One of Finland’s most popular rock bands, Poets of the Fall formed in 2003 in Helsinki. It was singer Marko Saaresto, guitarist Olli Tukiainen and keyboardist Markus Kaarlonen who put the bad together battling through financial struggles and desperate times. They sold everything they had. They moved into a friend’s basement, built a custom made studio in a living room, and used their car as an office space. Then came success courtesy of the gaming world and the rest is, as they say, history. Adding Jani Snellman (bass), Jari Salminen (drums), and Jaska Makinen (guitar), they went from success in virtual reality to the real world. What’s On chats with Saaresto ahead of the group taking the stage at Kyiv’s Stereo Plaza.
The name Poets of the Fall really fits the mood of your music. What other names did you consider?
We thought of the name Spice Boys for laughs, but all in all we had about 200 different options, we even nearly called up these grunge era guys in Seattle to ask if we could use a name they had used for their band some years earlier, but then stumbled on Poets of the Fall.
What is the source of inspiration for the Poets and how do you compose songs?
We get our inspiration from many different sources, everyday life and what happens in it being one of the major contributors to our form of art. For me personally, I believe one has to live and experience life to have anything worthwhile to convey artistically. I guess we all like solitude most, when we’re working on something new. Only after the initial spark has ignited, do we come together to expand our ideas.
Your style is hard to pinpoint ranging from almost-pop through to hard rock, how do you describe it?
I don’t think we ever chose a style. We just do what comes naturally, what we enjoy most, what excites us.
You have garnered acclaim for your music videos, particularly Carnival of Rust. Walk us through that creative process?
When we did the Carnival of Rust video, I had this mask on which was supposed to crack into a flaky paint on my face in the video (Zoltar in the fortune booth). It was only supposed to touch my skin for max fifteen minutes, lest my skin dry out for real. But the shooting schedule stretched out, as they often do, and I ended up having the goo on my face for several hours. I lost my eyebrows and had to use a whole bunch of moisturiser during the following weeks to repair my skin. Still, it looks great in the video.
Your 10th anniversary is your biggest yet and doesn’t wrap up until New Year’s Eve in your hometown of Helsinki, but what comes next?
I guess we are creating a mutual vision of what we want to do in the next couple of years. That’s all still at the thinking stage, nothing concrete yet like music or anything. The tour with everything involved from organising to the actual shows takes up all our time right now.
How do you deal with being separated from loved-ones while on tour?
With Zen-like patience.
What are your interests outside of music?
The guys are mostly in love with their trade, I know our bass player is into architecture, and I’m into too many things for my own good, things like acupuncture and Chinese medicine, martial arts, all sorts of design to name just a few. The list goes on and evolves all the time.
Do you have superstitions or rituals you perform before going on stage ahead of a performance?
We do have a secret ritual we call “the hand”, which lifts our spirits and gives the show a good start.
What can the Kyiv audience expect from your performance?
I’m sure we’ll have a great time with our Ukrainian crowd. To be honest, we don’t even quite know what to expect, and that’s the best part of our live performances.
Poets Of The Fall (FI, rock)
10 November at 19.00
Tickets: 300 –400hrv
Stereo Plaza (Chervonozoryaniy 119)
by Olga German and Jared Morgan