Beginning of 2003
1. What is the weather like now in Finland?
How does it affect your mood and personality?
The weather this winter has been quite unusual. Normally there's
a lot of snow here and the temperature is somewhere around -15
to -20 Celsius, but this year there is less snow than usual and
the temperature changes wildly from 0 to -28 Celsius. There hasn't
been much rain or snowing for the last 5 months, so I'm quite
worried about the ground water supplies. I really enjoy snow,
and there's enough for the surroundings to look pleasing, so my
spirit is satisfied. I just wish it would have rained or snowed
a bit more so that certain parts of our country dont run
out of water.
2. Nest's music cannot be described as average
at all. Please, tell me how did it develop in you to play that
kind of music! What inspired you?
As long as I remember I have been fascinated by medieval, folk
and acoustic music. Even years ago when I listened only to metal
I was enchanted by the acoustic passages in the songs. Also a
lot of movies and games have had great music that stuck in my
mind as time passed on. I had been composing metal with a computer
and below-par samples for quite many years, but I kind of got
bored with it. I wanted to play a real instrument, but I wasn't
really interested in the usual guitar, drums or bass. Hence I
chose the kantele, which has a great sound and was also easy to
learn. I started fiddling around with some ideas I liked to play
and hear myself, and I noticed that I stumbled upon something
that hasn't been done very much, at least not that I know of.
I wanted to play quite straightforward atmospheric stuff that
has strong acoustic roots, but no limits sound wise. I think I
succeeded well enough. The words above try to explain what musical
sources of inspiration I have, but nowadays inspiration comes
mostly from non-musical sources. Things such as nature, animal
life, old tales, etc. are close to my heart, and they tend to
find their way directly into the themes of my tunes. Also, I can't
underestimate the importance of friendship, which in my opinion
is one of the most powerful forces in life. I could even go as
far as to say that the whole Nest project is dedicated to friendship.
3. When you look back on your releases so far.
Do they show a continued evolution of your personality and musical
ability/ideas? Please tell us about this!
Yes, I would think they do show evolution in different areas.
When looking back at the Fabled Lore demo there was
still quite many things that were seeking their form. For example,
some of the songs were composed almost solely with synths and
the acoustics were quite simple. On the next release Hidden
Stream I leaned very much towards an acoustic outcome and
stripped a lot of the synths away. Later I felt that I had taken
too much away and decided to add some more to the next release
Woodsmoke. The biggest evolution, in my opinion, has
been with the mixing, production and sound quality. During the
last year I have studied these a lot and I was able to improve
each one a good deal. Now on the latest release I have finally
obtained a quality Im satisfied with. Still, although the
sounds on Nests previous releases are not too good, Im
satisfied in the actual songs. I have also improved my playing
skills, naturally, and now I think I can also succeed performing
live. I cant tell if my musical ideas have seen much evolution
per se. I still follow the ideas and themes I had when Nest was
born. These are so general that Im not limited to anything,
and maybe there has been subtle improvement with how they are
brought to life, but I cant really evaluate it myself. Maybe
the listeners could let me know.
4. A really peculiar aspect of your music is the use of the
Kantele (sometimes distorted), a Finnish national instrument.
Please, say a few words about this instrument and your love for
Ah, the kantele. A symbolic instrument for the Finns. Well, the
instrument is basically a horizontal harp with an amount of strings
ranging from 5 to 36, and even 72 in the double stringed 36 ones.
I would say that the sound of the instrument has similarities
to a harp and a harpsichord. Nowadays I play 15-stringed one that
has 4 bass strings and a built in pick up. Its design is quite
unusual and I only know one manufacturer in Finland that makes
these models. I also used to play a 10-stringed one before I got
the new 15-stringer, but it is too worn out nowadays. I have only
used the 15-stringed one in about half of Woodsmoke.
The rest have been recorded with the 10-stringed one, although
all of Nests released material has been composed with it.
