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Plan E


This is the original version of the inteview. The italian version contains also a review.

Immagine articolo Fucine MuteFabrizio Garau (FG): Plan E are “Finland’s best kept secret”. So please present the band to Italian readers.

Jani Lehtosaari (JN): Plan E is a unique and one-of-its-kind non-guitar dark rock band. The group was formed in May 1995 by vocalist/bassist/song writer Jani Lehtosaari. During the first ten years of being around Plan E has gone through several line-up changes and released bunch of studio recordings. No live performances have ever been done. Today this five-headed group is signed on the Italian indie record label My Kingdom Music and their 4th studio album “Bassonova” has been released worldwide March 2006. It’s all about the sound! Rhythm is the key! Just add more bass! No compromises!

FG: Three bass players and no guitar… How did the idea come out?

JL: That’s just how we started the band. With drums, bass & keyboards. As a bassist I was really into that sound and I still am. I mean, the sound of heavy distorted bass just makes me feel good. There’s no room or need for guitar. Now we’re with three basses; one plays soft and funky stuff, one with a ten ton distortion, and one with loads of different effects and leads. When you add some cool keyboards you sound like us.

FG: We can find lots of comparisons with Joy Division and Nick Cave, because Plan E sounds often dark and because of your voice. This is wrong: there’s nothing in common between you and them. A song like “Best kept secret” is very similar to an album like “Faith” by The Cure, and this could be the only link with the dark/gothic scene. Especially now, you are something completely different. You are the songwriter: who do you consider a musical influence for Plan E?

JL: I’ve always tried to do my own thing, but of course the influences must come from everything I listen to. My musical taste varies a lot from Elvis Presley to Emperor. I’ve never really cared much about putting music in different categories or thinking about any major influences. If I must drop some names, I guess they’d be Motörhead, The Doors, Sielun Veljet, Suzanne Vega, Black Sabbath, Helmet, King Crimson, 80’s hard core punk, early 90’s grunge sound, early 90’s thrash & death metal, and so on. Well, good song is a good song. I’ve never really been into that 80’s gothic/dark wave stuff (even we recorded a cover song of Joy Division long time ago — that was our ex-drummers request) so that’s really not where I come from.

Immagine articolo Fucine Mute

FG: Bassonova and bossanova: congas, bongos and other exotic instrumentation. Please spend some words about this topic.

JL: I don’t think you can find any bossanova on that album, even the album title the additional instruments might give you an idea. Our drummer is very good at some percussion instruments, so I gave him free hands to arrange some cool shit here and there to add more colour and strange vibes thruout the album. But if you remove the percussions the songs would still be there.

FG: Related to the previous question: Plan E is considered and presented as a dark band, but many songs of this album are showing an happy side of your music. Do you agree with me?

JL: I’d say two songs on Bassonova album stand out as positive songs, being “El Gusano Rojo” (an ode to drinking mezcal) and “City In The Garden” (which closes the album with a feeling that there’s still light in the end of the tunnel).

FG: Dark songs, bossanova, weird keyboards and lots of “mood swings”. Some reviewers call it “lack of direction”. Some reviewers call it “creativity”. Where’s the truth?

JL: The truth is in the music and the music is a bit out there.

Immagine articolo Fucine Mute

FG: “El Gusano Rojo” is the funniest song ever. It gives me the chance to ask you something about your relationship with Mexico.

JL: I’ve heard much funnier songs, but it’s definitely a happy song. My relationship with Mexico is serious, and yes, we’re dating. Maybe getting married some day. I love Mexico.

FG: The cover represents a Newborn with his bass guitar. Why did you choose the image of a child?

JL: It symbolises the newborn Plan E. The first steps of this new line-up and our new sound.

FG: Ilari Kinnunen has played in a band called Nazca: I loved their album “Non grata”. What do you think about this band?

JL: I like that album a lot too and I’m eagerly waiting for their next album to come out. When Plan E starts doing live performances some day, I wish we’d share the stage with Nazca then. Maybe do some touring with them or something. A really good band.

Immagine articolo Fucine MuteFG: What are your feelings towards the retrospective “10 Years On Autopilot”?

JL: “10YOA” (download it!, nda) piles everything together I’ve done with Plan E prior Bassonova. Stuff from every single studio sessions, all rare shit, demos and crap. It’s like “best & worst of” in the same package. With putting up this collection I got rid of the past and now it’s time to move on.


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