Paavoharju - interview

"Submerging into Fonal's deep and very interesting catalogue is similar to traveling into a dense and disquieting forest at night. It is impossible to anticipate the surprises that our clumsy steps are going to lead us to, and this, is without doubt the most rewarding and hopeful side of the adventure."
E. Pérez.
In less than a year, Paavoharju have positioned themselves as one of the most interesting acts in the Finnish scene with their stunning debut "Yha Hamaraa". This Sunday I had the pleasure to interview Lauri Ainala about their new Ep and their upcoming plans for this year. This is what he tolds us:

The paavoharju journey has lasted about 6 years since it began, what can you tell us about that time? I have the impression that yha hamaraa is a very important and (busy) record for you right now...

A lot of things happened during that time. I lived and spent much time in many different and really inspiring places and tried to think and feel what Paavoharju wants to express in it's music. It was really great time which I miss sometimes.
One of the places where I lived in was an old abandoned dairy.

Did you recorded any song in there?


Yet some of your songs certainly have this live sound feel...

Yep, but I guess that is caused by our ascetic recording equipment.

(laugh) are you changing it on your new record? or will you keep the lo-fi recording?

We're doing our next one with the same equipment too, so I guess it will still be more or less lo-fi.

Sometimes, it seems that your compositions had left from a structure of guitar and voice, while in others it seems like it was the fruit of a crazy jam session. How are the songs from Paavoharju composed?

In many different ways I must say. It depends much on who is behind the main idea of a song. Usually my brother Olli records some guitar/keyboard/pianolines and I add my stuff (mainly) with computer all over it. Then our vocalists first try to improvise something to the songs and I try to tell them in which direction they should develop their singing and melodies. Sometimes parts of vocals may be fully improvised. The song 'Mitä sinä et ole' has fully improvised vocals for example.

You mention the use of a computer in your composing, what kind of programs are you using?

I use a oldschool trackers a lot, sample-editor and a multitrack/studio software.

What can you tell us about your gigs? Are they similar to your records?

They are totally different, more pop/rock oriented. We don't use much electronics at gigs.

I've heard you're playing in churchs...

We have a gig at Rotterdam which is held in a church. I don't know anything about how they organized it.

I'd love to be there... any plans of coming to our continent soon?

If we get money from somewhere we'll come as soon as possible.

So tell me a bit about your new EP (Tuote-akatemia / Unien Savonlinna), I understand there some sort of b-sides from the yha hamaraa sessions?

That's correct. For example the first track, 'Nuo maisemat', is a song which didn't fit to "Yhä hämärää". As you possibly and most likely could guess the track, "Mitä sinä et ole", is from our "first" record with the same name, which was actually never released. Tracks 'Tavataan 12-7-2004' and 'Tartu tähän hetkeen' are quite new tracks but they didn't fit in our new full lenght record that we are currently making. "Pépé" is one of the first Paavoharju & Joose Keskitalo co-operation tracks.
By the way, Joose is now here with me too, so if you want to ask something from Joose its possible.

Well I'd like to ask both of you what artists have you've been listening to lately?

We'll give you top 5:

1. Joose Keskitalo - Kaupungit puristuvat puristimissa
2. Goldmund - Corduroy road
3. Mew - Frengers
4. Burzum - Det Som Engang Var
5. Khonnor - Handwriting

1. Erkki Lemisen - saarnakasetti kärsimyksen ongelmasta
2. Sami Kukka - Sami Kukka
3. Prince far-I - Psalms for I
4. Tapio Rautavaara
5. Paavoharju - Maxi ranskikset

maxi ranskikset? never heard of that one...

And you never will.

(laugh) well, then tell me, why did you decided to give away the ep for free?

We are not that much after money and we thought that it would be fun to do so.

Joose is in there with you today. I assume you're composing songs for the new album...?

We composed some stuff at morning but we did it for our new project called "Harmaa keto".

Is it similar to "Minä ja Kapteeni/Onni" ?

not really.

So what kind of sound are you following for this project?

It's like prophetic heretic blues with harsh sounds. We are planning to release a 7'' with 2 songs 'Peura' and 'Melkisedek' from "Harmaa keto".

Can you tell me a bit of your plans for the new Paavoharju album?

Paavoharju's new album will be more focused to different aspects of mornings and sunny days.

