with Juha-Pekka Leppäluoto of CHARON
a perfect start into the Spinefeast-weekend (a festival by the
record-company Spinefarm), there was the interview with CHARON´s
vocalist Juha-Pekka Leppäluoto, or JP, as most people say. Charon, a
band from northern
, exists for over ten years meanwhile, and step by step they worked
their way into getting more known. Remarkable points for the outsider
were a support-tour for Sentenced, followed in 2002 by their own
, which got extra attention due to the single-hit “Little Angel”,
from the record "Downhearted". The story continued with
supporting Nightwish on a largely applauded European Tour. 2003 saw the
release of their fourth album, called “The Dying Daylights”.
When I started transcribing the interview from tape, I noticed that 50%
of it consists of laughter, as predicted by JP during the conversation.
Nevertheless, the other half, almost an hour, is solid information.
Anja Fireangel: First I’d like to start with a
question about the song “4 Seasons Rush”. Which is your favourite
season of the year, and why?
JP: I don´t know about the favourite seasons; I think
the changes of the seasons are the best time of the year, when for
example winter changes into a summer. Now we are talking about spring,
but when it starts to get spring, from winter, is the best time of the
year, because of all the light and everything like that. But I like.. in
, especially I like the autumn, and especially the beginning of the
autumn. The time of the year when summer ends and trees start to drop
their leaves and all gets yellow and red. It´s really beautiful here in
; that is the time of the year I really like.
Anja Fireangel: I like spring and autumn best.
Anja Fireangel: Winter is too cold and summer is too
warm, so I am just with you in that. Do you really think that time
passes too fast? [see "Tearstained"-Lyrics] What would you do
if you had more than the average life span to live and what would you do
if you had only very little time left?
JP: First, I don´t mean that time passes all the time
very fast. I mean that if you have something special to do, something
like people who you know that aren´t here with us anymore very long
time, and you have specific time to spend with him or her, that is when
the time goes too fast and you have to think what to do, what to say and
how to spend the last moments with the person. So it´s only then. But
yeah, it is also true, that, the older you get, the faster the time
goes. I don´t think about the going of the time that much. I just try
to live day by day.
Anja Fireangel: That is what I wanted to ask: there is
this saying that you should live every day as if it was your last. But I
think that it is a bit too depressive. Because then you would have every
day the aim, to get the maximum out of it. And that is very stressful I
JP: [laughs] No, why?
Anja Fireangel: Because sometimes I just like to hang
around [in my dreamworld ;)] for one day or something.
JP: No, it is not. I am a very simple person. I am not
a person who thinks about the life like in universe or things like that,
too big things, for me. I try to think simple. I try to think everything
simple. I think I am a very simple person when I try to live day by day
and not thinking of tomorrow. Of course I´m thinking about tomorrow,
what I´m gonna do and even longer in the future, what are my goals, and
what I wanna be. What will I become, or things like that. But it feels
like it is more easier for me to think day by day. I don´t have to
worry that much and it is not depressive at all =) [laughter] The only
goal is when I go to sleep.....and in the morning I wake up: Oh my God!
Yes! Another day ;D [laughter] Maybe that´s the point.
Anja Fireangel: As misery and sorrow are one of the
main topics in the lyrics; can you get energy out of feeling sorrow?
JP: No, I can´t. When I write about the things like
sorrow and misery, it doesn´t have to mean that I`m feeling those
subjects all the time in my life.
Anja Fireangel: I didn´t expect that ;)
JP: Yeah.. when I write about it....those kind of
lyrics, it is an easy way for me to talk about the things. And somehow,
when I write lyrics, about sorrow, or misery, I get rid of those things.
And can carry on again.
Anja Fireangel: What do you feel more intense,
happiness or misery? Or both the same?
JP: It depends. I don´t know. Let´s say that at the
time I wrote for example “Tearstained” - and
“Downhearted”-lyrics, I had .. I don´t say that I had an extremely
hard time in my life, because I know there is much more harder times in
people´s life. It was just small things that got into my life and
couple of my very important friends died during those three-years
period. Of course those kind of things affects the work you do, affects
the writing work. Even though I am not that satisfied with the writing I´ve
done in, for example, “Downhearted”. I tried to grow a little bit,
when I started to write “The Dying Daylights”. I didn´t want to
start write again about the subjects like sorrow, or misery. I tried to
write more objective things, like the things that could be strange for
me. Things I don´t feel so familiar for myself. I tried to explore some
things, that I don´t know, through the writing work that I did with
“The Dying Daylights”. And those are subjects like my own dreams
that have been bothering me for years, which have been repeating and
repeating. I´ve tried to find something new out of myself, writing
“The Dying Daylights”-lyrics.
