A Songwriter named J. Pekka Mäkelä
I was badly bitten by music making bug in the beginning of the Eighties, when I discovered both blues and all the various forms of new wave music of the time. I thought playing bass would be an easy way to bands (I was wrong, of course). When I finally found myself in a band, I found pretty soon I was their main songwriter, too. To this end I started learning some guitar and bought an drum machine and a four-track cassette recorder. The band dissolved soon after, but the songwriting bug stayed. A little home studio was also a perfect way to experiment with sounds and things, which eventually led me to make ambient and theatre music. Still I consider songwriting to be my main channel of musical expression.
Because of the blues I’ve been a big fan of slide and bottleneck guitar. ”Tienristi” (yes, ”Crossroads” in English) is a sort of whimsical take from the old ”big black man at the crossroads at midnight” myth and contains also an idea I originally thought for a science fiction story: vagabond musicians would be great asset for an extraterrestial intelligence to monitor life on Earth. I mean – did Robert Johnson really have a cataract or was there a camera embedded in his eye?
New Orleans is one of my favourite cities in this planet, and I wanted to make a song about it. Somehow it ended up telling about the darker sides of the city: poverty, homelessness, the impending sense of forthcoming catastrophe on the throes of next few Katrina-strength hurricanes.
Back in 2013 I published an album of old and new songs under the name Studio Yrttimaa. The album is still available at most of the digital music shops and can be listened at Spotify and other streaming services.