BD: Hi Erja hope you are well, thanks for taking time to speak to Bluesdoodles, it has been a while the last time we spoke was 2017 just before you embarked on a UK tour. I am sure lots have been going on in your career since then!
BD: Let’s start off with the tour twelve nights in the UK starting in Brighton Komedia on the 18th March? There must be lots of planning involved deciding set-lists, what instruments to travel with and getting the band organised as well?
EL:Yes, always when you go abroad and have to go by Ferry, and the cars and everything. Lots to plan on long tours I like to have lots of different guitars and we carry a Leslie with us as we have a Hammond player and lots of equipment. Two weeks, it is actually thirteen days in a row, with just one off day so is going to be a tight tour which is nice as this is the only tour we are going to do in the UK this year. BD: Do you have a tour Manager or do you manage the equipment yourselves? We kind of do it together as a band gather at rehearsal place to fill up the van and checking everything and my technician is very accurate about these things and checks we carry everything with us. A few years ago I really wanted to improve the show to sound and look better so we started to carry our own mixing consoles and sometimes our own lighting, not this time on the UK tour. So yea it’s almost like we come in put up our own set-up and ready to go, we just need a good venue to have a proper show.
BD: Are you visiting new towns and venues on this tour?
EL:Don’t think I have played Bridport so that will be fascinating I have been to England a lot since 2010 so nice to go to different places. Never played Birmingham and Southport. No I have played Southport with Ladies of The Blues last year. (full list of dates and venues below)
BD: Why should people come out and see and hear your music who have been before?
EL:We have really great shows and great new songs coming from the new album playing some of those on tour. I want people to enjoy the show have fun with the audience, and we want to sound and look good. We do our best so there is a lot of energy on stage and it is fun and everybody can leave everyday life and problems at home, not think of too many sad things just come there and kind of have catharsis together with us. I am promising a lot, kind of a moment for yourself a Blues Yoga. Laughing Erja says Come and do some Blues Yoga with us!!!! Use that as the title or something. I have actually just three hour yoga lesson, I have not had that for a long long time, so that was wonderful. It is good to enjoy whatever it is like doing some exercises for your body or going to concerts or going to see paintings in the gallery or something like that. To have that easy going moment when you have time to just kind of be there enjoying the beauty of the world, we keep forgetting there are so many beautiful things in life, the news is just telling us the bad.
BD: How would you describe your approach to blues with your magic slide and pedal board, now a work of art really?
EL:Yes it is, and now I am going to fix it again. Actually have it right here while we are speaking. I always thought when I started to play the guitar that I wouldn’t be much of a pedal freak so to speak. It has grown a lot I am trying to count… I have counting… two, four, six, eight, ten, eleven no twelve pedals right now on my board. Is that a lot I don’t know? Does it sound a lot ten, twelve, well it is one for each show. It is just getting bigger and bigger. Maybe it is the fact that I like to use different sounds in different guitar parts and I keep searching new stuff. On the new album trying to do different sounds and layers it is just interesting. A few years ago I started to use a lot of the Whammy pedal and I can use different harmonies with it, for instance the second single from the album, Another World and title track I like harmony goes down like a third on one of the parts in the song so you can make this funny cool stuff with this. What is really cool I noticed that Eric Gales is using lots of whammy pedal as well, and I really like his stuff. BD: Love his new album and the cover picture of books is fantastic. EL: Yes it is so freaking good, and the cover is so clever going back to the organic stuff.
BD: Still on pedals, do you use your pedals with your slide as well has when using your plectrum?
EL:Yes, I use a lot of pedals when playing slide guitar I use Whammy. Wah Wah pedal, distortion and I love using delay. Yes I use lots of stuff its good fun like the whole cream cake laughing!
BD: Your forthcoming 2019 album Another World, is follow up to Stolen Hearts. We have heard the two singles already released digitally Without You & Another World what else can we expect from your latest release?