Anja Fireangel: When preparing this interview and
checking the lyrics of all four records, I noticed that I actually
understand better those of “Tearstained” and “Downhearted”, and
“Sorrowburn” and “The Dying Daylights” I hardly understand at
all - at least so far. ;) But I don´t own that for such long time,
though I got it when it was released in
JP: “The Dying Daylights”? [self-satisfied laughter
;D] Hey, I have to explain this. I didn´t want to lead the listener, or
lead the audience, like line by line what´s happening, what´s going
on. Each line is a separate. I don´t say you have to study the lyrics!
[laughter] or anything like that. It was a totally different kind of way
for me, of writing the lyrics.
Anja Fireangel: I noticed that they are different ;)
JP: It is not very poetic or anything like that. How do
I say? I tried to give more space to the imagination of the listener in
“The Dying Daylights” - lyrics. But I am not sure, did I go too far?
Anja Fireangel: Big question marks everywhere…
JP: It is always for me, when I write lyrics, it is
like: I write the lines, I write the whole lyrics down, and then I start
to study the lyrics, “what the fu** is happening here?” ;) I put it
on the table and listen to the song and then I made the demo versions
and sing the lyrics to the song and then I listen again, “what the
fu** is happening here in the lyrics…?”. And this is [about] “The
Dying Daylights”-lyrics. And at the third time, I started to find
something out of it..... Oh, this could be what I meant with these
Anja Fireangel: You do the interpretation later ;)
JP: Yeah, .. things happen… it doesn’t have to be
so planned, when you do those. It is great when you can leave something
out to the luck. I like to write so that I can leave the subject open. I
know, I sometimes leave it too open [laughter]. But I just like to write
like that. It doesn´t have to be reasonable or something like that. It´s
just my way to write.
Anja Fireangel: As I said, the CD is still very new to
me and the other ones I know much better. Maybe things will change with
JP: I knew that the songs of “The Dying Daylights”
aren´t gonna be the songs that opens to you the first time you hear
them. I try to follow the line with the lyrics also, to make it more
impossible to reach. [laughter]
Anja Fireangel: But you could also say that it´s
protection from outside, so the people can´t access your thinking so
JP: Yes, or if I write the things which I don´t
understand, the way, everybody else could understand it…. And they are
like: “oh my God, is he so stupid that he could not see that thing on
his dreams… “ or something like that. So I try to make it also
really hard for myself, the writing work. And that´s what it´s been!
Anja Fireangel: I digged out a very old interview from
JP: Which year?
Anja Fireangel: From “Tearstained”-Release.
JP: Oh my God.. ;D yes.. ? [laughter]
Anja Fireangel: And there is a quote, translated now
“backwards” from German to English, when you say, that you are not
influenced by philosophers or literates [when writing], instead
orientate at the real life, “one of the worst and most depressing
things ever”. So you have to imagine it was translated from English to
German and now again, so probably it is not so close to the original
anymore. I don´t know anymore whether you really said that?
JP: Did I say that I find the life itself the more
Anja Fireangel: No, but that you orientate yourself
more towards the real life, which would be one of the worst and most
JP: Yeah! Now I do remember!
Anja Fireangel: I was thinking if then writing about
this could also be a cure for yourself?
JP: Yeah, I do remember that! [no typo. We said
everything twice ;)] .. when I did that interview.
Anja Fireangel: Yes, they said Raahe is close to
[laughter!!! - Both towns are in a distance of about 800km, at least]
JP: I am not sure, do I think so anymore. Yeah, I could
write about the things like normal life, but it seems like everybody is
doing that, I don´t wanna do it anymore. I don´t want to write about
my friend´s life, I don´t want to write about my own life. But I don´t
wanna write even about the fantasy subjects or things that are made out
of somewhere. It´s too easy to get inside my head by writing about the
things like: how the love feels, how the love hurts or things like that.
I`d like to expose some kind of different out of me. Like the dreams,
like the hope, like the little flash memories you have somewhere, like
images, or….. This is going really strange! ;DD
How do I explain it? I try to write about emotions without taking love
to it. Without connecting love to the emotions. I like to write about
the different kind of emotions. You have to change. I´ve wrote enough
about the normal life, and normal life feelings, and things like that. I
don´t wanna write any teenage-love subjects. I am too old for that ;D
But it feels nice to write about subjects I don´t feel so familiar with
right now. But yeah, I have to admit that I have said that also =)
Anja Fireangel: For example, Dan Swanö [a musician
which JP likes a lot] said, that he writes, with few exceptions, only
about made-out things, because everyday life would be so boring ;) “I
go to work, then I come home..” [laughter] Because he also has a
“real job”, I don´t know if you know that. And then that´s about
it. “I can´t write lyrics about that”.
