Finnish inspiration to walk all night – Hannu Lepistö’s “Have A Beautiful Life” review

Finland’s full of amazing musicians. If you look carefully enough you will find there many different genres, from metal and rock, through pop, synthpop, electro to jazz, blues and folk. When you ask people on the street, they will give you most known names of the bands from this country of the North. They will give you all the “big” names.

But there is also this kind of artists who are simply unique. They don’t always have this “big” name, that everybody around the world knows. Not yet though. There are artists that have a chance to become an incredible performers recognizable around the world. Artists with great predispositions, talent and charisma.
Hannu Lepistö is one of those people. A man with the personal charm, enormous talent and warm, slightly husky and still lovable voice. And now, this great man finally released his first LP album that he entitled “Have a beautiful life”.

Here I could actually end this review, because the title says it all. But for me it’s not enough. The album radiate with positivity, great emotions, grace and enchantment and lures the listener with its charm. It contains 10 songs deeply rooted in the nature of a real bard. Each song tells a story. Each one put a spell on people. Each one shines.

"I Wanna Walk All Night" First single of the album

“I Wanna Walk All Night”
First single of the album

I have to admit that this mixture of strong guitars, peaceful melodies, poetic lyrics, raspy yet soothing vocals do not fit into any kind of audience. But don’t put back the CD on the shopping shelf. This album is worth it. Every now and then each person had to listen to a song few times before it catched person’s attention. There is a long road from the ear to heart.

And Hannu Lepistö is a very serious competition to other artists who create this kind of unique sound. You can hear a little bit of Bob Dylan or Bruce Springsteen, a little bit of Johnny Cash or Tom Waits… But that’s what Hannu’s music is based on.

And so this album contains all of the magic of that influenced mixture.
I truly hope and believe that fans are going to fall in love with this album just like I did.

"Have A Beautiful Life" LP cover

“Have A Beautiful Life”
LP cover

Where to find Hannu:

German answer for Rock – an interview with Florian Grey.

FLORIAN GREY – is an acoustic project by musician Florian Grey from Germany. Florians virtuosic voice that reaches over 3.5 octaves is brought out in a perfect way by Steffen on guitar, Dave on bass and Felix on Cajon. The result is a great combination of rock music and soft sounds. Sometimes powerful and impulsive – sometimes soulful and quiet. Florian Grey started singing in his early childhood. At the age of 16 he formed his first band. The successful singer, songwriter and music producer Frank Bülow from Darmstadt was Florian’s music mentor. He was Florian’s vocal trainer for 2 years. In 2002 he completed his vocal studies. Even after the vocal training he continued taking singing lessons to form and improve his voice. He worked as studio /background singer for several well known German artist. In 2006 he co-founded the rock band Eves End. 2008, the band released their first EP “Dead End Hope”. The debut album “Frozen Heart Philosophy” was published in 2010. Florian was decisively involved in songwriting and composition. The band achieved considerable success in Germany. They played gigs / tours in Germany and Finland, and had the honor of supporting well known bands / artists like Doro Pesch, Lacrimas Profundere, Matthau Mikojan, The Jade, Saltatio Mortis etc. In 2011 Florian made the decision to leave the band. He then worked on different projects, e.g. with the band Royal Decadence, as a studio singer and guest vocalist with various bands. In 2013 he now is back on stage as solo artist.

(C) Music Lights Berlin

(C) Music Lights Berlin

First of all, we want to know how would you describe your style of music?

I would say it’s self-therapy mixed with stories that happens in life wrapped in melancholic poetic words.

You´ve been playing in different bands before you started your solo career. For example you had a band called “Eves end”. What was the reason for your decision to play solo now? And do you prefer playing with a band or alone?

I think you have to try different things with different people on your way to find your own style. When you ever find it cause music is so different nowadays. Sometimes you make compromises in a band that you wouldn´t do for yourself just to keep the wheel turning. But its dangerous cause you lose yourself more and more in these compromises. It rocks the most being in a band, but when you´re on your own you can lead the direction. When you find musicians who believes in your visions like you do or combine the visions of all members thats the best thing about it, but very rare nowadays. Everybody is different and, not in general but in my case, it’s the best way to express myself at the moment.

