Dave Brown fills us in a little bit about the Finnish music scene, in particular focussing on Soliti recording stars Paperfangs who’ve just released a new album, Past Perfect, which you can stream in full from the widget below.
Finland isn’t the first place you’d associate with cutting-edge independent music, but whilst Sigur Ros and Bjork fly the flag for Iceland and First Aid Kit, The Hives and Shout Out Louds represent Sweden, there’s an underground movement in the most easternly Scandanavian country, based around the Soliti label, that’s slowly but surely making waves and bringing Finnish independent music to the attention of those searching for something a little different.
Paperfangs, the latest signings to Soliti, are due to release their debut album, Past Perfect, on 22nd February. The album follows on from their cassette and download only EP “AAVVAV” released in 2012 and debut EP “ePop006” from 2010.
Lead single “Bathe In Glory” was released at the start of January and follows those two releases in showcasing keyboard-driven electronic pop with subtle hooks, samples and earworms that grab the listener and make them come back for more.
“Past Perfect” is an enchanting album with hints of eighties electronica & elements of early New Order, all packaged around half-spoken half-sung male vocals with occassional female backing. Whilst “Bathe In Glory” is the most accessible track, there’s also a darker more menacing edge on tracks like “Darkling I Listen” and “Widow’s Song” that gives the album a variety of moods and effect.
Dave Brown spoke to Jyri from the band to find out more but first why not click “Play” on the Soundcloud embed below …
Can you tell me a little bit about the band, how you all met and formed?
The band consists of Jyri, Tarleena and Mikko — a brother, a sister and a friend. Growing up together, Tarleena and I spent a lot of time doing creative stuff: writing, drawing, making home movies… and music, too. A few years ago I wanted to start a new project, and it was obvious from the very beginning that I wanted Tarleena to be involved too. Mikko and I had met a bit before that, when we used to work together in an ad company. I asked Mikko to do a logo and some promotional shots for us, but soon figured out he should more involved. After that, we came up with the idea for a proper band, one that combines audial, visual and audiovisual elements.
Could you describe your music to someone who has never heard you before?
It’s always very hard to describe our music. I’m quite fond of the dream pop genre, and it feels to fit us well. And I think our sound is quite Scandinavian, too.
Who would you class as your major influences, current and past?
During the album recording, we listened a lot of twee, synth pop and post-punk from the 80’s and 90’s. 60’s girl groups always inspire us, and all the new dreamy stuff too. There are some specific bands too — we heard a lot of comparisons to the Radio Dept. when our EP came out. Also the cinema affects our stuff quite a bit.
Who writes the songs in the band and where do you draw your lyrics from?
I write the songs, Tarleena helps out a lot. I’m always inspired by stories: movies, books and mythologies and I’m not shy to reflect them to my own life — and then turn them into lyrics. For our new album, I tried writing most of the lyrics before doing the music — earlier I used to record a lot of stuff before coming up with the texts.
The album comes out on Feb 22. Are there plans to tour it, in Finland and further afield?
We have a couple of gigs lined up in Finland. We’re hoping to do some gigs abroad soon, but haven’t really done anything to make it happen.
Finland isn’t generally associated with independent music, yet there appears to be a bustling scene over there around Soliti. What other bands on the label can you recommend?
Seriously, all of them! Our first gig ever was with Delay Trees and I think we have some similar elements with them. Black Twig’s album was one the best releases last year, and all of the bands are simply amazing live. There are a lot of great small Finnish bands out there, our non-Soliti favourites are probably French Films, Fotoshop and Sin Cos Tan. There are some great albums coming out this year.
You can buy both the Past Perfect album from the rather splendid Stupido shop in Helsinki or online (in English).
Previous EP AAVVAV is available on cassette and download and can be listened to on Paperfangs’ bandcamp page HERE.
Debut EP ePop006 is available on free download from Eardrums HERE.
All words David Brown. More articles by David can be found here.