Helsinki 2012

(c) Aki Roukala

"The Band without ballads"

Suiciderock: My First Band exists since 2006 now. Could you please give us a little introduction about you?
Antti: Sure. Well, the band as it is now exists since 2006 but we have already playing before that. If I remember correctly it was 1998 when we started. So weíve been playing a long time together now.
Juha: Our music was different back than and we also had a different name but the guys in the band have been the same ever since.
Antti: Thatís true. We had some kind of a break between our change musical vice. Everybody had different things to do besides the band. When we started playing together again our music was different comparing what we have done before. The stuff we have done was more funk orientated I would say. You could hear a little bit of Prince in there, it was kind of funkadelic or whatever you can call that. We have been influenced by all these 60`s and 70`s punk bands in our early years.

Suiciderock: So you started as a high school band than?
Juha: Yeah, thatís where everything began.
Antti: We met each other at our high school in Vantaa. Me and our guitar player Mikko are in the same age. Juha and our two Heikkis in the band are one year older. But as I said we have changed a lot since than when it comes to music.

Suiciderock: You have been together as a group for quite some time. Thatís surprising as many bands donít manage one year together.
Antti: Thatís a good question. You have to know that our drummer Heikki and me always have this minor conflicts when it comes to writing music and rehearsing stuff. I would say there are two forces coming together and that causes some kind of action. This is not necessarily negative. I think it is one of the reasons why we managed to stay together as a band for such a long time. In my opinion it is good if not everything goes smoothly and nice all the time.
Juha: You need a force and a counter force than it works out pretty well. All is based on a good friendship. This band wouldnít work out without having that special friendship among itís members.
Antti: Thatís absolutely true. We spent a lot of time together.

Suiciderock: So no reason to get worried, your arguments are just music related than?
Antti: Yeah, we get along totally fine on the social level. There have been situations and times where we have seen each other every day starting from the morning and lasting to the evenings. You have to get along well if you are touring together. We even spent our vacation together sometimes. A couple of years weíve all had a vacation together. This was pretty funny as we went everywhere together and people constantly kept asking if we were a band. This was weird as we couldnít just walk there as five normal guys, people always saw us as some kind of musicians.

Suiciderock: You are going to Hamburg next week to support Sunrise Avenue. Does that gig feel any special for you as it is outside of Finland?
Antti: This gig is definitely a different thing for us as a band. I mean the venue in Hamburg will be bigger so we have to think bigger also while rehearsing. I think we are done with our rehearsals now. Everything went so well after the last session that we have decided that we will leave the rest to whatever will happen. I think we will give the audience over their a pretty cool warm up gig because the music we play will be fresh and different for the people. Iím pretty confident that our music will convince them and that it suits well for that evening. We will make them sing along!

Suiciderock: Did you practise any German for that?
Antti: I will say something in German. Actually there is this one phrase which I have learned from David Hasselhoff. He said that when the wall came down. Ok it is not really German as he said: ďThis next song requires a glass of Wasser (Water)Ē. So there was actually just one word German but anyway I like the phrase. Letís see how it works out at the show.
Juha: Well, at least I know that our band name means ďMeine Erste BandĒ in German. Thatís a start I think. Isnít it?

Suiciderock: How did the support thing come up? Did the guys from Sunrise Avenue ask you to do it or whatís the story?
Juha: Samu came to our record release gig at the Tavastia and he liked our band.
Antti: Actually Raul the bass player of Sunrise Avenue has visited the same school as we have so we knew before. We know the guys since the early 90`s. I even remember their first gigs as we started around the same time as they did.

Suiciderock: Will there be more gigs outside your home country?
Juha: Letís hope so. We have played in Berlin together with some other bands some while ago. It was some kind of showcase at the Popkom together with some other Finnish groups. But we havenít been touring outside of Finland yet.
Antti: It is always hard to get a band outside of their home country if they are still quite new for the rest of the world. But we are working on it and of course we want to play other countries as well.

Suiciderock: There are many artists here in Finland singing only in Finnish and they are quite successful by doing it if you look at Chisu or Haloo Helsinki for example. Did you ever consider to write your lyrics in Finnish as well?
Antti: Not really. I think if you wanna tour outside of Finland than your songs have to be in English. It has never been an issue at least for us. I have always written lyrics in English. This has always been easier for me out of some reason. Maybe this is because I have listening to English music ever since and I have always liked it. However lately I started to write something in Finnish but this has nothing to do with MyFirstBand. For us it feels more comfortable and right to keep the English lyrics.

