“Funk” is not actually the word to describe Sunrise Avenue, even though we had the coolest horn players on stage with us at the Big Band Theory Tour. And this song is not “funk” at all, but here we go anyway...
It was a dark night, I guess in 2012. I was fooling around with my little home studio equipment’s horn samples and I kept playing this strange horn melody. I never thought it would end up on a song some day but for some reason, I recorded a little demo all alone in the night and emptied abottle of good Italian red wine.
Then later at one of the song sessions at producer Jukka Immonen’s studio when we were thinking of the songs for “Unholy Ground”, I presented my silly horn riff idea. Jukka really liked it but none of us knew what to really do with it. We made a better demo with better horn sounds and decided to try it together with the band guys at the country side studio next time we’d be there.
One evening at the Petrax-studio at the farm far away from Helsinki, really late at night after a sauna session and one beer too many everyone, we decided just to play something for fun. Raul was actually still in sauna, so I took the bass, Riku his guitar and Sami was behind his drums. We were only wearing towels and well... I’m really happy in many ways nobody filmed this session. We started playing “Funkytown” together with the horn demo we had made with Jukka earlier in Helsinki. We still didn’t know what to do with it. We thought of maybe making it an intro for “Unholy Ground” album or to use the theme at the live shows in spring 2014 somehow. As a show opener maybe. Because of the horn riff / the theme, there is no real space for a traditional chorus. The song didn’t go on the album and we just decided to forget about it.
I must admit that when I played the new “Unholy ground” song ideas that summer for the Universal Music people, I also played this short drunken demo at some point. The biggest of the bosses in the room that night, Mr. Tom Bohne said he likes it really much, even though he didn’t know what we should do with it. These sessions are sometimes very creative and you actually get good and helpful feedback to make the songs better. I used to hate these sessions after some bad experiences back in the days. I thought the office folks know nothing about music. Now I know better.
So we had an idea everybody liked but nobody knew what to do with. Great.
As we were thinking of the 2-3 new tracks for the Best of album in the spring 2014, I decided one morning that no matter what it takes, this stupid song would be solved somehow. I drove to Jukka’s studio and told him we would not rest until we have it right. We agreed that the song would not have a chorus in a typical way and we’d let the horns lead the way. We tried it in the way it’s on the album now and it actually felt great. Then we played all the parts again with the band boys but something seemed to be missing still…
Already when we were recording our 2nd album PopGasm in 2010, I really tried to have Mr. Tommy Lindgren from Don Johnson Big Band feature on one of the songs. Then the collaboration was just forgotten and I guess Tommy was not that excited about the offered song either. Actually the song “Popgastic” never ended up on the album at all.
Anyways. I called him again now and asked if he’d be interested. He said he’d have a listen and he'd see if something comes out. A couple of days later I saw on my iPhone screen that there’s an email from Tommy. I was sure he’d write “Sorry, I’m too busy and bla bla bla…” Nope. He had written his parts, recorded them at home and DAMN it sounded cool!! The rest you can hear on the album.
I wrote the lyrics with producer Jukka and I have to say it was the hardest text writing session ever, but I try to describe what we were after there…
Funkytown is not a place for nice little girls and boys. It’s a place where people go to have a little break from their lives. For example, this nice lady works at the office wearing her nice dress from Monday to Friday. On Friday evening she puts her hottest high heels and stay-up socks on and just lets it all go. She does some things she doesn’t want to think about on Monday at the office. But she needs and wants to blow off some steam. What happens in Funkytown, stays in Funkytown. At Funkytown you’re at you own risk.
In other words I could have said Funkytown is THE party song.
I CAN’T WAIT TO PLAY FUNKYTOWN LIVE next summer. I can’t ! Ican’t ! I can’t !
So… be careful out there. Especially if you end up in Funkytown… Muahaha…
Have a cool & Funky weekend everyone!
PS: Check out the Funkytown lyric video on our Facebook video player athttps://www.facebook.com/sunriseavenue/app_1477485535854823?app_data=6
I wrote this song when the band was still called “Sunrise.” The year was 1998 and then it was just me and Jan Hohenthal, the other founder of Sunrise.
In 1998 the song was very different. It was way more "country" and hilarious. The lyrics were different too. They were about a guy (me;) getting laid with all the girls and breaking all their hearts. I was even crazier those times – Big talks about all the girl-stuff and not so much action. I have never been a huge Casanova, but when I look at my pictures from those times, I’m amazed I even got any girl’s phone number. So childish and stupid I looked back then. Not that I’m actually George Clooney today either…
I offered the song to producer Jukka Backlund a few times during the first two albums, but he hated it. It was just too folk/country and the lyrics were just awful. Jukka was right.
