Interviews Music

Tender melodies

Sister Flo released their first album in 2001, through their own label. Since then the band has been one of Finland's pop secrets, continuously praised by critics. Their new album, The Healer, hits the note and will make people hum the melody of the first single "Hyvinkää". Sister Flo's music has a warm and tender quality, like coming from small Finnish village without making much noise. As humble and even shy, bassist Mikko Salonen and keyboard player Janne Lastumäki explain the secrets of Sister Flo.

How does it feel one week before your album comes out?

Mikko Salonen: Anxious at least! It's taken a long time. We started with the first demos almost two years ago.

Janne Lastumäki: So far there have been two good reviews of it. We're happy then.

Why did it take so long?

JL: It took a bit longer because Sama the singer made a solo album. I played in his solo live band and we played some shows in spring and summer, so that delayed working on the album. We didn't have any strict timeline. Nobody put on any pressure.

How different is it from your previous works?

MS: We're very happy with it. The songs are a natural development from our earlier albums. They are very diverse.

JL: On this album there are much faster songs, more similar to our live shows. Our previous works had a soft general sound and then our shows were much more direct and energetic. On The Healer there is a bit more of that rock side.

{mosimage}You seemed to work hard on the mood and the melodies of the songs? How is the mood of this album?

MS: I think it's a bit darker and a bit more mystical or fantasy like.

While recording and composing, do you pay attention to someone other band's music?

JL: Sometimes, yes. For example, in The Healer there is this song, "Spirit of Christmas". We talked about getting a dark atmosphere, like Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper".

Now you have a pretty intense tour ahead of you during May. What do you expect of it?

JL: Our first gig will be on the April 28th in Tavastia with Rubik and Matti Johannes Koivu. Starting in Tavastia is a luxurious start.

MS: This tour will be special. We are excited to play in new cities where we have never played, such as Vaasa and Rovaniemi.

Are you afraid of playing in small cities?

JL: It will be interesting to see how it goes. We've heard stories that in places like in Vaasa there might be only five people in the audience.

MS: We trust our music and ourselves, so even if there are only five people we won't feel depressed.

Sister Flo is different playing live on stage. The band is much more direct. Why is there this different?

JL: I thought about this and I came to the conclusion that in studio we can build these huge sound walls that it's very hard to replicate on stage. It feels natural to concentrate on the energy. It's rejoicing.

You have had some gigs abroad in cities such as Stockholm and London. Were they positive experiences?

JL: Absolutely. All the trips abroad have been very great and brought us together as a band and friends.

Where does the band's name come from?

MS: First we thought about being just Flo, because of the Norwegian football player, Tore André Flo. I don't know why. We just thought about it. Then we found out that there was a band with this band, so we had to find something else.

JL: Adding “sister” was a bit like a tribute to The Velvet Underground's song Sister Ray. Then we even noticed that there is a David Bowie song, "Queen Bitch", with the line, "He's down on the street / And he's trying hard /to pull sister Flo".

The Healer is available in all good record stores now.

Sister Flo's first out of print album, Boys of Cat, can be downloaded from the band's website:




Features Music

We Don’t Need No Education

Lapko have been amassing a following in Finland for over ten years, and the prognosis is the trio will be alongside fellow "hair band" Disco Ensemble next to break overseas. Malja (vocals and guitar), Nordberg (bass) and Heikkonen (drums) have been friends since they were hanging around the schoolyard in the small town of Harjavalta, where they still gather to rehearse.

They've remained a trio, welded together as a tight, powerful live act and matured from obscure indie faves to a full-fledged rock band with an unpolished sound of their own. "Actually we've regressed, up to the point where you concede you're too dumb to do anything other than play in a rock band,” laughs Nordberg.

Lapko's signature melancholic melodies and Malja's tightly wound vocals have attracted recurring comparisons to Placebo, but the band stands firmly on its own ground. "We moved on from our punk roots towards a broader definition of rock, and, at some point, we were a sort of mix between Rammstein and Placebo with Finnish vocals,” Nordberg recounts. The linguistic issue was reassessed when the vocals on a demo apparently didn't pass as Finnish for a record company.

English seemed more suited for the kind of volatile rock with a raw emotional core that they set out to play. Lapko released their first album, The Arms in 2004 through Tampere-based Jukeboss records, and moved on to Fullsteam Records for their 2006 sophomore effort Scandal.

