Music, // November 6, 2014
Lari Haataja – MUSICIAN
Interview with Lari Haataja:
I am a 20 year old musician from Oulu, Finland. I started playing guitar back when I was about 12 years old and have been doing it constantly ever since. When I was 17 I started working on a concept album that eventually became Moonswing’s debut album “Unaware of the Dark”.
At the moment I mainly work on Moonswing and give guitar lessons at my flat!
I have a weak spot for culture and that shows in my everyday life. I have a lot of books and records lying around. I also like to write myself, mainly short stories and poetry. Painting is something I like to do as well, although I’m not very good at it.
Moonswing was formed in 2012 as a solo project of mine. The lineup was gathered after I had composed the album and wanted to start recording. The concept was extended from an album to a band and the name “Moonswing” came to being. In its current state Moonswing is a somewhat limitless band in terms of genre, but the term progressive rock flies around often.
Our latest single – “King With a Crown of Tin”
Music video of our first single – “Balance”
1. Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Lari Haataja the founder, (main)songwriter, singer and guitarist of Moonswing.
2. Why music?
Originally I started playing the guitar when I was twelve years old. I think it was Iron Maiden’s Seventh Son of a Seventh Son that gave me the inspiration to do music.
3. What is your earliest memory of wanting to be involved in music?
It was a couple years before I got my first guitar. I was heavily into metal music (pun intended) and wanted to be in a band, so we ended up forming this horrible excuse of a group with my friends. Back then I just wanted to play so I was usually the drummer and my drum-set was made of butter cans and stuff like that. It was just awful…
4. What are your favorite subject(s) and style(s)?
When I write, I like to talk about human interaction and the feelings they make you go through. I usually try to avoid the cheesy “I love you” way of putting things. My goal is to place the characters I make into a more fantasy-type world to make it a bit more interesting and ambiguous. I tend to do this whether I write music, poems or short stories.
I don’t want to get stuck on a certain style. Lately I have had a phase of trying to bring out my artistic abilities, but sometimes I just like to write something easy and make a twist to it in one way or another!
5. How do you work and approach a new piece that you are working on?
The writing process is rarely the same. Sometimes I sit in front of a blank sheet and try to come up with something. Sometimes I take a guitar and record my latest ideas. When I worked on our debut Unaware of the Dark I came up with a backstory for the album. I had to make a timeline and think about the characters, their thoughts, their feelings and so forth. After all that was done, I tried to portrait it into the music and lyrics I wrote. It was a tough thing to do, but I think it came together just the way I wanted!
6. What are your favorite musician(s), singer(s)?
My absolute favorite artist is Joanna Newsom! I adore her songwriting, lyrics, playing and godlike voice! Once again I don’t like to get stuck on genres. Lately for example Miles Davis, Holwin’ Wolf, The Beatles, The Doors, Pink Floyd, Opeth, Mastodon, Imogen Heap, Radiohead, Simon and Garfunkel have been on my plate pretty actively, but the list of great artists just goes on and on.
7. What are the best responses you have had to your work?
Playing to a full house is always great! Also the first time I made someone cry with a composition of mine was pretty stunning.
8. What do you like about your work?
Being able to influence others and do my own thing without any limits! And lately although I’m not making millions, being able to at least call it a job! That’s just insane!
9. What advice would you give to other musicians?
I’m not sure if I’m the one to give out advice, but what really helped me get forward was studying my art. I spent years just doing music, without understanding it! Then I decided to spend time in front of a book, read about the theory of music, and to understand the concept of harmony. I’m still getting there, but knowing as much as I do really helps!
10. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
That’s a tough one! I guess doing music and poetry the way I do now. Hopefully making a living with writing and teaching. Also studying more would be great, but I’m not sure if I’ll do it for ten years. We’ll see!