A Chat with Pastis

Image credit to Ashley Wolf

Someone at some point said that the Finnish are the happiest people alive. Hang on, maybe it was the Danish. It might have been the Danish now that I think about it. Either way, both nations seem to be happier than the English or the Americans – and it has nothing to do with Brexit or Trump! Taking some time out, a few of these fantastic Finnish natives spoke with us sharing their good spirits. Talking French liquors, their debut LP Circles, and fashion, here’s our interview with Pastis.

OSR: Good day, gentlemen.  Thanks for sitting down with me to answer some questions. Shall we begin?

P: The pleasure is ours, let’s begin!

OSR: Alright, first up, how did Pastis come together?

P: Originally we met each other through common friends at football matches. We found out that we shared a similar taste in music, had a passion for creating melodies, as well as an appetite for success, so we decided to give it a go. The chemistry was there ever since the first practice.

OSR: Bands come up with all sorts of names, but why would you choose to call yourself ‘Pastis’?  Isn’t that a French liquor?

P: Our bass player Henrik had developed a taste for the refreshing drink while living in Paris. When we started, he insisted the band would be called either Pastis or Pastis Pastis.

OSR: Earlier this month you released a debut LP called Circles.  What can you tell me about the album?  

P: We are proud and happy with it. Circles is our ode to joy, music and the sunny days of life. With help from Lauri Eloranta, we managed to capture the spirit of our first year together as a band.

OSR: You worked with award-winning producer Lauri Eloranta on this album.  What was it like working with Lauri?

P: We had a great time together, he really knows how to keep the mood fresh and happy even though recording can get exhausting every now and then.

OSR: Did you have any challenges when it came to recording the LP?

P: No, not really. The recording process went smoothly and we enjoyed ourselves. The summer was one of the hottest in the history of Finland, and the World Cup was on the TV.

OSR: You shared three tracks from the album over the previous months, including ‘Amazon’, ‘Valour Valour’ and ‘Around Here’.  I always wonder why artists release singles from an album before the full-length is released. Why did you choose to do this, and did it meet your purposes?

P: It definitely did. As a rather new and unknown group it was vital for us to share a few song to the public so that there would be some expectations and hype building up to the album.

OSR: What is your song-writing procedure – lyrics before melody or melody before lyrics?

P: It would be rather safe to claim that every song we have written so far has been melody first. The procedure tends to be as follows: Emil comes up with melodies he sings in fluent gibberish. After a bit of arranging we think of the mood and write lyrics accordingly.

OSR: How do you decide which songs make the final cut and are placed on the album?

P: We are so eager to record more and more material, that we basically start recording as soon as we finish a song that meets our standards. We usually either kill the song early or then go all in and record it.

OSR: What are your most and least favourite songs on the album, and why?

P: The songs are our children, we love them all equally.

Image credit to Ashley Wolf

OSR: Many European musicians I interview agree that performing in English is easier and more expressive than performing in their native language.  What do you think?

P: English is the lingua franca nowadays, so although it might not be the most expressive language it gives us the chance to spread our message to more than just the five million Finnish people. For us it’s either the top of the world or the bottom of a canal, so in order to make it in Europe and abroad we decided to write in English.

OSR: What do you think is the most enjoyable part of being in a band?

P: In one hand the gigging, recording, composing and all the experiences we would never have faced without the band. In the other hand it is just the small golden moments, driving back to Helsinki a day after the gig singing along to Kinks with your good friends.

OSR: If you have to describe Pastis in a single sentence, what would that sentence be?

P: Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité.

OSR: Out of all of you, who do you think has the worst dress sense?

P: It must be our sixth member Gladys, the naked plastic mannequin that once belonged to Peter Doherty.

OSR: You have some gigs coming up, are you looking forward to the dates?

P: Definitely. It is always a pleasure to perform, but one of the highlights of this spring must be playing the legendary Helsinki institution Tavastia. That stage has been in our dreams since our childhood.

OSR: Which do you enjoy more: performing gigs or recording music, or is it too close to call?

P: Both are very enjoyable but in different ways. Live gigs give us the adrenaline kick that makes us feel alive, whereas recording is something like alchemy or building a puzzle, satisfying group work.

OSR: Do you have any advice for new bands?

P: Make yourself heard! If you do not promote yourself, nobody will.

OSR: Thanks so much for speaking with me gents.  I’ll be sure to catch you when you reach Germany!

P: Pleasure, see you there!

Thanks once again to the guys from Pastis. To engage with the band, check out their Facebook. You can listen to their debut LP Circles using Spotify. You can also read our review of Circles following this link.

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