Ilosaarirock Joensuu 3 days 14th-16th July 2017

Arena rock — and how to play it the Nordic way

Ewert and the Two Dragons played at the Rento stage on Saturday night. The Estonian indie rockers found time to perform at Ilosaarirock in spite of a new album in progress.

Ewert Sundja from Ewert and the Two Dragons getting emotional. Photo: Valentin Abramenkov

It’s Saturday evening at Ilosaarirock and the Estonian Ewert and the Two Dragons is about to get on stage in a few hours. Singer-keyboardist Ewert Sundja and guitarist Erki Pärnoja are in a good mood waiting for the gig and planning their upcoming album, which will be released in the near future.

— We have a good feeling about this gig. Someone said earlier that it’s supposed to rain today, but it doesn’t look like that. The audience seems to be excited, too, the musicians say cheerfully.

— It’s been really nice in Finland. After we released the ”Good Man Down” album in 2011 we’ve been here often. We started from smaller venues and moved gradually to bigger ones.

The band describes their performance as unusual for a rock band.

— We’re maybe a bit reserved. We don’t break stuff, and maybe someone can find that boring. Musicians should be appreciated more for their inner than their outer passion. We enjoy to be on stage, but we do it kind of the Nordic way, Sundja and Pärnoja laugh.

This is the band’s first time at Ilosaarirock.

— We’ve felt really welcome here. It’s always great if you have that feeling when you come to a festival. There’s a good vibe here and the area’s surrounded by nature.

Saturday night guitar magic on the Rento stage. Photo: Valentin Abramenkov

When asked about their favourite music right now, the musicians need a moment to think.

— I’m not good at answering questions of this topic, Sundja admits.

Pärnoja saves his band mate after a short pondering:

— I’ve been listening to Icelandic music and Bon Iver lately. Today on our way here we listened to Radiohead. At the moment we’re working on new material for our next record, so I feel like I can’t listen to any new music. Maybe our new songs have small parts from the stuff we’ve listened to before. But right now we’re focusing on the new music, Pärnoja tells.

— That’s exactly what I meant, I was about to say that, too. We’re working on the new material all the time, so there’s really no time to listen to anything new, Sundja adds.

Sundja and Pärnoja don’t think big arenas or small clubs are better than the other when it comes to venues.

— We’ve played some great gigs at cozy, atmospheric clubs. We’re going to have that kind of gigs in the future as well, but also big arena shows. Both kinds of venues have their good sides, Sundja explains.

— We’re lucky in the sense that our music is suitable for both places. For performers whose music includes a lot of electronic stuff it’s much harder to strip off those elements and make their music fitting for a club, Pärnoja specifies.

Because of the new album, Sundja and Pärnoja don’t think they’ll be able to enjoy any summer festivals as audience members.

— But maybe next summer, Sundja laughs.

Text: Niina Turunen
Photos: Valentin Abramenkov
Translation: Ida Käkelä

Ilosaarirock Festival