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Blog from 15. February 2016
Greetings from London.
I’m here writing songs for two weeks in between the rehearsals of the Wonderland Orchestra tour. I just love this city and the vibe. Last night as I arrived at Heathrow airport, I remembered the last time I was here writing in 2012 with producer Jukka Immonen. That trip gave us some really great songs (Lifesaver, Little Bit Love, Don’t Cry – Don’t Think About It…) and it’ll be interesting to see what the catch is this time. I have a new local agent Felix connecting me with the local teams and the start today was very promising. Let’s see…
The beginning of the year 2016 was very relaxed. We all had some time off and I was in Sydney again enjoying the sun, surfing and of course some music studios. Now were back in business and everything is slowly getting ready for the next tour. I’m just so happy I’m not Raul. He has to do so many things for the damn cables and stuff and the rest of us just think about music. Raul is a real Mac Gyver and we’d be totally fu**ed without him. Some people dream about fast cars, speed boats or conquering the world. Raul dreams about cables. He’s the Cable guy (Check out the movie).
We can’t wait to hit the road again with the boys. The whole fun starts in Helsinki (at the only real Ice Hockey arena in town) on the 5th of March and we go three weeks from there. I heard that the show in Leipzig, Germany was sold out today and I checked the sales numbers from other cities too. There are many cities with only a few tickets left, so you better hurry if you don’t wanna miss the only tour we do this year. Actually we’re not gonna do any festivals this summer as we’re focusing on the next album, so this tour will be the only chance to see the full Sunrise Avenue set this year. It’s sad in a way, but on the other hand, you can’t have it all. You really need to take some time to create something new.
I was just in my hotel room listening to some new orchestra arrangements from our team and GOD they sound great. I’m so happy we decided to be brave with the song versions and selections and we will all hear stuff and versions we never played before. I have no idea how long the show will be on stage. Usually when we plan the set list, you can easily tell if it’s 90 min, 120 min or more, but this time there are so many moving parts, that it’s just hard to say. Maybe we realize in Helsinki that the show is 56 hours long and we need to make it a bit shorter for the rest of the nights. We don’t want the people to fall asleep hahaha ;) Or us. Imagine Osmo snoring on his piano.
Anyways. Hope you’re all doing good and see you all very soon. I kind of like this feeling when you haven’t played in front an audience for a long time. It makes you kind of nervous. Why the hell did we have to book the first (the most nervous and hand shaking) show in Helsinki with all our friends, families, ice hockey friends, etc. in the crowd. Would have been good to have a few shows done before playing in front of the home teams. Too late to regret that. It’ll be good!
Love, hugs and spring sunshine,
Hapa the Haber
Blog from 11. March 2016
Good Morning Cologne!
I had set my phone alarm to 10AM last night as I went to bed, but I woke up at 8:40. The same thing happened last Saturday in Helsinki. All the song arrangements of the tour just get into my dreams and I can’t wait to get on stage again tonight. It’s so cool waking up in Cologne. This is where we signed our very first record deal with EMI exactly ten years ago and those months this city was like a home outside home. I remember even looking at an apartment at the Belgische Viertel for myself. This city is where I finally felt like Sunrise had a chance someday and we might become rock stars. And without the key people (Uli, Daniel and Julia, just to mention a few), I would not be writing this blog at this executive hotel suite. Coming back to Cologne reminds me every time how damn lucky I am with what I and we have. I hope the former EMI folks all come to the show tonight. At the sold out Lanxess Arena WTF????!!!! Please don’t wake me up…
Anyways. It’s so cool when you plan something for 9 months and you think of every little detail and try to go through the real moment in your mind a dozen times to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything. And then the real moment hits you and you feel like Bambi on slippery ice, but you still survive. You do it together. I didn’t drink alcohol since the start of February and I decided to have a huge party after the Helsinki show. I was so exhausted and tired, I had only two beers and and a pizza after the show and went home to sleep after the show. We were all so dead. But happy.
