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Blog from 05. February 2014
Soon on tour
Greetings from the Unholy Ground Tour rehearsals in Helsinki! We are building the sound setup today and tomorrow we will
go through all the visual things. Then everything will be ready for the race and we will start our journey
in Helsinki this Friday at the Club Circus.
It’s been sold out for many weeks now, just like most of the other European cities and it all looks so damn good!
We started practicing the new songs already last year before Christmas and there has been many weeks for us all to listen to
the band camp demos but no matter how much you listen to the stuff on your iPhone somewhere on a tropical island, it’s still
going to be very exciting to actually stand in front of you guys and then we will finally see how the new songs work in real life.
So… You better start selecting your show outfits and planning the sing-along-moves. We will be bigger and louder than ever
before and we know that we’re gonna have to rock you guys more than ever before. I still can’t understand that we had to
upgrade almost every arena and venue, some of them even twice, and Sunrise Avenue will be bigger than ever before.
Our stomachs are filled with butterflies and we will release them all as soon as Sami hits the first drum beat at the
beginning of the show.
Love & Hugs & see you soon!
Samu & Boys
PS. There are still a couple of tickets left in Zurich, Berlin, Hamburg and Vienna. If you wanna join the party,
make sure you get your tickets fast. The other ones are sold out already.
Blog from 15. February 2014
Helsinki – Zurich – Stuttgart
Well oh well…
I and we have been in many different places and situations in the last years, but this beginning of this tour has been
something else. Of course we saw the “sold out” notes next to the tour dates online,
but we didn’t really expect it to be this cool.
In Helsinki we were doing the stuff with the new album’s songs for the first time and we were like little rabbits on approaching
car’s headlights. Our brains were working over power through the whole set and actually Osmo said after the show it was
pretty funny how focused we were since nobody barely looked at each other during the whole show. However, the evening in
Helsinki was just awesome and it seems as if the audience quality in Finland is becoming as great as it’s anywhere else.
No more shy Finns. It’s always scary playing in front of your parents, family, friends, neighbors
and all the other folks we know, but we enjoyed the night like nothing before.
Already then after the Helsinki show I had this funny feeling the tour would work better than ever.
Before Zurich we spent a few days in Ludwigsburg in Germany checking out the new stage system we have on tour with us.
Out show producer Stephan had created a very great setup for us and a Berlin based Pfadfinderei visual team had finally
made all the videos and stuff ready for us to have the secret look at an empty arena. Was actually super cool looking at our
own show just listening and enjoying the moment. It’s cool to have the whole arena for us and for the first time we were
“in the crowd”. I felt like singing along. I met Stephan for the first time in December in Berlin and it’s superb we were
able to create all this together in such short time.
The show in Zurich was just amazing. You could probably tell that we were still getting used to the bigger production and all the show details but the packed Hallen Stadion was an experience we will never forget. We also got Gold awards for “Lifesaver” single and “Unholy Ground” album from Switzerland. A nice start for the European run. I remember watching a Lenny Kravitz performance at that same stadium a few years ago and back then I thought to myself that it would be cool to play in a place like this someday. Big Box ticked. WOW!
Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Stuttgart. The hometown of Porsche and Mercedes has always treated us well, but tonight was something else. We added one more song to the set and overall the show felt already way more relaxed. Felt like we knew what we were doing. And all the technical things work better and better every night. And just like the three other cities so far, what a crowd!!!!
It’s great to do all kinds of other projects and TV shows but DAMN it feels great being back singing these songs with these guys and for you amazing people.
I’m sitting in the lower lounge of the bus now with a diet coke writing this blog. What the hell happened to red wine…? Maybe I’ll have a glass before I sink into my bus bed in my tiny bedroom. We are just the band in this bus and actually it’s great. Just five guys and our driver Dieter, who is a cool dude. It’s very peaceful here. I bet the MyFirstBand boys are enjoying their night as well. I just love having them here with us and I just must try to see one of their performances. I want to. First row is always just so booked when they play. Also Mr. Ryan Keen seems like a nice guy. I love this kind of singer-song-writer stuff. Feels like we have the best line-up with us ever.
I have no words to thank you all for the moments you have given us these three nights. Tonight as I waved to the crowd for the last time on stage at the end of the show, I felt like the happiest and the luckiest guy on the planet. And that I truly am. I could cry happy tears right now because of you pelple.
Big hug to all of you and se you soon. Tomorrow in Frankfurt.
Not just a little bit love,
Samu & the Gang
PS: Ok, I’ll have the wine glass. Old dog – old habits. Woof woof ;)
Blog from 20. February 2014
Frankfurt – Berlin - Hamburg
Here we are at Hannover backstage. I just had again a great dinner served by our own chefs who are on the road with us all the way. The “Hells Kitchen Catering” team is probably the best we ever had. Every day, three times a day, our whole 50 people crew is sitting there with a happy face from starter tomato bruschetta to the dessert chocolate stuff. Njam Njam <3 I hope the gilrs are able to take our crew’s “below the belt” jokes until the end…
Three show nights are behind since my last blog after Stuttgart and all we can say is WOW WOW WOW! Frankfurt Festhalle was probably the coolest venue ever. This old building with the coolest roof ever. You can see it on our Facebook page on the picture our trusted photographer Anna Äärela took from one of the balconies. Anna was with us in Frankfurt and Berlin just to make sure we get some cool pictures from this trip too.
I don’t know why Berlin has a reputation being not so great for playing live shows. They say the crowd is too cool to have fun?? Maybe the folks came from somewhere else that night, but we were totally hyped by the crowd there too. In Berlin we also did an extra number with our Berliner friend Chris Schummert from the Voice of Germany 2013. We played his song “The singer” together. It was actually cool for once to just play and I had all the time to look around me during the song. Chris did an amazing job! Maybe in the next band I won’t be the singer. Easier job ;) Berlin crowd was also full of friends, family and music industry people. That always makes you nervous in a funny way. But it also gives you power.
On Tuesday in Hamburg was the big night. We filmed our UNHOLY GROUND DVD. I was feeling pretty ill the show day, but fortunately with medicine and a lot of sleep the show was a success. I still can’t believe we sold out the O2 arena. The arena is built by a Finnish dude, Hjallis Harkimo back in the days. There is a similar arena in Helsinki where the Helsinki’s worst ice hockey team “Helsinki Jokers” play their games. Anyways, the arena is cool and I always dreamed of playing a sold out O2 arena show someday. Thank you all for making the dream come true. The lovely Schwarzkopf TV people also filmed the MyFirstBand show and I hope the guys can use the footage somehow in the future. It looked so cool <3
Yesterday was a good day. Raul and Riku stayed in Hamburg with their family and friends but the rest of us were in Hannover. First Finland beat the hell out of the Russians in Sochi Olympic Ice Hockey quarterfinals. We are against Sweden tomorrow. We’ll see. Either we’re gonna have 5 happy guys on stage in Oberhausen or then we’ll just do sad songs that night. After the Russia-game we had a great shopping day in the city and a superb Italian dinner with the MyFirstBand guys at 12 apostle- restaurant. Great wine list. Go check it out!
Today we will do our best to entertain the crowd in Hannover at the Swiss Life Arena. Also sold out... One of my greatest songwriter friends, Sharon Vaughn, is coming to see the show tonight. You can hear her input in Lifesaver, Unholy Ground, Hurtsville, Letters In The Sand, etc. She is one of the most beautiful souls in the world and it will be amazing singing our songs to her. She is our big sister. I sent our driver at the airport waiting for her just to make sure she makes it in time. She is a busy girl…
So… Thank you all again for the amazing moments and see some of you on stage in 1 hour 34 minutes.
Big Big love everyone!
Samu and his happy boys
Blog from 23. February 2014
Hannover – Oberhausen – Berlin weekend
Sun is shining and it feels a bit like spring. Feels so cool to wear the sunglasses after so many months. Actually you have to because your eyes are not used to the sunbeams. I am in Berlin for two and a half days with our bass player Raul. He rented a car in Leipzig where we arrived after the Oberhausen show on Saturday morning and here we are.
Today I finally had a chance to check out the Mauerpark and Arkonaplaz flee markets. WOW! I could have bought a truck full of stuff there. Especially all the vintage furniture, decoration stuff and electronics stuff there is just crazy! I bought two vintage cameras from the 60’s and one analogue metronome from early 80’s and it says made in West Germany. How cool is that! For more than 30 years it has given the beat to musicians and now it’ll be decorating my little studio room giving some sort of a beat to my life. The camera stuff was amazing. There were hundreds of really old shooting machines and I just had to take a few of them with me. They will look amazing combined with my brand new Nikon equipment.
