Interview with Ilari Hämäläinen about: The Rasmus and music in Finnland and his Band Siberian Jay.

This page has made a exclusive Interview with Ilari Hämäläinen from the bandSiberian Jay. This band was founded 2010 in Finland. The first album was released in 2012. If you listen some songs you will find some similarities to The Rasmus.

Special thanks to Ilari Hämäläinen for this Interview!


1. On the Siberian Jay FB Group, you post in may that the new video: "Not So Easy" will come soon. Is there any news about it?

- I had the video almost ready for releasing, but then I showed to the other guys, and the response was not so good. I already struggled with editing it since it was mostly directed and written by Lauri. It's pretty hard to try to finish someone else's vision if the raw material isn't very good in the first place.

I think it would take me only one day to finish the video, but recently I just haven't found a motivation to work on it, since I don't agree on all the artistic choices that we made while shooting it.

2. Do you work on new material for Siberian Jay. Your last CD was released three years ago.

- We started working on the new album 18 months ago. This time I wanted to motivate the guys more by sharing the responsibility and decision making. We have now about 30 songs in the demo stage, but the chemistry of the working is still quite lost. We are struggling with things like goals, motivation, inspiration, supporting, critics, musical values and influences. I just wrote a long letter to guys about these matters, and hope to have them resolved soon. Once they are resolved we are in a good way with songs for over two next albums.

4. Whats your opinion about The Rasmus. Had you met once the guys personaly?

- Rasmus is one of my favourite bands, and we took some influences from them for the first SJ album. For example if you listen to "No Fear - Destination Darkness" and "Do You Feel Sexy", you can easily hear the connection in the arrangement.

I know the guys personally since Lauri and Eero went the same high school with me. It is the most well known music oriented high school in Finland and only the few selected can get in. Lauri and Eero were just one class younger. I'm not sure but maybe Pauli was there too. Aki I met later on through Apocalyptica drummer Mikko, and I think Aki is one of the best Finnish rock drummers. Pauli is the only one that I have never spoken with I think.

3. If the band The Rasmus ask you for Siberian Jay as supportband on the next Tour, would you say yes?

- I asked the guys few times before some years ago, if we could join them on tour as a supporting act. So yes! If the opportunity arises we would be glad to tour with them. And if The Rasmus fans can request this, there's nothing that would make us happier.

5. Sometimes i get the feeling that finnish musicians are like a big family and all work together. Is
that right? Whats your mind about that? Is the finnish music industrie like a big community?

- Finnish music industry is quite small (whole Finnish population about 6 million people) and only the best musicians can make their living here with music. That is the reason why we all know each other and work together here and there. When we went to New York with Naked I met lot of musicians in the jam session and concerts, but what I noticed was that most them are such a poor musicians that they could never survive here in Finland. That was a bit a shock to me since we always look up to those Americans since they rule the worldwide music industry together with UK.

6. Finnish music has mostly a melancholic touch. Do you know a reason for that?

- Rock music came to Finland really only in the late 60's and most of the music before that was heavily influenced by Russian traditional music. Also we had our own culture of poem singing stories that was written later in one book called Kalevala. It's been studied that most of Finnish people have more "depression genes" than the rest of the world which must be also because of our narrow population and gene-pool. The melancholic "slager" music is still very popular in Finland and it wakes up our initial emotions of long dark winter and yearning of warm and beautiful but very short summer. During the deepest winter, the sun doesn't get up at all in the northern Finland - so it's dark and cold 24/7.

7. Is Siberian Jay typical finnish music in your mind?

- I think Siberian Jay is not typical Finnish music, but the lyrics tell about typical Finnish life. Musical inspiration comes around the world from bands like Muse, Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Billy Talent etc. But we also listen to Finnish export bands like The Rasmus, HIM, Sunrise Avenue, Nightwish and Apocalyptica that take their own influences around the world.

8. Where do you find your inspirations for your lyrics? Why have you choose the bird sibarian jay as band name?

- In the first album the lyrics were my pressure valve about my life, expectations, frustration and fears. Most of those things happened to me or I felt like that in my life. Some of the fears became true, some did not.

- The name Siberian Jay was originally my wife's nick on one web forum, and once I saw it I felt good about it and what it all represented: Kind of bare honesty and raw truth. Also the bird itself is kind of our band. We live here up north and are quite introvert, but If a stranger comes by, we are definitely interested about him and try to socialise with him. Also the reference to Russia "Siberia" felt like a good thing since the musical influences come from America and UK, but the result - our own music is like the opposite pole's version of the world. That is quite a hard image to explain, but maybe you get the idea.


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