JP: Where is he at the “real job”?
Anja Fireangel: He works at a music-instrument store.
JP: Yeah.. of course =)
Anja Fireangel: He didn´t want to be dependent on
these record-industry-things. So that is also [a reason] why he doesn´t
make it really big anymore. Like: you have to write something, and then
it has to be good and successful. And he wanted to disconnect from that.
But back to Charon ;D
JP: Hey, but I have to also say about the subjects of
my lyrics, I got mostly from the ….. I am a horror-movie-freak ;) So I
try to bring some of those moods into my lyrics also. Actually in ten
years I haven´t seen a good new horror-movie, so this was the newest
one, that I really did like, “The Others”, have you seen that?
Anja Fireangel: I don´t watch ANYthing with horror.
Anja Fireangel: No, I just get nightmares from that =)
JP: Okay. =)
Anja Fireangel: I have already enough nightmares
JP: I got really something out of those movies into my
lyrics. I don´t mean anything like fu**ing vampires or things like
that. Something out of it is in, yeah..
Anja Fireangel: No, it´s too scary for me. I can´t
watch that. [I can hear JP smiling on the tape…] I don´t even watch
crime-stories or anything.
JP: Really?? Don’t like crime-stories? Everybody
likes crime-stories! [laughter]
Anja Fireangel: No, I don´t =)
JP: What do you like? Romantic comedies? ;P
Anja Fireangel: No, that´s mostly boring also. I don´t
watch many movies at all, because I don´t think there are so many good
anymore. There are some, like of Aki Kaurismäki...
JP: Really? Do you like Finnish movies??
Anja Fireangel: As far as I know them. I don´t know
too many. But those I watched, they were pretty cool. Also very
depressing. And I like this “Interview With A Vampire” [got me! That
is even a little bit scary. I forgot that! ;D Really! =)] some
Eighties-movies... Because movies, you can just watch once - I think. I
like CDs and books more.
JP: Kaurismäki brings really good….. Like the 70s or
when we didn´t have so much work to do here. And there were a lot of
people who didn´t have work. So that is the kind of life he´s trying
to bring out in these movies and it is really great made.
Anja Fireangel: Also the actors. Some movies are
without dialogues. Everything is said through how they act, that is very
JP: Few words there and then ;D
Anja Fireangel: Once in an hour.. ;D I like that one.
Anja Fireangel: That next question is still about
misery, because I am still more into the first three albums, concerning
how much I know them - so far. I was thinking that maybe many people
like Charon or their lyrics, also because it is the same situation for
them. When they feel bad, that is expressed in these songs and the
music. What do you do in bad times, maybe also listening to music or
something else, and how do you find out of that again?
JP: What do I do…. I do anything but listen to music!
Anja Fireangel: Writing music?
JP: No, not writing. No, it is different kinds of mood
when I write. I just wanna be alone for a while when I feel bad. I just
wanna be alone. Nobody´s hassling and mumbling something. I just wanna
be alone when I feel bad. Sometimes I wanna talk to someone, some of my
friends. When I feel really bad I wanna talk with my friends because
that is the only way to get away from it. You have to share it with
someone. I don´t know. I am not a person who listens to so much lyrics.
I get the moods from somewhere else. I get the moods from the sounds of
the music. It´s different kinds…. I can get moods from the sounds of
the nature, or… I like voices! ;D Really. And movies - where are
Anja Fireangel: Especially there are voices without
that you see anyone! ;D
JP: Yeah, maybe on the phone…?? [I was speaking of
Ghosts, dear JP….] :D
Anja Fireangel: You have much religious vocabulary in
JP: Oh.. bringing that out ;D
Anja Fireangel: I am totally into lyrics =) because I
am a "writing-person". I got already sometimes the hint “don´t
take this too literally!” [greetings to Jules!] But I am still more
connected to words somehow. Do you wish for life after death or do you
believe in that and what is your point of view towards religion - any
kind - not only Christian?
JP: I don´t believe in God, I don´t believe in there
ever was any Jesus or things like that. We were monkeys before we were
humans, and that´s it. I am not a religious person. Of course we were
raised as a Christian all our lives, at least here in
, but.. I don´t believe in that stuff, but of course I wish, that there
could be some kind of life after death. Don´t know what it is. But if
there really is a thing like a soul in us, I think it´s really
personal. Yeah, I think so…When you talk about people, that someone´s
got an old soul - have you ever heard?
Anja Fireangel: Yes. I have [such a soul =)]
JP: So it must have something to do with life after
death. How else the soul can be old? I don´t know. I am not a religious
person. I am trying to bring some kind of power to the lyrics with the
words like "religious" or words like "Jesus" or
something like that. They make the subject to something seriously. I´ve
learned something about that. I´ve read something about that. I don´t
know about the religious thing. I really don’t know what to think
Anja Fireangel: Because many people find religion when
they are close to death or anything, I noticed. And suddenly they
decide: oh it would be nice to believe in after-death-life.
