Marko on RadioCity
, it's the one from the last week and that's a good one even without understanding it
Radio City March 21st 2012
Marko from Poets Of The Fall at Pauliina’s Boudoir
Pauliina: And here at Pauliina’s Boudoir the guest of the day is Marko from Poets Of The Fall. Good day.
Pauliina: You’re a sporty young man, you ran up the stairs to 6th story.
Marko: Yeah, it’s… using the lift is so difficult, that I rather took the stairs.
Pauliina: It pleases me that the first thing you did after stepping into the studio, you took off your leather jacket and vest and your tie and you opened up a couple of top buttons of your shirt and now you look more relaxed.
Marko: Yes, it’s relaxing. I like to wear that type of clothes but… there’s a limit to everything. I’ve been wearing them since morning. So when I arrived here and the atmosphere was so warm and easy going, I thought that strip tease is my life and I lost the clothes immediately.
Pauliina: Why on earth don’t we have a TV camera or a webcam in here yet?
Marko: Phew, I’m glad!
Pauliina: I shouldn’t have said anything, maybe you would have realized a moment later that we might have one.
Marko: Exactly so. You know at one point you got used to thinking that radio interviews are easy, you don’t have to preen your face. And then all the studios started having webcams and other cameras and it took a while to realize that maybe it’s best not to go anywhere wearing your old pajama pants with holes in them.
Pauliina: Is that what you usually wear, Marko Saaresto?
Marko: Well.. at home I usually spend my time wearing my boxers, it’s comfortable.
Pauliina: The most important thing is to wear at least some kind of pants, from a woman’s perspective. Or at least I think that they should be a) clean and b)if they have holes in them, the hole isn’t in the crotch area.
Marko: Right. Yes, yes, I understand that and that’s what I do myself.
Pauliina: What were you wearing while you were recording vocals for this new album Temple of Thought?
Marko: Ummm, usually I was wearing shoes. And yes, I had pants on as well.
Pauliina: You were wearing proper pants?
Marko: Yes. But what’s amusing is that, eahhh, I’m going to tell something I’ve never told before, but you at least take your shirt off at some point because it gets hot at the studio when you sing, especially in the singing booth that I use, it gets hot in there. So in the middle of a song a shirt might just fly out of there. And then I just sweat in there. Then I have a habit of stuffing my hands into my pockets when I sing to the mic and when I get excited, I press down so hard that my pants slide down. You know? And at one point I just notice that it’s happened again, I’m moon shining, and then you shout out “Wait a sec, I need to pull my pants back up! …Alright, let’s continue!”
Pauliina: Do you go commando, or do you push your underwear down as well?
Marko: The underwear either follows or doesn’t, it depends on how it happens to go.
Pauliina: You have a stylist who helps you out with clothes in addition to her real job and she’s also quite talented in designing clothes, perhaps you could order a harness from her. A bondage style harness that you could…
Marko: Brace pants.
Pauliina: Brace pants.
Marko: With jockstraps underneath.
Pauliina: Yeah. So no matter how hard you pressed down with your fists and your trained arms…
Marko: Oh, thank you.
Pauliina: …they just wouldn’t budge and your chastity at the studio would remain intact.
Marko: That’s true. But then again, I don’t really care about it, it’s just funny. I’ve gotten some laughs out of it because it’s such a silly thing.
Pauliina: On your new album the opening song Running Out of Time has a pretty strong Pantera riffs right at the start.
Pauliina: Where did they come from?
Marko: It has to make you feel out of breath because time is running out. So the song has to sound like what it’s about. And when I’m the most heavy metal dude out of us all, I would want heavier and harder all the time. But finding the right mood for the song is very important. The music has to serve the lyrics. For me the whole song comes from what the story in it is.
Pauliina: That song has a quirky ending also.
Marko [whispers]: Time.
Pauliina: Yeah, I was just going to ask if you could sing it for me. Could you sing a little before the [whispers] “…time.” Can you?
Marko sings: Crazy running like we’re running out of… [whispers] time.