{mosimage}The new album, Young Desire, celebrates Lapko's regression by going back to the schoolyard and teenage trash talk. "There's a whole leather theme going on; leather being the material of choice for teenage tough guys. It's about being hard and acting like a badass, but still having that insecure and emotional side hidden underneath.”

Following the release, the band will be touring Finland. The theme of acting a role goes further once they hit the stage. "Playing on stage always has an element of theater to it, and we've been looking to Queen for instance, for some inspiration on that,” says Nordberg. The theatrics come across on the album as well, in more stagy compositions. ”We've got guitar solos there.”

In contrast to those young and restless middle-school misfits, Lapko have improved their communication skills as they've grown as a band. They've learned to listen to other people's opinions, including each other's, and they're opening lines of communication to the general public.

A song from the new album can be heard for free over the phone by dialling a certain number. "It won't be released anywhere else as a single, and the phone preview will be available before radio play,” Nordberg explains. The title of the song? "Hugging the Phone"! All you lonely, insecure badasses out there, dial up and start hugging.

Young Desire is released 2nd May. You can catch Lapko live on tour and at various festivals over the summer.


To listent to Hugging the Phone, dial +358 (0) 700 122 55 (cost in Finland 0,10 c/min +local call charge)

Interviews Music

Ambassador of the Blues

First of all, what influence did Robert Johnson have on you as a musician?

I think the Robert Johnson influence on me has taken on the aspect that it made me more of an acoustic guitar player. I still think of myself as primarily an electric guitar player who plays acoustic guitar. You know, when you're a kid learning, everybody wants to be the lead player. Everybody wants to solo.

You played a show with HoneyBoy Edwards and Robert Lockwood JR, two musicians who actually knew and played with Robert Johnson in the 1930s. How important was it to you to earn their respect?

Incredibly!!! I can't tell you how important it was to earn their respect. Until Mr. Lockwood's untimely death, Mr. Lockwood and Mr. Edwards were as close as you could get to Robert Johnson being alive. They both knew and played with Robert Johnson. Mr. Lockwood received his first guitar from Robert Johnson for his 11th birthday. He lived in the same house as Robert Johnson. Robert Johnson was dating Mr. Lockwood's mother. After getting compliments from Mr. Edwards and Mr. Lockwood I thought I could retire and get a straight job. I had taken this as far as I could. The night of the show at The Fairfield Theatre in Connecticut, Mr. Lockwood said, "In all my 91 years, I've never seen anybody look or sound more like Robert Johnson than you. I'm about to adopt you!" My heart soared! It can't get any better for me.

{mosimage}Lay’sPotato Chips used your photoon the bags of their Memphis Barbecue flavoured potato chips.

They printed over one million bags! They were on the market for six months. It made me the first Black American blues musician to be on a national product in the history of America!! I'm very proud of that!

Any plans on performing in Finland in the future?

I'd love to play Finland. Anybody want me to come play Finland? Just call or e-mail me and I'll be on my way! I want to play every country that will have me. We all have the blues.

Photo by Erik Remec


Rocky Lawrence

Blues Guitar Player

New Haven, CT, USA


Albums Music

Hanni Autere – Puhun puille

This is particularly true of a very spooky piece called, in rough translation, ‘The melting of the great ocean.’ But whatever the influences, Auture brings them together into an original mix with many longer pieces that are certainly worth taking the time to listen to. Some of the music is emotionally ambiguous – and moving as a result – while some is simply pleasant, traditional folk that the listener can float away on. Where the words are in Finnish, their lyrical nature means that you can still enjoy the piece without understanding the language. Usually, these songs use a very small numbers of words, almost like mantras. Anyway, Autere helpfully includes English translations of her songs which deal with the traditional Finnish folk-song subject of ‘nature,’ comparing it to love as in, ‘the spruce roots wither/ but not my tears.’ Amongst the huge amount of Finnish folk music available, Autere is fresh and worth listening to.

Albums Music

JJ Grey & Mofro – Country Ghetto

Country Ghetto is roots blues rock with
a touch of soul funk straight from Louisiana. The music is like Dr
John singing in the Creedence Clearwater Revival with Stax / Volt
horns. JJ Grey outstands as an original songwriter, singing for the

It is a laid back and melodic album
that ends up hitting a high note on the gospel flavoured tune The Sun
is Shining Down and the coda Goodbye which bring some hope to the

JJ Grey & Mofro delivered another
enjoyable album for a hot summer night.

