with Tuomas Saukkonen & Panu Willman of BEFORE THE DAWN, August 4,
The finnish Dark-/Goth-Metal-Band BEFORE THE DAWN had
their well-deserved debut on a major label at the beginning of 2003,
when "My Darkness" hit the shelves. The Lahti-based group can
look back on a longer history already, featuring a couple of demos, a
MCD (Gehenna) and having their bandmembers involved in numerous
projects, amongst them Bonegrinder
with Tuomas. Some people may as well remember Panu as singer of Entwine,
but he left the band after the release of their first album.
In spring 2003, the inhabitants of non-Finnish countries had the
pleasure to witness BEFORE THE DAWN raging on stage for the first time,
as they supported Katatonia
on their European tour. This concert made me very interested in the
band, and naturally sooner or later I had to ask for an interview.
Anja Fireangel: First, congratulations, because I
realized that you have a very good connection between band-name and the
name of the record, because there is darkness before the dawn, and this
is like one piece. I wanted to discuss with you the concept of light and
darkness, whether you like light, too, or not at all, and that light is
also a good thing, the nature needs it, it is needed for development and
all those things. So don´t you like it at all?
Tuomas: I like both, darkness and light. It is equal; I
need the darkness and I need the light. You know, the opposites are very
important. It is not very easy to explain shortly....
Anja Fireangel: Then explain it in a long story :)
Tuomas: I have to think a bit… The most important
darkness that I need is the inner darkness. It has nothing to do with
day and night and all that. And when it comes to nature.. I need both of
them as equal. The best time of the day is just before the dawn.. and a
couple of hours after that when the sun begins to rise. I like to stay
up at night and wait for the dawn and then go to sleep. It is a bit hard
because usually I have to go to school or to work at dawn and when I
stay up I will be like this [he means his current feeling] the whole
day. But the darkness which is mentioned lots of times in the lyrics and
the album name and all that stuff means inner darkness...
Panu: …our secrets..
Tuomas: ....and it has nothing to do with.. it is all
about inner things, demons and secrets, failures, all that stuff and the
inner darkness is what you can read in the lyrics, but the nature thing,
light and darkness, is what you can hear in the music. They are two
different things, music and lyrics. Although they are still the same
thing. It is a bit hard to explain..
Anja Fireangel: But with music you can express things
which you can´t say with words, maybe that way?
Tuomas: Yeah, maybe. There are so many correct
explanations about the darkness.. I could go on and on for
Anja Fireangel: I have two tapes ;)
Tuomas: Okay ;) I think the inner darkness is the real
dark one, in the music and the lyrics, and the nighttime is where all
the beautiful things come, like the melodies. I can´t explain it
Anja Fireangel: I looked up some other interviews which
I could find and there you said: “before the dawn (the sun is still
below the horizon and) nature is filled with darkness”. So my other
keyword is “nature”. Is this also important? I know it is not
mentioned in the lyrics, like other bands would maybe do… But is it a
thing you cherish? Recently someone said that his religion is nature,
not the official one. And I’d like to hear your opinion about that.
For example I like being outdoors when it is dark and it is so calm and
Tuomas: I have to think a bit. Could you repeat the
question? I lost track..
Anja Fireangel: Yeah, I wondered about the sentence
that nature is filled with darkness. I noticed that especially many
Finnish people have a closer connection to nature [than maybe couple of
Germans ;) ] because this country is not so densely inhabitated. One
uses to go outdoors often, many people have a holiday home somewhere in
nature. I just read that people go there for writing lyrics. Is it
important to you, too? Having an intact nature around, for balancing
your life in the city?
Tuomas: Yes, it is very very very important to me! I
have just moved to a new apartment which is very near to a forest
although it is in the city, so it is very nice. The whole backyard is
forest. So that is really nice. And the main reason for me to get that
place was the forest and all the trees. I really need the nature. I don´t
like to be in cities. But in this summer I have been very busy. I had no
time to spend some time in nature. But the nature is the most important
thing when it comes to writing music and getting inspiration. And the
nighttime… And one of my dearest hobbies right now is to ride my
bicycle at nighttime all around
, it is very nice. No people, no cars and no traffic lights and it is
Anja Fireangel: [to Panu] You wrote the lyrics to
“Human Hatred”, together with another guy. Is this your opinion on
mankind and the way that people behave towards each other, like “world
is crawling in bitterness and human hatred”. Do you see this all so
bitter also in real life? Is it so dark that you would not find anything
Panu: Okay. I am the oldest one and because of that my
opinions are very narrowminded ;D yes, I think this world is a bitter
place and everything is full of shi*. Nothing can be done anymore.. I
think so. That is my opinion. But maybe not in a way that I should ..
that I try to sell it to other people… not so.. There is a bit of
sarcasm in those lyrics, too ;) But I hope that people could see some of
the sarcasm in there, not taking those words so seriously...
