Finnish based painter Reima Lihavainen isn't only known for his grotesque paintings but also director of weirdass videos and sole member of guitar driven sound art outfit SnakeDrinker.
How do you see your role in the music underground and how did you become part of it?
RL > Am I a part of the underground movement? My teacher taught me at school that I am a failure, an idiot and whatever. Dyslexia and learning difficulties led me to express myself without words, first visually and later musically. Eventually I drifted inevitably underground. I believe that it is a gateway, I started drawing and eventually moved on to the guitar, but things went astray. Making music is only roleplaying in an artist's life.
As this is mainly a music zine I’ll start of by asking about your musical project SnakeDrinker, what ignited the flame in you to start a musical outfit?
RL > Unbearable Lightness of Being, it was a boring day. I wanted to do something, so I decided to try GarageBand and that's how it went. I gave the steel stringed Landola a ride. About ten years earlier I had invented the perfect band name Snakedrinkers, but because it was never realized I took the name of a drawer at the same time as I started to color my art with a guitar. I also wanted to experiment with making music for my videos that I had made a cooperation with captain Kenneth of [ówt krì]. This co-operation provided the inspiration to try make music himself.
The project is mainly just guitar, have you had any formal training in playing?
RL > In fact, in addition to guitar, I also use keyboards, that is the computer keyboard, that turns with GarageBand into a piano or whatever. Playing the guitar began at the turn of a century in 2000, I do not remember which side. A friend thought me "Live Forever" by Oasis and Nirvana's "Come as you aren". The rest I have taught and guided myself.
Do you see any particular musical act as a paragon to SnakeDrinker?
RL > [ówt krì]
As a painter, film director and comic strip author I understand you have been working together with some musical artists, how have these collaborations taken place?
RL > I have practised all kinds of exploitations. I have worked together for personal gain, why deny it? There has been lucrative collaborations with Captain Kenneth over a large quantity of music videos and ambitious artistic short films. The true underground from which very few people have been enjoying.
Do you have any trusted musicians you like to work with?
RL > Kenneth the commander!
In what cavities do you seek inspiration? Do you find the same sources inspirational for both music and painted art or even film?
RL > There is no inspiration, only work. "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."
Being skilled in so many fields of art, do you ever get feelings you are omnipotent or see youself as a kind of “l’uomo universale” like Da Vinci?
RL > I'm just childlike, a curious soul that investigates and finds something new all the time. Something that was never found. I do so, so that one day I can succeed and be proud enough to retire. Until then I must keep on looking. I just don't know what I'm looking for yet. Maybe I'm just looking for answers? art is a con.
Do you have any grand plans for the future? Movies, exhibitions, music?
RL > ArtExpo March 21-24, 2013. Pier 92, NYC, there will be three of my paintings. I've also been thinking about a Snake Drinkker release, "Tähdenlento jota ei koskaan huomattu". I will write lyrics to fit the theme that I can recite slowly to the accompaniment of my guitar. The end result is likely to be something other than I plan, I'll see if I can get anything done. There are all kinds of film projects in mind, possibly a new co-operation with a musician, at least there has been speabout it. Nothing happens if you don't do yourself.
What would you like to tell our faithful readers as a last goodbye?
RL > "Kosketelkaa itseänne levottomat sielut." (Touch yourselves, restless souls.)
I think that is all for now, many thanks for your time sir.
- Kenneth K.
Photos: Anna-Maria Lihavainen