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Interview : Kai Latvalehto from "Aknestik"

 

When and how was your band created?
The band was originally a therapeutic interlude from more serious band projects back in Haukipudas in northern Finland in the 80's. After a couple of years we started to pursue Aknestik full-on. 

Were is the name of the band coming from?
It was initially one of those extremely funny inside jokes, it had some sort of a fallic reference. I personally thought we should change the name after our second gig, but our singer insisted on "Aknestik", we were "too well-known" in his view. Two private gigs with maybe a total of 50 people who had seen us. So, now in hindsight it is obvious that Jukka was absolutely right. We were huge.

What musicians or artists did have a major influence in your life / work?
Personally speaking, hundreds of different artists. U2, The Lemonheads, Kent to name three. But as a band we were inspired by the work ethic of the Finnish new wave movement and mainly British guitar-driven pop of the 80's. 

What are the positive and negative aspects of being a musician / singer (in Finland)?
If you operate in Finnish it is evident you are in very limited market. And sometimes the equipment gets snowed in during our fierce winters.

How could you qualify your style of music?
Qualify? To reach a certain level? Brilliant question. But I know what you mean- I'd say we are Finnish guitar pop.

Have you ever considered the possibilty to change totally your style of music? If so, what style of music would you choose?
When we first started playing we would have wanted to play heavy metal. Unfortunately we were far too limited musicians to even consider it seriously. So, I'd say melodic heavy metal, big hair, tight pants, mouths wide open- like The Scorpions or Whitesnake or Def Leppard in 1987.

What are stories/topics you tell/treat in your songs?
Relationships. Our first albums had a strong environmental twist to them. There is not very much violence, mayhem or cybertechnology going on in our songs. Quite comforting, brilliant lyrics which people can relate to.

What is your favorite song in your repertoire and why?
It varies. A mother loves all her children.

Do you tour regularly?
Do you actually prefer performing your music live or in a studio?

Well, as of now we do not tour at all. I prefer recording, but some of us prefer the live event. I dislike touring, I don't like hangovers.

During the process of making an album, what is the moment that you prefer?
The moment when you can hear or imagine what the song will sound like, when the main pieces fall into place. It is something quite surreal, which you can only hear it in your head. Quite often the end result is nothing like you imagined, but so what?

What kind of music / What artists do you currently listen?
I've been revisiting many 70's singer/songwriters: Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Carole King

A stupid question but... what is among all the songs you've been listening in your life the BEST song?
U2:The Unforgettable Fire. It just lifted me up and I never came down again. It changed my life.

Internet is something interesting for musicians because it gives them the opportunity to touch a larger audience but it is also a threat for them (regarding the copyrights). What is your opinion regarding this medium?
There are a lot of positive things about the net as it slaps the big record companies in the face. However, it is alarming that many people do not realise they are doing something wrong when they download mp3s or burn cds. Downloading is alright by me as long as you still buy albums. I still believe that the person with the most records is the coolest guy.

Do you use computers or home studios during the process of making an album or a song?
Absolutely. Computers are like spades, they are brilliant for digging holes.

What are your actual and future projects?
Jukka is working on a solo album. Our bass player Maako is playing guitar in Jukka's outfit. I am writing some material in English which might or might not see the light of day. One track is called "The Starry-eyed Dogs Gay Pride Parade".


Interview by Vincent Lefrançois - 2002

 

 

 

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