November 24, 2013
November 06, 2013
Just a few months back in the middle of the busiest festival season here in Finland, I met up with Ben Johnston and James Johnston from Biffy Clyro before they took the stage as the Ruisrock headliners of this year. The gentlemen were sincerely charming as they were soaking in the Finnish vibe and getting ready for the show. Increasing their worldwide success year after year Biffy Clyro has grown into an intense live performer and an unique act in today's music. In our quick quarter of an hour Ben and James talked about their history with the band, the latest Opposites album and the creation process behind it.
You guys have been together for a long time ever since the 90's, what do you think were your initial goals when the band first started and how do those goals stand now?
Ben: Initial goals were to have a gig somewhere. Really, we weren't a career driven band at all even though this has turned into a long career. But to start with we just wanted to try and get a gig somewhere in Glasgow which was the closest city to where we lived. But as your goals keep changing then you feel like you maybe want to get signed and then you want to make some records. So we weren't particularly ambitious people at all, it was just about having fun. And we've tried to really retain that over the years and all the way to this day it doesn't really feel like a job although we make some money from it. It still feels like we're just doing a hobby that fulfills our souls and makes us feel awesome, you know?
I guess that means you're doing it right!
Ben: Yeah, we're doing it right I guess, we never force anything and we're not here to make money.
James: Yeah, we really just enjoy it.
What are the most important lessons you've learned during these years?
James: I think to appreciate life and and everything life throws at you. We've been very lucky with our lives to - as Ben says - do a hobby for a living. I think to appreciate that is important. When you've been on the road for four weeks and you're tired and you can lose that appreciation, you're pissed off that you're not home or something like that. I think it's important to remember what you could be doing, you could be doing a job at home that you hate and we've been lucky enough to travel the world a little bit and learn a few things. I think it's important to appreciate that and appreciate each other as well. We've got a really happy band at the moment; a really happy crew and a really happy bunch of guys. It's good to remember that for some bands it's not always that way and that you should want to fight for what you have I guess.
November 04, 2013
Hurts has gone a long way and it's easy to see. The first time I saw the band they played at a small venue for approximately couple hundred people. Last weekend they were in town again and this time played for a fully sold out arena. I personally think the show was the best show I've seen by them in my entire life, but you can read more about that in my review. Here are some pictures.
I felt so lucky to get Hurts in town once again to play a sold out concert near me at Helsinki. The band seems to love Finland quite a bit so we've been lucky enough to have the opportunity to see the band live multiple times in the past years. As the band is one of my biggest favorites - if not even the favorite - I've been super lucky to see them live in numerous different environments; here in Finland, abroad, at small venues, at big concert halls and even at festivals. This means I always have a lot of shows to compare to whenever I see them live. This time, I sincerily have to say that this one was their best so far.
November 03, 2013
At the beginning of the year I discovered Say Lou Lou, a set of twin sisters hailing from both Australia and Sweden. At the time I was travelling in Germany to see Hurts play at a lovely venue called Theaterfabrik and Say Lou Lou was the warming up act for them. Right from the get go I thought they were absolutely lovely, their ethereal sound and the dynamics within their voices combined creates a very peaceful yet powerful atmosphere.
The twosome has been touring with Hurts ever since and I've got to say they feel like a perfect match for the British synth pop duo. Their music too is a bit theatrical, lots unique and very powerful. Last night Say Lou Lou flew into my hoods to once again warm up for Hurts. Here are some pictures from last night.
October 13, 2013
On a rare occasion when I go to the show with a seated audience, they are always the hardest to write about. Seated audience shows make the atmosphere their main advantage, and then it’s a clear case of “you had to be there”. This is exactly what I was thinking as I entered the hall of Hartwall Areena from the entrance assigned to my ticket. At first I couldn’t understand why it looks so different. Yes, there were chairs, but it also felt smaller and more intimate (only half of the arena was open), which was rather appropriate for Serj Tankian’s “Elect The Dead Symphony” show accompanied by Kiev Kamerata orchestra.
At the beginning of the show, when Tankian came out to greet the audience, it was still obvious that it wasn’t your typical classical music evening. Instead of “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen”, we heard “What’s up, Helsinki!” Serj was very thankful and surprised that so many people came out to see him without a rock band, especially in Finland.
The main plot line of this concert was the Orca symphony, which consisted of four parts, in between which Tankian would come out and perform songs from “Elect the Dead”, accompanied by the orchestra.
The first act of Orca symphony called “Victorious Orcinus” started with a suspenseful piano intro, followed by violins, harp, percussions and the rest, and by the end of a nine minute composition it was very easy to forget why we all came here in the first place.
However, Tankian quickly reminded us that he is the star of the show as he came out to perform “Feed Us”. It was followed by a monologue “Borders”, where Serj wonders why people are so fixated on having borders while the rest of the living creatures on the planet don’t acknowledge them. After this we heard “Blue” and “Sky Is Over”, which was especially amazing to finally hear live.
October 09, 2013
August 16, 2013
When you think about summer, what are the first things that come to your mind? For me personally it is: the sun, bikinis, music and the beach and of course having fun and hanging with your friends. Rock The Beach festival brought all those things together into one 3-day festival. During these three days, 38 amazing bands and artists took over the three stages on the beautiful beach in Hietaniemi, Helsinki and entertained approximately 51 000 festival guests.
Unfortunately for me, I had to miss the first day of Rock The Beach and even though I was highly disappointed about the fact that I was unable to attend on Wednesday, it was all made up with how amazing Friday and Saturday were.
First of all I’m having hard time to find words to describe this particular festival since for me it has been the best-organized festival that I have ever been to. You have to give them credit for really thinking about the crowd with their leisure spot where you can just chill, relax and sit on the inflatable couches or just lay down in the massive hammocks. Go ahead and grab some ice cream if it’s too hot while just enjoying the summer heat and if you happen to get hungry, you don’t have to wander around the entire festival area to find the food that you enjoy, no, they’re all put there in one spot to make things easier for everybody.
August 14, 2013
It seemed like some higher power had their fingers in the game as the sun and the heat struck the three day Rock The Beach festival in Helsinki. The festival had ambitiously announced to aim as one of the number one international festivals of summer season attracting rock fans to the city from around Europe. Looking at the bill, I've got to admit they did well!
The festival is kicked off by the Australian hardcore champs Parkway Drive, who manages to attract a lot of kids near the stage and in the water. Despite the undeniable excellency of Parkway Drive I had already decided to place myself near the Carlings stage at that time to see Satan Takes A Holiday - an orchestra very newly liked on my playlists on the recent month or two though I have to admit that I had never heard of the band before Rock The Beach.
Being as excited as I was, you can only imagine how bummed I was when the band got on stage and I could count the crowd with my fingers. As the festival gates had only opened fifteen minutes before the first two acts, some of the people were still waiting to get inside the festival area and a lot of people who were already inside hadn't yet discovered the smaller Carlings stage.
I feel it would've been smarter to lead the Carlings stage with a more known band - maybe a local one - that would've attracted more crowd to the area and schedule Satan Takes A Holiday for later, for it would've been a band that a lot of people could've discovered from the festival if they had only gotten there in time. Kudos to the band though - they managed to play a full set with power and honour dispite the lack of crowd.
After the first few bands people were still flowing to the festival area as the indie rock gang Gaslight Anthem got on stage. I even felt a bit of excitement in my gut because the Handwritten album has been one of my favorites ever since it was released. Dispite that I get bummed again as the act I had anxiously been waiting for turned out to be a slight disappoitment.