JP: But when I write about the religious things, I try
to improve something like “purity” in my lyrics. I don’t wanna say
always “pure, pure, pure, pure.. “ ;D It´s obvious that people who
are religious, people who believe in Jesus or God, they think that they
purified their souls, something like that. I try to bring out the purity
of the soul with the religious subjects. And it´s nothing more than
Anja Fireangel: Because some people find their purity
when they have a close connection to nature. You know these
nature-religions like paganism or witchcraft?
JP: Yeah, it´s where you find the religions. It doesn´t
have to be God. It can also be in nature. Where you find the God, it can
be this [shows his beer-bottle] also for someone. :D
Anja Fireangel: You know that a friend´s band [Profane
Omen] has a song called “God In A Bottle”? =)
JP: Yeah! [laughter] They are right about that.
Anja Fireangel: Now some really_ old lyrics, from
JP: [smiles already..]
Anja Fireangel: “My deepest scar”.. all those
“hurting yourself”; so I want to ask if you hurt yourself -
mentally. And what can heal you when you are in pieces?
JP: Do you mean the song “Deepest Scar”?
Anja Fireangel: Yes, both, and “Breeze” also. -
“Scream out the word you hurt yourself”.
time silence] I try to remember [the lyrics] We haven´t played that
song, only when we recorded it ;D But yeah, I know the lyrics. I like
the “Deepest Scar” -lyrics. It is a song about the shame. Yeah, it
is a song about the shame. I can´t say anything else =)
Fireangel: Then we continue from the shortest answer ever…
[laughter] About that Kent-cover [“The King Is Dead”, available on
Charon’s CDS “Religious/Delicious”]. Do you know that Dan Swanö
JP: [Positively surprised]
Anja Fireangel: Yeeees =)
JP: Oh Great!! =)
Anja Fireangel: I asked him about that.
JP: Well, he is a Swedish guy, so…
Anja Fireangel: No, he said that he and his wife liked
them in the beginning when they were really underground.
JP: Like a hippie-group…
Anja Fireangel: Yes, and then got larger and they felt
like “oh, we knew that already five years before” and [got a bit
bored] .. I have also the original song of them, in Swedish [“Kungen
är död”, from the album “Hagnesta Hill”] and I have aswell these
two records, which they made with English lyrics [that means
released them both in Swedish and English. The records are “Hagnesta
Hill” and “Isola”.] But you took the English lyrics from them, or
did you translate them from Swedish yourself?
JP: No, we took from them. You noticed the one word
missing there? [laughter]
Anja Fireangel: No =)
JP: It was only because we made the whole song in the
studio, we were chapping [? Not sure] a bit with the song. We just left
it that way. Somebody told us that “hey, the one word is wrong”. I
said: “Fu** you! I will leave it like that.” [LAUGHTER] We had so
great moods playing the song, so that´s why we left it so.
Anja Fireangel: Do you like their lyrics better in
English or in Swedish? Or don´t you listen to them....
JP: In Swedish of course!
Anja Fireangel: Do you listen to
JP: Yeah, I do. Because they have great arrangements in
their songs, great melodies, great moods. I really like
Anja Fireangel: Yes, me too!
JP: It feels like their English lyrics are more
“plastic” than the Swedish ones because those are straight
translations from the Swedish lyrics. I understand Swedish language, so
I prefer much more Swedish lyrics.
Anja Fireangel: I think that sounds better. I have
“Isola” in English. But …
JP: And “Hagnesta Hill” [yes, but that one I own in
both languages. Just wanted to add ;)]
Anja Fireangel: And the new one, “Vapen &
ammunition”. The first one, too, but haven´t listened. They are
pretty cool. It sounds always like a dancing spiral. No other band
(which I know) sounds like that [maybe Varjo, but not exactly the way] I
noticed that they have the same kind of - or seem to have -
“strange” lyrics than you have now with “The Dying Daylights”.
So like “there is a sense but it´s….”
JP: I´ve stolen much of them! ;D [LAUGHTER]
I`ve stolen everything from
[JP puts hands in front of his face…. & laughter] “Oh My God!
What have I done?!” [more laughter] Not that much. The “Isola” was
the first record I´ve ever bought from
, when it was released. When was it released? 98? 97? 97 or 98. That was
when I started to listen to
and when I saw
. In an ice-hall where they play ice-hockey. It was a huge concert, but
not that much crowd there. But it was really great, I really liked them.
Great players. =)
Anja Fireangel: I would like to see them live, but I am
afraid if they play in
they would play the English songs and I don’t want to hear them.