Anja Fireangel: ....yes, like the sentence “ignorance
is bliss”. But sometimes I think that it would be nice not to think
too much, because I am doing this all_the_time. Then I don´t want to
get any news anymore and I don´t want to hear all the stuff from wars
and all this. I want to be like those people who don´t read newspapers
or anything.. but I can´t do this for a long time, it is too
interesting on the other hand..
Panu: I don´t know. I am going through a phase where I
think like that. I don´t read newspapers. I maybe_watch the news one
time in a week. I don´t know what is going on in the world. I don´t
want to know. I am not interested. I don´t know.. maybe it is just a
phase, because when you are younger, then your thoughts are pretty much
like “save the whales” [everybody is laughing] and sometimes there
happens…. Well, thoughts change. I don´t think that everybody can
think exactly the same way through their lives.
Anja Fireangel: I wanted to save the world also. But
then I realized that it is too much work and then I gave up ;) And still
I like doing this. But sometimes I think - whenever you do something,
there happens something else, so you are never finished with this. It is
kind of desperate.
Panu: My personal feelings are: do how pleases you but
not in the ways that hurt somebody else. I don´t encourage people to do
crimes or beat people. Maybe I am growing old. I don´t want to think.
Tuomas: ..midlife-crisis! ;D A young man comes to
thirties.. then all of us start to think that everything is shi*,
everybody are pi**heads; your youth is flowing away...
Anja Fireangel: What would you change in the world if
you could change something?
Panu: Of course I would change everything but it is no
use thinking like that. It is not possible. I don´t know. I would
definitely change everything but I don´t want to think like
that....These are tough questions..
Anja Fireangel: Yeah, I thought about them also in the
Tuomas: .. very deep.. all the deep things come up at
Anja Fireangel: The easy questions come at the end. I
thought that is boring for a beginning ;)
Panu: Maybe that is good to make people think, not
just… because everybody - not everybody, but some people - just do and
don´t think, maybe it is good to start to think for a minute.
Anja Fireangel: Let`s talk about tattoos. We started
already before [the interview] with that and now it continues. I looked
in the lyrics, because sometimes you answered to journalists that
everything is said in the lyrics, so I looked at them before you would
tell me the same thing. I feel a contradiction in the song “My
Darkness”. You say there “I yearn for pain that leaves no scars - I
hit myself against the wall”. You have so many “scars” now,
symbolized on your skin.
Are scars and tattoos a symbol outside for the inner pain? Or are they
there in order to balance real and psychological pain? How about the
contradiction between this?
Tuomas: There is no contradiction. It is a whole
different thing. When I say in the lyrics of “Take My Pain” [I think
it is still the song "My Darkness"], “I yearn for pain that
leaves no scars” it is about the inner pain and these marks on my
hands and legs and somewhere else also are a whole different thing.
Anja Fireangel: Are they a symbol for inner pain?
Anja Fireangel: Because I was thinking if they are a
symbol or something else…. You have this tattooing-entry in the
guestbook, that you could say “I would take rather real pain than
psychological pain” ..as a balance?
Tuomas: I think the real pain is what you deal with
inside and the physical pain which comes by tattooing and piercing is
just a reflex of your body.
[here it is very interesting that I was talking about real pain and
meaning pain which your body feels, and Tuomas just understands it the
other way: real pain is what hurts your soul. I agree with Tuomas, it
was just screwed up by me because I used the words in a different way -
A warning sign that something is wrong when you feel physical pain.. or
when I say “I yearn for pain that leaves no scars”..
It is like for example, when a very important relationship ends,
you have two ways to deal with it - the easy way, you go on - and the
hard way: you keep thinking what you did wrong.
Panu: Like usually guys do.
Panu: Girls move on, guys don´t.
Anja Fireangel: No, that is not true! [Panu laughs]
Tuomas: In “Take My Pain” the pain I mention is the
inner pain and it is a whole different thing like tattoos. There is some
kind of warrior theme in my tattoos and scarifications and all that
stuff. That is something I don´t like to talk about to anybody. I don´t
think there is anybody in the world that I have explained to all the
marks I have and why I do have them. I don´t want to. It is not for
others to hear.
Anja Fireangel: Do you like to tell me which was your
Tuomas: Yeah, it is in the back. You have to lift my
shirt to see it, a little tribal.
Anja Fireangel:.. on the right side.. Is there ever
going to be an end to all those tattoos?
