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Blog from 05. January 2005
Ok, let's remember that I started writing things down after a couple of years of struggling with the music industry
in Scandinavia... With no results.
I'm on a running mat (it's moving pretty fast) and on my left side is my friend Mr. Mikko Virtala. He’s also running, not as
fast though. Mikko has had our band's sticker in his car bumper for years. He's also helped us removing backlines and stuff
from gig places etc. He's been a real fan. One of the very few. Anyhow, I give him a short brief of how much is needed and
how quickly it'll pay off if things turn out fine (To be honest, I had no clue that time). Mikko goes home to think.
If he's got any brain cells left, he should definitely not put any money in us. On the other hand,
some one with less stuff inside his head would fit in this gang fine.
The next day on the same running mats. Mikko says he doesn't believe much in making money with this kind of shit, but still
he offers his hand as a sign of a deal. He had made some calculations (would be much fun to know whatta hell he
calculated) and thought: Whatta hell, at least it’s better be fun then. Mikko sells most of his stocks and also puts his house
on sale. We can call this guy devoted! Yippee. Now to book the studios....
Blog from 22. March 2005
1st session in Mango studios
At last. Operation rock-album starts. The team is Raul, Janne, producer Jukka Backlund, the money man Mikko Virtala
(I wonder why it's so hard for Finnish people to make foregn friends with such names...;), drummer Teijo, engineer Mikko
Raita (another name-monster) and Me. Mango is even better than we expected. It's in the middle of a forest in Southern
Finland (Porvoo). There's a huge control room, several recording booths with a mirror ball in the roof, and bedrooms for
the whole possé. And last but not least, a kitchen and a sauna. Perfect!
Seems as if we're all conquering space in our new territory. Especially Jukka, Janne and I, we're like young male dogs
around a bush that belongs to no one. Not sniffing each other’s asses, but you know what I mean! All though there's all
these weird vibes in the air, I can feel something good in the air too. First we record drums to All Because Of You, Destiny,
Make It Go Away and Romeo. Teijo (drummer) is really sick. He coughs like he's dying. But he won't give up.
Jukka announces his first ideas. A new kind of verse for All because of you. Hmmm. Let's see. We put the sauna on.
We've made all kinds of plans of how many fast songs and how many slow ones, etc. Jukka throws all the plans to garbage.
This has nothing to do with E=mc2. Feels good to be a beginner. Jukka is damn restless. He downloads my new Mac full of
p**n and all weird shit from the Internet. I guess it'll be like this for the next 6 months...
Blog from 24. March 2005
The last day of the 1st session
Jukka has spoken! He basically destroyed all the cool stuff & riffs we had made and to be honest, some of us had a long face
for a while. He call our arrangements folk-shit and changed everything. But when we heard the results of his changed in the
songs, we just shut our mouths and asked him to go on.
Teijo was really sick. He was coughing like hell all night and Raul (the only one capable driving) took him to a hospital in
the morning while the rest of us were in deep sleep. And the doctor’s verdict was pneumonia. If you wanna know how tough
Teijo is, just listen to tracks Fairytale Destruction, Only or Sunny Day and remember that he was in 40+ fever while recording.
Especially Sunny day Rocks. Feels as if Only should have had a slower tempo... We'll see.
So the first session is part of the past. Four days, a gallon of beer, many bottles of wine and booze, pizza, pizza & pizza
and at least ten boxes of salt sticks. Feels so good. I guess I’ve never been this happy. We still don't have a record deal...
But right now we don't care. This is fun!!!
Blog from 22. April 2005
Vocals to first 4 songs
Damn, whatta pressure. And of course the Neumann microphones are broken. Now the lyrics should be in order and fine,
now the text can't be changed no more. As we all know, we're from Finland and writing in English is not that easy. I really
don't care if someone finds my lyrics boring or naive. The only thing in my mind is that I don't wanna sing anything wrong.
Luckily our Swedish publisher contact Mr. Roger Östman has introduced me to a pro writer, Michael Blair.
