Interview and translation from Finnish: Erkki Rautio / pHinnWeb
15 April 2002 - Is the era of commercial house and trance finally over in Finland? We won't hold our breaths, but have been glad to notice, nevertheless, that there has been some growing interest for electro sounds by that Finnish youth who follow the music scene and also create it themselves -- electro also being traditionally close to pHinnWeb's frozen heart [see 313ctr0]. The latest Finnish electro entrepreneur is the X0X Records label, which recently released their debut, Pain EP by Laite ["device"]. pHinnWeb interviewed under tight security an agent of X0X Records in an ultra-secret location underground bunker.
- How did X0X Records get started?
On an idea level, we had been developing the whole thing for about two years. When the right track (Laite - 'Pain') got our attention, it was time to get things rolling. To put it brief, the whole thing started out because of our own enthusiasm for electro.
- How much people there are involved with X0X Records?
Let's say that just enough; not to reveal too much about it...
- Are there now any other artists on X0X Records alongside Laite?
At the moment Laite is the only one. We've had initial negotiations with 3-4 different artists, though. Only time will tell how things move on. People can send us their demos, of course.
- How has your record label been doing so far, and what kind of feedback have you received?
The feedback from the first release has been positive all the way, and it will soon be all sold out except for some singular copies left. So, we prepare for our next release with positive thoughts.
- Do you think your style of music is well received here in Finland, or do you think it's better to get directly for the international market?
We think that during the last two years there has been a lot of positive development in Finland as far as electro goes. Electro is not considered any more as a sort of weird 808 + distortion type of stuff for real freaks only, which may have been the situation a couple of years ago. This has been influenced even by such local commercial acts as Fu-Tourist and Bomfunk MC's -- who, by the way, snipped their style from Music Inspector in Germany and Freestylers. Not to get these acts confused with electro scene, but they have played their own part, nevertheless. Who would have believed that breakdance would be fashionable again in the beginning of the new millennium, just in the way of Adidas Superstar sneakers, for example.
There have been very many new and promising electro artists, live acts, DJs and record labels from Finland. Rikos Records, Kostamus Records and DUM have in their own part helped the "triumph" of electro (even though DUM, as a label, is now as old as the heavens). Similarly, also the parties of Club Telex, Flash of Niitty posse and Rikos Records have helped to bring electro to the popular attention.
One should mention such artists as Tero, Mulletronic, Imatran Voima, Dr. Robotnik, Mr Velcro Fastener, Op:l Bastards, New York City Survivors, V.U.L.V.A. and Polytron, the most of whom also have international connections now. To think of it, Finland is getting to be a small wonderland for electro. I'd say that the time and general atmosphere are right for the music that we represent.
All this has led us not consciously attempting for the international market, at least yet, because, as it is now, we can get all our releases to sell out just within the Finnish borders. Because there is a growing interest in Finland towards electro all the time.
- How would you describe your musical style?
New millennium's twisted electro music for your perverted minds.
- How about your influences?
As with so many other people into electro, also with us our roots can be traced back to Kraftwerk, which leads to 'Planet Rock' by Afrika Bambaataa. Electro deriving from the old school rap scene, these have very much influenced and shaped the current electro scene. These also having shaped our minds and laying basis for our own efforts.
- And what current artists you're most into yourselves?
There are just too many of them, so just to mention a few: Anthony Rother, Adult., Mr Velcro Fastener, Dexter, Miss Kittin, The Hacker, I-F, Dynamix II, Imatran Voima, Alden Tyrell, Chicks On Speed, Larry McCormick... Jori Hulkkonen did great with his Zyntherius alias... One could go on endlessly with this list.
Have you been involved with the party scene? For example, organising events, DJing, etc.? And how about the live PAs with your artists?
As for myself, I can tell that I've been involved with the "scene" for about 7 years now: organising parties, as a DJ and doing live sets, varying from big events to small underground sort of things. Laite only does DJ sets, but provided with just enough money, live PA should be OK too :)
- Your Top Ten for the moment/all-time?
Let's say Top 5, more likely (compiling charts is not the best thing that I know):
At the moment:
1. Adult.: Don't You Stop
2. Adult.: Hand To Phone
3. Mulletronic: Eeyore
4. Mr Velcro Fastener: (An)Other Side
5. New York City Survivors: The Game
1. Afrika Bambaataa & The Soul Sonic Force: Planet Rock
2. Hashim: Al Naafiysh (The Soul)
3. Cybotron: Clear
4. Anthony Rother: Sex With The Machines
5. Egyptian Lover: Egypt Egypt
- How would comment on the current music scene in Finland?
As a whole, we are living an interesting period of transition. The mainstream styles such as trance, hardhouse and maybe to some extent, progressive, are starting to fade (fortunately). We are awaiting with great interest what would be "The Trend" for the next. The large-scale dance promoters in Finland nearly always take their Next Big Things from the British Isles, so what seems to be popular there, will also eventually happen here.
We believe, though, that electro will retain its underground spirit, because it's hard for the great public to take on anything, that differs from the 4/4 beat. Though, maybe for example nu breaks is an interesting genre, which would gain the acceptance of large masses.
Lately, electro has been sort of acknowledged here in Finland, and even the parties dedicated to electro only have gained popularity and have earned their money back. We think it is positive progress all the way. All in all, the whole situation in general is much better than it was for example two years ago.
- Do you have any sort of vision of the future developments of electronic music and that scene in general?
The mixing and matching of different styles, which is prevalent now, and searching for the new "genres" themselves will probably get less frantic in a year or two. Some genres are getting to be so out of ideas, that only recycling the old will be the only way to create anything. It's impossible to predict the future, but we expect with a great interest.
- And how about your future plans?
To go on publishing good music. It's probable we are going to keep our releases very small-scale and therefore sought-after. In a way, this is still just trying out.
- Your favourite question they never ask in interviews?
Whatever happened to 404?
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