I still liked something about the song idea and so in 2010 I wrote a new chorus to the song with my studio partner Aku Sinivalo and after that I had the guitar riff idea that you hear in the beginning. Now it started rocking and sounding like a good song. Still, for some reason, I didn’t play the song to the band guys or producers for another three years until we were recording our fourth album “Unholy Ground.” “I Can Break Your Heart” was one of the first songs we recorded for the album and the working title was “Brown Chicken” (because the same day we recorded it we had been watching Trace Adkins’ “Brown Chicken Brown Cow” video - Check it out on the link below). There’s something similar in the mood and we just loved his voice.
I must say after all the years hiding the song in my secret “song idea box” I loved the track as soon as we hit the record button with the guys. It just rocked from the very first second and we felt we were on the right path. We didn’t even have to talk about the drumming on this song; Sami just fixed the missing details on the first take. And I’m really happy Riku happened to have the Banjos and stuff with him in studio to make the riff even more Western. We all knew the song would work super great on stage at the shows.
“I Can Break Your Heart” is a story about the fact that after you have had a broken heart at least once in your life, you start behaving better and you appreciate it more when someone loves you and is there for you. You’ll have a better life when you’ve been through all that pain.
It’s a song about those cool nightclub girls who pretend they’re perfect and no guy is ever good enough for them. But then some day some average neighbor boy comes and breaks their heart and they become better ladies. I feel sorry for those “Queens of city lights” but I also know they will be saved someday by some normal boy. Deep shit? Yes it is.
Check out Brown Chicken – Brown Cow. He could be the big brother of The Boss Hoss dudes.
And also check out the “I Can Break Your Heart” live version from the DVD. It’s added now on our new video player.
Love and peace and broken hearts ;)
PS:I have to add that the lady speaking the life wisdoms after the guitar solo is Sharon Vaughn, the official big sister of Sunrise Avenue. She was a bit shocked and surprised when I said to her in Stockholm once “Read this text to the microphone and ask no questions…” She corrected a couple of my grammar mistakes though…
I just watched “Hurtsville” live version from the amazing DVD that’s out next month, and it’s really hard to understand that this song was actually lost and forgotten for two years somewhere in Sweden. And it’s also hard to imagine, that this song was super hard to record and to produce. But I guess the more it hurts to deliver it, the better the baby is in the end.
I had my very first songwriting session in Sweden in February 2010. I was booked to make music together with two total strangers (Sharon Vaughn and Carl Björsell) somewhere in a small studio in Stockholm. I felt kind of nervous walking in and introducing myself to these folks who had written huge hits to many artists from all over the world. In 2010 Sunrise Avenue was still a one-hit-wonder with “Fairytale Gone Bad” for the bigger audience and co-write sessions with new folks was totally new to me. I’m really happy my publisher Sony/ATV selected these two writers to be the first ones.
We had two days together and we wrote two songs. First day we wrote “Angels on a Rampage.” Sharon said in the morning she wants to write a huge rock ballad and we had nothing against that with Carl. Six hours after entering the room, we had written and recorded the song demo and during these six hours we also had lunch. Sometimes these sessions are super fast. Sometimes things just work out.
When I woke up the second day, I felt a little ill. However, we decided to have the session anyway and see what comes out. We wrote a song about this guy who is sitting in a tour bus somewhere far away from home. About this imaginary city called “Hurtsville.” In the story, the guy is kind of sad and it hurts to be alone far away from home and I think Sharon’s idea for the song name was just genius. After writing the song, we recorded a demo with acoustic guitar, bass and vocals, but I wasn’t too sure about it because of my ill throat.
Soon after Stockholm, I flew to Los Angeles to write with more and more people and the only demo I ever got from Carl was “Angels On A Rampage.” Maybe he thought I didn’t like my voice on the other recording…
After the L.A. trip I came back home to look at the new tracks with both producer Jukkas. We worked with both of them with “Out Of Style” album. They both loved “Angels on a Rampage” right away and it ended up on the album. The album was released, Hollywood Hills became a huge hit and somehow I had forgotten about this “Hurtsville” song completely.
In February 2013 I had another two-day-session with Carl and Sharon again. Another success. We wrote “Unholy Ground” and “Aim For The Kill” in two days. Great Great Great. In the very end of the second studio day I was already ready to call a taxi to the airport as Carl asked us “What should we do with Hurtsville??”
I was like “Hurtsville, what?”
Carl plays the demo as I’m already wearing my jacket and my guitar is packed ready for the flight. Time stops and we burst into tears with Sharon.
I brought the song back to Finland with me and there was no question. It should be on the album. Everyone loved it. Producing the song was super hard. We made four finalized versions (More acoustic version, old school rock’n’roll style, a stupid pop 90’s thing…) but nothing just felt right. I was personally suffering a lot with every version there was and it just didn’t feel right. Full respect to producer Jukka for listening to one more stupid idea how the song has to be. Now it’s perfect!
The coolest thing is that we tried singing the lead vocals a billion times in studio in Helsinki, but it never felt as good as the original demo vocals. Finally Jukka decided to use those “sick-throat” vocals recorded in Stockholm in 2010. The same vocals that made the song disappear for years are now on the album.
Check out the live version on our brand new player on our Facebook page. You all look just amazing!!
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