Together with him we go through the lyrics. My sleep gets a bit deeper the night after.
I realized the Romeo lyrics have been complete bullshit. It was raining like hell in Porvoo and we were able to create a new
text. I sat my feet hanging out from the studio window. Turned out just fine. Raul's falsetto is too damn nice. In the first
verse of Romeo hi sings "Slowly crying game" without the last M-letter. Sounds as if the gay is crying. Raul's so cute.
Blog from 28. April 2005
Mixdown @ Crystal Sound
The first four tracks (All because of You, Destiny, Romeo and Make It Go Away) get their final form. And then it's my job to
start arranging appointments with record companies. We need to get this thing is stores some day. Some of the majors'
A&R guys came to listen to our stuff in Crystal Sound Studio mixing session and actually we were surprised how excited
they were. At this point I've been introducing our music in record- and publishing companies almost a hundred times in
Finland and in Sweden. Some of the receptionists know me by name from my former tourneys. "Samu again...."
when I try to make appointments. It's actually not nice at all to sit in front of a label manager etc.
while he's looking at you and quietly listening to your demo tape. At least when you've been turned down a hundred times
like us. Few of the companies got really interested. Apparently Jukka and Mikko have done good job.
Especially Romeo seems to be the hit for this moment. Maybe they can hear the good feeling we had while recording.
Makes me sick that we still have no drummer. Teijo has promised to help, but it's not the same at all. He's got his own band,
Cabin Crew, and of course if he'd have to choose between his own group, and us the choice is obvious. That's the way it
should be. We've tried at least ten guys, but no one's fitted in the gang. Both musical and social skills matter. Whattodo????
Blog from 28. Mai 2005
A gig at On The Rocks
We've played here five times before, but now we're all really nervous - more than ever. Nervous about how much audience
we'll have and how they take our new sound guided by Jukka. And of course nervous about how we play after playing only in
studio for the whole spring. Normally we don't think too much about how things go up on stage but this time we're all covered
with cold sweat. Janne is usually the big brother especially for me. I'm the one who needs most of the support before
tryouts. Raul is usually cool about anything, but now he's almost a pain in the ass walking around back stage talking all kinds
of weird shit. Need a drink. I won't go up there otherwise.
The club is filled with people. The wonderful angels didn't betray us!!! I can't get it how partly the same people cum see our
shows time after time wearing Sunrise Ave. t-shirts. Angels. Cheeses this is Guuluu (sorry inside)! After the gig the
back stage gets full of people and among them, there is also Elina from Welldone Agency, the biggest booking agent in
Finland. She wants to meet us the following week. We all have a nice evening and this is good fuel for the
studio-sessions starting next week.
Blog from 05. June 2005
The third session in Mango studios. First the drums for the rest of the songs. Teijo plays like a grown-up. This time not
having his lungs on the drums. We've made a new chorus to ‘til dying and Diamonds. We also record Choose to be me,
Wonderland, Into the blue and a new slower one Heal me. There was a huge battle between Heal Me and Keep dreaming,
another slow one, but after voting and some wrestling Heal me was the choice. Jukka said the final words. He has the
responsibility and hopefully a vision of some kind. Of course there's always a place for an acoustic bonfire song as 15th
track, but we'll see. Together we decided to name the album "ON GUULUU". It's an expression of a local kebab entrepreneur
and it sounds so stupid in Finnish. We shake hands on it with Janne and Jukka at five am before going to sleep.
We'd need a few good bounces for two record companies. We have got pretty far in our negotiations with two bigger players.
We have meetings with both of them next week. Both of them have orally ;) offered a deal, but the signatures are missing.
We open beer bottles and get to work. We bounce the songs, Choose to be me, Heal me, It ain't the way, and til dying.
I think they're great. The amount of liquids
Blog from 09. June 2005
We have a deal!!!!!
One hundred and two visits to record labels, producers and publishers and finally yeee, we have a record deal.
