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:

Circle

Jussi Lehtisalo

Pharaoh Overlord

Rättö ja Lehtisalo

Ektro Records

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The Devils: Iron Butt

Believers and non-believers, here’s your chance to get your sinning game back on track. Erica and Gianni will provide you with their very best guidance through hell and back. Wanna be a bad boy or girl?…toughen up coz only a real iron butt can take it all the way! *New album coming out in December*

The Devils, the word has it that you named your band after a movie of the same name, pls explain why?

Erica: I suggest you to watch it ….you will understand why.

How old are you guys?

Erica: I’m 318 years old . From 1798 I’ve been burnt long live two times, once in Castel Sant’Angelo and another time in Campo dei Fiori. I met Satan, he’s fallen in love with me and has anally possessed me, however he has given me shitty useless magic powers, fuck!

Gianni: I’m just 33 , but since 30 years I take Xanax

Were you both born in Napoli city or the suburbans and how is it to grow up in a real folklore city like Napoli?

Gianni: I was born 70 kms away from Napoli, but Neapolitan folklore is powerful enough to be rooted in my area.

Erica: It’s like Hell, fun though.

Was school a charm?

Erica: School always hated me, I tried to be nice to her, to study but she kept on disliking me .

Gianni: I was in school only when there was religion lessons.

When you are not on the road busy preaching but instead are dressed up in your civil suit what do you do for a living?

Gianni: You wouldn’t believe me but this is all we do for a living.

Roses are red and so is blood, what is the positive side and what is the negative side of a city like Napoli?

Erica: I guess the negative side is the pain you feel living there, the positive is that if I didn’t feel pain I wouldn’t have done what I keep on doin now . So I’m deeply grateful.

Who inspired you to become musicians?

Gianni: We are not musicians, we are rowdy.

Erica: I’ve been inspired by the mess of my city.

Where did you meet and how did The Devils come life?

Erica: We met on a dating website for lonely hearts and at our first date instead of getting in bed, we ended playing music at Gianni’s studio.

Direct influences in your music?

Gianni:  Blues, catholic education and Xanax

Erica: Anything that is primitive, rough and trashy.

Have you played in other bands?

Erica: I don’t really wanna talk about the scumbags with whom I have played in the past. I think that The Devils is my first project where I’m totally proud to be in.

When you see The Devils perform or watch their videos with primitive eyes, two things come to mind: Religion and Sex. Is there more to it than what meets the eye?

Gianni: tons of Xanax

Erica: People might think that we are a parody, that our songs about religion and sex are just a joke. Well, we are very serious about our music and the exaggeration is how we intensify the truth .

Is your appearance exclusively an image or is there a real statement behind?

Erica: Rock’n’roll is a lifestyle, so they’re supposed to give me an Academy Award  if I wasn’t in real life what you see on stage. Sadly, I’m not Sophia Loren .

Gianni: To a certain degree I’m an angel: I don’t drink and I don’t do drugs but for sure i’m much more a pervert in real life than on stage.

If I say church and catholicism what do you say?

Erica:  Disregard of life, a constant mood of an afterlife. Feeling awful in life and being unable to support it . Here’s the christianity.

Gianni: In 782 Charlemagne beheaded 4500 Saxons who didn’t want to convert to Christianity.

Are you going to get married?

Gianni: I keep on asking her to marry me but she always refuse .She says I’m a dirty white man and she’ll only marry me when I’ll learn to play Sam’s Boogie by Magic Sam .

Be honest, you sinned and had sex before marriage right?

Erica: We’re asexual dude, we are The Devils!

Are you atheists?

Gianni: Oh yeah.

What do you believe in?

Erica: I believe in rock’n’roll, nature and my endless ignorance.

Gianni: I believe energy follows thinking.

Do you consider yourself to be an act of blasphemy?

Erica: ‘ Jesus is here’ , call out the blasphemous.

Have you found Italy to be ready for nuns being dressed like you Erica?

Erica: I think Italians are already used to the idea of a sexy nun, I don’t believe I’ve created anything new. Sadly nobody was scandalized at our gigs. Italian freaks they were so fucking ready for sure, sad people just thought of us as a sad band.

Have you ever received threats before, during or after shows played in Italy?

Erica: Unfortunately that never happened . We hope to get arrested as soon as possible.

In Napoli they claim to have invented the pizza, what do you claim?

Erica: As good Neapolitans, we are great at stealing!

I’ve been to Napoli several times and always loved it…why?

Erica:  Cause the mozzarella milk you’ve been eating was made from buffaloes who eats grass grown out of trashy soils, giving to mozzarella a chemical effect of addiction to the city.

When you have time to waste, what do you do?

Erica: We do interviews.

How often do you practise?

Gianni: We practice almost every time we feel like it.

How long did it take you to record the songs for ‘Sin, You Sinners’ ?

Erica: At the beginning ‘ Sin you sinners ‘ was a demo, recorded in our garage with just two microphones. Then we decided to make it a real album, we met Jim Diamond and after we bribed him with a couple of wine bottles  he accepted to work with us. We locked ourselves in the studio and after 4 days the album was  done.

‘Sin You Sinners’, a title from an erotic movie by Joe Sarno. What are your fave movies?

Erica: Rocky, Rambo , Over The Top, Rumble Fish

Do you find bongo drums erotic?

Erica: Huh?

What else do you find erotic?

Erica: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club!

Gianni: The art of Namio Harukawa

Lets talk about your new album ‘Iron Butt’, why the title and did you find it harder to make a follow-up as opposed to the debut album?

Gianni: The Iron butt is hers. It wasn’t so hard to make it, actually it came naturally. We’ve been playing so much around that the songs came out easily.

Erica: During soundchecks or on the road, we write down lot of ideas. Indeed we’re already doing some songs for a third album.

What can we expect from the new album and what makes it different from the previous record?

Gianni: The new album is much more wild, loud and insane.

Erica: I think the second album is better played. It’s a clearer picture of what we do, the first record was more a wild card.

Fave meal?

Erica: Everything is orange.

Gianni: Lobster tail with homemade Chantilly cream.

Best show and worst show, tell a tale?

Gianni: Best show was at the Azkena Festival in Bilbao this year. People overwhelmed us.

Erica: The worst show was definitely in Portugal, during the soundcheck at the first chord Gianni did, a light exploded over his head, at the end of the concert we slapped  the promoter, who didn’t pay us, in the face.

Do you get it done or is there always a tomorrow?

Erica: I do it right away, tomorrow there are other things to do.

Who’s more lazy Erica or Gianni?

Erica:  Definitely GIANNI !

Who sleeps longer?

Gianni: I sleep a lot only when I’m having an erotic dream about Erica .

Erica:  I’m the one who sleeps longer, I could sleep for 48 hours in a row .

Who parties the most and who’s the party pooper?

Erica: I’m the party girl, Gianni is more domestic.

Gianni: Yeah I’m a sociopath, I can’t stay long with people.

What records are you currently listening to and which are your ultimate faves?

Erica: Il Balletto di Bronzo – Sirio 2222, Guadalupe Plata – 2017, Oh Sees – Orc

Gianni: Muddy Waters – After the rain

Music is a passion, what other passions do you have?

Erica: I collect dildos and love to play hide and seek with my scorpions .

Gianni: I enjoy doing artworks, working on photos and videos.

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Check out The Devils on:

Facebook: here

Website: here

Bandcamp: here

Label: Voodoo Rhythm

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(All rights to photos and art reserved by the individual artists)