A while back I did a review on musician Elmo Karjalainen’s awesome guitar album, and I now I want to catch up with Elmo and find out what he’s been up to since then!
Amanda: Hi Elmo, thank you for joining me today! So what’s new with you and what have you been up to lately?
Elmo: Hi there, and thanks for having me.
I’ve been keeping really busy. We’ve recorded an EP with Insomaniac, we’ve released an album with Seagrave, I’ve finished my next album, which is going to be acoustic, so there’s been plenty to do.
Amanda: What sort of music has been rocking your world lately? Can you recommend anything?
Elmo: I’ve been going through a real Yngwie phase again. I seem to have those roughly once a year. I’m also really into a band called Jolly. They’re absolutely great. The fun thing about them is that even though they’re a progressive metal band, they don’t do that exclusively. They mix it up nicely. They also have a strong focus on the song, as opposed to some bands who seem to view the song as an excuse to show off.
If you’re a guitar player and haven’t heard Jeff Beck, then do yourself a favour and go listen to him. Actually that goes for non guitar players too.
I’ve actually written a couple of blog posts about the lesser known bands that I listen to, and I plan to write more when I have time. You can find the blog at elmojk.com/guitarblog.
Amanda: There are, of course, pros and cons to playing solo, and playing in a band, but which do you prefer and why?
Elmo: I don’t know if I prefer either over the other. Like you said, they both have their pros and cons. Playing solo means you don’t have to listen to anyone else’s opinions. You can just do whatever you feel like doing. But on the other hand you also end up doing everything yourself.
Ultimately I think I maybe enjoy a good band more because of the camaraderie. Maybe.
Amanda: Can you tell us a little about the band you play in, Insomniac? Do you have plans to make it a permanent band?
Elmo: That’s a band that’s been in the works forever. It was originally four of us from Deathlike Silence setting out to do progressive metal. Me and the bass player, Tobbe, were probably the ones who started the whole thing. But it took us forever to find a drummer, I mean literally it took years. We had a few people try out for the job, but they weren’t really up to it (some of the drum parts are really difficult), and we had tons of guys say they would do it as a session type thing. We didn’t want a session drummer, we wanted a band mate. So we kept on looking. At some point we decided to just do the EP with a drum machine and get someone in for gigs. And then suddenly we found a drummer. He’s really good.
At this point Tobbe had moved and also left the band and we had a new bass player, after trying out one other guy for a while. So now that we’d done the EP, which is more of a demo really, our drummer announces that he’s going to quit, and not just quit the band, he’s going to quit playing for a while, and become a gardener. What can one say? The whole thing is becoming a bit Spinal Tappish.
So yes, originally I had thought that it would become my main band, but at the moment I’m a bit unsure. We will do the full length album at some point with someone on the drums. When or how, that’s anyone’s guess.
Amanda: I don’t write music but I paint, and I notice a certain pattern in my art, it keeps evolving, but you’d still know I painted it (I think!). Do you feel that your music keeps growing and evolving as time goes by and does it maintain a certain sound or style?
Elmo: I like to think so, and I certainly hope so! But yeah, it does evolve and it still sounds like me. And it’s also reminiscent of my influences. You can hear Yngwie, Vai and Satriani in there, as well as Genesis, Devin Townsend and a whole bunch of other bands/artists.
Having said that, the next album might be a bit of a surprise to some people. It’s a completely acoustic album. I felt the need to make something therapeutic this time last year. I just sat with my acoustic and recorded stuff. It was mostly long notes with plenty of echo. I was hoping to have it out this year, but it might be that it will be delayed a bit.
Amanda: And to veer off the subject a bit, I’ve been raving to my readers about Finland and all her awesomeness, lately! If someone were visiting there, what places would you recommend they check out?
Elmo: The archipelago outside Turku is awesome. Then there’s a whole bunch of lakes which are really pretty. Turku is quite a nice place too, although the music scene here isn’t great. Apart from that come check out a show if I’m playing somewhere!
Amanda: Do you have any plans for the future, musically, and what do fans of your music have to look forward to?
Elmo: I’ve talked about the acoustic album already, but after that there’s more electric stuff coming. I’ve actually written album number four. I’ll be trying to get some guests to feature, but I can’t say anything more at the moment. I’m also thinking about starting a more old school type hard rock/neoclassical band (partly due to the problems with Insomaniac).
The best way to keep up with what’s going on is to sign up for the newsletter. Signing up also gives you my latest album for free, at least for the moment. I’m not sure if I should keep giving it away for free forever. But for the time being it’s free. You can sign up at elmojk.com
And there concludes the interview! Thank you very much to Elmo for doing this interview with me, it’s a pleasure to have you as a guest! And I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say, looking forward to the new acoustic album 😉
PS: You may also like Interview With A Rockstar: Elmo Karjalainen