Monday, December 30, 2013

Enter 2014

So a new year is upon us again. 2014! What happened? Where did 2013 go? Time truly seems to fly more and more every year... Though loads of real cool and fun gigging in 2013 it wasn't a too productive year for me music- or art-wise (however in other sense it was a very productive year indeed, probably the most productive ever!) but at least I managed to squeeze out a deep seated odd song, or two, finish up a hand-full of new Inagone tunes and write some new killer Lizard Eye material. So sure could've been worse but I sure expect more out of 2014 because I really, really have some stuff that I need to get out of me. 

I've decided to really try to approach 2014 more focused and structured, with a more strict planned timetable to be able to fit in the music, and my visual art as well - and hoping to keep it that way all the way through, but that remains to be seen, we'll see what life's got waiting around corner...

We've just started to rehearse a full Straight Eight Diablo live set and will hopefully take it live on stage for real in first quarter of 2014. In february we'll start rehearsing the new Lizard Eye material into final ready-to-be-recorded shape and the plan is also to book some Lizard Eye live dates in first half of 2014 as well. I also believe we'll pick up and continue to finish the Inagone recordings in the second half of 2014 or something, maybe even take Inagone live. Last but not least I'll hopefully get to finally finish my solo album in 2014. Also start jamming with the boys again.

...and then there's a handful of other pretty exiting music-stuff on the roll that might, or might not, be happening in 2014, we'll just have to wait and see...

Though all the hard work and hi-tech planning this all will require I'm really looking forward to all this, bring it on 2014!

Exit 2013.

/ PM

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Finally closing this chapter

Finally managed to squeeze in the next "odd song that doesn't really fit anywhere", it's called "Closing Another Chapter" and is a one that I just needed to get out of my system. A pretty dark little thing, but it's solely a reflection of what went through in my life at the time when I wrote it some years ago. It relates the seasons, the different parts or stages of life as chapters in a book (that would be life itself) and the fact that you sometimes stop for a while and wonder what will happen in the next chapter of your book, will things get better or worse and sometimes even if there even one at all, if this is it? I've written the lyrics and music, and produced, recorded and mixed it, and for the first time in a very long time I'm performing everything on it myself, all the instruments and the vocals. It's very clean, simple and straight forward, probably the most so arrangement and production-wise I've ever done. I had to work pretty hard to keep it all back, to keep it as clean and pure as I possibly could, it sure wasn't easy (I mean there's not a single guitar fill there!) and I can assure you that the naked and disclosure mix with almost complete focus on my vocals didn't exactly make the quite personal openness of it feel any more comfortable, very much the contrary - The most uncomfortable song I've ever done for sure, but such a challenge which made me absolutely wanting to do it and I'm pretty content with the outcome. Hope you'll enjoy it...

So I've got my ass down, or rather managed to force in some time into my pretty tight schedule, and started hammering down some studio hours. I've finally picked up the work on what will be my first solo album, hopefully I'll get the chance to ride it out all the way this round, I'd really need to get that one out of me, also finishing up some of the stuff that doesn't really fit anywhere, some pretty exiting things going on there (if strange and something totally different it exiting that is).

Lasse and I have now finished writing the vocal melodies, the guitars and the main arrangements of 15 new Lizard Eye songs and we've managed to do the hard decision of picking six of them out to continue working with. Up next is to write them some lyrics and the plan is to release these six songs one or two at the time, but we'll see. The coolest thing is that all these six songs are smoking brand new, it's stuff he and I have come up with in our studio jam sessions the last months so it couldn't get any fresher and I don't probably need to tell you that it's all Lizard Eye hi-quality material in the true spirit of 1970-1980's heavy metal in genuine Lizard Eye vein. 

The Inagone recording is, once again, put on hold due to family reasons, happy ones, so we'll jump right on and finish it when all involved are ready to roll again.

For various reasons there hasn't been any rehearsal and jamming lately and I really, really need to have that! Hopefully the close future will hold some sessions at the bunker with my rhythm bros, both Vesa and Drake (solo stuff, Inagone etc.) as well as Pata and Fred (S8D), missing that A LOT.

