Poets Of The Fall: Rock And Roll Theatre
Finnish rockers Poets of The Fall, played their second gig in the nation at The Great India Octoberfest last month
Not all Finnish rock reeks of djent riffs, grindcore or extreme power metal. Case to point being, a carnivalesque band of storytellers, raising their alternative rock heads in a cornucopia of metal acts. Poets Of The Fall (POTF) first came to notice when they were featured on the soundtrack of popular third-person shooter action game, Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne in 2003. One of their original singles, ”˜Late Goodbye’ formed the soundscape for the famed NYPD detective’s ambush sequences. Gamers across the world took notice to the recurring motif, being sung and whistled by multiple characters. That was vocalist and song writer Marko Saaresto’s breakthrough moment that got the three-member outfit of Saaresto, Markus Kaarlonen (Captain) on keyboards and Olli Tukiainen on guitars noticed.
Almost a decade later, the five-album older (including a Greatest Hits collection), POTF made their second trip to India and headlined The Great Indian Octoberfest, held in Bangaluru, last month. “We have a lot of fans in India and after our fist gig in India (IIT Kanpur 2007), we had been getting a lot of fan mail and download hits from the country. That was a mindblowing gig for us. Thousands of people came for the show and there were people standing outside the venue watching us from treetops and building roofs. At one point, when we were signing autographs after show, about 50 people came up on stage and we all felt mobbed. That was real fan power, which we didn’t expect in this part of the world at all,” recalls Saaresto.
The band went on an existential journey through the nation and between a tourist pilgrimage to the Taj Mahal in Agra and a bus ride with cows through Kanpur, Saaresto and Tukiainen spent a lot of time songwriting. “At first it was a culture shock and then we just let ourselves go. We had so much fun on our trip that it influenced our mindset to write material for our last album, Twilight Theatre. We were mostly taken in by the diversity of the people,” says Saaresto, who took back DVD’s of “Bollywood stuff I cannot now recall,” and used a tabla beat in their song, ”˜Rewind.’ “I guess we kinda had a India hangover,” bemuse Saaresto.
For the DIY musicians, who put everything they owned on the line to become musicians, inspirational songwriting has always been top priority. Saaresto mortgaged his house and moved into his folks’ basement to invent in a home-studio setup, where he would make music with friends Tukiainen and Captain. “We gradually moved to Olli’s car, which was reserved for band meetings and such. Sometimes we would jam in his car as well, while parked in industrial towns, where no one would call the cops on us. Then we would record at the studio in Olli’s living room,” says Saaresto, describing that their earliest recording sessions hence had a lot of industrial sounds, pop, rock and metal.
“Our first two album Signs of Life and Carnival of Rust helped us nail this very cinematic, theatrical sound. We are all storytellers. Our brand of music is very melodic, soft, intimate, hard along the way but also very mellow,” defines Saaresto. Which is why, POTF, have song credits on scores for games like Shattered Horizons and Rochard and are looking forward to doing film scores s well.
“Our music is very visual, hence the dramatic videos. Visual part is very integral to our sound,” says Saaresto, adding that most of their videos have been directed by Finnish filmmaker Stobe Harju, whose styled ”˜Carnival of Rust,’ ”˜Lift,’ ”˜Locking Up The Sun’ and the more recent, ”˜Dreaming Wide Awake.’ Under their own independent label, Insomnia, Saaresto says that the band will continue to make and distribute music through the label and add more artistes to their repertoire. “It may sound as a clichÃ©, but owing your own music is fucking awesome. We want to be able to give that power to artistes who can learn to nurture their talent through our infrastructure and own their creativity,” asserts Saaresto, who has signed on Finnish band, Phoenix Effect to the label.
Autobiographical sketches are important to POTF, perhaps which is why the student community relates the most to the band. “We have a very simple sound. We don’t complicate our lyrics and our melodies. I guess our music was always stay young,” Saaresto takes pride.