Last Friday, the Alexander Theatre Sessions came to end with the last episode of the season: Carnival of Rust. Today, it is the last wrap up of the Alexander Theatre Sessions on Poets of the Fall Social media. It is with a small pinch to the heart that I say goodbye to these beautiful moments when time stood still once a month for a whole year. Although, goodbye is not farewell, I thought I’d give you all some extra time to enjoy it all.
So while Poets of the Fall was busy wrapping up the Alexander Theatre Sessions on Social Media with great “Behind the Scenes” photos, I chanced and send out a few questions. They generously agreed to an interview with PotF – Misfit Heart and took the time to answer out of what must be a busy schedule this time of year, I’m sure.
Claire: Hey Poets, thank you for agreeing to this interview.
POTF: Hey Claire,
Hope you’re doing great.
Claire: I’m fantastic, thanks. Let’s start this interview then.
Claire: How did you come up with the idea of the Alexander Theatre Sessions? And why did you choose this particular venue?
POTF: Originally we just wanted to do alternative versions of our songs. Acoustic and otherwise. The basic idea was to shoot them with a smart phone and upload them on YouTube. Ambitious as we are, however, the project escalated, and we found ourselves looking for a cool venue and better gear. The Alexander Theatre Sessions name actually came to us first. We loved the sound of it so much, and the theatre is just a brilliant venue, so we decided to approach the theatre’s people with our idea, and lucky for us, they loved it too. The rest is history.
Claire: Twelve songs, could you describe the selection process? What was the most challenging? I mean, you have close to 100 songs (if not more) in your repertoire, it must be tough to decide which would make the cut, right?!
POTF: I think we already had ideas for certain songs, we wanted to do, others were songs we’d played before in alternative settings, so all of these seemed like the best choice to do. I think it was pretty straight forward for us this time around. Which it isn’t usually, when we are, say, choosing a live set etc. If we ever have a chance to continue the series with a second season, the choosing might be more difficult, but no less interesting.
Claire: A second season! I love the sound of that. Something to look forward to if and whenever that happens.
– on a personal note, thank you from the bottom of my heart for Rebirth and Jealous Gods!
POTF: You are most welcome.
Claire: The pattern of the recordings was interesting, first Marko & Olli, then Marko, Olli, Jani & Jaska, then back to 2 with Marko & Markus… but then, the pattern went in a completely
surprising direction with the whole band and your remarkable guests Triosis / Trisosis+. Could you tell us how this came about?
POTF: The choice of who plays what and how was one of the most rewarding parts of the process. We had always wanted to do paired down versions of the songs and piano-vocal
versions as well as more orchestrated organic versions of songs like Carnival of Rust. So yeah, it was a lengthy process, but super interesting and also fun, when we got to play around with
our music from a completely new perspective.
Claire: Some cool variation could be voice, piano and bass… what do you think?
POTF: Absolutely, we had thought of doing something with just bass and vocal.
Claire: that’d may be a dream come true.
– The videos, with you guys on stage but an empty theatre – behind or in front of you depending on the song – makes it almost anti-climactic. Yet, your audience was there, at every
video premiere, thousands of fans connected from every corner of the world to attend. It must be surreal; how does it feel? What would you like to say to them?
POTF: There was a certain atmosphere to the whole shooting of these videos, with the theatre empty and kind of hollow and melancholy, but at the same time, the shooting days were very
serene and fun. We felt very grateful for the opportunity of being able to do the project the way we wanted, coming in the venue in the morning with coffees and snacks and just going about our business in our own pace.
Claire: The videos are beautiful; I do love the editing on them and how each and every one of you gets the spotlight. Who is involved with Markus in the design and feel of it all? Is there any kind of brainstorming before Markus’ computer is put through heavy duty? Without taking out any of the magic you guys create, what can you say about the filming and editing of the Alexander Theatre Sessions?
POTF: Thank you. I must applaud and credit Markus, who was instrumental in creating the videos, even shooting them as much as he could. He really was the editor and director throughout the entire project. All in the name of wanting to do something outside just music, so expanding more into filmmaking seemed like a good choice. All of us did help and lend a hand and our opinions and our critical eye where he asked for them, but after all the ideas had been laid out on the table, it was all his ball game.
Claire: We all know it looked fun… any anecdote to share with us?
POTF: Well… we had a jittery day when Covid kept us waiting for test results on the day we were supposed to shoot the final three videos, as one of us might have been infected. Just an
hour before the shooting was supposed to either commence or be cancelled, we got the results and, no cover, so we were safe. So having the final three videos at all, was really up to chance and a very close call.
Claire: I was incredibly pleased to see Miika Hakala’s participation on the last three videos. Why was Miika involved only there?
POTF: Well, I mentioned the ambitious streak in everything we do… it seemed the further along we progressed the more we needed someone experienced to lend a hand with the actual
shooting, the camera work. We asked Miika to come in and be an additional camera man, and he was more than happy to. In the end, we had four people taking care of the cameras and shooting the videos on location.
POTF: The decision came closer to the end of the project. We thought: ”Why not, that’s probably a good idea”. 🙂
Claire: Now, I do not understand Finnish (I have started some lessons yet all I remember is Kiitos…), but you have been working at a new video lately and some clues were posted in Finnish on social media. When can we expect to see that? Can you tell us more, or is it top secret?
POTF: The rumour is true. We did spend a freezing winter Sunday shooting a brand new video. I’m sure we’ll be posting more news on that very soon. Stay tuned.
Claire: What is next for Poets of the Fall? Can we expect something similar coming our way next year, until you are able to tour again? Can we anticipate a new album soon, 2021 maybe?
POTF: After the holidays we are going to hide away in our studio and start working on a new album. We’ve already drawn one rough guidelines towards it, and fiddled with some ideas…
and I’m really liking the sound of it. If everything goes according to plan, you can expect completely new Poets of the Fall music, in the fall of 2021.
Claire: Definitely something to look forward to!
– What would you like to say to your fans, all around the world, now that 2020 is finally coming to an end, thus opening doors to new hopes?
POTF: What we think is important is how well you have all persevered through this tumultuous year that’s now almost behind us. Thank yourselves for that. Then let’s all turn our minds
towards making the time to come better for humanity and the rest of the planet. It can be something very simple and start from the smallest of deeds and build up to something so much bigger. For example, we can do so by the simple act of smiling at each other when we interact, giving others the sense of worth we all need in our lives.
Thank you all so much for your continued support through out the year. It is much appreciated.
– Marko Saaresto, Poets of the Fall, December 2020 –
Don’t forget to grab a copy of the Alexander Theatre Sessions on Poets of the Fall Webshop
Photos Alexander Theatre Sessions: Tiia Öhman.
See also: The Alexander Theatre Sessions on PotF – Misfit Heart