. (laughter)

Raul: Yeah, it is. But one part of our way to wonderland is definitely that we get to do what we really love to do: play music with the wonderful bunch of guys. And we have this tour going on with such a great crew.
Sami: Everybody should have a wonderland which to aim to like have dreams and try to make them happen. And if you wanna be like a professional ice-hockey-player, you should play ice-hockey as much as you can. Even though if you never get there to play as good as a professional, if you still do what you want, that`s the thing!
Raul: Yeah, definitely. It`s not like you have to get billions and billions of whatever. Rock music is definitely not the right place to get billions of billions. (laughs) It´s a good hobby performing for people.
But the way to wonderland, is it an endless way?
Raul: Yeah, definitely.
Sami: Yes, hopefully yeah.
You will never reach an aim in the end?
Raul: Kind of probably not.
Sami: You have to get your aim higher, if you have reached the level.
Raul: Ja, it doesn´t have anything to do with how many Ferraris or how many big castles you have.
Sami: One wonderland was to play at Rock am Ring and that happened last summer, so it was like a big thing for me.
Raul: Yeah, it definitely was.
So there could also be different little wonderlands more or less.                          
Raul: Ja, ja. They come…
Sami: …and they make you happy, when you reach them. 
Okay. How could be the sentence “Music is…” be continued?
Sami: Music is that`s what all is about.
Lately you have been nominated for the New Sounds Of Europe Award. What do those kinda events mean for the band?
Raul: It`s really cool those kind of events where the big audience, the public votes and gives their kind of voice or whatever. It`s even nice to get nominated for those events.
Sami: Yeah, it`s a cool thing, but that`s not the whole point of being like playing in a band. Usually it´s more the playing in front of the people and see, if they are happy about it.
Raul: Ja and it`s of course very different from Formula 1, when someone is faster. No one in rock or in music is kind of better. It`s just a matter of taste and what kind of songs or whatever you like. It has nothing to do with a competition, I think, like it`s very difficult to compare. Or in which points would you compare? How much do you have eyeliners or how black are your nails?
Sami: How high does the chorus go?
Raul: Yeah, it`s Kimi Räikkönen won the championship, cos he was the fastest.
Sami: Or it`s all because Finland is the best Country.
Are you interested a lot in sports?
Raul: Actually, yeah, sports is okay, but from the Formula 1 I watched only the last race. I didn´t watch the second. But ice-hockey is great.
Sami: Yeah, and football. The World Championships are very good.
Raul: Ja, good soccer is good. Probably not the Finnish team…
Sami: We have a football-game in our bus for playstation and our lightning guy is the best. He is damn good. (laughter) I`ve been trying to practise it, but it`s pretty hard.
Raul: Ja, secretly until 4 am.
Sami: (laughs) I don´t sleep at all.
But what do Sunrise Avenue and sports have in common?
Raul: We`re just a lot in sports. We maybe don´t like to watch so much, but we do sports. We have to do sports to keep us fit on the stage.
So playing playstation is one good activity when you`re travelling from one venue to the next. But are there any other ones you prefer?
Raul: Yesterday we went with a few guys and the record company guys to play badminton somewhere in Cologne.
Sami: Yeah, then you just rest. If you have a day off, you try to rest as much as possible.
Raul: Yeah, it`s quite hard, if you have that one and half hour show. It´s like, we don`t play like Jazz. It´s kind of physical stuff and we are not so young anymore.
Sami: I am.
Raul: (laughs) Or you are.
Sami: I`m 18. (grinning)
Raul: After the third song you remember that you have your muscles still on your feet. (laughs)
How old are you really, Sami?
Sami: 22, noooo, 27!
And you, Raul?
Raul: I`m 32.
Okay. So you are young both.
Sami: It depends on how you count it. (laughs)