Over and out. See ya.
/ PM

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Such a shame - A reflection

The other day me and my bro (and drummer) Mr Kallio went to a concert we both had been waiting for exited like little girls the day before christmas - the reborn Queensryche (the one with the band and Todd LaTorre, who by the the way did an excellent job (and not an easy one at all) replacing Geoff Tate on vocals - I love Geoff Tate, but sorry, that is Queensryche). Our anticipation was beyond high since they've always delivered 100% live on stage no matter in what metamorphosis the band might have been in at the time. This time was no exception, it was totally amazing, adding the newfound energy and hunger to the standard Queensryche hi-quality deliverance of their truly awesome repertoire. Sounded great and the setlist was beyond belief, I mean opening with "Queen of the reich", what an explosion! Also never seen a band perform progressive music with such kick-ass attitude all in perfect harmony. Met various people at the venue and everyone was totally ran-over and overwhelmed by the great performance, as was I obviously.

...but, here's the thing - the place was half-full. I mean, what the f**k?! It truly was one of the best concerts I've been to, such high standard, such perfection and high quality all the way through in all aspects, kick-ass entertainment not boring a single second, but nevertheless this poor attendance -  so unfair, such a shame really. This was the case when we saw Lynch Mob in Västerås some years ago as well - a stunning band, every member truly amazing top of the art performers and musicians in perfect symbiosis delivering above comprehension, great sound, great material, looking great and a pretty rare event (I mean Lynch Mob with Brian Tichy on drums in Sweden, come on!) - simply the best of the best, this goes for both of these shows, the venues not at all over-dimensioned if you ask me, but still: half-full - don't know where the problem is, probably on many levels, but something's really wrong here and it's really sad for the art's survival. For one these uncommercial bands and artist, that has stayed true to their art and what they do and not sold out, doesn't get a dime out of record-sales, if there even are any nowadays, so they more or less have to live on touring. The musicians I talk about shouldn't have to work and suffer their asses off for nothing through total disrespect (also they've already done that when they started out), they're the best that there is, they deserve and have earned the respect - and that now while they live and not when they're gone. To me the music-business today seems to have become an evil circle. Is it a downward spiral to the end of the true artist, even the masters? Is this the beginning of the extinction of this art-form?!

Anyway, besides everything else that was totally awesome with that Queensryche show, I was truly impressed by Michael Wiltons guitar sound, it was right up my alley and might be the best live (guitar) sound I've ever heard. Feels good since in my opinion most guitar sounds I hear live nowadays sucks, to me there's way too much gain, distortion and hi-eq (and lo, for that matter - let the bass be the bass) going on everywhere.

Anyway it's awesome to finally witness a great metal/hardrock live concert, to be impressed and satisfied for once, it sure was a while ago in these, what I see, dry days of the hard rock and heavy metal live scene.

Well, now I'm off to make a blitzkrieg attack at my calendar to force in some jam-sessions and studio time! - Really need to get some shit out of my system!

Talk to you soon with some Saari music news.

/ PM

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Through Insane Mass Renovation Madness

Yea I know, I know, we've kind of passed the change of months a week ago and no new Inagone tune, well here's the excuse: I've simply haven't had the time to finish up any songs. 

I've been in an state of insane 24-7 renovation of my new house, and still am but maybe not as intensively, which has consumed my whole time the last month plus. However one of the parts of the house that I'm almost finished with by now is my studio/office space which I'll be having situated at my house, I call it The Beyond Dimensions Backoffice/studio - It's the one of two where I do mostly recording, mixing and work with my business and also where I create my visual art, both classic and digital. The other one I call The Beyond Dimensions Bunker and it's my larger recording studio and rehearsal space situated elsewhere. Anyway, so in matter of weeks I'll have it all up and running again and I'm ready to kick it into action having loads of most interesting and cool stuff waiting in line to be worked on.

Well I thought I'd sort of make it up to you, the missing new Inagone tunes for a month or two that is, by rereleasing the first two Inagone tunes "Where It Begins" and "Look And You'll Find" which were supposed to be included on the full-length album "Your Brand New Root" but will be their own separate release, an EP or something. They were recorded at a separate time (earlier), and in a bit of different way, with different gear and they were mixed (by me) at another place at another time with a different state of mind so I decided to pull them out. Since I really like the raw feeling of them, the honesty in them, they were left at their original mixing and mastering from 2009 and they are both out now on Inagone's various music sites now. You've might've heard them but I hope you'll enjoy them.