Pauliina: That was Cradled in Love, a more sensitive Poets Of The Fall, but brand new. And here in the studio, the man behind that voice, Marko Saaresto visiting us.
Marko: Yeap. It’s probably our most sensitive song ever, but pretty good.
Pauliina: From what moods did it come to be born?
Marko: From tempestuous moods. Can you see it? Going through different tumultuous events and looking through them to see what the situation is. There are a lot of story there, very personal stuff, and it’s fun to revel in that for years to come. Like these were the experiences that made that happen and those stories brought something else forth: this was from here and that was from there. There are bits and pieces that created it, but it’s been developed by a certain period of time.
Pauliina: And with this answer you tried to go around my next question…
Pauliina: Can you tell what kind of tempests we’re talking about?
Marko: No. That’s the personal part that I don’t wish to bring forth. Plus there a hell of a… sorry for swearing, but there’s so much story behind it that it’s impossible to… we don’t have enough time for that.
Pauliina: Well… We could go for a cup of coffee after the transmission. You would be surprised for how long I can just listen.
Pauliina: I’m not going to bully you more than this. Poets Of The Fall released their new album today, Temple of Thought. A temple for thoughts… And again on this album, one can’t escape to take notice of your voice which is completely in the league of its own. Marko Saaresto, for how long have you been singing?
Marko: Mmm… Quite a long time, since I was three. That’s when I discovered singing. And now I’m a 20-something.
Pauliina: Just like me. So you didn’t have a super mom who decided that her son will be a rock star or a pop singer and then they took you to music kindergarten by force.
Marko: No, no. I did go to a music oriented class at school, which was nice and when I was… seven, yeah, I got a guitar for birthday present and they took me to guitar lessons by force. And it’s all been very useful and all. But when I was… I never did my homework so I never really learned to play the guitar like I should have. Or it was pretty much force fed, I was almost choking on tears at lessons. I did learn, but I hated it. I’ve always been the type of person to do things I want when I want. But it doesn’t work for me to have a schedule and then to have homework to do. I never did any of my homework at school either. I learned everything at class. And if I didn’t, I went to additional lessons, like before my final exams in high school. I had a hard time with math. Cos at one point my family moved, I had to change school and the class I went to was ahead of me at math and I couldn’t pick up. I was very lousy at it in high school still, until I took extra classes and realized how easy it actually was. It took me about a week to learn everything I needed to learn. It’s quite funny how it went, but it just happened that there was a guy who explained it the way I could easily understand. Well, once I start talking, I get lost from the original topic quite a bit.
Pauliina: It’s fine. Can it have been that as a junior high school kid you weren’t quite so mature yet but during your senior year you realized that you have to get it down and you had more motivation for it too?
Marko: Yeah, it’s possible there was that too. But I admit that… No, I mean… Well I admit that point, but the opinion that I have about it is that when I just didn’t know how to do it, and I didn’t get it when someone tried to explain to me, I just didn’t get how this formula or that integration or derivative or anything works. And when that teacher or any teacher realized that that guy’s just not getting it, they grew tired of trying to explain. And after that I just drew graffiti during the class or stayed at home to play the guitar.
Pauliina: Yeah. I still don’t get logarithms ad I didn’t learn it in high school. I understood everything else but logarithm was just beyond me.
Pauliina: Do you remember what it is?
Marko: Nope. I haven’t really needed it for anything since… it’s that curve which goes up a little stronger than exponent, but anyway, I haven’t needed it until this interview for the first time.
Pauliina: But you remember stuff like that by heart, still.
Pauliina. My goodness, I want to take the same extra lessons that you did. Do you think they’ll take me up…
Marko: Of course!
Pauliina: …now that I’m way past high school and getting excited about this. I think I might get logarithm too with such great teachers. Let’s continue in a moment, but now we could have a short break for commercials and then a bit of new Slash.
Pauliina: And that was new Slash with a song You’re a Lie. That sounded, to my ears as well as Marko’s, a lot like Axl Rose, that guy.
Marko: I wonder if it’s coincidence or calculated? I really don’t know what I would do if we had to get a new singer. Would we take someone that sounds like the previous singer so that the sound would change as little as possible or would it be better to go for something completely different in some ways.
