Halme Prospekt: the soundtrack to someone’s life..

So it was back then when you remembered the good times and bad times, the joy and sadness, where life ends and begins. All of the sudden the soundtrack to someone’s life was written and it sounds something like this..

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Name, age, instrument, current and previous bands?

Arttu Tolonen, 44 years old. Playing in Halme Prospekt. I play guitar, baritone guitar, electronics, bass. In other bands I additionally play or have played banjo, bouzouki, harmonica, lap steel and mandolin. Active bands: Halme Prospekt, Hannu Salama & Vapaat Radikaalit, Riitaoja and Them Bird Things. Currently I’m learning violin. Past bands: Giant Robot, Black Audio, Fat Beat Sound System, etc.

Hepa Halme, 60 yrs woodwinds. Playing in Halme Prospekt, The Bad Ass Brass Band, Fat Beat Sound System, The Cool Sheiks and The Bullworkers.

 

What do you do for a living and why exactly that?

Arttu: In the 90s I ran an Inn for a living. In the 2000’s I’ve generally written and translated for a living. Currently I work in the IT industry, in communications and content creation.

Hepa: I play music; that´s the best thing to do with your clothes on

 

Who taught you to ride a bicycle?

Arttu: My dad. In Espoo around 1978.

Hepa: Self taught on my daddy´s bike.

 

Did you fall on your bicycle in recent times?

Arttu: Haven’t fallen off my bike since the 90s.

Hepa: No.

 

Is it easier to ride a bike or a horse?

Arttu: Seeing as how I’m allergic to horses, yes.

Hepa: I don´t know but I know a horse in my neighborhood that I´m going to ride on. By now we´re learning to know each other.

 

Why and how did you end up playing music? Who taught you to play an instrument?

Arttu: My parents tried to get me interested in violin and piano when I was a child, but it didn’t take. As a teenager I, for some reason, decided I wanted to play guitar and bought an Ibanez electric. It had something to do with hearing the blues, I think. Around 1986 or 1987 I took lessons from a Finnish guitarist called Ilkka Rantamäki for a year. Since then, I’ve learned on my own. I’ve studied theory in school, but not instruments.

Hepa: I went to the local music school in East Helsinki.

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How did the Halme Prospekt come together, what was the idea behind it?

Arttu: I think I ended up in Halme Prospekt because I have a fondness for playing repetitive figures and I also knew how to operate Pro Tools at a time when Hepa wasn’t very conversant with it. I didn’t know it would evolve into a live band. I’ve also relinquished my role as a player of repetitive parts and moved into more off-the-hook and improvised territory since Tapani came in as a bass player. Fundamentally it probably came together as a vehicle for playing Hepa’s compositions that were too abstract and weird for Fat Beat Sound System, which was, in any case, more collaborative and jam-oriented.

Hepa: The band came to be of the musicians who took part in my solo recordings. The original idea was to have a platform for my compositions

 

Your music sounds like the soundtrack to someone’s life. Please describe this person?

Arttu: Hmm… Maybe the sort of person who still looks for a used book store to visit when arriving in a new town.

Hepa: It´s my life and I do what I want…

 

Please also describe the music?

Arttu: Subjectively historicist.

Hepa: That´s hard but on this album some my influences and ispirations can be heard clearly; Edward Vesala, Grateful Dead, ethnic musics from all over the world, psychedelic funk…

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Why should people buy your new album “Pajazzo”?

Arttu: Not sure anyone should buy any music anymore. It’d be interesting to see what’d happen if the profit motive were taken out of the equation.

Hepa: It´s a great album that came out through a short but concentrated production process. The idea was to include compositions by each member of the band but it didnt happen that way. So we already have something for the next album.

 

Where do you get the inspiration to write music?

Arttu: Sounds, verbal phrases, the act of picking up an instrument and needing an impulse that either shuts out the surrounding world or works in concert with it.