The reason I use the versions with so few strings is because I
prefer its sound over the ones with more strings. I think that
the smaller models have rougher and more down-to-earth sound than
the bigger ones, and there is also the question of money. Let
me just say that the bigger ones can cost three to four times
when compared to say, a 15-stringer, and Im not that wealthy
5. As far as I know old myths, tales are very
frequent readings of yours. What have you read recently? What
are your favourites and why? Do you long for these bygone times?
When you read these, are they tools for you to leave behind this
earthly existence, the greyness of our world?
Recently I have mostly read fantasy novels and short stories.
The latest I read were the Conan tales by Robert Howard in their
original English form, and the latest Elric novel by Michael Moorcock.
Both of the authors are my all-time favourites. I havent
read old myths or tales too much recently, but I do have a desire
to read the tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round
Table once again. My favourite tales, etc. are old animal tales
by the Grimm brothers, for example. Im also fascinated by
Tolkien, whose The Hobbit has a special place in my
heart. I have fond memories of reading it in a wooden cabin some
ten years ago. My other favourites are the works of H.P. Lovecrafts
and E.A. Poe, and also the Finnish, Nordic and Greek myths. Reading
is indeed a form of escapism for me. There are times, maybe too
often than I would like, when this world isnt the least
bit interesting, and the products of imagination provide enjoyment.
I believe imagination is one of the greatest gifts given to man.
Sometimes I do have a strong feeling that life long ago was better
in its simplicity. It seems that nowadays people are
so dependant on mundane things such as computers, cellular phones,
the clock, and such. But I do realize and admit that I too am
a product of my time. It would be very hard for me to let go of
some of the things Im grown used to, so I dont think
it would be good for me, as I am now, to live in some past time.
Its actually good that you asked whether I long for the
bygone times, because the song Renewal actually touches
this topic. It tells of longing for the past, but that the present
and the future are equally important. I could quote one line from
it: Of older times I tell. Not to bring back, but to cherish.
6.On the Woodsmoke album you refer to your
songs as tales. Do they make up a whole story or are these individual
tales? Can you tell us the concept behind it?
I referred to the songs as tales, because I didnt want to
refer to them as sterile songs, but they are indeed
tales in their own right too. They are actually part of a larger
theme, an imaginary yet naturalistic world if you may. Each song
portrays a certain aspect of this world. One song may tell of
a character or a location in this world and another could portray
a feeling related to the overall theme. It seems to be quite hard
to explain, and I dont want to push people into any fixed
image. When I listen to music, I tend to envision what my imagination
allows, and this is what I hope the listeners of Nest could do.
I do make the music of Nest reflect the things important to me,
but I dont want to push people into any frame of thinking.
But if you want to know a bit more about the world of Nest, lets
just say it has something to do with animals. This probably isnt
too hard to figure out when looking at the artwork of Nests
7. Your music to me truly portrays the vast,
endless snowcapped mountains, the cold, mysterious highlands in
the autumn and the rebirth of Nature during spring. Is it important
for you to receive feedbacks from people to your music? Do you
think that other people can have the same ideas, attachment as
you have when listening to Nest's music.
I love getting feedback from the people listening. Be it good,
bad, critical, advising, anything I like to get all kinds.
It is always interesting to hear how Nests music affects
different people, and whit kind of feelings, images, etc. they
get from it. I do think other people can have same or even similar
ideas as I had when the tunes were composed, but I dont
want to force my ideas on anyone. As I said earlier, I like the
listener to form his or her own ideas from the music, be it similar
to mine or totally different. The best thing would be that the
listener enjoyed the music.
8.What does Nature and the different seasons
represent for you?
A short answer would be that to me nature represents life. I have
always associated nature with life - in its different stages.
Even winter, which brings hardship and death to the beasts of
the wild, emphasizes the glory of life. You can survive if you
do your best and have some good fortune on your side too. Im
extremely fond of nature and I love living in a country with four
distinctive seasons. I think I wouldnt like living in a
place near the equator, for example, where there is almost constant
summer. I do like summer, actually I like every season except
autumn when this land is mostly rainy and has a perpetual stale
grey sky, but I like the change of seasons. None of the seasons
last too long here, and each of them is interesting in its own
9. Do you think that people's way of thinking
can be changed and show them a way of respecting and admiring
I do, actually. But once again I dont have the slightest
intent to force any ideas on anyone. Personally I try to do my
own part, and that is what we can all do. We can take care of
how we use water, and other limited resources we have. I personally
try to consume as less as possible, which isnt always a
little, but I want to try, nevertheless.