I have been on stage a couple of times in my life with my boys, but I must say the feeling on stage in Helsinki was one of the best I have ever felt. Of course it usually feels great after a long break and of course the home arena with all family, friends, neighbors, ice hockey boys etc etc makes it even more amazing, but honestly, we were all like 13-year old kids after the show. It’s so cool to see mid-age guys jumping around the backstage and screaming their lungs out half naked. Of happiness.
I love the fact that we decided to do this tour. There is not too much time for touring this year because we need to make time for song writing and recording if we wanna try to have a new album out next year, we’ll see. But I’m just so happy that we are on the road now and about how we have planned everything together with our dear arrangers and musicians.
I know there are as many video cameras as there are people at the arenas, but I don’t wanna tell you too much about the show. Come and see / hear it yourselves. So we will start our ten-show-trip today in Cologne. I just can’t wait. I must warn you that this time it’s mostly Finns travelling with us, so especially at the after parties or off days, stay away from the bars near the arenas. I will take absolutely no responsibility of whatsoever. (Kun suomipoika ryyppää, siinä on kuplavesipollut ihmeissään!)
One Finnish guy who’s also travelling with us is Niila and Niila’s First album “Gratitude” is out today. To get the 110% out of his performance, go stream or buy the album so you can sing a long ;) It’s funny how you feel like the albums are a little bit yours too when you work with them for years. Niila and his boys will not join our gang to the bars and unholy after party activities, because they’re just way too young, innocent and new in the business… I don’t want my super boy to get hurt… Poor little things.
Anyways. The doors at Lanxess Arena will open in a couple of hours and after that it’s all up to you if you wanna sing the arena walls down with us.
Biggest love and see you very soon,
In the city of sexual equality
Blog from 26. March 2016
It’s so quiet here. No catering people making breakfast and nobody blowing their horns at the backstage. I kind of like it after all the beautiful mess we had for the last couple of weeks. Nobody has to worry about their throats or fingers and it all feels totally relaxed. Even though I miss the tour like hell. I have felt this way so many times before after the previous tours. The tour always ends with the after party and hugging everyone a million times after all the unbelievable moments together and then it’s all over. Sad but beautiful.
It’s funny how every tour has felt like the best tour ever, this one too. When we started planning this one last summer, we really had no idea how much work it would be and we never could have imagined how great it all would be in the end. I wasn’t a 100 percent sure about seating the crowds at the shows and also if it would work with all the musicians on stage, but it was all more than perfect.
So many people worked so hard for so many months and gave more than they had in their souls and hearts. There were many close calls with arrangements, techniques and even on stage, but we made it. As I realized it’s all gonna be over soon and also that we pulled it through together, I really had to fight my tears on stage at the last show in Stuttgart. Well I tried.
First, thank you for the amazing arrangements Tero Lindberg, Visa Mertanen and Osmo. We didn’t want to do another “Sunrise Avenue with extra musicians” show. We wanted to make it sound, feel and look as if there’s one band of 40 people on stage and that’s exactly what it was. We wanted to be brave with the arrangements and the performances. Already as we sat in Stuttgart last summer with Raul, Riku, Sami and Osmo talking about this whole thing, we decided to even destroy some old songs, even some of our radio hits, if that’s what it takes to make the show what it should be. We were not sure how people would take the new versions of “Forever Yours” or “Unholy Ground” just to mention a few, but we felt every night that we had made the right choices.
Thank you everyone on stage. Playing according to your notes is your job. That would have been enough and that’s what we agreed when we signed the deals with you all. But following your notes but then adding your whole soul into it, jumping around with a contra bass and moshing like a Metallica fan while you play your strings or horn, means you’re willing to give the crowd and us much more than your contract says. This is how the Finns do it. We were so proud of you every night.