Tuomas: I don´t think so…someday
Panu: ..when the room ends…
Tuomas: No, I don´t want to have a whole bodysuit. I
think the whole back is going to be done in near future and a leg - the
whole leg here. The other arm is going to be branded..or.. I am not
sure. In this side [he shows the inner side] would be some cutting and
this side will be burned. And here are some tribals. The wrist and here
should be one thing coming up, and here.. there is lots of room in my
face also.. So there will be lots of tattoos and lots of some freakier
stuff. Cuz I like the scarifications very much. It is developing very
fast. Every year there come up new techniques, so I just wait where they
will be something for me. I just wait. There will be lots of things and
I don´t know when it is going to end. Maybe_when there is no room left.
Hard to say.
Anja Fireangel: So which pain do you find more
difficult? You just said that “girls move on and guys think about this
all the time” - Is also for you psychological pain more difficult to
Panu: Psychological pain is much_more difficult to
Tuomas: ....it is a stake .. inside
Panu: .....and it is in human nature to make it a
bigger deal than it is. So human´s mind is a powerful tool to make one
Anja Fireangel: I just read a quotation in a museum:
“why worry when you can be obsessed?” [laughter]
Why did you get your tattoos?
Panu: Cuz I had to! [laughter] I just GOT to have them!
I don´t know, I don´t have any reason; I don´t have any personal
meanings, maybe one meaning that I´ve come up with but.. I don´t have
any. I just think they are good looking. I like tattoos.
Anja Fireangel: Which was your first one?
Panu: [shows a tattoo on his left arm] This one. I don´t
have any kind of personal stuff. I just think.. when I started to take
these.. it grew bigger and I just gotta have a bigger and bigger
tattoo.. no meanings, nothing.
Anja Fireangel: Everytime I get one I think this should
be the last one. And then five minutes later I get the next idea for
I also wondered about what you wrote in the guestbook to some people: If
you sometimes prevent to be understood by just saying that it is
impossible. Because you say that no-one can understand this, so like …
even if someone would try, you would not let them try out? Are you very
sure that it won´t work?
Tuomas: I am pretty sure. Right now I don´t need
people to understand me. I am going through a bit difficult phase right
now. I don´t need understanding people around me. And when I say that I
don´t need .. that I don´t need my friends around me. I don´t need
people to understand me. How can I explain it better..
If you read the guestbook, some answers are global answers. If someone
asks what I do feel about certain things, I might say something what
everybody could read and sometimes when people ask very personal things,
like one girl did in the guestbook, so to her I said about this
understanding things, because she could never understand me. And I don´t
think that many people can understand me.........
Can you understand me, Panu?
Panu: No. Not quite often. Maybe sometimes but not
often. Because you can´t understand me either.
Tuomas: I can be very difficult.
Panu: People can´t understand each other, you know.
Tuomas: People often say “I understand” and I don´t
like it [Panu laughs] because I know that they just say that. “I want
to understand you” [imitates false caring voice]. How awful….”I
understand what you are going through”.. and I just think “no you
don´t”. I don´t say these things to people. How could I understand
something, especially if I don´t know the person long-term? I don´t ..
there are few people that can understand me and I don´t need more
people to understand me and my meanings.
I don´t need those false understanders at all and last few months I
have discovered how many of those false understanders I had too close to
Anja Fireangel: So you rather say that no-one can
understand so there would be a bit more distance?
Tuomas: Yeah! It is a bit hard question because in this
case I only wanted that person who I answered to be in a bit distance,
but I can say in general I don´t need people close to me right now. I
have few people that are very close to me and I don´t need more and I
don´t need understanders. I know that few good friends I have, probably
don´t understand me but I don´t need that understanding. I can still
trust them and call them my best friends, and they don´t have to
understand me 100% to get to know me. I have been thinking couple of
years in the past about things…..that maybe it’s not very healthy
and it is about the “pain that leaves no scars”, what Panu just
said, that the human mind can be a very effective tool when it comes to
cause pain to myself. Now I lost the point…
No, I don´t need anymore understanders.......Someday I would like to
have one person who would understand me 100% and I would marry her and
we would have two children and a house besides a lake. That is all I
need from life. I don´t need money and big success. Only one person,
that is enough.
Anja Fireangel: Something else. How did you get into
music. Do you have some kind of other education or “real job”.. like
you came just from work [when the interview started]? How do you
organize your life between band and other things?
Tuomas: There is no order, it is just total chaos. Like
today: whole night been working. Tired as hell, and then I should go to
rehearsal, and then I would be very very ..what is the word? Not angry..
but “on the edge”..
Panu: ..just pi**ed.