Here's last last month's Inagone tune for you, the fourth one from "Your Brand New Root". It's called "Things Ain't Always What They Seem" and is a real kick in the face if you ask me.

Besides getting the studio work rolling again in a couple of weeks with all the various bands and project we're booking some Torch live dates as we speak, two already confirmed: Hellbar at O'Learys in Sundbyberg on saturday 21 september and Rocks at Mariatorget in Stockholm on saturday 19 october. Hoping to see the lot of you there!

/ PM

Saturday, July 13, 2013

I am what I eat

I've always been easily influenced by what I listen to and it directly reflects in my writing and playing so I always have to make sure to have loads of different influences going on and then allow them all merge into my own style when passing through my system - if I'd have only one influence (or a few) running through me I'd just turn out a copy of that one, wouldn't I? That's the only way to develop ones own style if one's into listening to other music, which I most certainly am. What I listen to has, is and will always be a huge part of me, for me music is as much about what I listen to as what I do myself. Lately I've turned into exploring many different (and some of it pretty strange) styles of music and even though I listen mostly to other kind of music today it's still mainly hard rock/heavy metal (call it what you will) that flows in my veins. I'm not that much into categorizing and pigeonholing music, dividing music into compartments, it's all music to me, but I must admit it comes very practical when trying to explain things.

The last months (the last year?) a bunch of albums that I've really, really been waiting for a long, long time has finally been released. I'm talking about some of my favorite bands like Aerosmith, Stone Sour, Tooth and Nail, Soundgarden, Black Star Riders, Black Sabbath, Megadeth, Alice In Chains and Queensryche (the one with three original band members and not one). A lot of it pretty cool, some maybe not that exiting, some even a bit of disappointing and not living up to my high hyped expectations, some of it pretty bland and just washed through my system without leaving any significant trace. However there was two albums that really stood out, that fired me up, warmed my heart and made me happy, that really had a substance to them and that really lived up to the bands' history and reputation. Not that none of them were exactly exiting in the sense of being something new or innovative but rather getting back to the roots with classic production and sound. (Has rock production of today really gone so south that it's turned to be exiting when there's NOT thousands of guitar tracks and millions of other overdubs, effects and sounds and everything fixed and trixed beyond ridiculousness, but a classic, real and clean sounding production? Hm... C'mon, if it's Rock'N'Roll, it's Rock'n'Roll! Anyway...) The two albums I'm talking about is Alice In Chains "The devil put dinosaurs here" and Queensrÿche "Queensrÿche". Just love them.

Not that much happening musically right now other than that I try to keep up the pace and finish up and put out one Inagone tune every month and there's now two new songs out besides the first song "Dried" - As I'd put it: the soundtrack of Inagone, the one song summing up what Inagone is about and including most of the influences - So check 'em out an' love 'em!

"Unclose" - A dark soft little thing, here in a clean and simple vocals and acoustic guitars version.

"(1000 times) I am" - An intelligent, progressive, longer piece taking the listener through many elements.

Now I'm off to grab a couple of cold ones with my boys and then we're off to check out my #1 influence: the almighty Iron Maiden live in stage at the new Swedish National arena here in Stockholm - Up The Irons!

/ PM

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Status S - The season of warmth and light has finally landed

Sure has been a long fkin winter but finally feel summer very, very close around the corner (well it's basically here), I can feel it through my bones, it's not that I don't like winter, I love it, but I can tell you all who doesn't live here in Sweden - the arrival of the long awaited warmth and light really feels up here.

We've finally finished and put out some new recorded Inagone material and that in form of the song "Dried", which I'd say is definitely one of the strongest tune I've ever written and produced, I absolutely love it and the way it turned out (if I can say so myself, which I off course can!). It's written, produced, recorded and mixed by me and I believe it's the perfect first song out representing the rest of the album. As told earlier the Inagone full-length album "Your Brand New Root" will, for various reasons (how the music industry and the scene looks and works (or rather doesn't) today being the major one), be released one song at the time, about one every change of months is the plan. I have to admit that not all the songs aren't even finished recorded and mixed yet, simply because they don't have to, and Per Linzander (vocals) and I have just started, or rather continued after some years off, working with the vocals for the last couple of tunes. It's actually quite interesting recording over this long of a period and see how the material matures by itself when you don't touch it for some years or so, it grows and changes there lying by itself untouched and many times I'd say. The downside would be that one looses the thread between the rounds a bit and also the unendurable stress having the heavy weight of unfinished work hanging over your shoulders for a long time. But to be honest I prefer recording quickly over as short time as possible, getting the feelings and vibes of there and then, but sometimes (usually?) that just isn't doable. Well however, this is how we roll now.

