Studio Diary 2014, part 5

We’re now done with the first part of the recordings. We spent a marvelous week at the cottage (now dubbed Lil’ Yellow) recording, eating and sleeping well, taking some fabulous promo pictures, going to sauna, drinking wine and certainly not talking politics, listening to inspiring (or otherwise funny) music, and recording some more.

Not too many bands record their songs live. Which is a shame, because it makes you a better player, a better listener and it certainly highlights the songs rather than individual instruments. Recording songs live forces you to let go of wonderful takes and to live with mistakes. It also gives you the chance to lean on, learn to trust and to appreciate the people you play with.

It’s what we do.

And it’s a wonderful thing we get to do what we do in such an inspiring environment. Lil’ Yellow is truly an amazing place.

Zaza rehearsals

Arranging and rehearsing Zaza.

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Just Saara being wonderful.

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Jere and Ilari are playing an instrumental back at the cottage. In the meanwhile, mushrooms!

Laura & Saara

Laura and Saara taking it easy in the forest.

Ilari & Saara

Just before the dinner bell rings.

Jere & Saara

Jere and Saara attentively listening to the days outtakes.

We’ve recorded the band parts live, but there’s still some clinkers and clankers to add and some general sprinkling of fairy dust over the songs to be done. There’s also a few songs that me and Laura will be mostly doing by ourselves. And then there’ll be visitors. Actual guest appearances, ladies and gentlemen! But for now we’ll take a little break from the recording, and start getting ready for our appearance at the Lost in Music Festival. Until the next episode, Sweethearts!

With love from Lil’ Yellow, the Pitkäoja Speakeasy,

-Jere

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Studio diary 2014, part 4

On Monday we had a late breakfast, after which we started getting ready for a photo shoot. We had planned to have new band photos taken earlier, but since we’re all available now, we decided to sacrifice a studio day for – well, see for yourselves, Sweethearts.

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We did manage to record a spectacular version of a song in French titled Le Grand Feu. It’s a song we’ve played as a duo for a long time, and which we made a band version of for the Mascot Moth tour.

On Tuesday we had a (sort of) day off.
In the morning me and Ilari did some practicing, after which Ilari had to leave for a few days. Saara and Juha had to leave for the day as well, so me and Laura spent the day composing, arranging and most of all sharing the heck out of our crowdfunding campaign. Check it out.

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Since Ilari is still away, today we’ve mostly been practicing and arranging Zaza, a song I mentioned earlier. The song turned out to be even more absurd than I had planned. A big part of this is thanks to Saara, our wonderful cellist.

We’ve also smoked a lot of cigarettes, drunk some damn good coffee, and practiced, practiced, practiced.

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-Jere

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Studio diary 2014, part 3

What a beautiful, sunny day it’s been! And how productive! Today we started our morning with eggs and bacon (our studio guru really knows how to get lazy musicans out of bed!) and lots of coffee. After the breakfast we continued playing around with Waiting for the Roses, with which we weren’t entirely satisfied with yesterday. The other song we started approaching in the morning was La Lirio, a ballad that came about when Laura and I were visiting Andalucía a few years ago. It’s going to be a real old school tear jerker once we’re through with it.

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We're trying to get an emotion out of this feller, but he seems somewhat...preserved.

It seems we’ve now found the pace for doing things. We start after breakfast, playing a certain song through four to six times, in two different takes, after which we take a break and change the song. At some point we have dinner, after which we listen to the takes, and maybe start with a different song. Before supper we get back to the song we started the day with. After supper we listen to all of the best takes once more, and maybe do some song a few more times. After that it’s a glass of wine or a beer or two – and a lot of reading old comic books.

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One of the best Lucky Luke stories ever - Le Pied Tendre (The Flatfoot).

Today, though, it’s sauna, confit du canard for supper and some rum for dessert. After all, it is Sunday, and we now have four songs recorded, which means we actually nailed three songs today. That’s a lot. 

-Jere

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Studio diary 2014, part 2

On Thursday we arrived at our cottage, where the bulk of the recordings take place. Thursday and Friday we mostly set up equipment and rehearsed and did a bit of last minute arranging.

Today we started the day with one of the most demanding songs we’ve written. Luckily we practiced this song a lot  for Kammerkabarett. It’s also surprisingly old song, one we actually wanted to include on Mascot Moth, but decided against, for some reason. The song is called Is This Casablanca?, and it’ll make a killer first track.
After Casablanca we did a few takes on a much more streamlined Waiting for the Roses, which is a song we haven’t really played live anywhere else than Savoy-teatteri. Personally I’m pretty anxious to get this one out there for all you to hear. Laura does some amazing acting on this track!

We took a short break from recording, when we were invited to see Irina Björklund, who happened to play in Salo (which is the town closest to our cottage). Irina is a wonderful person and performer, and her band is amazing. The drummer, a certain Mr. Haavisto has been a great support for us, never too busy to lend his extensive know-how in all things musical. He also has a role to play on the upcoming album, but we’ll get back on that a bit later.

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Right now we’re back from the show (needless to say, it was great!) and up for a few takes still. And then we’ll eat. And have a few beers. And relax, and listen to music, and spend time together. Isolated from pretty much everything, in the peace and quiet of the Finnish countryside, we’re probably much more relaxed than we ought to be. No matter. This is heaven.

