OVERHEAD - Time for Panic

27. March 2023


OVERHEAD - Zeit für Panik

Alex Keskitalo is a newly minted dad. His study is a small, soundproof room within a room. Here, the singer and flutist can not only work on his songs in peace, but also conduct the Zoom interview with eclipsed undisturbed. In the process, things get almost philosophical at times.

eclipsed: The new songs are about topics like war and other crises in the world. Are the times so gloomy that you couldn't get around that?

Keskitalo: When we wrote the songs, the war had not yet broken out. But almost half of them were written during the pandemic. In fact, I had been studying the Fourth Turning Theory [also Strauss-Howe Generation Theory, note], which says that human history runs in cycles that always repeat themselves. Bad times create strong people, good times create weak people, and so on. We're currently going through something like what happened to people in the early 1940s. It's not just the war, but there's also inflation and technological innovations like artificial intelligence that are overwhelming people. That's why many want strong leaders. But all this also creates good things. After winter, spring always follows.

eclipsed: In the song "The Pilot's Not Fit To Fly" you sing, "So if this isn't panic time, I just don't know what it is anymore." That sounds extremely pessimistic.

Keskitalo: Yes, but it's panic time! In the artwork for this song, I depict Trump as a deranged, crazy pilot leading the free world. Yet he is simply incapable of flying. But neither is his successor, Joe Biden. He has a strong team, yes. But I wouldn't get on a plane with him either if he were the pilot.

eclipsed: The rather pessimistic lyrics don't seem to me to fit the music, which sounds positive and goes straight ahead.

Keskitalo: That's true. But hey, let's call it "Nordic melancholy." All Finnish pop songs are like that, even our Christmas songs. (sings a happy melody to the phrase 'Life is so sad')

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