Juha Jyrkäs - 10 Questions Interview
Updated: Apr 22
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
I've written lyrics my whole life. It's very natural for me. But the moment I started to make my own music was in spring 2002, as I got in my hands 5-stringed kantele for the first time. Kantele is the Finnish folk instrument. I learned pretty quickly to create my own music with kantele. The way I see it, that was the point when I started to walk that path, that has lead me to electrify this ancient instrument. Now I use electric and bass kantele and I make heavy distortion and effects with them.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
Perhaps it was in the Hämeenlinna Medieval Festival in Finland where I threw my all clothes off in the end of the final song of the gig. People went wild. Now thinking back, I don't know was that a good idea afterall. But hey - I got many hugs, kisses and - specially - lot's of free booze!
What has been the high point of your music path?
I think it's perhaps performing my whole solo gig in Miekat, muurit musketit (Swords, walls, muskets) festival in Hamina, Finland, in 2019. It went very cool. And of course a big thing for me was to write Finnish lyrics to folk metal band Korpiklaani during the years 2006-2012.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
I write a song when I feel the good riff is coming, or when I hear some good lyrics in my head. It can happen in both ways, either the lyrics come at first and then the tune or vice versa. When I have the raw version of the song, I think how to make it more the way song feels to me, what kind of feeling it brings to me in my mind, what the song wants to tell me. And finally in the studio I test all the gadgets, tricks, effects and gimmicks with the equipments in hand. What works the best for the song is left in the final version.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
Perhaps it's the overall attitude towards making music. Specially, when you're a kid, the older people should courage and support you in making music. Then when you're having some concerts and have some good songs, there should be given a chance to make a good demo, so you can promote your music to everywhere. But the most difficult task is to make a living totally with your music. Specially here in Finland it's very difficult.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
Maybe KISS or Manowar. Because the both are my favourite bands and both are so legendary in everything they do.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
I rehearse mostly in my home. I try to do scream vocals and distorted playing while everybody else are in work so that I wont bother my neighbours. For a live show I pump myself an attitude that now I go there to win!
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
From my newest album Sydämeni kuusipuulle, it was the song Honkajuurella asunto. The arrangements went over a drastic change while working with the song. Same goes also with the lyrics. I wrote many personal things inside, but at the same time I tried to keep them mystic enough, so that everybody can search different meanings within them. Finally the song took it's final shape and I'm very satisfied with the result.
What's coming up in the future?
I'm still promoting my debute solo album Sydämeni kuusipuulle, but at the same time I'm writing new songs. And since I'm also a writer in Finland, I'm writing my new book. It's an action adventure in the good old 80's action films' style. After this cursed COVID-19 plague is over, I wish to play gigs all over the world.
Tell us where fans can access your music?
About Juha Jyrkäs
Juha Jyrkäs is a Finnish musical pioneer, who has replaced an electric guitar and bass with electric kantele and bass kantele in a metal album, first to do so a in a world. Kantele is an ancient Finnish string-instrument. He is also a talented fantasy and horror writer in Finland. Jyrkäs wrote Finnish lyrics to folk metal band Korpiklaani between the years 2006-2012. His previous bands are Poropetra and Tevana3. Since the spring 2008, Jyrkäs has played many solo gigs in Finland, Estonia and in Hungary. Sydämeni kuusipuulle is the debute album of Jyrkäs. No electric guitars, bass, keyboards or drums used on this album. The result is still the real pagan heavy metal! The lyrics are about Finnish mythology, nature mysticism, occultism, human feelings and sex. It was first published at year 2019 with a limited MC edition, but in the year 2020 Italian label Earth And Sky Productions re-published it first digitally then, at 12.2.2021 as a CD.