When and how was your band created?
We were born in Helsinki, Finland circa 1999. The Latebirds started out as singer/songwriter Markus Nordenstreng’s backing band but decided to become a proper band while recording an album named ‘Fortune Cookies’. The band is still looking for a label to put this album out. Meanwhile, they’ve been touring in the USA and Scandinavia plus recording more material (they have material for almost 3 albums while writing this!).
Where is the name of the band coming from?
Latebird is the opposite to earlybird - most of the guys in the band are always running late, you see!
What musicians or artists did have a major influence in your life / work?
Elvis, The Beatles, the Stones, the Byrds, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, The Ramones, MC5, the Replacements, Bruce Springsteen, Hank Williams, Gram Parsons, Stax soul music, Tom Petty, the Jayhawks, Uncle Tupelo, The Eels, Wilco..
What are the positive and negative aspects of being a musician / singer (in Finland)?
The posite ones:
-Finland is full of undiscovered talent, great music+great people, most of whom suffer from manic-depressive symptoms. These features just happen to inspire me, along with the cold dark winters, heavy drinking and crazy summers. Also, since Finnish people don’t really spend much money on buying records playing music isn’t really a way of getting rich. Thus musicians in Finland really make music for the love of it instead of wanting to become rich+famous.
The negative sides:
-Playing music for a living in Finland is more or less impossible since records don’t sell here. In Norway, for instance, people buy 3 times as many albums as Finns do, yet there are a million less Norwegians out there! Also, the same things that inspire me about Finland, tend to depress me as well!
How could you qualify your style of music?
Classic pop music with hints of soul, country+punk.
Have you ever considered the possibilty to change totally your style of music? If so, what style of music would you choose?
Not really — I don’t have any doubts about our music..
What are stories/topics you tell/treat in your songs?
Love, the loss of love, loneliness, life in general. I just wrote a song about text-messages (mobile phones) so there really are no rules to songwriting in my opinion. I think you can touch as many subjects as you like as long as they mean something to you. That’s something you can’t fake
to the listener.
What is your favorite song in your repertoire and why?
Hmm.. There’s a song called U+I on our record that I like a lot. Also, we have so many new songs that are just absolutely brilliant!!
Do you tour regularly? Do you actually prefer performing your music live or in a studio?
I like the best of both of worlds, but nothing beats playing a great gig. We haven’t played in a while because we’re waiting for somebody to put the album out..
During the process of making an album, what is the moment that you prefer?
Finishing a song! There’s nothing like the feeling of listening to something you’ve just created.
It’s kinda like watching a baby being born — amazing experience!
What kind of music / What artists do you currently listen?
I really love the new Beck album — it’s amazing. Also, I just rediscovered 2 Bob Dylan albums, Oh Mercy and Time Out Of Mind. They are just brilliant.
What are your actual and future projects?
My personal goal is to be happy! But as for the band, I think nothing couldn’t make us happier than getting our album ‘Fortune Cookies’ out and continuing to tour+record. As I mentioned earlier, we have more or less material ready for 3 albums in all.
A stupid question but… what is among all the songs you’ve been listening in your life the BEST song? Why?
Right now I’d say it’s The Band’s ‘Whispering Pines’. Why? Because it’s so damn beautiful, makes me cry everytime I hear it!
Internet is something interesting for musicians because it gives them the opportunity to touch a larger audience but it is also a threat for them (regarding the copyrights). What is your opinion regarding this medium?
I’m not afraid of it, yet I hope the copyright side gets worked out somehow. It’s kinda funny that the people who are more scared of the internet than the artists happen to be the biggest record-labels in the world. The same companies have been robbing artists for years, creating the fastfood-line-of-music which people now prefer to snap for free as mp3s from on the Internet. My question for the labels is: How can you blame these people? Maybe you should look yourself in the mirror sometimes..
Do you use computers or home studios during the process of making an album or a song?
I think more or less everybody ends up using computers (Pro Tools) these days. However, we prefer to record on analogue and use old vintage gear.
Why? Because they look cool!
The Latebirds website: www.markus-n.com/latebirds