Ambitious Finnish singer/songwriter Mikko Joensuu writes for us about the origins of Amen 3, his third solo album and the final part of his experimental record trilogy.
"Birth" is a song I started writing and completed during my time in our family's summer cottage in Lappajärvi. I vividly remember the feeling I had while I stared at the fireplace, which at the time was the only light I had in the night time. I was looking at the flame and listened to the first musical steps of "Birth". It immediately had the feeling of a beginning of Amen 3. It is the first step of leaving the old and heading towards an unknown dream-state which is the core of the album.
This is a part of a dream where thoughts run freely on a soothing cloud of synthesizers and hypnotic beats. I wrote and recorded the first 10 minutes or so in Lappajärvi and it was an instrumental song for over three years. After the release of Amen 2 in August 2016 I started a very intensive process of finishing Amen 3 and it lasted until February 2017. During this time many songs on the album evolved into something else. On "House Of Fire" I started to see a strong imagery of mathematical patterns above a burning house so I wrote lyrics and a new second part to the song. This is how the dream continued.
The foundation of this song was constructed somewhere in 2009. Back then the song didn't have much more than the bassline and some synths and guitars. But it had the core feeling which it still has, and for years I felt that there was something haunting about it. After seven years of subconscious contemplating I finally sat down at it last fall and all I had to do was to listen and follow that haunting feeling. In my mind the world of the song is pretty clear and simple so I was very surprised that it ended up being a 20-minute song.
I think I wrote the song in 2012. In Lappajärvi I thought most of the Amen 3 songs would be instrumental but eventually "Perfect Patterns" ended up being the only one. The song represents the last part of the dream where traveling is light and the baggage is gone. Like "Birth" it is a travel song but without worries, questions, or cries towards anything or anyone. It is a resting moment before it is time to wake up.
My first plan was to only use songs I had written in Lappajärvi in 2013 or before that, because the idea of this album-trilogy was clear in my mind at the time and I wanted to stay true to it. But I also wanted that the last album would also consist the ending feelings I had after the whole process of actually releasing and finishing each and every album. Because of this the last Amen was more 'alive' towards the end than the first two. "Dream About A Miracle" I wrote last fall and it is the only song on these albums which I have written after 2013. For me it is the ending song of Amen 3 and a brutal wake-up after a long dream. I don't mean brutal in a bad sense. I guess I mean it's real, awake and firmly on ground and the brutality is the contrast you feel between a dream and reality. In this song the reality is propably the most comforting than on any other song on these albums.
I feel that "Dream About A Miracle" ends the dream and ends Amen 3 but I've always considered "Pearly Gates" to be the ending of all three albums. It is the final word after everything I've said on previous songs, although it is not suppose to lead anywhere. It just puts the matter, whatever that is, to rest. I was very lucky to be able to have Sibelius High School Girls' Choir to join me on this song. I'm truly grateful to have had such great musicians on these albums. They have really lifted the music to another place and because of the them I think the last minutes of "Pearly Gates" are probably the most beautiful piece of music I've ever got to record.