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News

21 April 2009

Lab Does Laundry

Ana and Pekka came to meet me at the office, and I was promised ten questions each. On a truth-or-dare basis.


1 Pekka,Truth or Dare?

"I dare not take dare with you. So it it must be truth."

2 What is going on with Lab?

"We are building a new concept. We have a new album recorded." He grins, looking pelased. "It is wonderful ventilation to write one's own artistic stuff without anyone saying how they think I should do it. Otherwise, when I produce or record other bands, my job is to help them make t_h_e_i_r vision come true."

3 What the hell does building a new "concept" mean? (I realize, that my well planned questions will not be of use. I must improvise.)

"Heh, It is a word Ana uses...it normally means, that one wants to avoid all detailed questions. =)) But, in OUR case, it means we are learnig to survive without our three other members. Well, Kirka and Johannes were helping us with the new album. But since now, the core band is just me and Ana, we must for example decide how to deal with the live performances in the future. There are many ways to do it. But as for now, the biggest issue is how to get our contracting to fit us. And how to find those companies and get them to sign us with such terms we can be happy with. A normal record deal is really not the only option here. Ana is creative, she always comes up with almost too many possibilities." Pekka smiles. "Well, I am not the one of us who sits at home, frowning in deep thoughts, at weekends, pondering on different ways to combine different possibilities."

4 What do you mean WITHOUT THREE MEMBERS? Have you guys split up? That is NOT good.

"Yes. No. That was three questions in one, wasn't it? Yes, it is sad. After our touring and promotion for "Where Heaven Ends" we actually broke up. Masa, Johannes and Kirka wanted to quit. I wanted to REALLY continue. And Ana wanted to take a break, she said she wanted to have like -- three monts of holiday before continuing. Or maybe a month, but it felt like forever. I wanted to keep up at full steam. We were just getting the road to open in Germany, and things were finally moving. I really felt my own band betrayed me. After many years of hard work."

7 So you and Ana continued, was it so?

"No. I wanted to continue. Ana wanted to have a break - a long holiday before starting to write new lyrics and starting the new round with the next album. So we disagreed, and then she said: FINE! THEN I QUIT, TOO! So, we quit."


I am not counting any more. I need Ana to confirm what I just heard. So I put her to the grill next:

1 What the FFFF--CK!!!??

"Well, yes, it is true. I must say I think our Masa, Kirka and Johannes must have had enough of me being as lovely as a wasp under your t-shirt, most of the time, towards the end. Especially when we were not under public eye. I hate parties. I hate crowds. I am avoiding humans at any cost in my private life. That is who I am. It is nothing personal, I am just not a fan of fuzzy, busy, messy, stressy situations. Performing has always been an extreme pain for me. I am petrified with horror before a show. In shock. And the joy I feel afterwards is not really joy, it is relief. I definately deserved - and needed - a break. I need to become me again after all PR is done, to be able to write."

"Well, seriously," Ana continues without me asking. " I know that Johannes, Masa and Kirka wanted to quit for other reasons, too. Lab had come before everything else, for many years. It was military dicipline. You were only allowed to cancel a gig to participate your own funeral. But even then one was strongly advised to get someone else to jump in the coffin. So that you could play the gig. I think they wanted to have a life. Don't you just hate that?"

2 I really liked Lab with all its five members...

"So did I." Ana shuts me up. " I can't describe how it felt to let go of the rehearsal studio, and thinking that it is all over. Missing the only "gang" I had ever felt I belonged to. Instead, I was suddenly being totally alone, outside of everything, and with no reason to exist or do anything. It was a weird, white, brain-chilling feeling. I was especially pissed with Pekka. I could not understand that he could be so stubbornly so unrealistic. I was so sick with hairspray and make-up that I could not write anything. I really had to take a break. That it had to cost me my whole life, felt unfair. I had even done more interviews than the others, and been to almost every PR-occasion, while the others often had not. And I was by far the most anti-social of us all."

3 To me you always seem funny and talkative and never afraid of anyo...

"So seems the lady at the supermarket, who is giving free samples to people to taste, foaming on and on about how it is the best rye-bread ever, and practically forcing people to try and to buy. Still, she may later sit under a blanket in the darkness and whish she would safely die into Heaven before the next work-day comes."

