Jarno Keskinen Interview #2

Interview with Jarno Keskinen

1)Briefly describe you first musical experiences?

Jarno Keskinen: At the age of five I built sort of self-made drums and recorded that on tape. Recording with cassette player was kind of new thing in 1978. I just said to my mother "put the recorder on." So that's my first "recording." I still have that tape and there's also rhythm on it.

2)Tell us about some of your earlier bands/recordings?

JK: I got my first electric guitar at age of 11 and real drums at the age of 14. I have tapes starting age of 15 where I played guitar & drums, bass and sometimes keyboards. I just wanted to create music, mostly guitar instrumental. At some point I played drums in a local band and sometimes guitar also in other bands. My main goal was to create my own music so I have a lot of tapes everywhere. Sometimes I find tapes and I go "Hey, this is some of those early demos." I should wrote some info on those tapes after I record, so I know I have tapes in different places from different times. My first studio experience I had age of 18 when I made a 4 song DAT.

3)Have you had formal musical training?

JK: No I haven't been to any music school or conservatory. I haven't graduated 3/3 or anything. I have learned from books and few private guitar lessons. I just try to think guitar of playing as simple as possible. Like basically whatever scale you play it is built on full, half or whatever step, add note or leave note. Same thing with chords, there are minor, major, diminished, and when you add notes from the scale to the basic chord like example adding 7th note from basic major scale to major chord it becomes a major 7th chord and so on. Modes start from different positions in the same scale. I can't read notes, only very, very slow. I put all my compositions to tape because it is very hard work to write every solo etc. on tablature.

4)What made you want to become a musician?

JK: I think mostly frustration etc., so I escaped it into music and guitar playing. I felt that with guitar I can put through all what I wanted to say. I like the guitar sound because it can be happy, angry or sad or somewhere in between. I never just thought, now I'm going to be musician. Music just has been my interest as long as I can remember.

5)What are some of your early influences?

JK: Classical music and many different heavy and progressive metal bands. I think influences are something which someone has to practice and listen to a lot. So I have listened to classical music and practiced classical sequences. I had clear visions that I wanted to practice only classical violin sequences on electric guitar. Someone may wonder how I was interested to play classical violin sequences on electric guitar. First I love it! Also it is very challenging, and it is musically good for the ear. I think listening to classical music is helpful in every type of music. Secondly seeing Paganini holding a lute in a picture. I realized that he has made music for a string instrument and seeing video of Ritchie Blackmore playing Beethoven's Ode To Joy on stage with Classical Orchestra with an electric guitar was impressive. So it was quite easy to understand what's happening. That's how I decided to practice only classical violin sequences and parts of concertos, etc. with electric guitar. I still have tablatures of Antonio Vivaldi concerto Grosso Opus 3 in A-minor and D minor, Arcangelo Corelli Vivace in D minor, J.S. Bach Violin concerto solo violin in A-minor, ethnic scales, all minor, diminished, gypsy etc., arpeggios. I think I have got influences from those and I try and use them as a tool to create my own musical pieces.

6)What are some of your new influences?

JK: Same as #5!

7)Describe what you were trying to say musically on TIMESCAPE?

JK: I tried to make the kind of songs that it could be interesting to listen to the CD from beginning to end but at the same time you don't know what's happening next. I think that is one aspect I was trying to do, surprise the listener. Still there is connection between all songs and a certain style and of course the classical parts which makes the album sound whole. Musically all songs are a bit different to each other so there's different variety in length and style. For example first 5 songs are shorter and then there are over 7 minutes songs like Seasons 7:29, Timescape 7:52 and Land Of Shadows 7:36.

8)What are the lyrics trying to say on the cd?

JK: I think everyone can imagine different times and situations and places in lives in the future and in the past. They are more symbolic meaning, traveling thru Timescape starting from Future Signs to Land Of Shadows where we felt no pain, a lifetime without tears. Basically soul mates traveling throughout numerous lives trying to retain the perfect lives they once lived. I think it is good to listen to the CD from beginning end to get the whole idea.

9)Do you think TIMESCAPE sounds like any other band?

JK: I think it has a different unique style, so maybe it is hard to compare it to other bands. I hope that when people hear the songs like Seasons or Land Of Shadows they recognize that it is KenZiner.

10)How did Stephen Fredrick and Dennis Lesh come to be in the band?

JK: Leviathan Records searched musicians for this project and came up with these great musicians. There were 3 Vocal finalists and a couple of drummer finalists that I had to choose from. Dennis was able to play drums on the very difficult Seasons so the choice was clear. Stephen sang over Timescape and Thru The End. I never heard anyone with so great and powerful Vocals. The choice was clear, it fit perfectly to these songs.

11)How did you like recording in the US?

