2022 has been a good year for Blind Channel: besides the usual Finnish summer festival shows, they played at Wacken Open Air on the main stage, they released a new album and went on their first headliner tour in Europe. Fans can still be looking forward to the upcoming mini-tour in Finland with Arttu Lindeman as warm-up (26.12. Kuopio, The Circus, 29.12. Helsinki, Jäähalli, 30.12. Tampere, Pakkahuone, 31.12. Oulu, Tullisali). We met Aleksi Kaunisvesi (DJ, percussion) and Joonas Porko (git, voc) at Tuska festival and they told us more about it all:
– So you’ve got a new album out. Can you tell me more about it?
JP: Yeah, the album is called “Lifestyles of the Sick & Dangerous”. We were writing the album for two years. We started in 2020, beginning when the pandemic hit, and soon after that a lot of things happened. We signed with Century Media and we wrote the last songs like last summer.
AK: Yeah, it’s been a two-year process, and we couldn’t be happier about it. It’s the first album that we produced ourselves and yeah, enjoying that it’s out.
JP: And we’re so happy for the outcome, there are metal songs and there are kind of surprises as well.
– What are the topics of the songs?
AK: I mean, the album is definitely a true Blind Channel album – there’s metal, there’s rap, there’s electronic stuff…
JP: There are personal stories and everything we went through, like the first breakthrough.
AK: Yeah, it’s a bit a like a diary, and things that people have said to us during those years. It’s a great album for sure.
– I had a question. I recall you played Tuska’s small stage at some point (the smallest stage reserved for up-and-coming bands).
JP: Yeah, it was, I think, 2018. We played inside the building, you know, the small stage, and that was the first time at Tuska. I remember that was actually a pretty good show, but we were not that big band back then. And Aleksi here actually joined the band in 2020.
– I recall you were wearing these white overalls.
JP: We have these white clothes thing going on. But now a lot of things have changed and now we’re playing the bigger stages and we have a really good slot.
AK: A big production as well.
– How did your self-perception change before and after Eurovision and the breakthrough?
AK: I mean, it didn’t change too much, to be honest. I mean, Eurovision was just a checkpoint. We didn’t wanna get stuck, you know, we didn’t want people to know us „just“ from there. So we really swiftly moved on after it, writing the album, got back on touring and all that. But we see it as a great stepping stone for us.
JP: We got the record deal, we got a lot of new fans, and we’re kind of over Eurovision.
AK: Yeah, I think so too. But it was a great experience and great memories for sure.
– And follow-up question about Eurovision, can you share a little bit about how it was back then when you were coming there, how it felt?
JP: I think we enjoyed the time, you know, like doing social media stuff and everything around the whole Eurovision thing.
AK: It was a great experience for sure. We were there for two weeks I think. And then we had of course a lot of rehearsals since it’s a big TV show…
JP: I think it’s the biggest TV show….
AK: … like a musical. Yeah….
JP: The biggest besides the Super Bowl….
AK: …it was awesome. Behind the scenes, there was still a pandemic going on while we were there. So we didn’t get to hang out anywhere. We were just in a hotel, just six of us and the crew. So we didn’t do much, to be honest, we watched movies. We actually made a couple of songs there as well, which are on the album. And yeah, a great experience for sure.
– You’re a pretty unique band, because you play metal festivals and also “less metal” festivals. So, why do you think you fit all these different events?
JP: Yeah, we’ve been wondering that same thing because, for example, this week and tonight we’re playing at the metal festival Tuska, and tomorrow we’re playing at an electronic music Weekend festival. So the audience is totally, totally different. But I don’t know, that’s weird and I think at the same time it’s a really really good thing that our music works for metal heads and also for pop audiences.
AK: So I guess it’s because we come from very different backgrounds.
JP: Some of us are metal heads and Aleksi is all DJ.
AK: You know Nico [Moilainen] comes from a rap scene and that kind of stuff. So it’s a great combination and I think it’s all very natural. I think it reflects on our music and that’s why we get fans from electronic music, well we get fans from metalcore. So I think that’s the key.
– I watched your last music video, “Bad idea”. I just wonder how you came up with this particular visual style, The roses – what do they mean?
JP: Yeah, I think it was again, Nico’s good idea about the roses and the skull.
AK: We actually filmed two music videos for the song, one with a horror kind of storyline. But then when we finished it, we were like…
JP: …the first feeling was “this is not what the song is all about”.
AK: And then we filmed another video which is the one we released. And then after the release, we were like, “hey, this previous video is kind of cool as well”. So we released it too. So there are two music videos of the song.
JP: But you asked about the skull and the roses? I think it’s because it’s kind of a twisted love song.
AK: So it kind of fits the theme.
– How did you end up in the national Finnish TV New Year show? You know, in some countries, it’s the president who addresses the crowd on New Year.