Albums Music

The Jade – Slow Motions on the Fast Lane

Wille's voice is
clean and catchy, and the band sounds great for being a promo album.
Lyrics are well worked, and there is this essence of glamorous
hard-rock from the 80's mixed with love tales that for sure will
make the band popular among the female public. As highlighted tracks
to listen, I would choose the first song Drowned together with
the last one Beautiful Things, and the cover of Pet Shop
It´s a sin (reminds me of another version of
the same song done years ago by my beloved German metal heroes, Gamma
. although at present time, obviously with a softer tone). The
band also knows how to play a harder sound, like in Roseate Sky,
and in general, it is a pity that there are only 7 tracks available
in the album. One feels like expecting more songs coming. Too
good…too short.

The guys work hard
in keeping their fans satisfied, and you can notice that if they
visit their page on MySpace. Resuming, the album is a great first
step towards a, hopefully, brilliant future.

Albums Music

Jana – Pelkuri

Once you start with
the tracks, one must recognize that his voice evolves you in this
traditional spirit of sadness and melancholy that feature so many
native bands in Finland. In any case, the guys from Hämeenlinnä
sound like a compact and talented band in their debut album Pelkuri,
that is also the name of the opening song, ideal to play in moments
of reflection and solitude, or just if you want to share a glass of
wine with your couple in an intimate atmosphere. Tales of love like
in the ballad Pauliina together with other songs with a
harder touch such as in Taikuri make this album a delightful
piece to be enjoyed. Highly recommended.

Interviews Music

The Jade groove

The four
members of the group started their musical careers more than ten years ago, but
the story of The Jade began in spring 2004. During their many years in London,
Pekko and Jann had played together in different projects, and once they landed
back in Helsinki they got to know Wille, who became a vocalist for the band.
Sirpa had also returned from London, and became the drummer once it was clear
that she could rock harder than a number of auditioned male candidates. "Very soon we noticed that this
line-up worked well, the four musicians describe their history together", they say. 


Not Just Rock but Roll

The Jade
has its musical roots deep in hard rock, old rock'n'roll, punk and 1960s and
-70s pop and rock. The music on their promo record
Slow Motions on the Fast Lanes, released in
November 2006, is melodic rock, played with a rather heavy sound at times.

“In order
to stay vital, the music has to be reinvented all the time, and our songs
change with us. We can offer our audience swing and groove – that is what makes
us different from many other Finnish rock bands that sing in English,” The Jade

to Pekko, hanging a glittery scarf on a microphone stand is not The Jade's
concept of rock'n'roll:

“As a rock band, one has to have a look that
corresponds to the sound. However, our choices of style are intuitive and have
taken place as a result of time and experiences. The Jade is not about looks
but about music that has been profoundly thought through”, The Jade points out. 


True Stories Written with passion

The lyrics
of The Jade create an image of life with subtle shades. The members' colourful
life experiences are seen in their texts.

“We do not sit down writing and
thinking whether it would be cool to make a story of something: homelessness,
love, very bad life style, death – there is an unlimited number of things in
the world one can write about. Even death can be described as it is – not in a
goth-like manner – and loving your neighbour may be more interesting than a
story of love between a man and a woman,” Pekko says.


“All our songs have an element of
something that we have experienced ourselves, and the Northern darkness (what
is Northern Darkness?) plays its role in them,” Jann adds.


Promo Record in demand

The witty
combination of energy, groove and sombreness has appealed to audiences around
the globe. The Jade has found its American, British, French, German, Hungarian,
Italian and Spanish fans among others through So far, fan sites
have been set up in Australia, Germany and Mexico. 

The crowd
supporting The Jade has mixed musical preferences, and both pop and metal fans
have demonstrated their enthusiasm for the band. Many have received their
copies of Slow Motions on the Fast Lanes
-promo record and spread the word and music in their surroundings. The record
has been played on many web radio stations, and so far the reviews have been

The Jade
will play gigs in Helsinki as well as in Western Finland during this spring.
They will keep looking for partners and a record deal, while their fans
volunteer to promote them. 