So, we lost against Sweden at the ice hockey semifinals. Last night the Finnish lions won their bronze game and I think it’s actually not that bad. AND one of the Sweden’s biggest stars Nicklas Bäckström got caught today with illegal doping stuff, so who knows… Anyways. Bronze is a great achievement against such tough teams and we did beat the team USA 5-0 at the last game. I’m proud of you boys. And Teemu Selänne #8 Forever!
Seems as if the shows are just super cool everywhere this time. The Swiss Life Arena in Hannover was a little smaller than the ones before, but the mood in the room was just as explosive as everywhere else so far. I don’t know what it always is with me and the 6th show, but after “Angels On A Rampage” I hit my head with the guitar really hard as I was trying to get the new guitar from guitar technician Karri between the songs. My hand was very sweaty and it just slipped. I survived that and then in “Fairytale Gone Bad” I fell of the stage. You can’t see too well in the front because of the lights and at some point I just felt “oops, there’s nothing under my feet anymore…” I love the look on the crew guys faces at these moments saying: “Did I just lose most of my summer jobs this summer…?”
But the sweet security guys saved me. Again ;) Was also cool playing for my songwriter friend Sharon. It’s Sharon actually speaking in “I Can Break Your Heart” after the guitar solo and she said she almost freaked out when she heard herself through the speakers.
Oberhausen Arena has been this kind of a dream for us for many years. We heard from the Nightwish guys that it’s just an amazing place to play and the mood is always super intimate even though there are 12.000 people in the crowd. Feels like a little club. So finally it was our turn to enjoy that stage last Friday and damn it was cool. After the show I met some of my German relatives for the first time too. It’s kind of spooky to see people after more than 30-year break but they were super great. They have a photo of me when I’m 3-years old or something. I hope I have changed a bit since then. Not smarter but taller.
Also almost my whole family was there and even though the SWE-FIN ice hockey game went as it went, it was great watching it together with them. The catering gilrs made hamburgers for us for the game. How sweet...
After the show Raul and I took our bus and all the others went to My First Band’s caravan to party the hell out of their souls. The boys looked pretty dead in Leipzig at 11Am as the busses arrived there. They went to bed, we drove to Berlin, so here I am.
I had a few meetings yesterday with some music industry people and in the night I visited our first product manager’s Julia’s birthday party. Was super cool having a few beers with the EMI music colleagues from 2006. Was amazing to just think about everything that happened to Sunrise Avenue after that. We would not be here without those first important months and the work of those wonderful people.
I’ll go to gym now so I have a little time for showers and stuff before I meet Raul at the lobby for dinner. He has booked a table at this very cool Asian restaurant for us. I also have the coolest vintage bathtub in my room, so I guess I better test drive that after dinner and watch a movie or something. Tomorrow we drive back to Leipzig with Raul to rock the people at Haus Auensee together with the guys. It’s the first time in the Band’s history we have a double day off. I love it. The throat rests and the mind rests. I like my life very much right now.
Thank you all for all the amazing moments again and see you really really soon.
A lot of love,
Blog from 27. February 2014
Leipzig – Munich – Vienna
Only one left to go. I get the same shock every time. First you plan the tour for months and then you are enjoying the trip with the guys so much you kind of lose the track of time and suddenly you realize it’s the last show night on this run.
After my Berlin weekend with Raul we drove to Leipzig where the rest of the boys and crew had been enjoying their weekend. I heard about this crazy jam session thing with some local band’s instruments… It was a very cool thing to have these two off-days because finally my throat felt better and performing felt fresh again. The almost two hours on stage include so much singing that it’s pretty hard rebooting yourself in one day. I like.
Haus Auensee in Leipzig is one of the places we had played many times before. They had tried upgrading that venue too, but there was nothing available in the city, so Haus Auensee it was. It was kind of cool playing also one smaller club on this run and Jesus the crowd sounded loud now that we were much closer to them again. After the show I usually take my both in-ear-monitors off, but in Leipzig that was not possible. The noise from the crowd was too loud and it was almost painful. But in a very good and tasty way. Leipzig was probably the loudest crowd on this trip so far.
Zenith club in Munich has always been a little dream for me. Before the very first shows in Germany in 2006 I checked out some YouTube videos of some Finnish bands’ shows there, such as The Rasmus, Nightwish and HIM. I just remember thinking how cool it would be to play in Zenith once. It’s this huge 5500 people club. It’s not too high and you can feel every single person in the room while you play. Before the Munich show Antti, the singer of My First Band came to our back stage after their show and said, “boys, there are some crazy folks out there and tonight it’ll be double fun and triple hot.” Antti was right. I don’t know what it is about Munich. Immer super!
So here I am on my hotel bed in Vienna getting ready for the last show. I love this city very much and I have so many great memories from here. We are ending the tour in Vienna for the second time in a row. The Big Band Theory after tour party was HARD!!! Let’s see what happens today…
We have had the most amazing crew with us and the best catering and transportation gang ever. The security has made an amazing job and there hasn’t been a moment on this trip one single guy from the gang would have thought something could be better. Big love and a huge thanx to you all. And as I know the Austrian audience never fails, tonight will be the perfect ending for this experience.
Big Big love and rock you all very soon <3
Samu and his happy men
Blog from 5. April 2014
Copenhagen Airport & Back to school
It was always a mess here when we used to travel through Copenhagen to different European destinations in the past. The whole airport was under construction and there were no cool shops, restaurants and cafes and I used to hate this place. I once even slept one night at the airport floor in 2007. We had been in Milan, Italy at this TV show and we were supposed to fly to Helsinki via Copenhagen. Landing in Copenhagen was very hard due to a snowstorm and they told us as soon as we landed and got to the gate that we’d have to spend our night in the city.
As all the flights were cancelled and there were a lot of passengers looking for a place to sleep, all the hotels were fully booked and we had nowhere to go. The problem was that there was a show next day in Finland and we weren’t just able to take a taxi downtown for a couple of days to enjoy our time.
So we had a couple of beers in the night with the guys and the next morning I woke up on the airport floor as this little Swedish girl was standing next to me with her family asking for an autograph. That was one of the rock star moments of my life so far. I was still a bit drunk and I felt like a homeless dude who smells like shit. I didn’t have a toothbrush. I’m a great example for the youth…
I haven’t been to the airport for a couple years and wow it was cool now. The “under construction” signs are gone and it’s all ready and beautiful. I think Copenhagen just topped my favorite airport, Helsinki. I ended up shopping my ass off those 90 minutes now. Congratulations Denmark! Why the hell am I actually writing so much about a damn airport… Mr. Haber’s Trip advisor. Ok, to the point…
A lot has happened after the tour. It’s been mostly about promoting the new single “Little Bit Love” and joining different award shows. I even had our former keyboard player / Producer Jukka with me at the TV shows playing the piano because Osmo wasn’t able to come. Osmo is just so damn busy with all his other projects. With Jukka you can NEVER go to sleep without drinking two bottles of wine. And it’s always worth it. Was actually great fun. I have missed Jukka since he’s been living in Cologne, Las Vegas and Paris Now. Every time I call him, he is in a different country.
Today we’re traveling with my band mates again. We are performing in some TV show in Cologne and on Saturday we will play a small acoustic school concert somewhere in Germany. Meanwhile it’s been so cool being at home and actually having time for myself the last month. I was even able to set up a little birthday get together. I usually suck with that. And thank you everyone for the great presents you had also sent me. Sweet <3 I wasn’t able to invite you al because I wasn’t able to bake a cake big enough…;)
I also love how the year 2014 looks in the calendar now. The spring will be pretty easy, just a couple promotion activities and mostly just enjoying life and writing songs when ever I feel like it. The summer festival schedule looks great too. There’s a lot but it’s not too packed. We have these little “Sunrise Avenue Festivals” too this summer and I really like that. We still don’t know all the bands we will invite to play at those evenings with us, but we’ll see. I guess My First Band will join for some of them at least. And maybe we find something even newer and cool from Finland. You never know…
And then in late summer I will jump on my red chair again at the Voice Of Germany. I thought about The Voice for quite some time after they offered me the job again, but in the end I just felt like I had to do it one more time. Last year with all the craziness was so hard and busy; I don’t actually remember much of it. I think this time I will definitely enjoy the Voice even more and I will know better what to do with the talents since everything is not new to me. Even though last year was busy, I still value the Voice Experience as one of the coolest in my life so far. So maybe now it’ll be a bit more relaxed and smooth since I don’t have to spend time with album production and song writing the same time. And learning German will be easier too since I have more time for it. I will still speak completely wrong, but maybe a can learn a couple more words to help me communicate with the talents &folks. It’s not a language show, it’s a damn TV show where they sing mostly in English. One more season! I’m so excit
ed ;) Now that Nena and BossiHossi decided to leave the game (I think that is smart after three seasons), I really hope Max stays in the game with me.
