Reflections on 2013 at 07:58AM

I just noticed that I haven’t written anything to this blog since a year or so. So I put on some classical music (Johann Sebastian Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in Dminor) and I just write whatever comes to my mind.

The year 2013 as a whole was very happy time for me. I learned a lot. I learned to listen and be more humble. I learned that I am just a human being, not a god, and that I actually have the right to be a human being.

Now what does that mean, being a human being? Well, to me, again:to me it means that I am fundamentally human. That I cannot hurt anyone consciously. In my life I have hurt a lot of people but I ask for forgiveness and usually I get it because I am sincere, simple and straight person.

I released my 21st album “The Land of New Hope” in May and it surpassed all the expectations I had. It sold very well. Thank you all who have supported me on my journey deeper and deeper into myself. I found the joy of making music again with Avalon and that is the greatest gift I could ever ask for. In this moment I am starting to mix a sequel to “The Land of New Hope”. It is called “Angels of the Apocalypse”. It is not Biblical album, although some of the predictions of the Bible seem to have found itself into the story. I myself don’t believe in any kind of deity but I do believe in Mother Nature as a caretaker and nurturer. We have very close relationship.

One of the key ideas of this new album is that the governments around the world are spending 1 000 000 000 000 USD, that is ONE TRILLION US Dollars in military purposes each year. If this money would be invested where it belongs, tho world would have no problems. But I am very sceptical if this will happen. I don’t see any real will to solve the problems. I only see greed. And that makes me very sad. Children are dying as I write that. It is easy for me and you to complain about having have to wait to ATM for 2 minutes but let’s put everything into perspective. We have lost the way. We have given away the power that belongs to the people, not to the governments. Your governments are lying to you. They cheat. Use your brain, that is why it was created, and you see what I see. We simply cannot continue this way anymore. We have crossed the point of no return.

I just returned from my daily walking and jogging route. I usually use iPod and observe the nature. There is plenty of nature in where I live. It is cold today. Around -10 Celsius. The sun is slowly rising and I realise what a magnificent thing the nature is. We should not take it for granted. Think about the 4 Seasons. That is amazing thing. Again it is hard to believe in god but could it be some kind of super intelligence that has created all this? A scientist of some kind. Perhaps. I don’t think I will ever get answer to that. But maybe there is something big out there…

Whoever is reading this blog, I want to wish you well. I hope things would be easier for you. But nobody said it was easy. No one ever said it would be this hard. But it is. Nevertheless if this blog gives even a tiny little piece of hope and love, it has fulfilled its mission. Otherwise I am just running in circles. Again: nobody said it was easy.

 

                 In this morning of 29th of January 2014 I want to wish you all good things and my very best.

 

                                                                                  T I M O

Reflections on 2012

I am writing this in Prague, they call this “a golden city”. I have wondered its streets reflecting back the year 2012, which in many ways has been a very good year for me.
I published my ebook “Loneliness of a 1000 Years” as a free download and it was downloaded over 30.000 times. I was stunned about this figure because I wrote this book first to help myself and secondly to help others. I did not feel I could take money from it. The response to the book was overwhelmingly warm and positive. It really seems to have touched many people. It makes me very happy.
In the music world, from the beginning of 2012, I was still suffering a heavy depression over the failure of Symfonia. I put all my heart and knowledge to that band and it just was not succesful enough. We might have been able to do a second album, but the news from Uli Kusch were that he would never play live again, which was not what we agreed in the beginning, poor sales and the lack of financial support made it impossible to continue the band. I know the badmouthing regarding that, but the decision was rational. And the feelings were bitter.
Around May I heard about the idea of Pledgemusic and crowdfunding, which seemed to be a great idea. I used a lot of time composing an album called “Credo” and I achieved the 120% target as well. But I did not feel right about this way of doing music.Yet. I think it could be the future of music, but it still has flaws in it. So I cancelled the campaign and put “Credo” on the shelf to wait for another time. It is not metal anyway, it is music that cannot really be cathegorized.
Much has been written about “Project Strato” and everything that I have written about it, is true. We have had and still have plans to release something together. But it probably, again, would not be metal. When me, Tuomo and Antti recorded “Dreamspace”, this was 20 years ago. So understandably none of us are in the same place anymore neither as humans, nor as musicians. We will have to see if we do something together. We do not have a need to release something. But if we feel like we do, then we will. Time will tell.
I have been in the music business for almost 30 years and everything in it has changed. What constantly makes me wonder is the critisism I receive about my ex band Stratovarius. I am not really fully aware of how extensive that is, but perhaps it is hard for (some) people realize that I will always be emotionally attached to Strato.And I think it is only natural that I care about what happens to it. After all, I spent 22 years in the band. After my departure in 2008, 5 years ago, we have been able to patch things up and shake hands.I am sincere, when I wish my old buddies all the best and luck they deserve as hard working musicians and cool guys. I am aware that what have come across in the press hasn’t always been appropriate. I have to apologize that. I can be a very moody person and some questions are quite provocative at a times. Still I take responsibility for my words and if they have offended Timo,Jens or Joerg, I sincerly apologize. And they know this. But they have a job to do. To take Strato further where they see it should go. My recent remark of “one tour and album with Visions line up was from my heart. It was not meant disrespectful to the current Strato. It is something that is not up to me to decide. I left and they have to continue. I only wanted to tell that if they one day feel like that, then I am up for it.
As to my personal life, after 2 very gloomy years, finally the sun started to shine and I noticed I was feeling happy. As I am writing this, I don’t think I have been this happy since I was 8 years old. I learned which people I needed to shut off from my life completely and who were my true friends. It was an invaluable lesson. It was priceless.
Next year, 2013, I will be 47. It is hard to believe how fast the time has gone by. I feel like it was just yesterday when I was 14.
But life goes onwards and not backwards and I have learned to listen to it.
I have grand plans for 2013. I will open a new mixing and mastering studio “STUDIOTOLKKI” in January with some cool people and I have some nice surprises coming as well. Overall feeling is very positive and I feel that every year will be better than the last one.
I also wish that for you, 2013 will be full of love,happiness,health,prosperity and all the positive things life is able to give you.
At the end of the day, it is up to you. Take care of yourselves and see you soon!