Hepa: Some compositions just happen, some need to be worked out hard. I don’t really write, I play and pick up the good parts and try to build up something even better

 

Are you affected by the four seasons when writing music?

Arttu: No.

Hepa: There´s actually more than four and it’s good to live in constant change.

 

Where do you get the drive from to keep playing an instrument and music in general?

Arttu: Not sure, actually. It’s something that happens and I haven’t really considered not doing it an option for decades now.

Hepa: Music is a good way to escape somewhere once in a while and that makes life easier.

 

Does it ever annoy you or bore you to play music?

Arttu: No, because when it does, I don’t play.

Hepa: No, not really.

 

Is music more to you than just playing an instrument and good sounding tunes?

Arttu: Yes. It’s what’s inside coming out. It’s something about me I barely understand.

Hepa: It´s a way of life and a method to grow up as a human being.

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How many times have you walked through a snowstorm to reach a practice session?

Arttu: A dozen times, perhaps?

Hepa: Many times when I was younger, nowadays I have a car.

 

Ever tried playing your instrument with frozen fingers?

Arttu: No.

Hepa: Yes, a few times, not easy but possible.

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Ever wanted to be rich and famous or just rich or just famous?

Arttu: I’ve wanted to be just rich. Never wanted to be famous. I sometimes wished someone else would take one of my songs and make it ahit for them, giving me access to the money, but without me having to do the touring, promo, etc.

Hepa: Yes both but not anymore. In fact I think I´m famous and rich enough.

 

Please tell us a memorable story from your youth and the town you grew up in?

Hepa: I grew up in eastern Helsinki which was some kind of R&B territory at the time. Lot´s of good musicians gathered together to jam and have fun, nothing serious. That kind of music was not considered a career opportunity back then but it was kind of a community thing. There was a good school for classical music studies as well. Influences were many.

 

What has changed on the Finnish music scene in the past 20 years?

Arttu: I haven’t been in the Finnish music scene for 20 years yet, but in recent years the bottom has fallen out of what I would’ve considered the lower middle class of the music scene. The popular bands are more popular than ever, but there is less room to operate if you’re not immensely popular. I foresee a renewed surge in the importance of subcultures in the future.

Hepa: The business is more professional and commercial and most of the artists and bands sound like each other.

 

Which Finnish bands are you listening to now and who are your all time faves?

Arttu: My answers to questions like these are tied to the time of writing. They expire immediately. Listening right now to: Death Hawks, Pekko Käppi, Ronskibiitti and Liberty Ship. All-time faves: Sielun Veljet, Dave Lindholm, Krakatau, Sperm, Tuomari Nurmio.

Hepa: Pekko Käppi, Asa, Tähtiportti. All time favorites: the original Wigwam, pre Sound and Fury Edward Vesala.

..and which non-Finnish bands?

Arttu: Listening to right now to: Carolina Chocolate Drops and The Clipse. All-time faves: Bad Brains, Miles Davis (1967-1975), Debussy, old time banjo and fiddle tunes, Steely Dan, Charles Mingu, Einojuhani Rautavaara’s “Cantus Arcticus”.

Hepa: Anything I can get my hands on! Parliament/Funkadelic, Miles Davis, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Albert Ayler, Carla Bley, Dr John, Neil Young, Lou Reed, Marvin Gaye, early Prince, Weather Report.

 

Fave Finnish movie?

Hepa: Täällä Pohjantähden Alla.

 

Did you ever fall through thin ice literally and/or metaphorically?

Arttu: Metaphorically, yes.

Hepa: Yes, I did once.

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Worst drink you ever had?

Arttu: Korean whisky.

Hepa: Black Death.

Black Death

Drink Type: Cocktail

Ingredients

1/2 oz. Vodka (more Vodka drinks)

1/2 oz. Southern Comfort (more Southern Comfort drinks)

1/2 oz. Amaretto (more Amaretto drinks)

1/2 oz. Curacao (more Curacao drinks)

1/2 oz. Triple Sec (more Triple Sec drinks)

Cranberry Juice (more Cranberry Juice drinks)

Instructions

Shake with ice and strain (or not) in a collins glass. The colder, the better.