Tuomas: ....yeah, just pi**ed. Not angry to my
bandfellows. But on the edge, one wrong word and I would go [freaking
out]. It is not their fault, but.. you know. I am not very good
organizing things when it comes to work..
Anja Fireangel: And what about your work? Is this your
main job or is the band your main job?
Panu: I am a student also. I am in school. I am going
to be a music-technologist someday. Maybe in a year I should graduate. I
don´t know. I hope that this band could be the main profession someday,
Anja Fireangel: When did you start to learn playing
your instruments and singing?
Panu: I started playing guitar when I was 12. Time has
passed by. When I was eight, I wanted to be a drummer. My father used to
play drums. So I wanted to be a drummer when I was eight. But then I got
my first guitar. It was hanging on the wall in my room and I was looking
at it for four years and then I started to play and here we are. And
with singing maybe ten years ago. It was not my primary thing at first.
I don´t consider myself as a singer.. still.
Anja Fireangel: When you finished with school, did you
then start the education as music-technologist?
Panu: No, I´ve been doing odd jobs for many many
years. I studied to be a teacher for a grade-school, no grade school,
for these little kids; but I did not graduate, I did not want to
graduate. I´ve been working as a life-guard for four years - David
Hasselhoff - I´ve done many things...
Tuomas: [starts laughing]
Anja Fireangel: If you got a role in that series now
you could promote the band.. [everybody laughs]
Panu: Yeah ;)
Tuomas: All the summer, Panu was always running on the
beach in slow motion [Panu: yeah!], in red shorts, running slow motion
[Panu starts to perform this description right now, especially the
speaking in slow_motion] and checking out the babes [Panu: Noooo].......
Anja Fireangel: .. with the soundtrack in the
Tuomas: ..there was a guy running behind him with a
stereo [everyone cracks up with laughter], same tune every day. People
hear that and think: oh my god, he´s coming again.. [and Panu finishes
with his very convincing David-Hasselhoff-imitation ;D]
Anja Fireangel: You are five people in the band, what
do you think are characteristics that you share all together and which
of them are different amongst the people?
Panu: I think that one of the strengths is, that we are
so different from each other. We don´t think alike musically; none of
us shares exactly the same taste in music. Maybe a band or two, here or
there, everybody likes different things but I think that is the main
thing for the strength of the band, that we are not carved from the same
Anja Fireangel: So do you have disagreements?
Panu & Tuomas: Yes, all the time!
Tuomas: That is very annoying but it could also be a
very difficult thing - the five of us being so different. But we have to
Panu: I think for us it is not a difficulty..
Tuomas: ....no.. what I meant is: it could be, so it is
important to use it in a positive way. It could be easily.. that we are
arguing all the time and none of us would be able to make compromises in
music. It requires a very good chemistry among the members. So different
persons, very strong persons with strong opinions can work together. To
us it is a very big strength. It also could be a difficult thing for
some others.. or, it has been a difficult thing. That is one reason for
the nine ex-members so far, but now it works very well.
Anja Fireangel: You toured in spring with Katatonia. Do
you remember something that was very special, a moment, good or bad, on
Panu: Oh my god.. well, as an experience that the whole
tour was really great. I think as a band it had a very huge positive
effect on us. There were a lot of shi**y things, too.
Tuomas: It was nice to notice how well we can work
together when the circumstances are very, very shi**y.
Panu: I think if everything goes wrong and you still
can manage out from it as a band, I think you can manage pretty much
anything as a band. That is a good metre for a band to go on tour and
live in the same bus and maybe things will turn out good and maybe
things will turn out bad. I think that is a very good metre to see if
they are meant to be together.
Anja Fireangel: ....or if they, when the first
difficulties come, scream at each other and leave the tourbus.
Panu: Yeah. I think we did good, considering the
circumstances that we had to face right at the start of the whole thing.
We had some money problems and stuff like that. Couple of guys went on
the tour without any money and we had to..
Tuomas: ....it is a nice thing when you are in the
and you get the fu**ing information from the recordcompany “no, there
is no money coming”.. and you would need a couple of thousand euros
right_now! It is a very, very unpleasant situation and making phonecalls
: “Hi Dad! It is going very well, but can you lend me a couple of
thousand Euros - right now..”
Panu: Yes that was the situation; what I meant with
“not making it any bigger”. That was really..
Tuomas: … thousands of Euros missing.. that was
really big trouble. Luckily the tour-crew of Katatonia were very
helpful, they lended us money and stuff but our recordcompany..
Panu: … they screwed the whole thing..