EL:The album is currently being mixed in Austin, Texas by Chris Bell. I have heard most of the mixes and there are some really cool tracks. I am genuinely thrilled about the album. It has a totally different feel and sound from my previous albums. Because Stolen Hearts kind of was a sad time I was going through the break-up and all that stuff. Now let’s move on with the life, it is like after a war, you have this dusty old shield, you need to brush the dust off your shoulders take your sword and get on with it. So there are strong songs and strong topics. Of course there is one heartbreaking ballad where the featured artist Sonny Landreth is playing very nice slide part because we have love and all these feelings are really important. Also songs thinking about who you are and understanding what you are. Very empowering songs not to be afraid to shred, I mean both doing what you want to do in life and not being afraid of doing things.
BD: Why the album title Another World?
EL:Another World describes the overall album very well. Because it is a new time for me a new season I have stepped into something totally different musically with this album. There are lots of elements from Rock, Punk, Blues, even Gospel. There is even one song with a bit of an Irish vibe on it, I even play a bit of violin on it. It is about expressing yourself, while at the same time having fun and create stories that people will like to hear and enjoy. Then through that find something in themselves
BD: On this album you have featured guests. Which is a new approach Sonny Landreth & Jennifer Batten why and how did you decide on have featured artists on this album. Did they come to Finland for recording sessions?
EL:Sonny Landreth I have loved his stuff forever and of course he has been one of the slide guitar players I have listened to a lot. Last year we had a chance to play a festival together. I was like a little girl there giggling. But I took the moment like I did with Carlos Santana and enjoyed the moment and throw in your musicality be happy and feel genuinely grateful that you can do these things. So we kept in touch afterwards and I then thought it would be amazing to have him play on the album. He is playing on two tracks. Those are completely different styles of songs, one a ballad the other sixties blues-rock, something Fleetwood Mac or Deep Purple would do. There are two slide guitar players, playing simultaneously and we didn’t use autotune with slide, all is in perfect pitch. That was amazing. Then there is a guitar player with a significant career and has been such a great role model not just for female guitar players but overall and that is Jennifer Batten. We were both teaching in this German camp last year, both doing masterclasses and we get to know each other there. When I went to see her solo show I was totally blown away she is so wicked with her guitar. So funny, and creates these amazing sounds yes I was totally blown away so we kept in touch as well. So thought it would be nice to have her on the album too, because she kind of inspired me too. I have started to add some different style to my playing, you can hear it in Another World already kind of faster licks. I saw her play with Michael Jackson on T.V. when I was a little girl that is kind of what a role model she has been but I had never really thought about it that much. And now we are going to do a tour in Finland called Monsters of Guitars, we are female monsters so really monsteress’. We play this punky tune on the album it is such a punchy track very cool. Both of my guests recorded in USA and sent me the tracks that is the way it is being done these days it is easy and convenient.
BD: and have you decided on a release date?
EL:It is out in April no exact date yet.
BD: 2017/ 2018 was a busy and exciting year, appearing on Stars Stars on National TV has that experience of playing different styles and doing covers for example Heart and others they gave you. Has that influenced the writing on your forthcoming album? EL:Yes in a way. Every time you do something different it opens up your soul and gives you courage to widen your perspective. I have never been too shy of using different elements in my music everybody knows that I am not a traditional blues guitarist. So overall it expanded the way I look at life and also had an impact on my style on stage. I had these braids on one of the shootings on Stars Stars and I have used those on stage as well also kind of finding something exciting in me. Heart I have always loved as a band, doing one of their songs in a way gave me permission to have a bit of hard-rock in my music too. BD: Well you had prog influence on Stolen Hearts EL: It is so funny because there was a time of my life when I was thinking I was a softer kind of Jazzier bluesy player. Now I think I have found the inner me and my personality that is what it is. It is so exciting besides I look at guys like Jeff Beck they keep improving they become new through every album and that is what I want to do. Not just resting on your laurels. One song on the album tremolo swelling something Jeff Beck would do it is so cool I knew I had heard it somewhere lots of idols around you.
BD: Final question, a new one for 2019. You are told that you can only save three albums from your collection what would they be? EL:
Emmylou Harris – Wrecking Ball
Koko Taylor – The Earthshaker (the first album I got)
Pat Metheny & Lyle Mays – As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls – (The title track is so beautiful goes on for twenty minutes. On my new album is one song easy going for a long time and then it just explodes. I like that, the stories in a song and not to be afraid not to please radio or reviewer but please the listener that will sit with the headphones and listen to the song.