Jaakko Eino Kalevi Leads A Finnish Invasion

Speaking to The Great Escape performer, and more…

The international partner for this year’s The Great Escape in Brighton – starting tomorrow – is Finland. The Nordic nation follows Poland (2013), Australia (2010) and France (2007), among others, in showcasing a variety of its finest artists at the seaside-set three-dayer, running May 8th to May 10th.

To celebrate this arrival on our shores of some most splendid new sounds, Clash here speaks to Jaakko Eino Kalevi, perhaps the brightest talent amongst the current crop of Finnish musicians, and gets the lowdown on a handful more performers hoping to turn British heads on the south coast.

- - -

Jaakko Eino Kaveli, ‘No End’, from the ‘Dreamzone’ EP

- - -

Jaakko Eino Kaveli has already begun to break out of his domestic scene, with the release of ‘Dreamzone’ (late 2013) through Domino-affiliated imprint Weird World. Previously seen as something of a cult figure, his material wraps bubbly pop up in an ethereal haziness, the results capable of transporting the everyman away from the everyday.

‘Dreamzone’ is certainly very comfortable within its title – it’s a banner that makes sense for what falls under it. So what came first, the mood of the music or the title?

Most of the music was ready before the idea of doing an EP came up. But at first the word ‘dreamzone’ was in the lyrics to the (EP-featured) song ‘Memories’. It’s also a tribute to my friend’s comic album, ‘Viihdealus Dreamzone’, and also seemed to talk with the mood of the EP.

The music’s very instantly appealing, and has a really optimistic feel to it. It feels a little fantastical to me, too – like it’s encouraging the listener to leave the world around them for a few minutes.

I think it’s not that much of a fantasy world. Everything is here, and it’s just about occupying your vibes and making your own meanings. Maybe it's more like a mythological sound.

You’ve attracted comparisons to artists like Ariel Pink and Destroyer, which must be nice.

Of course, it’s an honour to be connected to these artists. But I would say that I get influences from all the music I hear, and things I see. I’m not into genres that much. For example, I hear a lot of dub influence in my music. I listen to a lot of music from the past, but I’m not nostalgic at all. Everything is better now, more than ever. 

You’re generally seen as a new artist here in the UK, but you’ve released quite a bit more than ‘Dreamzone’ back home. Is that something you’re comfortable with?

There are some people in England who know my older music as well. I think the music that comes out is always a bit late, from the point where I am at the moment. But that’s good, because you have to (have time to) process things, sometimes. 

Apparently you’re a tram driver, when you’re not making music… Is that true?

It is very true, though I haven’t been working that much lately. I love that job. It’s so easy, and there is definitely room for your own thoughts. Plus it’s so flexible! I have had many ideas there while I’ve been driving. I feel that early mornings and late nights are the most creative (times of day for me). 

Finally, who else amongst this year’s Finnish acts performing at The Great Escape should people be making every effort to check out?

I like Sin Cos Tan. (And you can read more on them, below.)

‘Dreamzone’ and its companion remix EP are available now through Weird World. Jaakko performs at Coalition on Thursday May 8th, at Clash’s first-ever Great Escape showcase – details here. Nice. Find him online here

Jaakko photographed by Saskia Lawaks (website)

- - -

Get to know some of the other Finnish artists playing The Great Escape…

NEØV
(online)
Photo by Appu Jasu

How would you describe yourselves to the average Great Escape punter?

Anssi Neuvonen, vocals/guitar: We’re playing dreamy music with the fragrance of birch forests and the vastness of lakes in it. We live in Eastern Finland, which really means living in the farthest corner of the world, at least in the farthest corner of Europe, and that gives a certain type of nuance for our music. 

What's the best thing about being part of the Finnish music scene right now?

AN: There’s a lot of quality and talent in the Finnish music scene and it’s not a surprise that many Finnish artists have gathered good international attention in recent years. Looks like it’s a growing trend. The best thing about being part of it right now is that there’s a lot of personality in Finnish music. Today’s artists in Finland are not imitating the established conventions – they’re creating something personal.

TGE is a pretty busy event, and time is at a premium. If an attendee were to check out one of your tracks, to get an idea of what you're about, what would it be?

AN: ‘Laketown’, the first single from our upcoming album ‘Dominique’. Behind the song is an image where the Morricone-esque horizon meets the present moment. It’s a good glance into what our music is about. 

- - -

The Scenes
(online)

How would you describe yourselves to the average Great Escape punter?

Miki Liukkonen, guitar: We are possibly the most important band at the moment. Contemporary music is based on shallow endeavours and conformism. Our live shows are great and our songs are to be future of rock ‘n’ roll.

What's the best thing about being part of the Finnish music scene right now?

ML: Nothing, really. Nobody cares about each other. Everyone thinks they’re so important and that’s what they’re not. You really have to earn your true individualistic voice of your music. Everyone lacks that at the moment. Everyone wants to be some pathetic Two Door Cinema Club, Vampire Weekend or whatever. That doesn’t deserve a place in reality.

TGE is a pretty busy event, and time is at a premium. If an attendee were to check out one of your tracks, to get an idea of what you're about, what would it be?

ML: ‘Anorexia Is Boring’.

- - -

Sin Cos Tan
(online)
Photo by Lauri Hannus

How would you describe yourselves to the average Great Escape punter?

Based on the finer traditions of both synth-pop and classic songwriter duos, SCT updates both genres to the 2010s. We offer snazzy synth riffs, punchy beats and catchy choruses. With our third album on the way within two years, we’re at the peak of our creative powers.

What's the best thing about being part of the Finnish music scene right now?

We haven’t really thought about it. Diversity? 

TGE is a pretty busy event, and time is at a premium. If an attendee were to check out one of your tracks, to get an idea of what you're about, what would it be?

‘Limbo’

- - -

Suvi
(online)

How would you describe yourself to the average Great Escape punter?

Good vibes, and a unique sound. The songs are really great, too. Catchy, but not in a phoney, industrial way. The music is for real. We’ve started something special – a marriage between cinematic, anthemic beats and some down-to-earth, bluesy, folky stuff. Excited to see what happens next.

What's the best thing about being part of the Finnish music scene right now?

There are so many talented and hard-working people in it, and it just feels like a force to be reckoned with!

TGE is a pretty busy event, and time is at a premium. If an attendee were to check out one of your tracks, to get an idea of what you're about, what would it be?

The latest single, ’Find You’, would probably be the best gateway into me and the music.

- - -

The Great Escape runs from May 8th to May 10th. Full information here

Related: read an interview with our TGE stage headliners, Little Dragon

Buy Clash Magazine
Get Clash on your mobile, for free: iPhone / Android

Have your say

Sign in or Register to leave comments
-