"All About The Album - 15 Questions" - a brand new section at the RockUnited site where any recording artist with an recently released CD is confronted with standard questions (15 of them, duh!). If you'd like to have your material up here, email: urban "at" rockunited.com (simply replace "at" with your standard @ )
PJ RAUTIAINEN: "Secret Isle"
PJ "Pekka" RAUTIAINEN -the former House Of Mirrors (Escape Music) vocalist proves to be more than just your 'ordinary' aor/melodic rock artist on his solo album "Secret Isle". This album is (mostly but not always) the product of the American west coast sound (and east coast for that matter), and you can pick up quite a lot of the "old" sound including saxophone and percussion in the traditional west coast sound of the late seventies, early eighties. Here to answer all the "All About The Album" questions,: Mr. PJ "Pekka" RAUTIAINEN...
How has the reaction to your latest CD been?
Well, the reaction has been surprisingly good with my "Secret Isle " record. I have no record deal, so the promotial work goes through me. There have been some good reviews already , but it takes time to spread the word.
How long did this CD take to make from start to finish, recording-wise?
We started in early 2008 , then we recorded the drum ans bass tracks. I got the most talented guys to play these instruments (Anssi Nykänen-drums , Harri Rantanen-bass), so the " groove" was there. After that me and my producer Tuomo Vähä-Pesola started to arrange these songs piece by piece. We tried to find the soul of each songs. Step by step we recorded more instruments, so in the summer -08 I was sweating and singing in the studio. And mostly all the weekends, I was doing 'man&guitar' cover gigs here in Finland, so it was a very busy time indeed. In early 2009 we got the recording sessions ready, and it was time to mix this cd. We travelled to the Helsinki, studio Mediagents (http://mediagents.fi/) The mixing engineer was Speedy Saarinen, he has a long career in this business. Also he plays guitar and sings very well, so I think those elements was very helpful in our work. It was interesting to hear his opinions and discuss about the music overall. We ended the sessions in spring 2009, and after that was the final job to be done... also in Helsinki, Chartmakers audio Mastering studio and the mastering engineer was Svante Forsbäck,( whose working place is very cool, check out , www.chartmakers.fi) There we mastered " Secret Isle" and when I heard the final version of these songs , I knew that all these hours, days, weeks of work......was worthwhile.
What kind of 'sound', production wise, did you have in the back of your mind, prior to entering the studio?
Well, I was no more the frontman of the House of Mirrors, so I wanted to make a different kind of record . I wanted to give a chance to the songs, no matter what kind of style they will be. I tried to be more open-minded , not thinking ' would this song fit to this or that genre '. The most important thing is to capture the spirit.
What kind of input did the producer have during the process?
I think, that this process was very important for me. This was the first co-operation with me and Tuomo. I really can say that now I understand much better the importance of arranging and we really opened these songs through, and thought the options, what would be the best way to impress it. After all , I think that there has been a great improvement . When you are making songs, It is useful to approach them from the different angles, just bearing in mind that the winner is the SONG.
And are you pleased with the final outcome? (sound - production wise)
I must say that I am very pleased for the final outcome. Hopefully I could make more records in the future, cause I have lots of ideas to experiment with, but YES, I am very grateful all the musicians, and people to get involved with this project.
Did the producer (you) use any (weird) experimental miking and/or recording techniques?
Well, that you should ask better for these engineering guys, but what matters that we used real instruments and amps , we tried to do the record that was played by men not machines... create a sound that is warm , create a long-lasting record that you could listen to many times, hopefully after many years.
How did you go on about capturing your 'live sound' in the studio, or perhaps you didn't
This is very interesting question. I am on the road almost
every weekend, and when you get this right live situation to play great sounds and people, then you get this feeling that you could sing almost
everything, it is so easy and enjoyable. You get so much energy feedback from the
audience, but when you are in the studio all alone, headphones on your
head, and the guy in next room shows that go on , everything is totally different. What is your listening balance?, do you want some more
music?, or more your voice up? ...it is balancing with fine nuances. When you
Please inform us about your favourite songs and lyrical highlights and why?
Here's some: " Secret Isle " first collaboration with my producer Tuomo. There has been a lot of good feedback from people, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EUhWiX90L0) `Everytime When It Rains´ let's imagine, that we would travel back to the 80's, this song would be played in the radio. `Road Song´ is a collaboration with my long time quitarist and friend Kari Riihimäki (http://www.myspace.com/kaririihimaki) this reminds me of last summer, driving on the highway, music playing loud, feeling kind of freedom. `Falling For You´ , this is very smooth and cool song. I am very proud of that this song ended to the record , listen to the saxophone, played by fabulous Jukka Perko. `Burning´, the raw energy and great live song. List goes on and on. Now it is early morning when I'm writing this, so what is the mood, defines my favourite ones.
Any overall theme of mood that you're trying to capture while writing songs?
Like I told you earlier, I am trying to be more open minded about these things...I don't like the idea that ' you can't do or say like this, because it does NOT fit in this genre'. I think it is important to trust to your own feelings, does this sound good or not and why?
Does your vision for coming up with music get affected at all by time?
If I understood you correctly, I'm just doing that
kind of music what I love to do. I don't follow the trends . I think
Did the record company interfere with anything on your "sound" and songs?
This is amusing.( What record company ?) There has been totally artistically freedom to do what I want to. Sure, there has been some consulting with some labels, but I don't want to do a record that every song has to be similar style in that exact genre. Why do a recor? I want to search the different kind of songs and find their " character ". Now when my `Secret Isle´ cd is ready and out, I enjoy this many-sided trip that last about 45 minutes.
Are there any 'crazy' behind the scenes anecdotes from these sessions that you can share with us?
This is very confidential....... Hard , but Fun work.
How would you describe the sound of your new CD to any potential new fan?
I think it is very versatile. We tried to make that kind record that every song has it's own important place to create the long-lasting record. By the way, this cd sounds very good, so try to listen to it loud.
Who are your influences and heroes? (music-wise)
There are of course so many, but for example: Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple , Journey , Steely Dan , Stevie Wonder , Jackson Browne, Crosby ,Stills , Nash & Young , the list goes on and on and on.........., but I have to mention that recently I have been listening to this band called MAXUS (1981) and that sounds very interesting.
If there's anything you'd like to add, say, please do:
Thank you Urban
for this interview, Check out my new album "Secret Isle". You can have it here
http://www.musicbuymail.eu/index.php?i=31334 , or straight
from me: http://www.pjrautiainen.fi/
- Keep on searching and be honest with yourself- I wish you all the best, and hopefully we will see you out on the road