I have been interested in self-improvement since being a teenager. I believe anyone can have a unique and infinitely fulfilling life. At the age of 20 I moved away from my parents and began creating a life of my own. Back then I was a strange package: I had great confidence in my abilities, such as my intelligence, creativity and good physical health, but I was insecure about myself. Often I considered myself to be better than others, but in reality did not respect or love myself. This was reflected on how I interacted with the world, which at times was very negative. I focused on improving superficial things about myself. For example, one summer I practiced sweep picking, a guitar playing technique, from dawn till dusk for a month or two until I felt comfortable with it. This gave me satisfaction, but did not fill the void within me. I started to learn the importance of good self-esteem only recently, in my late twenties. If you don't care about yourself, your life is without meaning. You experience the reality according to what you are within.
My parents are music teachers, so I was immersed in music since the very beginning. My mother started to teach me violin at the age of three. I practiced playing the instrument for ten years, which was important in my development as a musician. I stopped playing in my teens as I felt I had not chosen the instrument myself. I began writing lyrics and short stories, which I loved to share with my friends. As I improved, I developed a sense of self-worth. Here was something I could do well! I also did a lot of 3D modeling. Whether I created pompous scenes or everyday objects, I felt strong and driven: They were my creations. I was capable of something.
Bound and Viral
Five or so years later I turned back to music. What I did was very different from playing the sensitive violin: I became a black metal singer in a band of my friends. We rehearsed songs of the Finnish band Barathrum, who play slow black metal or black rock, as some refer to it. Much to the dismay of my parents, I also began singing along to records of other bands, such as Dimmu Borgir and Marduk. Eventually this brush with performing metal music led to me picking up the electric guitar at the age of twenty. Playing guitar felt great and I practiced relentlessly, advancing greatly in just a few years. And as I learned to play guitar, I composed. The first pieces were very simple and naive, but I was proud of them. Writing a song of my own felt like a great achievement. I enjoyed the process and continued to improve. In 2005 I had an important experience in creating music. The project was called Bound. My roommate Janne Pennanen had composed and recorded groovy metal songs: It was my job to write and perform the vocal parts for them. From working with Pennanen, I learned a great deal about playing guitar, recording and composing. This inspired me to record my pieces, leading to my first personal releases; "Backstabbing Angels", "Spoils Of War" and "Rite Of The Ancients", which I published under the name of Viral.
As I continued to grow as a musician, the same happened as a fiction writer. In 2006, I wrote the novel "Sofian päiväkirja" and sent it to publishers with the intent of becoming a professional author. However, my dreams collided with reality: It was my first book and as such, it was not good enough for the publishers. For several years, I worked to come into terms with this perceived failure. During that time, I earned several paychecks by writing stories and articles for a late Finnish men's magazine "Veli". I also progressed as a guitarist and a performer without being a part of any band playing in front of live audiences. Instead, I had gotten into an addictive habit of recording and publishing cover videos. I would practice a song and then make a video of myself playing it, which I then uploaded to the Internet. I started by using the late Google Video service and later moved on to YouTube, where I still have my channel called mad00002.
Music began to take a dominant role in my life. I had done a little bit of composing here and there since the days of "Rite Of The Ancients" and "The Duel", but none of it equaled Antediluvian Hunger released in 2008 under the name of Viral. As with "Sofian päiväkirja", I was determined to strive for completion, no matter the cost. My single driving goal was to compose and record an album. This took me three to four months. Afterwards I was exhausted, but very proud: I had created another significant art piece, which, in my own eyes, made me into someone. I sent the album to a few record labels and to my disappointment a familiar pattern repeated itself. It seemed like the world was not ready for me. On hindsight, I think I was not ready for the world.
In 2009 I began to study musicology in the University of Jyväskylä. It was a year before, after the completion of Antediluvian Hunger, that I had begun work on my second album United Earth. In the midst of my studies, I sought for a drummer and other people to record and possibly perform United Earth with. Mikko Virtala was the drummer, who I found had the kind of integrity and skill necessary for project completion. He introduced me to Erno Korpelainen, who took the role of engineering and co-producing the album. The three of us spent an intense, but unforgettable summer recording and engineering the album, which was released on 30th of October 2010. As two times before, I felt I had done something great and unique that would give me recognition in the world. However, lack of marketing resulted in United Earth not becoming the hit we had hoped for.
After United Earth I started to work on a new story based album, but gave up having made little progress. I had become so critical of my music, I could not continue. Still, it did not take long for me to get started on a new album. This time, I decided to create music about my own life in an effort to find more meaning in the act of creation. The concept and first musical ideas of Biographical took form in the summer of 2011. It was only in 2012 that I resolved to finish the album. Most of the songs took form in the fall of 2012. It was then I started experimenting with virtual instruments and samplers. They enabled me to write a musical idea and have the software play it instantly with a realistic sound. In the case of a guitar riff, for example, I did not have to practice it for days to make it into reality. All it took was some imagination and technology.
In spring 2013, as Biographical neared its completion, I decided to create a music video to promote the album. I chose "Self-Actualize", the fourth track of Biographical, as the song. The video ended up being an enormous challenge: Script writing, guitar practice, green screen footage, and stop-motion animation occupied me for several months. As before, I did not attract as much attention as I hoped for. Still there were some great individuals, as each time before, who recognized value in my work and encouraged me to continue. I am very grateful you were there for me!
At last I released Biographical on 30th of August 2013. It is my first physical release, which is available as a CD in addition to digital download. As for the future, I am resolved to keep growing as a human being and artist. I know with great certainty I will learn to compose better music, and with the same degree of certainty, I know you, dear reader, can grow in any way you choose as well. We are alike, us human beings. What you can do, so can I. And what I can do, so can you.
Source: Official site (9.28.2013)