“Our drive is constant, we work hard and our
goals are set high,” Wille says.

 “We want to play our music to an audience as
wide as possible. We keep promoting Slow
Motions on the Fast Lanes
and, hopefully,
we will find good contacts this year. Playing together is simply great, and we
will continue doing that even if nothing else happens,” The Jade assures.


You can hear The Jade's Slow Motions on the
Fast Lanes-promo record as an Mp3 at

Interviews Music

Streching the limits

Pohjonen started his career at a very early
age: at 8 he was already playing folk music. After classical and folk music
studies at the Sibelius
Academy, he spent time in
and Argentina,
studying with local musicians. His musical history now spans over twenty years
and in genres as diverse as avant-garde, folk, improvisation, classical, and
dance music. Furthermore, he has collaborated with the likes of the Kronos
Quartet. He is currently touring Finland – and in March the States –
as a member of KTU: a group also comprising of Trey Gunn and Pat Mastelotto. As
almost any review of his performances states: Pohjonen is far from your typical
idea of an accordion player; from the most obvious of the details, his hair – a
sort of reinterpretation of the Mohawk – to his way of being on stage and
playing his instrument. He’s been named several times ‘musician of the year’ in
and won several awards: the Finnish Jussi award for best film score (for the
movie Jade Warrior) being the last.

Let’s start our talk with this Jussi award. Composing music for
movies – was it your first time with Jade Warrior?

Actually, I did have previous experience, but it was something
different: the score for a Russian movie called Majak (The Lighthouse). In the case of Jade
, when the director called in November 2005 and asked me if I was
interested in composing the score I was not so sure –  at the beginning. Then, at home, I sort of
realized that a tune was already there. And in the end, it became the main
musical theme of the movie.

Already there? Meaning you didn’t have any ‘visual prompts’ – any
image or cut from the movie when composing the score – only the director’s

Yeah. In that sense I can say that composing Jade Warrior’s score was not so different for me from my other
composing experiences. I don’t rely so much on images when I compose. And
anyway I was working with Samuli Kosminen…

{mosimage}Samuli Kosminen is one of the members of the KTU project: you’ve had
a number of different collaborators – all of them quite surprising and
interesting – how do you choose the musicians you’d like to work with?

Well, with Samuli, I just asked him. He’s a sort of a kindred soul:
he’s as experimentally inclined as I am. So it was quite natural to consider a
collaboration with him. In the case of the Kronos Quartet, I should say it was
not me who approached them… but rather, they approached my manager, Phillip
Page. You know, Phillip is definitely more than a manager and he’s been
instrumental in quite a lot of my collaborations with other artists: one of my
first projects was with Arto Järvelä, together we are the Pinnin Pojat; and one
of the main features of our collaboration is the freedom to improvise. The last
time we performed together, we rehearsed for a really short time and then just
went on stage: curious to see, and listen to, what would happen. And for
instance, the level of improvisation is 100% with Eric Echampard, the French

I understand that improvisation
is a keyword for you, but I’m just wondering how did it work with the Tapiola
Sinfonietta: you collaborated with them on your Kalmuk project some years ago.

I made it clear from the very beginning what I had in mind, so that
all those who were not at ease with the idea of playing without the score in
front of them or, say, having to run in circles while playing could quit before
the real thing got started. I wanted the musicians to play without the score so
that they could be more free to listen to each other: to move with the music…
of course at the beginning it was not easy: not even for those who had decided
to stay.

Freedom is another keyword for

My main concern is to explore – explore the sounds my instrument can
utter, with the support of sound machines, voice, etc. When I’m on stage, I
improvise and I usually go on playing without breaks – without pauses for the
clapping of hands. I definitely value the reaction of the audience, but on the
other hand I have this feeling that I need to keep myself free from an excess
of feedback: I’m on the stage to create something, an atmosphere, and I don’t
think I should be too much influenced by the reaction of the audience.

How have places influenced you?
You have spent time studying abroad…

I was in Tanzania for a
few months and in Argentina.
I guess that’s when I perceived my being a Finn. You know, my favourite time
for composing is winter: with the deep darkness, the snow. I come here to my
studio in the morning and it’s dark: I get out in the evening and it’s dark.
Then comes the spring and I just start feeling like doing something else:
spending time outside. Winter is my creative season.

