CG: Hi Jimi, and thanks for
delivering another fine album. How's things?
JT: Things are OK. I just came
back from tour promoting this album. The second leg
of the tour was done with Rhythm Taxi, the guys who
play on Moon Goddess and Gimme Little Bit. That was
a wonderful little tour although our van was small and
everybody has a backache now.
CG: There are many quite mellow
and soft tunes on Beyond the Stars, and although there
is a bit of turbulence on Asteroid Belt, it's quite
a laid-back and relaxing album - or what do you think?
JT: That's right, not that aggressive.
It's the way my life has been recently (maybe always).
It reflects definitely my everyday state of mind, the
other me can be seen when we play live... a louder version.
My plan is to bring more of that live vibe to the next
album, which will be hopefully recorded with Rhythm
CG: There are a couple of Jimi
Tenor style afrobeat tracks on this album done with
It must have been cool working with them...
JT: Oh yeah, we had fun in the
studio. Now we've been playing live together and there
are quite a bit of ideas what we should do for the next
CG: How did you get hooked up
with Rhythm Taxi?
JT: I was looking for an afro-beat
drummer for Moon Goddess. I was originally thinking
about Tony Allen, but that didn't work out. This guy
from Berlin, Armin Engel, is sort of a manager of Rhythm
Taxi and Raik from Kitty-yo knows him. We arranged a
meeting backstage after our gig in Berlin (the Rhythm
Taxi guys live in Berlin) and we decided to do the recording.
I wrote a couple of more songs for that purpose and
out of those Gimme Little Bit ended up on the album.
Nicholas improvised the lyrics...I didn't understand
most of the stuff he was singing, but it appears that
some of the lyrics were dirty German words.
CG: The opening track Barcelona
Sunrise features a guy called Allonymous. How did that
collaboration come about?
JT: He came to this club New
Morning in Paris when we were doing soundcheck. He said
he was a poet or something. Anyway after the show we
talked and later on I sent him an email and mailed a
couple of tracks for him to bounce off. The best one
was Barcelona Sunrise and we recorded that in Barcelona.
Allonymous is a painter as well.
CG: Some tracks feature fine
harmonies from Aventur choir. It's not the first time
you've used a choir on your album - would you like to
do more choral stuff? Maybe even a space opera? I think
Gamelavad sounds like it could be part of something
JT: I used to record with Pro
Canto choir in my home town Lahti for two albums on
Warp. Now I wanted to try a bit different approach.
I also had a "choir-consultant", Timo "Paroni" Lintunen
to look for a choir for this album. It worked out really
well, they were very enthusiastic and they had rehearsed
the material really well. The Space Opera... I'd like
to try that. I seems still a bit too ambitious project,
but if I take my time and make it slowly it could happen.
I'm seriously thinking to create my own kind of "new"
symphony orchestra for that purpose.
CG: Moon Goddess, Beyond the
Stars, Asteroid Belt, Take Off... Space is the place,
JT: Well, yes and no. I would
like to keep the space stuff as some kind of a hippie-space
or even sauna-space. Something that doesn't need to
be technical at all. The comparisons to Sun Ra are flattering
but I saw a video-tape from our gig and it looks very
much like a Finnish 1st of May party than anything else.
CG: What are your main sources
JT: I would like to say that
I get inspired by walking in the woods or having sex
or something "artistic". Recently though I have been
forced to be "inspired" whenever necessary. That is
for example the day before the studio has been booked,
in the hotel room between gig and soundcheck... stuff
like that. I find it really difficult to write anything
during touring, though. I guess I'm saving my energy
for the gig or something or maybe it's the anonymity
of the hotel rooms. I try to make my studio as "bohemian"
as possible. I put paintings on the wall. I don't have
computer monitors and it's very messy as well. That
seems to help quite a bit!
CG: Who is Mr. French?
JT: My friend Marek
Pytel has been arranging these events where musicians
play a new soundtrack on films. He gave me this film
Freedom. Mr French is one of the songs I did for
that movie, I think it's played when Mr. Freedom dies.
CG: The last track is a song
called Strawberry Place. What is your wild strawberry
JT: That's the thing: it's something
you don't tell anybody else. There are not too many
wild strawberries in this world and if you tell other
people about them, there won't be any left for you.
You are supposed to take your loved one there though.
CG: You are moving back to your
hometown Lahti, Finland, after spending many years abroad.
Any expectations - good or bad?
JT: We'll see. This is a difficult
question. I think I'll be OK there. There's good water
and air and a lot of space to fool around. I'll be the
crazy artiste of the village and will be allowed to
be different, I hope!
Beyond the Stars is released on Kitty-Yo,
the Stars album info
the Stars (mp3 download)