BONNIER AMIGO MUSIC will release our first album during 2006, apparently on the first half. Bonnier is not a big player
in Finnish music scene so far but they're coming strong. They have no rock signings, so no band is competing with us inside
the company and this whole thing will be carried out with fresh hearts and huge experience. They seem to believe
in us quite much and they want to put all efforts in us. Cheeses it feels good. The deal is really good.
The only minus is that I'm gonna be in Spain for three weeks and we'll have to wait with signing the contracts until
I get home. Hope they will not get cold feet. A lot of restless nights ahead...
Blog from 07. August 2005
Mango studios 4th session
Feels like coming home. I really love this place. Raul buys six boxes of salt sticks. We put our hands on ten songs that
are still in halfway; Into The Blue, new song Diamonds and Heal Me witch was skipped last time because Jukka didn't like
the text. I thought it was really great, but they all laughed at me... I'll show them someday... Helsinki is in the
spotlight right now. We're hosting the summer world championships. And the weather is just so great. It's raining
like hell and they must abort many of the competitions because of safety matters. The message to the world;
Helsinki is a really nice summer town. Gladly we have our own world in the studio. My lyric partner Michael Blair
has written a killer text to sunny day and Jukka made it better than I've dreamed. In my opinion it's one
of the best in the whole album. Janne's voice in the middle of the chorus in Diamonds makes me extremely proud.
"You stay silent..." Hrrr. We bounce Sunny Day, Diamonds, Into The Blue and Choose to Be Me. A Finnish musician
Jonnaemilia made a new text to Into The Blue since the original started to make me sick. It had no clue.
Now it definitely does. From these songs we're gonna pick the first single together with our record Company
Bonnier Amigo Music. Yea, and we managed to sign the contracts after I came back from Spain....
Blog from 18. August 2005
We're a band - We have a drummer!!
Mr. Sami Osala has passed our drummer test and obviously we have passed his. Sami is a friend of Teijo's and Teijo had
played some of our tracks to him. Sami was interested right away. He is perfect in all ways. He's not too young
(Drummers are supposed to be the backbones of their bands) and he plays like a machine. Even tough he’s left handed.
We have called to many drummer candidates before. This time the response was different. "Sunrise Avenue? Hell yeah!".
All drummers, including Sami and Teijo seem to be native "pohjanmaalaisia" (Northwest coast of Finland) and on our
future tour we have to go see on what kind of a field they have grown up. Two training sessions and a wet night bar
growling and the dude was a full member of the band. ROCK and a humble thanx to Teijo.
Teijo´s band changed the name to Killer Aspect. Cabin Crew already existed. They are on the same state with us and they
play well and with right attitude. Thumbs up for the guys!
Blog from 29. August 2005
Mango studio session number 5
Goddammit. I just came home from a few days studios session and I feel like a bunny on an unguarded carrot-field. I thought
it would be impossible to have goose bumps after every session. At the beginning it felt like we get nothing done this time. It
was raining like hell in Porvoo. I was sitting on the porch writing new lyrics to Wonderland and as soon as I got my computer
on the lightning stroke. From the sky of course, but I got into the right mood. Jukka wasn't feeling well and we were all tired
so everything moved slowly on. For the first time it felt like work and that is not always a good sign when making music.
We recorded Fairytale Gone Bad (former Fairytale Destruction) and Wonderland. Some fill-ins were done as well. On
Sunday evening we run out of time and continued to work at Helsinki Records. Basicly Jukka and I rewrote the both songs,
but we we're lucky. Geeeeeesh he is good! We got a draft versions from Wonderland. I sit on my sofa and listen to the song.
At least one good art-shit on the CD.
Oh by the way, Jukka went to play a gig in Helsinki on Saturday evening and we secretly recorded a guitar solo to In To The
Blue. It all looks like it will be on the finished album. Guitar solo’s are vintage stuff and they have been removed from most of
the tracks so far. This night belongs to red wine and Wonderland.