One last question: in Italy there’s a
small town called Castelfidardo, which is known as the world capital of the
accordion industry. I was wondering if one of your accordions comes from there…

It might be. But by now I’ve made so many changes and modifications
that it hardly has any original part left. And look, the bellows are breaking

Albums Music

Peer Günt – Guts and Glory

In spite of
the changes, Guts and Glory should not disappoint the fans. It’s the same old Peer
Günt. Indeed, this hard rocking machine is at full speed. “No guts, no glory…
Nobody is gonna stop me now” sings Nikki in the first song and the boogie
oriented trio goes non-stop down a road of aggressive riffs and great guitar solos.
One can imagine raising fists and headbanging when Demolition Child is played live

There is
only one gear for Peer Günt. They hardly slowdown in any of the eleven songs of
the 11 songs. They played with the same strong attitude of Motörhead or AC/DC,
although Guts and Glory might suffer
in the end of including one type of song. Nevertheless, the bluesy guitar
licks, the very good guitar solos and the smell of gasoline are there. Fans can
expect good times for the new era of Peer Günt. Nikki is in top and Pete and
Sakke pass the test with a very good grade.

Interviews Music

New York City’s rock radio saviour

Eddie Trunk is host of Friday Night Rocks with Eddie Trunk, a hard rock/metal radio show from New York City that can be heard across the U.S. and on the internet. He was kind enough to spend a few minutes with FREE! Magazine to discuss his show and the radio business.

Eddie Trunk

I know your favorite all time band is KISS. So how did you go from a kid in the late 70’s with KISS posters on your bedroom wall to having a nationally syndicated radio show?

It’s been a long road but I started out writing the music column of my high school paper. I was always just a big music fan and chased down everything I wanted to do in the business. Did College radio while in high school, worked at a music store, worked for a record label (Megaforce), management company and more. I always did radio though regardless of what else I had going, it was always what I loved most. In 1994 I got a break when I broke into the NYC market and that’s when I made it my main focus. Everything else fell into place because of the audience I served and how loyal they are. I specialized in something and did more then just play records, which is what set me apart. NYC and Boston are the two biggest markets the show is heard and I also do a national XM show [satellite radio] on Mondays on channel 41.

Now thanks to your show, you’re able to have personal and professional relationships with many of the same musicians you idolized as a kid. In fact, you are actually good friends with original Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley.

I had a hand in signing Ace to his solo deal in the 80’s and we have remained close friends ever since. Ace is working on new music now and I’m going to pay him a visit soon and see what he’s up to. I’ve been fortunate to have many of the legends of music become friends after doing this for 25 years. It’s really all about how you treat them and behave around them. The key is to make them feel comfortable and avoid being a super fan, then you can establish a true connection.

Kiss Live!

Your show is a mixture of music and live interviews. What can a listener who has never heard your show expect?

Not just music. Anyone can be a jukebox and play CDs, and with iPods people can get any songs they want. I bring all my experience, stories, interviews, contests and more. The show is a mix of music and talk about music, and you will never hear the “hit” song you’re sick of from the classic artists. You will also hear plenty of classic artists that don’t ever get played from the 70s and 80s mostly.

It seems that hard rock & metal is enjoying a bit of a resurgence these days. Do you think there’s still that stigma that’s associated with those “hair bands” from the 80s?

Yes, unfortunately I do. Outside of Bon Jovi there really have not been any artists from that era that have had big time success now. It’s sad because there is so much great music that is not given a shot or written off by the mainstream. I do my best to cater to that crowd with the little time I have each week.

It’s great that in a way, you’re building a community of fans around your radio show.

I’m nothing without my audience and their support. I do my best to connect with them as much as I can in as many ways as I can. It’s so cool to meet people that get the show every week somehow, someway. It’s what metal has always been built on, loyalty and passion for the music and people that love it.

As many people probably don’t realize, most DJs in the U.S. don’t get to choose the songs they play on the radio anymore. You’re very fortunate to still retain complete control over what you play. What do you think of the state of radio these days?

Radio is big business and big money owned by big companies. I am fortunate I have what I have. I only wish I had more hours/days in the week. There is a reason why radio in the mainstream is the way it is. The ownership feels that’s the way they can make the most money, and that’s what business is about. I get that. I think there are more people out there that want to hear the type of radio I do then many think, but I’m grateful for what I have. I’m also on XM satellite radio and have a live weekly show there, so that is another great outlet that is live nationwide and through Canada, uncensored with no commercials. Lot’s of fun and another way to reach people.

