"Thirsty Thursday" Featuring Mauri Dark
For newer fans, how did your passion for music and career come about? At the age of seven I heard KISS and saw their album covers with their impressive make-ups. I started to play drums then. Playing in bands and making lyrics came at 16, at 18 I got a guitar and started singing and making songs. Since then I have done about 500 shows and 8 albums with different bands and instruments. I made five albums as vocalist-guitarist-songwriter of metal duo Mystons before Mauri Dark debut solo album ”Dreams Of A Middle-Aged Man”, coming on December 18. It combines everything I have learned about music so far. Music is a kind of private, primitive, philosophical, sacred and spiritual place. It is like writing a poetic diary when making it, but I share it publicly with people. Music has special power over people. It connects us in various times through thoughts, moods and emotions.
What was the best piece of advice you've ever been given about pursuing a career in music? "Don’t do it" (laughs). This was sort of the message I got from my parents. Of course they hoped I would get a more secure job or profession. But that pushed me into music even more. It felt like a natural thing to go for. I am also a professional visual artist so financially it is a tough combination but somehow I have managed to do both professions.
What song that you have recorded means the most to you and why? Any song that I have exceeded myself on and also nailed it in the studio. This involves getting the technical playing aspect, vocals, mood, feeling, arrangement, instruments and also recording, mixing and mastering right. At the moment the album title song ”Dreams Of A Middle-Aged Man” means the most to me. It is a kind of musical realization of my dreams as a singer-songwriter. An unusual 8-minute song recorded on one take, with a spoken word, improvised part that was different each time. We also captured the song into a music video with director Vesa Ranta. The video brings an angle of its own to the song with landscapes from Senja Island, Norway and burnt house and forest in Oulu, Finland without forgetting the touching story.
You recently released your new single, ”Thin Line Of Understanding." Tell us about the writing process and where the idea came from. I thought a lot about spiritual loneliness that we can not get rid off (or at least I can’t). Friends, like-minded people and music and art that touches us can help to ease it. Even if we find the perfect soul mate and partner there is always some things that we do not understand about the other half. The connection always includes the feeling of loneliness. Love and respect help us to maintain mutual understanding. Some watery sounding effected guitars in the song describe it musically. Connection between two people is like drawing a ”Thin Line Of Understanding” on water. You constantly have to redraw it to preserve and nurture the fragility of it.
Is there any news for the forthcoming album? Third single ”Poison Woman” is coming with the full album on December 18. That single is the first song I wrote for my debut solo album. On it I step into the bare boots of an acoustic storyteller from my previous metal music. That song came at a bitter time when I was living alone in an isolated forest cabin in Finland and my 7-year relationship had just ended. Afterwards I have to say that like it 'takes two to tango’, it takes 'two to toxic a relationship’. We really were able to bring out the worst qualities in each other with my ex in the end. My mother was also getting treatments for her stage III+ cancer at the time thus the word 'poison'. She died on May 27, 2017. Exactly 364 days later I was happily married and our firstborn daughter was born. This roller-coaster of life events kind of wrote my debut album. It is all there in the songs.
How do you drink your coffee? With great passion and pleasure. I am a big espresso fan! I grind my coffee from two different beans (very dark, semi-dark roasts) carefully to a specific grain size and make it with an espresso machine into kind of too long ’americano' type. The part where you push the coffee powder tight makes the most difference in taste: too hard and it is bitter, too soft and it is too mild. The morning espresso has made my day for more than 15 years. And those days when you can’t get it need a lot of work to become good. On tour it is always a struggle and an adventure to seek for the morning espresso because in smaller towns it is impossible to find. My metal duo Mystons drummer (whom I got into espresso) even went so far to asking strangers to sell a used espresso machine 4am at night and of course he got it, morning saved! Finnish (who drink the most coffee in the world) are into light roasted, mild filtered coffee.
Where is your favorite place to eat in your hometown? In Turku Finland there are really nice sushi places, for example Kobe Sushi. And good Indian restaurant too called Delhi Darbar. Generally everything that involves spicy food with plenty of chili is good.
What's your favorite food on the road? You never can go horribly wrong with pizza. Every town has a pizzeria and that’s what most of the venues feed you. It goes into hot oven so good food to avoid food poisoning too. Things to avoid is putting a whole pizza in your stomach before a show, unless you want a sleepy show. Pizza is also good to take away so after the show you have something to munch to. One show I have to mention was at a Michelin Chef's wedding. It can’t get better than that!
If you could share a meal with any four individuals, living or dead, who would they be? Well four is a good number to dine with The Beatles or The Doors. I would probably just sit silent and observe the dynamics between the members. With Morrison on the table it might get too drunken. With the Beatles amidst The Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band studio sessions might be a good option to absorb some of their crazy ideas.
If you could be sponsored by one food/drink brand who would it be and why? Well I will pick Becks non alcoholic beer. I have been sober around 10 years now and that product really helped me quit drinking. I still like the taste of beer and Becks is my favorite non-alcoholic brand. A beer without the hangover and the effect that makes you do stupid things, what more can you ask?