Almarkâ€™s first release toÂ Weatnu Records was the abstract electronic album ATD. A collection of grooving, semi-dark synth pop tracks mixed with atmospheric electronic soundscapes.
Album opener, â€™32 bitâ€™, captures that â€˜Reproductionâ€™ and â€˜Travelogueâ€™ era Human League vibe, dark synthpop without being too dark. There are several tracks like this (â€˜High Biasâ€™ and â€˜ICâ€™ to name two) that delight the ears and soothe the soul. Other tracks (â€˜Flip-Flopâ€™, â€˜Digital Mountainsâ€™ and â€˜Binary Fathomsâ€™ plus more) create a binary image in the mindâ€™s eye of desolate landscapes filled with wonder and awe. â€˜Captain Capstanâ€™ even has, what can only be described as, the sound of an engaged telephone tone pulsating throughout. Title track, â€˜ATDâ€™, brings a Kraftwerk feel to the proceedings with good use of a vocoder to add some vocal elements. It is truly captivating stuff.
-ATD- will enhance your record collection. It is an album, perfect for headphones and quiet thinking time, which deserves to be listened to whilst shutting out the world. Allow the textures that Almark creates wash over you and carry you to a distant place where nothing else matters at all. Allow yourself to gaze in wonder at mountainous valleys and galactic stars as Almark transports you beyond the confines of your ordinary world. A magical and safe journey can be had by all.
The Phoenix based â€˜Electro Sci-fiâ€™ duo Season 3, bring another slice of sublime, otherworldly electronic pop to your ears in the form of the EP â€˜Interstellar Commuteâ€™. Those already familiar with the duo will be happy to hear more sci-fi intergalactic imagery shining through the lyrical themes on this EP.
Opening pop-rock groover â€˜23rd Century Love Songâ€™ brings a feel-good vibe which instantly lifts the listener. Full of melody, and driving guitars. The track brings feelings of warmth and you feel instantly relaxed, knowing youâ€™re in for a treat. â€˜Fhlostonâ€™ conjurs up the retro vibe of a 1984 12â€ club remix of a pop hit, whilst still retaining an edge to itself. The vocals sound like Gary Numan during his hey-day, giving the listener a nostalgic feeling. Edgy and comfortable at the same time, â€˜Fholstonâ€™ is definitely a stand out track. Next, Season 3 bring â€˜Mental Circuitryâ€™ to the party. A powerhouse of twinkling synths, retro pads and a killer guitar solo, this track has a pop melody that sticks in your head and a beat that refuses to let you not tap your feet. As with the previous 2 tracks, the vocal harmonies are wonderfully presented allowing the melodies to embrace you and make you smile. The final track, and the last stop on this interplanetary voyage, is â€˜Wish I Could Stayâ€™. This track has a bouncy, driving feel to it with a pulsing bassline, pushing the song along to its natural conclusion. It never runs out of steam (or rocket fuel) and is the perfect foil for the lyrical lament.
Altogether, Season 3 have created the perfect selection to play on a sunny day whilst driving with the windows down and stereo up high. You cannot fail to smile as you listen to â€˜Interstellar Commuteâ€™ in all its glory. A synth-pop delight!
Welcome Hansi, WEATNU has been playing your tracks for a while on [OUR] Radio, and I’ve always enjoyed hearing your work.
Hansi: Thanks. Thats nice to hear.
You’ve been with #WEATNU since it’s start, how has it benefited you?
Hansi: It’s great to have joined the WEATNU movement, as it’s got some recognition for my music.
Your music reminds me of the retro sound of early 80s, but without the usual normal sounds, many would say synthwave but there is more to your music than that, what would you say?
Hansi: I was musically “socialised” in the 80’s, thats true, but I never see my music as 80’s or something. It’s more like “in that tradition”.
Do you think the retro sound is making a comeback in this modern fast-paced world of EDM and posh pop?
Hansi: Music of that kind has developed. I don’t consider it Retro. For myself I cannot say what “Kind” of music I make, I lost track on “how music categories work”. Its kind of synthpop, elektropop, but yet there are influences of punk, goth, industrial, things my musical role models do.
