A show on Finnish national TV about 20th Tuska festival gave me this idea. This year there are more anniversaries to celebrate besides Tuska’s. Another Finnish festival provides us with a legendary gig, Before The Dawn reuniting for an exclusive show as 10-year celebration of their break-through Deadlight album: John Smith festival, July 21-22, Peurunka, Finland. And almost to the day 10 years ago this interview happened. One of those you wonder whether you should even publish … One that made you laugh so hard several times (recording it, transcribing it, translating it, editing it). One you regret not having as a video clip: the facial expression of a person suddenly realizing why we are laughing, and every word added makes it even WORSE… Thus, so legendary that I decided to re-publish it as a quite suitable anniversary special. With some bigger photos and more extras. Enjoy.
Before The Dawn – 7 deadly sins of Tuomas and Lars
As their song “Faithless” deals with the deadly sins, and another with “Wrath” (on their new “Deadlight” CD), Before The Dawn’s Tuomas “Demon” Saukkonen and Lars „Eliminator“ Eikind got to be real experts who can provide a serious and highly sophisticated discussion on that topic. Or rather not? Well, anyway, here you can find out why basically six deadly sins would be enough for them, what Tuomas secretly lusts for and why it is dangerous to meet Lars in the supermarket…
Lars: I don’t think that actually many people envy any of us, although… they do… I think that many people envy our success by doing something so simple that nobody would really envy us in doing it… and, ah… that sounded like shit…
Tuomas: I think some people envy us a little, because they don’t know the whole picture, they see us on stage, read interviews, saw us on TV or heard “Deadsong” on radio and they think that we have succeeded more than we actually have. They have this image that people are pouring money into our pockets, that we are driving Mercedes S-series or something, which isn’t true, and they don’t see the work we are doing, so they envy us for the wrong reason. There are some people who envy us, there is some unfriendly feedback in our guest book, towards me at least… and I envy a little bit all those lucky bastards who won in lottery or something, who don’t need to work a single day for the rest of their lives and who can just concentrate on doing what they want. I’d be so glad to be able just making music and not to work…
Lars: My personal envy goes out to people who do exactly the same thing as I do but still make ten times more money than I make. I’ve been working as a musician for about 20 years, and I see people I’ve known since childhood, even one of my guitar students, now making MILLIONS, and I am still sitting here borrowing money from people…
Lars: I am actually a workaholic, I cannot sit down for a second, I wake up in the morning, and I have to do something, but what I do is – absolutely nothing! I check my e-mail, read something in the internet – I don’t do shit. I never practise playing or singing, I just go to the studio or to the stage… so I think I am the world champion of “sloth – and how to get away with it”!
Tuomas: I think I am the opposite of sloth, which actually became a bit of a problem. I would like to be a lazy person, if possible… but there are things I would like to achieve, so there’s no time for sloth. I think I envy also lazy people, because they know how to relax, and I don’t. There are my goals, and I am determined to work on getting there. But as soon as I’m a millionaire I’ll have this big sofa where I lie all day!
Lars: I don’t eat much in my life… yet again, the world championship of drinking comes to me… there is some mysteriously bad feedback from a couple of website forums that I’m drinking too much when I’m on stage. Yes, I drink quite a lot, because I like to have fun, but I’m not an alcoholic or something. Seriously not.
Tuomas: I have to drink or I die, but it’s not alcohol. But I do love to eat a lot, and good food, I spend quite a lot of money on that…
Lars: I think in general I have a perverse lust for life, I mean, being on stage playing for thousands of people, sex, drinking my ass off – all the things that are fucking cool and normal people don’t get to do because they have to go to work. I have a lust and a craving for everything that is just totally over the edge cool, and hey, I DO IT!
Tuomas: Pretty much the same, but we both have a different way to direct our lust. Of course there’s the sex part, but not towards each other… (giggling in the background *) naturally…. (more giggling) although … because of your drinking you pass out quite often – so it might be possible for me to express my lust… (laughter) But I can control myself… (more laughter)
I think I have the same lust for life, in general, I just want to live and do things I want to do, because I don’t think I’m going to live forever, so…
Lars: I am not a very violent guy, I have been in some fights, but I’m not a person who hates… I might get angry but two seconds later I’m cool with everything. I don’t have any wrath or raging inside me. I take all my wrath out in things I like to do, so wrath and lust is basically the same thing for me, it’s just how you express it.
What makes me really pissed off (voice in the background: “Running out of beer!”) – besides running out of beer – is people being cruel to animals, that really ticks me off.
In every day life it’s also old people sneaking in front of you at the cash desk in the supermarket, just because they are old. That makes me just wanna kill people. (laughter in the background) Old people. I mean, they are going to die anyway, so who gives a fuck. (more laughter) But I am not sure if I can call that wrath, though. I’m a happy camper. Hey, I’m not a fighter, I’m a lover.