Is the religious influence gone then?

Of course not, it's always behind (and hidden in) our music.

Will you have guests from the finnish scene on this record as well?

Yes, there are some guests. We've asked for example Ville Leinonen to participate on one track and he answered: yep, but we haven't recorded his vocals yet.+

Based on the new songs on the ep you mention (Tavataan 12-7-2004, Tartu Tahan Hetkeen) it seems like you're moving towards a more electronic sound...

That's a bit wrong impression as I decided not to put those tracks to our next full length just because they sounded more electronic than other songs and so they fitted better with songs like "Nuo maisemat" and "Mitä sinä et ole". We're always doing both more-electronic and more-acoustic songs.

Can we expect the new album to be released any time soon?

I guess it will be ready during this year, but I can't say exactly when yet.

Well I have to let you go. Anything you'd like to tell us before we end this interview?

Paavoharju and Joose Keskitalo would like all world to know that; "Viideltä saunaan, kuudelta putkaan, se on työmiehen lauantai". :)

To listen and download the entire Tuote-akatemia / Unien Savonlinna EP go here.


  • At 4:34 PM, April 03, 2006, Blogger Makrugaik said…

    Excellent interview. Christians listening to Burzum, it's a whole new world! Thanks Moka!

  • At 4:43 PM, April 03, 2006, Anonymous FC said…

    Great interview. Can't wait for their next album :D

  • At 4:43 PM, April 03, 2006, Blogger Squashed said…

    I need a Finnish dictionary.


    So what kind of sound are you following for this project?

    It's like prophetic heretic blues with harsh sounds. We are planning to release a 7'' with 2 songs 'Peura' and 'Melkisedek' from "Harmaa keto".


    this sounds very interesting. I can't wait till they release it.

  • At 4:55 PM, April 03, 2006, Anonymous Ifuckmountains said…

    Can someone please translate "Viideltä saunaan, kuudelta putkaan, se on työmiehen lauantai"? I'm deadly curious.

    Nice interview.

  • At 4:59 PM, April 03, 2006, Blogger Moka said…

    I was going to ask him about the meaning of their last message but they dissapeared as mysteriously as they appeared- I'd also like to know so if there's any finnish reader around please tell. :)

  • At 5:00 PM, April 03, 2006, Blogger Makrugaik said…

    'saunaan' sounds like something to do with sauna. That's my contribution!

  • At 9:55 AM, April 04, 2006, Blogger Poetry said…

    "Viideltä saunaan, kuudelta putkaan, se on työmiehen lauantai"

    As a finnish, I can say it means:

    "five o'clock to sauna, six o'clock to jail, it's a workers saturday"

  • At 11:02 AM, April 04, 2006, Blogger Makrugaik said…

    And that about says it all! As Tom would have said That drunk tank in Atlanta was just a motel room to me. Nice blog Piece o' Poetry!

  • At 11:30 AM, April 04, 2006, Anonymous Christhyan said…

    esperaba mi canción de cumpleaños, un buen cover a mi salud, pero no me complaciste....sniff!! Anyway continúo siendo tu fiel seguidor.

  • At 1:02 PM, April 04, 2006, Blogger Moka said…

    cancion de cumpleaños!? pero como iba yo a saberlo :S?

  • At 1:04 PM, April 04, 2006, Blogger Moka said…

    Piece of poetry: I used a translator program and it gave me more or less that translation but I just didn't understood it... thanks for the help :)

  • At 4:21 PM, April 04, 2006, Blogger Moka said…

    ah ya veo me lo pediste en el post pasado :), ahora mismo te subo un cover espero sea de tu agrado ;)

  • At 7:31 PM, April 04, 2006, Blogger c said…

    "five o'clock to sauna, six o'clock to jail, it's a workers saturday" = interesting...

    cool interview. and thanks for the songs.

  • At 8:52 AM, April 05, 2006, Blogger Makrugaik said…

    =an interesting sauna.

  • At 3:19 PM, April 23, 2006, Anonymous Arttu said…

    By the way, the "viideltä saunaan, kuudelta putkaan, se on työmiehen lauantai" thing refers to the song Työmiehen lauantai by a Finnish singer Irwin Goodman. You might find it somewhere (hint: Limewire) if you look hard enough :)


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