We heard that you are working on a new album now, is this true? What can we expect?

It’s too early to talk serious but there will be music.

What are your influences? How do you get inspired?

Over all its life, love and loss, it can be a verse or a few words. I write them down and keep everything in my little book, make a note in my mobile or it flows and I just finish a whole skeleton to be ready to work on. One of the biggest influences are definitely movie scores, I mean the instrumentals, sometimes of movies I´ve never seen. They create a whole world of emotions and feelings while listening. I adore the Music from Thomas Newman for example or Alexandre Desplat and Tuomas Holopainen from Nightwish to name a few.

Which one is your favorite own song so far, and what is the story behind of it? Please tell some words about it.

Hm that’s really hard to say, I don´t know. I wrote something last year I’m very excited to release somehow cause it took so much from me to write it down. I hope I can realize it

What make you decide to make music and what job would you like to do, if you were not a musician?

Good question cause most of the musicians work in dayjobs nowadays. I’m blessed to have one of the coolest jobs besides the music, working as a soundman and booker. Means I’m working with a lot of bands and that’s what I would do even when I wasn´t a musician by myself. Its quite inspiring as well and it keeps you grounded from the beginning, where I’m at the moment.

What are your plans for the future? Is there a special goal?

Have to rule the world XD…No no, the only goal I have is to make music. I think I’m on a good way now, ’cause after my last band I lost myself. The people I’m now working with believed more in what I do than I did, they believe in my ideas and I trust in their knowledge and experience. And I’m so thankful for this. Lets see.

What was the weirdest or funniest job you ever had?

As a printer in a print company… weird and very very stressy to take 500 printed wedding invitations in 2hours… and the payment was horrible, as so was the owner but I needed the money.

Could you describe one day in studio, recording stuff?

Nothing really thrilling, when you´re in the studio you try to have the best result and work on things that could be different or better. Studios are always very expensive so you have to be prepared and carefully arranged when you enter it. You can do much on one day if everybody are in a good mood and the atmosphere is well.

Do you prefer to play in front of a big or a small venue, and why?

I prefer playing in small venues, it’s more raw and familiar. You can see the peoples reactions and emotions in their eyes and faces and that’s important for me. To see how they interpret the song you sing for them. On the other side when I would get an offer for a festival I have to say it’s fun and you can present your stuff to a bigger audience and maybe get some more people to like what you do.

What’s the biggest challenge for you at the moment?

Hm, there are some challenges I work on but the most important one is at this time to realize some plans in music cause 2014 is not far.

What would you do if you would be invisible for a day?

I would steal the hand-painted picture of Bela Lugosi in that bar in my hometown and hang it above my bed… Nothing spectacular, some people would say going to the ladies restroom and listen what they talk or watch them do whatever but I think its boring that’s the reason they are there, that we don`t hear what they say.

What is the question you can answer every time, even when you are roused in the middle of the night?

First: are you listening? Yes! I just let my eyes rest a bit *SNORRR* Second: Adam is He-man XD

What was your worst chat-up line?

Ha, I’m very bad at this. When I’m really interested in a girl I don´t need a bad chat-up line. I blame myself just with easy lines. I start to lose my grammar and the result is I’m the nervousness in person… I’m not really into starting a flirt ’cause I don´t think you find your special one in a bar or a club. If you are searching for a short adventure maybe yes, but I’m not interested in it. Sorry, can´t give you one right now.

Florian Grey’s tour dates:
04.12.13 | Hamburg | Grüner Jäger
05.12.13 | tba
06.12.13 | Bochum | Kult
07.12.13 | Berlin | Galiläakirche
12.12.13 | Göttingen | Exil
13.12.13 | Darmstadt | An Sibin
14.12.13 | Stuttgart | Four42
15.12.13 | Leipzig | 4Rooms

From punk style to “Back Beat” – interview with The Winyls.

(C) goes to the owner
Firstly, can you tell us the story behind The Winyls? How did that all started, when you met each other? And of course: where did the name for the band came from?

