Musta Paraati

Musta Paraati are back after 34 years with a new studio album and that’s some-thing that you do not see usually in music. The guys are making a new start with the album being in English for the first time and with a will to go on further without putting any limitations. Grande Rock had a very interesting chat with Sakari “Saku” Paasiniemi (gutiars) and Yrjö “Ykä” Knuuttila (drums) about the band’s past, the future, the new singer and the new album in general… so keep on reading…
Musta Paraati band pic
Hi guys and welcome back to the music scene after 34 years! First of all, do tell us… why and which were those circumstances that urged you to take that decision?
S: It was that one specific night 2014 when we joined our forces after the decades and right after the gig we looked at each others and realized that the magic was still there and its worth to put more effort for it.
Y: We have never lost contact to each other. This process started in 2014 as there was one specific party coming in November and I proposed to organizer (original keyboard player of Musta Paraati), why not have Musta Paraati playing there? He said why not. The obvious singer was Ylppö and we invited him. And the rest is history.
You also decided to release the album in English for the first time. Why’s that? Was it a tough decision at the end or not?
Y: We released the EP “Uusi Musta/Uudet Juhlat” with Ylppö in spring 2015 as there was suddenly a great demand for us. Musta Paraati was sold to all major 2015 festivals in Finland. After that summer, we decided to start to make new material based on some Saku’s ideas. Once the decision to make album with Jyrki 69 was made, the language decision was rather easy. I let Saku to tell more.
S: It wasn’t planned at all, we worked with the new songs for the Finnish album but suddenly we realized that the singer was too busy with his own projects and there isn’t that many people who can do the job, so I found out soon that everybody’s getting frustrated cuz nothing happens and I was at home playing guitar and drinking beer and out of the blue I got that idea to send some demos to Jyrki; somehow I was thinking that his voice is perfect to Musta Paraati, he really have that thing that older he gets his voice gets better all the time. We have had that idea earlier that maybe we should do some songs in English just for fun for the loyal fans abroad but never planned to record whole album. The rest is history hahahaa…
And how did the cooperation with Jyrki 69 (The 69 Eyes) come about?
S: Like I said it was the best mistake so far we have done, hahahaa
Y: We have known Jyrki since late 80s and seen the first gigs of The 69 Eyes. As Ylppö was stuck with his own projects, it actually gave us an opportunity to make bigger changes. We have had some thoughts earlier to make some English versions of our songs. Now there is full album!
Do you think that Jyrki’s voice gave the band a more gothic direction than in the past?
S: Gothic or not, I think it gives us so much more opportunity to do music and expanding the expression for us…
Y: I agree.
Did you have some songs ready from the past? Did you write new tracks that would fit Jyrki’s voice more?
S: All the songs in “Black Parade” album are more or less new and made for Jyrki’s voice, cuz I think Finnish Musta Paraati is even simpler (hahahaa) and raw, it is more like decorated version of the original Musta Paraati.
Y: When we started to make new material in autumn 2015, we recorded all our demos even though we did not have a clear understanding, who would be the singer. Whe Jyrki joined, he had about 20 demo songs to choose with. It was easy to Jyrki to select the ones he likes and fits to his voice. We had already a pretty good understanding, which were the right songs for him.
Why did you decide to re-release “Johtaja” with English lyrics this time under the title “The Leader”? Were you afraid of the comparison that your fans would make with the original one? In such cases the original always wins – what do you think?
Y: That was actually a bonus track we made just for fun. As for the comparison to the original one, I am not concerned at all.
S: Yeah like Ykä said it supposed to be a bonus track but when I heard it ready I realized that it’s more powerful and better than the original one but still it was Cleo Recs’ idea to put it out as a first single and now I think it was a good choice; it was a perfect step out of that Finnish Musta Paraati and kinda smooth way to the new music.
The cover artwork is also identical to the one of your debut album “Peilitalossa”. Is there a specific meaning behind it?
S: Yeah it was Jyrki’s idea and it was just another thing to do things in old school way…
Y: I think it was Jyrkis idea.
What does the album title “Black Parade” declare?
S: It’s a powerful statement for what we are and straight translation of Musta Paraati and also easiest way to make clear to people abroad who they dealing with hahaha…
Y: It gives a clear indication that this album is in English.
Tell us a couple of things about each track…
“Animosity”: Kinda Depeche Mode trip, dance beat with some blues vibes…
“Nacht Der Untoten”: Danceable goth rock song with German slogan…
“The Leader”: Classic hahahaaa…
“Aujourd’hui”: Our gift to French people hahahaa…
“Chopsticks”: First we thought that it is too pop, but soon realized that it’s beautiful and catchy goth ballad.
