Interview with Marko of Poets Of The Fall
This interview was performed by Tina Oldewurtel of dfg-portal.de. I’d like to gracefully thank her for providing the original transcript to use on POTFmedia. You can find the german version by clicking the above link. Thanks for the nice contact, Tina! :)
Tina: Since you are maybe not so well known by our readers so far, could you please introduce yourself and the band briefly?
Marko: Sure, I’m Marko, I’m the vocalist, the others are Olli, he plays the guitars and Captain who works with keyboards and programming etc. I’d also like to introduce our trusted tour musicians Jani, who plays the bass, Jari, on the drums and Jaska, playing the guitar.
Tina: You are very successful in Finland, have already received many awards there and your albums have reached gold and also platinum status. How is it for you to have to start in Germany from the beginning? And is it maybe even fun to sample the whole thing from the beginning as it were?
Marko: We are on our own indie label, so going global is slower for us than being on a major label, we have to take it country by country. Sometimes it goes on in leaps and bounds and you get many countries simultaneously, sometimes it takes a bit more work to become a household name in a given area. We already have a good fanbase in Germany, so I think it’s steadily snowballing in the underground, in the right direction. Germany is also one of the best places to tour, everything works there.
Tina: You have given up much for your love of music. Marko sold his property, Captain provided his living room for a studio and Olli his car for an office in the beginning. Have you been in doubt about the decision at any time or was the passion for the music big enough to believe in the success?
Marko: Passion colors everything, that’s much is true, of course there are times when we’ve thought otherwise, but you carry on, and your rollercoaster starts to climb uphill again. So far it’s been the ride of a lifetime.
Tina: You come from different musical worlds, Marko from the rock, Olli from the jazz and Captain from the industrial area. Is it difficult to combine your different influences? And do you think that this musical variety form your music?
Marko: I think music is first very intuitive. Even with our differing backgrounds and life experiences we still have a similar taste in music. It’s probably true that having three individuals working on the ideas usually enhances the outcome.
Tina: For me, your new album “Twilight Theater” is more melancholic than the parent ones. Is this the “famous” Finnish melancholy and do you handle only your own experiences and feelings in your lyrics or are you inspired otherwise as well?
Marko: For us, music is about feeling, which is to say it’s supposed to invoke emotions. For you it’s melancholy, for someone else it’s hope, some may find parts hairraising, yet another says it’s so soothing they wanna fall asleep listening to it. The experience is always true and always subjective. Personally I think there’s no such thing as Finnish melancholy. It’s just a figure of speech, a stereotype, a myth we believe because we’ve never actually thought about what’s being said. Melancholy is melancholy in any country. For me writing music and lyrics is about my own experiences and about my interpretations of other peoples realities, uh, now that’s high flying, anyway, I get inspiration everywhere, within and without myself.
Tina: Do you write the lyrics and the music together or has everyone in the band his own area for which he is responsible?
Marko: We all work on the music, the lyrics are my problem.
Tina: And do you have already in mind while writing the lyrics how you want to put the song musically?
Marko: The music usually comes to us easier than the lyrics. I’m mostly writing and rewriting the lyrics long after the song has been composed. Although I do usually get a feel for the final lyrics in the very first version of the composition. Most lyrical ideas are intuitive, then reason kicks in and the whole editing process begins.
Tina: You produce your albums and record them by yourself as well. In addition, you built up your own label “Insomniac”. Did you make this decision so that you don’t have to compromise and can make exclusively your own decision?
Marko: Yes, that’s exactly it.
Tina: Your first single “Late Goodbye” was written as a soundtrack for the computer game “Max Payne 2”, your current single “War” is the title track for the video game “Alan Wake”. Do you have a special relationship to computer/video games and how did they become aware of you?
Marko: Sam Lake, the man behind the games in question, is one of my closest friends, so working together came about naturally, and we do love writing soundtrack music. We have since written music for other similar products.
Tina: The videos for your singles are always very profound and engaging. Is it important to you that the video tells the right story to the particular song which maybe animates the viewer to think about it?
Marko: Thank you. That’s exactly why we pay so much attention to our videos. In fact we’re very fussy about everything we put out there. We aim high and sometimes we even reach those heights.
Tina: Your record “Twilight Theater” was released on 29. October in Germany. When will you come to Germany to present it here live on stage?
Marko: Oh, we can’t wait. We have some really great people working for us in Germany, sorting everything out, and as soon as we start hearing that more and more people want us to come over and play, we’ll be more than happy to do so.