Jaakko Eino Kalevi – About Love And Other Mental Illnesses

Foto: Harley Weir / © Domino Recordings Ltd.
Jaakko Eino Kalevi looks like a stoned angel in a woolie, works as a tram driver and with »No End« he released on of the best songs of 2013. About time we get to know him. A conversation about love, music and how to wash laundry.

Hi Jaakko, what are you up to right now?
Jaakko Eino Kalevi: Listening to music and doing laundry.

God, laundry, I hate doing laundry.
Jaakko Eino Kalevi: Yeh, well, you have to do it sometimes.

That’s true. I thought you would be in Berlin to record your new album…
Jaakko Eino Kalevi: No, I was planning to (laughs), but well..actually, I have plans to (laughs more)

So you haven’t started recording yet?
Jaakko Eino Kalevi: I have yeah! I think I have most of the things for the album. I still need to record the vocals properly.

But no relese date yet, right?
Jaakko Eino Kalevi: No. It could be in august.

Could you already tell us a bit about the sound of the album and what to expect?
Jaakko Eino Kalevi: I would say it’s the same style as the EP [»Dream Zone«]. And I’m not sure yet, if I’m gonna use any of the EP-songs for the album. But yeah: same kind of advanced sound (laughs).

»Trams are not that common. Trams are pretty rare in the world – they are special.«

Jaakko Eino Kalevi
Tell me: Did all the people that know your music since the beginning like the sound of the »Dream Zone«-EP?
Jaakko Eino Kalevi: Well, I think I generally do lot of different kind of sounds of music anyway, so I think people are used to that. So people who know my music, know that I do all kinds of stuff (laughs). For example the next EP is coming up on Beats In Space in June. It’s gonna be more dance-y and disco and also more experimental.

Oh, that’s some news! You will release an EP on Tim Sweeney’s label?!
Jaakko Eino Kalevi: Jep, I just got the masters.

Okay, but let’s revisit what happened to you in the near past: you have been releasing records for over ten years and then you create »No End«, one song, which blows people away far over the bordes of Finnland. How did you experience the process of »No End« going through the roof?
Jaakko Eino Kalevi: (hesitates) When I made the EP the people from the label asked, what song I wanted to have as a single. And I didn’t really know the importance. I was like »ha ja, whatever« (lauhgs). But now it seems like it was an important decision (laughs more).

Jep, it seems so. So why did this specific song give you all this success, when you have been making good music before?
Jaakko Eino Kalevi: Ahm, I think there’s a big difference now, since I have Domino behind me. And they can get me a lot more attention. Because I think, my previous label…well, they didn’t do promotion at all (laughs). Some of my records didn’t even go to distribution. The label just took them to some shops in Helsinki (laughs). So that’s one thing, that Domino is a real label (laughs)

Do you feel any downsides to the success of »No End«?
Jaakko Eino Kalevi: (lauhgs) I don’t know if it’s that successful. But no, not really. No. I think the »Dream Zone« EP worked well as a whole. Because I worked with other people this time: a photographer, the designer. These things I’ve been doing myself. Now I’m thinking like should I use somebody else to mix my album – but it’s kind of like a matter of trust: whose pace can I trust?

What’s your pase?
Jaakko Eino Kalevi: (laughs) Hard to put in words. It depends: I have some songs on the next album, which I originally started ten years ago.

Jaakko, tell me: Why do you think, every journalist asks you about your job as a tram-driver?
Jaakko Eino Kalevi: (laughs) Probably because it’s a romantic job. And also because some other artists may do some jobs next to music but usually nobody mentions that. (laughs) But I had this info in my press text. Have you this movie by Aki Kaurismäk, »Drifting Clouds«?

No, unfortunately I haven’t even heard of it.
Jaakko Eino Kalevi: Well, the main character is a tram driver (laughs)

Jaakko Eino Kalevi: So, mmm, it shows it as a romantic job.

But do you think people would be less fascinated if you would work as a, let’s say, baker?
Jaakko Eino Kalevi: I think it would be slightly different. Because Trams are not that common. Trams are pretty rare in the world – they are special.

I could imagine liking to drive the tram.
Jaakko Eino Kalevi: Yeah, it’s like…very easy.

You don’t get tired?
The problem is that you get bored. But in Helsinki there are more interesting routes and more boring routing. The boring routes are just a back and forth on big streets. In the very early mornings or very late nights they aren’t the best.

You seem to be a very romantic person. You also sing a lot about love.
Jaakko Eino Kalevi: (laughs loudly) I guess so (can’t stop loving). Every song of mine has the word love in it (sagt er lachend) – I never thought about it. Maybe it’s a good thing to sing about it. But I don’t sing about it in a traditional way (laughs more).

Why do you think love is an interesting topic?
Jaakko Eino Kalevi: It’s so wide and people have such strong ideas about it. It can be whatever (laughs).

What else is an interesting topic?
Jaakko Eino Kalevi: Mental ilnesses.

Yeah, well, love and mental illnesses are connected quite closely to each other.
Jaakko Eino Kalevi: Yeah, they are the same (laughs).

You realize, that you just gave me the headline right? »Love and mental illnesses are the same«.
Jaakko Eino Kalevi: (laughs)Okay, that’s good.

You once wrote on your Facebook: Feelings make me laugh.
Jaakko Eino Kalevi: That was kind of a saying that me and my friends have. One of my friends accidentally said that. It doesn’t really make sense but then again: feelings make me laugh.

And what makes you cry?
Jaakko Eino Kalevi: Feelings (laughs)

  • Puh, you make total sense with everything you say (laughs)…Well, thank you, I don’t wanna take more of your time.
    Jaakko Eino Kalevi:* Oh yeah, I have to pick up the laundry.

I hope, you chose the right temperature.
Jaakko Eino Kalevi: Oh, it’s the first time I used that laundry machine.

So 40°?
Jaakko Eino Kalevi: Yeh, I always do 40.

Yep, always do 40. I stay with 40 aswell. Everything else is too dangerous.
Jaakko Eino Kalevi: Yeah, risky.