Flat Earth - In English
Flat Earth first appeared on the scene in 2018 with its first single "Blame", which went straight up the German charts. The band consists of the ex HIM members Gas Lipstick and Linde Lindström, Niclas Etelävuori from Amorphis and Anttoni Pikkarainen of Polanski, the latter probably being the only real grunge lead vocalist around.
A year ago, Flat Earth released their debut album, toured across Finland and even played in two of the most legendary clubs of the Country such as Tavastia and Nosturi. 2019 also saw the digital release of their Nirvana cover of "School". After a seemingly quiet time, the band has officially announced it was entering the studio to start making a new album.
I got the chance to interview these gentlemen and our conversation went something like this.
According to the latest news, Flat Earth is working on its second album right now. Can we expect any surprises, like major style changes or are you going to continue down the same road of its predecessor "None for one"?
- N: This record is the result of a more intense collaboration among all of us, although we followed the same procedures we ́ve always used. It will definitely be different than our first album but we haven ́t really tried to create a whole new style. The songs are brand new though.
There are some members of Flat Earth who have sold millions of records in the past and toured across the world. Has this level of success ever had any impact on the dynamics of the band? Do you feel, for example, any kind of pressure from the fans about what they expect from you and the music you ́re making?
- N: Not really, we ́re a completely new band with new tricks. We ́ve never tried to rely on our old accomplishments. It ́ s a whole new project and I hope that fans will understand that, without comparing too much our music to what we did in the past. I don ́t really know what people expect from us or even if I expect anything at all in the first place. We just make music that we enjoy and hope others will too.
In order to support the release of your debut album, you briefly toured Finland and also played a few other shows in the Country. Does Flat Earth already know if it will head abroad when the new record comes out?
-N: Yes, we ́re supposed to also play outside of Finland and some gigs have already been scheduled for 2020. Venturing abroad with only one album felt a bit silly but now, with a second album, we ́ll have enough material for a longer set and we ́re definitely ready for it.
Playing at the legendary Tavastia Klubi is a dream for many Finnish musicians and Flat Earth has already performed there. Is there any other place you would really like to perform, maybe even abroad?
-A: Me and Gas both agreed that Madison Square Garden would be the ultimate dream but we may have other stepping stones down the road before we get there. When we first started, somebody said we should play on the moon and someone else even mentioned Africa. Personally, I think it would be really great to play in Stockholm, where I was born, but maybe it ́s just wiser to go abroad first and then maybe take another look at more concrete options.
As far as I understood, all the lyrics of "None For One" were written by Anttoni. How about the new songs? Have any of the other members contributed to the songwriting process this time around?
Would you consider the idea of letting someone outside the band write a song for you?
- A: Yes, I think we would. We ́re very inclusive in the way we work and I really doubt that having lyrics written by an "outsider" would be a problem. On the contrary, I think it would be very instructive and creative to collaborate with a third party.
There have also been many discussions about your name. Do you think this has ever been a source of confusion or that maybe you should have chosen a completely different name altogether? Did you have other options?
-A: Our name has caused lots of confusion and also lots of thinking among us but it is inevitable when, between two options, you go for the more provocative one. All this
talk has only made our bond to it even stronger but it ́s really surprising to see how very little sense of humor some people have.
Sales of vinyl records keep growing and streaming has also become more common. What ́s Flat Earth ́s opinion on physicality in the digital age of music? Do you consider an album "real" only if it hits the stores or is it enough if it ́s available only on streaming services for example?
- L: In my opinion, I don ́t think it ́s too important in which format the music is presented, as long as the sound quality is maintained. Vinyls are great if you think in terms of artwork, because they do the cover image justice etc. but I don ́t even have a vinyl player at home. Most probably we ́ll release a vinyl edition of the record anyway...
Is there any chance you ́ll release the new album on cassette tapes as well? They are becoming popular again.
- L: Everything is possible.
Lately, many popular clubs are closing down (Nosturi, The Circus & Virgin Oil). Do you see this as a threat or a rebirth for the rock scene in Helsinki?
- G: It ́s a little scary, it almost feels like the rock scene is being put in the shade. On one hand, also rappers need their own places, but on the other hand, you never know if new clubs will eventually replace the old ones; if that really happens, it will be a good thing. That ́s why I think it could be either a threat or a new opportunity.
I recently played Paranoid by Black Sabbath and noticed similarities between their label and the Flat Earth logo. Was it a plan or just a coincidence?
- N: A planned coincidence: we needed a circle around the centre.
Many listeners often happen to identify with the meaning of a song. Have fans ever told you that a certain track, maybe even something from your previous bands ́material, almost seemed to talk about their lives?
- G: During the HIM days I often heard that a song became part of our fans ́lives and that it even helped them through some tough times. That ́s the beauty of music, it has the ability to evoke powerful emotions.
Duets and featuring are popular in many different genres. Have you ever thought of having, for example, a female vocalist in one of your songs or even Linde, who ́s had is own solo project with Daniel Lioneye? Who would be, without a doubt, the artist you would choose to feature in your album?
-L: We haven ́t really felt the need to do that, actually. I don ́t have anything against it, as long as it adds something meaningful to the song. If I had to choose someone, I ́d choose Iggy Pop anytime. I tried to like singing but with bad results: it just didn ́t feel right. Maybe I ́ll get inspired again sometime.
What is the question that you always wanted to be asked but no one ever asked you? And what would you respond?
-G: If your music was a car, what would it be? -G: Volvo Amazon.