I was born in Kauniainen, Finland in dec 29th 1976. My love for guitar music started at age five, when listening to The Shadows LP 20 Golden Greats, which I still have and very much like listening to. I started playing classical guitar at age eleven in the local music school and played my first solo gig in a children’s TV show a couple of years after that. I graduated from the music school, but had already been fascinated by rock music, particularly Guns’n Roses; it can be said that Slash is the reason why I wanted to start to play electric guitar. Once I got try one, I was devastated that it didn’t sound like the record right away, little did I know that electric guitar lives on distortion and by the time I’m writing this, I have gathered hundreds of kilos of gadgets that give me that loud, proud, powerful tone that only the coolest of all instruments can provide!
Going at it!
It took me until my late teens to realize that I really wanted to play guitar for real and maybe for a living too. I spent nearly all my time after school (and in school too) practicing and recording stuff with a 4-track machine. I graduated from high school in 1995 and already knew there was no academic career for me although school was never hard to me. I became friends with the metronome and learned some cool scales and didn’t even think about listening to any records where there was no fast playing going on :) My favorites were Yngwie Malmsteen who’s every record was much anticipated and Al DiMeola, Steve Morse, Steve Vai and Gary Moore also had a big impact on me alongside domestic stars like Pekka Pohjola. I studied classical theory and guitar in the local music school and the electric guitar with the local guru Peter Lerche and Petteri Hirvanen, a big influence on me shred techniques -wise, and jazz guitar with Kalle Kalima. When the time came to apply for the schools I wanted to go to study music to become a professional, the choice of direction was naturally made when I got in the Pop & Jazz Conservatory and just missed the Helsinki (classical) Conservatory by a few points. I remember jumping up and down with the “You are in!” -paper in hand, and there was no turning back from there.
I went to army in the summer of 1996 and after running around in the woods and practicing fingerings on the handle of my assault rifle for a couple of months I was transferred to the Army band and got to play gigs at the officer’s club and even in the President’s independence day ceremonies. After the army I took a job at the cemetery and it was after some long hot day straightening the tombstones that I wrote TW’s boogie. Later I took part in the Radio Mafia’s Van Halen -contest with that song and somehow won it. The prize was to go and see Van Halen play, solo live on the national radio AND get Eddie’s Peavey Wolfgang guitar, signed by the whole band. I was just blown away to meet one of the greatest guitarist ever, let alone having his guitar. I used that guitar to record TW’s boogie for my album.
Learning by earning
My goal studying music was to get on a tour bus. I desperately wanted to learn to play rhythm guitar so I could land a job playing music. I had great guidance from Peter Engberg and Jarmo Hynninen expanding my knowledge of guitar beyond classical and shred :) I got the Nokia Young Talent scholarship in 2001. At the same time I was also writing instrumental music and me and Lauri Porra, whom I had met in 1995 playing in the progressive rock band Labyrinth, were already playing some of the songs that would later end up on my album. I landed a gig in a top 40 band Flipper and in the year 2000 we started playing on boats, one week every month. My dream came true when I was hired to play in a finnish pop band Nylon Beat in 2001, that was also when I first met Anssi Nykänen who played drums for them. I was also playing in the AOR band Heartplay which has released two albums and started to land some work in musicals and playing studio sessions. A big and a very pleasant turn in events for me was to be asked to play in Stratovarius singer Timo Kotipelto’s solo band in 2004. I got to return to my roots playing metal and shredding my ass off! We toured Europe, Latin America and Finland and recorded the album Serenity. I also played briefly in Bomfunk MC’s touring russia and New Zealand. We started a band called Jonna’s Problem with Nylon Beat singer Jonna Geagea (then Kosonen) in 2005 and toured and put out an album with the same name in 2006. In the year 2005 I joined famous finnish singer Paula Koivuniemi’s band have played with her ever since. I have also played in Raskasta Joulua, finnish heavy metal christmas song band since 2008. I was asked to play in UMO big band in 2008 and have played with them now and then since. I work with the web based music school Rockway and teach in Ebeli music school. I have been very lucky to have been asked to play many different styles of music and try to be open to any style and find myself liking stuff that I initially didn’t get. All in all, I just feel blessed making a living playing music.