First off, please describe Apples of Idun in your own words. What is the thing that distinguishes you, or your sound, from other groups? Or in other words, why should one listen to Apples of Idun? Are there some bands you could be compared with in some way?
E > What distinguishes us from many bands is that we don't have a goal to sound like anything particular. There is no musical category we aim to fit in to. You could say our music is industrial-rock, but other influences can be heard too, sometimes well hidden, sometimes more clearly. I make songs like this because I like songs that you don't get bored with within the first two listens. So people who think that way might like what we're doing. We've been compared to artists such as Faith No More, NIN, Massive Attack and Skinny Puppy for example and that's fine, I like them all. Some people have a need to compare to feel safe with what their ears are hearing, but I don't think we're exactly like any other group.
What are you trying to achieve music-wise?
E > As I said earlier, there is no certain goal besides making the best music we can. We can only hope it touches people and is thought-provoking. The only "rule" when making our latest album, Disaster Art, was the one I made for myself: I had a vision it would sound like a shiny crystal ball showing flashes of fucked up things in this fucked up world. Basically what it means is that the sound of the record is in some sense polished, beautiful and even poppy at some points, but the stories told in the lyrics are ugly and not your average friday night party stuff.
Why did you choose the name "Apples of Idun" for your band? Does it represent your ideology, music, or something else? Speaking of which, do you have a certain ideology or an idea that you represent? What are the lyrics about?
E > Our bass player Jouni came up with it. At first I wasn't sure about the name, cause it sounds like a swordmetal-band with songs full on Lord of the Rings references. But then I studied the myth of Idun a bit more and found out that she was basically like a drug dealer for gods. Her apples were grown to heal the gods when they were weak and gave them strenght, so that part of the myth stuck with me for some time. So after thinking about it more and more I thought: why not? If our band's name tells people that gods are just as vulnerable as human beings and we really should have more faith in ourselves rather than mythical characters, then great. That's a good name for our band then.
Although our name is rather god-related, the lyrics are not all about critisizing religion and false gods. It's not really my thing to tell people what to do or believe in. Most of my lyrics are about an ordinary person fighting to survive the traps of the modern world. Some lyrics are sung from the perspective of the one who is setting up the traps too. Some songs are simply about human relationships. People are not always that nice to each other. Still I don't want to depress people, I would rather cheer them up in a way...and myself too. There are enough goth-bands out there singing about suicide and black lipstick.
You started out as a solo project. What made you want to create the electronic sounds? Did/do you have any specific idols or motivators? What caused you to make Apples of Idun a full band? How did you find the other members? Has there been any lineup changes?
E > Well let me just say that it wasn't the most stable time of my life when I started doing the first record. I really didn't know what I was doing or why, until our bass player pulled me out of my miseryhole. Then we realized that I had a bunch of nice little songs and released them. I've always liked electronic music very much, so it was very natural for me to release an electronic album as I had no band with me. But then it came clear that I would rather do gigs with a full band than just myself. I've been playing in bands since I was 14. The band members came together easily: I was already teaming up with Jouni Korhonen, he introduced me to his drummer friend Jani Vilhunen, who I also clicked with immediatly. Then I asked my friend Mikko Korhonen to play the keyboards live and he agreed. We toured and rehearsed with that line-up for a few years. When it came down to start the recording of our new album, we had to let Mikko go. After that we thought we would like to make our sound heavier and I called Lari Sallinen (I knew him a bit and had seen him play live for bands like Funeral Feast and Torture Killer) and he was happy to join the band and make us sound less gay, hehe. Then we recorded Disaster Art and earlier this year we asked Niklas Nybom to join us as a fulltime keyboardist. Never felt better with the line-up.
How do you compose your songs usually?
E > The songs are mostly made out of my demos. I spend a lot of time recording riffs and keyboard stuff. When I have 2-3 new song structures ready, I go jam with the drummer first to figure out the drums, cause that's the only instrument in this band that I can't play well enough. After that we do arrangements with the whole group and that's about it. In some cases I work with other guys earlier, when they have killer bass/guitar lines or synth stuff.
Your style took a turn towards a more organic soundscape and more "logical" songs between your two full-lenghts. What caused such a change in style? How have your fans responded to the change?
E > Well obviously the fact that we are now a real band was a big thing for our sound. The first record was a thousand miles long road, psychedelic and dark. I guess some people liked it, but I would never do a record like that again. I wanted to take some elements from the Widow-album, but concentrate on the song structure more. It's much more challenging to make a 4-minute long interesting tight song compared to an 8-minute long trippy song with nothing really happening. The response to the new sound has been mostly great. It's funny to see how many of my friends are now saying that the first album was too long, I could've used that info then, assholes. Seriously, I'm very happy with the comments and reviews we're getting for Disaster Art. Many people don't like it at first but for some reason feel the need to listen to it again and suddenly they start loving it. That's what makes a good album to me.
You released your other album not long ago. What caused the time between it and your previous full-lenght to be more than three years? Why was the album not released by yourselves this time? How did you find your label?
