Interview by Miriam C.
Transcription by Robin Stryker
This was my second phoner interview that I’ve made in my life, this time I was more calm and relaxed. Enjoy this funny interview (sometimes during the interview she has got line telephone problems and I was going to repeat the questions) with a kind and relaxed Jonsu, vocalist and violinist from rock all female band Indica.
Let’s start, “A Way Away” is coming in the stores the 25th June on Nuclear Blast. Why choose this label? I mean Nuclear Blast isn’t the typical label that sign rock melodic bands.
When we were touring with Nightwish, Nuclear Blast was the label that was interested to do the English album, and they had showed some passion towards our music. I loved the way they worked and how they put their whole soul and heart to it. So it made us be sure that it is the perfect label for us. Also I have to say that it was a good thing that Tuomas told me before – you know Tuomas [keyboardist] from Nightwish, they have been with Nuclear Blast for many many years – and he told me that “I have no bad words to say about that company”. So it was a good recommendation.
Obvious question, how’s born the collaboration between Nightwish mastermind Tuomas Holompainen?
It was great. The first thing I did with them was “Erämaan Viimeinen” (The Last of the Wilds), one of their songs. After one of our shows, Tuomas came to ask me if I would like to sing that song, and he said he has been a fan of our band since it started. And I said like “yeah, yeah, let’s try it”. It went well and then they asked later if we would come on the Scandinavian tour. I think Tuomas and the whole band is great. Tuomas is a really talented musician and composer, so it was great to work with him. And later, of course, to do albums with him. Also on “A Way Away”, he wrote lyrics to one song, “Precious Dark”.
I found a bit strange to publish an entire album with translated lyrics in English, when take for example such metal acts like Ensiferum, Korpiklaani,they publish without problems album in Finnish language. Why take this decision?
Why did we do an English album? When we started about nine years ago, we did songs in English and in Finnish, but then we had to choose one language. Finnish sounds more natural, but we knew that someday we probably will do anyway an English album. When we started touring abroad, the fans started to request if we could do some songs that they would understand too. There was only really crappy YouTube versions they could listen to. So that was the main reason why we did it now. I think it was a big challenge for us, too, because we have seen every single corner of Finland and every single club, and we have been working there and touring there and doing albums like “Ikuinen Virta” in 2004. So it was a big challenge for us, and also really interesting to see new places and meet new people. Also with the language, I would say that the English language is maybe, when sung, it sounds more beautiful and it’s flowing totally differently. Maybe Finnish is more exotic, but anyway the music sounds totally different, so we found it really interesting.
Your last album was called “Valoissa”, right? And if I’m not wrong the English translation is “light”.
Yes, you can say “in the light”. In the song, we are really talking about like traffic lights. It is a little bit ironic text about “what if I die in the traffic light” and you can’t just mourn. Don’t be sad.
Are “Valoissa” and “A Way Away” titles connected?
“Valoissa” and “A Way Away” … no, there are a couple of songs from the “Valoissa” album in “A Way Away”, but otherwise those albums aren’t alike. Those aren’t connected anyhow.
If I ask you to define Indica‘s music style what do you reply?
It’s a funny question because, as a composer, it’s really hard for me to describe the music because somehow I think it’s impossible to describe music in words. But, I can say what other people have told. So, some people – like all reporters in Finland – call it like mystic-romantic pop rock, and it was funny how it started. One reporter just said like, “oh, this sounds like mystic-romantic” and suddenly all the reporters were writing it’s mystic-romantic. Yeah, one interviewer also said, “it sounds like Disney on acid.” (laughs) I think it was a funny description. I’m sure there is some films, movie soundtracks and a lot of movie composers.
On 30th April you’ve published out the videoclip “In Passing”, what is the story behind the video and how was work with Patric Ullaeus Team?
Yeah, in Sweden in Gothenburg. You are talking probably of the “In Passing” video. The story behind the song is that it is kind of a letter from an older sister who is dead to her little sister, and she is trying to encourage her and telling her that “you must go on with your life and move on”. It was great to work with Revolver Team, and Patrick Ullaeus I think did a great job. We shot it two videos in Gothenburg. “Islands of Light” I think it isn’t published yet, but it will come out soon I guess.
Watching your promo shoots I was astonished about your dresses. Who’s the creator of it?
Sometimes we are using different kinds of designers, but there is one Finnish, Anne-Mari Pahkala, who has done many of our dresses. Some dresses we are found from our grandmas’ closets or somewhere, like anywhere where we go. But Anne-Mari Pahkala is a girl with whom we have worked the most.
Before “In Passing” video there was another one video called “Snakes and Arrows”, I’ve seen it, have you shooted it in Tokyo?
We had one. It was kind of, you know, zero budget. We deal with just one friend’s photographer wanted to do one because he wanted to do some photo shootings there, and we had a show in Tokyo. We spent there a week, so we were shooting the video at the same time. But it was a great experience. I really liked Tokyo, but I couldn’t believe that I would live there.
Which is your favourite song from “A Way Away” and why?
My favourite song from the album is, I guess, the ending track “Eerie Eden” … “As If” is also one of my favourite tracks. I always fell in love with the slow songs, so that is why maybe “Eerie Eden” and “Children of Frost” and “A Way Away” are one of my favourites. The girls are always angry to me because I always try to do a slow album where there is only slow songs on there like that. “You are killing the audience! They will fall asleep”. (laughs) So, it’s good that we have different opinions in our band too, because otherwise it would be only 10 slow songs on the album.
I know that’s very very early to talk about that but are you working for the next album with brand new songs?
Composing is my lifestyle, and I’m all the time composing something. But we really haven’t sat down yet with the band and talked about what we are going to do, what kind of direction we are going to go in. Maybe after this album comes out, we can sit down and talk about that with the people that we work with and do some planning.
What are the next band planes?
In the near future we are going … tomorrow [the interview was done on the 20 May 2010] we are in Italy doing something and going to Rome, then we go to Leipzig to do one gothic festival and then I go back to Finland to do some TV programmes. Then we are playing in Rock am Ring and Rock im Park (it’s in Germany).
It’s a very famous festival, with groups from every genre, and MTV is there.
It will be interesting and I think they said that they are shooting the show too. So we are doing some festivals in summer, but mainly touring will start in the autumn. Then the plan is to tour pretty much before Christmas and go around Europe. Let’s see, I have a meeting with my gig agents next weekend, then they tell us some ideas.
Italy is in your plans?
Yeah, I’m sure Italy will be on the list. But really, I would love to, I’m waiting to come back to Italy. These days we are doing some acoustic performances in the radios but to do a real live show because I think Italian audiences are great. They are so free and open.
Greet our fans freely!! And thanks!
Thank you very much for the interview! It was really nice to talk with you, and I hope to see you somewhere.
Kiitos! [Finnish word for thanks]
Oh, you know it! Great.