Yours,Timo

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Thankfulness leads to humbleness

As I was cleaning up my stuff I happened to find few cd’s and I wrote a post in my 2 Facebook pages that people would send me an email if they would like to receive a signed copy.
I received over 300 emails from all across the globe and picked the 4 winners randomly by jogging the email program eyes closed and pressing enter. The winners are in the end of this blog.
It was touching to read both comments in FB and in the actual emails. Although I did not ask to do anything else but send me an email, most people did not know if they should write something to the mail or if they should pay for it. (It was mentioned that these are gifts). I understood that I guess this is not an everyday thing.
But..for me it is just natural and first thing to think about. Along the path of my musical career, I have given away much of things. Composing music is also a form of giving. Talking to your fan is giving. Noticing a person is giving.
I was stunned about some stories people told me in their emails and I have heard a lot of stories from people during my career. Many wrote that my music had saved their lives. It seems to be constant thing that many people communicate to me. I myself do not and cannot, take credit from something like that but of course it is very touching.
It is humbling to read your words and stories. As you may know, my own path has not been the easiest either. Therefore I do understand the pain much of us go through in these times in our lives. I do wish to say, from my heart, that I feel such a thankfulness to you who have supported me when things have been easy and especially when things haven’t been easy. You see, it works both ways. It is almost like if there would be some kind of law in the universe about thankfulness leading to humbleness. I am talking about real genuine thankfulness and humbleness. They are not feelings. They are something that cannot really be explained scientifically.
So writing this today 17th of September 2012 in my home in Jollas Finland, I wish to tell you how much I appreciate you for being there for me. Thank you very much.

The winners of the 4 autographed CD’s are:

Bethan Harry
Rebeca Abigail Rodriguez
Akira A.A Narimatsu
Lucas Sonvico

Congratulations! I will get in touch with you for your shipping addresses soon. Thank you for sending me an email. It means a lot to me.

