|Born on: 14.01.1979
His profile on Insomnium.net:
"It was a cold January morning when I was brought to this world in 1979. That event took place in Turku, western coast of Finland where I lived my first two years. I was the oldest child in my family, and at the time my siblings joined my company our family settled in Aura, a small village in the countryside about 30 km from Turku. That was the place where I spent my childhood, and those landscapes surrounded me when I endured my musical career.
My first musical instrument was violin, and it was mainly my parent's ambition that made me pick up the bow. At those days my musical desires were pretty lame and playing was just a hobby adapted from the parents, so I never really got very serious or skilled with it. After two years of playing we moved and I had to go to a new violin-teacher and that didn't really work out; the new teacher was more classically oriented and tried to turn me in to professional violinist. Unfortunately I had no ear for tune or motivation for practising. My playing (actually raping a fine instrument) lasted for two more years before I got too frustrated with it and retired in mature age of nine years. After that very little happened on my musical frontier for few years.
Years passed by slowly and I fought my way though the lower levels of the comprehensive school. I was pretty good student but somehow I didn't get along with our teacher. I thought she was simply an idiot, and looking back now my opinion hasn't chanced a bit. With age I have just found out that that's how people mostly are. I was quite retiring and quiet at my nature as a child, small and skinny boy with big staring eyes and thoughtful frown on my face. (Not so much has chanced since then, I guess…) I had two good friends, my brother and our neighbour, and I spent most of the time with them playing and joking. I enjoyed wandering the nearby woods and fishing was my number one hobby. My dearest memories of childhood concern the fishing trips with my father and all the summers we spent in our summer-cottage or at my grandparent's villa.
It was the end of my lower levels when I got interested in music again as I borrowed Iron Maiden's Piece of Mind -album from the local library. I was dashed by the guitar solos and groove there was in the songs and so my life had changed for ever. There was a minor regression in my development to a metalhead when I got a Guns 'n' Roses -album for a Christmas present. Soon I had to have all them all because I was totally taken away by all the cool music videos where Slash played guitar with legs straddled to anatomically nearly impossible position. So I think it was Slash after all who lit the fire in me. My first guitar was my fathers Landola, an old and worn acoustic instrument that has served me ever since. I started to take lessons in local music school and playing became an inseparable part of my personality.
Two major things happened simultaneously: I entered the higher levels of elementary school and bought an electric guitar. The first mentioned caused me frustration and anxiety, and the second alleviated them. I had worked my ass off on a strawberry farm in the previous summer and my aunt (who was as instrument sales(wo)man) had found me a decent electric guitar to afford, and so I did. At that phase of my life I invested all my savings to Iron Maiden -albums and notebooks and rehearsed all my spare time. I also started to neglect my fathers demands about going to barber. The neighbourhood where I was living was quite unfriendly towards everything that was not related to pig farming or competing with tuned mopeds so I felt quite different from others. I tended to isolate in my room, sit on my bed and play Maiden's and Megadeth's albums till my fingers bled. I was fairly social at school and got well along with my friends, but lived under a constant threat of getting beaten up by the rednecks. That was due to my long hair.
It was at my ninth class at school when I first time got into playing in a band. Band was called Procimia (it has never occurred to me what the hell does that name mean…) and I played both bass and guitar depending on the song we were doing. The good thing was that two other members of that band were the most frightening and violent neo-nazis in our school so I didn't have to worry about the rednecks anymore. The bad thing was that neither they nor I knew very much playing or songwriting. We were eager and ambitious, but the arranging of our songs seemed to be too challenging and vague for us, so we hardly did anything creative. As time has passed I seem to run to pretty same problem in songwriting: the individual riffs -no matter how good they are- are of no use at all if the arrangement and structure of the song is immature or defective. The magic of a killer song is hidden in the finest elements of the whole piece, in the relation between different parts, intensity levels and nuances. But anyway, at that time those things were a complete mystery for me.
Despite our indefinable musical career I learned to love playing in a band and also got familiar with the side-effects of being in a band: increased sexual activity and booze consumption. Those things were pretty secondary to me but still they strengthened my self-esteem and made me more determinate. At those times I also started to work in local dancing place playing records and mixing bands, and that made me more familiar with musical equipments which has been valuable skill afterwards. I also continued my lessons and played a lot with my music teacher at school. (Two individuals must be credited for understanding and inspiring me at the early years of my career as a guitarist: my music teacher at school and my aunt. They taught me the basics of soloing and encouraged me to rehearse harder and more often.) Procimia recorded one demo tape which consisted two incredibly bad pieces and hence we broke up.
