What is it, when you have a lack of self esteem with a coexisting fulsome assessment of your own personality and an immense wish for admiration? Wikipedia defines this as narcissism. Where nowadays narcissism is also a sign of a healthy ego, it can also show up as a personality disorder. Freud believed, that narcissism is a part of us since our birth and with his book "On narcissism" in 1914 he was the first to use the term in the reference to psychology. 75% of narcissists are men by the way... And what if someone is humble with an infantine charm and a self-mocking humor? Then he must be a member of Disco Ensemble. I met Miikka Koivisto and Lasse Lindfors at this year's Ilosaarirock, and though I had a tough bite to swallow with missing the concert of Opeth the guys knew how to cheer me up. I was digging for some signs of pleasant bragging, but the only thing I found was decent pessimism. For this definition please google yourself...
The last time I've seen you live was in 2006 in Kiel, Germany at the Kieler Woche. You played after Sugarplum Fairy and after their gig was over suddenly all the people, mainly girls, disappeared and there was hardly anyone left, besides eight hardcore fans. Now that I've seen you in Finland at Ilosaari I can say that this was a totally new experience, there were so many people, unbelievable. Is it still like that, when you are touring in Europe or America, that the audience is not that big? I seriously doubt that.
Lasse: Actually Germany is pretty good nowadays. There are definitely more people coming to our shows then last year. It's not like in Finland though.
Miikka: This summer Rock am Ring and Rock im Park were really good. Of course not like today in Ilosaari, but they were really good. I guess the tour in April with Lapko was great, people came to see us, which was surprising me in a way (laughs).
Lasse: We haven't done headline tours in Germany before.
Miikka: At least there were more than eight people.
So, you're really not expecting those big crowds.
Miikka: It's still always a mystery if someone is coming to watch the show or not.
Lasse: Even if you know that there are some people, you always fear the worst. Then actually you can be pleasantly surprised if someone's there.
You have been playing in so many different occasions in so many countries. If you imagined being an outstanding person, not connected to Disco Ensemble, how would you judge the status of the band? How known you think you actually are?
Lasse: That's a tough question (sighs). I guess in Germany quite a lot know our name, but we haven't been that visible on TV and stuff, so maybe they can't connect the music to the name.
Miikka: I don't know. It's hard to say. Maybe we're not a household name yet (silence). You know that there are people listening to your music, but it's difficult to... estimate.
Lasse: In a way it's good that you don't get to conscious about how well you're doing.
Miikka: We're kind of pessimists... about success. Basically we're pessimists about everything, so when something good happens, it's a big surprise, it's better that way. Everything is fucked until otherwise proven.
But isn't it a big thing when you're going to America, touring with Danko Jones.
Miikka: (laughter) I guess so, I guess so. We're not complaining, we hope when the next record comes out we can tour in big clubs and they will be all sold out. But it's better not to think that way, it's better to think that no one's going to like us.
Ok, I see. If you're pessimistic, then it won't hurt you afterwards.
When you're abroad, are there still moments when you're like "Oh my God", "What the fuck?!", compared to the habits in Finland?
Lasse: I guess when you're on tour you just take a kind of attitude, there's no point in complaining.
Miikka: You can always bitch about Southern Europe being sloppy, you really don't know about the schedules and stuff. But then again, the people are like that, though it's a stereotype and it's a little bit cheesy to count on national stereotypes. In Germany everything is like: "Here are the schedules, the schedule is like this...", while in Italy it's like: "We don't really know, the gig goes on when it goes on" and you kind of adapt to it. For us travelling around is still quite new and we're just wondering. "Wow, we're in Paris. We’re going to play a show in Paris!". Until now it has been just fun to see all the different places. You're not like: "I want to go back to Finland where the bread tastes like bread".
And alcohol is so expensive.
Lasse: Actually in the UK it's even more expensive. In a way it's good, because I never have the money to get drunk. So it's really healthy touring in the UK.
Miikka: We're just trying to get the best out of places and not to be too picky about certain things.
Let's talk about your next album. Is there anything you can reveal yet?
Miikka: It's going to be our best album, that we know for sure. It's going to sound a lot like Disco Ensemble, but there will also be some surprises. We're going into extremes, it might be the hardest stuff than never before and then there are radio friendly pop songs as well.
Lasse: It'll be more diverse then "First Aid Kit".
Miikka: It's going to be a mixed bag, but hopefully not too mixed up.
Lasse: I think on "First Aid Kit" the songs were composed in a pretty short time. So now we have more time to make more than eleven songs and more to choose from.
When is it going to be out?
Miikka: Early next year.
I assumed it will be released at the end of this year, so your fans have to be even more patient.
Miikka: Yeah, it's worth it. It's worth waiting.
Talking about waiting, your Finnish fans seem to miss you. They're wondering if you're ever coming back for a club tour.
Miikka: There will be some club shows, after the summer. But that's not official yet (One day after the interview Fullsteam Records announced that Disco Ensemble will be on tour in Finland for five dates in August/ September-az).
Lasse: It's often like that, when Finnish bands have shows abroad that in the eye of the Finns they would disappear.
Miikka: "First Aid Kit" came out a long time ago in Finland, so I wonder if people aren't already fed up with the songs. I guess at those shows we play a lot of new stuff.
Miikka: Painkillers, definitely. Rubber boots, small umbrella.
Lasse: Woolen socks. Ear plugs. Redbull. More painkillers.
Miikka: More painkillers (laughter). And: responsibility, pacifism and solidarity.
To finish the interview: for people who don't know you, one slogan, what Disco Ensemble is like?
Miikka: Now it's time to shine.
Lasse: Basically it's a really common thing in interviews to ask: "Is there something you want to say?!".
Miikka: Or in TV interviews they're telling us: "Alright, for the ending, do something funny! Do something like...." and then we're like... (makes a funny face). But for someone who hasn't listened to us yet, argh... We're the best band in Europe. We're the best Rock 'n' Roll band in Europe right now and if you don't check us out you're just playing stupid... How's that?
Alexandra Zischow - 08.08.2007
Photos: Pasi Salminen, Alexandra Zischow
Last Updated (Sunday, 15 November 2009 01:23)
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