Pauliina: Our friend, the internet, claims that it’s a person named Myles Kennedy from a band called Alter Bridge, if you can believe that.
Marko: Ahh. Okay. Oh.
Pauliina: Axl Rose comes off to me as the kind of guy that once he has decided to be angry about something it won’t be easy for him to give in or to forgive or to make peace.
Marko: Yes, could be, I don’t know him at all. But he’s always struck me as impulsive.
Pauliina: Today I’m having Marko Saaresto as a guest at Pauliina’s Boudoir. Why don’t we continue talking about singing, now that we listened to Slash’s new vocalist with a practiced ear. You, Marko, have a very beautiful singing voice and you’ve been singing since you were three. So you thing that singing is something you can work on even if you’re not gifted?
Marko: Yes, it’s something that can be worked on. I think when it comes to anything at all you can work on it to a certain point. There are a lot of technical points to singing which come from the basic anatomy that everyone has. But when it comes to the sound you have, it’s one of those things you just get from birth. But then again, there are many skillful imitators out there who have been able to find someone else’s distinct sound from their body. Or the sound of a machine or different animals, and the imitations can be similar to the point of confusion. That would indicate that if you practice something enough, then… you can find anything in there. It’s a little difficult to speculate on that more but I think I said quite a bit already.
Pauliina: How about when it comes to yourself, Marko Saaresto? You have this curious phase in live during your teenage years. It has a profound effect on men’s voices, what was it like for you, being a singer? What happened?
Marko: It was quite radical for me because I was a full soprano before my voice changed. I did all the highest notes at our chorus and I was the chorus soloist. And what usually happens is that if you’re a soprano as a kid, you turn into being bass range. And it happened to me too, I’m bass-baritone. You can still do a great many things with your voice after that but… after my voice changed, I just didn’t know how to sing anymore, at all. I was completely out of my depths, just wondering what had happened. It’s like your head says that this is how it goes, but your body doesn’t follow up. It got difficult at that point. You’ve been given this gift, and it has always come naturally to you as a way of expressing yourself and until then singing was very easy to me, I just knew how it worked. Whereas someone else might have had to work a lot more for it at that point already. And for me it was easy. But then all of a sudden there was nothing. At that point people thought I was good at singing, and asked me to sing in their bands, and I was like yeah, I can, wait a minute, I can’t… you know? It just became very difficult. So I started looking into why it was so difficult, because I knew how it should work. But my body had changed so much that I had lost my ability to control my body and the technique of singing. That’s when I went on to take singing lessons a while after. And then I went through a whole plethora of singing teachers. They all knew what they were doing, but to get it into my thick skull how it was going to work for me again has taken a really long time, but after a while it came back. And as an instrument it’s just like any other. You can’t see inside your body, how your vocal cords or neck muscles evolve, it’s really something you can get better at all your life through.
Pauliina: Did it ever happen to you, like to so many young people, that you developed a crush for your teacher or professor?
Marko: No, no it didn’t happen at any point, nothing like that.
Pauliina: So you didn’t pick your teacher based on thinking how wonderful that person is and whom you kept thinking of when you went to sleep.
Marko: No, it didn’t go like that. I thought about completely other people.
Pauliina: Hey, tell me a little bit about this song, it’s not the most recent Poets Of The Fall: Carnival of Rust.
Marko: Oh, that one. That was a funny song. It came about as a result of just jamming. It was written on a very beautiful day at the beach. It was the kind of day when people were there to sunbathe and we were writing the song with Olli. And Olli said he has this guitar riff and we went through the ideas we both had. And there were all kinds of sounds around us, people talking. And then he started playing the riff to me and I was like “my goodness, that’s incredible… continue, continue”. And I felt something starting to come out of it and I started singing the song. It simply started coming just like that. And everyone around us went quiet. Completely quiet. All the kids had gone quiet, people were staring at us. And afterwards some came to thank us. And it was just a beginning sketch of that song. But we were like “I think this was somewhat good”.
Pauliina: Let’s find out how it sounds now, as a studio version.