What inspired the birth of Mother Goose, and what bands were the most influential to your sound - and are the main ones still the same ones today?
Zelig Concrete > I like P.J Harvey, The Eels, and Deerhoof. I'm a snob and as such don't really care for the big names of Finnish rock. I appreciate authentic ill na´ve art, for example Tyyne Esko is great from the side of visual art. I do some drawing as well. Do also check out the videos of our band Hunton Quintet on youtube.
I've seen many different bands being mentioned regarding your music, but overall people seem to notice influences from krautrock and older experimental, noisy, progressive, jamming and even psychedelic rock-bands - or if generalized, marginal rock-music from different eras. Is there a certain genre, sound or label you can relate the most with Mother Goose, or is it best labelled as just that: Mother Goose?
Zelig Concrete > I guess that No Wave hit me hard back in the day. I'm no hippie, jamming just for jamming's sake sucks!
Originally you were known as Machine Gun Macbeth, and published three 7"-EPs under that name. By 1992 your name changed to Mother Goose. Why did you change the name, did your music become different at that point? What does this "new" name symbolize or stand for? Does Mother Goose still stand for the same views and ideas it did in the early days?
Zelig Concrete > The name Mother Goose gave us more freedom to make all kinds of music. "MGM" was too harsh a name for us, so I wanted to change it. We were just pondering about a possible new name when we were making our first album in England in the beginning of the '90s. I remember that we almost chose the name "Researching Hairstyles" or "Black Milk and Sugar", huh...
Furthermore, have you noticed any major changes in your way of composing, recording, writing lyrics, and overall approaching your music during the years? Or should we rather be talking about evolution than of change?
Zelig Concrete > We want to do everything, but it seems that we can only be our unprejudiced selves. We're recording a new album again, so that's what it's about... this and that.
Do you need a certain mood or surroundings for inspiration to strike, or is it something that can't be predicted nor "harvested" at will?
Zelig Concrete > My music recognizes desperation and naivety. It's a romantic and rude dialogue.
Your vocals have a very distinctive sound. Is this something you've been building over the years, or was it rather something that came out as it was?
Zelig Concrete > My soul craves to sing, and by singing I get a hold of my soul. I'm just so old already that the everyday life has stolen a piece of my soul, I hate that, and one day I'll do something radical about it.
Do you spend a lot of time working on each bit of lyric, or do you rely on spontaneous bursts of expression as well?
Zelig Concrete > Nowadays I work more on the lyrics than I used to. I'm a bit ashamed of my old lyrics and vocals, but I suppose I shouldn't be as it was all about the music and the concrete holistic end result.
All of my lyrics have been made seriously. I've lived and experienced them. Our music is true, painfully realistic, not just some hobbyist hassling.
How important are the lyrics in your music, in your view? I've noticed that although the lyrics are personal to you, their maker, their message or theme often lays hidden beneath layers of euphemisms, analogues, and landscapes/atmospheres that seem rather psychedelic. Is this meant to hide the artist behind the lyrics, or to make them more universal, or perhaps to keep them from being too dominant in the songs? Are your lyrics' style inspired by any particular author, or just by the internal and external worlds? I'm also curious to hear if there's a special reason for them being in English instead of your first language.
Zelig Concrete > Well, I pretty much answered this one in the previous question. My favourite literature author is Jeanette Winterson.
Mother Goose has been going on for about twenty years. Do the older releases still sound good to your ears? Do you occasionally listen to your older works after some time passes, or do you rather keep going forward? Further, do you have a specific favourite album in your works, or should they be regarded as equal parts of something greater?
Zelig Concrete > We've been doing this for 25 years now. My music is my diary. If you want to know what it's like to be a true romantic and a loser, then I'm your man.
Mother Goose has made a couple of splits, too: one with the still active lo-fi rock-punk-group Sur-Rur and one with Mystery Date whom I know absolutely nothing about. How did these splits come to be? Are there some bands you're hoping to do a split or some collaborative work with in the future?
Zelig Concrete > In the time before the internet it was hard and slow work to find partners for collaborating and co-operation. We seriously worked hard on these things, and the results came to be as and what they did. Those collaborations in foreign countries were born from some people honestly loving our unique approach to pop-music - or either they were just trying to earn money on our productive band.
How is Mother Goose doing today? Do you have any new releases coming up - either brand new works, or some that've been recorded earlier but yet left unreleased?
Zelig Concrete > A new album is currently being mastered, and an another brand new album is already recorded as well, I'm currently recording vocals for it by singing into pipe microphones and tin cans.
Finishing an album is a long process. We've released them approximately every three years. This year we'll release the album I mentioned currently being mastered, and it'll be our best and most surprising work so far, and the most self-biographical as well.
You've done hundreds of gigs through the years, most of them in Finland, but quite a few foreign ones as well. What is it playing live that attracts you to return to the stage? Do you have any gigs coming up?
Zelig Concrete > We have a couple shows in the spring and already about half a dozen in the autumn, wow...
What is it that has kept you creating music to this day? Self-expression, introspection, curiosity, the will to learn and do more...?
Zelig Concrete > I'm a real artist, I do it because I need to. Sadly I, a person with all kinds of rough stuff in his genes, didn't have any other life it seems. Music and art is survival.
Further, what are the things or emotions you're aiming to create or express through your art? Do you have any subconscious wishes on how your listeners will perceive your works, or is it all open for free interpretation? Do you feel bothered if you see that someone's "misunderstood" your works, so to say?
Zelig Concrete > Misunderstanding don't bother me at all, more on the contrary. That is what this is about, something awakening something, and you can never know what it'll be.
Do you practice other forms of expression than music, paintings or drawings for example? Do you collaborate in the making of your albums' artwork?
Zelig Concrete > I write, draw, and make videos.
In the '80s, you studied experimental music in Haag's royal conservatory's sonology department. Have you had any other musical studies? In your own eyes, have you benefited more from DIY-experiments and a curious mind or from these studies? Was it more about learning new techniques, or about learning new ways to seeing and approaching music and instruments? It's quite a silly thought to separate the two ends so harshly, but I think you know what I mean here.
Zelig Concrete > Creativity is openness to changes and surprising solutions. Drop out the chorus from a song, and it'll be a hit. Quit making music in order to find yourself. Stuff like that.
You have a label called Temporary Music, which has two releases waiting to be published: "Nevermind in Other Words" by Three Davids, and "The Only True Mother Goose" by Mother Goose. Would you like to shed some light on these releases, and what's their current situation?
Zelig Concrete > It's in progress, it's in progress, yeah. There have been some record labels asking to release our music as well, though.
Have you recently ran into any bands or albums that you got crazy over, or do you have any other such names on your mind that you'd like to mention in this context?
Zelig Concrete > Glen Campbell's fresh song "Ghost on a Canvas" is eeriely timeless and a true message from past times. A lot fresher stuff than a lot of the skinnyjeans-beardedface-bands of the young.
The questions are coming to a close, do you have anything on your mind you'd like to add or discuss further? Thank you for your time!
Zelig Concrete > Thank you. Stop airplane travelling!
Promotional photos: Pietu Roisko