Interview partner: Jarkko (bass)
Questions by: Twilightheart
Time: September 17, 2006
Method: by phone

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J = Jarkko
T = Twilightheart

As more than 2 years have passed after my last interview with Korpiklaani ( if you`re nostalgic, you can read it HERE) I thought it might be interesting to check, if things have changed since then. And of course I thought it´s more interesting to take any other member this time, the one who was the last to join the band… and see how things are for him. Here we go.

T > Before we talk about the serious subjects, let me be curious: At the Up From The Ground festival last month you were looking for your drummer Matson shortly before the show and couldn`t find him. Has he been shopping and forgot about the time or what was wrong?

J > No, nothing was wrong. He knew exactly when he has to be back. Matson thought that everything was okay with the drums. But the festival organizer was keen on talking about the drums and check everything. Matson was just watching a band in the crowd. And he came in time. He usually is always on time, everywhere. He´s never late and he`s really strict on that one. That´s why we were sort of worried. It was unusual for him.

T > Anyway, there were a lot of technical problems at that festival. Some of you seemed really annoyed. What was wrong?

J > The monitors were broken. They were okay during the line check, but after the show had started they were broken. And when we tried to complain to the guy responsible for the monitor, he didn`t understand it. He just thought he should make everything louder. We had played about half of the set already when they finally replaced the monitors. I didn`t hear it myself but I guess that Jonne´s singing must have been bad, because he couldn´t hear himself at all. 

T > You played at the Burgfolkfestival and the Zwischenweltenfestival lately. Both names sound very mid-age-romanticised. How was the ambience there? 

J > The Burgfolkfestival really is like a middle-age-scened festival. It was in this… I don`t think it´s really a castle, but it`s castle-like. And many people of the crowd, a bit less than the half, were dressed like this medieval folks. It was really nice to see, because people had taken time and put some effort on it. 
And at the Zwischenweltenfestival the only medieval thing was the place. It was at that huge castle area up on the mountain. And the festival site itself was surrounded by those really huge high walls. But the festival itself was more like a Gothic festival, and not so much medieval. I think someone at the festival even asked “Why the hell is Korpiklaani playing at a Gothic festival?”, but I think the audience was quite happy to see us. I really liked the show, and the whole band liked the show there. I think it was even one of the best festival shows that we played. There were other good ones, like for instance Nummirock, which was really good… but this one was good as well, because we had a really good time on the stage, we had all the stuff on the stage that we needed, there were no technical problems, we managed to soundcheck before the festival started. And the atmosphere was quite relaxed, so it was a good festival. 

T > Can I imagine it like this, that all the Gothic fans in the crowd were watching you in their beautiful outfits…

J > No, it was not all like that. There were not all people in Gothic style. There were also many people wearing Korpiklaani T-Shirts. :-) 

T > How does that feel to appear at a festival between, let´s not say Gothic, but between all those Black- and Death-Metal- Bands at the big Metal festivals, and then you being the only actual folk band. Do you feel misplaced? Or do you maybe like that style of music?

J > For some reason I think our music suits quite well to different festivals. I think we have never had big problems with the audience, because for we are like different kind of music. There was never anything like that. And I think it´s quite good. I said that before in some interviews I had, when we are playing with all these Black – or Death Metal or whatever bands, there`s 15 bands with all that heavy stuff singing about death and torture, and then there´s Korpiklaani. And when these people go home there`s one thing they will remember from the festival: this one band that was different! After a while the other bands are like one black mass, because they sound so similar, and they can`t tell the difference anymore… but they will remember those stupid Finns. 

T > And do you sometimes watch any of those other bands at the festivals? Like for instance at Up From The Ground?

J > No, I wasn`t watching. And it even started to rain, so there was no point in standing in the audience. I sometimes watch the bands at other festivals, if there is something that I really WANT to see. I think most of the festivals this year were quite bad for us in that sense because all the bands that I wanted to see were there on different days. Like in Wacken I wanted to see Whitesnake, Saxon, Motörhead… they were all there, but they were not there the same day as we were. 

T > But is there no chance in arranging to go to the festivals one day earlier then? … to be able to see those bands?

J > I think it would be possible, but first of all that`s too much work to arrange that because it´s never so, that EVERYBODY would want to do that, and there`s no point in arranging different times for the band members to go. We all go TOGETHER.