JK: It was absolutely great! I had always wanted to visit in US. The whole atmosphere was cool in the studios and elsewhere. We recorded guitars in Leviathan studios and Keyboards and Bass at Davenhill with David Shew. It was great to work with these professional people. I lived in a hotel near the studio in Atlanta. We usually started recording at about 1 PM to 10 PM and sometimes later. In beginning we started a bit earlier but because of the time difference and travel fatigue we decide to start 1 PM.

12)Is there any touring planned?

JK: Nothing official yet at this point. There has been conversation between a tour agency in Europe and Leviathan Records.

13)What one individual musician do you admire most and why?

JK: David T. Chastain because there's no other guitarist who has put out so many great and different and creative CDs like Next Planet Please, Acoustic Visions, Live! Wild And Truly Diminished!!, Instrumental Variations, Within The Heat, etc. Jazz fusion, neoclassical, acoustic, heavy, progressive etc. Now I hear he is doing a heavy blues rock cd!

14)Tell us about your equipment in the studio and live.

JK: Now days I use an Ibanez guitar. Earlier I played a long time with a Fernandes guitar. In the studio I used a Marshall amp, ART rack etc. Live I use Marshall with reverb delays and distortion. I like basic good sound.

15)What does the future hold for KenZiner?

JK: More albums and hopefully touring. The most satisfaction is to create music and albums.

The following interview was conducted by TraMundane.

1. When did you start playing music?

1:I have recorded songs starting age of 15 where I played drums and guitars & bass and sometimes keyboards with a 4track. I recorded my first drumming at age of five and got first electric guitar at age of 11 and also drums later, I just always wanted to create music

2. You play guitars, bass, and keyboards on Timescape- do you have a favorite instrument or do you enjoy playing them all equally?

2:My favorite instrument is definitely electric guitar and I like also acoustic guitar sound, Keyboards are cool and I have sometimes composed piano music. I have played also drums earlier which I think was my first interest before I got electric guitar. I would put it this way first Electric & Acoustic Guitar second Bass & Drums third Keyboards

3. How did you hook up with Dennis Lesh and Stephen Fredrick?

3:They came through Leviathan Records after audition. Dennis and Stephen are really cool people and great musicians. I'm happy that I can work with them

4. Why did you choose Kenziner for a name?

4:Actually I had some artistic name in mind for a long time and I had few versions before I ended up KENZINER which is close to my real surname, also it doesnt mean anything and it can't be confused with any other name because there is no any in the world. So I thought it would be cool!

5. How did you hook up with David Chastain and Leviathan Records?

5:I sent my demo tape to David in 1994 and since then I have sent additional material. He gave me truly hope to continue my career and in 1997 he decided to produce my first CD

6. Have you been playing any shows yet to support the record?

6:Not yet but I would love to play live!!! Maybe in Europe

7. Time is an obvious lyrical inspiration for the record, what are some common lyrical themes?

7:Yearning , lost dreams, individuals & lovers, traveling in time, a journey which starts from Future Signs to Land Of Shadows and many things happens between

8. Do you think you will ever do a solo record without vocals?

8:Yes hopefully, because before this album I have made only guitar instrumental music, so it would be great to do and guitar instrumental album sometime in future. The next CD will be a vocal album

9. I see Kenziner as a band with equal parts song writing and solos- how do you want your fans to describe the Kenziner sound?

9:POWER!!!! Pure music!!! With classical themes and solos which comes from the heart like the music

10. What are some guitar players you admire?

10:Players who are musically creative with technique like Chastain, Joe Stump lately I have been to listening Acoustic Visions

11. How often do you practice?

11:I would say now days I play and compose mostly every day 2-3 hours. Earlier I used to play & practice for about 5-8 hours every day which I think now was total murder, but I think it was well worth it. My fingers were really sore but I still continued. Sometimes I forget the time and the place.

12. Any suggests for beginning guitar players?

12:Just believe in your abilities and play what feels right for you, for example I wasn't very familiar with alternative picking so I figured sweep picking by myself. Same thing was in scales as I first tried to create some scales in my mind, afterwards I loaned some books to know what scales I'm playing. Well it was mostly minor scales, so a creative mind and imagination is most important thing that's how I see it. Believe in yourself and what you try to reach no matter what others say

13. What type of gear do you use?

13:Now days I use Ibanez guitar Roland amp and Zoom, earlier I played Fernandes guitar and it was really good guitar great neck 24 frets etc. I will probably change to Fernandes again sometime

14. There are very few guitarists that have the talent to play keyboards, especially as well as you do- what made you decide to play both?

14:I like the possibility to have different sounds, strings to harpsichord piano choir etc. classical instruments. It is interesting to use these for composing progress

15. What are your plans for the rest of the year?

15:Composing new material

16. Have you written any new material and if so what does it sound like?

16:Yes, it sounds classical influenced progressive metal! My goal is to improve every time so try to write better and better songs every time, the title song is now 8.00 minutes long

17. Thank you for your time, do you have any additional comments?

17:thank you! And greetings to all your readers! From Jarno Keskinen Finland