We met Paavo for an interview before the show in Moscow, 12.04.2009.
Paavo Lotjonen: As the album came out, we started a tour, and from that time we have been touring for two years now. But all this year, since last December, has been basically off. First there was the Christmas time, and in January and February we were at home. Now in spring we have two or three weeks of touring and then we have some time off before starting the festival season in the summer time.
After that we will concentrate on making a new album. As to highlights, I would say that with the latest album we were touring a lot in the U.S., and this is totally a new area for us. It's like a new car to check out how it is going, how all these things work. Surprisingly it worked very well, we did like three tours in the U.S. We are very happy, because with every tour we do there, more and more people come to your shows.
We also had two singles that perfectly suit the radio format, firstly there was "I'm Not Jesus" and later there came the song "I Don't Care".
And after this we became an even bigger success on the mainstream radio, and we gained the first positions in the charts. It was really funny to notice, first was Apocalyptica and second was Metallica, and then AC/DC. It's really great success for us.
Paavo Lotjonen: On the U.S. tour we had a couple of different singers. Toryn Green was going with us most of the time, he did like three or four songs per show, and we found that it was a pretty nice change during the show. Let's see, we have never done this in Europe, and today we will try it.
Paavo Lotjonen: Hmm, no, he won't be dressed like this...(everyone laughs) We don't really know if he will be a singer for a longer time, so we will see how it worked after several shows.
Paavo Lotjonen: The thing is that we just wanted a Finnish guy, and it's really hard to find a good one, who is not in the band and who is not too busy. He will sing a couple of songs, "I'm Not Jesus", "Life Burns" and "I Don't Care", which is pretty difficult for singers, because their voices are going pretty high, and we need a much lower one, so for these songs you need a really good singer.
Paavo Lotjonen: I would love it, actually! (laughs) And a couple of times we already did it with ladies: a couple of songs with Sandra Nasic and one more with Nina Hagen. And it was really great.
Paavo Lotjonen: Actually, we always differentiated from other bands and we were unique in our own way, using the classical instruments or playing such kind of music, and we will never forget it. Some songs have drums, some songs don't have them, some have singers, so we wanted something for a change.
Paavo Lotjonen: Basically, it was done for the Japanese fans, it was intended for the Japanese version of the album. But we really liked the version, we thought why not include it into a normal album.
The song has also a very interesting video, which was made by a Russian director. We gave him something like a raw overview, and he started to think about it, creating something, and he was very interested in doing the video for us. He created the whole idea. I like the video for this song, it's great.
Paavo Lotjonen: We were just talking about the video with this band, I don't know it is ready or not. I think it's ready but has not been released yet. I saw some parts from the video. I am sure it's going to be fun, and I would like to see this video until the end. This band asked us and gave us an offer that we couldn't refuse. In many cases when we do the collaborations, there are many reasons for it, this should be basically interesting. This Russian band was a metal band and we had never heard them before. We just thought, why not to try, because we had hundreds of collaborations, and some of them are really interesting, while some of them are just OK. We didn't take this collaboration too seriously. Sure, sometimes we do take it seriously, but we can also do this just for an experiment, you have to be opened for such things.
Paavo Lotjonen: Well hmmm... (everyone laughs) Some people think that the instruments have souls, and maybe some old instruments do have souls, but at the end they are just a peace of wood. But I don't really enjoy the process of destroying the cellos, and we think twice if there is the reason to break them. I really don't want to break them without purpose, usually it's your own instrument, and then it's a waste of money. (laughs)
Paavo Lotjonen: That would be really crazy... I think that gentleman is out of the question, though we would love to do something with him.
Paavo Lotjonen: This was for the movie "Christiane F. Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo", actually it was originally a book, and then they made a movie in German after this book. Chritiane F. was a girl from a railway station or something like that, and she becomes addicted to heroin, that was the main idea of the movie. David Bowie was performing in that movie. He was living in Berlin for many years, and he did that song in German by himself. This song perfectly fit the movie, and it appeared in German in the movie, that's why we did it this way.
Paavo Lotjonen: Yes, we did a collaboration with him. The thing is that the song became really metal, basically a speed metal song. Probably some day it can be a really good bonus track, but now we couldn't find any place for it. Sometimes this happens and we just need to wait a bit. I really like the song.
Paavo Lotjonen: Sure, during the tour we learn something new, not only about the country but also some phrases for greeting the fans.Very often we learn something special, and very often they are some key words like "spasiba", "ochen horosho" or "ruki vverh". (everyone laughs)
Paavo Lotjonen: It has been totally a joke for us. Don't take these words too seriously. By the way, Mr. Ahtisaari got the Nobel Prize a year ago.
In September this year you will be playing with Nightwish in Helsinki. Do you plan to do something together? What do you think about this band?
Paavo Lotjonen: (surprised) Are we going to play together? Well, for me it was a secret but not any more. I don't really know what I should say, what to expect... it's a secret! As to the band, I haven't seen them live yet. On the album they still have that magic which many people like, and I like the music.
Tarja was really a unique singer, she has a really good voice, her opera way of singing is extraordinary, sometimes it sounds crazy. Now she has her own project and is doing or already has done a new album, maybe it's just not released yet. We met Tarja last summer in England.
Paavo Lotjonen: We are quite often in contact. You know, we have good relations. We just met last year in the U.S. and at a couple of festivals.
Some time ago we even did a whole tour opening for them. They are really in a good shape at the moment, we all know that Metallica is a good band. What is more interesting, they come also to watch our shows, so we are both really impressed.
Paavo Lotjonen: No one knows, even we really don't know. At the moment we are checking out who can be interested, but actually we have the situation that we haven't done the songs yet, so we need to compose the music first. It's better to have some music and only then to start thinking who would be the best singer for such music. Wait for a while.
Paavo Lotjonen: No idea... (laughs)
Paavo Lotjonen: I spent it with my children at home, it was already quite late. We had some small evening meal and we had candles, and I was alone with my children. My wife wasn't there. It was really nice.
Paavo Lotjonen: Mine, not yet. They are too small yet. But Eicca, I think, they do.
Paavo Lotjonen: He has been sick for the last week. Today he is here and he is going to play the show. He had some stomach problems, so that's why he couldn't play with us before.
Paavo Lotjonen: "Pera" is already a very old nickname, he was called like this yet before the band. This word sounds as if the call for some drunk person. He takes it just like a joke, and we also don't mean anything serious.
Paavo Lotjonen: I really don't know how it could have happened, it's out of understanding. He wasn't really happy when he returned. He wasn't talking with us for a couple of days without stopping.
And we were really sorry about that. That's actually the bus driver's fault, it's his job to check it out that all people are in or out of the bus.
Actually the same thing happened to me a couple of days ago in Krasnodar. Everybody left the bus and I was the last after Eicca, but I was on the second floor of the bus. Eicca went out, and immediately after that the bus closed the door. And I was shouting "Stoi! Stoi!" (Stop! Stop!) (everyone laughs), but he was driving and driving.
Fuck! Then he said something in Russian and he opened the door. Welcome to Russia! And then I walked half of the kilometer back with all my bags...
to Paavo - for answering all our questions and for making us laugh,
to Roman Unguryanu (B1 Maximum) - for organization and accreditation,
to Eicca and Mikko - for keeping us company.
Interview - Evgenia Melnikova, Viktoria Bagautdinova