 

Worst meal?

Hepa: I can´t remember, something British I guess.

 

Saddest place you have ever played?

Hepa: Finland Finland Finland…sad but beautiful.

 

Do you like your couch?

Arttu: Yes. It’s big and L-shaped.

Hepa: Very much; it´s my source of inspiration and my magic carpet etc.

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Where do you go when looking for peaceful alone time?

Arttu: I don’t have such a thing.

Hepa: Into the woods.

 

Is love necessary, if yes what do you love?

Arttu: Yes, absolutely. My children, my wife, music, sex, the feeling of a boxing glove connecting with a bag, flashes of brilliance in the nooks and crannies of the mundane.

Hepa: Love makes the world go round. Music is the soundtrack of the world. I love music.

 

Fave saying?

Hepa: Voi vitun vitun vittu.

 

If I say politics, what do you say?

Arttu: Framework for making decisions that seems to have a tendency towards dysfunction on that front. Requires vigilance.

Hepa: Revolution!

 

What kind of country is Finland today politically and culturally?

Arttu: Occasionally backwards despite our better spirits.

Hepa: The people are mixed up because the country is in some kind of collective depression. In art this means good times and great opportunities; when the going gets tough the tough gets going.

 

Hobbies?

Arttu: Music?

Hepa: Gardening, sauna.

 

Habits bad as good?

Arttu: I seem to forget that good part of being drunk has a very limited shelf life.

Hepa: Snoring.

 

Share a dream with us?

Arttu: My dream is to divorce Finnishness from genetics and appearance and distill it into an idea. Like the Americans have done. Then I want to have a million people that share this idea to move here.

Hepa: I had a dream of John Lennon playing Imagine for me.

If you found yourself lost in between the 1000 lakes what would you scream out to the world in pure desperation?

Arttu: HEAT UP THIS COLD FUCKING WATER!

Hepa: That´s where I belong, in the middle of the silence. I don´t get lost there.

press

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Visit Halme Prospekt here

Visit the label Karkia Mistika Records here or here

**All right to the posted photos of the band are reserved and property of Hepa Halme/Halme Prospekt**

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Amplexos – children of the Tropicalia movement

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Children of the Tropicalia movement, youth reborn to love and never reject, to learn from the past, to stand up for the true values in life and to pass them on to the new generation…that in a psychedelic nutshell is what and who Amplexos is all about…Viva Brasil!

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Please present each of the band members?

LV: Guga – singer-songwriter, rythm guitarist / Martché – keyboardist and backing vocalist / Polito – bass player / Tolen – percussionist / Mestre André – drummer / Leandro Vilela (me) – lead guitarist and backing vocalist.

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What and who are your direct influences?

Mestre: I believe that our faith is the most powerful influence for us, because that´s what made us doing what we did in our lives and what we are doing now in music.

How much has the Tropicalia movement meant for you as children of a different generation and how much has it influenced your music?

Tolen: Tropicalia is a strong influence for us, because it´s one of the big things in the history of the music and pop culture, especially in Brazil.  So, we are involved and infected with this movement and it’s deployments, there´s no escape! One of the most important things in Tropicalia is being open for all the possibilities in this world, knowing that we can learn all the time with everything and everyone. Tropicalia didn´t refuse anything and that´s what we are trying to do with our work in music. Live with no fear of love.

How is it to grow up in a relatively small and industrial city like Volta Redonda aka Cidade do Aço (Steel City)?

Martché: Volta Redonda is an inner city with good weather and a good location. It was built because of the industry (CSN – National Steel Company),  so it´s a new city, only 61 years old. Most of our fathers and grandfathers left their cities to work here for CSN. Growing up here as a child was very good because in that time there was a more relaxing lifestyle and we met a lot of wonderful people who helped us to be what we are now, as musicians and adults. It´s a good place that God selected for us.