JP: Do you know the feeling when you see a band on a
stage, you get the feelings right away that they are BIG? This is a
professional band. When they arrive to the stage everything is so…..Do
you ever get those kind of feelings from a band?
Anja Fireangel: Let me think…..
JP: For example when you see a demo-band coming, like
an unprofessional band coming on the stage they are like..... Do you
know what I mean?
Anja Fireangel: Yes, but I was thinking to which band
this would fit. Because I basically saw very good bands, even if they
But I noticed when you came to Germany, in Cologne [supporting Nightwish
September 2002], you were much more insecure than in Finland ;D
JP: [starts sweating & shivering again when
thinking back of this]
JP: It was horrible! Those were our first gigs when..
Anja Fireangel: Yeah, 5000 people…
JP: I was like: “oh fu**!!!” [LAUGHTER]
Anja Fireangel: I noticed =)
JP: Can you imagine!? Those were the first gigs like
Anja Fireangel: I noticed this difference [in
performance and behaviour] In
, it is a totally different band ;D
JP: Yeah, I am more relaxed here. But I think it was
our fifth - or something like that- gig in
or in the European tour. But the last gigs, like for example in Paris or
Barcelona, I started to be more relaxed and I started to enjoy when
there was more crowd in the gigs and it was like: oh yes, this feels
right! But the most horrible gig was in
. That was the first [gig on German ground]. First we were in
, Antwerpen. Of course it was exciting, too, but in
, there was 3000-4000 people or so. [I think actually it is a larger
venue] I called to my family from backstage: “Mother! Why am I
here?!” ;D And she promised to call me after the gig, am I alive or am
I exhausted, or passed….. It was really strange to go onto the stage,
but when I noticed that it´s gonna go well, and…
Anja Fireangel: No..
JP: It was good gig but not....
Anja Fireangel: ..what I was used to see. [;D]
JP: I received the letter from you. =)
Anja Fireangel: Ah, that one ;D [where I wrote about
the difference in the gigs]
JP: You gotta come and see the Iron Maiden-gig!
[Poisonblack doing their support in
, 20 000 people audience] I will be so fu**ed!! ;D [LAUGHTER!!!] Oh my
God. Running around the stage like a headless chicken!
Anja Fireangel: I think these professional bands, which
are really like “knowing everything” were Depeche Mode and oomph!.
Because oomph! have also been around for ten years, and Depeche Mode..
you know it yourself. They exist for ages. But I don´t like it when it´s
too professional, like it seems to be their duty. Like going to work...
not anymore for the gig.
JP: Yeah, of course you see the experience from them.
But I know what you mean.
Anja Fireangel: I like new bands better. Or in “the
middle” [of their career] Profane Omen, I haven´t seen them but I
think they will be pretty cool. Before The Dawn were also good.
Katatonia, now I remember them all. And Opeth.
JP: Yeah, I saw Katatonia in
. Was it 99? Or 2000? But I was really too drunk to enjoy the music. It
was our weekend-trip to
, to our friends´ place, with Antti, our drum-player. We were three
days so fu**ing drunk, because that was the only meaning why we left to
from Raahe ;D So we took everything out of it.
Anja Fireangel: Now that did my few interviews so far,
everyone told me the following: Every musician said that: first of all,
the music needs to please myself, or ourselves, and make us happy and it´s
a mode of expression to us. And only afterwards, then it´s nice when it
also pleases the audience. Or like an extra. Would you agree to that or
don´t you think so?
JP: Music pleases me all the time, anyway, so I have to
admit that nowadays I feel myself like a messenger of the music, because
nowadays I think that I´m doing this stuff for the people who really
are listening our music. And I get enjoyment out of it. Really, I like
to do it so. I´ve always enjoyed making music. So why not doing it to
someone else also. I get so much out of it, when I see people enjoying
our music and enjoying our gigs. Or when someone comes to me and tells
me that he, or she likes about the albums we released or something like
that. It´s really nice.
It feels like it gives a point to the thing you are doing. I like to
think like that. I also wanna think about the fans we have. I wanna do
this stuff for them. Because I´ve received so many letters where people
write to me and say that: your music has given so much to me and helped
me out of this kind of problems and….. Some Russian guy wrote me. It
was actually a really touching letter, what he wrote to me, it was like
- weird kind of touching letter because….[he tells about the guy
describing the story how he met his girlfriend due to a funeral and
listening to Charon] and he was telling me in the letter, how much our
band has influenced their lives and how he has found some solutions to
his problems through my lyrics and things like that, and I was like: Oh
my God - somebody´s reading my lyrics!! [laughter!] But it was a really
touching letter. These people are serious with us, so why shouldn´t I
be serious. So I wanted to be serious with this and do it also for the
fans - of course!
