Finnish alternative/prog rockers Pearly Gates released their new and sixth EP titled Unchained in August. The EP is comprised of four tracks, and for two of them the band released videos. In an interview for Moshville, drummer Antti Silkelä answers our question about the band’s work and their most recent offering.
Pearly Gates is a band that is not afraid to mix straightforward genres such as rock with pop and jazz. How do you manage to do that?
If you play some weird chords with distortion and sing about love over it, is it rock, jazz and pop mixed together? We don’t think such things while writing a song. We love to listen to all kinds of music and it affects our writing. It’s always quite hard to describe our style to new listeners because we have written all kinds of songs during the years.
The band’s line-up includes three guitars. How does it reflect to the sound, and how do you share guitar duties within the band?
All of the guitar players have their unique sound so we can take advantage of that especially while playing solos. Paavo plays cool hard rock licks, Eero has a bad ass melodic blues thing going on and Jonne likes to play more fusionesque type stuff.
Nowadays Jonne has little bit less guitar duties so he can focus on singing but when the song needs a big wall of sound or triple guitar harmonies we can provide that.
Maybe it’s easier to say what other people seem to be hearing: our songs and vocals have some Tool influences, progressive arrangements and includes a lot of guitar riffing. The song “Unchained” is much more mellow than the other because we wanted to have a song on the record that is more organic and bare compared to the others.
What is the story behind the “Glass Eyes” video clip?
It’s better not to open all the meanings and metaphors in the video so people can make their own conclusions. Our drummer Andy wrote a script about a guy being stuck in his mind’s dark corner and Jonne and the bass player Antti participated making the story more solid. We filmed it in Polvijärvi, Joensuu and Helsinki during the winter 2014-2015.
The video for “Glass Eyes” feels personal. Is there a connection between the story and the band or members?
The video reflects the lyrics of the song pretty well. The theme in the video is about trying to escape something dark and twisted in yourself that ruins everything and which you always end up coming back to at the end. That kind of stuff is no doubt present in all of our lives one way or another.
The house (cabin) from the video clip looks very spooky. Can you tell me about it and the location the video was shot?
The location in Glass Eyes video is Andy’s and Eero’s family’s cabin in Polvijärvi. That dusty attic fitted the grim story perfectly but otherwise that house and the surroundings are filled with happy memories.
The location for “Unchained” video is also important for the Pearly Gates story. We have made our first demo tapes there back in 2002 and had some all night blues jams there when we were just starting to learn how to play in a band.
What made you choose “Unchained” and “Glass Eyes” as video clips?
When Jonne played us “Glass Eyes” with an acoustic guitar for the first time we were really impressed and exited about it. We wanted to make that our single so people all around the world could feel the same. Unchained was recorded and filmed to show a totally different side of the band with a more laid-back atmosphere compared to Glass Eyes.
You released 6 EP’s so far. Do you feel more comfortable with these shorter formats? Do you have plans to put out a full-length album at some point?
We would feel really comfortable to book a studio for six months and make an album but we are still missing thousands of euros, wider audience and a record company to promote it. We have decided to write some new songs during the winter and start demo sessions in the spring for a full length album. Maybe in a year or two we will have the money and support to release our first album.
When you look at what the band achieved so far, are you satisfied with your current position?
Yes and no. We have had a chance to play gigs around Europe and Finland and record in amazing studios which cannot be taken for granted. Now we want to make it to the next level and have more appreciation for our hard work and keep on spreading the gospel of Rock n’ Roll!
Where do you see Pearly Gates in the future?
At the end of the day we just love to play together so probably at the rehearsal room drinking beer and jamming.