In the autumn there are also some very cool things planned for Sunrise Avenue, but we and I’ll let you know about that stuff as soon as it’s all confirmed. Some of our childhood perversions and dreams will be fulfilled ;) I really hope it all works out – looks good. Now we’re getting musically dead serious…
I never wrote the blog after the last show of the tour in Vienna. The party was just too hard and lasted for days…;) After the promotion for “Unholy Ground” and the Voice ended in late 2013, I had been daily connected to the live production for the tour we had. Even on my winter holidays. There were huge storms and threats around the production and the whole tour and we even had to change the major team twice to make it work for you in the arenas. But it worked out and rocked like hell!
So… I must say the biggest thanx to you all for making the unbelievable great three weeks happen for us. We’ve been through the ups and downs during the last ten years with the band and we’ve seen almost all of it. Those ten shows were far the best thing that I have ever experienced with my pants on and it was far the best experience I have had on stage ever. The DVD filming and recording in Hamburg O2 worked out perfect too and that will be one damn cool package. I guess it’ll be out in early autumn.
So… Be nice everyone and work and study hard. There’s still some months until we hit the summer time. But when we do, we will have fun together. As always.
We have 50 Kilometers to the destination so I’ll close my eyes for a moment. It’s a school concert we play in a local high school today. They have won our show in some kind of a contest. Back to school. I was never too got at it…
Big love all and huge hugs everyone,
Blog from 31. May 2014
Samuel Hapa Haber
Summer time love, Summer time love
To get the best out of this blog, listen to the legendary Sabrina’s hit “Boys boys Boys” from the 80’s. Why?
1st because it’s summer now and the dude sings “summer time love” in the song.
2nd because our brother band “My First Band” who released their international debut album yesterday somehow remind me of Sabrina… They do!
Check out the Sabrina video on YouTube or somewhere. It’s hilarious. I had her poster on my wall when I was one meter shorter. I can still remember going to bed and saying “Good night Sabrina…”
It’s funny how I seem to start many of my blogs with the words “I’m sitting in a plane to…” and here I go again. We are flying to Zurich, Switzerland with the boys for this Happy Day- TV show. I don’t know much about it, but our job will be performing some music, so I guess we’ll be fine. And since we know our favorite Swiss music industry dude Mr. Carlo Pozzi with his ever smiling face will be waiting for us at the airport, nothing can go wrong tonight. It’s always super cool going to the land of cheese, chocolate and private banking.
The spring has been super cool and relaxing after the tour. After the ridiculously busy last year, it has felt amazing just being mostly free of all duties. You really need this sometimes. I counted that I had more than 200(!!) travel days last year. If on top of that you write, record and produce and promote and album, it’s no wonder I started looking like a grandmother near Christmas. Nothing against grandmothers, though. The last month I’ve been around Europe pretty much just enjoying different leisure stuff and songwriting and I have also spent time in my little garden. Yes, it’s one of the coolest things to do on a sunny day. By now it’s been mostly about simple plants, flowers and trees, but in the summer I will get into herbs and little vegetables too. On a warm evening it’s just amazing to sit on the terrace with a glass of good wine and just listen to the watering system do its job on the green stuff. And the smell of wet grass. Mmmmm… I wonder how my little plants survive without me for one night n
ow…? Hahahahha ;)
Summer’s here and the festival season is near. It feels super good. Especially after we’ve had a break with the guys now and we haven’t seen each other in ages, it feels really great getting on the summer stages together. We have a perfect mixture of different shows this summer and it goes on for four months, until Septermber. And since we played a shorter tour this spring due to the bigger arenas, we haven’t played that many shows with the new songs yet. So they definitely still feel super fresh. We have only the final rehearsal left with Raul, Riku, Sami and Osmo next week and then we’re good to go. I still can’t get over the tour in February. It was just something super amazing and you have no idea how thankful we are to every one of you making it possible. I’ve had sweet dreams of those moments when you sang the songs with us…
Two years ago keyboardist Heikki, who used to replace Osmo acouple of times at our shows, came to me with a couple of questions regarding their band and the challenges they had. We had a coffee at café Ursula in Helsinki and listened to some of their tracks. They had released two albums already but nothing had really happened and he asked for help. After listeningto the new songs they had and especially after being at their album releaseshow in 2012 at Tavastia in Helsinki, I fell in love with the band.
Our managers Mikko and Anne and myself put our heads together and decided to help the boys out with our network. We introduced them to International agents, publishers and record labels and most of all to the Sunrise Avenue crowd. Actually after the first show they supported in Hamburgat the Hamburg Sport Halle in 2011, I was convinced. They boys seemed to be humble but they sure rocked the stage too. Good combination. That was when I decided to start the project with them and to help them in any way I can. I have been super lucky in life with my own career and opportunities and that luck should be spread forward to good people too, if possible.
A lot has happened in a couple of years and the boys have atiny international network behind them now. Yesterday they released their first international album and I am very very proud of it. We all know how these things go. It’s extremely hard breaking new acts and the odds and chances are what they are. But check the music out anyways. The My First band boys are also supporting Sunrise Avenue many times this summer so there’s a good chance seeing them live too.
The top two things I HATE about My First Band:
1. Antti sings too high. Way higher than me. My ego doesn’t like it.
2. Keyboardist Heikki wasn’t in such good shape when we met. It was a mistake taking him to the kettle-bell sessions and introducing him the gym stuff. Those arms.
The top two things I LIKE about My First Band:
1. Juho, Heikki K. and Mikko used to play in one of Finland’s biggest bands, PMMP for years. I was at their shows many times and I always thought Juho looks so cool with his bass. So, now he sold me his PMMP bass, A Fender Precision Bass from the 70’s. That was my glory moment. I have been cheering in their crowd in 1st row staring at that instrument. Now it’s mine. MINE!!!
2. Probably even better than getting the legendary PMMP bass is that guitarist Mikko really liked the LONG UNDERPANTS I brought him from Barcelona. Enough said.
The Voice Of Germany pre-recordings start late in the summer too. I will have to set a few dates with my German teacher, Dirk again. I must have forgotten most of my already poor German while just watering my plants and fooling around. Maybe I should speak German to my flowers; it’s still the language of love... People speak to their plants, don’t they? Anyways. I have a feeling the second season of the voice for me will be even more enjoyable, since I already know a bit what’s gonna happen. And even though I miss Max, BossiHossi and Nena already, it’s cool to meet new people. The voice won’t take as much time this year either so there will be time for other musical activities. I like how my life looks like for the next seven months.
So… Rest well everyone and recharge your batteries for the summer. It’s just gonna be a couple of months of sunshine, festivals and other fun stuff and we better make the best out of it. No pressure…;)
Love, hugs and happiness!
Can’t wait to see you all soon,
PS: Now, don’t forget Sabrina and her video.
Blog from 18. June 2014
The summer festival season is on now and WOW what a weekend we just had! It was super nice getting back on stage with the guys after a break and we couldn’t have done it in a more colorful way.
We started our summer tour in Tussling, Germany last Thursday. Everything was prepared well and we were super ready. In the morning as we arrived at the cool castle venue, I jumped off stage in my morning coma and twisted my ankle pretty bad. I was feeling a bit depressed as I didn’t know if I was gonna be able to make it through the show, but luckily the First Aid ladies took good care of me and gave me some pain killers and toys to keep my feet in one piece. The crew guys even had a bar chair for me, in case my foot would not be ok to stand with. Imagine sitting and singing there on that huge stage for the whole 90 minutes… But it went ok with the body parts too. It’s actually always funny how you forget your “broken bones” and illness on stage when the adrenaline hits you. After the show I was hurting like hell as soon as I “woke up” from the dream we had on stage. On stage you kind of forget everything else, even your pain and sorrows.
