GRANDPOP RECORDS (2003)
PRODUCED BY LASSE KURKI
Line After Line was written in NYC in Nov –99 together with Steve Wynn at his apartment in Upper West Side. Recorded in Helsinki, Hollola and Nashville TN. Ken Coomer from Wilco is responsible for the weird rhythm sounds, which he refers to as the playskool drums. Arto Tamminen played the scary cello and some groovy bass-lines.
Talking To Myself was written in Helsinki in the fall of –99. Recorded in Helsinki and Hoboken NJ. We did loads of experimenting on this little Frankenstein of ours. The drums for the verses were recorded through a really bad Sony Dictaphone, and for the lead vocals we used a megaphone to really fuck up Markus’ beautiful voice (?). Marc Ribot plays on this one – that’s him playing the twangy electric guitar in the chorus + solo as well as in the 2nd verse fooling around with e-bow etc. The weird keyboard sounds were created by Matti Pitsinki from Laika and the Cosmonauts, a combination of Farfisa organ, Small Stone and Echoplex.
U + I was written in Helsinki in April 2000. Started out as a tribute to Nick Drake but turned out as something else. Janne played a djembe for this song (it’s by no means a loop!) and we got our friend Tom Nyman to play some acoustic bass. The female voice belongs to Jonna Tervomaa. Because we were so poor at the time we couldn’t afford buying a new 2” reel so we ended up using an old one that had some Laika’s live material on it. This is why you can hear Mikko Lankinen from the Laikas playing a few licks from their live-version of the song ‘Get Carter’ in the beginning of the 2nd verse – it wasn’t intended to be there but these things just happen.
A Memory was one of the first songs written for Fortune Cookies. Finland’s leading female vocalist, Jonna Tervomaa is featured here on duet vocal. The song itself is a mixture of late 60s psychedelia and early 80s new wave sound. The Elvis Costello -inspired bittersweet lyric blends together with a cheery pop tune. This one received a good bit of airplay long before the release of the album.
Need No-one was the last song we wrote and recorded for the album. We attempted to get this song to sound like a 70s stadium rock anthem (á la David Bowie’s Heroes), and really rock the hell out of it in the end like our rocking heroes (MC5). Our drummer Janne really went nuts there – something he does constantly live but very rarely in the studio, at least to this extent.
You Don’t Know The Real Me brings us back to the early 70s sound. The whole band loves bands like Pink Floyd, Crosby, Stills & Nash, as well as Finland’s own Wigwam. When The Latebirds played in New York we visited our friend James Mastro’s studio in Hoboken, N.J. He happens to own Moody Blues’ old Mellotron and so we asked him to add some strings on this track.
Indian Summer was written in the fall of –98, which happened to be an Indian summer in Finland. The Laika And The Cosmonauts influence is quite obvious here – after all, three of the band’s four members are playing on this track. Our friend Mikko Von Hertzen, who actually lives in India these days, very kindly added the hippie sounding west coast harmonies. Markus played the autoharp and McGyver fooled around with an Echoplex tape delay. This is a very unique sounding performance in all.
Don’t Pass My Time Around demonstrates that these boys can really rock! The heavy riff was probably stolen from The Replacements but the band ends up sounding more like Elvis Costello And The Attractions in their heyday. It’s a lot of fun to play this loud number live. Fortunately, we were able to capture that energy also in the studio.
Your Only Friend was the first song that we recorded for Fortune Cookies. This song is kind of a mixture of Neil Young’s Transformer Man and some Nirvana song we can’t remember. But nevertheless, a lot of people seem to think it’s the best song on the album. If you think the track has a bit of a 80s feel to it, it might be because Markus insisted to play a Casio-synth on it!
I Owe You is our tribute to the thing we love the most – great music. We owe you for everyday we have. Markus played the piano while our friend Matti Pitsinki strummed the mandolin. Jussi came up with the Police/Every Breath You Take –flavoured electric guitar track, and McGyver tried to be like Jimmy Page – playing the electric guitar with a bow. Markus wrote the song together with his mate James Mastro in NYC.
Worthless Song ends Fortune Cookies. It’s a really Neil Young + Crazy Horse inspired track, with a bit of Pink Floyd hidden somewhere. The lyric was very much inspired by Jack Kerouac’s work. We must have been pretty wasted when we recorded this song since nobody seems to have any recollections of how it all went down. The one thing we can remember is that the lead vocal was cut live. This song kinda sums everything up: What brings you back here?
… and if you listen carefully all the way to the end of this album, you will hear the title track of the album, Fortune Cookies. This messed up country song was recorded at 5AM one January morning. So, if you think it sounds a little world-weary and out-of-tune, you may be right. This is a textbook example of our producer Lasse’s motto: Why fix it if ain’t broken?