Tuomas: So you’re a lover, with the craving of killing old people in supermarkets… (even more laughter) therefore the unhappy camper would kill all elderly people in a supermarket just when he comes in, so nobody can sneak in front of him…
Lars: We all have skeletons in our closets. (giggling)
Tuomas: We all get angry at some things at some point, I don’t think my anger is – or was – anyhow bigger than Lars’ in the supermarket… I was angry at the studio, the whole situation was a bit stressing, the drummer fucking up the tracks, I got very frustrated and tired and angry, I had to play drums myself, we lost five days in studio and we didn’t have so much time there anyway – hence the song “Wrath”. But I don’t think I have any wrath in me, actually, but I do get angry from time to time. I have high goals, and when you try to achieve them, things go wrong sometimes. Doing a lot of things there’s a very high chance that things go wrong, which makes me very frustrated. But being angry with myself is just wasted time, because there are lots of other people to be angry with – IF I need to be angry.
Lars: I can never get enough of anything. As I said, I have this insane lust for life, I want everything… When I got this endorsement deal with Dean Guitars I just wanted this particular bass guitar, before I even knew how to manage to get any money, I just wanted it, that’s kind of greed. Am I money-greedy? No. More in what I do, the job, the music. I want myself to be the coolest musician ever walking this planet. Which I am anyway… I’m bullshitting here, I don’t have a good answer.
Tuomas: I’m not a greedy person in a materialistic way, but I want things to happen. For example, I want to make 10 albums before I’m 30. And that is somehow greedy, and I’m doing a lot of extra work to make that happen, not just waiting for them to happen… but I am not sure if that has a lot to do with greed…
Lars: It’s more lust, actually. I think lust and greed is kind of the same thing.
Tuomas: Yeah, but it’s still a bit different… I have lust for what I do, that’s why I just want to make music… but that’s not… I’m not a greedy person.
Lars: Well, I don’t think of myself as a very vain person. If you had seen my closet and my clothes… I like to be comfortable, I don’t care if I’m wearing stuff that looks like total shit, if my hair is sticking out in every fucking angle possible… the only vanity I have is – I’m hopelessly trying to be me, and very not succeeding. Because whenever I really try to be me I’m actually rather trying to play this character of being me, because I don’t know who the fuck I am. And that’s a kind of vanity, trying to be something I am not, sometimes.
Tuomas: You acknowledged the problem, so it’s easier to heal. (sniggering in the background)
Lars: I haven’t acknowledged the problem myself, but I have a girlfriend who told me: “Put those clothes into the garbage, throw them away, and don’t use this, don’t do that”.
Tuomas: There is a term for that, and it has nothing to do with vanity: “to be henpecked” ** (laughter in the background)
Lars: No no no, this is not about henpecked husband. (more laughter) I think I need to have a kind of fashion manager in my life.
Tuomas: The fabulous five *** … (laughter)
Lars: My vanity is so below par, it’s hardly there. But… I LIKE – COLOURS **** (laughter) When I bought my Yamaha bass guitar, I was like “hey, it´s green and gold – NICE”. This is my kind of vanity, everybody has black instruments, but, hey, I have a green-and-gold bass guitar, I’m so fucking cool.
Tuomas: I’d say there isn’t any vanity in me
Lars: You have tattoos, that’s kind of vanity, isn’t it?
Tuomas: I haven’t got tattoos for looking better or cool, there is some deeper meaning, I don’t think that’s vanity, that’s SELF-EXPRESSION! I love myself, in a healthy way, we all care about ourselves, we all have needs and want to … please… ourselves… (giggling in the background)… which… sounds … a bit crazy …. when I say it like that …(laughter)
Sometimes I don’t like photos of myself – when I shout very loud my mouth is wide open, you can throw a water melon in it without even hitting my teeth… I think I look a bit stupid, so that’s not vanity, that’s called reality. Or, Lars, do you think I look cool with my mouth wide open?
Lars: Ah… it doesn’t look SEXY. (laughter) But that’s what you do, you shout loud, with an open mouth…
Tuomas: Sometimes I comment on pictures, but I think everybody does, when they think that they look stupid or something. Of course it’s always the artistic performance which is more important than how I look like… because otherwise I would do a lot of things differently…
* The “voices in the background” were bandmembers and other mates hanging out in the band bus at Heinolan Valot festival 2007 where we had to record the interview as it began to rain
**They used the Finnish expression “tohvelin alla” = “underneath the slipper”
***refers to US TV show “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” where 5 gay men improve a straight man’s fashion / interior design / dining style, was pretty popular in Finland too
**** As those photos show as well, Lars prefers to dress in black
photos: K. Weber, taken at Tuska Festival, June 30, 2007
Original publishing date: 2007-08-03