The first show was ok. It seems as if it’s always hard to be relaxed with the first performance after a break no matter how much you prepare yourself. The crowd was superb and all but we could have done a better and more relaxed job. Good start anyway.
After Tussling we had a day off in sunny Vienna but on Saturday there was even more action for us. We had been waiting for the biggest Austrian festival show at Nova Rock for months and as we started our show, it felt as if it’s going to be the best night ever. Actually the first songs went like in a dream but then the whole stage system crashed down. It felt a bit strange playing “Lifesaver” and the sound in our ears was superb but the audience just kept on showing us these sings that something was wrong. The problem was that the music didn’t play to them at all. Tiny problem ;) Even with that 10-minute technical break, the Nova Rock show was a blast and it kind of promised us the festival set would start working better and better.
These technical breakdown moments are very annoying on stage while they happen, but afterwards they make you feel like survivors together with our crew who glue the pieces together in super short time. Usually at least my guitar works so I could sing something small with the crowd while the boys fix the cables and stuff, but now the whole thing went down, actually for the first time ever. It felt so stupid, but there’s not much we can do.
After our own show, I also performed one song with my childhood idol, Mr David Hasselhoff. What a guy and what a great show he and his team made. It amazed me how well the Austrians know his songs. Not just “looking for freedom” that we sang. David kind of forgot to tell the crowd who’s gonna join him on stage and it was funny how everyone seemed to stare at me on stage wondering, “who the hell is that blonde guy?” My ego can take it ;)
After Nova Rock we drove to one of our favorite German festivals, the Hessentag near Frankfurt. I must admit we had a HUGE party in the buss together with the My First Band boys and as I woke up at the hotel in Frankfurt, I wasn’t too sure I could do my job that well on stage that night. But sometimes a slight hangover can also be good for the shows. It makes you feel sensitive and that’s good for performing music. It’s just my throat that bothers me if I have been screaming Hasselhoff songs until the morning.
The Hessentag show showed us that our live monster is alive. It was probably one of the Top 3 festival experiences I have ever had in my whole life and everything just seemed to work perfect. The show got a little better and it’s amazing how it also becomes a bit longer when we are not panicking on stage with starting the next song and doing the speeches in between etc. So promising sings for the rest of the summer.
So seems to me that we need a couple of concerts to get the system running properly. The “old diesel engines” need time… The same happened with the spring tour too. For me the tour was far the coolest and greatest of all times, but in Zurich at the first evening, we were not as good as we could be.
After Hessentag I flew home for one day and now I’m in Norway writing songs together with the World Idol winner Norwegian Kurt Nilsen. He’s a very nice guy and anyways I don’t mind being here. When I left Helsinki this morning, it was +9 and raining. Here the sun has been shining the whole day and it’s super hot. Well, I’m inside sitting in a studio, but anyhow… Looks nice through a window.
Tomorrow after the studio session, I will fly to Austria or Germany (can’t remember where) and I’ll wait for the rest of the band there overnight. The boys will pick me up on Friday and we’ll drive off to the next shows. My ankle is better and seems as if it can handle even jumping now. Strong boys come from my country…
I’m not feeling too great somehow. I hope it’s just travel sickness or lack of sleep. I can almost sleep 12 hours tonight, so I bet tomorrow is a better day. I heard there’s a pretty evil summer flu going around right now. But I bet I will be a new man tomorrow after sleeping in this mountain air and eating their super healthy salmon today.
Anyways. Thank you all for the super weekend in Germany and Austria last weekend and see you all very soon.
Good night everyone,
PS: In case you have a Sunrise Avenue tattoo, a band logo, song name or anything that clearly has something to do with us, feel free to join our art work stuff through the link on our site within the next few weeks.
The link to the tatto upload:
Blog from 13. August 2014
Sporty Avenue Flying High
This time, I will not begin my blog with “I’m sitting in a Finnair plane…” We’ll I kind of did it again, but not really.
We are on the way to Zurich, Switzerland to play at the European Championship of Athletics. I really don’t know what’s going on in there at the opening ceremony, but I know that we’ll do two songs. I hope we can choose them. You never know with these international TV productions. Maybe they have the whole thing planned already and they even tell me what to say in between the songs… I would NEVER obey those commands. The thing is, it’s LIVE TV broadcasted to more than 40 countries and I say what I say… Muahahahaha…
What a summer it has been. And it still is. This morning was the very first time in SEVEN WEEKS it was really raining in Finland. There were a couple of thunders and a little rain from those clouds, but we have already actually been waiting for the R.A.I.N. to come wet out grounds. 2014 has been the record breaking hot summer and they say it’s still gonna be hot for some time. And it has been super warm everywhere in Europe. I just hope the planet doesn’t balance itself in the next months by throwing frozen stuff at us from the sky. But I can’t complain anyways. There are so many new exotic plants on my back yard due to the humidity and heat that I will probably soon start selling tropical trips to my square-meter rainforest. Samu-Land. Sounds cool. Children get in half price. Actually not. That place is not public and I would deeply hate anyone coming there uninvited if the intentions are stalking or whatever. Private space. Stay away!
We have six summer festivals left. It has been just amazing everywhere this summer. When the sixth show in Papenburg, Germany is done we will focus on two things; 1st The new music we release in October and 2nd the Über cool classical shows we’re gonna play in Lucerne, Switzerland in early October too.
The Best Of Album
Yes. It’s kind of funny how fast everything has moved since 2002 when I moved back to Finland from Spain. Then I decided I would not rest for the next years until Sunrise Avenue has a record out. A lot has happened after that. I have met my band boys, a billion cool other people, played all the stages and written all these songs together with the fantastic folks. Now is the moment to put the first period in a package and to take a small break from everything.
It was actually breathtaking going through the albums we’ve released when I started thinking about all the songs that are important enough to get their place on the “Best Of.” When you listen to the songs, you start remembering all the billion moments, happy, lonely, crazy, in love, out of love and style, drunk, hang over, missing home and feeling the king of the world when writing, recording and preforming these babies. There have been moments I have felt like jumping off the roof and also moments when I could have forced the leaders of Palestine and Israel to a threesome-kiss because there was so much unexplainable love inside me. And everything in between. And you need all that to write songs and to live this crazy thing.
Anyways. Listening to the songs, I realized how damn lucky we are having done all these things the last years together with you. Actually the dreams we had when we were 12 came true. It’s totally different than I thought – way harder and way better.
So… The best moments of Sunrise Avenue 2006-2014 will be released with some new songs in October. That package makes me and us extremely proud. And that package would not be as it is without you. It’s just amazing what we have done together. Thank you <3
Sunrise Avenue goes Classical
We have so many violins and cellos in the songs and I have been dying for a chance to play many of our songs with a full classical orchestra.
Radio Pilatus from Lucerne, Switzerland asked us a year ago if we’d be interested in performing together with their gang and we didn’t have to think about that for too long. The thing is, now there are tens of people on stage with us, so much more than at the Big band Theory Tour, and making all this work has taken time. Lucerne is one of the coolest cities in the world and we could not figure out a better little town for this little project. I know that there are not too many tickets left, so move fast if you don’t wanna miss the fun.
The Voice Of Germany Season 4
I am so happy I decided to do one more year. I thought about it for quite long in the spring when they asked me. It was super fun last season too, sure, but it was also pretty much work and also since I still don’t speak German, it’s exhausting sitting there when you don’t understand a thing the others talk. I am still so bored with the reporters who think they’re funny and say “Aber hey, wir können das Interview auf Deutsch machen, klar?” even though they have been told I just can’t talk about album production or life issues in German. I wish I could, But I can’t…
But I must say my German is better now. Much better than last year. Of course I worked with it and watched movies in German and stuff (Ostwind movie is so cool;). Last season I really had two weeks to study before the blind auditions started. Now I had one year & two weeks. Now it kind of works.
I loved doing the show with Max, Nena and BossHoss boys, but I must say this time the whole thing has been three times more fun and energetic. They selected very good people on the red chairs and now the battle is FULLY ON! Don’t miss it. I guess it starts in October.
I would love to tell you some stuff that has happened there and I’d happily tell you about a couple of great singers but I can’t. They will shoot me if I talk. Not really shoot, but yell really loud. And I’d have to pay them A LOT. Unfair….