Fireangel: What you said, that [you do music and] you get this
reception from the fans, but also [do] the music for yourself. When I
think this thought to the end, would it then be irritating or
disappointing for you, if you think that: I did everything into this
record, I gave everything that I have into this record, and I think it´s
great - but no-one else thinks so?
JP: Never thought about that!
Anja Fireangel: It is a bit negative question, but
since I hear this so often, I was just [trying to finish this thought
JP: Of course it is disappointing! Yeah. But then you
just have to think that you are also doing this for yourself. [starts
laughing ] And you have this kind of album in your collection ;D I don´t
know. Hard question. Of course you think like, it´s disappointing. But
you also have to think about the goals you achieved before, the album
you released ….. In some point in ten years ago, we didn´t have even
a chance to release any album, so. This far it´s really great if you
only get a chance to release an album. I don´t take this so seriously.
I will always do music. Anyway. Anyhow. But I know, this kind of music
is my intuition and I´m not gonna change it anyway, ever.
Fireangel: Do you think you have, besides making the record and
playing gigs, any kind of influence on what is happening with the band
or the reception? Because I noticed, that sometimes it can be a matter
of being at the right place at the right time or something. With equally
good results, you get a different reception from outside. And it is
always a bit like a surprise what is happening with the band in the band´s
history, or do you think you have a bit of your own possibilities to
influence the career and the press-reception and everything. Or is it
just like: “Oh, they like us. Great. One step further.”
JP: I think it is a matter of luck also what happens in
this music-industry. It´s not always like: you´ve given your all and
now you´re gonna be a big star. But it´s also: what the record label
does for you, and it´s also big luck what happens to you and what´s in
the future. I don´t know. Yeah, it is: you have to be in the right
place in the right time.
Fireangel: Sometimes I listen to demos which are better than
the fifth record of a “great” band.
Anja Fireangel: And I don´t know what´s happening,
why they don´t have a record deal and the other one..
JP: Yeah, that´s true.
Anja Fireangel: …have that success and things that I
don´t understand, and that is what I meant with: what a band can
JP: I don´t know. In a certain point, a band can
influence certain things. But then the turn is at the recordlabels, at
the gig-booking agencies, at the managers. It´s so fu**ing complicated
business that I am getting some kind of frustration out of it…
Anja Fireangel: Do you like music-business?
JP: No, I don´t. I don´t like the people who do the
music-business. Because, I´ve seen a lot of different kind of people
lurking around here in metal-music-business. And they all can be
a****les. And they all think about money. Of course, bands are the
product that they are selling. So of course they think only about money
because they have to earn their sandwiches. So.. It´s really tough to
think like that. But that´s how it is. We just try to play the best we
can. That´s the only thing we can do.
Of course we say: why you motherf***ers don’t do any more work? Why
don´t you do more work? Why don´t you do this and this and this and
this? But it´s only about money, it´s all about money. The fu**ing
money! I could do gigs without money, because I love this thing. I wanna
do gigs, ….. I don´t live with it, I don´t have to live with it, I
can do it without money. Someone can´t … some people are awaiting
like: now we are gonna be fu**ing rich and fu**ing famous when we have a
record-company behind us, but it is not always like that, it can be more
I like to think, that I´ve gained all the things that I´ve expected to
gain when I started this thing. Like getting record-deal was the first
step for me, like: “oh my God, oh my God, this is what I´ve always
wanted!”. And then came the thing like: It could be nice to support
some big Finnish band, and then we were supporting Sentenced. And when
we were playing in Tavastia, I was like: “oh my God, this is the point
where I´ve always wanted ;D I don´t want any much more than
And then, after the Tavastia-Gig, Ewo [A&R of Spinefarm] came to me
and talked about like: would you guys sign up with Spinefarm? =) I was
like: what the fu** are you talking about, yes, of course! Yeah! And
then I was like: it will be great to have a record-deal with Spinefarm,
it´s a really great company. And then I started to await that; then we
got the deal with Spinefarm and I was like: Oh my God, this is what I
always wanted ;DD And then I started to wish: It could be great, if we´d
have a big tour with a big Finnish, or any fu**ing, band to play with to
thousands of people ;D And we got the tour with Nightwish. I was like:
oh my God …..;DD [laughter]
But I have to admit that I`ve never expected anything like that,
climbing up to the Finnish charts or something like that. But when
someday, when we released our first single, from “Downhearted”,
“Little Angel” , Spinefarm was calling me and telling me: they are
gonna call you at the next Sunday from the charts-program. And I don´t
know what is your position, but they are anyway gonna do the interview.
Okay, okay, it´s gonna be something like 40 or 30… ;D And then was
it.. third, or sixth.. yeah, sixth.