It seems that radio used to play a big role in breaking new bands. I can think of a lot of bands that became famous thanks to some lone DJ playing an unknown band’s song which led to that band getting national exposure. With most radio station playlists being dictated by some focus group, how does a new band get that lucky break anymore?

They have to be creative. The entire music business has changed, labels, everything. Thanks to Myspace, YouTube, etc, bands have other outlets to reach people and even sell music. Top 40 can still break an act in a major market, radio still has lot’s of power and influence, it’s just the approach to the business is very different now.

Since this magazine is for people living in Finland, what do you think of the current crop of Finnish rock bands that have enjoyed some international success recently?

I saw HIM a couple years ago in LA with Monster Magnet. Wanted to like it but it didn’t really click for me that night. I lean more to the classic stuff but I know there is a big scene emerging in the clubs here with the Euro metal. I think it’s great that people support new music, very important. I would play more of it if I had time.

You are a person who is passionate about the music and it shows. How does it feel to be able to make a living doing what you love?

I’m very lucky and do not take it for granted. I have a great following and connection with the audience and artists. There have been some truly magical things take place on my show over the past 25 years and I’m proud it’s become such a big destination for rock fans and bands.

Listen online to Eddie Trunk’s show at:

Interviews Music

Electro + Pop + Sweetness = Regina

What was
the evolution of Regina? How/where did the three of you meet and how/when did
the band form?

It all
started when we (Iisa & Mikko P.) did a couple of demo tracks in our living
room a few years ago. To our surprise, our music found friends really quickly –
with the help of the Internet – and soon we were asked to play live. We wanted
to try it even though we had no plans to become a real band. It was the
beginning of 2005 when Mikko R. and his drums joined us, and in March we played
the very first gig at Club Limousine in Helsinki.


Regina most
distinguishes itself from other bands with its vocals. Many bands choose to
sing in English in order to reach a wider audience (I assume), but you sing in
Finnish. As it turns out, this in no way hinders your appeal. So, was singing
in Finnish a conscious decision?

I love our
language and choosing Finnish was the only solution for me. It's nice to be
able to use a language as funny and beautiful as Finnish and it's even more fun
when people tell you that they enjoy the language – even though they don't
understand it. We have heard stories of people who have started to learn
Finnish with our music.

{mosimage}Your music
is best described as electro-pop, but there's clearly a different sound coming
through on your new album. Less electronic, more organic, lighter but with more
layering. Can you talk about the differences between the way you approached
your first and second albums?

The new
Regina is definitely more organic and lighter but still electronic. We simply
wanted to get a totally new approach to our music with this album. We put a lot
effort into it. The vocals were also something we wanted to concentrate on more
this time.

What other
bands have an influence on Regina's sound? Any bands you can't get enough of?

This is
always really hard… We love electronic and guitar pop: many amazing solo
artists like Prince, Björk, Stina Nordenstam, Joanna Newsom and Kate Bush;
bands like !!!, Final Fantasy and Hey Willpower; Finnish indie music such as
Cats On Fire and some Fonal's bands for example; 60s and 70s pop, etc. All the
music that we love and enjoy listening to probably has some kind of an
influence on our music; but for us it is quite hard to recognize.

debut album (originally released in Finland in 2005) was released in Japan in
August 2006. Do you hope to continue reaching beyond Finland's borders with
your music? What's the next step for the band?

Our music
has some friends for example in Sweden and in Russia, probably in Japan and
some other countries too. And MySpace is spreading our music all over the world
and that's really nice. We would love to have some kind of audience in
different countries, so
that every now and then we could visit for example Stockholm or Berlin and play for the people that have
found us. But we have no serious plans about how to get big beyond Finland's

What are
your thoughts on Eurovision?

The whole
thing is pretty confusing. But fun at the same time! We enjoy watching the
weird performances. The music is the most confusing part of the show. Sometimes
you want to laugh, sometimes you feel like crying.