What you see at our shows is the two-and-a-half-hour performance, but there are people whose days are more than 14 hours long. They never get the applauses or platinum awards. There’s someone booking the arenas, planning everything there, someone rigs the stuff high above the stage. Someone pulls and connects 10 kilometers of huge cables and someone makes sure the light & screen is always on the right spot on stage while we play. A team of sound guys work their asses and ears off every night to make the show sound great for you. Someone has to feed more 200 hundred people FOUR times a day and someone has to transport us with all our gear safely every single day. Someone has to keep us and our instruments worth millions safe every second and someone actually cleans the arena after all the mess we leave behind with you. It feels kind of lame saying “thank you for your work” but that’s the best I can do for now. You all know who you are.
I have to tell you a little story what happened in Berlin. Just a few minutes before the show, we got some heartbreaking news. One of our crew guys had lost someone extremely close. And he hears that less than five minutes before the circus starts. This crew guy plays a major role and the show would be cancelled without him. Show must go on. Imagine yourself in his position. He has to go through the whole show, sad songs and melancholic moments. If he loses the focus for one second, the whole thing becomes a mess. He pulls it through like a man and the show is amazing. I find him after the show to tell him how sorry I am for having to do the show with such emotional storm. He tells me to “f**k off” with a smile through the tears on his face. We hug for a minute and he says “It was a great show” and then he goes back to work. This is what our boys and girls are like. Brothers and sisters.
But still… Most of all, thank you all for coming over every night. We realize that you all have a life outside Sunrise Avenue and the shows. It’s amazing that you actually all drag your asses after work, school or what ever to celebrate music and beautiful moments with us every night. We just received awards from our tour agent Contra Promotion after the last show for selling more than 500.000 tickets the last 12 months. This means that more than half a million people have spent an evening with us and that is just amazing. We feel blessed and we hope you get what you deserve at the shows. We don’t take you for granted. Ever.
Now it’s time to take a couple of days off and to recharge the batteries for the next challenges. I’ll try to get up from this sofa and to drag my ass to the Helsinki Ice Hall to support my dear HIFK as they’re battling at the Finnish ice hockey playoffs. The game is really tight and as a good fan I have to be there for my boys. I actually love the feeling. I was just on stage with the boys and you all were there supporting us. Now I’ll put on my fan shirt and I’ll be in the crowd. As one of the fan boys ;) screaming my lungs out. Keep your fingers crossed for us tonight….
We usually vote for the “best of” stuff on tour, but this time I’ll do it myself, since there were just too many people on the road with us. Maybe some co-travelers would disagree with me, but here’s my list anyway.
Nothing beats the first night. I was so nervous that even my friends heard it on the first couple songs. That’s when you give your 115%.
Forever Yours, by Tero Lindberg.
This is actually based on a cool remix “Nightliner remix” by Jukka Backlund and Aku Sinivalo in 2006. And the crazy string idea in the end was Osmo’s idea. Team work.
Best Off Day
Vienna. Trumpet-Tero took us all to this amazing Schnitzel place called Salm Bräu (Rennweg 8, 1030 Vienna). GO TRY IT! And take a schnitzel with herb potatoes.
The loudest crowd
It always depends on the arena, if it’s made of wood, aluminum etc, but in Leipzig it felt like the loudest. And it was very loud everywhere ;)
Rock ‘n’ Roll moment
This time it happened on stage in Stuttgart. It’s the most stupid inside joke ever, but we really respect our horny-horn boys for playing something so stupid at “Somebody Will Find You Someday” that we all totally exploded with laughter on stage and lost the track with the song. It’s such a stupid insider, but it was so much fun. I hope someone filmed it.
Lasse Piirainen. Lasse was sick for more than half of the tour. And I don’t mean his nose was running with a little fever. He was almost dead. He didn’t complain once and the jokes never faded. He played even though the doctors told him not to. Don’t know if that’s smart or not. But respect.
I’ve done a lot of bad things in my life. But I must have done something good too since I have the best band guys in the world with me and we get to do trips like this one. This tall Finnish guy feels totally blessed on his own sofa and he’s missing you all. We had fun together.
Stay as you are everyone and see you all soon! Time for the red-white-blue fan shirt and a hot dog at the arena.
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