Auf der Suche nach unseren besonderen Musikschätzen, sind wir dieses Mal in Finnland kleben geblieben.
Die Finnische Musik ist eher ein stiller Musikvertreter in Europa, obwohl gerade aus dem seit Jahrtausenden dünnbesiedelten Land, Bands wie Waltari, Sonata Arctica, Stratovarius, Nightwish, Children of Bodom, HIM und Apocalyptica stammen.
So wurde auch SoulHealer 2009 in Finnland gegründet und erweckte unser Interesse. Also taten wir das einzig logische: wir fragten nach diesem Interview, aber lest nun selbst!
SoulHealer Inerview mit Sami Mikkonen/ Gitarrist
Zone1 - Thank you for your time for an interview!
Sami - My pleasure!
Zone1 - Who is behind the name and when have you founded the band?
Sami - I guess the name was a team effort by Teemu and I. At first, we had a different “working name” for the band, in the very beginning. Which actually is almost five years ago now, wow! The first time we rehearsed with the first line-up was around November 2009. Well, anyway, we let the first, original name, go quite quickly when we realized that first of all, the music we were trying to make under that moniker isn’t what comes naturally to us and that the name isn’t the one for us.
As it happens we didn’t have a name when we booked our first gig, so we had to think fast. So we bounced ideas with Teemu, and at one point I remember we talked that many bands have taken their names from a song that inspires them or something like that. Teemu came up with the song Soul Stealer by Badlands, and we just kinda changed it a bit to make it more original hahaha!
Zone1 - How did you get the name and what is the story behind it?
Sami - I kinda answered this one above didn’t I?!
Zone1 - How did you found this genre of music and how did you meet each other?
Sami - This genre… I probably shouldn’t go too deep into this, but I’m not a genre type of person myself. Good music is good music is good music, you know? But the stuff we play, songs we write is what comes naturally to us. I guess when you’re a kid from the eighties it’s in your DNA.
Teemu and I met when we played in local cover bands. At some point we got to talking that playing covers is not exactly what we really want to do. So we decided to put a band that plays original music together. The original drummer and bassist we recruited through a musicians’s website along with the appropriate auditions hehe, the original vocalist was a girl we had played with in cover bands. That’s it, the way the first line-up was born!
Zone1 - How would you describe the uniqueness of your band and music, especially for the people who do not know you?
Sami - One unique thing is the Kajaani area, that certain melancholy in the music! And obviously all our influences blended in by the individual guys playing their own stuff… I think one thing that separates us from other bands is our vocalist. He’s NEVER sung rock music, metal, hard rock, anything like that. Not even pop music. So he brings a very unique touch in the mix.
Zone1 - Where do you get the inspiration for the songs and how much time do you spend on average for the music practices?
Sami - Ah…the inspiration. I would say it’s an inate thing. Riffs and melodies just come to you, and they can come anywhere and any time. And as I said previously, eighties stuff is very strong with all of us, so it’s pretty evident that stuff inspires songwriting too. But let’s dig deeper! Inspiration for songs comes from everyday life too. At least for me, writing lyrics for example, I see and hear things daily and try to express them in my lyrics.
Time spent on practicing? Individually? Hard to say
really, everyone’s got their own regime and way of practicing their instrument I think. As a band we try to play together at least once a week for 3-4 hours on average. But one of us lives about a hundred kilometers from Kajaani, which means we tend to gather together once or twice a month for a weekend and play our asses off haha! But the average would be around 3-4 hours per week.
Zone1 - Do any of you have any formal musical training?
Sami - I think Jani our drummer may have some training but other than that, not really. Or well, I did play classical guitar at a music school for a few years way back when I was a teen... does that count?! Hoho!
Zone1 - Do the band members spend much time together in the free time or do you prefer to spend your time separately?
Sami - Given the fact that we’re all around 40 years old and have families and Pasi the bass guy lives 100 km away from the rest of us, it’s not a preference to spend time separately. It’s more reality really. Between jobs and family there’s not that much time to spare. We do like to hang out with each other, that’s not the issue here. Time or the lack of it is.
Zone1 - To which genres of music, artists, bands do you listen in your free time?
Sami - I have to admit I don’t have time to listen to music these days. If I do have time, it’s either in the car from the radio or when I’m practicing. Which means it’s generic radio playlist stuff or oldies but goodies like Iron Maiden, Accept, Helloween, Gary Moore, Ratt, Radiohead, The Shadows, The Beatles etc. As I said earlier I’m not a genre type of guy, I like to listen to good music. I really don’t know what the other guys in the band listen to…well, I know Jori likes to listen to AC/DC along with his old Finnish favorites. I try to check out new music whenever I get the chance…but that’s a different story altogether.
Zone1 - Are there any other creative activities outside of music that makes one of you?
Sami - At the moment I don’t know of anything creative the guys or myself do other than play music. Jani the drummer has talked about taking on photographing though. I’ve toyed with the idea of learning to record and mix… but we’ll see!
Zone1 - What do you think of your country and the music audiences?
Sami - Finland’s the BEST place to live in general…if it weren’t for the damned cold and long winter haha! No, I like it here. Where should one go from home? The music audiences here, well, in general it appears that we’re a bit more reserved than in say Germany or Russia. At least judging by the few gigs we have played in those countries. But all in all, a music fan is a music fan wherever they live in my opinion.
Zone1 - Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Sami - In the next five years we’re playing Madison Square Garden instead of Madison Square Bedroom! Haha! No, seriously, in five years we’ve made a few more albums, played a lot more shows in Finland and abroad. We’re still working hard for our music and are starting to collect the fruit of the work of the previous ten years ;-).
Zone1 - You were already in other countries on tour?
Sami - Can’t say on tour but we’ve played a few shows in Russia and a gig in Germany so far. What a blast to play in both countries I can tell ya!
Zone1 - Which country had the furthest distance?
Sami - Germany is the furthest we’ve been to so far.
Zone1 - How long have you been traveling?
Sami - To Germany? Well, it took 8 hours to drive to the airport and then around 5 hours of flight to get to Germany, Stuttgart to be exact, from Kajaani. Well worth it I might add!
Zone1 - Everybody thinks it's easy and fun on a tour - what do you think?
Sami - Everybody’s right! And wrong… it’s hard work, long hours spent sitting in the bus travelling from one place to another. But it’s fun to play in different places for different people. So yeah it is a lot of fun to tour. Even if it is a lot of work, it’s good fun!
Zone1 - Which YouTube Video can you recommend us?
Sami - Check out our clips for “The Deception” and “Smoke & Mirrors”
Zone1 - When and where are your new gigs?
Sami - Actually at this time I am not at liberty to reveal any new gig dates! We have a new album coming out some time in the Autumn, and we’re hitting the road in support of the album. There will be an announcement in the very near future, and the gigs will be all around Finland. That’s all I can say about that ;-).
Zone1 - Is there anything you want to tell our readers?
Sami - Hey, just be yourself no matter what people say! Unless of course you can be Batman, always be Batman hahaha! No, seriously, always be yourself. And listen to a lot of SoulHealer too! Sin Chee clearly anymore!
Zone1 - Thank you very much for this inerview!
Sami - My pleasure! Thanks for having us!