Mara Balls: Girl or Astrogirl?

A living rock called Mara, who makes a stone sound like concrete pussy but is she really a girl or is she an Astrogirl?

This is the story of someone pushing a rough story to the MAX! A hurricane that will whirl you into space and back in a stroke of lightning.

Presenting Maria Mattila aka Mara Balls who literally came, saw and kicked yer sorry butts for the fun of it and planting, a cliché sounding, yet very important message to us all: never give up, use that music if yer feeling down, music is medicine! 

An applause to Mara, she deserves every clap of it!

Mara Balls, please present yourself in your very own way?

Im a living rock.

Why Balls?

Well, Mara Balls is a word play. Maracas in Finnish are marakassit. “Kassit” is a slang word for balls. It’s just a stupid, stoned humor. And I have balls to call myself Balls. I wanna provocate, tease and confuse. My favourite stuff among playing music.

Where were you born and why?

I was born near Russia border as a result of two people in love.



Tell me a short story from your teenage days?

Short? Years of obsession, neurosis, eating disorder, anxiety, mental hospitals, inhibition, shyness, insufficiency, self-hatred. I was very introverted. The only way to escape was music and masturbation.


How is it to live where you do?

I live in an one hundred years old “castle”. There is no hot water or shower..I have to heat my water. I have a fireplace and the place is utterly beautiful. They are gonna kick everybody out in the end of this year as they’re gonna renovate the house. I don’t know where Im going next. Im thinking about Granada caves in Spain.

Who’s the spirit of the mountain, the big boss bigger than god’s and devils?

It just is. It’s nothing and everything at the same time..very difficult to explain. You have to feel it.

Are you religious?

To believe in something and to be religious are very different things. I consider myself very spiritual, but I have never understood the concept of religion. Please explain it to me if you can.

What is your drive in life?

To create and receive vibration and to create more to receive more to create more to receive… It’s my calling.  When there’s vibration, I feel satisfied, happy and fullfilled.

What is your drive wearing a guitar?

My father plays guitar. When I was a kiddo, he was in jail. I wrote him a letter: “One day Im gonna be a guitarista too.” I chose my way back then. It’s weird, but a child’s mind can be very determined.


Why does a guitar look good on you?

Maybe she’s born with it? Ha ha


Although your music is more psychedelic, then one can just hear and feel an energy boost like a shaken a beer can ready to burst at anytime, what brings you to that state?

You tell me. Must be the same shit that made me so sick when I was a teenager. Unfortunately I didn know what to do with that “energy” back then. Now I put it into my music and playing.. It’s my gasoline. It’s survivalism.

You are lightning, thunder and hurricane, what happens when you are drained for energy?

I go to my grandparents place grounding. Works every time.

You decided to appear naked on the record cover of your Mara Balls debut LP, why?

Actually..It was 2014 and I was travelling in Malaga. I climbed on that mountain and made a sacrifice for the mountain. The ritual included me naked. My boyfriend took the photo. I did not know it would end up to be a cover of my LP. I did’nt even know I was gonna make an debut LP. Untill one night in 2015. Then it was all very clear. But it’s a different story.

Out of 10 songs only two are in English; “Time to Testify” and “Better Future”…have something on your heart that you would like to share with us?

Lyrics come both. I can’t control it. Some songs are born in English, some in Finnish. I just let it come.

Then I used google translator and came up with “Yellow House”…do tell about that house?

Well, you could write a book about it. Let’s put i shortly; it was a project I started in 2014. An open house for creativity, communication and colours. It was also a human experiment; how will it work if there are no rules, organisation or structure. I was the primus motor, but basically I just opened the doors for people to create culture. The city gave me a prize “The culture act of the year 2014”. It was absolutely amazing project and life changing for me in many ways.

Are you a loner?

Actually no. Usually Im surrounded by people. But often I have a weird feeling about being alone in the middle of the people.

Are you lonesome?

Everybody are sometimes.

Do you like solitude?

More than solitude or being in a crowd, I like the change from one to another.

What and where is the perfect place for you?

On a move.

I like Mara Balls without knowing her, why?

Cause I’m a transmitting the pure, primal energy.


What did life give you and what did you give life?


How do you remember your time spent in schools?

I remember the math teacher being very upset cause I called circle A BALL. Ha ha..


Who or what inspires you in general?

When I sense vibration and resonate. It can happen in the nature, when making music, when making love, when feeling the breathe of a wind..anywhere anyhow.

Who and what inspires you musically?

A strong feeling.

Are you a dreamer or realist?

Realistic dreamer ; If you can dream it, you can do it.

Who sucks and who rocks?

Music made just to please people or sell good suck s, putting your heart into music and letting go of the fear rocks.

Im looking for an exclusive, share a secret that no one or only a few knows about?

When I did my first gig singing in 2013, I was afraid that I might die on the stage. I even called my mom just before the show. I was really ready for the fact that I might not survive alive. I was so afraid. But here I am!!

Bad habits?

Avoiding eating. Its a ghost from the time I had an eating disorder. Alcohol used to be a bad habit, but I quit drinking some time ago for good. Im an alcoholic. It will kill me if I drink. I rather not.


Smell of a skin and hair of my loved one.

Fave Finnish bands?

Wigwam, Apollo, Saimaa just to mention a few.

Fave foreign bands?

Aphrodite’s Child, King Crimson, Kuyss just to mention a few.

Are you a Girl or Astrogirl?

Im a living rock.

If you were standing on top of your own car, what would you shout out to the world?


Strangest thing you have seen and done?

Light..strange and beautiful.

Write a short poem about yourself in Finnish?

Olen keskiyön polttava aurinko

myrskypilvi kirkkaalla taivaalla

pelko takertuneena vuoren seinään

Olen elävä kivi 


Get your fix of Mara Balls the Astrogirl right here ! or right here !


Note: All posted photos are private property of Maria Mattila, all rights reserved.

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..


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.


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…


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.


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.


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.


Worst drink you ever had?

Arttu: Korean whisky.

Hepa: Black Death.

Black Death

Drink Type: Cocktail


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)


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.


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.



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?


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



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**