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Is it difficult to start a band in a city like Volta Redonda?

Polito: It´s not difficult to start a band here but it´s very difficult to keep it alive. As a small city, it´s easier meeting people and musicians to work with but it´s so hard to make money. Nevertheless, we are still working with all of our love and faith. Music is what moves our soul and body.

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Best and worst features of the city?

Guga: The best thing here is the good location. It´s an inner city, so we don´t have the craziness and the urgency of a big city but at the same time Volta Redonda is located between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo which makes our life easier in terms of playing  concerts and networking in two of the most important cities in Brazil. The worst thing here is the industry (CSN), because it damages the health of our people in a lot of ways with the hard hard hard labor and especially with the pollution.  We have to compensate the pollution with physical activities, practicing sports like swimming. Everybody in Volta Redonda are born with lung injuries..

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What do you do besides playing music?

LV: We have a studio here called Espaço Criativo Casa. It is in a small house where you can record and produce music as well as meet other artists and musicians. We have already produced a number of songs and albums here. Three of us work with the music production in the studio. All members of the band are music teachers and we have some students here who are learning to play bass, guitar, drums and singing. Our house is our office too, so all the hard managerial work of the band is also being done here. We promote and organize some pocket shows and workshops here too as well as a lot of shows and parties in a lot of different places during all year. Some of us work as sound engineers at concerts of other artists and some of us work by cooking vegan and vegetarian food. That´s what we do.

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What did you do before starting to play music?

LV: We all just started our professional lives playing, that´s our mission here but if you are asking about what we do before the concerts well then it depends of the time.  We have to concentrate before playing, it all depends of the place where we are and our feelings. We always pray to God, thanking for the opportunities of doing music, asking for protection and for making a good and strong perfomance. We all like to make some physical exercises and stretching in order to to go on stage in a good and powerful condition. The most important thing is to prepare our spirits for the concerts, because that´s what makes people feel our message and mission. We talk a lot about the world’s social situation and about us by trying to be as much together as possible and feeling the same vibrations. Some of us smoke a big spliff to celebrate the moment and light our spirits.

Played/playing in other bands?

Mestre: We all have a lot of musical experience with others bands, orchestras and percussion groups. Nowadays we play in other bands too like Beatbass Hightech and the young singer/composer Raí Freitas.

What does music mean to you?

Tolen: Life, movement.

Your new album “Sendeiro” has just been released which also marks 10 years of band activities. In your very own opinion how did this album live up to your expectations?

Martché: In 10 years a lot of things happens and all that we lived in these years we carry on in our music. Playing music is the way we have to be to feel free and young. Each moment is one! Our expectations is to continue working on this road to freedom.

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Please tell us about the process behind of your new album?

Polito: This album represents the most important time of our lifes! Our previous album “A Música da Alma” (“Music of The Soul”, 2012) gaves us an awakening, so in that time we started a hard work within the organization and administration, which was so hard!
At the same time, each one of us was living unique experiences, like the happiness of a childbirth and the suffering of being sick. In this chaos of life, we felt the necessity to communicate these experiences, the necessity to talk to everyone about our lives and feelings because everybody have similar problems as an essence, no matter in which  time and place you find yourself.
Everyday when playing together something new would emerge, something thrilling. In the beginning of 2015 we decided to stop our business work to start working on songs for a new album. We did tiresome rehearsels and the songs were being constructed in a great speed and everyone would always show a big dedication. Our feelings were that these songs had to be perfect, not in technical preciousness but perfect in the sense of communicating our message in a complete manner and with simplicity.
The weekend before we started recording in the studio, we traveled with our family to Maromba, a small city in the mountain near Rio de Janeiro, getting away just to play all the time and make sure that everything was alright. So, that was the final step of the creative process. We arrived to Volta Redonda on the Sunday night and already Monday morning we started recording.