So…. Big love everyone and remember to support the Finnish athletes at the games. If Tero Pitkämäki doesn’t get at least a bronze medal, you can call me “Ostwind” for a week.
Blog from 05. September 2014
Two Last Festivals 2014
Damn time flies. It feels like it was a week ago we were planning the summer shows with the guys at our little rehearsal garage and now it’s already the last summer weekend for us. It goes so fast.
I have to say this summer has topped it all and it has felt so damn good everywhere. We’re sitting here somewhere in Halle-Saale, Germany at the backstage with the crew guys and My First Band getting ready for the night and it feels super great. Even the weather is so warm. So the weatherman is on our side too and I have a good feeling about tonight. And even if the summer shows are over soon, it doesn’t mean that the cold winds should start blowing immediately. So weatherman, if you’re reading this, keep on sending the sunshine as long as you possibly can ;)
After the show tomorrow in Papenburg, we will start focusing on our symphonic orchestra concerts in early October. We have finished arranging the first songs for that show and GOD they sound great! There are many songs on our albums that we always wanted to play with a huge orchestra and now we finally have the chance. I will, for sure, have tears in my eyes at “welcome to my life” and some other songs as we finally have the real live strings with us on stage. It’s amazing how fast the shows were sold out and that kind of tells us we really need to give everything we possibly can on stage for you lovely people those three nights.
After the symphonic shows, it’s gonna be pretty much about promoting our new songs and the “Best Of Sunrise Avenue – Fairytales” album. And also the super hyper cool DVD filmed this year in Hamburg at the sold out O2 World. We just watched the fresh DVD in the bus with the boys as we drove from Berlin and we were literally screaming twenty times because it looks and sounds so damn cool!! WE Are so PROUD!!!!! When I hopefully have grandchildren someday, I’ll show them this DVD. Look what grandpa did when he was young. It’s just a big W-O-W all the way and you all look so good and sing so great and loud!
Then after Christmas we will have our first longer break since we started in 2002. That feels really good. We all love doing what we do, but it’s great actually having a little time for ourselves and some distance to this great circus. I don’t know what the guys will do and I haven’t really decided where I will go and what I will do, but that’s actually the way I want it. I feel free ;) The last 12 years with Sunrise have been totally unbelievable, but I must admit having no plans for some months is the best thing to do after the work this year is done. I’ll probably just sleep the first month and then just see what I feel like doing. Maybe I’ll join an Ice Hockey team. Or maybe not…
And the best thing about the break is that we have really cool festival and other plans for 2015 in the summer. So there’s also something we can wait for. Somebody somewhere wrote about a “Break-up.” No. We’re gonna have a “break.” That’s something very different. Usually after these breaks you come back with even more power. I believe that’s the case with us too.
I must say you guys have been super amazing no matter if it’s been rain or shine at the shows the whole summer. Please keep on going for two more summer shows and these five Finnish idiots will be super happy. As we are always with you.
So… Big hugs from the backstage and let’s sing really loud together in a couple of hours.
Samu & Boys
PS. Thank you for the platinum awards last night Germany for 200.000 + 150.000 sold units. There are no words… <3
Blog from 24. September 2014
Hurtsville – Behind the Song
I just watched “Hurtsville” live version from the amazing DVD that’s out next month, and it’s really hard to understand that this song was actually lost and forgotten for two years somewhere in Sweden. And it’s also hard to imagine, that this song was super hard to record and to produce. But I guess the more it hurts to deliver it, the better the baby is in the end.
I had my very first songwriting session in Sweden in February 2010. I was booked to make music together with two total strangers (Sharon Vaughn and Carl Björsell) somewhere in a small studio in Stockholm. I felt kind of nervous walking in and introducing myself to these folks who had written huge hits to many artists from all over the world. In 2010 Sunrise Avenue was still a one-hit-wonder with “Fairytale Gone Bad” for the bigger audience and co-write sessions with new folks was totally new to me. I’m really happy my publisher Sony/ATV selected these two writers to be the first ones.
We had two days together and we wrote two songs. First day we wrote “Angels on a Rampage.” Sharon said in the morning she wants to write a huge rock ballad and we had nothing against that with Carl. Six hours after entering the room, we had written and recorded the song demo and during these six hours we also had lunch. Sometimes these sessions are super fast. Sometimes things just work out.
When I woke up the second day, I felt a little ill. However, we decided to have the session anyway and see what comes out. We wrote a song about this guy who is sitting in a tour bus somewhere far away from home. About this imaginary city called “Hurtsville.” In the story, the guy is kind of sad and it hurts to be alone far away from home and I think Sharon’s idea for the song name was just genius. After writing the song, we recorded a demo with acoustic guitar, bass and vocals, but I wasn’t too sure about it because of my ill throat.
Soon after Stockholm, I flew to Los Angeles to write with more and more people and the only demo I ever got from Carl was “Angels On A Rampage.” Maybe he thought I didn’t like my voice on the other recording…
After the L.A. trip I came back home to look at the new tracks with both producer Jukkas. We worked with both of them with “Out Of Style” album. They both loved “Angels on a Rampage” right away and it ended up on the album. The album was released, Hollywood Hills became a huge hit and somehow I had forgotten about this “Hurtsville” song completely.
In February 2013 I had another two-day-session with Carl and Sharon again. Another success. We wrote “Unholy Ground” and “Aim For The Kill” in two days. Great Great Great. In the very end of the second studio day I was already ready to call a taxi to the airport as Carl asked us “What should we do with Hurtsville??”
I was like “Hurtsville, what?”
Carl plays the demo as I’m already wearing my jacket and my guitar is packed ready for the flight. Time stops and we burst into tears with Sharon.
I brought the song back to Finland with me and there was no question. It should be on the album. Everyone loved it. Producing the song was super hard. We made four finalized versions (More acoustic version, old school rock’n’roll style, a stupid pop 90’s thing…) but nothing just felt right. I was personally suffering a lot with every version there was and it just didn’t feel right. Full respect to producer Jukka for listening to one more stupid idea how the song has to be. Now it’s perfect!
The coolest thing is that we tried singing the lead vocals a billion times in studio in Helsinki, but it never felt as good as the original demo vocals. Finally Jukka decided to use those “sick-throat” vocals recorded in Stockholm in 2010. The same vocals that made the song disappear for years are now on the album.
Check out the live version on our brand new player on our Facebook page. You all look just amazing!!
Blog from 25. September 2014
I Can Break Your Heart – Behind The Song
I wrote this song when the band was still called “Sunrise.” The year was 1998 and then it was just me and Jan Hohenthal, the other founder of Sunrise.
In 1998 the song was very different. It was way more "country" and hilarious. The lyrics were different too. They were about a guy (me;) getting laid with all the girls and breaking all their hearts. I was even crazier those times – Big talks about all the girl-stuff and not so much action. I have never been a huge Casanova, but when I look at my pictures from those times, I’m amazed I even got any girl’s phone number. So childish and stupid I looked back then. Not that I’m actually George Clooney today either…
I offered the song to producer Jukka Backlund a few times during the first two albums, but he hated it. It was just too folk/country and the lyrics were just awful. Jukka was right.
I still liked something about the song idea and so in 2010 I wrote a new chorus to the song with my studio partner Aku Sinivalo and after that I had the guitar riff idea that you hear in the beginning. Now it started rocking and sounding like a good song. Still, for some reason, I didn’t play the song to the band guys or producers for another three years until we were recording our fourth album “Unholy Ground.” “I Can Break Your Heart” was one of the first songs we recorded for the album and the working title was “Brown Chicken” (because the same day we recorded it we had been watching Trace Adkins’ “Brown Chicken Brown Cow” video - Check it out on the link below). There’s something similar in the mood and we just loved his voice.
I must say after all the years hiding the song in my secret “song idea box” I loved the track as soon as we hit the record button with the guys. It just rocked from the very first second and we felt we were on the right path. We didn’t even have to talk about the drumming on this song; Sami just fixed the missing details on the first take. And I’m really happy Riku happened to have the Banjos and stuff with him in studio to make the riff even more Western. We all knew the song would work super great on stage at the shows.
“I Can Break Your Heart” is a story about the fact that after you have had a broken heart at least once in your life, you start behaving better and you appreciate it more when someone loves you and is there for you. You’ll have a better life when you’ve been through all that pain.
