Hailing from Finland, Juho Vehmanen aka Helsinski, is a promising new talent within the world of contemporary Pop music. Electro Wow had an interview with him to find out all the most important details you’ll probably want to discover about himself as an artist. In addition, I fully recommend you to listen to his newest single “Glow Sticks” below, which seems to be on everyone’s lips.
1 — First of all, why did you choose “Helsinski” as your artistic name?
I think the name ‘Helsinski’ (the capital of Finland is correctly spelled Helsinki) encapsulates some relevant information about me in one word. Obviously it gives away my geographical location which – I think – is always an interesting fact to know about an artist, since it puts them in a cultural framework. The name also suggests that the music is somewhat urban. Helsinski also really sounds like a surname, so it could lead to the correct conclusion that the music is performed by one person only. For some, it may represent a humorous reference to the political concept of Finlandization. All in all, I think it’s a name of many associations.
2 — How would you define your music with just three words?
Urban alternative pop would be my genre description in three words. To put it more informally, I’d use the adjectives soft, nocturnal and relaxed.
3 — Which popular artists can we compare to Helsinski?
I’ve heard some Depeche Mode comparisons. I’m a fan of Die Antwoord, Daft Punk and Air myself to name a few, but don’t think you can really hear those influences in my stuff. I keep surfing Spotify for random stuff for inspiration. My background as a musician is in Pop and Rock. I think Helsinski is a hybrid of a whole lot of stuff. I’m eager to hear those comparisons, though!
After marking the structure and chord progressions with a piano I laid the foundation for “Glow Sticks” with a pretty loose Hip-Hop drum groove that’s partially programmed “in the box” and partially played with real drums and percussion. I’m not too solid of a drummer so I had to cheat a little. The bass part is a combination of overdriven and side-chain compressed synth and an electric bass slapped and played with a pick through a Big Muff fuzzbox.
I put some ambiance pads and a groove-emphasizing synth arp to the background. The shimmering top end consists of granulated delay effects derived from other, already existing elements. Most of the guitars were played by Riku Karvonen, a super talented guitar connoisseur whom I’ve been lucky to play quite a lot with over the past few years. All elements combined, I ended up with pretty 80’s sounding track by accident. But I decided that as an 80’s product myself I have all the rights to sound like one. Vocals are pretty heavily effected with saturation, huge delays, doubling, pitch and formant shifting and vocoding.
5 – What is this song “Glow Sticks” about?
It’s about two self-contained, short-term light-sources who find comfort in each others company in this impossible place called life.
6 – Any plans to drop a video for this single?
Would you like to invest in one? I’m short a couple grand. The revenues will be surprising, I assure you!
7 — What can listeners expect from your next release?
The next release after the single “Glow Sticks” will be a similarly named album of 9 songs. It will be released on May 17th and it’s gonna be great company for a night drive under neon lights!
8 – Finally, what’s your ultimate dream as an artist?
To crystallize my own sound to the max and keep the high motivation on learning new stuff every day. A billboard hit would also be cool.