How would you define your music now and how has it grown and developed throughout the years?

Guga: It´s always hard to define something plural and with no cutout like our music! What we are trying to do is exactly the opposite of that.
Each one will have a definition, according to his references and memories. I like to observe that we have a lot of elements of rock, progressive, afrobeat, funk, soul, dub and reggae. In the beggining our music was more raw, more innocent but time passed and we developed our technique like musicians, our feelings about life and spiritual experiences, we started to search the music that really moves our soul, the music that talks deep with us. During this searching we approached the Brazilian music, samba, African and Jamaican, the latin rhythms etc. I believe that today all of these elements are more mature, more dense and I think we really found our personality.

Brazil has a strong cultural past especially within music and even today the music scene is a treasure where a lot of the underground music remains within the local communities. Is this something that you can relate to?

Mestre: Yes, of course. For a long time Brazil was like a global antenna, capturing influences from the settlers, the Europeans, the power of North America, mixing it with the indigenous roots and the african resistence of the slaves. Today, this antenna is still connected because of the technology, internet and it’s facilities. Specifically talking about Volta Redonda, there are many thing happening with art. There’s a big movement on the streets with artists of many languages, expressing theirselves in writing, acting, with their bodies. The music scene is shining in rock, rap, samba… and we are very very happy to be part of this history, like a reference for the younger. We are ONE!

Who wrote the lyrics to the songs of your new album and what do they talk about?

LV: Guga, our singer and song-writer, a very inteligent person, blessed by God and by all of the members of Amplexos, you know? He really knows how to filter our feelings like nobody in the group. ‘Sendeiro’ is an album about our times, about love, about forgiveness and about a big power we have in our hands but many times we don’t use it because of social distraction or lack of education and opportunity. This album is about respect – the way for a better world begins in our attitudes, you know? Something simple, that we heard many times throughout history… something that never will become old, because everybody feels it and still have to learn about it. All of this played with humility, modern poetry, heat and funk.

Traditional percussion can be heard in your songs too, how important is it to leave a footprint of your own roots in the songs?

Mestre: I think it’s important being yourself, naturally. So, the roots appear! Everything we are appears when done with love and transparency. Personally, being the drummer then from myself emerges the beat, the african percussion which is still very strong and alive in Brazil, the music that causes smile, happiness and hope of better days.

The psychedelic aspect of your music is also a part of the Brazilian legacy. Please try to explain the importance of this?

Tolen: It’s important as any other aspect in Brazilian music! Deeply, our sound is Brazilian because we are Brazilian and we can’t run away for ourselves. I feel that the more we are genuine and real, we are our street, our neighborhood, our city and our country…the more we are universal and global.

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How much is social realism a theme in your daily life and your music?

Martché: The fact about the human being is that we are constantly developing technology but it’s still used for evil. We are holding on to the material world and so far away from our spirit, our soul, so far away from our brothers that just needs love to start working towards a better life. Our music talks about inside transformation. It´s about trying to be something new, to shine ourselves.

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Most beautiful place you have ever seen in Brazil?

Polito: One of the most striking places has been in Pouso Alegre, a small city in the state of Minas Gerais. I´m talking about the sky, it was the blackest we’ve ever seen, with most stars. During that night, we saw shooting stars every five minutes.

Most beautiful place you have ever seen outside Brazil?

Guga: We never left Brazil, brother. In this world, there´s a lot of wonderful places, I don´t know how to choose only one of these places. We dream about traveling to Jamaica, Kingston. Each one of us have a dream of going somewhere.

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What will make Brazil a better place to live in?

Tolen: “The best place in the world is here and now”. God bless Gilberto Gil!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cC1ntip1f_U

I have visited Brazil twice and fell in love with your country and the people immediately. Why is that?

