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toroddfuglesteg View Drop Down
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    Posted: June 03 2010 at 04:45

Ageness is a band from Finland with some good albums on their (guilty) conscience. Some of them are a bit hard to find, but their last album Songs From The Liar's Lair is popular here in ProgArchives. I got in touch with the band for their story. Tommy Eriksson answered my questions. 


What are you up to these days ?

- The band is now rehearsing and preparing new material for the upcoming album.
- Also some remixing and mastering of the old material..
- Preparing some new releases (dvd's and albums...)
- And there's the big format question, at least for the music releases. 

What was your musical visions from the start and what is your answer to the claim that Ageness is an anagram for Genesis ?

- Exploring and creating... The first name for the band was Heaven (under that name we even played prog in national television back in 1980). But due to the fact that there were lots of bands with almost similar name, we changed it to Scarab (inspired by Mika Waltari's book 'Sinuhe, the Egyptian'). 
"New Ageness" was a name of a patch, which once came up in an effect unit, while I was working as a synth specialist for Yamaha Finland. 
I fancied the name and registered it for a company to do enviromental sound design. I've always liked the visual impact of the word AGE!
(Not that much to the meaning of the word :) Anyway, later that year an odd gig was offered (with a fat paycheck presumably) to band which I didn't have at the time, but I convinced them that I had one. Then the organiser needed a band name for promotion, so I took it from my company, and honestly didn't see the connection until someone pointed it out... As a matter of fact igeness is an anagram of genesis (a sad, bad one :)

Just let us run through your albums because these may be unknown to many of the members in our community (we are all curious cats). Just give us your opinions and thoughts about:

Your first album Scarab from 1983.

- Mainly songs that had their origins from our high school period. We we really trying to find our own space in the musical world
and conciously tried to create something unique and original.
The album was a real struggle to do and the finnish rock scene didn't help as all they wanted to hear was punk and new wave rock (in finnish). 
We were really bizarre and strange phenomenon at that time with a violinist, vintage synths and a metal drummer in the band :)
Our label (Extend Records) released some compilations and few whole albums from unknown bands (we were their last attempt).
Anyway, we managed to finance a few copies ourselves after the record company's bankcruptcy in 1983.

Your second album Showing Paces from 1992.

- The first Ageness album, when we honestly thought we were the only band playing prog. Before the album,in January 1992, 
we released a vinyl 7" single with two tracks "Misunderstanding After Mistake" and "Broken Heart", the critics loved it and it paved the way for the album release later in that year..
It also enabled us for the financial support from the Foundation for performing arts (ESEK and LUSES) to a album production.
So we did an album in honour of this (what we thought) dying type of music. Songs were mainly material performed already by Scarab gigs and were planned to be on the second album which was never released. The instrumentals were newer add-ons just before the band was planned to re-form in 1990. 
The most audience friendly track "Marigold" was released as a cd-single in 1993, and gained some airplay on the national radio.

Your third album Rituals from 1995.

- After some raving reviews we thought, "let's do yet another one". There are some nice and gentler songs (Hidden Space, Take Us All) with some cmplex stuff (Polyphemus, Mortal Wings Of Sin II) and even one uptempo rock number (Freeways, which was orinally meant only to be a bonus track for the Marigold cd-single) 
At that time our guitar player had moved to live in Washington for 4 years and we used some guest guitarists on the album, even tough he managed to nail a couple of killer solos during his brief visit at summer 1995. Rituals was mean to be a double album, but plans were changed after unexpected changes in finances for the mixing and releasing process. So there are plenty of leftover tracks to be released in the future...

Your fourth album Imageness from 1998.

- In 1997, we got a new guitar player in the form of Marko Karhu and with him we played lot of gigs in Finland. We even made a 16-minute TV-special 'Imageness' for the nationals broadcasting company FST. The album came out on French Musea label and was distrubuted worldwide.
Musically we were getting to some sort of balance between prog and rock, even though there are two long epics on the album.

Your fifth album Songs From The Liar's Lair from 2009.

After *Imageness' we played lots of gigs in the following year, and our original guitarist returned to the band.
We played a few tribute concerts and prepared new material for a new album to be released in 2002.
But something happened, broken marriages, children, domestic problems etc.
I ended up touring with Finnish legend Wigwam as their tour manager and FOH engineer (in that order :)
We put out a schedule again in 2006, but again something snapped and in result the original lineup played it's last concert in January 2007.
Which was filmed for a dvd-release in near future...

Ageness is an almost thirty years old band, but you have had some long hiatuses in your career. From Scarab to Showing Paces and from Imageness to Songs From The Liar's Lair. Please fill in these two gaps for us......

- When Scarab broke up, some of us moved away to live in other town and we didn't keep that much contact with each other.
We had a meeting in early 1990, whether or not should we re-form and do something together, but as there were miles in between,
so that idea died and we ended up with a new lineup and a new name for the band.  

You have both released albums on your own and through a dedicated prog rock label. What is in your view the difference between going it alone and releasing albums through a record label ?

- There is a big difference with a big label, with a prog label you might get some extra help, but it's almost like doing it on your own.

I feel your band can be compared to the likes of IQ and Genesis. But how would you describe your music ?

Genesis was one of the great groups of the seventies, and younger bands like IQ and us were inspired by these great bands of course. 
Ageness music has been evolving quite a lot, but some parts and the feel has stayed I think, more or less anyway.

What is your plans for Ageness this year and where do you want to take this band ?

This year we're preparing new material for the next album and remixing old albums for a future release. 
More concerts and hopefully touring Europe again, maybe in 2011 with a new album under our belt.

Just to wrap this interview up; do you have any regrets in your music career ?

Maybe the name should've been kept as Scarab, but we didn't feel comfortable with that, as some of the original members didn't want to participate...

Current Lineup:

Tommy Eriksson: Vocals, keyboards
 Speedy Saarinen: Guitars, vocals
 Heikki Elo: Keyboards, vocals
 Kari Saaristo: Drums
 Jari Ukkonen: Bass

What is your five alltime favourite albums ?

Close To The Edge - Yes
Selling England By The Pound - Genesis
Billion Dollar Babies - Alice Cooper
Leftoverture - Kansas
Fairyport - Wigwam

Anything you want to add to this interview?

It's great that there are so many great progbands in Finland, where the prog has been a curse for many years. Maybe the times are changing slowly for the better.


A big thank you to Ageness for this interview and all their good music. Their PA profile can be found here and their homepage is here.
Please also note that Youtube has a lot of Ageness live videos well worth checking out. 

Edited by toroddfuglesteg - June 03 2010 at 04:47
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