Hello Mauri! It’s a pleasure speaking to you today. We have been following your “Dreams Of a Middle Aged Man” since its release, and wow…what a killer album. How did you come up with the concept, and the idea for the “sound” of the album?
Greetings all music lovers! And thank you! I had a specific phase in my life where I had just broken up from a 7-year relationship, my mother passed away, I got married and we had our firstborn daughter. It opened up a lot of new perspectives into life and lyrics. Before this I was doing metal duo Mystons fifth album and suddenly these new kind of folky songs started pouring out of me that kind of told me how they needed to be recorded.
The song “Dreams Of A Middle-Aged Man” gave theme to the whole album. Johnny Cash’s American Recordings, Leonard Cohen’s early and last works and Nick Drake’s Five Leaves Left, Neil Young and The Beatles gave some sort of reference to the sound. But most of all it came from my 25 year path in playing and recording music, from what kind of sounds, vibes and arrangements I like and who I am musically.
It was also debut solo album dream come true where I played and recorded everything myself so I used the best professionals to polish the sound. Hiili Hiilesmaa who I have previously worked with and who has mostly produced and mixed big metal names like HIM, Apocalyptica and Sepultura for example, mixed and associate produced the album with second associate producer being my trusted friend, Mystons drummer and V.R. Studio owner Jussi Vuola. For mastering the album I wanted the best possible professional out there and contacted Vlado Meller who has worked with Johnny Cash, Michael Jackson, Metallica and ALL the big names.
The short answer is that the sound came from the songs, me, carefully selected equipment and a group of professionals who all love music. If you listen closely I hope you hear that love coming through the music, that is what it is about.
What is your personal favorite track on the album?
It varies a lot. “Dreams Of A Middle-Aged Man” is always one of the dearest on the album and how pleasant it feels to play live. “Love Will Prevail” has some of the best lyrics I have made I think. “Hymn Of A Wandered” has a special vibe from the past. “Thin Line Of Understanding” is one of the most emotional ones. But most of all it is an album and I recommend listening to the whole thing for the best drama and mood.
“Love Will Prevail” has a beautiful, stylish video. It’s also been nominated and selected at many film festivals. Who is responsible for the look and style of the video?
It originally was shot in a burnt forest in Muhos, Finland as a side story to “Dreams Of A Middle-Aged Man” music video shot and directed by Cinematographer Vesa Ranta. For the 8-minute song we needed a lot of material but only ended up using one short scene in the video seen through a television screen watched by a midlife couple. My 2-year old daughter is on it and the beauty of the images came from Vesa’s slow motion video shots and from my daughter’s natural ability to be herself and me just being with her.
I am also a Visual Artist by education and second profession so I edited the video and did the color adjustments. The script and clothing got its ideas from me, Vesa and my Visual Artist Wife, Inga. But like in the album, I feel that what makes the music video so special is that there is actual life and a real relationship of me and my daughter and a genuine burnt forest happening in the music video that really interacts with the song.
A couple of weeks ago I realized that there are all Ancient Greek Classical four elements present in the video. Earth – as the soil being digged, Fire – present in the burnt forest, Air –as in the wind and movements of a balloon and Water – coming from a watering can. All of this was unintentional or subconsciously or intuitively worked into the video since I also have a recent public artwork Elements that includes all of the four too.
What has been the highlight of your music career so far?
My solo album and the unbelievable way it has been received by the audience. And from a 25-year, 500 show and 9 full length album’s perspective it is also the longevity of my courier and the feeling that I am still able to evolve in music and transform it into enjoyable listening experiences to other people as well.
Are you excited to be performing again? How did COVID affect your touring schedule?
Yes, I am and would be excited and have been able luckily to do a couple of shows. Finland is again entering the limitations in live music so the inability not to play the album live for a live audience is very frustrating because that is what I enjoy the most in music.
Any plans to visit the US? Have you been here in the past?
I haven’t visited or played in the US so far. Would love to do it at some point!
If you could perform any where in the world, where would that be and why?
The US is a good choice since my music seems to have a lot of audience there. And lot of my favorite artists are from there.
What is the one thing that you hope your listeners will take away from your music?
I hope they will get a genuine, music loving trip that will take them to a good place for a while, away from the troubles in this world.
Thank you Mauri. Best wishes for a great summer and rest of 2021!
Thank you! I wish all the best music experiences to all of your readers.