When it came time to enter secondary school I had made my mind to leave Aura, and so I applied to a school of my interest in Turku. I still lived in Aura with my parents, but the social concept around me changed. It didn't make me more social though, I hanged out with my best friend Ilari who also had left the dusty fields of Aura behind along with me and so I got even deeper into the world of metal music. Few years before that, in 1993 I had bought Paradise Lost's Icon and that album introduced me into a way darker world of melodies and style of singing. I bet that that previously mentioned Icon and Sentenced's Amok (1994) have influenced me the most of all metal albums, and I never really have got bored to listening to them.
At the time of secondary school I still took lessons in guitar playing and worked at that previously mentioned dancing place; I even played some gigs in a dancing music band and we had a small orchestra with my music teacher where I played acoustic guitar accompanied with violin and contrabass. Nevertheless my motivation for those things was pretty low and at my third class of secondary school I decided to abandon the path of becoming an earning musician and concentrate on metal music only. I also moved to Turku to live on my own. I thought that it would be wise to study enough to find a suitable job concerning my other interests and be totally independent and free to do whatever I want in music. That is probably the best decision I have made this far; studying has given me pretty free hands to arrange the schedule for playing (which has been of course the top priority), studying and working on part-time jobs.
The most important development in my history as an metal guitarist begun at my third class of secondary school when I joined a forming metal band. Name Watch Me Fall was soon established and I took the place of main composer in that group. History of Watch Me Fall is a complicated series of events which are not to be discussed here, but in a nutshell Watch Me Fall recorded a variety of demo tapes, promo-EP Blood Red Colours and debut album Worn within five years of time. Playing in WMF taught me the most important things in making music and slowly evolved my playing skills too. By an extremely lucky accident Niilo Sevänen found his way to sing in WMF and soon after I ended up playing in Insomnium.
I joined Insomnium in March 2001 and since I have become even more oriented and devoted to metal music. I was surprised by the spirit there was in Insomnium, since the first rehearsals I felt like home with those guys. Insomnium's music also differed a bit form Watch Me Fall, so playing in them at the same time affected our music only positively. Watch Me fall has had its share of troubles that seem to haunt about every step through its history, so that band has been living frugally on last three years or so. As I've been the main composing member in that band, all the problems have wilted my ambitions. WMF formally exists, and we get together now and then to shoot shit and play. On the other hand playing in Insomnium has overwhelmed me with motivation and pleasure of playing. I consider the band members my closest and dearest friends. When being emotional I could say that we, Insomnium, are a family.
Within last decade music has affected almost everything in my life, and maybe that's why I have grown so deep into metal. It can be soothing and alleviate all kind of negative feelings like sorrow and depression, but at the same time it can be extremely energetic, violent and aggressive. Playing has been some kind of safety-net in my life: sometimes when life goes on like a roller coaster with rapid and dominating downhills it is therapeutic just to grab the guitar and not to worry. Sometimes you have to play little longer to work things out, but in the end they do, in a way or another. And on the other hand playing in a recording metal band is the most rewarding thing to do: to work hard for a collective goal and endure it.
The future is of course uncertain, but for a relatively long time it seems quite bright and full of opportunities. I have decided to go on with metal as long as it feels as good as it does now, and as it says, the appetite grows with what it feeds on. My graduation from university is now looming nearer than before, I will probably get my diploma in two years. That of course brings new challenges, but I see no way I would let that compromise my playing. I think studying and working has affected me quite much on last two years, and I think that has made me more mature as a musician too. (Yet I have troubles considering myself as a musician, rather an ordinary guy playing guitar in an extraordinary company)…
My other interests besides music are much nature-related, and I consider nature as a great source for inspiration. I still like fishing like I have always done, and hiking in Lapland is definitely the best way to spend a holiday. Studying is an important counterbalance to making music, and I think reading in general is never harmful or suffocating in terms of creativity. I try to live life to the fullest and make the choices so that I would't become bitter or yearn for something I didn't achieve. In general it's more probable to regret the things you haven't done than the ones you have when you look back on your life. And if there is a light in the end of the tunnel, you're looking at the wrong direction… "