Here’s your chance to meet a sensitive guy making sensitive music, his name is Petri from Espoo, Finland. Out with his beautiful brand new and first solo album self-titled as Vähäsarja.
Imagine an intimate moment with yourself, does it feel right?
To be honest I know very little about Petri Vähäsarja, what is your background?
From Espoo, now living in Helsinki. Four brothers, parents. Ten years of writing. Songs, poetry and prose. Also writing for a living, newspaper-stuff.
The new and self-titled Vähäsarja album on Helmi Levyt is your first full solo album release, please give people that does not know you or your album an irresistible reason to go out and buy it?
From that album you can find things that can’t be expressed in words, I believe. Many things about me but also some things about you. I´m pretty sure you find out that these songs mean something to me and even though they are playful, depressed and kind of funny and naive tunes, it´s pretty clear that I’m not fooling around very much. For me they are kind of “serious business” but still they are easing my mind in some unexpressed level.
Since my Finnish is a bit rusty, what are your songs about?
Finally they are about me. Dreamy pictures of me. Not very much about the other people I sing about. I really don’t make songs for other people but I sure enjoy knowing them to listen me. Actually, the last song in my record is about God and about me. My friends are saying that it’s about ISIS: “Lord never leaves me, even though I had lost my head and my hands would be chopped off”
If you had to write a small review on your own album?
It’s really not possible for me to rate these songs anymore. We recorded those now and then in period that lasted almost three years. Songs of the album are some kind of weird parts about me and my life right now and it’s very hard to make a review about yourself, especially when you see yourself slightly different day by day.
You are playing upcoming shows with Risto Juhani and also Joose Keskitalo both having released quite a few records already. Have either of them inspired you and do you have something in common with them from a personal or musical point of view?
Both of them are my good friends and both of them have more or less inspired me to write my own songs at first place. I have known Risto all of my life and he has led me to the world of “self-made folk”. I have also admired Joose since the first gig I saw him playing at 2004 (?). He was just releasing his first album Luoja auta then and that album and his gigs of that time really changed my views of expressing myself. Risto and Joose have given me some kind of ways to find my own voice and my ways to try to desperately handle the paradox of life by creating music.
They are deep and warm personalities and I also feel spiritually connected with them as a Christian.
Inspiration is a commonly used term and the easiest question to ask so instead of asking what or who has inspired you, let’s ask it differently…what does inspiration mean to you?
I am inspired when I feel free. I can feel free also being depressed or sad or even when I’m angry as hell. Sometimes writing songs and performing them also leads me from my self-made prison to a free state of mind and heart. Sometimes songs don’t help me at all.
You’re from Espoo, how is it to grow up in a city like Espoo?
My childhood was dreamy and rich. I´m not sure was it very much about Espoo at all. People say that Espoo “doesn’t have a soul”. That it’s just a place to live. There is really no centre in Espoo but in north Espoo there are woods and lakes, and I really love lakes from the bottom of my heart.
To be honest my school years in Espoo were more or less sports and wannabe ghetto-style living, listening to skate punk music and playing floorball.
Best and worst side of the city?
Lakes and woods and couple of old villages are best side of town. Worst are malls and train stations.
Best and worst side of you?
Best: I’m sensitive and somewhat creative as well as funny in my opinion. Sometimes I am enthusiastic and sometimes I’m kind.
Worst: I’m often scared and I can get mad easily. Now and then I’m depressed and during those times I really can’t see the future.
Physical traveller or mind traveller?
I don’t like travelling very much. It’s weird but when I travel far, I feel like collapsing any moment. I don’t know why. Now I am in love and I feel that I can travel round the world and be just fine. I guess I’d still be a mind traveller. I’m free where I am or I’m not free anywhere.
Do you have a hobby besides music?
I run pretty much. Always alone.
I don’t know if it is possible in Espoo but what if you were standing on a top of a hill with a view over the city what would you be thinking on a dark winter day and what would you instead be thinking on a summer day?
In the middle of Espoo there is another small city called Kauniainen. In Kauniainen there is ‘high hill’ named Kasavuori and on the top of Kasavuori you can actually see most of Espoo by one eye view. I haven’t been there during the winter but I guess that despite the season I would wonder how small people are and how big skies are and how wonderful, insane and tragic a life we have.
Does a dark and cold winter atmosphere inspire you in a particular way?
No. I’m rather inspired by the change. Spring and fall. Summer is beautiful but a boring season.
Do you consider yourself a free spirit?
As I know, whatever that means, absolutely. Especially in music I can create and be whatever I want.
Do you have a motto?
To live free, I have to learn to die.
Name one thing you have done that you usual would never do, good as bad?
Once I borrowed money from bank and travelled to a tourist trap in Thailand.
What is the nicest thing you have ever done to another person?
A song, I guess. Even though I’m not sure it was a very nice thing to do.
What is the nicest thing another person has ever done to you?
My parents have never judged me despite it all and they have always loved me the best they can.
Do you feel lucky in life?
Right now yes, definitely but there sure has been some different times also.
Do you consider life a drug in itself?
Life gets my head messed up quite often, so yes but the trip isn’t always very nice.
Are you listening to any music classified as world music?
Not all that much. I’m a pretty limited friend of music because I know too well what kind of stuff I like and the stuff I do not like.
How about classic music?
Some minimalistic stuff once in awhile but not very often though. Yesterday I listened to Arvo Pärt once again.
Fave Finnish bands?
Dave Lindholm, Ville Leinonen, Leevi and the leavings, Mikko Joensuu and Joose and Risto of course. Recently I have listened a lot to an artist called Anna Inginmaa as well.
Fave Finnish movies?
Klaus Härös Postia pappi Jaakobille is really beautiful and a deep movie, also the movies of Aki Kaurismäki. Actually I don’t really like the Kaurismäki movies but nevertheless I find myself watching them often.
Fave Finnish food?
Fave Finnish beer?
Karhu, the basic Finnish street beer.
If you had to write a short poem in Finnish about yourself and/or your life, how would that go?
Puista tippui tammenterhoja
ja joitain ajatuksia muista maailmoista
tipahti kasvoille, kävi tuuli, ja ikävä sivalsi ihoa
vanhemmiten – sanoi pyörätuolistaan – on iho tullut herkemmäksi
niin että siitä menee jo melkein kaikki läpi
Band info: https://www.facebook.com/vhsarja
Label info: Helmi Levyt / http://www.helmilevyt.com