"Every Song Is Like A Little Poem"
Suiciderock: I know you are very well-known in Finland. But it would be nice if you tell us the main facts about Apulanta in a little summary?
Toni: That`s a long story. I`ll try to put it into short words. We`re an old band that plays very new music. At least we try to keep it fresh. I would say it's a fresh taste combined with punk and a little bit of metal, but always with the decent pop melodies. Popmelodies are the reason why we make music at least for my part. What about you?
Sipe: I definately agree of course. When you look at us you probably don't think that we have been around for so many years, but luckily we started when we were pretty young so we have the chance to make a really long career.
Toni: When people think of long careers, they usually think of bad rock'n roll musicians and something that doesn`t give any kicks to anybody. We seriously put a lot effort in avoiding this. I personally take a lot of influence and inspiration out of this effort. Dave Grohl for example is around in rock music since 1988/1989 and of course, Nirvana had a lot of success, but he always managed to re-event himself also while playing for the Foo Fighters. They are still able to make "up to date albums". I think the Foo Fighters are around since 1995 now. And in my opinion they are still fresh. So a long career doesn`t neccessarily mean to be old.
Sipe: It`s just a question how you think of your work. This really has been a lifestyle for us and we still have the ambition to make more albums and our attitude is still fresh.
Toni: It is very important how you see your work as art. When you start to make bad songs the result will be bad albums that leads to bad bands. When this situation comes up it's time for the band to retire. We`re actually living our best time right now.
Suiciderock: What makes you think that you are having the best time of your career right now?
Toni: You know many bands first break up, after working for a couple of years. They had a great ambition. They also make the mistakes this ambition brings. We`ve done most of this mistakes. We feel freedom.
Sipe: Fame and success naturally brings a lot of bad things, too. We`ve gone through this stuff and now we are kind of free from it. This mistakes happened in our teenage years as a band and now we are in the position to enjoy what we`ve created. If you take Metallica they have people in the age of 50 or 60 in the audience, but they also have guys in the age of 30 visiting their shows and also some kids attend to their shows.
Toni: Of course, you can`t compare us to Metallica.
Suiciderock: Maybe you are the Finnish version of Metallica.
Toni: Yeah, maybe we are. *smiles* But at least we have touched a couple of generations. There are people that were with us since our beginning, on the other hand you can see the new kids at our shows. That`s also quite inspiring. I think that's one of the most important aspects of art.
Suiciderock: Did you start just for fun or was your intention to get something serious out of this band?
Sipe: I think Toni and I are very ambitious persons. We are doing everything with perfectionism and even though we were pretty young. We started the band as a hobby. We love punk music and so we formed our own band and we started to play music we like to listen to ourselves. At this time there were no such bands in Finland, but we wanted to avoid a real job.
Toni: In the beginning we didn`t care about anything.We just wanted to play punk rock. Punk was very unpopulare and out of fashion this time. Punk has just died 10 years before we formed the band. I prefered to play rock music instead of having another job. Well, you could call it a job, but I call it a pleasure that keeps me out of real jobs.
Suiciderock: What made you become a musician?
Toni: My special moment happend when I was a little kid. I was watching a WASP video of the song „I wanna be somebody" and the guy had steal blades and he was eating raw flesh. Than I knew that I want to become a musician.
Sipe: My moment was when I heard a Metallica record of my older cousin from Helsinki. That sort of created my wish to become a musician.
Suiciderock: Who is responsible for the songwriting?
Toni: Well, I create most of the songs. The actual creating process is very personal, but when the song is brought to the band it becomes a common child. We are working like this for a couple of years now and it turned out to be a good way. We all bring in what we know best, but I`m responsible for the back breaking hard work. I do the composing. That's the cross I have to carry. Every song is like a little poem.
Suiciderock: What can people expect from your life shows?
Toni: I honestly have to say that I have absolutely no idea what they expect of us. We`ve been playing for some time now, but I still don`t know why people come to our shows. It seems that they are enjoying themselves. I think we are pretty good life. We always play perfectly. There is this common spirit between us and the audience. These are very nice experiences.
Sipe: I have seen many life shows and there is something special in our shows, but if I knew what it was I would be a producer and I would make a lot of money with it.
Toni: I think the fact that you don`t know what's going to happen makes it interesting. Otherwhise it would be a calculating process. I don't know if there are any unexpected surprises. I really don`t know why people come to our shows. They want to have a good time and we have a good time. That's the most important thing.
Suiciderock: How do you cope with the situation if there are people in the audience who obviously don`t like your shows?
Toni: I just take off my glases. *smiles*
Suiciderock: But you can hear them.
Toni: No, no. Can you imagine how loud we are? Actually we are spinal tab in that way. We got the loudest stage volume.
Suiciderock: What kind of advice would you give to a young band?
Toni: That's a hard question. I think the most important thing is to stay in school. Even if it is a fantastic lifestyle to be in a band, you still have to realise that it is not what they lead us to believe it is. You don`t get the ferrari's, the airplanes, 99% of the people never make it. They just end up wasted. They are following a dream for twenty years and than they suddenly realise that they have failed. That's very bad. So many people became alcoholics or drug addicts only because of their broken dreams. But at the same time I would suggest to the kids to follow their dreams and to believe in them. You really have the chance to become something.
Suiciderock: If you have the chance to organise your own festival. Which bands would play?
Sipe: I would definately sign Weezer, they would play there every day.
Toni: I would organise the festival in a very small tent with space for about 2000 people. The line-up would consist of Billy Talent, the opening act would be Bad Religion, they would play their 80's and early 90's stuff. The Misfits would be nice and Metallica would headline the festival.
Sipe: Maybe there would be a side stage and the Dead Kennedys would perform there. Sentenced would be great as well.
Toni: Napalm Death would be a nice addition to the line-up.
Suiciderock: And what about you? Would you play?
Toni & Sipe: No, because we would organise the festival...
Sipe: ...and we would just get the money.
Toni: We would actually take the money and run away to the Bahamas or a place like that.
Sipe: I would also sign Jeanette a singer from the 70's and I would include in the contract that she is singing „Porque te vas".
Toni: We have this clause in every contract, which says that the artist decides what he wants to play. That means we have full artistic freedom. But it`s still shit if you go to a concert and your band doesn`t play your favourite songs. It's quite sad that bands always hate their big hits.
Sipe: If a band has a hit, they should be proud of it instead of beeing ashamed.
Suiciderock: Are you playing the songs your audience wants to hear?
Toni: No, but we try to. It's hard to say, because we had like 17 number 1 hits. Of course, it's not possible to play the b-sides on a festival, because there are people who see your band only once a year, but when we are doing some club tours we also include b-sides on the setlist, some rare stuff, some old stuff and at least 6 hits.
Suiciderock: Who made up your name?
Toni: I actually don`t know, but this is probably the worst bandname ever. If you want to translate it into English, I can`t really help you, 'cause we never tried to. (suiciderock: Apulanta means artificial fertilizer) The reason why we have chosen this name was that we were very young and we thought it would be very hilarious and funny to have such a band name. No we can`t get rid of it anymore. *smiles*
Suiciderock: Your future plans for the band?
Sipe: Make some records and go on tour. Build a house next to each other. I think there will be a lot of work for the band in the future.
Suiciderock: Thanks a lot.
Toni & Sipe: Thank you very much.