“The Race is On”: Goth rock song about the fucked up world we live in…
“Radio”: Real goth rock dance song, “Romanssi 2.0”…
“Digital Twin”: Jyrki got that idea when he watched the new Blade Runner movie.
“Reaper”: Hard and heavy horror movie song…
“Today”: Punk punk punk, like our roots.
“If I Die Tomorrow”: First song for the album and I think it describes the best way how we are today musically.
Karo Broman was responsible the the album’s production and mixing and Jürgen Engler did the mastering. Are you totally satisfied with the final outcome?
S: 99% satisfied cuz you can always do things better and anyway we are more raw and punk on stage, so maybe next time we will bring more of that…
Y: I am satisfied with the final outcome. Making an album is a learning process and there is always room for improvement.
I see that you’re about to give some shows in Finland in January 2019. Do you have any other touring plans as well?
S: Hhahahahaa sure we have but let’s do those Finnish shows first, it’s the best way to promote the band and anyway I love doing live shows…
Y: One of the reasons we did the album in English was so we could play gigs in Europe, USA, Japan, Russia, and Australia...
How has “Black Parade” been received and what are your expectations for this album in general?
S: Yeah we released via Cleopatra Records and we are working with beautiful Shauna and her Shameless Promotion PR and she really has spreading the news. There are lots of new countries who know us now because of her fantastic work. People really love that album outside of Finland and there has been amazing feedback.
Y: Yes, Shauna has been doing a brilliant job. We had a gut feeling that the “Black Parade” album would be received pretty well. It’s a bit different than what other bands are doing at the moment. Still, we have been amazed at how good the feedback has been for this album from publications and radio stations all over the world.
Are Musta Paraati here to stay? What are the band’s future plans?
S: Me and Ykä decided that this train doesn’t stop anymore, we put so much effort for this now so let it roll…
Y: We have already some new songs to keep the train rolling, all night long!
How do you see today’s music scene in comparison with the 80s one?
S: It is totally different, DIY things has lost and TV is too important nowadays, it’s just big media houses who decide who is who; it’s most unfashionable to play in a rock band right now hahahaa…
Y: I agree what Saku says. Luckily there is still a punk, underground scene in Finland with many good, young bands.
It’s time for our “weird questions”!!! How did you come up with the name Musta Paraati initially?
S: The original singer Jore Vastelin, (RIP,) got that idea somewhere, he was reading quite much about those Dystopia and things like that
Y: Yes, he read a lot and got the idea from somewhere.
Which are the best 3 Post Punk albums according to you?
S: First LORDS of the new Church album was a kinda milestone they brought something new after the Punk years… Disharge, Hear nothing, See nothing…..
Y: Killing Joke’s first and second album, Siouxsie and the Banshees JuJu (this one is already a bit Gothic)…
Fill in the phrase… “Post Punk music wouldn’t have evolved the way it did, if it hadn’t been for…”
S: Musta Paraati…. Hahahahaa
Which is the record you wish you had written and why?
S: The Clash, “London Calling”. It is classic, no words enough to tell how good it is and it made huge impact when it came out.
Y: The Ruts – “The Crack”. When I heard this album first time about 1982, I was just blown away. I decided that one day, when my drumming skills are good enough, I will put together a The Ruts tribute band. That happened in mid 90s and it was called Rude Boys. We actually played in London twice and released a live CD.
Were you obliged to give just one album to extraterrestrials that would represent the whole human music, which album would it be and from which band/artist?
S: Motorhead, “No Sleep til Hammersmith”…
Y: Good one, Saku!
Which do you consider to be the best male & female vocalist in rock history?
S: Can’t say one, there are so many in so many genres…
Y: I tried, but have the same problem as Saku.
If you had the opportunity to invite any famous person, living or dead, over for supper whom would you choose and why?
Y: It would be interested to have a dinner with Yuval Noah Harari (author of Homo Sapiens, Homo Deus, 21 lessons for the 21st century) and discuss with him about the future of the human race.
If you had the chance to travel in time… where would you choose to go? To the past or the future and why?
S: Paris, in early1900, I love that city and love to sitting in cafeterias just watching people. And no need to time travel London, Camden Town is always my second home…
Y: London 1979 to see the gigs of KJ, The Ruts, The Clash, Siouxie, David Bowie etc...
Thx for talking to Grande Rock, guys. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. Wish you the best for the future to come. Take care!
S & Y: Thanks so much for having us, it’s always a pleasure.