Emppu Suhonen 2014

Andy Klemm Interviews: Emppu Suhonen

Emilia Suhonen, better known as Emppu from Finnland´s Alavala, could be considered the sixth Indica lady. Playing guitars, when Jenny took a break, she rocked the stages with the Girls. Also, Jonsu and she formed JED (the Jonsu and Emppu Duo), alongside Emppu´s own successful Band Alavala. Reason enough to take the chance and have a chat with Emppu Suhonen.


Indica-Fans.net:
Many Indica fans will recognize you as the E in JED and – of course – guitarist and vocalist from Alavala. But I´d like to know more about Emppu Suhonen. How did you get into music, what are your idols and “who is Empuu” ?

Emppu Suhonen:
I started playing guitar when I was 5 years old. Back then, I studied classical music. My first band had a concert when I was 8. So I've done music my whole life. That's what I love and what I know best even though I have other important things in my life too.

Indica-Fans.net:
Naturally, this brings me to Jonsu and the musical projects you shared. How did you and Jonsu get together as musicians? Have you been friends/colleagues before?

Emppu Suhonen:
We've known each other more than 10 years, but just year ago we became very good friends. Jonsu needed a substitute for Jenny to play some Indica gigs. She of course thought about me right away, when she needed a great guitarist hahaha:)

Indica-Fans.net:
If you were to describe the difference between Alavala´s and Indica´s music compared to JED, what would you say?

Emppu Suhonen:
Indica has still a mystic vibe in it even though the new album is very pop-oriented. Alavala has been grunge/rock and more street than forest inspired. But actually the next album will be pretty different. JED isn't anything yet, and that's why it can be everything!! No limits here.

Indica-Fans.net:
From the pictures you ladies posted, one can tell you had loads of fun doing the gigs and performing together. (I mostly recall the one, where you´ve bitten Jonsu´s arm) This makes me think: Who´d you say´s more “crazy” (if you allow me to phrase it that way). Jonsu or You, or are you both just having fun on and off stage?

Emppu Suhonen:
Hahaha, good question. We're both pretty wild sometimes and very serious sometimes. When I got to know Jonsu better I thought she's a crazy hippie but then again, that's probably exactly what she thinks about me too. We're a great match!

Indica-Fans.net:
In the same vein, are there any current plans for future JED gigs or projects?

Emppu Suhonen:
We would like to write music together. We've only just played together but composing and writing lyrics together, that's something we haven't done yet. But we have talked about it already.

Indica-Fans.net:
Back when Jenny from Indica skips some gigs while being pregnant, you helped out on guitars for several shows. How would you describe the time you´ve spent with them and will we see you on stage with the ladies again?

Emppu Suhonen:
If they need me, I'd be happy to help again. It was fun to play with Indica girls. It kind of took me back to Tiktak memories as well, 'cause we toured several years in the same places. And Mexico wasn't bad either.

Indica-Fans.net:
Also: Was it hard to learn all the songs beforehand?

Emppu Suhonen:
It took me few days, but I'm pretty good in memorizing new stuff. No, it wasn't too hard. It was actually fun to play something else than my own music for a while.

Indica-Fans.net:
Now, I don´t just want to “bombard” you with Indica-related questions, so: Alavala´s latest record “Secret Whale” has been out since the end of 2012. Are you currently touring with the band?

Emppu Suhonen:
Were recording our next album with Alavala. Next gigs will be in few months but before that I wish we'll finish the recordings.

Indica-Fans.net:
Something like a “bad habit” to my interviews, but something that always intrigues me. What do you think: Why are Finish bands and musicians so popular? Is it the melancholic touch, the northern roughness or some other “secret”, that makes them successful?

Emppu Suhonen:
I don't know. I think maybe we focus on the most important thing -music- more than focusing in cool clothes or smart hair style.

Indica-Fans.net:
Back to Alavala. Will you be hitting the stages in Germany (or outside Finland) anytime soon, so we can rock with you?

Emppu Suhonen:
That would be great. Masi has been touring in Europe a lot with his other band Amoral. I always ask him to promote Alavala too when he's there!

Indica-Fans.net:
Even though many musicians told me they consider making music there favorite waste of time, mostly there are other hobbies they use to relax. What is your most favorite recreation?

Emppu Suhonen:
I like playing other stuff than my own music. And playing other instruments than guitar. It's important to get your mind of off the music every now and then to get fresh ideas and sound. I also run a lot (even though fellow musicians sometimes laugh at my sport fixation, haha). It's uncool I guess.

Indica-Fans.net:
Talking music again: When writing or producing songs, do you prefer to listen to your “gut-feeling” to tell a songs ready to go, or do you have another approach?

Emppu Suhonen:

Yes, gut feeling is important. Also you shouldn't over-do things. Sometimes to first take is the best and when you do it again a hundred times it just gets worse and worse all the time. But I'm still learning. One gets so blind and deaf to one's own music.

Indica-Fans.net:

Alavala´s music has a rock, yet also (maybe a little) punk touch (as I felt), that´s really catchy. What´s your inspiration for the music you make?

Emppu Suhonen:
Punk music has always been a big influence for me even though the punk touch is not so obvious in my music. I've listened to NoFX, Afi, Rise Against and Pennywise forever. But also bands like Coheed and Cambria.

Indica-Fans.net:
Before I come to an end, I´d like to come back to Indica, if you don´t mind. I assume you listened to Shine (and/or the Finish Version “Akvaario”). May I ask what your favorite song would be and which version you like more? The Finish one or the one with English lyrics?

Emppu Suhonen:
I don't know yet which album I like more. I love the single Älä kanna pelkoa. We've also played that song with JED.

Indica-Fans.net:
Last but not least, I usually like to give the “final words” to my interview partner, so: What would you like to say to our readers and Fans (of Alavala /Indica alike)?

Emppu Suhonen:
Fans are one of the main reasons to make music! You´re the fuel to our musical flame, thank you for that!

Indica-Fans.net:
Thank you very much for taking your time for us, and hope to see you and Alavala anytime soon, rocking the stages.

Visit Alavala´s Homepage: alavalaband.com

 

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