It’s a song about those cool nightclub girls who pretend they’re perfect and no guy is ever good enough for them. But then some day some average neighbor boy comes and breaks their heart and they become better ladies. I feel sorry for those “Queens of city lights” but I also know they wil lbe saved someday by some normal boy. Deep shit? Yes it is.
Check out Brown Chicken – Brown Cow. He could be the big brother of The Boss Hoss dudes.
And also check out the “I Can Break Your Heart” live version from the DVD. It’s added now on our new video player.
Love and peace and broken hearts ;)
PS:I have to add that the lady speaking the life wisdoms after the guitar solo is Sharon Vaughn, the official big sister of Sunrise Avenue. She was a bit shocked and surprised when I said to her in Stockholm once “Read this text to the microphone and ask no questions…” She corrected a couple of my grammar mistakes though…
Blog from 26. September 2014
Funkytown Feat. Tommy Lindgren – Behind The Song
“Funk” is not actually the word to describe Sunrise Avenue, even though we had the coolest horn players on stage with us at the Big Band Theory Tour. And this song is not “funk” at all, but here we go anyway...
It was a dark night, I guess in 2012. I was fooling around with my little home studio equipment’s horn samples and I kept playing this strange horn melody. I never thought it would end up on a song some day but for some reason, I recorded a little demo all alone in the night and emptied abottle of good Italian red wine.
Then later at one of the song sessions at producer Jukka Immonen’s studio when we were thinking of the songs for “Unholy Ground”, I presented my silly horn riff idea. Jukka really liked it but none of us knew what to really do with it. We made a better demo with better horn sounds and decided to try it together with the band guys at the country side studio next time we’d be there.
One evening at the Petrax-studio at the farm far away from Helsinki, really late at night after a sauna session and one beer too many everyone, we decided just to play something for fun. Raul was actually still in sauna, so I took the bass, Riku his guitar and Sami was behind his drums. We were only wearing towels and well... I’m really happy in many ways nobody filmed this session. We started playing “Funkytown” together with the horn demo we had made with Jukka earlier in Helsinki. We still didn’t know what to do with it. We thought of maybe making it an intro for “Unholy Ground” album or to use the theme at the live shows in spring 2014 somehow. As a show opener maybe. Because of the horn riff / the theme, there is no real space for a traditional chorus. The song didn’t go on the album and we just decided to forget about it.
I must admit that when I played the new “Unholy ground” song ideas that summer for the Universal Music people, I also played this short drunken demo at some point. The biggest of the bosses in the room that night, Mr. Tom Bohne said he likes it really much, even though he didn’t know what we should do with it. These sessions are sometimes very creative and you actually get good and helpful feedback to make the songs better. I used to hate these sessions after some bad experiences back in the days. I thought the office folks know nothing about music. Now I know better.
So we had an idea everybody liked but nobody knew what to do with. Great.
As we were thinking of the 2-3 new tracks for the Best of album in the spring 2014, I decided one morning that no matter what it takes, this stupid song would be solved somehow. I drove to Jukka’s studio and told him we would not rest until we have it right. We agreed that the song would not have a chorus in a typical way and we’d let the horns lead the way. We tried it in the way it’s on the album now and it actually felt great. Then we played all the parts again with the band boys but something seemed to be missing still…
Already when we were recording our 2nd album PopGasm in 2010, I really tried to have Mr. Tommy Lindgren from Don Johnson Big Band feature on one of the songs. Then the collaboration was just forgotten and I guess Tommy was not that excited about the offered song either. Actually the song “Popgastic” never ended up on the album at all.
Anyways. I called him again now and asked if he’d be interested. He said he’d have a listen and he'd see if something comes out. A couple of days later I saw on my iPhone screen that there’s an email from Tommy. I was sure he’d write “Sorry, I’m too busy and bla bla bla…” Nope. He had written his parts, recorded them at home and DAMN it sounded cool!! The rest you can hear on the album.
I wrote the lyrics with producer Jukka and I have to say it was the hardest text writing session ever, but I try to describe what we were after there…
Funkytown is not a place for nice little girls and boys. It’s a place where people go to have a little break from their lives. For example, this nice lady works at the office wearing her nice dress from Monday to Friday. On Friday evening she puts her hottest high heels and stay-up socks on and just lets it all go. She does some things she doesn’t want to think about on Monday at the office. But she needs and wants to blow off some steam. What happens in Funkytown, stays in Funkytown. At Funkytown you’re at you own risk.
In other words I could have said Funkytown is THE party song.
I CAN’T WAIT TO PLAY FUNKYTOWN LIVE next summer. I can’t ! Ican’t ! I can’t !
So… be careful out there. Especially if you end up in Funkytown… Muahaha…
Have a cool & Funky weekend everyone!
PS: Check out the Funkytown lyric video on our Facebook video player at
Blog from 29. September 2014
Angels On A Rampage – Behind The Song
Since I already opened the story behind “Angels On A Rampage” on the “Hurtsville” blog last week, I will tell you a little bit about songwriting and I’ll show you how the song sounded right after we had recorded the very first demo at the writing session.
I had always written songs pretty much alone until spring 2010. Or of course someone, typically producer Jukka had many ideas on how to make the songs better, but the actual writing process was just me and my songwriting guitar on my sofa. It felt safe that way.
My publisher suggested that I’d start traveling outside Finland and doing co-write sessions with other songwriters too. They said it might give me new ideas and I could possibly learn to express my stuff better. I didn’t like the idea too much in the beginning but I thought I’d give it a try. If you stay too comfortable as an artist, you become boring and you start repeating yourself. And that can’t be too good for the career and for the music. And of course Stockholm, where they said I should start, is not the worst city in the world, I thought why the hell not.
Nobody said it out loud but the situation with Sunrise Avenue was pretty hard those days. Our second album PopGasm didn’t sell as good as the record companies or even we had hoped, even though I think there were great songs on it too. Especially Welcome To My Life. But it just didn’t sell. The tours were great and all but the fact is that if the album doesn’t sell, you will not be financed to make new music. I was in slight financial problems personally too those times after all the stuff that had happened so paying everything on our own or by myself wasn’t an option. Already one of my friends had sold his house for the first album and I was sure there would not be another one to sell.
The whole thing was a mess those times due to some problems inside the band and also the fact that we were still learning to live with the success that the first album brought. I knew our next album would either be a success and we’d become strong again or … I don’t know what would have happened but I would not be sitting on this 5-star hotel balcony writing this blog if it the sales would have stayed poor.
So… I flew to Stockholm and I must admit my stomach was full of butterflies as I sat in the taxi on my way to the studio. On the other hand I was totally getting out of my comfort zone going totally naked with my songwriting skills into a room with new folks. What if they thought I’m nogood? Or they didn’t like my voice or they just wouldn’t like me or what ever? My self-confidence was not mountain-size those times. On the other hand I knew I’d have to write a hit - alone or with someone - or the Sunrise ship would go down.
At the song writing sessions you focus on the melody and the lyrics. Of course you record some kind of a track too so there’s something you can listen to and play to the record industry folks, but you put all the energy on the actual melody & story.
Since 2010 I have written maybe 150 songs at these sessions. Only eight songs of these have ended up on Sunrise Avenue albums. Some songs have found a new home on some other artist’s albums, but many of them are still waiting for a reason to exist. And some of them are already forgotten. That’s how it goes in this business. You need to write around 30-40 songs to have 12 good ones for the album. I counted quickly 37 songs written for “Unholy Ground” album. Only the best 12 made it. Sad but true ;)
So. Before lunch we had finished the melody and the lyrics. We couldn’t have done it that fast without Sharon’s never-ending ideas for the lyrics. If the feeling is right, I’m usually pretty fast with the melodies but the lyrics can be a four-week-nightmare if I write alone. But with Sharon you have a basket full of good rhymes to choose from when you need a good line somewhere. After the lunch break, we worked with the track for maybe 2-3 hours. I loved Carl’s drum pattern idea immediately and actually you can hear the same drum thing played by Sami on the final track to. We decided to keep the rest very simple at the session so the song would stand out better. Just a bass, acoustic guitar and a (pretty crappy ;) electric guitar. And Sharon’s lady-like vocals too, even though they didn’t work with the final production unfortunately.
There it was – job well done. I went to my hotel and slept bad. I was getting ill, I thought.
I must say, I love these songwriting trips. Even though I love the people in my life, I love being totally alone with my thoughts for weeks somewhere away from home. You just live for the songs and you feel super lonely. That’s when the best and the most honest songs come out of my system.