We (Hc and James James) were spending a break between lessons in high school…and we thought, it would cool to play in a “worst band” ever. Our early years were really punkish but a lot has happened since that. Maybe someday we will return to that musically as well. Our attitude has remain same. The Winyls is derived from a stupid phrase that we found Leady repeating just to irritate rest of us 😉

Line up of the band had changed since the band was established. Why did it change and are you happy with current line up or do you leave it an open door for potential new members?

We have had different solo-guitarists, but I think this current line-up will be long-lasting. It has been so already for several years. But it always good to keep doors open…in life wherever possible.

You’ve released 3 LP’s. They are very close to classic rock in style, but there are songs with a catchy twist like “Tango Fatale”, “Would you believe” or “Say what you say”. Was this your intention to make your sound not so obvious to categorize?

“Tango” was like a puzzle of lots of different things. I think it is one of our most ambitious songs. There are something like half million tracks in it (which is not typical for us). Usually when you got so many tracks it sounds too messy or arrangement has gone wrong, but I think the song sounds good and there are many fine moments from which one could be proud of. In general, it is hard to listen own recordings, because usually you only hear the mistakes you’ve made. Would you believe is a funny punk-march-type-song, with straight-forward attitude. And from “Say what you say” it is possible to hear some oasis-like fragments. I think it’s never an intentional decision to create something that is hard to categorize. It is subconscious desire to create something new.

This year you’ve released a single “Back Beat”. It’s another proof that you’re unique and like to experiment with music styles. At the beginning we can hear a part from classic style, played on a violin, then some electric beats, and then with big “WOW” comes the proper part of the song full of rock vibes. Is this song some kind of prelude to your upcoming album?

Yes, I hope so. Back beat was also remixed by Heavyweight DJ’s. The truth is there will be a lot of different songs coming and now we are thinking how to link them. More traditional rock songs as well as more dance and even hip-hop elements…stay tuned!

Staying in music topic: what are your influences? Do you get inspired by other Finnish artists or you also take something important into your music from foreign artists?

Of course everyone has influences and some references… Most of us have a shady classical background but I think our main sources of inspiration has been giants like The Killers, Scissors Sisters, The Beatles, Queen and Led Zeppelin. We are glad we had a chance to meet and support The Killers with their Finland’s gig a few years ago.

We’d also like to ask a bit about the background of your music carrer. What made you decide to make music, instead of choosing another path in your life?

Only our guitarist is actually a full-time musician. For others it is a passion and serious second job. That means we are not forced to make compromises in music, and we still can pay the rents etc.

Back Beat was out in 2013

Back Beat was out in 2013

When it comes to recording, how does that look when The Winyls get into the studio? Are you a kind of band that walks into the recording studio with a ready plan, and do you try to spend the least time there? Or maybe you’re not in a hurry, you like to have everything planned? In short words: are you “take it easy” or more of “hurry up” guys?

It’s both and it depends…. But usually when we are in a studio like Finnvox which is really expensive, we have had careful preparations. After that when we continue working guitar, synth and vocal tracks in our own studio, in Kaapelitehdas we are more laid back. Honey & Lime was recorded in an old villa in Porvoo called Magnusborg. We spent one month there with one sound engineer. That was great, but we could have done it (recordings) in one week or so. There was always a time for celebration, which was nice though. And creativity needs time, anyway.

How does look like with touring? Have you played somewhere outside Finland or do you focus on you motherland?

We have played in UK, Los Angeles, Berlin and a few times in Russia. But we are “still hungry” as Twisted Sister’s used to say. Last gigs that we have played have been in Finland, but we are looking forward to play in Poland! Never done that before!

In your shows you always try to include your fans with singing along and playing instruments. How important is that to you? Was there ever a special moment?

Yes, we think it is a special and unique moment for both; for us and for the people who come to see us. We like to do things by instinct!

In your music videos and sometimes on stage as well you wear some sort of costumes. We’d like to know if there’s any meaning of it or are you doing this only for pure fun?