10. The music on Woodsmoke is quite peaceful/gentle but I think
Nature has a more violent aspect, too. Why don't you represent
this as well in your music?
This is a very good point, and a hard question for me to answer.
A simple answer would be that I like peaceful stuff and I also
sometimes cant help but do gentle stuff by a force of habit.
Still, you are right. Nature does have a lot of violence and brutality,
and we shouldnt ignore these either. Im not limiting
myself from doing aggressive stuff, but I havent had too
many good ideas for such stuff. I actually have only one song,
The Harbinger of a Greater Winter on the Hidden
Stream Split CD that I would deem aggressive, or even semi-aggressive.
Also, I have wanted to do a song or a trilogy of songs based on
the hunt for some time now, and I also had some material
for it ready, but it wasnt good enough, so Im going
to redo the whole thing when I get inspiration for it.
11. Besides music you are also painting. I
have checked your drawings on the internet and found them very
suggestive and visual. The animal drawings to be very nicely made.
Could you please tell us about this occupation of yours? Have
you had any exhibitions so far? Have you got any favourite painter?
Thank you for the good words. In addition to music, visual art
is the most important pastime of mine. And as with music, I mostly
draw and paint for my own pleasure. I havent had any exhibitions,
although I would like to have some in the future when I have enough
material that forms a coherent unity. During the last couple of
years I have been so busy with school, work, music, etc. that
I havent even had time to do visuals too much. I mostly
like to use pastels, ink, pencils, and recently I have also fallen
in love with coloured pencil, which I used to do the cover art
for Nests two latest releases with. My favourite visual
artists are Akseli Gallen-Kallela (the Finnish national artist),
Theodore Kittelsen (the same for Norway), John Howe, Frank Frazetta,
Boris Vallejo, Jonathon Earl Bowser, Quinton Hoover and Richard
Kane-Ferguson. I also adore most of Gigers work as well.
12. Nest is your individual effort with the
exception of some vocals. Is it ever going to change? Why or why
not? Though I am curious to know who is this "my lord"
you thank in the booklet for making this possible.
Nest has remained, and probably will remain, mostly my individual
effort. I have nothing against having other people contributing,
and I have actually told many of my friends that they can come
play, do vocals, etc. if they wish. I would like Nest to be a
sort of gathering of friends, where we can join to produce songs.
Sadly this hasnt happened too much yet. On the split CD
I had a friend playing undistorted electric guitar on one song,
and T. Saxell has done vocals on the two latest releases. Im
very happy that T. Saxell will also play bass live with Nest.
The answer to your second question is quite simple; my lord is
none other than God. I owe him quite a bit of gratitude.
13. Do you consider yourself an artist, a musician,
an individual or simply someone with a love of Nature?
I never call myself an artist, because I dont think it really
suits what I am and do. It would also sound a bit too elitist
if I would call myself an artist, so I dont do it. Im
happy the way I am, and I dont need any labels to boost
my ego. I dont even see myself as much of a musician, because
my skills mainly lie in composition. I would say Im just
an average guy, if there is such a thing. Im no better,
maybe not even worse than the next man, so I could say, as you
put it, that Im just someone who happens to have a love
of nature. Im doing the things in my life that bring me
joy, and I think this is quite a healthy thing to do, as long
as I dont cause suffering to others. Should one do something
else? Well it would be good to bring joy to other people too,
and I hope Nests music has brought even a little enjoyment
14. The wind howls eerily outside my door, I think it is time
to let the forces reign! Please share your final thoughts with
For goodness sake, dont let that wind inside your house!
You might never get it to leave. I wish to express my appreciation
for this most interesting of interviews. All the best to ye and
yer mag. Everyone who wishes, can get in touch with me via email
< nestfinlandiaDELETE_ME@gmail.com >. And do come around Nests
WWW site at < http://iki.fi/atolonen/nest >.