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.

Oh go on…Head On outta here!

Photo: Head On (all rights reserved)

Photo: Head On (all rights reserved)

Croissants, baguettes, champagne, escargots and freakin’ french fries is what comes outta France and then there is Head On!

These Rennes’ers latest record from last year “Changing Shape” is a record that slowly crawls under your skin like humidity on a cold day and the only thing you want to do is to heat up on a shot of bourbon…shot by shot by shot by…and the listening experience just got better.

I don’t drink bourbon myself but it runs pretty good on beer too!

It’s a real pleasure to present, in this mini-feature, the guys behind Head On and their latest album which came together in collaboration with Pete Ross and Susy Sapphire.

Find out who they are and listen to their songs (parental advisory: this music can be highly addictive!)

Band members:

Name: Boogie (vox)

Other / Former bands: Dead Horse Problem / Witcherry Wild, Born in Flames, Nitrobrew

Who and/or what inspired you to become a musician: Reptiles At Dawn

Passions besides music: Reading and drinking

Eat for breakfast: Nothing


Name: Mitch (bass)

Former bands: The Six Million Dollar Men, The Speedoracers

Who and/or what inspired you to become a musician: The first time I heard saturated guitars on the radio when I was a kid, can’t remember the name of the band, it sounded tough and I could feel the danger, so good!

Passions besides music: Reading and riding my old motorcycle

Eat for breakfast: Coffee + cigarette


Name: Marco (guitar)

Former bands: The Six Million Dollar Men, The Speedoracers.

Who and/or what inspired you to become a musician: I was tired of playing drums

Passions besides music: Family + Friends

Eat for breakfast: Aspirin + Black coffee


Name: Franck Headon (drums)

Other / Former bands: Bed Bunker / Witcherry Wild, Born in Flames

Who and/or what inspired you to become a musician: The Stooges !

Passions besides music: Cooking and High Fidelity sound systems!

Eat for breakfast: Nothing! Only Black coffee!


Name: Chris (guitar)

Former bands: Witcherry Wild, Born in Flames, Orville Brody & Goodfellas

Who and/or what inspired you to become a musician: My brother Lorenzo. I was 13 or 14 years old and I watched him torture his guitar with his friends. The sound was crazy, saturated, totally punk. Boogie’s father made us wooden guitars with broomsticks and no strings. We looked at ourselves playing in the mirror on our knees with long greasy hair, smoking cigarettes. We were sure we’ll get all the girls.

Passions besides music: My son, my wife, my family, my friends, beer, wine, drugs, Bouli Lanners’ movies, my job, food……

Eat for breakfast: A cigarette!


About the band:

How and when did this band start up?

Boogie: 2010

Mitch: Something like 4 or 5 years ago when Born in Flames and the Speedoracers broke up. As we (Speedoracers) used to open for Born in Flames and shared the same good music tastes, we joined forces to built Head On.

Photo: Head On (all rights reserved)

Photo: Head On (all rights reserved)

The new album “Changing Shape” which by the way is a beautiful rock album, how long did it take to finish the songs for this album?

Boogie: We played most of the songs during one year and it took 3 days in the studio to lock them. We recorded live, adding the sax later and some backing vocals as not everyone was able to be there at during those days.

Mitch: A few months to write the music and just a few days to record.

Is this album the best recording project you guys ever made so far?

Boogie: I think so

Mitch: Yes, no doubt for me

Marco: Indeed, the album sounds just like we wanted it to sound.


Please describe the story behind the lyrics of the song “I Fell Down”?

Boogie: It’s about redemption, everybody does shit one fine day and in my opinion most people wants to pay for their crimes or find somebody to forgive them, this is the story about a son who disappoints his mom.


Any particular or peculiar story you would like to share in regards to the making of this album?

Boogie: Too many stories in a short time, I can’t remember any particular story, I need a brand new brain! I just want to thank Pete Ross and Michelle (Susy Sapphire) for their kindness and their help on this album.

Mitch: Too many! It was so great to have Pete and Michelle with us, the way Pete managed everything, running everywhere to be sure everything was perfect, the time he spent to help Chris and Marco to get the perfect sound, put the microphones at the right place while Michelle was peacefully advising Boogie about his accent on the lyrics and knitting or practicing the bass at the same time. So good to work with so involved and passionate persons like them.

Chris: A nice collaboration between Pete Ross, Susy Sapphire and the band! Everyone was listening to each other, we tried various things, erased others, always with the purpose to record something remaining close to us. The songs allowed us to go through a lot of paths, sometimes in fuzzy way, other times in clear way. That’s what I like about this album, it is rich and is what I’d like to do for the next ones too.


Who’s more rock, who’s more punk and who’s the melancholic in the band?

Boogie: You can’t be rock if you’re not a little bit melancholic too.

Mitch: I would say we’re all some kind of melancholic punk rockers.

Chris: Good question. We’re all fond of rock’n’roll, no doubt. Sometimes we are more punk, I guess Marco (Dick) is the punkest of us despite of his glasses, Romain (Mitch) is a good one too. Maybe I’m the most melancholic, couldn’t say myself…


About Rennes:

Is Rennes rock city no.1 in France?

Boogie: YES, Britanny rules!

Mitch: For sure! Lots of cool bands in town!

Marco: For sure!

Franck: Yes, without hesitation!

Best beer in town?

Boogie: Free beer

Marco: The one that doesn’t give you an headache after the third beer..

Franck: Coreff


Fave place to hang out?

Boogie: Rockin’ Bones and Mondo Bizarro

Mitch: Mondo Bizarro

Marco: Mondo Bizarro

Franck: Mondo Bizarro Club

mondo bizarro Rennes

Name 3 fave bands from the past 20 years that deserves a special mentioning?

Boogie: The Beasts of Bourbon, Movie Star Junkies, Spencer P. Jones

Mitch: SixFtHick, Chicken Snake, Hits. Yep, they’re all on Beast Records…

Marco: All bands where Greg Cartwright serves. Damn! That’s more than three!

Franck: Mudhoney, 6FtHick, Reigning sound

Chris: Spencer P. Jones, Mark Lanegan, Hits (the Brisbane band)



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