Jussi Lehtisalo: The Man Without a Boundary

Jussi, a very common name in Finland but this Jussi has accomplished something that no other Jussi has ever accomplished: recording and releasing approximately a billion records or so!

We are talking hall of fame here, people have walked all over him on the Helsinwood Walk of Fame so with no further delay move your eyes further down and learn more about the guy who literally eats music for breakfast!

From Ektroverde to Kirvasto and then there is the multi-transformable band Circle/Falcon/Pharaoh Overlord?…looking through the endless discography your name appears in about a billion different bands, which of these bands have meant especially much to you?

Jussi: Circle

Did you ever count how many albums and singles have you released in total?

Jussi: I haven’t counted them, but I’m afraid there are many of them. Luckily I have done almost all of them with my friends.

Are you unstoppable?

Jussi: I thought I was but for the last three years I haven’t been very motivated, and I have mainly dreamed of slowing down.

Do you ever shut down and need silence without any music whatsoever?

Jussi: Right now there is such a moment at hand, but out of old habit, I always start concocting something… HAHAHAHAHAHA

Where do you find all that inspiration from?

Jussi: I force it out through action. If I waited for inspiration, I’d be covered in cobweb.

Have you ever hit a wall and just couldn’t get started?

Jussi: It happens very rarely, if at all. The ‘quality’ of the results may tell a completely different story, though.

Which release are you most proud of?

Jussi: Bensiini’s album R and Aktor’s album Paranoia.

Which recording took the longest time?

Jussi: We have compiled the new Pharaoh Overlord record for way too long. We’ve even waited for the cover art for a year now.

Do you have time to do anything else than think, create and play music?

Jussi: I go to play and watch ice hockey. I read comics, and I’ve also picked up reading books again. I also like films, but in Finland the streaming services have stagnated the film culture in the same way that the Finnish radios did to music. I used to order lots of films before, but now I’m just ogling TV series like some ignoramus.

What is yer fave expression in Finnish?

Jussi: “I don’t wanna beat you up coz I don’t have any self-esteem anyhow.”

This blog is named after a visual art project by Mika Taanila, a project Circle was involved in with an album release to follow. Please tell us about how this collaboration came together, how long you worked on it and how you experienced it?

Jussi: Mika Taanila compiled a triptych from old linguistics film archives and asked us to write the music to it. We have performed the piece a few times all over the world, and we released a live vinyl and CD from the first concert. Collaborations with Mika Taanila have always been very nice and seamless. I’m looking forward to working with him in many future projects. (*editor: no proper video material available of the sseennsseess project, so here is a trailer of another Circle/Mika collab, the Six Day Run and an earlier Circle music video by Mika Taanila)

What music are you listening to right now?

Jussi: I’m listening to Iron Maiden’s new live album that’s just come out, and the new Protomartyr record.

All time fave bands?

Jussi: Led Zeppelin, Grateful Dead and Jesters of Destiny.

What’s your fave movie?

Jussi: At the moment  Mika Taanila’s Tectonic Plate.

Early bird or nite raven?

Jussi: Nite raven

Wine or beer?

Jussi: Both.

Black coffee or green tea?

Jussi: Green tea.

Meat or vegetables?

Jussi: Meat.

Do you like cooking, if yes what is your best dish, if not why?

Jussi: I like cooking to some extent. Chili fish soup is my specialty, and I’ve also learned to make fairly good chicken-prawn Thai soup.

You played at Duna Jam (in the only year when I was not there!!) how was it to play there in such an amazing setting?

Jussi: Duna Jam trip was awesome and we had a great time. People were very nice, and there we had world’s best pesto lasagna made according to one lady’s special secret recipe.

Have you played in similar settings before?

Jussi: We haven’t.

You have travelled the seven seas more or less, weirdest place you have played?

Jussi: In the nineties we once played in a hotel in Pieksämäki, Finland. They had double booked a rock concert and a porn fair. There was a female stripper performing before we went on, and a male stripped came after us.

Worst place?

Jussi: Each place had had its moments.

What does nature do to your mind?

Jussi: It didn’t use to have an effect on me before, but in recent years Finland’s dark autumn has started to make me weary and melancholic.

What does city do to your mind?

Jussi: Nothing special.

Are you passionate?

Jussi: Not in particular any more. I’m more manic. Sometimes I feel like fried potatoes are more passionate than I am.

When the shit hits the fan, what do you do?

Jussi: I act as if nothing happened.

Are you a sunny person?

Jussi: I am a very sunny person, and twenty years ago I was even more so.

Does your mind ever wander of to other places when you are at the 19th minute of playing the same monotone rhythm?

Jussi: Last time we played monotonic beats in the nineties, and without exception I thought about the superior ingenuity of our band.

Do you love life?

Jussi: My attitude to life is twofold. I want to live, but some part in me is up against it. My lifestyle is actually quite unhealthy.

Does life love you?

Jussi: Yes it does, but don’t always recognize it well enough.

Happiest moment in your life?

Jussi: When my daughter was born seven years ago.

Ever play any sports?

Jussi: I have played ice hockey, Finnish baseball, and I have won several junior category Finnish championships in pistol shooting.

Share a funny anecdote with us?

Jussi: Sunn O))) featuring Sanni.

Ever seen the short movie “Perkele”?

Jussi: No, I haven’t.

Watch it here: https://vimeo.com/channels/sampsa/27007966

How many times a day do you use the word perkele?

Jussi: Maybe once.

Best Finnish movie?

Jussi: A Finnish film called ‘We are five friends’ (1989) directed by Jaakko Pyhälä, but because it’s so rare that it’s impossible to see it, I will say The Man Without a Past (2002) by Aki Kaurismäki, because my hero and friend Markku Peltola played the lead role in it.

Jussi was a part of the “Day in the Mouth” episodes directed, edited and filmed by Sami Sänpäkkilä:

For more info click on:


Jussi Lehtisalo

Pharaoh Overlord

Rättö ja Lehtisalo

Ektro Records