All the best, Timo

Life’s but a walking shadow. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Could this be? Could this really be true? Why am I here? For what reason? Unfortunately to give any answers would be just underestimating each person’s life. Each person’s life situation is unique and different and there are no hard rules. Therefore I can only speak for myself and about my experiences.
46 years I have spent on this planet and much of it in self destructive turmoil. Perhaps some of you know about my past and that I am diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder Type 1, the difficult one. I could make a list about my problems that would fill this entire blog but so could you. Getting older and especially looking back, as much self evaluation I have been able to do from my pain, I have come to a terrifying revelation:the answers have always been right in front of my very eyes and in my life. Each and every time during the course of my adulthood from around 20 onwards. And yet now being 46, I am just beginning to get a little understanding about my life,past and present. And yet now I am absolutely sure that each and every difficult situation in my life (you have to do your own thinking about yours) has been tailor made for my spiritual growth. I dont mean that we all should grow spiritually during our lives but it would seem that as the trees and flowers reach towards the sun and light, it could be the same for us. I leave the metaphysical debate for some other time but I do ask you to think about this. It might make a very big difference in your life.
We are living times of selfishness. Everybody is mainly looking after themselves, wanting things their way and protesting loudly if things don’t happen the way they want. I don’t believe Universe works that way. One Zen student once asked from a Master why nobody has ever seen God? He answered because nobody is prepared to bow that low. It is a metaphorical story but there is something that resonates in there. The values that are prominent in our societies these days have nothing to do with humanity, tolerance, kindness and love. We are living very hard times indeed and I am afraid it is not going to get any better.
Back to my life. In recent years, my ego has been tested many many times and I have lost every battle.Only recently, a certain clarity has started to fill me and I understand very clearly that the whole history of man and the mystery of Universe is indeed very close to me and has always been. It is inside of me. And it is a good advisor in life’s problems and in moral issues. But I did not get to this source easily. It took all the possible forms of escape, 8 years of psychotherapy, 6 years of psychiatrist and emotional pain of 8 years that is impossible to describe in any words. This pain has been my savior. Without trying to say that I am a masochist I just mean that the emotional pain in me is so huge that it completely takes over me. It says:”listen to me”. It says what is important and what is not. It tells me what I should do instead of worrying and helps me with my life. It clearly has a function in me. I have learned to live with it but I have only now started to learn to listen to it completely. This means surrendering. And surrendering means the death of your ego and that could very well be the most painful experiences of your life.
I stopped fighting and debating with people because my pain instructed me to do so. And by doing so, I really understood that you cannot fight with someone who refuses to fight and debate. And fighting and debating are the most prominent things in our societies. Everybody thinks they are right and want things their way. I don’t want to take any part in that. So I just walk away and deal with my life by listening to my advisor. And I do have my priorities straight morally although my ego tries to win every day. And in some days it still succeeds.

So I must disagree with the headline of this blog, written by William Shakespeare. I truly believe life does have meaning but I am not suggesting that finding this meaning would be easy. For me it has taken 20 years. I do believe that life signifies many things and that the most precious and valuable things we already have in our lives. We just don’t see them. That is tragic but that’s the way it is in my opinion. It is in the small things where I find my happiness in every day. In a smile. Cup of coffee. Helping somone you love and care about. And at the same time setting strict limits to people who try to use you or hurt you. The amount of both mental and physical violence is crushing in our times.

I would like to end this, perhaps a little confusing blog, to what I believe signifies life. To me it means growing towards Love. Love is not a feeling, it is a process and the nonsense most of us call love has nothing to do with it. I include an interesting picture here in the end. While I took my beloved daughter to Mallorca because her boyfriend of 4 years suddenly left her, she drew a heart to the sand. I happened to walk towards the heart and had my camera with me. What you see here is a foot going towards Love. What I believe is the reason why we are here. The rest you have to figure out all by yourselves. I wish you Love,Luck and Happiness and great rest of the year 2012.

Sincerely, Timo

About Supporting the Artist and the Independent Music

Now when I am having my campaign at http://www.pldegemusic.com/projects/timotolkki I have naturally been in touch with many people with their questions and concerns. I have tried to answer to them all.
Making music in this way is the best way for me. Absolutely. It gives me the freedom in all creative and artistic decisions and to use a street language, it keeps the bullshit out from the process.
There was a time when recorded music did not exist. Composers like Beethoven and Mozart were living and writing music frighteningly the same way than the PledgeMusic system. People came to them and comissioned a sonata or just gave them money to support them in their work because they loved their music.

In my campaign, one man contacted me and wanted to give me 1000 euros to support my music.
And here is the essence of this whole idea of crowdfunding and Pledgemusic. When you go to that PledgeMusic page and you see the items, they are actually not important. What is important for me if you are a fan of my music that you support me. It is the only way to survive in this music environment when sick things like Idols and other McDonalds type quick buck things rule and all interesting music is dying. Fast.

People must realize that the music industry is dying and it will continue to make quick bucks as long as they can, which will be some years.
So when you buy that new CD of mine beforehand, it is not only a safe way to do it, at the same time you are saying “thank you” to me and my 25 year music career with 300 songs, 3000 shows and 25 CD’s. I have been an entertainer. For you. Now that I am asking help from you, I am not doing it as some people suggest as begging. I am proud of you and I salute you. In all these years when you have listened to my songs and read my lyrics, I have shown you my soul. I have given everything.

Now in the crossroads of the dying music industry and the new being born, where things like Deluxe Boxes can exist, it is the most important thing that when you are buying an item from the shop, you are not only buying an item. You are saying “thank you” to me and supporting my future, so I can continue to bring you new musical adventures in the future as well.

My friends, it is all in your hands. Composer is nothing without his fans and supporters.

Helsinki 20.4.2012 T i m o

CREDO: I BELIEVE

In the last weeks a melody has been playing in my head constantly. It starts to play when I wake up in the morning and it plays on and off during most off the day. This melody has only one word and this word is “credo”. It is the most beautiful melody of mine that I have ever heard. It makes me puzzled and amazed at the same time. And also thankful.