-Jere

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Studio diary 2014, part 1

Sweethearts! We’re off to the very specific la-la land some people refer to as The Studio! We’ll post daily (maybe!) about our adventures! Here’s the first part:

We’ll start recording tomorrow. This is true.

Yesterday I wrote a new song. This is not strictly speaking true.

The lyrics for the song I wrote have been lying around for about a year. Without giving too much away, they have something to do with this. I’ve been, from time to time, playing around with different ideas, but yesterday the song really came together, and I ditched most of the ideas I had had up until then. I am a bit nervous, though, because we’ll need to work out the song very quickly. On the other hand, working under pressure will help us crop all excessive bits and pieces. And trust me, there’s a definite risk of excess. We’re talking about way artsy stuff, here.

Other than that, we’re doing dandy.  The last week or so we’ve mostly been editing videos and providing material for our very-soon-to-begin crowd funding campaign for the next album. The record will be available for pre-order through Mesenaatti.me, and we’ll let you know more as next week.

There are wonderful people all around, and so, like our studio engineer Juha put it, we now have “a caseful of Neumann microphones and half the city’s stompboxes”, as well as a beautiful Anders Liljeström acoustic guitar at our disposal. This was also a good time to get my flamenco guitar fixed. The work was done by a friend and a future luthier Markus Ullakko, who’s also made some amazing archtops and acoustics, and I’m looking forward to getting him make one just for me.

Right now we wish to thank Aatsi, Markus, Timpe, Hannu and Markus for lending us various stuff from stompboxes to guitar building skills.

 

-Jere

Jere testing microphones and a Liljeström acoustic guitar.

Jere testing microphones and a Liljeström acoustic guitar.

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October 2, 2014 · 1:46 pm

New album, Lost in Music, Spotify & Deezer!

Sweethearts! It’s Sextili, or Fructidor, or August if you wish, the month of the Poppy, the birthmonth of Leo (Laura) and Virgo (Jere). It marks the transition from summer to fall, and is a common month for harvest. During the summer we’ve sown some, and now it’s time to reap!

The three big news items:

1. We’ve started pre-production for our next album! It’s going to be wonderful! We’ll keep you posted on the twists and turns of this epic saga.

2. We’re playing at the Lost in Music festival, the biggest annual showcase festival in Finland, this October in Tampere. If you missed Kammerkabarett, or the various duo gigs we played during the summer, come and see us at Lost in Music to hear some of the new songs. You can find our producer Martiina Laaksonen and the band at Lost in Music and Musiikki & Media.

We are looking for partners to work with in Europe, and most specifically a booking agency and/or distributor for Germany. We love playing in Germany, her people have always treated us kindly, the audiences have been wonderful and their feedback enthusiastic. Dear German sweethearts, we want to come to you! It’s just that we are concentrating on the new album, so we simply don’t have the time and the energy to book the gigs ourselves.

3. Last but not least: You can now download ‘Mascot Moth’ from iTunes or Google Play Store, or you can stream the entire album through Spotify or Deezer. Deezer also hosts a playlist for the artists performing at Lost in Music. There are many interesting Finnish bands there, so give it a listen!

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Playing at Korjaamo, Helsinki, this June at Töölön juhlaviikko. Picture by Pepita Kautto.

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Media love, Spring 2014

Time for a media update for the spring! Sorry international sweethearts, these are all in Finnish except for the last one.

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Helsingin Sanomat, 24th May 2014.

Helsingin Sanomat, 24th May 2014.

Finland’s biggest newspaper Helsingin Sanomat wrote a great review about our first show Kammerkabarett in Savoy-teatteri last week! Pertti Avola thought our decadence was captivating, what joy! Read the review above or on their webpage: LINK

Kujerruksia culture blog

Kujerruksia culture blog, 21st May 2014.

Kujerruksia, which was just listed as the most popular cultural blog in Finland (hooray!), loved Kammerkabarett too. Moreover, she liked the slightly twisted tone of the show, which is something we absolutely love to hear! Read more impressions in her blog: LINK

Radio Helsinki interview 20th May 2014.

Radio Helsinki interview, 20th May 2014.

The day before the show, we visited Njassa at Radio Helsinki with our lovely Muse Noora to talk about Kammerkabarett and to play a couple of our songs live in the studio. It was a lovely summer day, and we were suitably intoxicated by coffee and sun. Listen to the interview part here: LINK

Glue music blog, 11th March 2014.

Glue music blog, 11th March 2014.

And here’s the inimitable and influential music blog GLUE writing about our new music video for The Captain and the Widow (in English!): LINK
“The duo not only crafts very emotive songs and has great songwriting chops, but also knows how to mix, stir and shake a good cocktail”, he writes. We may have to shake a Strawberry Gin for this guy one day soon…

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That’s all for now, although next week I’m to be interviewed about being an independent artist for Kirkko&Kaupunki. I’ll post the interview as soon as it comes out!

Oh, and summer plans! We have just agreed with Jere that we simply need to make some live videos of some of the new songs soon. There, I’ve said it out loud, and now we must make it happen. We also have some positively outrageous ideas for new cover songs for our summer repertoire, and it just might be that some of those end up on Youtube as well. I repeat. Positively outrageous.

Stay bright, sweets!

- Laura

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