So as I really can see the end of the very long tunnel that is the finalizing "Your Brand New Root" I will be getting back on finishing my solo album. There's really not that much recording left, almost only vocals, and I actually am considering pushing the mixing-duties over on someone else and not doing it myself, have some interesting names buzzing around in my head, but we'll see about that - I really need to get that record out of my system, I mean it's the album that has (had) to be done! (and to tell you the truth, the ideas and planning for my second solo album has started to take form already, so it might be good idea finishing the first one first.)

When it comes to rehearsal and playing live with Inagone and the solo-band we'll wait at least 'til after summer to see where things are heading. With Torch however we've just kicked off rehearsal round II after some shows, throwing in even more classic Torch material, putting together a longer kick ass classic Torch live-set taking us to the next level. We have some festival dates booked and our first live date on home ground in Stockholm is finally confirmed, Torch will perform live at the band Eterno's release party at Copperfields in Stockholm.

Lasse and I have been continuing writing, 'collecting', arranging and demoing new Lizard Eye material and when we checked we realized we've ended with the bones of some 15 really strong new Lizard Eye songs by now, some more finished that others when it comes to writing and arranging, and we will now continue to get it all into demo-shape so that we can start planning where to start, what to do and where to go with it all.

Hoping now only that the approaching summer won't distract me too much now, there's shitloads of things to be done and not that much time to do it, so there's no whatsoever time for distractions here - so begone all you summer-temptations. But we'll see about that...

"I can resist everything except temptation." - Orcar Wilde

/ PM

Monday, April 08, 2013

Falling into place - strangely enough

Even though I have my chaotic ass over-full with family and work with my business at the moment the music stuff seems to start falling into place - Really weird actually, I mean I just became a father a couple of weeks ago, I'm considering building my own house (even though in a very early stage of consideration) and a new studio/rehearsal place and also an expansion of my business, on top of all the everyday madness - ending up in total craziness 24-7 and hardly no sleep at all (even less that before!). Still I feel I'm starting to get all my bands and music projects together, more structured and organized, things are starting to roll - yeah, all falling into place - strangely enough.

As we speak I'm putting the last touch on the mixing and mastering on half of the Inagone songs for the upcoming album "Your brand new root". It won't however be put out as an album but one song at a time, one song around every turn of month is the plan, starting now in the end of april. When all the songs are out there might be an album out in some form, but that remains to be seen when we get there. Check out the Inagone official website and the Inagone Facebook in the next future.

Lasse (vocals, rhythm guitars) and I are currently writing new Lizard Eye material and we've already got quite a few really strong songs but we want to have some totally brand smoking new material to bring up the level of excitement and freshness a bit - and with fresh I don't mean that we will change what we're about and turn modern and fashionable - Lizard Eye will never turn the sails by the wind, Lizard Eye is classic heavy metal in the veins of 1970-80s - in standard tuning, with real vocals and guitar solos etc! We're not sure about how the new material will be released but at least one or two new songs will be released later in 2013 in one way or another.

Hopefully I'll get the chance to continue and finish all my different solo tunes that was put on hold due to me having a cold more or less since november and therefore unable to record my vocals. Now I feel it's starting to let go of me so hopefully shortly I'll be able to continue to record my vocals again.

A week ago I, also Fred (bass - Straight Eight Diablo, Lizard Eye) and Pata (drums - Straight Eight Diablo), performed with frontman Dan Dark as a rebirth of the classic early 1980s Swedish heavy metal band Torch live on stage down in Europe. It was an awesome trip, so much fun and we all had the greatest of times. We did some real cool things with the classic Torch material, put our touch on it which kind of blew new life into the material and the response when bringing it live on stage was amazing. I'm having discussions now to continue the collaboration in form of some more live shows and also writing and recording some brand new Torch material with Dr Dark, but we'll have to wait and see how that'll turn out.