Tuomas: ...yeah..really bad. And we did not get any
help from them. I called our agent daily and he was just: “I have no
idea where the money is. I have to contact the boss, call me
tomorrow”. Tomorrow: “Where is the money?” - “We may not have
any good news so far but call me tomorrow”…..
Panu: We met the agent in
- where you were, too - he came to
and he brought some money with him, like his monthly pay …
Tuomas: I think it was 200 Euros or something like
that, so we had enough gasoline to get home. But not anything for food
or something like that. It was a very good experience, because next time
when we get to
, it can´t be that bad..
Panu: Nothing can be that bad anymore..
Tuomas: It was so far the whole thing with Before The
Dawn has been more or less like watching Spinal Tap-movies. It can only
get better. It is a very pleasant situation.
Anja Fireangel: So you are looking forward to next
years’ European tour? ;)
Tuomas: Yes, so far everything has gone wrong with us,
so it can´t continue like this. It has to get better, so it is looking
very positive.. although my car was stolen [Panu and Anja burst out in
laughter] Two times in two weeks! And now it is missing..
Panu: ...now there is only the battery left..
Tuomas: Yeah, only the battery..
Anja Fireangel: Where did this happen?
Tuomas: In the yard of the factory where I work. They
left the battery but they took the car. Goddam. It is only a car. But I
was going to sell the car and buy a Chevy-Van so it would be easier for
us to travel to gigs. Now it is a bit difficult to sell the car which is
Anja Fireangel: You have to go by bike then.
Panu: Me and Tuomas are in good shape because we have
been biking around the whole summer, so we can go to Europe with our
bikes, but the other guys are going to die after twenty kilometres from
Anja Fireangel: Concerning the song-writing process,
you said that music comes first and lyrics come later. How do you decide
who sings which part?
Tuomas: Well, in the first album…
Panu: Everytime we put on boxing gloves…
Panu: .....and we have a little boxring in our
rehearsal place. And the one who wins the fight can sing the most parts
of the song.
Tuomas: ....and if the boxing match comes out without a
winner, we have a “nu*-kicking contest” in our place. First we
[pull] a stick who is going to start, and the other one just has to
stand with legs wide open and then we start to kick as hard as we can.
The first one who drops…
Anja Fireangel: That is where all the pain in the
lyrics comes from..
Panu: I think it is …
Tuomas: Can I answer, please? Because I have the
perfect answer. In “My Darkness”, most of the songs were written,
when Panu then joined the band. There wasn´t any room, in songs like
“Alone” and “Unbreakable”. But for the new songs it seems that
we have this kind of method that we play the songs for several weeks
without any vocals. And we haven´t discussed about it with Panu. It
most likely will go like this that Panu then can find the best places
for clean vocals and I get the rest.
I think it sounds that I would be a bit bitter [everyone laughing..] but
I think it is working very well, because clean vocals…. you can make
the growling anywhere, it is all the same note; but clean vocals need a
bit different place. It just comes very naturally. We very rarely talk
about it, “can I sing here, can you sing here”. We just try things
when we play… after we have played several weeks without vocals. We
have a bad habit: to play new songs on stage without having any lyrics.
Anja Fireangel: Yes, you said something like this last
time, that you are going to improvise now..
Tuomas: The both verses of the other new song - there
is no written lyrics, there is totally nonsense. Just cool words after
Anja Fireangel: You have to growl then, and no-one
understands and no-one will worry about it ;)
Tuomas: ...Yeah, it is easy to fake people. Sometimes I
have been shouting like three sentences without any word of English and
people are like “yeah!!” ..and I am “what am I singing??..”
It comes very naturally with the vocals. It is a bit new thing to us. We
have only been writing new stuff for the new album like eight months
now. So I have only eight months of experience to write music with Panu.
It is growing day by day and I think if the second album won´t sell, we
will concentrate on the clean vocals and put the distortion of the
guitars a bit lower ;) and try to be the Bon Jovi number two..
Anja Fireangel: No!
Panu: .....And bring in the piano! [sings some weird
Anja Fireangel: Oh, that won´t sell at all! =)
Anja Fireangel: You [Tuomas] said that it is easy to
write lyrics together because he [Panu] would have similar demons in his
past. What kind of demons?
Tuomas: Like he said, when a relationship ends, guys
stick with the bad feelings for a very long time and girls move on. I
think we are the guys who have a bad habit to stick…..
Panu: I think, yes, those are the same kind of demons
and with .. I can´t find the words right now.. I don´t know, I just
kind of know when Tuomas writes lyrics, okay, if he writes lyrics to a
song that we both sing in… We haven´t talked about it.. maybe one
time we have talked about it, when I came into this band..