Regina’s new album, Oi miten suuria voimia!
was released on 21st
March. More info

Interviews Music

Pop out of joint

Rooted in
eastern Finland, Rubik found its current line-up in Helsinki at the turn of the
century, when vocalist Artturi Taira
and drummer Sampsa Väätäinen, joined
by guitarist Samuli Pöyhönen and Arvi Hasu on bass, rejected any master
plans and set out to make music with an attitude of open-minded
experimentation; merging shades of anything between and beyond indie rock and
ambient. ”Our sound has evolved quite naturally. We never rejected any idea
off-hand just because it didn’t fit some preconception of how Rubik should
sound”, Samuli Pöyhönen says.

{mosimage}With years
of gigging and an EP release under their belt, last summer Rubik sought the
solitude of a remote coastal villa to record their debut, Bad Conscience Patrol. The end result is an ambitious record that
takes pop melodies as a starting point, and ventures off in any direction it
damn well pleases. The songs take turns soaring and plunging, crawling under
your skin only to gestate and emerge in another burst of raw emotion. This
certainly merits the epithet of ”progressive”, but according to Samuli, Rubik's
cerebral reputation is mostly unintentional: ”we're not trying to be difficult
or strange. Fundamentally it's pop music, just a little disjointed.”

As for the
hype, the band pays no heed to it: ”we're not the ones creating it, so why
should we fret over it”, remarks Samuli. ”Of course we're excited over the
prospect of going abroad. We're working on it, but it all depends on whether
there's real interest in us”, he says with sober minded confidence. Indeed,
Rubik has good reason to be confident. After all, they've put out a debut album
that's quite likely to be one of this year’s hardest hitters.

Features Music

Young people rap for children’s rights

competition is open until 23rd of April and the lyrics of the entries may be
written from young people’s personal or global perspective in Finnish, English
or Swedish. The competition entries can
be solo or group acts. The candidates must be under 18 years old. In group acts, half of the
members can be from 18 to 23 years old. The songs may include samples and loops
that can be downloaded from the competition website.

jury includes well-known Finnish artists such as Paleface and Redrama among
others. The chairman of the jury,
DJ Mobster, encourages entrants to do what comes naturally and from the heart. “The most important thing
is to do what feels right.” The winners will have the chance to record their entry and the best lyrics in the
competition will be compiled in a book.

competition is modelled after the Tundu Dior musical project in Senegal. The 12-year-old Aminata,
who is in the Tundu Dior competition, wants to express through music her hopes
that there will be fewer
wars and that all children will be able to go to school, because
children are the future of the land.

information and instruction on how to enter at the competition website:

Features Music

Neighbours coming over for a good vibe

Luckily there is a guy named Tusovka. Loosely
translated from St. Petersburg
slang meaning "good vibe" and "a creative get-together of free
people", the Helsinki-based promoter has been active since 1998
introducing modern Russian music and popular culture to Finnish audiences, and
visa versa.

Tusovka’s biggest event is the annual Tusovkarock
Festival in Helsinki. This year, the eighth edition of the festival at Cultural
Arena Gloria takes place on March 30th and 31st. Kicking off will be St.
Petersburg-based Tva Samoleta (Two Planes), one of Russia's oldest and
best-known ska bands, and Boombox, a popular trio consisting of a vocalist,
guitarist and a DJ from Kiev (Ukraine), with their cosmopolitan blend of rock,
r ’n’ b, funk, soul and reggae. Also performing that night will be popular
ten-member strong Finnish dancehall/dub/reggae collective Puppa J &

{mosimage}On Saturday 31st Deti Picasso (Children of Picasso)
hits the stage. The group from Moscow plays psychedelic rock with expressive
vocals by Gaya Arutyunyan, in Russian and Armenian, combined with Moscow
club and Armenian folk influences. Monostereo from St. Petersburg will bring, in what they
themselves call, an energetic mix of post-rock, acid-jazz and hip-hop, combined
with deep and touching lyrics. Joining the party on Saturday will be Helsinki's
own, seven-member funk band Eternal Erection, widely considered to be one of
Finland's best live acts.

To top everything off, there's Russian animation and
fine food. So for a “hyvä meininki” Russian style, head to Tusovkarock!


Tusovkarock 2007


Friday 30.3: Boombox, Tva Samoleta and Puppa J &

Saturday 31.3: Deti Picasso, Monostereo and Eternal

Cultural Arena Gloria, Pieni Roobertinkatu 12, Helsinki

Tickets: 9 e/day, 16 e/2 days