E > Well, we wanted to hire a producer and that takes money. So we recorded very slowly, did some gigs and recorded some more. Then it was starting to piss us off. We had been talking to 2-3 record labels at that time, but things moved slowly on that department. One of these labels was Go On Music, which had liked our stuff for some time. We went to their office, played our new recordings and told them about our situation. A few weeks later we signed the deal and we also got the money to hire the producer Joona Lukala fulltime for three months. That was such a relief. So you could say that the long time between the records is about money, but sure it was also about the changes in the band. It tooks some time to fit in the new members and instruments we've never had before.
I've understood that you've received quite a bit of radio air play, and you've even been featured as a "soundtrack" for a TV-commercial. Did such attention come as an surprise to you? Do you see yourselves as a mainstream band?
E > Yeah, we've got some radio air play and the tv-commercial was a funny thing too. We've got a lot of new listeners because of that, so it's good. Sure those things surprise, cause we really had no such expectations while doing the record. I'm very proud of the record we made and knew that we wouldn't be the only ones liking it in the world, but still it is strange to hear our song on a nationwide tv-channel. Our new video is airing on MusicTV soon, so I'm sure that will be even more strange to see. I've never seen us as a mainstream band, even at its poppiest our music is too complex or noisy for a basic pop listener. One should never underestimate the listener, I know, but let's face it...there is no teen magazine future for us. I'd be happy with a certain amount of success, you know, club tours in Europe, some festivals, enough record sales to buy food with and that sort of thing. I hope we never become a shitty hot new band that everyone likes for a few months until they find a new "indie"-hero. I hate that kind of a scene.
What kind of music do you usually listen to? Do the band members have similar tastes in music?
E > I listen to a lot of things. I try to find new music as often as I can. Lately I've been listening to a lot of electronic music, 80's music, metal, jazz...well everything. I'm that sort of a guy who listens to Pet Shop Boys after just listening to death metal and finnish HC-punk. There is no shitty genre to me, just shitty songs. For the musical taste inside the band I can say that we all have our own favourite styles, but I think we understand very well why some other guy in the band likes this and the other one that. Everyone is very open-minded in this band.
How important gigs are to you? How would you describe an usual Apples-gig?
E > Very important. Although the gigs are a lot of work, which many people don't seem to realize, they are usually fun to do. We have our own lighting engineer and video-people to help us make a good show, although it depends on the venue how much stuff you can fit on the stage. An usual Apples of Idun-gig is a stage full of smoke, strobe lights, emotional rollercoaster with ups and downs. At it's best, it's a beautiful nightmare. At it's worst it's like a morning you wake up with your underwear full of semen. It always makes you form an opinion.
What will the future hold for you, do you maybe have some plans ready?
E > Yeah, we will hopefully tour a lot in Finland in autumn and early next year. Then we'll go to Russia, Sweden and Germany at least. Then some festivals and during this touring we will also record our next album. I have already four new songs ready which we are now arranging with the band. It's gonna be a fun record to make, some of the new material is dark as satan, but there is some lighter stuff coming up too. We are hoping to release it in autumn 2010.
And to the regular questions. What is your view in people downloading releases for free?
E > If you're downloading a Metallica-album, I think that's not as bad as if you download the music from smaller bands, cause Metallica has big tours and huge record sales and all that money coming in anyway. But sure the rules should be same for all bands, so my opinion is that the artist should get paid for the job he has done. Then there are really small bands who really benefit from the free downloads, so they can get their name spread. The whole music business scene is a big mess right now, so I really hope some smart people can figure out how to handle all this. All I can say is that when a person comes saying to me that "Hey, I heard your new song and loved it. Where can I find the new album as a torrent-file?", it feels a bit strange. I don't ask that person to paint my house for free, do I?
Your lyrics partly deal with society. Shortly, what is your view on todays' world? If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be? How do you think the world will be like 20 years from now?
E > Yes, even though I never wanted us to be a political band, I just can't leave some things be. So yes, there are some notions about the society and how it alienates people from happiness and leaves us living by some fucked up standards that people swallow too easily. It's no coincidence that people with personality, passion and the will to stand out are the ones who get beaten down first. The people who don't want to be a part of the machinery have a little chance of making an income and to be taken seriously. For example the life of an artist is a joke. The society thinks that playing music, painting, filming etc. is just a hobby and those people should at least get a real job beside their nice little unproductive hobby. Things like these piss me off, so how could I just shut up? Still we're no Rage Against the Machine. I'm no fortune teller, but I think the world will be a hot, dirty swamp and the people will be even more selfish than today. I'm no optimist when it comes to people, but I really hope I'm proven wrong.
What are you reminded of when you hear these words: human, god, music?
E > Human: a lost soul inside a fragile vessel, god: a fairy-tale gone bad, music: the greatest therapy.
How do the Apples "enjoy" the Finnish summer?
E > Besides working with music and other stuff, we enjoy the same things as the next finnish guy: beer, grilled food, sauna and some good company! Simple pleasures are always the best. No need to try harder there.
Thanks for your time, and may the future hold good things for you!