T > Why did you include that old Shaman song “Li Lea Voibmi” to the live setlist of Korpiklaani? I mean, why exactly THIS Shaman song? Is it the nicest, or just the most easy to play or anything?

J > I think it is a good song to end a concert. It´s a good song for the band to jump around… and the end of the song is like that, that you can speed it up again all the time. 

T > Can you still enjoy being on stage like on the first day? Or is it all routine now? 

J > We are getting more routine, but not in a bad sense. Everything we do before and after the concert is getting easier, because all the time we get better in that. We need less time to do everything. But the actual concert is always different and there`s no routine to it. And it´s always great to play a set. We´re not getting tired or anything like that. It´s always great. 

T > How did you personally find your way to the band? Did the others just ask you to join?

J > That`s how it was. Jonne and me, we were like 9 or 10 years old when we first met. So we have known each other now over 20 years. So when they were looking for a replacement for Arto they contacted me. 

T > Aren`t you sometimes sorry that they didn´t ask you to join right from the beginning of the band?

J > No. There was a long time in the early 90ies when Jonne moved to the North in Finland, we didn’t have contact for many years. I think we met in 1999 at a Black Sabbath concert, we hadn’t met for many years but then we met there. And then we met a couple of years later again. I hadn’t followed the band or what he was doing, so I was never thinking: “Why wouldn’t he ask me?” or something like that. I didn’t even have any Shaman- or Korpiklaani albums when he asked me. When he asked me to replace Arto in the band I said “Let me think about it for a week” and I borrowed the CDs from a friend of ours. 

T > So how is your musical background?

J > I think I started playing around the same time as Jonne. But we never played together although we knew each other. But we never played in the same band.

T > Which band did you play in at that time?

J > In many bands. Nothing big. In the early 90ies I was a short time in this cover rock band. I wasn’t so much fan of the music, but it was a good thing to see how things work and so. It was a good experience to play some concerts, but it wasn’t so much my kind of music. 

T > Do you think that the time in Korpiklaani has changed your personality?

J > I’m quite sure that it has changed. It must have changed. I’m not sure about HOW. I can’t say. You must ask that from my friends or something. 

T > Is there anything you regret concerning your life since you joined the band?

J > No.

T > Now that you have fans all over the world, do you see it as a job to spend time with the fans, or can you still see every fan as the person he/she is?

J > It doesn’t feel like a job. It’s always great to meet people. And I think this is what makes this band different than many others, because after or before the concert we don´t stay in the bus or in the backstage, but we go and meet the people. That is a big part of us. We really like to do this kind of stuff. So it’s not a job. It’s nice.

T > Where is the point at which you would say “Stop” to any fan? What should any fan never try to do with you?

J > To use us. To use us to promote their own self. Because some people have been doing that. 

T > What about other bad sides of this life with the band?

J > I’m trying to think about bad things… hmmm… of course we have enormous stress to travel and things like that, like  you’re tired and you have to leave at 4 o’clock in the morning for the next festival. That’s one bad side. But …. as we talked earlier about meeting people… there may come the day that we have to stop that. It feels like we’re getting bigger and bigger and  we can’t meet all the people or something like that. Because there will be more and more people that will try to take advantage of you, who are trying to use you. For instance there will always be that people who try to tell that they did something with the band that they did NOT do.  I think if the number of our fans increase, in the same way as the number of the good people increase, the same way the number of the bad people around the band increases as well. That’s quite normal. We can’t continue like we have only good people around us when we have not. 

T > What about personal sacrifices because of the long touring?

J > We have all different situations in the band. Touring effects everybody differently. 

T > What if someone doesn’t get holiday to join the next tour? Does that one has to leave the band then?

J > We haven’t thought about that, because we didn’t have to think about it yet. I just hope that we never come to that, that we have to make decisions like that. We have only 2 persons of us, that are working in a full-time-job at the moment, besides the band.

T > Do you have any idea how many copies of the last album you sold?

J > I have no idea. You could try to call the record company and if they give you a number you could tell it to us as well.

T > This German guy Matte (or Matthias?) who’s always around you, is he from the record company?

J > No, he’s our booking agent. And he also has done some promotion- and merchandise- jobs for us.

T > Why don’t you do it yourself? Then you would always know what’s going on.

J > With Matte we always do know what’s going on. It’s only with the record company that we don’t know what’s going on. 

