Bio: We (Grus Paridae) are a cooperative Finnish progressive/art rock collective of two composers and musicians Petteri Kurki and Rami Turtiainen with our very special guest Jarno Koivunen on violins. Jarno takes also actively part to the arrangements and production issues as well plays additional piano and guitar parts.
I think it all started during the late summer of 2011 and was originally my idea to start to do music with Petteri. I knew we shared common interests towards music and I loved Petteri’s passion for strange harmonies and knew he had a good singing voice. It was also very clear from the beginning if we would ever need some violin parts Jarno would be our number one choice.
We have all been playing in many bands over the decades, all been taking instrument and theory lessons as youngsters and also some other music related studies later on, and Jarno is a professional classical violinist and violin pedagogist.
Petteri and I had done some jamming together over the years and Jarno and I played in metal bands together in the early 90’s when we studied at the same high school of music. Jarno also has his own prog rock band called Relayer which actually made a comeback gig after fifteen years just a couple of weeks ago.
Musically our journey started first by going through all the old song ideas we both had archived during the years and very soon we also started to compose a totally new material. At the same time we gathered more instruments, studio equipment, recording premises and tried out several ways to find out a fluent way to work.
Genre: We didn’t precisely choose some specific genre but it was obvious that the elements from progressive and art rock as well as everything from fusion and classical side were all so close and familiar to us, it was only natural our music started to find it’s the paths from those seeds.
Evolution of the initial musical and thematic elements: It pretty much depends on the song but you may say we all have some sort of improvisational level first from where every one of us start the creative process. This could mean anything from improvising with your guitar or piano and catch some evolving/interesting chord structures and then start to build a song from those ideas. Or it could mean creating some interesting rhythm structures and starting to layer the song by adding components in as instrument by instrument basis.
Normally there is some thematic line or element at first but very soon the song starts to kind of build itself little by little. What comes to lyrics they are always the very final part of the creative process but it doesn’t mean they are something you have to do only for having something to sing. I would rather like to see them as the independent artistic elements but of course in the context of the song in whole.
Lyrics, themes and concepts: I like to write on somewhat abstract and metaphorical level leaving the text open enough for a receiver to make one’s own interpretations. There is always of course some narrow meaning to me and some thin red narrative line included but as I said I like the idea that you can create your own “image” out of the text.
What comes to concrete writing process, I usually invent some interesting phrase spontaneously and start to build the whole text around that idea. For me the philosophy for example has been one tool among others to use.
Ideas about the album: I have to say we are quite happy so far since we have been doing everything by ourselves and with the minimum recourses. Of course it’s obvious if we could have more time and money the results would naturally be a bit better. All and all we are pretty happy though.
Reception: It’s been astonishing we have already had so many good reviews and radio air plays in so many countries. After all we’re talking about a small single release containing only two songs here.
Preference; live or studio: We are very much a studio oriented group, so this one is easy to answer. We love the whole process of composing, writing lyrics, recording, mixing, producing, designing cover arts, etc.
Next step; live or studio: We have continued to working with our full album. All the songs are composed and mostly recorder as well. Hopefully we will be release-ready during the following year.
Future plans: The next step is of course to finalize our upcoming album and to get it out and public. For today’s perspective and regarding the reception we have already had I have to say the future is looking quite nice for us at the moment. There has also been preliminary and very promising discussions about a record deal but these are issues you wouldn’t like to shout out before the things actually realize. So, feet solidly on the ground, etc.
Composers: The songs are composed 50-50 by me (Rami) and Petteri but Jarno also puts in a lot of ideas regarding the arrangements, so in a way he has been at least a semi-composer on some songs. Petteri has written some lyrics but mainly I’m responsible for writing.
Inspirations: Wow! It could be easier to name those that haven’t drawn anything. But to name a few, artists like King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Allan Holdsworth, David Bowie, Jeff Beck, Genesis, Yes, Peter Gabriel, even Steely Dan and many modern and contemporary classical composers as well as some fusion stuff have been under discussions during this process. There are also many great Finnish artists like Ismo Alanko, Kingston Wall and a legendary metal band Stone that have all been in essential part in our lives at some point. The names dropped here doesn’t necessarily mean they are something you immediately find from our music but they are something that have been influencing us by their attitude towards music and the way of music making in general.
Preference; cater to the audience or music for its own sake: Without any doubt the music itself. It’s really nice the modern technology (social media, etc.) can help you to reach the receivers that might be interested in the same kind of stuff you’re doing. But at the end of the day it’s definitely the passion for music and art as whole why we are in this.