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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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.

mara5

 

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.

mara1

Why does a guitar look good on you?

Maybe she’s born with it? Ha ha

halo

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.

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

Vibration.

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.

Passions?

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?

BRING ME MY GUITAR AND AMP !!

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 

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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.