LV: Brazilian people are passionate, sure, but at the same time not. We can find in people here the heat of the African resistence, the purity and wisdom of the Indians and the power of development of the European settlers. So, some of us carry this heritage, and that´s what makes our sound universal, global, like many Brazilian artists did. We have a lot to show  to all of the planet, please listen to what we are talking about.

What would life be without love?

Mestre: There are still much life without love, Mr! For us, it´s important to make love in every step, every choice, because in just one second you could be conflicted. Life without love is what we are doing now, the ways of humanity but we must run ahead and swim against the tide.

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Is love equal joy?

Tolen: Love is equal everything. Everything fits in love!! Love is a mirror.

Mention two fave brazilian bands from today’s scene and two fave brazilian bands from the past?

Martché: Nação Zumbi, Cidadão Instigado, Metá Metá, Síntese and from the past: Tim Maia, Jorge Ben, Os Mutantes, Novos Baianos, Elis Regina, João Gilberto, Gilberto Gil…

Mention two fave foreign bands from today’s scene and from the past?

Polito: Bombino, Seun Kuti. from the past: The Wailers, The Abyssinians, Fela Kuti

Fave Brazilian movie and fave foreign movie?

Guga: I can´t answer this, because each one of us have our favorites. We all like cinema, but we don´t have a big relation to it. It’s a long time since we watched any new releases but to give you some suggestions: I watched recently a movie about the history of Mahatma Ghandi, a big man that we all love and we are all were inspired by him. Another history we all like to suggest you to know is about a Brazilian dance/theatre group called DZI CROQUETTES, that were active in Brazil in the 70´s and 80´s. There´s a film about them called Dzi Croquettes. When we saw this movie, we felt the power of this guys, it was really important for us…

If you had to share a heartfelt moment of your life, which story would you be telling us?

Guga: There’s a song in our new album called “O Presente” (The Gift). It’s the story of the meeting between two men in a street of a big city somewhere in this crazy world. One, a rich manager of a big company suffering with his comfortable boring life. The other, a poor beggar living with just with any hope. They often crossed each other in that street but on this particular day (in the song) their looks crosses each other and results in a big revelation in the eyes of the other and in that same moment, they see GOD in the other’s face, like a blessing, a miracle, a test, a revelation.
That’s what we are trying to say, to sing and play. We all need to recognize God’s face, the fire of the love in EACH BROTHER IN THIS WORLD, man! That’s what we are, we are brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers of everybody, we are! So, we all must know that we are part of what we know about God and that it makes us do better things and to be more everyday. Expressing this complete feeling, this feeling of humanity and devotion to finally stay free of every suffering.

O Presente lyrics:

O PRESENTE

“The Gift”
(Guga/Leandro Vilela)

The life of two individuals would change in an encounter

where they would be touched by the same feeling

Over 7 am. of a cold day

The poor suffered, crying, with an empty stomach

Asking for coins or any food

In fact, he didn’t know what moved him on the inside

And the tears would come out

They were sad, sad tears

 

The other would not dare to try some contact

Of the route that was routine, on its way to the office

The hour was precious and the hard work exhausted it

The silver was vast, always ignoring the poor

but on that day, suddenly the pact became mandatory

and on one enlighted thought, both had the same impulse

of approaching each other

for the intuition to confirm itself

 

As if time stopped

he spreaded its hands

when he saw God on its face

it was Him, indeed

in an appearance

What a blessing,

What an opportunity

Your humanity

was reality there on the floor

 

Father in Heaven

He disguised himself

Came down as a sufferer

to test my compassion!

 

Father in Heaven

Strong as a thunder

delivered me some bread

Visited me and

came to relieve

my pain!

If you had to write a short spontaneous poem in Brazilian about life in Volta Redonda, how would that go?

Martché:

a tecnologia

é instrumento

mas o homem com o mal compactua

parece lento

o impulso de cada dia

pelo crescimento

do espírito 

e continua o sofrimento

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http://www.amplexos.com