Tuomas: …there was one song, which we were writing
together, the first song, "Seraphim", and after that we just
knew: we don´t..
Tuomas & Panu [simultaneously]: … have to discuss
Tuomas: ..we both knew it would [work].
Panu: ...it is always.. maybe we don´t use exactly the
same kind of words. We don´t try to use the same type of writing, but
the things are always the same. It is hard to explain..
Tuomas: It is very easy to explain: we are just poor
suckers who miss their ex-girlfriends [Panu laughs] and we try to act
very cool and..
Panu: ….yes, our demons from the past….. f**k that!
Tuomas: The inner darkness.. is a very deep darkness..
after years miss your ex-girlfriend.
Panu: Yes, I think that is very dark..
Tuomas: ....deep and dark thing...it is not such
thing.. as we are laughing right now.. amongst the pictures [which the
guys watched some time ago] there was a picture of one girl which has
been an inspiration to all of the Before The Dawn-songs so far that I
have been writing including all the new songs for the next album. It is
a bit pitiful thing…
Anja Fireangel: … you can be sure you won´t lose
your inspiration so soon..
Tuomas: ….but I would like to change the source of
Panu: It is getting a bit boring ..
Tuomas: …yeah, there is no good coming out of that
source anymore. I started writing songs about that girl at the first
demo for Before The Dawn.. from there on it has been the same thing.. so
it would be nice.. I could explain about songs.. of course there is
other meanings.. but there is that pitiful fact and it shows how
spineless and poor fu**er I am ..[Panu giggles] how can I say.. only one
person has touched me in the way that I really felt something and I got
stuck in that.. and that is so fu**ing pitiful. There is all the
bitterness and darkness and all that. I think end of relations is a very
good source because by thinking of the causes and .. why did it end up,
you have to think yourself a lot and about what goes [on] inside of you
and you are definitely going to find things that you don´t like about
yourself. Every song I write.. I have this picture in my desk and just
keep staring and writing lyrics like I would be talking to that girl
[Panu is still giggling] and there is always that hidden meaning [with
strange voice] “baby, please come back to me” and you know, if you
reverse the CD there will be a hidden message for one girl.. ;) it is
not just about one girl, but .. One sad thing can grow when you start to
think about it in different angles ..Goddam, I hate myself right now cuz
I sound so.. pitiful!!
Panu: I think the next record and the next albums’
lyrics, for me, they are going to be something very different than the
first ones, that I have noticed for the last few days that I´ve been
writing. I´ve been writing lyrics to new songs, I´ve been trying to
get something done.. but they are not the same as .. I think I have seen
some progression in the lyrics… to think there about something else
Tuomas: I want to say something about my last answer,
cuz it sounded so bad..
Anja Fireangel: .. I can cut it out?
Tuomas: ..no no, but I can explain it a bit better. The
thing …why do I come back with one particular relationship, because I
have a bit my own way of thinking about emotions and lots of stuff, and
I take love very seriously… and I have some strange.. I don´t know,
are they so strange?.. but some of my friends think that they are a bit
strange ways of thinking. For example I don´t have sex with girls that
I don´t love, which is not very easy, cuz last time I felt something
near to love was a year ago. So.. but it is a way.. so far in my short
live I´ve only been one time deeply in love and as they say: the first
love is the one you will remember always. So that is the reason why in
my thoughts I often go back to that one person, because if I start to
think about strong emotions and all those great questions in my head,
like “what is the meaning of life?”, “what is love?”…
Panu: [sings] baby don´t hurt me.. [Tuomas laughs..]
Panu: I had to..
Tuomas: Yeah, I know you had to. Everytime when I start
thinking about emotions, all the greatest and worst things came from
that relationship. I hope I don´t sound so pitiful anymore.
Anja Fireangel: That topic in “Father and Son” is
very uncommon for a metal-band. I was wondering.. I also like to ask
people about their childhood-heroes, because [here] it is a bit
connected [to the song]. Mine was Robin Hood, like he was doing all the
good things for the poor people… What about this song and maybe
childhood-heroes or idols?
Tuomas: My father has become an “adult-idol” for
me. I don’t remember, did I have any idols?, of course He-Man and
Superman and Batman.. But in the past few years the relationship with me
and my father has changed a lot so I see him very differently now than I
saw him when I was 15. He has become an idol to me in the past few years
and that is why there is the song “Father and Son”.
