I have been drawn to creating things for as long as I remember. My mother taught me violin since early age, which turned me into a musician. Then later on I began to write poetry and short stories and so became comfortable with the magic of words. Since then, my interest in both music and writing has developed as one, which has resulted in a number of works.
The long story
One summer I practiced sweep picking, a guitar 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 began to learn the importance of 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 the instrument for ten years, which was important in my development as a musician. Then, I began writing lyrics and short stories. As I improved, I developed a sense of self-worth. Here was something I could do well!
Bound and Viral
What I did next was very different from playing the sensitive violin: I became a black metal vocalist in a band of my friends. 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. Playing guitar felt great and I practiced relentlessly, advancing greatly in just a few years. And as I learned to play guitar, I composed. Writing a song of my own felt like a great achievement. 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 part 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, this was my first book and as such, it was not good enough for the publishers. At that time, I was progressing 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 started by using the late Google Video service and later moved on to YouTube, where I still have my channel 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. 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, it was the other way around.
It was a year before, after the completion of Antediluvian Hunger, that I had begun work on my second album “United Earth”. 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.
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 began 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 found value in my work and encouraged me to continue.
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.
In 2014, I decided to continue with Omniavatar. I put together a solid team: Kimmo Pitkänen joined as the basist and audio engineer, Harri Moilanen as the second guitarist and Pauliina Renholm as the second vocalist. Work began with composing the album which took me, Kimmo and Harri most of 2015. Then, in 2016, came recording and other parts of the production. We released the album on 30th of December 2016. “Ego Death”, like my other three albums, is yet to become a widely recognized release or a commercial success. However, it is my best album so far.
And that’s all for now. Thank you for your interest in my story! I wish you all the best.