How did you find yourself in this job?
Sort of by accident! In my childhood, I was very keen on articulating myself via drawing because I’m a silent person. As a result, I’ve always had a fixation with sound. I remember paying lots of attention to nature sounds, but the big one for me was film sound design and soundtracks: how big of an impact (or lack thereof) they can have on how a film is viewed. An unhealthy amount of video games led to hearing a lot of leftfield electronic music from their soundtracks.
In my preteens I got hooked on collecting music, and a friend and I were in a sort of search for the most extreme forms of music. I was surrounded by hilariously unlistenable forms of metal and its fusions with electronics. My parents got me a guitar but I didn’t think much of it for a long while because I had no idea how to express any ideas I wanted. The aforementioned friend had this sampler CD and I kept coming back to one track, which was “Defiled” by Godflesh.
So I delved deeper into the guitarist’s back catalogue, which was a treasure trove of new forms of music to discover. For example I had no idea that the ambience I was so used to hearing in film sound design could be considered music in its own right. I mean a song with no beat, rhythm or notes, what’s that supposed to be? There was something utterly compelling in that absolute bareness.
That search for the extreme was quickly replaced by a search for the most bizarre. Naturally, I dusted off that guitar and just started fooling around, since you can apparently make it with no formal education, right? I amassed a pile of self-released stuff because I didn’t know either how or where to pitch that to. That’s when I decided to do the record label myself.
What do you enjoy about your workplace?
I’m immensely happy to have found something that I’m enthusiastic about – there’s so much I want to achieve, to the point I could never carry it all out. I love the freedom and the lack of restrictions – I do everything in my own time to my own vision. It’s always a thrilling reward to hear a friend’s track you helped release, or my own work played somewhere and people making a connection with it. This keeps me occupied and holds back the feeling of treading water.
What makes Turku your place to live and work?
I’ve never lived further than 20 kilometres from here- everything in my life has happened in the vicinity. The size is nifty, everything one needs is within an accessible walking range. The sense of connection – you bump into people you know surprisingly often. It’s a cradle of Nordic history and the inspiring culture is everywhere, especially in summertime. The tranquil and gorgeous solace of archipelago nature is always nearby!
What drives your ambition to work in such a fringe area of the music industry?
Number one is finding people who are so visibly passionate about the same things as I am, definitely. Staying true to myself and my neverending curiosity. There are no compromises or expectations, you could say most of it can be all subjectivity. The fantastic feeling of discovering something innovative that makes you go, “What the flip?!” It keeps me jazzed up and in overall high spirits for a long time.
Which artists would you recommend at Turku Modern?
There are so many as always… But outright must-see for me would be Tsembla and 111X.
Marja’s [Tsembla] hallucinatory way of collaging sound is so multicoloured, and she always keeps it all very restrained and controlled. Each time it’s a surprise and I have no idea how she does it! She’s also part of Himera, a collective that arranges excellent gigs for experimental music.
111X is a mad scientist, sadly almost completely unsung in Finland- he gets more appreciation where the scene is more active. His club sounds are so imaginative, teetering on the borders of both mind-bending and floor-stomping – a guaranteed knee slapper. I’m also sure the DJ sets of Emma Valtonen and Linda Lazarov are going to be the bomb.