People are always saying “I would not be here without my parents”
and to most of them it is true, but in this case it is a fact! I really
would not be musically in this state now, writing a second album to a
recordcompany and having gigs in
and all that stuff. It would not have happened without my father. He has
been very very important for the whole band, like when we were in
Germany without money, he took a loan from bank and sent us a couple of
thousand euros and for the next trip he payed all our flights, so it is
very amazing how he has all that energy. Because my twin-sister is very
easy and he [?] has never been in trouble and all that stuff and I have
been in trouble all the time and still.. When I would be a father some
day I would think the same way but it is hard to understand how he
supports me. Last thing my father and mother made for me is they took 40
000 Euros from the bank so I could get a place to live and make my
financial situation a bit better because I haven´t been living very
wisely in the past, and I have lots of bills unpayed and I have been
homeless for ten months and now I have a home thanks to them.
Again I lost the point… goddam.. yeah, he is my adulthood-idol, my
Anja Fireangel: What about you?
Panu: "Father and Son"… well, there is a
contradiction here. Some of those lyrics are written by me but I think I
wrote them to his dad =) not mine. I don´t consider my dad as my
adulthood-idol.. maybe childhood-idol because he is a fireman… not an
adulthood-idol. Of course I love my dad but he has not done always
things right, so I don´t…..the song has been written to his dad. It
is paying respect to the one that feeds you. We owe a lot to his dad,
that is true.
Anja Fireangel: In your profile [on the homepage], why
haven´t you listed up any musical influences, just the playlist?
Because he said, all music comes from inside, so there are not so many
influences, what about yours?
Panu: Of course I have few musical influences, but they
are so different … my musical influences are guitar players like
Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Slash from Guns ‘N’ Roses. I am not a heavy
dude. My influences are somewhere in the roots of rock music, blues and
There are childhood heroes, one of them maybe is still a hero to me.
There are lot of people who gave influences back in the important days.
Anja Fireangel: In your profile on the pages, I saw you
to have a very widespread taste, from Beatles to Down. That is very
Anja Fireangel: ....because I like bands from Dimmu
Borgir to Nylon Beat, but no-one believes this, but I like these
sometimes also. It seems like you could only be cool when you listen to
very heavy bands, but I find many things interesting. Of course some are
more important [than others].
Panu: My taste of music is very variable. I have few
albums of Prince ;D at home that is a skeleton in my closet…
Anja Fireangel: I won´t tell anybody =)
Panu: It is a way of learning more. I don´t want to
stick to one kind of style of music, that has been my thinking in
playing, too.. I´ve always wanted to learn to play as many different
kinds of style of music [as possible], not just one, because it doesn´t
get you anywhere. If you know many types and styles, you can ..
Anja Fireangel: …choose from them..
Panu: ...yes, so the influences are everywhere.
Anja Fireangel: The next topic, you told me already few
things about before [the interview] I wondered how come…Most people
would not do this insecure [decision] like leaving Entwine, when they
were just starting to get famous and then you leave. Now you told me
why, but I think still that it is very seldom that this happens. Because
most people would think, great, a safe way [to go on] and you left them.
How long was the break between leaving that band and joining this one?
Panu: I joined Before The Dawn in 2002, in spring. So
it was two years. During the two years I did my own kind of things.
Playing pop-music and stuff like that.
Anja Fireangel: Jules [Näveri of Profane Omen] told me
about your other bands. I don’t know Kingston Wall´s music, only the
band´s name, and he said that your project sounded a bit like Kingston
Wall plus Panu.
Panu: We had one band in the past that was like that
kind, then I played the pop-music - the Manic Street Preachers` stuff -
and then me, Tuomas and Toni [Broman] had this band called Teargod.
Pop-music and I don´t know, what was it?
Tuomas: Dark Pop-Rock, lots of Tool-influences on the
Panu: Then we tried a couple of times this Finnish
language-band called Alttari, but it has been forgotten. We spoke with
Juha [= Jules Näveri], that we are going to put a Faith No
Anja Fireangel: Then you would need the singer of
SubUrban Tribe for doing this ;) [here I made a mistake, which I noticed
later when listening to the tape: He meant that Jules would be the
singer of their project, and I didn´t realize it. I just thought he
spoke with Jules about that. Sorry to everyone!]
Is it still existing then or buried for now? All those side-projects?
Panu: I don´t know, does it exist, Alttari?
Tuomas: In some form, yeah, we are just waiting for a
Anja Fireangel: Why is “Unbreakable” your favourite
song on that album?
I think it has a lot to do with the live-shows. Because it is the first
song and it just comes out from the dark.. has so much energy. I think
that is the reason why I chose “Unbreakable” as my favourite song,
because of the energy during a live-performance.. all the excitement and
Anja Fireangel: I read that you don´t drink alcohol
and that you´ve never been drunk… because I´ve never been drunk
either. I just drink very little. What is your reason? Did you never
drink alcohol at all?
