10 Quick Ones with SAMI JOENSUU of JOENSUU RIIHIMAKI – January 2018

According to a recent press release: “Highwater is the third album from the earthy americana roots rockers from Finland, Joensuu Riihimäki. Released on December 1, 2017, Highwater includes all their recent singles “Keep On Marching”, “Hillbilly Falls” and “21” which are already rocking the radio stations in different countries like Finland, USA, Spain, Australia, UK, Canada and Estonia.”  We get Sami to answer our 10 Quick Ones about new music, his influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Highwater is Joensuu Riihimäki’s third album, released on December 1st. 2017. It has ten different stories about life and what’s happening around, we go in different times. For me personally, this is a very personal record. I poured my soul in it. The album has a lot of nuances that can not find the first time you listen to the album. If you’ve seen us play live you know what I mean, hah. Is there any hidden nuggets, I think there is. They are just the symbolic lyrics and nyans that open with time.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I was interested in music as a little boy, my father had guitars and curiosity drove me to try. At that time there was not yet MTV or other music channels, it was just so cool. At the age of nine I started playing classical guitar, electric guitar and the first bands I set about fifteen years old when I had seen Hanoi Rocks live, it really blew my mind. They really played rock’n’roll as it should be. I started very early to write my own music and I think that music chose me. I have never regretted my choice of becoming a musician even though there have been difficult times. It is a profession and a way of life, really.

3. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Oh man, this is tricky, only five… Bob Dylan, JJ Cale, Miles Davis, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be?

It would definitely be Bob Dylan. For me he has always been the greatest songwriter in the world. It would be cool to learn from him, I would certainly be a humble apprentice. One might be Bono and Edge, they still have a lot to say about music.

5. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before?

We have taken our individual musical tastes, ranging from blues, folk, rock and country, and we have blended them together to create a sound that we describe as “Roots rock“. Hard to put any genre in particular.

6. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

The best thing about being a musician is to create even though it is usually laborious and difficult is it rewarding. It is a way of life where every day is different. Every song is new and different you do, every gig you do is different. I really love it all.

7. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

When we hanging out together it’s magic, I could say that our guitarist Kari mixed drinks and drummer cooks and I am the one who first to crack out the acoustic guitar for a singalong. Hahaa, the question sounded well with our band.

8. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

I’m sure that I would be a painter and writer. Some art I would do in any case.

9. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”?

When I look back there is nothing to regret. Of course, some things have been left disappointed but if I did not change them they have not been big things.

10. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Well, I think it must be The Beatles Abbey Road recording sessions.  Abbey Road is a masterpiece. The breadth of the musical vision, the sheer scale of the band’s collective musical imagination of it all, at a time when The Beatles were coming to the end of their time together. And then there are the two George Harrison’s masterpieces, “Here Comes the Sun” and “Something”, what a Great songs. The album is full of timeless songs that will live forever.

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10 Quick Ones with SAMI JOENSUU of JOENSUU RIIHIMAKI - January 2018

Filed Under: Interviews

About the Author: ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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