T > Strange question now… maybe it’s totally out of place, but it just came to my mind. When Wilska had to leave Finntroll, do you know if Finntroll ever considered having Jonne as their new singer? You know, he’s friends with the band and already did live gigs with them… 

J > No, I don’t think so. And I think since the time when Jonne met the band, most of the band has changed anyway. I think the person that Jonne was closest with, is not in the band anymore, so I think Jonne is not so much connected to this band anymore.

T > You personally, would you ever leave Korpiklaani when you would get an offer of a much more famous band?

J > You know, that’s something I have never thought about. I’m concentrating on Korpiklaani right now. We’re trying to get it up as much as we can. 

T > I’m not quite up-to-date: Didn’t you plan to publish a Korpiklaani video with only cartoons in it?

J > There were supposed to be 3 videos for the new album which is not even new anymore of course. But there was none. But “Happy little boozer” was supposed to come out. It was supposed to contain some footage from Nummirock festival that was in June. It should have come out 2 or 3 weeks after that and it still didn’t happen. And I’m quite sure that it won’t. I know the real reason behind it, why nothing has really happened. But I think you can’t print that. 

T > I saw you have a Korpiklaani belt in your merchandise section. I like the idea. Who’s idea was it and is it real leather?

J > I’m not actually sure because some ideas come from the band and some ideas come from those companies who contact us. I’m not sure, but I think the belt idea came from outside the band, from this company. It is real leather. And I think therefor it’s quite cheap.

T > Do you wanna tell your fans something about your life outside the band? Like your hobbies, or if you’re 1 of the 2 guys with the real job?

J > I’m one of the guys with the real job. And I read quite a lot, really different kinds of stuff. And I skate a lot. I´ve been doing that over 10 years. What else do I do? Not much. 

T > I know many Finns who would never leave their home country to live somewhere else (permanently). How about you?

J > That’s something I haven’t really thought about. I don’t think I would have any problems living somewhere else. The only thing I would care about is, WHERE would that other place be. I have seen this country now for 33 years, I think that’s enough. I think I have already seen most of what it has to offer. It´s a matter of how happy you are. It doesn’t matter if it’s in Finland or in Germany or whereever, as long as you have your friends around you. Because PEOPLE make the places and nothing else. Because the most beautiful place would be nothing, if there is no one else to see it. Like with the experience of your life… for me it would be nothing, if I could never tell it to anyone. The people are more important than the places. 

T > Maybe that’s already part of your answer to the next question: what are the most important things that make life worthwhile?

J > Yeah, the people are the most important. It’s like a clichee to say that, but music is very important to me also. And that’s about it. Maybe also HOME is quite important, like a place of my own. It’s not about the house, but a place for myself, where I can be alone.

T > Do you know "Lordi"?

J > Yes.

T > What do you think about the hype that people do around them in Finland and Germany at the moment?

J > Well, that’s just hype, as you said. 

T > What about Korpiklaani performing for the Grand Prix? ;-)

J > I don’t really see that happen. 

T > Would it embarrass you to take part?

J > No, but this band is still about the music, which is the biggest part of our band. But with Lordi music is only the second half, the first is something else, but not the music. And that would make me embarrassed to be competing in a music contest with something else than than music. 

T > Last but not least, please recommend our readers one book they should read and one music CD they should have listened to at least once in their lives.

J > I think Jethro Tull’s “Songs from the wood” is an excellent album. And the title track “Songs from the wood” is about 5 or 6 minutes long, and it has EVERYTHING. It has folk music, it has classical music, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, it has everything in 5 minutes. That’s brilliant stuff. 

T > I guess younger people don’t even know who Jethro Tull are, unfortunately.

J > Yeah. All the great bands that I really like, such as Jethro Tull, Black Sabbath or the old Genesis from the 70 ies, they have all made many great albums before I was born. But it doesn’t matter. That music is still good, even though it’s old. 

T > What about a book?

J > I could try to show that I am an intelligent person and I could try to pick something really obscure from some strange writer. But I will not do that. I think everyone interested in music should read the biography of Lemmy Kilmister ("White line fever").

T > I haven’t read it. But I wonder if he writes about his heavy drinking?

J > He writes about drinking, he writes about using drugs, about everything. It’s a great book to read, I really enjoyed it. That man really has a black sense of humour. It’s really the same kind that I have. I really enjoyed it a lot.
But then again the world is full of good books and good music, and no one can ever tell you what to like.

Jarkko on stage (with Jonne):


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