Eliminated of the French Open and back home in Finland, Jarkko Nieminen has better things to do than to follow the second week of Roland Garros. Tonight he will attend Metallica’s concert in Helsinki, missing the one of Guns' N Roses in Paris. Encounter with a huge fan of electric guitars and heavy drums. Very heavy.
How many songs do you have in your iPod ?
I would say about 9000.
Amongst these 9000 songs, what would be your Top 3?
I listen to about 3000 songs, so it’s hard to say. I have pretty much everything: from pop rock to heavy metal. The loudest the better. So in my top 3, it would mostly be heavy metal.
What is your favourite song at the moment?
It’s a finish metal band called Stam1na and Mokoma. I also listen a lot of Metallica. One of my favourite band of all time.
And if you had to pick only one Metallica’ song, which one would it be?
« Master of puppets »
And one of the Finish band?
It’s impossible to say. But because I have to choose, I would say « Puolikas ihminen ».
And before going on the court, what do you listen to?
Something that gives me adrenalin. Always. Something heavy. No ballad, no pop music. Something that pushes me to move forward.
And do you listen to the same song every time?
I'm not superstitious. But if I win a match, I keep listening to the same song throughout the tournament. And when the tournament is over, then it doesn’t matter to me anymore so I can listen to something else. I am a massive music fan. I can’t play an instrument or sing, but since I was kid, I always loved going to the record store to buy records. I don’t know how many CDs I have, but I keep buying new ones all the time. I don’t download. I also love music magazines, I know a lot about bands, artists. I have a passion for collecting albums. If I like and band, then I buy all its albums.
What do you like about the idea of a real CD?
I’m part of the generation still used to buy real albums. Of course I have an iPod, but I'm transferring the music from the CDs to my iPod. I like to have my records at home, I like to feel to the artwork, to read it. I love having the albums, it still matters to me. Because it did when I was a kid. When I was a teenager, and I had a bit of pocket money, the first thing I used to do was to go buy a CD at the record store. Now it's like a hobby. The goal is not to have as much Cd as possible but to have the good ones.
How do you organize them? Alphabetically or by musical genre?
By musical genre. Rock, metal, pop music... I store them on a shelf in the living room of my apartment.
What’s the last gig you’ve been to?
Is it happens, it’s this Finnish band Mokoma. A month ago in Helsinki. Whenever I'm in a tournament I try to go to a gig. I always check if there will be a one where I’m going. For example, I knew that I’ was going to Paris, so I looked online if there was concert by a band I like. Here in this instance, Guns N 'Roses are playing on Tuesday (interview conducted last week, so Tuesday is tomorrow night, Editor's note). It’s also a good motivation to keep on winning. If I ever lose by then (Nieminen was knocked out in the 2nd round by Murray, Editor's note), I would go home to see Metallica on Monday (tonight, Editor's note). And maybe if I'm here and I am not playing, I would go to see Gun N 'Roses.
What do you enjoy in a gig?
I love when the band is into it. When they give everything on stage. Then it’s quite a unique experience. It's like a tennis fan, to watch a game on TV and in real life, it’s completely different. I really like the atmosphere at a gig. I go to a lot of hard rock concerts, because there is such a great energy there.
Precisely, is there a band you’re not really into listening to their CD but who stroke you live?
Most of the bands I go to see live, it’s because I like their CD. But is there a band who’s better live? Well Faith no more is really good on stage. Otherwise, Red Hot Chili Peppers are amongst the best live.
Amongst all these gigs you’ve been to, which one is the more memorable?
So many of them… I have to say that I saw Aerosmith. It’s an old band and Steven Tyler, the singer, the energy he still has after all these year, it’s impressive. I didn’t expect him to be so sharp, running from one side of the stage to the other for over 2 hours. I knew he was a good singer, good on stage and all but I didn’t expect it that much. He surprised me.
Have you ever got hurt at a heavy metal concert?
Never. Sometimes I even go to the front, in the most pit where the fans are the most hardcore… I’ve been involved in pogos, but I never got hurt.
Is there a kind of music that you hate?
I’m really open minded. I like all good music but I wouldn’t buy an electronic music CD for example. I’m not bothered to hear it somewhere but I wouldn’t buy the record. I’m just not of fan of it. What I really dislike, it’s country music.
Is there a CD we would be surprised to see in you heavy metal fan’s collection?
Well I have some stuff from ABBA from example. Otherwise you can watch my collection and see rock, rock, rock, rock, rock and then…Bob Marley. It can be surprising.
Interview by Maxime Marchon, at Roland Garros