Interview: Jartse Tuominen

Dan McAvinchey: Jartse, let's begin with your most recent CD "Time Of Change". Was this project self-released, or did you get a label to release it?

Jartse Tuominen: My latest CD was released by Rockadillo records. It is a Finnish record company which has lots of great Finnish jazz/blues/rock fusion bands on their label. I liked their style, and how well they treat artists, so I contacted them, and they wanted to publish my CD.

Dan McAvinchey: How would you describe your musical style to someone who has never heard you before?

Jartse Tuominen: I think the best way to describe it is: Joe Satriani meets the Mahavishnu Orchestra (odd timing instrumentals... weird music, hehe!)

This is what also has been written: "How to describe his music? Let's assume that Billy Cobham, Steve Gadd, Al Di Meola, Steve Vai, Steve Morse, Billy Sheehan and Jaco Pastorius were in the audience at a Jartse Tuominen gig. They would certainly recognize aspects of their own music, but they would not be able to keep their butts on the bench."

Dan McAvinchey: How did you write the songs for "Time Of Change"? Was it a collaborative approach, or did you work alone?

Jartse Tuominen: I wrote all instrumental songs by myself, and two songs with Yvonne Charbonneau, who is the singer on those tracks.

The songs came out really easily, and I was so lucky to have an amazing band in the studio with me. Of course, all players brought their own spices for the songs.

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Dan McAvinchey: What are you striving to achieve musically, particularly on your last album?

Jartse Tuominen: I think it is to have different layers on songs - melodies and different time signatures under melodies - that makes songs interesting. It's cool when you are able to find new things from songs after listening several times.

I tend not to force the songs or the album to be a certain style - or in some pre-decided format. I trust my instincts and record whatever feels good.

Dan McAvinchey: How do you feel about the current crop of guitar-oriented magazines and how they are currently covering instrumental music?

Jartse Tuominen: Well, it seems like guitar magazines are focused on just guitarists from mainstream bands, and they are not always the best players on the planet. There are lots of great jazz, fusion and progressive players who never get featured in those magazines. And you can same the same about instrumental CDs. It is strange because that's what guitar playing is all about - at least for me.

Dan McAvinchey: Tell us a little about the gear you primarily use to get your sound.

Jartse Tuominen: I use Mesa/Boogie amps and Gibson Les Paul guitars. No pedals. Well, a wahwah pedal every now and then. Good amp and good guitar, that's all you need!

Dan McAvinchey: Are you using any social media sites to promote your music?

Jartse Tuominen: Yes, I've been using Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Fandalism. Those works great, I just need to learn how to use them better! LinkedIn is pretty good also for making contacts.

Dan McAvinchey: From a publicity and promotion standpoint, what do you find is working best for you at the moment?

Jartse Tuominen: Radio and TV are still a big thing, meaning the ones which are focused on independent music. We've found a lot of radio channels lately from all over the world - that really makes me feel good.

And of course Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Fandalism work well. Any bad experiences I've had are from mainstream radio stations with playlists.

Dan McAvinchey: Why do you think certain music fans prefer instrumental music over traditional vocal oriented music?

Jartse Tuominen: I always thought that a good melody doesn't need lyrics. Actually many times bad words can ruin a good song. For me it's more important to get the feeling from a good melody, and of course the feeling you get from talented and inspirational players when they make instruments talk and have discussions with each other.

Dan McAvinchey: Other than guitar-oriented music, what kind of music do you like to listen to?

Jartse Tuominen: I do listen to everything, from classical to country really, as long as there are good players in the band! I mostly listen to instrumental music.

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Jartse Tuominen's phenomenal and expressive guitar playing is appreciated worldwide and he has gained a lot of respect not only among his audiences, but also among notable professional musicians. His 2005 CD "Time Of Change" is a wonderfully progressive, fusion release, of nearly all instrumental tracks.

Dan McAvinchey conducted a virtual interview with Tuominen in order to expose this talented musician to a new group of potential fans.