And I was: oh my God, what´s happening: we are on the Finnish charts. I´ve
never expected anything like that. So it was really great. So when this
fu**ing business is getting hard, you have to think about those goals
you achieved. Of course. Yeah, and then the “In Trust Of No-One”,
when it climbed up to the first, it was like: what the fu** is happening
here? They still haven´t forgot us. ;D
Those are the goals you have to think about when you start thinking that
everything is going down from the toilet… So, I think - again think -
;D that I´ve achieved anything that I can have. But any point, like gig
with Poisonblack with Iron Maiden, is a big step. Those are just nice
things to do in a life. If everything would end now, I still would have
good memories when I lie on my dying bed ;D…. “Oh my God, I´ve seen
Bruce Dickinson”. [laughter]
We are just fu**ing normal people, doing normal things. We are just like
any other people, too. Some people come to me and - this is the most
ridiculous comment I´ve ever heard, and it came from a really close
person to me - I don´t wanna say the name because you know him - he
came to me and said: “JP, you are motherfu**ing almost a star here in
Finland, why don´t you act like one?” I was, “what the fu** are you
talking about, I am not a fu**ing star”. I wanna be like normal
people. Because he was saying that, because I was talking with my……
it is annoying to say “with my fans”. I was talking with people,
after our gig. And the guy was like: “Act like a star, don´t talk
with them. They are there all the time”. I wanna talk with my fans, I
know it´s important for them. If I were there and would like to chat,
for example with Bruce Dickinson [laughter] it would be nice to have a
chat with him - of course!! ;D If it`s really important person to
Now we are off the tracks ;D I don´t want to make differences between
fans and me. Because, we are constructed of the same fu**ing elements,
each one of us. So I don´t understand about this fu**ing star-thing at
all. It´s important for some bands, let´s talk about a band like The
69 Eyes, about their image. It´s like something you can´t touch. That
is not our thing. Okay, that´s it. ;D
Anja Fireangel: Okay. What had you done with your live
if you hadn’t become a musician, or, as you now said, this is what you
wanted to do, do you have something else that you like equally much?
JP: I have nothing else than music in my life. It was
so obvious when I started to do it that - it was a clear choice. I
couldn´t imagine anything else. Maybe I would be doing something really
boring, like driving a crane in a huge metal factory. Something really
boring. 84.. I don´t know. I think I couldn´t imagine anything else.
But maybe I can say this.. I had a really important hobby which almost
became something like this to me. It was dancing, competition dancing,
like I was dancing waltz, jive, …. I was dancing in SM [Suomen
mestaruuskilpailut], Finnish championships, we got placings like third,
second, first...We were doing really fine with my partner. I did it like
ten years almost. We were about to go to the competitions in
. We had an English teacher who taught us the dances like waltz,
Viennese waltz, foxtrot. Dances like that. Tango. We were professionals
on the dancing. And we were thinking about, are we gonna go professional
and quitting jobs and doing dancing only. But then we had a new.. what
you call the guy who´s teaching you?
Anja Fireangel: Dance-teacher?
Dance-teacher was telling: we gotta switch partners because I was so
much taller than Minna [the dancing partner] was. I was like: if you are
gonna change partners, I´m gonna quit this whole thing. He: no, no, no,
JP, you have a future in this. Don´t quit! And I just said, if you are
gonna change partners, I´m gonna quit. So he didn´t. It went one year
forward, we had some prizes, then he came again: JP, now I have to
change partners ;D - I: okay, you know my answer. Are you gonna change
the fu**ing partners? - Yes, I have to. - And that is when I stopped
dancing. And besides that, I did scuba-diving ;D And all the stupidities
that 15, 16, 17 year old boys does. ;DD
JP is then remembering his history with several bands and how he finally
ended up in Charon.
JP: And then I went to another band which was called
“Cry of Distress”. I sang in the band for a while and I saw that,
this is not the music that I wanna sing; I wanted to find something for
my own; so made up my own band with couple of my friends and we started
to play like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, The Cult, KISS, of
course. =) Songs like that, covers from them. And few years we played
with them and Charon-guys, Antti and Teemu came to me, when I was coming
from the army, they came to me like: Do you wanna sing in our
forthcoming promo? And of course I knew the guys, I´ve known Teemu
since almost 20 years, so.. Why not, I can sing background vocals in
there. Then they started to ask me: Do you wanna join the band? I was
like: I don´t know…. ;D I didn´t like the music ;DD It was like
Prog-Metal, some kind of weird mixture of Death Metal and pure singing.