AK: You mean the one we did last year? Yeah. I don’t know how we ended up there. They asked us and we were like, of course, we want to play a show during New Year’s.
JP: And they asked if it is possible for Blind Channel to play on TV for New Year’s eve, and we were like, hell yeah! And we got a big production there, and a lot of pyros and everything.
AK: The only thing is that we had “to time” our last song, because, you know, the “Dark Side” last verse was supposed to hit right when the year changes. And that was the only thing that wasn’t easy. We had the timing. We had our monitor guy in our ears, like, okay guys, start the song… now! That went pretty well and it’s a great show. It was awesome to play there for sure.
– Aleksi, since you like DJing and samples, how does your particular expertise contribute to the band?
AK: Yeah, I’m a producer as well, so when we made the album, I was the guy…
JP: …sitting behind the computer…
AK: … kind of in charge of the production, I think that’s my biggest part. Of course, my live set is getting better all the time and you know, we’re building it up even more as we go on, it’s all the scratching and all that stuff I do, it really fits the old songs as well. Which is kind of what we’re stressed about when I joined the band – how do I play the old songs?
JP: And we are super creative.
AK: And the set is now looking really awesome. So I’m really excited about it.
JP: At our live shows, you can see that there are DJ parts as well and they’re fresh, between the rock and metal.
AK: Yeah, it’s a great contrast.
– I think currently we have a lot of electronics in almost every kind. There are lots of folk bands, they play native old instruments, but they use lots of electronic post-processing.
AK: Yeah, that is true. And we have vinyl scratching. I don’t use real vinyl but scratch sounds and that kind of stuff.
JP: It kind of leans onto nu metal as well.
– One day you were like guys who were afraid to lose the band completely. And the next day, you got a big following and a lot of stuff going on, practically getting famous. How do you feel about it from a personal perspective? Do you feel like you live the same life? Did you experience some kind of pressure coming from all the fans? (note: A central department store in Helsinki, Forum, displayed a seven-story-high banner advertising the band’s new album, for example.)
AK: I mean it’s definitely the same, we live the same life. But the thing is, we tend to forget that we have so many fans. We came to the airport today, from we flew in from Stockholm and there were like 50 people waiting for us at the airport
JP: And we were in a bit of a hurry. So sometimes it’s difficult, you know, because you don’t want to disappoint your fans of course, but sometimes it’s just impossible to say hi to everyone and to take a picture with everyone.
AK: But on a personal level, I think it’s really cool and I’m really happy to see that we have so many fans and they’re really dedicated to our music
JP: … and they’re super active on social media as well and they come to the shows.
AK: I think nothing has changed too much. It’s just that we tend to forget that we can’t go everywhere.
JP: And I think at this point many artists can become some kind of assholes, you know, because you get such [attention] and everything, but we, if somebody says something stupid — we’re like…
AK: If someone gets their head in the clouds, we always bring them back.
– It’s what I like about Finnish culture, that showing off is not customary.
AK: I think it’s really a Finnish thing.
JP: Of course, you need to be determined, but don’t be an asshole
– Can you tell me a little bit about what you enjoy doing in your private lives apart from music?
AK: I usually hang out in my studio, even outside the music I do. I don’t do music when I’m outside of work, but still, you know, doing something with synths or guitars or whatever.
JP: When we’re not on tour, we’re mostly at the studio. When I have time I like to do some sports, I go running or play badminton or something and I’m a super social person. So I’d like to meet my friends.
AK: Basic stuff, what normal guys our age are doing.
JP: And of course you need to party when you have time for it for sure.
– Are you still based in Oulu?
AK: Actually only two of us are based there, it’s our bassist Olli Mattela and our drummer Tommi Lalli. They still live there, but all the rest of us live in Helsinki or close to Helsinki, so we’re kind of based here, but we’re traveling all the time. So it really does not matter.
JP: it’s still kind of easy, you know, Finland is a small country, it doesn’t matter if you live in another city, right?
– And what inspires you personally as an artist?
AK: I think a lot of other artists of course. And actually the thing I noticed when we saw Korn playing two days ago at a different festival where we also played, I get really inspired seeing other bands live. You know, it always gets you in the mood to want to go to the studio, I want to write a great song or play a show. So that’s really inspiring.
JP: And when you see other bands, big bands, you can get more ideas – not to steal from them, but you start to think on your own about something we can do better.
AK: Also movies for sure. Movie soundtracks are a great inspiration for the studio.
JP: Yeah and I really like to follow American artists, you know the „California Dreams“ (a 1990’s sitcom about a group of teenagers who form the fictional titular band; the ed.) that kind of thing but a lot of inspiration.
– Ok, I think I got to the end of my questions. Thank you very much for your time.
AK: Thank you so much!
photos & text: Askar Ibragimov