Blog from 01. September 2005
Last time in Mango for now (6th in a row)
The sixth time at Mango and for now it seems to be the last one. The rest of the recordings will be done in Helsinki. I felt sad
leaving Mango’s porch the last time. Sami hit the drums at the last session. He set the rhythm to Only, Fairytale Gone Bad
and It ain’t the way. With sad, but still happy feelings we left Mango. We will remember this place in the future and
recommend it to anyone who wants to make music in the middle of a forest with good feelings.
We started the recording in the spring and now it is already fall. Half a year has passed, but we still need to remember that
only a year ago we were knocking on record label’s doors to get a record deal. Now we have it and the album is almost done,
just some mixing and mastering. We got 14 songs recorded and I hope they all will be on the album. The new era is starting.
A Finnish radio station SuomiPop has started playing our 1st single All Because of You and some other stations have played
it occasionally. All we can do now is to wait for the wheels to roll on.
To get this album done was a bigger thing than I thought. It included (as probably always) great emotions. Everything from
laughter to slamming the doors. We missed fistfights, it was close though... We created something that we all are proud of.
Jukka, the producer, has done a man’s job as well as the rest of the gang. By the end we were melted together as a team,
but All Because of You is a good example from "just press the record, we gonna play now.." It is so fresh and honest.
The cocktail of feeling is great. It feels that the time has stopped. At this point all the big stars probably fly to weird countries
to learn a mystic dance to relax. Raul is the only one of us that can dance, so the rest of us will just relax to get this process
out of our minds. Raul´s dancing is from his dirty past of boy-bands. If all goes well we’ll need strength soon.
And if not, we’ll need strength anyhow...
Blog from 18. December 2005
Christmas & stuff
It’s been a long time since I wrote to the diary the last time. Sorry for that. We’ve been in a hurry. Well, the real reason is that
we are a little bit confused from everything that has happened on the musical front. Even though we write powerful songs,
filled with feelings it is difficult to put this into words.
Three separate teams are mixing our songs at different locations in Helsinki. We have got a few samples and for once we
are almost speechless. Works like a BMW’s gearbox! Jesse Vainio at Sonic Pump Studio did a great job mixing Only.
Screw the plans; we need to rewrite them... The whole album should be mixed next week. What will I be stressed out with then?
After Christmas we are going to shoot a video for All Because of You. Feels good. Mika Kurvinen, the director, has a vision
for the script. It will involve rock, nudity and all weird stuff. Well, you’ll see it someday on the TV. Midem in Cannes, France,
gives us also something to think about. For those who don't know, Midem is the biggest music fair in Europe. We’ll be there
in mid-January and sniff global music atmosphere. We’ll be at the same places as the 69eyes. We’ll bring a huge magnet
along and see which of the guys will come along with all the bling-blings.
The Finnish radio-station YLEX has listed All Because of You at their most wanted list for three weeks in a row. Fu**ng great!
YLEX plays our songs quite nicely, maybe more than we expected. Our promoter works his ass off to get it played
somewhere else as well. We got rumors that the single is played on the breaks on ice-hockey games. Ice-hockey rules!
We wish you all a very Merry Christmas. We’ll see you all at gigs next year. Our humble thanks to you who have been voting
and supporting us all the way. Your support means more than you can ever imagine. Thanx guys!
Blog from 31. December 2005
Making the video - All Because Of You
Once again back from Mango’s studio. This time we’ve been shooting a video there. The two days in front of cameras,
changing clothes and posing has worn us out. Still it was cool and the feeling was excellent. The crew woke us up gently with
cameras and powerful lights after just three hours sleep. We must have looked fresh...
The video was written and directed by Mika Kurvinen and cameraman Antony Bentley. In the crew were also catering, make
up artist and of course a beautiful model Janika, who plays a part on the video.
The video reflexes our time in the studio, while we were recording the album. Filled with joy and pain that we really felt during
that time, but we did not smash a guitar. We honestly didn’t...
As soon as they get it edited we get a glimpse of the material.
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