Okay, then I started to sing in Charon and they asked me to come to the
promo-pictures.. I was like: oh my, you guys all have long hair, I don´t
fit in the group picture. You go, I`ll stay here in the background; do
the background-vocalist ;D Then they started to tell that: [with very
silent voice] we were thinking if you could do the vocals? ;D I said:
all the vocals? - Yeah! - Okay….. ;) Then I started to think: I better
make my own song for these guys ;DD [laughter!] That´s when I made
“Serenity”. I think that was the point when Charon`s music started
to change. Started to develop to the direction we´re going. Of course,
when they got a pure singer, .. at first I didn´t like the songs ;)
Anja Fireangel: I noticed in the booklet of
“Sorrowburn”, that three of you have sunglasses. I was wondering if
you just handed them over after the picture was taken? ;D
Yeah, I think it was so ;DD [laughter] But those were our first steps..
We have to be proud of them =)
Anja Fireangel: Yeah, there are some good songs on it,
it´s not like that. I think I wrote somewhere down which..
“Serenity”, “To Serve You” and “Neverbirth” are more like
Charon started to sound later. If I interpreted correctly ;)
JP: Yeah, the first album was a mixture of different
kind of styles, because it was a really tight schedule when we went to
record that album and we had to take every song we had, so we took also
“Pilgrimage”-songs. Except the one where I was growling ;D I don´t
know, those are our first steps.. What were you asking? ;D
Fireangel: We came a bit off the track ;)
JP: But hey, I forgot something really important when I
talked about the dancing. I was working in a radio since 95/96. And I
was a journalist in a radio =) And I left the radio-work after we gained
the record-deal with the fu**ing Emanzipation Productions from
. But it was nice work. I think I would be a radio-moderator. Maybe.
Disc-Jockey in radio. That´s what I wanted to be! I went to school to
study that also. I think I would be working in a radio if I went in the
Anja Fireangel: Can you already live from you records
or do you have other work?
JP: No, I can´t =) The most important payments out of
this comes from the TEOSTO [Säveltäjäin Tekijänoikeustoimisto /
Finnish Composers Copyright Society]. You know, when they play songs on
radio I get money out of it, that´s the most important and of course
the payment from the gigs, those are the most important. But we are not
still making money out of selling the records. It takes few times.
Because record-company always wants their money back, what they put into
our recordings, marketing, everything like that. They always want their
money back, so we´ll have to wait that.
Anja Fireangel: About the change of the Charon-logo and
artwork. Before you had that of Niklas Sundin, the Dark Tranquillity-guy
and why have you found now the other one?
JP: Because we prefer more Travis Smith-work than
Niklas Sundin. They both have different kind of style to do artwork, and
when you see Niklas Sundin-artwork, you always recognize it. And so you
do with Travis Smith-works. But it´s different kind of style of course.
Anja Fireangel: Because when you compare Opeth´s
“Deliverance” and then Katatonia´s “Viva Emptiness” it is also
both of him [Travis Smith]. And it both looks good, but it looks exactly
the same. And it is hard to find from him trademarks for_every_band and
JP: Yes, it is. But it was only because.. ..I don´t
know a Finnish band who has asked Travis Smith to do their artwork. Are
there some? But they are more like futuristic objects to the covers. I
just like Travis Smith-work. I don´t think about the thing like: does
it look the same than Katatonia- or Opeth-covers, because I like the
covers of them. It´s the same thing in 80s, when there was only couple
of guys who draw the LP-covers. Like.. Okay, Iron Maiden is …....Have
I brought in Iron Maiden often enough in this conversation? ;DDD
Anja Fireangel: Have you already mentioned Iron Maiden
JP: But we wanted some kind of simplicity to the
covers, and it was really easy to work with Travis Smith. And I like his
style. I don´t know. I didn´t think about at the moment that: is it
gonna look the same than Opeth- or Katatonia-covers. Of course you know
which album cover is made by Travis Smith and which is not. But I don´t
think that. I just want our cover look cool.
Fireangel: Okay, final question. Imagine when you are old and
in retirement, sitting on your rocking chair on the veranda in the sun,
and thinking about your life. What do you want to be remembered of you?
JP: That I have given something good to people´s life
with my work, or through my work. In case we are doing music like, even
though it´s melancholic, there is a lot of sorrow. But I also want to
think that we´ve helped people to find solutions to their problems
through or songs or lyrics. It´s enough for me if they ever get any
kind of emotions from our songs. That´s enough for me.
done by Anja Paulus [Anja Fireangel]. Copyright by Anja Paulus.
on other pages is not permitted.
fireangel_nightelves [ AT ] yahoo.co.uk
Big THANK YOU!!! to JP & Charon, also to the nice people at
Spinefarm Records. Greetings to Lauri Tuohimaa, Charon-Tourcrew and Masi
interview was published originally at www.konzi-tip.de]