Tough Enough
Helsinki 2011

(Photo by Kicky / Suiciderock)

"You Have To Be Outstanding"

Suiciderock: You found “Tough Enough Promotion” back in 1994. You offer management, promotion and publishing services. How can people imagine your job? How does a typical working day look like for you?
Silke: Well, the normal workday mainly consists of promotion work. Which means that I call to all the magazines out there, push them to write about the bands I`m working for. Besides that I coordinate all the interview schedules, promotrips and so on. I haven`t been very active when it comes to the management but now I have a new band, called Santa Cruz. These are very young guys, just 18. Now it starts again that I have to talk to the labels to get the best out for them. You can sum it up with lots of phone calls, lots of emails every day. That`s my daily life.

Suiciderock: You have been working as dj before you started promoting and working for different artists. How did you get into the music business from there?
Silke: I was a dj in the biggest rock clubs in Berlin and people from EFA,  the biggest independent distribution company at this time visited this club as regular guests. We were talking about their bands as I played all their music and they liked how I supported their label that way. One night they told me that they were looking for an promotion assistant at their company and they asked me since I`m a very lively and talkactive person if I want to join them. So I gave it a try.

Suiciderock: I guess there are some people out there who would love to have exactly the same job as you. How did you become a promoter? Is there a special education or do you have to grow into this job?
Silke: No, not really. I stayed in that company for about five years and they trained me and teached me all about promotion and publishing issues. There is no real education for this job. It´s learning by doing. So I was a promoter at the end.

Suiciderock: That means you got into that job by incident and it has not always been your perfect job imagination?
Silke: No, it hasn`t been my intent to become a promoter at all. I`ve never thought about it actually, it never crossed my mind. I was more into making music myself for example as a dj.

Suiciderock: Have you ever done something else were music was not involved?
Silke: No, actually not. I`m sitting in a tourbus since I`m 14 years old, my first boyfriend was already a musician so I couldn`t escape anymore.

Suiciderock: You work for some big Finnish names, such as HIM or Nightwish. But you offer your services also to smaller, still unknown bands. What criteria do the musicians have to bring with them to get your attention and interest?
Silke: First of all the music makes me pick them. I wouldn`t for example work for a R`n`B or folkmusic band. It has to be my cup of tea. The attitude of a band is also very important to me of course. It must be clear that they can succeed in the industry. They should look right, act like.I always have to ask myself are they a good life band and things like that. This are definitely terms that make me decide whether it is a good band for me or not.

Suiciderock: Is their a big difference between working with this very well- known bands and working with the smaller ones? What is more fun?
Silke: It both has it`s good and it`s bad sites. You have to convince people a lot when it comes to the smaller bands. There are so many bands around so you really have to be outstanding when it comes to that. That`s the reason why I pick the smaller bands I`m working with very carefully. I need to be able to really stand in for the band otherwise I couldn`t push the people to work with them or to write about them. But that doesn`t mean that it is easier when working with the bigger bands. Of course you don`t have to call so much around, people are calling you. Than you have the problem that the big bands don`t want to do everything. You have to select than. It`s also great to see how a small band makes their way, when they work very hard and than suddenly they get their first interview. Both is fun.

Suiciderock: You have this special nickname, “Mutti”. Who gave you that name and what`s the story behind that nickname?
Yeah, that`s true. That came out in the 90`s when I was hanging a lot in the studio with the guys from Kyyria. I was looking up for them all the time, I did their laundry, cooked for them, had a little shoulder for them when they´ve been homesick and missed their friends. So they came up with “Mutti”. Later on Ville Valo from HIM claimed that he came up with it, but he really just stole it.

Suiciderock: You are totally ok with that nick name than?
Silke: Absolutely. It`s funny when I see my young bands nowadays. They hardly had been born when this name came up and now they starting to call me “Mutti” as well. For these guys it really works cause I easily could be the Mutti of the Santa Cruz guys for example.

Suiciderock: Please describe yourself by using one word.
Silke *laughs*: I would also go for “Mutti”. I`m always caring, my phone is always open even during the night.

Suiciderock: You get around a lot. Is there any tourstory you kept in your mind for a special reason?
Silke: There are so many tour stories who come to my mind now but it is really hard to pick one of them without embarrasing anybody. You know that saying “what happens on tour stays on tour”… There are so many good memories. There is that classic one, we once forgot Gas, the drummer of HIM, at a gas station. Gas at a gas station. *laughs* Poor guy, he only had his shorts on. After 50 km on the road we realized that there is someone missing so we had to turn around to get him. Since them always when he left the bus at a gas station I was checking and making sure that he is on the bus when we left again.

Suiciderock: What are the positive and negative aspects of your job?
Silke: Positive is that you can meet a lot of old idols when you go to a festival, negative is that it is a 24/7 job. I can`t do it like normal office people that I drop my pen at 5pm and leave home. It happens that my phone rings in the middle of the night cause especially when you deal with America, they don`t know that it`s in the middle of the night in your country. They just call.

Suiciderock: Your opinion about the Finish music industry at the moment? What is the main difference between the German and the Finnish music market?
Silke: Well, The Finnish music scene is getting more international nowadays. Still I think that it has a different vibe here comparing for example to the scene in London or Berlin. We have a lot of bands here, the cities are quite small and everybody knows each other. It`s like one circle where everybody knows each other and helps each other. That`s really nice that the bands are not kind of competing or being against each other.

Suiciderock: You even moved to Helsinki to concentrate more on the Finnish music market. How do you feel about moving to Helsinki?
Silke: I couldn`t see myself living in Berlin or anywhere else anymore. This would be way too big for me. Here in Helsinki I have a nice overview over everything. I know the bars were all my bands are hanging. I`m living here now again since six years. One reason for that was that HIM was getting much bigger and I had to make their international promotion coordination. So it made sense that I sit in the same office as the management. I had a lot of other Finnish bands to take care of and I just wanted to be closer to them.

Suiciderock: That sounds like you don`t miss home that much?
Silke: No, I don`t. I was home in Germany for Christmas and it was horrible. Ok, except the cheap shopping, that was great.

Suiciderock: Is there any band that is not known yet, but you would recommend as kind of a secret ti
When it comes to Finnish bands I recommend Santa Cruz and Vanity Beach. There is also a very good German band, called Motor Jesus. I found them when I was in Germany for Christmas.

Suiciderock: What kind of advice would you give to a young band or a young musician?
Rehearse your ass off. There is a lot of competition and a lot of talented people out there. It`s really tough out there, so if you are not willing to rehearse your ass of and trying to be the best than forget about the whole thing.