Me and Dan Dark live on stage in Holland delivering the goods in the name of Torch.

(Photo by Henk Bosma)

See ya!
/ PM

Monday, February 11, 2013

Experiencing new grounds - A reflection

Summer 2012, or rather throughout 2012, I went to some concerts featuring music that I hadn't really been listening to at all prior 2012. The thing is that by this point I had actually got pretty fed up with going and seeing the music I listen to and work with, hard rock/metal that is, live because I always ended up a bit disappointed - Many of the old classic bands are great today, but still they were all better when I saw them back in the days and when it comes to all the new great bands, many of them awesome, there are always things missing, that just aren't there. When writing, playing and working with hard rock/metal music more or less 24-7, I'm really not that keen on seeing anything live that I can't feel 100%. Then also after going exclusively into hard rock/metal concerts for many, many years it might be time to explore some new territories, I mean before this I hadn't hardly ever been to anything but hard rock/metal concerts.

So I ended up experiencing a lot of, for me, different stuff that made a quite an impression on me:

- Became a huge fan after seeing Ryan Adams live. He performed all by himself with no other musicians or backing tracks or anything and it was so totally overwhelming. I hadn't heard anything by him prior seeing him perform and now I listen to his quite a few albums frequently - Great stuff, awesome musician and songwriter. Learned later that he's a metal dude, doing some great acoustic interpretations of some great metal tunes every now and then and when I saw him he ended the set with an awesome interpretation of an Alice In Chains tune. - so cool.

- Then I checked out First Aid Kit live and they really blew me away. Just the two sisters and a drummer. Again no backing tracks or sht like that - it was live and sounded so great. Strong material, great performance, so naturally yet with such confidence and strong attitude. Awesome.

- Another strong experience was Bruce Springsteen, who I have to admit I haven't spoken too well about through the years - but hey, if one stands live on stage and delivers 110% for four hours plus without a break, you simply can't slag him down. There was some serious super-tight jamming going on. Never seen a venue so packed and over sold out. It was really cool, an overwhelming and amazing experience and it made me realize that he really knows what he's doing - and it even got me to listen to and dig his debut album! Have to admit this turned me into a fan.

- Then I saw Lars Winnerbäck, who I didn't know anything about, except that he's pretty huge here in Sweden, at a totally packed Gröna Lund. It was awesome and the coolest thing was that he had one of my favorite musician/songwriter Nicke Andersson (Hellacopters, Imperial State Electric, The Solution, Entombed etc) on guitars in his band and also the keyboard player and the drummer from late Hellacopters - Cool surprise to say the least.

- I also saw Madonna which was so great. Too bad it wasn't completely sold out, which it should've been, this due to bad reviews of previous gigs, which leads me to a thing I need to bring up: As I understand she got bad reviews because she didn't play her hits and due to inadequate vocals - But I mean hey, she obviously sings herself, for real, without autotuners and sht like that, when I saw her the vocals sounded great, I mean she moves quite a bit on stage and has to breathe, right? - It was fkin live! When it comes to the other thing, it was the greatest thing not to need to hear all those worn out dinosaur songs and so great to see the political side of Madonna in the show, questioning society. I believe that's where the problem is, it's uncomfortable, media (and the audience who seems slaves under the media?) wants meaningless brain-dead bubblegum pop and this was fkin punk! 
  Another thing was that visually it was probably the coolest and best looking show I've ever seen, and I've seen quite a few.

- Around x-mas I was at Stor Kyrkan home in Stockholm and enjoyed Händels "Messiah" and that was a total blast. So awesome and mighty. No microphones, no PA, no speakers - but what power and what a sound! Totally loved it. I really enjoy all the levels, the depth, the dynamics and the tonal colors in this kind of music and I've listened quite a lot to it lately, plowing through all the greats in classical music.

Though this little excursion of last year I want to make clear that I'll never stop writing and playing, nor listening to, hard rock/metal music but off course this experiencing of new grounds has affected me and thereby also my writing and it'll be exiting to see (or hear) how it shows in my music the future.

/ PM Saari

(I'll be back here with some cool Saari News, METAL News, in a couple of weeks, so stay tuned.)