revolution in sound created by the late, great Pekka Pohjola continues
on in his native country. One label with a steady hand on the Finnish
prog-rock and instrumental rock fusion pulse is Running Moose and
its sub labels, Presence Records and Puuma Records, headed up by Matti
Kervinen, himself a fine keyboardist and member of the group Pax Romana.
One 2013 Running Moose CD release, entitled Foyers Of The Future
is solid showcase by the band known as Moonwagon. Parts
of this electrifying fusion affair harks back to the early 1980s and
the heyday of Pekka Pohjola while Moonwagaon is also kind of futuristic
sounding, not unlike a variation of some of the more progressive guitar-centric
instrumental tracks recorded during the mid 1980s by The Shadows.
Some excellent guitar work by Joni Tiala adds sizzle to this
fine example of 21st Century Finnish instrumental prog. Somewhere
in heaven Pekka Pohjola is smiling down on Moonwagon. Commenting on
carrying on the tradition of great Finnish instrumental progressive
rock music, Moonwagon's Joni Tiala, in the following interview, told
mwe3.com, 'Foyers Of The Future was a lot of fun, composing and
rehearsing the material took a little less than a year. We wanted
everything to be properly ready before going into the studio. Lots
of the music came out just jamming together, and some of the songs
were composed more precisely. Some ideas were really old, some ideas
were just crazy but we really liked the material and felt comfortable
with it. And we still do. Everybody had something to give.' www.RunningMoose.fi
mwe3.com presents an interview
Joni Tiala of MOONWAGON
Where are you from originally and where do you live now and what do
you like best about it?
JONI TIALA: I'm originally from Finland and I live in Finland
although we travel quite a lot with my girlfriend. We have a folk
music act called Vellamo together, and we just finished a three-month
US tour a couple of weeks ago. We bought a house last summer, that's
my favorite thing here right now! I also wouldn't want to miss summertime
mwe3: When did you form Moonwagon, what was the impetus for
forming the band and who plays in Moonwagon with you?
JONI TIALA: We formed the band with my old friends who we share
a colorful musical history with; we have been playing in different
pop/rock groups for years, together and separately. Our mutual dream
has been to form a progressive rock band someday, and that dream came
true in 2008.
Last year our original keyboard player Ami Hassinen decided to concentrate
on his long time ambient group Nemesis, and also his solo work which
goes by the name of Ashen Simian. You should check 'em out; he's a
fantastic musician and we wish all the best for him!
Moonwagons lineup in 2014 is:
Jani Korpi drums, percussion, acoustic guitar, jews
Joni Tiala electric & acoustic guitars, keyboards,
Janne Ylikorpi bass, fretless bass, bass pedals, keyboards
How many albums does Moonwagon have and how has the band sound evolved
over the years? Can you tell us something about the Foyers Of The
Future CD? Where and when was the music on the CD written and
recorded and who else was involved in making the album happen? Do
you have some favorite tracks from the CD. Track 5, Through
The Veil Of Rain is a great track!
JONI TIALA: Thank you! We have two albums: Night Dust
(2011) and Foyers Of The Future (2012). Third one should be
out by the end of this year; at least we hope so! We are really excited
about the new material and we have already started the recording.
It's hard to tell how the sound has evolved, I would like to let the
listener be the judge of that. I guess nowadays we know better what
we are doing... or not!
Foyers Of The Future was a lot of fun, composing and rehearsing
the material took a little less than a year. We wanted everything
to be properly ready before the studio. Lot of the music came out
just jamming together, some of the songs are composed more precisely.
I think Through The Veil Of Rain is a good example of
having the both sides. That is one of my favorites too!
Some ideas were really old, some ideas were just crazy but we really
liked the material and felt comfortable with it. And we still do.
Everybody had something to give. Recording process took about five
months; it was recorded in Kokkola which is our little hometown in
the west coast of Finland.
It was recorded and mixed by our bass player Janne and we produced
it ourselves. A British guy called Ade Emsley took care of the mastering
and I think he did a fantastic job. He has been working with Iron
Maiden in the past and he mastered Steve Harris recent solo
When did you start playing guitar and can you tell us what guitars
are playing on the Moonwagon albums and the new CD? How about other
gear do you use on the Moonwagon albums and what are some of your
favorite amps and pedals / effects and picks and strings that you
use to color the sound?
JONI TIALA: I started playing at the age of eleven. Mostly
I use Fender Jazzmaster guitar, and I like Strats and Teles too. I
also played dulcimer, electric mandolin and Fender Redondo acoustic
guitar on the album. I use a lot of FX pedals; I guess MXR Carbon
Copy delay and Small Clone chorus by Electro-Harmonix are my favorite
ones at the moment. During the Foyers Of The Future recording
I used only one amp: Music Man RP120 with 4x12 HH Electronics cabinet.
I just love the combination of those and my Jazzmaster. But I'm sure
Im gonna try some new equipment on the new album just to get
new sounds and have a slightly different angle on some of the new
songs. And now Im playing keyboards too so I have to think about
that as well... we'll see what happens!
mwe3: What is the music scene like in Finland these days for
progressive instrumental music? Do you miss Pekka Pohjolas music
as much as I do? How do you think Pohjola changed progressive instrumental
rock, influenced other artists and what other Finnish prog legends
are you influenced by and what newer artists from Finland do you feel
are carrying the prog-rock torch forward?
JONI TIALA: I absolutely love Pekka Pohjola's music. He has
been a huge influence for me and many other Finns over the years.
I think he was one of the best composers ever to come from Finland.
He really should have been more famous. I also love Jukka Tolonen,
a legendary guitar player.
There are not so many progressive rock bands in Finland, let alone
instrumental bands. I think it's more towards jazz if its instrumental.
But yeah, there are some really good prog bands here, like Hidria
Spacefolk and Jeavestone.
mwe3: What do you feel the future holds for instrumental rock
and progressive instrumental rock in Finland, Scandinavia and the
rest of the world for that matter? Do you feel part of the progressive
rock scene and sound? Also can you tell us something about Moonwagon
working with Running Moose Records as they seem to be doing great
TIALA: Music-wise, I think the situation is far better now than
it was ten years ago. There are really good bands coming out of Finland
and Sweden all the time, they're just hard to find because groups
like us, we don't have the support of massive record companies.
It's getting harder and harder to be heard, sell your music and get
good gigs. It's hard to promote the band just by yourself. But those
people who love that sort of stuff tend to find the right bands no
matter what. And we are not dreaming about the number 1 single in
charts... we wouldn't mind though if it happened!
We've been enjoying working with Running Moose Records, its
a very easy going and down to earth type of thing. And they put out
really good albums. Quality music!
mwe3: What are you and Moonwagon planning as far as writing
and recording new music, producing other music related things and
performing shows for the rest of 2014 and beyond? Any ideas yet on
the next album for Moonwagon?
JONI TIALA: We are currently composing and rehearsing new stuff.
Like I said, hopefully the new album would
be out later this year. And we would love to be back playing gigs
in a few months time too, its been a lot of work to practice
old and new material since Ami left the band; now we have two keyboard
players instead of one! So during the past year we have been figuring
out how I'm gonna handle the guitar and keyboards, and how Janne is
going to handle bass, bass pedals and keyboards. Its going great
and we cannot wait to try it out live!
Thanks to Joni
Tiala and Moonwagon and Running