I wonder how short a sound from me launches Ana to answer... I try with:

4 Hmm...

"Yes", Ana gets the un-asked question. "We broke apart. It hurt." Suddenly Ana is really quiet. She looks like she is about to drift away into her painful memories.

5 Ana, Why did no-one know about this? There are rumours, but somehow no-one ever really knew.

"I asked Kimmo at Sony to keep it out of media. I know nothing more pathetic than "come-back" publicity, after a "break up" publicity. I think that kinda stuff is flat out cheap. I know I hoped Lab would come back to it's senses and everything would be good again. I also know I did not believe it would ever be the same again. However, I feared the thought of maybe 70 more years of staying alive without a life. So I wanted to give our name a chance to survive. Lab is after all our "brand" and had been built during many years. I thought that if there ever was a chance to continue writing music, rehearsing, playing, singing, recording - I just thought that... maybe there was still a chance."

6 So that is why no-one knew. Your recrod company respected your wish..

"Well, I am sure many people who work in the music business, know. But Kimmo has kept it out of the media. That, I am very grateful for."

"How many questions left? :)" Ana checks. "Cause I am not counting...have I given you a chance to really ask anything? =)) Hehehsgwwiigh, heHHEhehe."

She sounds funny when she is laughing. But definately not human.

"You are a bit familiar to me, so I am not that stiff, I think," she analyzes.

7 Do you think you all five will get back together?

"I hate that. Because I think that may never happen. Right now, Pekka and me, twosome, mostly, have made an album. It took foreeever to write, then it took forever to record it. Johannes was playing the lead- violines on the album, and Kirka came to play the bass. Masa was not there, the drums were played by Alec - he is the drummer of Suburban Tribe. But these are very emotional things for me. I am still deeply grieving the old Lab. But when I close my eyes to that hurting, I can feel great joy about our new album. It is the first one I feel I had time to write till it really is ready. I can't do better. Different I can do. And I could change things. But not do better."

8 You are looking for a record company?

"Yes, we have been mailing some copies of the new album out. Now we can only hope someone loves it. If not, we will sent it to some others. Meanwhile, Pekka is already writing new songs. I can't wait to get to muse on fresh, new virgin melodies. Pekka can write emotional experiences and visual sceneries into the music. It is wonderful to fly into that world to look for the story to write."

9 It could not take this long to make an album. What else did you do since the end of 2005?

"I know."Ana says tamely. "I did spend a year or so as a ghost. It was kinda foggy and I had totally empty hands. So I put up a little studio in the basement. And little means little. More like a closet.. Since I did not have Pekkas songs to write, I wrote some songs myself. It is hard to make a demo, when one can not play any instruments. Hehhh, ghh, but, I somehow managed to get the chords, the most important bass- and other lines and the melody, ofcourse, on tape. I had my father even play the violine arrangenmet to some songs. I think two and a half of six songs are good. the rest is "album-track-material". Spam. Something the world is full of, but no-one falls in love with."

Pekka cuts in:

"I put up a studio with a friend, and I started to record and produce for other bands. I was also lucky, cause I got to play the bass (!!!) in "45 degree woman". They are great friends and it is a really cool band. Jumping into a fully functional band with gigs and making a record, kept me alive. I would have gone mad without them, so betrayed I felt by Lab at that time."

10 Last question to Ana, then "pullakahvit!!" (coffee and sweet bread) Ok, but you did not write this fourth album fighting with Pekka still?

"No! :))" Ana grins so her whole face gets wrinkled. "Fighting less than ever before!! Pekka helped me with my basement-studio and came to teach me pro-tools basics.. we talked a little about this and that every time, but circling the painful issue at a safe distance. Then, we both knew that we both hated not having the music flow. We decided in the end to make one more album. Letting it take its time."

"We have always fought with each other. We are both severely left-handed, impulsive, stubborn, and we know each other too well to remember to behave. But we two crazies have never behaved better towards each other, than now, that we had almost lost everything."

Then there are big tea-mugs of strong coffee. And a huge "pullapitko". We drink, eat, and as a closure to the interviev, they let me hear one song from their new album. It is called "My Murdered Dream".

Jussi Terä