We like to think what to wear, but the theme changes…we like – for example – the hand-made masks Leady brought from his trip to Croatia, but I think we all agree the main thing is music.

What is the craziest thing you ever did or the funniest moment you can remember doing together as a band?

There are many. One of the funniest things (to tell public) was when made a trick to our drummer. We were recording Honey & Lime in Magnusborg till late night. Pablo was having an early morning wake up because of his job and was already sleeping. We changed the time settings 4-5 hours too early in his mobile phone and waited in our own army like- beds for Pablo’s wake-up-call. We were all sleeping in the same big room. When the phone and the alarm rang, Pablo woke up (4-5 hours too early) and went to shower. Others jumped out of our beds and laughed and ran to the other side of the building where his car was parked. After shower Pablo came there and was really off his head. He said: ”I’m really messed up. I am sure you all were sleeping in the same room when I woke up…” “No, we have been here chatting all the time,” we answered. Pablo was already driving to his work (4-5 hours too early) when we stopped the car and said that he should look at the clock in his car.

Poor Pablo, this was ugly one, but funny, at least we thought it was funny after a few soft drinks.

Do you like to play at the festivals? We work together with the Suomi Sound Fest. How did you come across this project? What made you interested in participating in it?

Yes, we love festivals. But it’s not everyday that you have opportunity to play in festivals. I think live shows are the best thing in playing in a rock band. We heard about the possible chance to play in Poland from a very nice girl who came to see our show. Pablo has visited Poland and told that it is a very beautiful place. It would be really really great to play there. Looking forward to it!

Your fans say that it’s amazing how you are so great on every show and still even though you must be tired after gigs, you’re still so friendly and ready to chat with people after leaving the stage. How do you do that?

We think we need to give the best we’ve got in every show (we can not do it otherwise), it’s the very core of our essence as a rock band. It’s true though it’s sounds like a cliché. And we’re honestly very grateful to everyone who comes to see us and supports us! We like to consider our audience more friends than fans.

Getting back to your latest songs and music you are currently making. Can you tell us something about the new material? Are you working on a new album, or are you focusing more on touring now? What can we expect from The Winyls in near future?

Yes, we do not know in which form it will appear, but new songs will appear. Quite soon. We are working in the studio at the moment for a new material. We like to try different experimentations, so it takes time, but hopefully the result will be nice to listen.

Thank you for your time!

Thank you and hope to see you all soon!

Check out The Winyls on Facebook:
And Spotify:

Lordi “To beast or not to beast” announcement.

Last time we’ve heared them with the release of their “Babez for breakfast” album. They changed line-up, they became darker & creepier. And now they are back.
Lordi yesterday announced the releasing dates for their 6th longplay album, entitled “To beast or not to beast”. After Mr Lordi, the European release will be on 1st of March and US release is going to be on 19th of March. The album will consist of 11 new tracks from monsters including an SCG “Otus’ Butcher Clinic” that instantly makes fans remember ex-member Otus, that passed away on 14th of January 2012.

The artwork for the album cover.

The artwork for the album cover.

First title for the album was meant to be “Upgradead”, and this is what Mr Lordi says about the change (according to Official Lordi website):
“The album cover painting is actually a part of a larger picture. The original artwork had this vintage- styled lady holding a horned skull, which, however, was not the main point of the art piece.There was something not quite right with the setting, so I made experiments with various versions and frames. Album title was Upgradead at that point in time, and the painting was done with that title in mind.”

He goes on: “But now, with a changed concept of the artwork, the title did not seem to fit anymore. We did not consider it an A-class name either. Our guitarist Amen came up with the final title, which we felt suitable and perfect both for the cover artwork and the album.”
The album track list is as follows:
1. We’re Not Bad For The Kids (We’re Worse)
2. I Luv Ugly
3. The Riff
4. Something Wicked This Way Comes
5. I’m The Best
6. Horrifiction
7. Happy New Fear
8. Schizo Doll
9. Candy For The Cannibal
10. Sincerely With Love
11. SCG6: Otus’ Butcher Clinic

The first single from the upcoming album – “The Riff” will be released on 8th of February.