Before we get to the songwriting demo, I’d like to give you a little advice if you wanna write songs. Focus on the melody and the lyrics. Period. Don’t hide the possible weakness of the song behind a drum loop or some arrangement stuff. If your song really is a good song, it has to work with something very minimal too. I believe in melodies and simple lyrics that people can actually understand. If your neighbor’s 4-year old kid starts smiling or jumping around with only the chorus melody – you have a diamond in your hands. Hallelujah!
So… Now to the demo. Here it is.
And here is the new live version on our Facebook video player. It’s from the Unholy Ground Live DVD – out this Friday!
Big love everyone! 4 days to our FIRST EVER “best of“ album release. Quite amazing!
Blog from 30. September 2014
Sweet Symphony – Behind The Song
In 2007 I found a new medicine to any sorrow in life from our dear drummer Sami. The medicine is called “country music.”
I used to drive to the shows in Finland with my dear BMW and some times Sami joined me. This was actually the first time after Sami joined the band in 2005, we really had time together just the two of us. We actually became friends then and that was super cool. Before that it was always mostly about playing music or stuff around the band, but now we really talked about all the stuff in life. Sami comes from this very very small village in the southwestern Finland and he is a real straight-no-bullshit-dude. He’s usually easy to live with.
Anyways… Those times I was listening to all kinds of music, but country and Nashville-style contemporary country had never really hit me. It was the long drive to Rockperry Festival 2007 in Vaasa when Sami introduced me to mister Keith Urban. It was love at first sight. I must say I totally sank into that music style and I am still thankful to Sami he introduced it to me. I had always thought country is very redneck and uncool, but I had been wrong all the time.
The night was dark and the motorway was quiet. Sami, me and my black BMW 3 coupé. The register plate said SRA-1, Sunrise Avenue-1. Imagine us two singing as loud as we can “I can’t stop loving you” and Sami drumming the dashboard, of course.
“Sweet Symphony” represents, to me, a bit of this new style that I started listening to a lot after that road trip. I just love the honesty in those songs and it’s all about simple stories with a lot of emotion.
Sweet Symphony was one of the last songs recorded at the Sonic Kitchen studio I owned together with Jukka Backlund and two other guys in Helsinki. That is also why it has a deep feeling to me. Because the song turned out great but also because after that song, I gave up the studio business and sold my share away. The studio was the most unprofitable investment ever in my life and I lost XXX.XXX euros with that “hobby.” As I walked out from the studio the last time I said to myself “Fuck you ugly expensive place, at least I got this song, Sweet Symphony…” I could have bought a nice flat in the center of Berlin with the money I lost. Lesson learned.
I remember playing the song to producer Jukka Backlund for the first time at my home in Monk Bay in Helsinki. He was thrilled and loved it right away. He composed the C-part in five minutes and the song got even better.
There was a huge discussion for months if the vocals should be there in the end after the guitar solo or not. I really wanted to have them there, Jukka didn’t. I’m happy they are there because that outro part, for me, is one of the coolest moments of the show when we play it live.
This is probably the deepest song I ever wrote. And this is the song that I still listen to when the world kicks my ass and I feel weak and small. I don’t know why, but it somehow gives me energy and strength.
“Sweet Symphony” is THE Sunrise Avenue song to me. It’s just so perfect as it is. I wrote it for avery special and important person in my life for a very tough and tricky moment. There was a moment in this person’s life when a big and scary choice needed to be made and I just wanted to say that I’d be there no matter what happens. I guess this song has more emotion to me personally than any other Sunrise Avenue song, even “Welcome To My Life.”
“Sweet Symphony” is the song for moments when you are really lonely and facing your challenges alone in this crazy big world. It’s the “Follow your heart”- song. Even though following it may scare you from time to time. But your heart is still the only voice you should listen to. No matter how strange things it might say. And on these moments we all have at least that one person who’ll stand by us no matter whathappens. Or at least we should have. These people are the “Sweet Symphony” folks when the game gets tough.
The way mister Backlund produced this song is just something else. Especially since he let me have my outro vocals the way I wanted to have them ;)
Jukka produced our first album when he was 21 years old. Yes, 21. Jukka is far the most talented and skillful person I have ever met in the whole world of music. He is the one who taught me the most important things about this whole circus in the beginning and he made me believe in myself and in my own vision as much as I do today. He invented the whole thing in the beginning and quite honestly, I was more on the passenger seat when we broke the ice for the first time. And even though that super-blond dude is mostly too much to handle and he behaves like an idiot there and there, I must say I miss the times we had together. I have said this to him a hundred times, but I will never be able to thank him enough for the life I live today. But life goes on and everything is better this way.
There should be more Jukka’s in this world. Has anyone ever heard about a guy called “Jukka” who did something bad? I guess not. We had this other Jukka who reinvented Sunrise Avenue with Hollywood Hills and this can’t be a coincidence. In Jukka We Trust! If I have a son someday, he shall be Jukka Haber. No F***ng way ;)
Anyways… “Sweet Symphony” was never released as a single, but we felt it just needs to be on the “Best Of” album. It just needs to be there.
Hugs and love everyone. After writing this in the night alone I feel lonelier than in a long time. But very happy too.
You can find a 2011 live version of Sweet Symphony on our video player on Facebook. This was one of the hardest singing jobs I ever had. The show was streamed from Berlin Columbia Hall to all over Europe and I was super ill. I had fever that night and I had to eat cortisone (Don’t do that!) and to drink half a bottle of rum (Do that if you must) before the show to get anything out of my throat. You can hear that on the clip too. I felt like shit the whole night but you made it perfect by being there us. Life is sometimes hard. It can’t always be just sunshine and the beach. It’s sometimes strawberries and champagne too..;)
PS. If you wanna see “Sweet Symphony” played acoustic 2014 (with a healthy throat this time; ) withthe boys, check out the Finnish Radio Nova’s website later in October. I don’t know when they’ll post the video there, though.
Blog from 01. October 2014
Nothing Is Over – Behind The Song
I was playing my little plastic piano at home one night in June this summer and I had this very simple song idea. The lyrics just came to me immediately and the story was there right away. We had already decided the songs pretty much for the “Best Of” Album and this new idea called “Nothing IsOver” wasn’t one of them.
For some reason, I never played the song to anyone. Even at the song sessions for the “Best Of” album, I didn’t show it to producer Jukka or the band guys. I loved the song A LOT, but for some reason I felt unsure with it. One reason might have been that the song has to be played with a piano and I SUCK with piano. Osmo always makes fun of my piano skills. In a friendly way… Mostly ;)
I was at the studio in Helsinki in early August with Jukka preparing “Funkytown” and “You Can Never Be Ready” and we had only two weeks left to the deadline. The third song we thought would go on the album was called “Run For Your Life.” I was feeling super cool about the new three tracks, but something inside me was still saying that I should give “Nothing Is Over” a chance too.
Usually at the Fried Music studio there can be twenty people working with different projects in different studio rooms. This late evening there was nobody else, just Jukka and me. And Jukka’s dog Paavo, but he’s a cool dog even though he’s super big and he always wants to sit on my lap and lick my face when we make music.
Anyway… I found the courage somehow and asked Jukka to join me in the recording room where he has his grand piano. My hands were shaking and I was nervous as hell. But I managed to sing my piece. It’s actually a cool moment when you finish your song and then you wait for feedback. Jukka said: “You could have played that two months ago, now we have to hurry…” He loved it. The band guys loved it. We recorded it the next week and it just worked on the first take. Felt as if the song was totally meant for us.
If the song is as simple as this one but you still have so much emotion in it, someone has made a tremendous job producing it. Usually Jukka Immonen tastes all the flavors for weeks before he decides what the final thing is. This time it took just some hours. It just seemed to go right with every choice he made with us. I LOVE IT!
“Nothing is over” is pretty hard to sing. It goes from my lowest tone to the highest but it’s worth every feeling of slight pain in the throat.
I guess I don’t have to tell you what this song is about. The title says it all.
A relationship between people might not last forever. That’s ok too, and sometimes it’s better to move on. But in all relationships, between lovers or even friends, there will be super highs and crazy lows and you need to accept both sides. Otherwise it’s not true and you’re not playing with an open heart. I feel pity for people who give up when it’s hard. These folks will never reach anything great in life. Usually it’s actually just some stupid little things that grow huge with time. At relationships, friendship, work, everywhere.
