Kalle VILPUU was born in a mining village of Estonia in 1963, very early he was interested in music and it is with the drum that he made his first steps. But he realizes very quickly that the interest isn't there and it changes for the guitar. It is at the age of seventeen he decided to follow classical guitar lessons. There everything is chained, very attracted to rock it changes his acoustic guitar for an electric. He plays with several hard rock bands such as Ultima Thule and House of Games. In 1992, it incorporates progressive Estonian group Pantokraator, perhaps the best known of the music fans, however no record will mark its presence in this group. Then, after serving others, our guitarist composer decides to produce a debut album that was released in 2014 and which is entitled "Silver Lining". Kalle VILPUU has agreed to tell us about him and his music.
Profil - To begin, could you tell us briefly your musical career?
Kalle Vilpuu - I was born in Kohtla-Järve, Ida-Viru County, Estonia on July 24th,1963. I first came into contact with music in the school band of the 1st Kohtla-Järve High School where I went. At first I played drums, but I quickly switched to the guitar for lack of serious interest in the drums. In 1983 I took up guitar studies at the Tallinn Georg Ots Music School. I have had the good fortune of playing in several top Estonian bands: Seitsmes Meel, Ultima Thule, House of Games etc. I consider myself a hard rock guitarist and a rock musician. Concerts have taken me from tiny Estonian clubs all the way to the London Astoria. I've played for an audience of ca 100,000 people. I've played on a lot of Estonian albums during my career. I finished by first solo album, Silver Lining, in late 2013.
PR - You did out of several other groups over the past years, why have waited so long to produce your music?
KV - There are quite a few reasons for that. First of all I never had the time. As the bio on my website will tell you, I've done a lot of studio work with various bands and it has taken up a considerable part of my time and energy. The second reason is that I only completed my dream of a tiny recording studio at home ca 10 years ago. I do not like going to major professional studios to record guitars as they are always limited in terms of time, money etc. I have recorded all my recent guitar scores at home. Understanding the specifics of studio work also took a fair bit of time. That said, I'm glad I made my first solo album later in life, knowing that once it's finished and released there's nothing more I can do.
PR - That is what you bring to the progressive music?
KV - I've always been a great experimenter and seeker. Studio work is an immensely exciting field. I like to mix together different styles, to synthesize and merge strings and pipes, drum
loops. I love to go looking for new hues of sound using electronics. I like it when
tracks have air in them. The opportunities are absolutely vast in modern art – ballet with visuals, symphonic music with soundtracks etc. A good fantasy coupled with studio tricks can yield very exciting results.
PR - Silver Lining is an instrumental album, a concept on the arrival of aliens on Earth, correct? If yes, how to did you come to this idea of theme?
KV - That is an interesting question! I would use German critic Björn Backes' term from the recent Silver Lining review (Powermetal.De) – "Soundtrack-Sphären im außergewöhnlichen Bereich" – it translates as “soundtrack spheres in the extraordinary range”. There are too many secrets around us that we, humans, do not know anything specific about. Aliens are one such topic. However, I based my music more on feeling, intuition and fantasy. It is not quite right, should I as a composer and artist suddenly become mystical or comical. Music is perception and reflection of the life we lead.
PR - How long do you work on Silver Lining?
KV - I did not set a deadline for myself. I figured I would stick at it until I was happy with the result. Naturally I took breaks when I grew weary of it, or when I wasn't happy with the results. I can say that it took roughly five years to complete. However, it is of no significance for me. It could take a decade as long as you've got something to say. No one needs bad, poorly thought-out music.
PR - Until now are you satisfied with the reactions of the public in your country and elsewhere?
KV -Yes, I'm very happy with how the critics have responded in Estonia and abroad. My music has largely been understood the way I meant it. It is interesting how critics point out different nuances, some like some particular tracks while others are fond of different ones. And that is the way it should be as people perceive things differently. Luckily the album hasn't been called bad or consisting of weak musical material.
Vilpuu Andrus Lillepea
PR - You want to present your group musicians?
KV -I will be glad to do it! First of all I want to thank my good friend and companion, Peeter Metsik, without support and help from whom Silver Lining would never have
happened. Thank you! My drummer was Andrus Lillepea. The greatest recognition for a musician is to be asked about after you play an instrument on someone's solo album. That is what happened when I was approached for Andrus' contact information after a review on Progeweld.org. I was very glad. Andrus is a dear friend and a drummer who loves music and knows the context of rock. Then we have Henno Kelp on the bass. Henno is a very sought-after musician in Estonia. He is a very musical, talented and technical bassist who never shows up unprepared. Henno is very good to work with as he immediately and automatically grasps how to play. I have been friends with both Andrus and Henno ever since the days of House of Games, when welived together in a tour bus and played stages big and small in Europe and USA. I would also like to add that both gentlemen have academic music education. Also Tarvi Jaago on flute, Eduard Akulin on trombone, Tiit Kikas and Martti Mägi on violins, Imre Eenma on bass and viola da gamba, Indrek Kruusimaa on flamenco guitar. Well-known and highly appreciated musicians all. Great big thanks to them!
PR - I noticed the beautiful voice of Mari Pokinen on 'Interno', who is?
KV - Mari is a young and very talented Estonian folk singer and poet, composer and actor, who perform for full houses in Estonia and who has a very dedicated fan base. I met Mari in Georgia, during the Tbilisi Music Week, where her performance left a lasting impression on me. After a brief conversation with her, I had decided I want her to sing on my album. Everything got done so quickly with Mari in the studio!
PR - What is your opinion on the use of the Internet is it positive or not?
KV - No question really. Introducing your music wouldn't be feasible without the internet. Even Facebook, where people tend to shoot the breeze, is a very important environment for me in terms of communication and new contacts. One can also use it to keep tabs on what other musicians are doing all over the world, watch concerts, listen to music etc. Modern life would be unthinkable without the internet. One can live without a TV but not without the internet!
PR - Your country of origin is the Estonia, is progressive music has fans in your country?
KV - Estonia is a very small county, its population is only ca 1.3 million. I would say that there are some prog rock fans, even though progressive rock carries an orientation that requires certain musical preparation.
PR - If you had to name the guitarist who influenced you the most, what would it be?
KV - It would be difficult to point out a single favorite. I like Jeff Beck, Eddie van Halen, Allan Holdsworth, Paul Kossoff etc.
PR - What style of music do you listen?
KV - Everything that is well made, irrespective of the style. Everything from symphonies to metal. Paul Hindemith – Pantera – Bill Frisell for example.
PR - Do you agree with the fact that it has labeled as progressive music?
KV - In principle I agree that it is industrial/prog ranging from ambient to metal. Soundtrack spheres in the extraordinary range!
PR - If you had not been a musician, would you have what done?
KV - An alien perhaps!
PR - What are your future plans?
KV - Oh, I have quite a few. I definitely want to make another solo album, give concerts and generally enjoy life.
PR - You have the final word, if you want to add something?
KV - I would like to thank you for the opportunity of this interview! Music has a special place in all our lives. No one can imagine a world where the radios don't play it, where there are no records, no concerts. I would like to thank everybody who has reacted to Silver Lining. It is so exciting to listen to and discover old and new records over and over. To be surprised – music is a gift to mankind. I would also like to extend my heartfelt thanks to critics who have gone to the trouble of reviewing my music.
Thank you for your attention!
Interview by Richard Hawey
Translate Jean-Philippe Peretti