Tuomas: I have, when I was younger, maybe one bottle of
beer, but, you know, my top score is two beers in one night.
Anja Fireangel: Me, too..
Tuomas: I think for seven years I have not been
drinking at all. I just don´t like the taste of alcohol. I don´t want
to be drunk, so it is very easy to avoid drinking. I like Coca-Cola a
lot more. And it is also cheaper.
Anja Fireangel: I go for Hot Chocolate =)
Tuomas: I don´t have any deep reasons for not
drinking. I don´t want to drink, I don´t feel like drinking. Maybe
someday when I feel like drinking, I`ll drink. Hopefully not, but..
Anja Fireangel: So there is no ideology behind that?
Tuomas: No, no Straight Edge or anything like that.
Anja Fireangel: About most sideprojects you told me a
little bit already. The last one left is Varjo. Because as I was at
Tammerfest (2003) I saw there one person all the time, looking like a
hippie-guy, and I wondered who this is. Then when I went to a
recordstore and checked the shelf with Finnish releases, there was
Varjo. I opened the case and on the bandphoto was just this person I saw
during all the week, so of course I had to buy it then =) And it was
very interesting, because it sounded very unique, like what you hear
seldomly... Can you tell me more about that band and what you have to do
Tuomas: I have been playing keyboards with them two
years now, only in the gigs. I don´t rehearse with them, I don´t write
music with them, I only play in live shows. So it is very hard for me to
make any comments about the band. The drummer is a very, very good
friend of mine and that is how I got to play with them. I don´t know
any notes, I am not a keyboard player, so it is a bit funny to be a
live-show keyboard-player without any notes. I don´t even know how to
use the keyboard which I´ve been playing for two years. I just switch
the power on, okay it´s ready.. It´s been very nice. I like their
music very much, it is very unique. I can´t say anything about the band
because I really don´t know anything about the band…
Anja Fireangel: But you know the songs? ;)
Panu: I think that they don´t even know anything about
their band ;D
Tuomas: I know the music but that´s all and that is
enough for me. I am into that band because of their music.
Anja Fireangel: My last question is: what is your
Panu: My biggest wish?
Anja Fireangel: Yes.
Panu: My biggest wish is.. I really hope.. I really
wish that Before The Dawn is going to be a big big big big big big biiig
Tuomas: Big Band! You know, lots of strings, horns.. ..
Tuomas: Before The Dawn Big Band! =)
Panu: Actually I have two [wishes] but the first wish
is that I really .. that this band could be huge someday. That I could
just enjoy working in this band. Everything would be fine and rosy. I
don´t know. I don´t have any deep down philosophical wishes.
Anja Fireangel: It could be also a material wish? And
the second one, do you want to tell or not?
Panu: Hm... no, let´s keep it as a secret for a while.
Anja Fireangel: And what is your biggest wish?
Tuomas: I think would just like to find my place in
this world, because I have been using lots of time in the past years and
have been unable to find my place. Maybe there isn´t a place for me in
this world, I don´t know..
Anja Fireangel: That is also one of my wishes
Tuomas: I don´t have any more specific wishes. But I
think it is a bit much to ask because all the time the world is crawling
and I am crawling, so it is a bit impossible to find my place. It is not
a place where you can sit.. “now I know” ..why am I here and..
Panu: Third chair from the left ;) please that is your
Tuomas: I just like to find my own place, whatever it
is. A bit sad thing, usually people are more happy when they are seeking
their happiness. When you are really happy, you don´t realize it. You
only realize it when you lose something. When you are seeking your
happiness you probably will be as happy as you can get. It is a hard
question, or it is not, but if you make it as hard as I [realize it] you
may use the whole night thinking about it. So I just say I want to win
in the lottery so I would save myself from too deep midnight thinkings.
I want to win 3 million Euros in the lottery and buy a wooden house
beside a lake.
Anja Fireangel: With that money you can also buy the
Tuomas: I wanted to say that! I will buy the lake
because I don´t want to see any middle-age people swimming in my lake
when I am coming to drink my morning tea at my beach. I don´t want to
see any naked elder people running around my lake. I think 6 million
Euros would be better.
Anja Fireangel: So you can buy a bigger lake..
Tuomas: Yes, and a bigger house. And maybe I would find
my place there.
Interview done by Anja Paulus [Anja Fireangel]. Copyright by
on other pages is not permitted.
fireangel_nightelves [ AT ] yahoo.co.uk
I’d like to thank BEFORE THE DAWN,
especially Tuomas & Panu, for their time. And sorry to Toni, Dani
& Mika that I kept these two away from rehearsals the day. :)
interview was published originally at www.konzi-tip.de]