The point, of course, is not to stay with something you feel bad about. But the point is to give the important relationships everything you got. And then you gotta try even harder. Maybe there is a way to kill the pain and to clear the air. Maybe there’s a way to forgive and to forget what has happened and to move on together. There’s nothing we can’t reach as long as nothing is over.
Here’s the new baby’s lyric video. I’m so damn happy it’s on the album. Now it all makes sense.
Osmo says I play the piano sometimes with the “Crab Grab.” Sometimes I use just two fingers, the index finger and the middle finger, and it looks funny, like an “arm” of a crab. I will show this smart-ass pro pianist someday, goddammit. Well… Osmo promised to play “Nothing is over” with the “crab grab” as soon as we play it live someday. Actually someday I’ll play this song with a piano on stage and meanwhile Osmo can go looking for his laptop and t-shirt he lost earlier that day in a taxi somewhere. He always loses his things. Muahahahaha ;) I WILL PLAY THE PIANO THE WAY I WANT TO PLAY THE PIANO. PERIOD.
See you tomorrow at the last shows of 2014. It’s been quite a year again. Please nobody wake me up from this dream…
Blog from 09. October 2014
Samu Hapa Haber
Berlin - Vienna
Fly Niki. Isn’t this the airline of Niki Lauda? If you haven’t seen the Rush-movie, please give it a chance next time you watch a film. My respect for Niki Lauda and his revival James Hunt got to another level now that I know their story. Fly Niki must be one of the last airlines who tell you to switch off you iPads for landing…
I’m flying with manager Mikko. I did a 17-hour interview day in Berlin today and tomorrow we continue in Vienna, Austria. The day usually starts with some sort of breakfast TV or morning radio and then magazines in the afternoon and more radios and TV shows in the evening. Usually pretty much the same questions around the new album and The Voice and one acoustic song.
After Austria we fly to Stuttgart to join the Radio 7 gala again. We did that a couple of years ago with Riku but now the whole band is joining. It’ll be fun and I guess the guys are also happy to come over. We play an acoustic set for the gala guests near Stuttgart in Ulm. I guess it’s some kind of a charity thing. I better check out before we get there…;)
Next week it’s more promotion around our new “best of-” album. It’s finally out and the first sales numbers are quite interesting. Note: We never had a number one album anywhere – never. Maybe we won’t reach it with this one either. I really don’t care. The biggest thing personally is that you guys come to the shows.
I started writing this blog because I wanted to thank everyone for what happened in Lucerne last week. We all loved it super much and for me, personally, those evenings were the best experience on stage. Ever. Everyone did a huge job and I will sure miss the orchestra and our super cool Conductor-Ludwig, who kicked his group to the maximum every night.
The classical world is pretty strange. The musicians seem to play their instruments by the book as they should of course, but they’re also a bit more shy than us “softer genre” dudes. I had this idea that we should invite every orchestra member for a glass of champagne right after the last show on Saturday at the backstage. They were a little shy at first and we had to force them to take one glass each. The glasses were filled already. Ludwig said nobody had ever done something like that before. I tiny glass for the job they made. More than fair. I hope champagne after the last show will be the new normal in that gang from now on. Champagne is good for your soul.
We were super nervous before the first show. We didn’t know how you people would like what you see and hear. And actually even when we were playing Lifesaver the first night, I was thinking to myself “do they like what’s going on?” We’re used to seeing you hands up the latest at that song in the chorus. Now you were all sitting and listening. But in the end the applause exploded… WOW! We’ve done acoustic tours and stuff, but now, for the first time really, the songs were pretty much played and enjoyed without much partying around them. Of course there were party moments too, but especially songs like Forever Yours, Angels On A Rampage and “Girls Like You” we had a silent room and everyone was just listening. It was amazing <3
Raul’s job was to take care of the recording that evening and I really hope his sample-rate was set good. Well, he did pretty good job recording the DVD in Hamburg already with Mixing engineer Gorilla-Mikko, so I bet the session was in good hairy hands or Raul. Actually I guess this is a good moment to promote our new DVD ;) When we saw it for the first time, we thought we should send it to Dave Grohl. Just to show how things are done by the Finnish boys…;)
The Voice Of Germany started today. I was in the plane so I missed it, but I bet the editing team made a tremendous job again. I’m not sure if I wanna see myself on TV doing and especially saying silly stuff. We’ll see…
I’m in Vienna city already and I gotta go to bed. It’s 00:35 AM and the van will pick me up at 08:30. Still need a shower after all the TV makeup, but there’s a good seven hours to sleep. I started my day in Berlin waking up at 05:45, so falling asleep should not be a problem…
Good night everyone,
Blog from 26. November 2014
Samu Hapa Haber
This Is Your Captain Speaking
I just received an email from Finnair saying that I’m now a One World alliance Gold member. They will send me a new golden Diner’s Club credit card with all the benefits. No wonder. I’m sitting on these (sorry, very uncomfortable) Embraer-190 seats for almost the 100th time this year. I’d also keep my kind of a customer happy and reward him if I had an airline. I should have one.
“This is you captain Hapa Haber speaking. We are a bit late due to my late wakeup this morning, but the sky is clear and we’re on the way to Wonderland…”
I’m on my way to the second live show, the second quarter final of the voice of Germany in Berlin. We started the live shows already last Friday and I must say the whole season has been even cooler and greater fun than last year. It definitely helps when I know the concept a bit better and not everything is new and also I’m a bit more familiar with the German language. I still don’t speak German as good as people think, but I can survive the TV moments because the topics are pretty much the same after every vocal performance.
The Voice season has been a success. The ratings have been super high and also we have had fun with the other coaches and the production. It was a very good idea bringing new blood into the jury. Nothing away from the folks last season, but I really like my new colleagues. The moments and the chemistry are fresh and the jokes are new. They should never have the same jury two times. Something should change for each season. It makes it interesting.
So… we have three live shows to go until we have the new Voice winner and my year is done. Then there’s nothing left. Strange. But I love it. I will finally start my 5-month break from everything and give time just for myself. I have no idea what I’m gonna do or where that plane will fly me and that is kind of nice. It feels free to have no plans at all. I guess those months will include some sun, ocean, great books, snow, wine, music and a lot of sleeping. I will definitely be somewhere where not every person on the streets recognizes me. In a rain forest somewhere ;) hahahaa. That would feel like being on tour with the band and the crew. If there would be monkeys…
It’s just amazing how well our “Fairytales - Best Of Sunrise Avenue” has done. Usually these best offs get attention only among fans, but this one has been topping the charts and also sold actually more than any of our albums ever before after the release. Ok, I admit it’s a great great package and I’m really proud of the new three tracks too, but I’m still amazed. “You cannever be ready” was a great opener and now we released my absolute favourite song “Nothing is over.” It was so cool performing it live last Friday with the boys for the first time.
Also the “Nothing is over” video turned out great. I think our live videos are definitely the best ones we have. There’s always so much more emotion when the clip is from a real live moment. Personally I don’t like the idea of bringing the drums and guitars somewhere in the forest and pretending there as if we’re playing. I think the coolest thing in the music videos is to either film the band play live with a real crowd or then to shoot something totally different and creative.
I can see from the sales sheets that many of you will join us at the summer shows next year. We still have a couple of meetings with the production and a couple of band rehearsals this year but it’s all pretty much planned and we’re ready. I can say already now, it will be super cool ;)
I woke up this morning as Manager Mikko called me from outside my house. I had over slept. I usually like Mikko’s humor, but this morning in a super coma the words didn’t make me laugh. “I guess nobody from your house is going to Berlin today since there are no lights on at the whole house….” Luckily I had packed my bags in the evening already, otherwise I would have been totally f**ked.
I don’t know why I slept so deep and didn’t get the alarm. Maybe it was the gym yesterday. I love the fact that I have gotten the good old gym rhythm back again since there’s not too much to do every day. Or maybe the reason was that Helsinki IFK won the Pelicans 6-3 yesterday and I was till hyped. They scored 4 goals in the last 6 minutes.
Anyways. After Mikko’s call, I was out in eight (8!!!) minutes - shower fresh - and I’m also landing in Berlin in 25 minutes. At the old Tegel airport. When do you Berliners get the new Berlin-Schönefelt airport operating? Wasn’t it supposed to be done years ago. I have nothing against Tegel, but please….
Anyways… Big love everyone and keep your fingers crossed for #teamsamu at #thevoiceofgermany
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