Now, it is not unusual that a thing like this happens to me as a composer. But it has never been so clear.  It has never been so powerful. It has the simplicity and power of the main theme of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.

Today, on this wonderful Spring Sunday the sun is finally shining from blue sky. The ice is melting from the sea. The swans and countless of other birds have finally arrived. It means I have to take my camera and capture this beauty of amazement of the beauty of the nature. The sun reflects from the rocks and trees paving the way for awakening of the Nature. It is truly so beautiful that it has the capacity make one cry. I am convinced that as a composer my relationship to the Nature has a profound effect to the beauty of my music. This miracle of Nature is speaking directly to my soul.

Many people have been writing to me about my planned double solo album “Classical Variations 2:Credo”. In this moment, all it really is, is a collection of different themes and ideas.

I have asked my core fans, those who truly care about my music and its continuity, to help me to make this album true so I can continue my musical career. In the previous blog I wrote about leaving the music industry. I as an artist just had enough of that. 

I wrote a book called “Loneliness of a Thousand Years” 2 years ago. Now I put it to internet as a free download. In just 2 weeks this book has been downloaded by more than 16 000 people. This made me think that there must be some kind of interest to my personality and to my music as well. Getting familiar with a system where your fans actually become the record company and support you before the record is done makes a lot of sense to me.

This is the essence of my campaign at http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/timotolkki. It doesn’t mean that you buy blindly a project that you haven’t heard. I am not asking you to do that. What I am asking you to do is first to believe in me (Credo means to believe in something) and secondly to support me no matter what. It means to give your support in financial form as you can afford. This is all I am asking really.

Credo…to believe in something. When I look at this magnificient view on this April Sunday afternoon, I am filled with belief. I believe. I believe in many things. But most of all, I believe that I have musically something very important to say. And to make this more beautiful, it can only be done in connection to the people who love my music.

So I am asking you to think about what “Credo” means. It is very important. I wish you a nice Sunday and Spring, the time of birth.

 

                        SIncerely, Timo

 

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About my retirement from music business

As I am writing this on Friday morning sipping my coffee, many thoughts and feelings enter my mind.
Ever since I published the blog about retiring from music business, many people have contacted me and asked me not to do so. That is why I decided to clarify some things and write some more about it.

First of all, if someone got the picture that I am blaming the fans about the current situation in music business, I am really sorry. That is not at all how I think. I cherish and thank each and everyone that have given me and my music the amazing support in good and bad times.

Secondly there have been some criticism about my decision, even some people have called me a coward.
I know it is hard to understand what is really going on in the business at the moment. I mean globally in the whole world. Not just in your city.
The signs have been there already about 10 years and of course this was expected. People don’t buy records anymore.
Before you rush to say: “but I do”, let me tell you that I have a better vantage point to the whole music business globally to say this. There are reasons for me to act the way I do. This is not even about the quality of music in the vein of if I make bad records and people don’t want to buy them. It really is true that the records sales are down and are going down and more and more changes will happen and they will not be for the better. The remaining record companies are extremely careful what kind of bands and music they will sign and if they sign, they will control the music and the style very aggressively.This will result to a controlled and boring system musically and ultimately could even kill the music as a physical or digital format. In the times of Bach and Beethoven there were no records. The music was only heard live. But also live music suffers from declining sales because people dont have the money to see all those 30 bands in a month that come to the city.

All this made me to think really hard about my future and the next 10-15 years. Having worked extensively in the last 20 years I simply think it is time to evaluate what it is that I have left to say. I always said that I will play as long as people want to listen. But one thing has dawned me in the last few months: it doesn’t matter to me if people want to listen to my music anymore. This means the ultimate freedom musically.

Another thing is that although I have written about retirement from music business. But I have’t written about retiring from music. I believe music is a gift. And this gift must be used. But sometimes it is not easy. I believe that my 22 years in
Stratovarius and 5 CD’s I have released after that, the music seminars I have held all over the world, the productions and all that goes with it are a lot. How much can you give after you have given it all?

Anyway, I haven’t given up music. I look at the scene and understand that I have nothing to do with what used to be so important to me for example when I was 30 years old. I believe in evolution in music and musical career. Evolution as a whole. Not picking a random record and say: “that sucks”. The whole body of work. I think that every record I ever made, has its place in the discography of my life. As I grow older, soon being 46, I can envision my music evolving towards goals and themes that are closer to my soul than the music I wrote when I was 32. I don’t believe in singing about Legions of the Twilight when I am 50, but that’s just me. I think I have a lot of music developing in me but what kind of music it is, not even I know. The future will tell but I think you will hear from me still one day. My intuition is telling me this.

All the best, Timo