Suiciderock: Your current album ďMercury and GlitterĒ came out last fall. Please tell us something about it.
Antti: Hmm, it is more rockier, more edgier and we played it life in the studio.
Juha: Even the vocal parts where recorded life in the studio.
Antti: It felt much better for us as we are a life band and not a studio band in the end. It is interesting to use all this different tools a studio offers but it was great to record this album in an kind of old fashioned way. We all where together in the same room and performed our songs. Thatís how we recorded the whole record. It was just great to do it that way.
Juha: All the producing was done before we hit the studio so to say.
Antti: It is a pretty fast forward type of album, you canít find any slow song on it.
Juha: Actually we donít have any slow songs at allÖ

Suiciderock: No candle lightning ballads?
Antti: Nope. Hopefully there will be some for the third album than. I donít know why. It has always been tough for me to write any of those songs. I like to write about having fun and having a good time. I donít know how to express that feelings in a ballad. Thatís why I think I like to call ďMercury and GlitterĒ a pre party album or a party album. It makes you feel like you wanna go to a club and have a good time right away when you listen to the record. At least that it is what it does with me. Someone told me that it is great music to do anything you actually donít wanna do.
Juha: It gives you the energy to do anythingÖ

Suiciderock: How did the album cover come up? Who had the idea for it? It reminds a little bit on the northern lights that you see in Lapland when you are lucky...
Antti: I havenít that about the Northern Lights before but it sounds quite interesting. It is just a great album cover. Iím so glad and happy that we choose that one because I think it is one of the best album covers I have seen in ages. We got this great young graphic designer to do it and he really did an amazing job. It still looks fresh to me and I have seen it many many times the whole last year.

Suiciderock: ďMercury and GlitterĒ is your second record. Your debut record was produced by the band itself but for itís follow up you decided to work with a producer. Sami Baldauf did the job. What was different while doing the record that way?
Juha: It is good to have an objection.
Antti: We know the producer since a long time. He have been like a additional member to the band while we recorded the album. It was good to have somebody who is neutral when it comes to the music. Itís nice to have someone who is not emotionally attached to the music.  It was great to have him with us and I think we will work in the future with him again.

Suiciderock: Did you record the record in Helsinki?
Juha: No, we recorded it in Porvoo.
Suiciderock: Thatís funny, every band outside from Helsinki is dying to have their recordings done here and you are kind of running away from the city. How comes?
Antti: There was this great studio.
Juha: Yeah, the studio in Porvoo was different and bigger than for example the Finnvox studios here in Helsinki.
Antti: Yes, we needed that because we wanted to record everything life and therefore the whole band needed to fit into that studio. So the big room was the main point that attracted us to do our recordings there and not here in Helsinki. We lived there while we were working on the album, we had a sauna there and everything you need. We spent a week there in the same building working the whole day and having a good time after that in the evening.
Juha: There is also a fantastic Nepalese restaurant which is also a great reason to visit Porvoo.

Suiciderock: When you listen to My First Band you will find out quite quickly that your music is not that hard, heavy and gloomy like most people imagine a band that comes from Finland. How comes?
Antti: I guess that was one of the main reasons why we formed a band 10 years ago. When we got the band together Finland was all about that dark metal and heavy melancholic music. Everything was so dark. It was a great export but it never felt like an option for us. I also like this gloomy side and those dark music sometimes, I mean it is part of our culture. But I wouldnít play it myself. This kind of music and feeling simply doesnít come out of me personally. The same goes with the other guys in the band. We wanted to be sort of a counter force when it comes to the dark gloomy style that Finland is mainly known for.

Suiciderock: Your name is also pretty interesting. How did the idea for it came up? I assume that this wasnít really your first band?
Antti: Yes it is. We started exactly like this. Only the name was different back than but it was our first band. This name emphasises us five guys as a whole. There was also another related thing to that name. Back in the 80`s were we all grew up there were those toys from Sony. They were called ďMy first recorderĒ, ďMy first drumsĒ or whatever. Thatís some sort of naÔve childish memory which is quite nice in my opinion. It keeps it colourful and shows how much humour with that touch of an serious attitude you could find in our own music.

Suiciderock: Was the name before?
Antti: Action SectionÖ We changed the name just before we started playing gigs again after a longer break. All our old fans came to see the old band and they where quite surprised to see the same band on stage but with a different name. Also the music was different and the people who came to that gig were sort of blown away as they had expected us to play some Prince and all this funky stuff.

Suiciderock: But they are still with you as your fans?
Antti: Sure they are. They liked the change and stuck with us.

Suiciderock: We celebrated Valentines Day two days ago, which is called ďFriends DayĒ here in Finland. Did you spent that day any special? Any special gifts for or from you friends?
Antti: We got ourselves a good rehearsal.

Juha: I think we didnít even noticed that special date when Iím thinking about it now. But everyday is some kind of  Valentines Day in this band.


Find My First Band on MySpace & on their homepage