There are lots of Finnish bands at the moment here in Germany touring like Apocalyptica…they are also playing here tomorrow…and Sturm & Drang and Lovex and Sonata Arctica and…
Raul: …Negative are probably here.
No, they have just been in September. I´ve got the feeling that all the Finnish bands know each other. So are you some friends of any of the other bands?
Sami: Yeah, we met them at some festivals in Finland and we know some guys of some bands and there are some very good friends in some bands, but there is no club in Helsinki that every musicians goes to and they are all friends.                          
Raul: Maybe Lostari. (also known as “Lost and Found”)
Sami: Yeah, but have you seen Apocalyptica-guys in there?
Raul: I haven`t been in Lostari, so I wouldn´t know. (laughs)
I think, I have met them in Kuudes Linja.
Sami: Oh, Kuudes Linja, okay. That`s in Kallio. (laughter)
Nice area?
Sami: Ja, it`s really cool, if you wanna get drunk in there. (laughter)
Raul: No, but I don´t hang out that much anyway, so whenever I get to go home, I just rest and meet my old friends…
Sami: But for example Helsinki it´s like a pretty small place in a way. The people know each other, but they are not actually friends or whatever. But they know who they are and what they do and might meet each other in festivals and stuff of course, but I think it`s the same in everywhere.
Where is the best place you can sleep?
Sami: At the moment bus for some reason. Yeah. I have really hard problems to sleep in a hotel-room. I don`t know why.
Raul: It´s really comfortable to be in the bus. When I´m at home I normally wake up like 9 or 10. In the bus I have been sleeping until 11 or 12.
But isn´t it like this, when you´re waking up in the bus-bed, that the first thing you do is hitting with your head against the ceiling?
Raul: It´s actually quite cool with that bus. In the upper beds you can almost sit down there, so it`s kind of cool.
Sami: For me it`s better to sleep in a bus anyway.
Also during driving?
Raul: Yeah, yeah. If the road is not like… (mimes a bucking)
Sami: We have a good driver. He doesn`t go like… (mimes a bucking as well)
Raul: But it`s cool. It`s like in a cradle like a baby. It´s really cool.
I would get sick I guess.                         
Raul: No, it´s not that bad. I just put my earplugs on and then I read something and fall asleep with the book on my chest and then I wake “Oh shit” and put it away and sleep more.
And how many people are sleeping in there?
Raul: At the moment 12. It`s for 14 people, but now we are 12 there.
Okay, what is your next big aim you wanna reach on the way to wonderland?
Sami: Mmm, that´s a really hard question. Are there any plans for other countries?
Raul: Maybe some new territories.
Sami: Yeah, and then we will see what happens there.
Raul: Probably Japan, United States maybe…
Sami: Yeah, you never know. Usually the record company plans these things. And we don’t know about these things so much. (laughs)
Raul: They send us emails that on the 21st of January we have to be at the airport…
Sami: It´s like “Remember to bring your passports” and that´s it. (Lea laughs)
Raul: Yeah, it`s like we don´t need that much information about that stuff. They kind of tell us the result and that`s it.
Okay, do you know any German sentences or words?
Sami: Haben Sie meinen Staubwedel gegessen?

(laughs loudly) Staubwedel? Okay, who taught you this?
Sami: (laughs) I can`t remember. I just asked some funny words from some German…Ich habe Gemüse gegessen mit Oma.
(laughs) I think that was also something what Samu said last time you played here.
Raul: Yeah, probably.
But is his father from Germany, was that right?
Raul: Yes, he is.
Raul, what about you? Some German words?
Raul: Ich habe Sauerkraut in meinen Lederhosen. (laughter) It`s something like that. I`m not sure.
Ja, ja. I can understand. I mean, the sentence makes no sense…
Sami: Das Pferd. (mimes a horse)
And what do I have to know in Finnish?
Sami: Hyvää huomenta. (“Good morning”)

Good morning.
Sami: Okay, hyvää iltaa. (“Good evening”)
Good evening. (laughs)
Raul: Kuinka voit? (“How are you ?”)
Kaikki on hyvin. (“Everything is alright”)
Sami: Kaikki on hyvin. Alles in Ordnung.
Ja. Soon it`s Halloween. Are you fan of these traditional events? Will you celebrate it?
Raul: Actually in Finland we don´t really celebrate Halloween. I think, I actually have never celebrated it.
Sami: In some bars there might be like Halloween-parties. I don´t like Pumpkins.
Raul: I don´t even know when Halloween is.
In two days. (laughs) Do you have a gig on that day?
Raul: No. We have a free day.
Oh, so you can celebrate it.                         
Raul: We do that. A few beers and…
…dressing like witches or whatever.
Sami: I have a beer and dress like Peter Pan.
Raul: We don´t have to dress like witches. We are already. (laughter)
What can we expect from the show this evening?
Raul: Ahh, gut Schlager and some rock songs and lots of sweat.
Sami: Yeah and a loud crowd. That`s all.
And what`s your motto for tonight?
Raul: Give everything and a little bit more!
Sami: Give everything and take everything! (laughs)
Raul: Hyvää! (“Good”)

Some Finnish greetings for fhradio`s audience!
Sami: Terve kaikki FH-radion kuuntelijat. Tässä on Sami… (“Hello all fhradio-listeners. We are Sami…”)
Raul: …ja Raul Sunrise Avenue-yhtyeestä. (“…and Raul from a band called Sunrise Avenue.”)
Sami: Pitäkää lippu korkealla ja kuunnelkaa hyvää musaa. Rock. (“Keep the flag high and listen to good music. Rock.“)  

Interview: Lea S.
Foto 1: taken from sunriseavenue.de
Fotos 2-6: taken by Chrissy P.
Website Band:

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