There is no reason any one of us should ‘label’ our music, including myself. So I understand. When I listen to music from other countries, I hear the remainder of what was left years ago, only to end up in the underground. While here in the States we have a revolution of the same sounding electronic. Is this movement you have entered into going strong in Vienna?
Hansi: Honestly, i don’t really know. There is a kind of electronic Scene here, they play in clubs, but they nearly get no recognition by the public. I only start “finding” some of that Scene myself. It’s as said an ‘Underground Thing.’
You’ve just released a new album, first to your bandcamp and to WEATNU Records. Would you like to say some things about your album?
Hansi: The Album is called “Romance (and related Misery). I tend to put a theme to every Album i do. It’s a kind of guideline for the lyrics and the mood.
There is always a element of mystery to your songs, so I am not surprised by this. When was the album first released?
Hansi: I put it on SC on Nov. 2nd as a playlist of the entire Album. It achieved some recognition. I think there are some quite nice tracks on it.
Always good to hear that, and I would agree.
Hansi: I think it started with a track called “Honeymoon is over”. I did a FB Chat with US based collaborator Mark LaFountain, about being drawn away from a track, when another idea emerges.
I am listening to the album at this time, the themes of each song hint at a bad relationship, but I’m sure this is debatable. Do you have anything deep that keeps the songs aimed at this vibe?
Hansi: Mark said, it’s like when the honeymoon is over, your Attention is drawn to “normal” so I replied, that would be a good name for a track! So I did a new song, named it Honeymoon Is Over and found some lyrics to it.
And they all seem to fit the mood. I hear an influence of darkwave more on this album than you past works, like something shifted in this album. Has your influences changed since then?
Hansi: I like the lyrics of Gary Numan and he’s done this “disguise reality thing” for a very long time. I am a huge GN follower, So this has become part of my own approach. Of course some lyrics emerge from real life. They are disguised and altered in the way i like it. Sometimes it gets so far away from reality, that a new reality is created.
From your name, this would be evident, certainly a good way to describe your sound. The obscure is what makes music interesting.
Hansi: I am not really aware of particular influences. But they are here evidently. But don’t ask me to name darkwave artists! But i am a lifelong fan of the Cure, The Sisters of Mercy, The Mission. Depeche Mode do have their sinister moody time as well.
Now it makes sense, yes. It’s very easy to absorb styles throughout our music journey. I hear a lot of synth pads and melody crafting, are you solo and do you compose from scratch?
Hansi: For composition I Use Ableton Live as a DAW. I found this in 2010 and it really helps developing tracks.
So much diversity from using Live, and so many of our artists including myself use it. So I understand it’s depth and power.
Hansi: I mostly start with a beat, then add basic lines. Then comes a lyrical idea, that goes to the DAW immediately as a sketch and then starts the “real” production… Until i am drawn away and i consider the last one “finished”.
How long do you usually spend working on a song?
Hansi: It depends, between a week and a month as an average guess. With Stonecold, it started as another track in Dec 2013, then i didn’t know what to do with it. Then came along nice lyrics from a trip to the UK. I put it together last August.
Musician or composer, or both?
Musician/Composer? Kraftwerk consider themselves as Musikarbeiter (musicworkers), I am not “really” a worker, but thats more or less it.
Fantastic work, I might add, Stonecold plays often on #WEATNU [OUR]
Hansi: I sometimes start from nothing, and sometimes i use readymade Loops to combine and do something new. Thanks for the “Stonecold” compliment. I got compliments for the drums the other day, but i must admit, i nicked them from another track i really like!
You’re welcome, it’s nice to borrow from our past works isn’t it? Keyboardist?
Hansi: I do have one of course. I know, they have White and Black keys…
Hansi: No, i never properly learned how to play, but thats not the point. It helps triggering the sounds I need to get the flow out. For years I used an acoustic guitar to play and compose music.
Hansi: It’s the better instrument for playing at campfires! I recently dug out some old tapes i did in the 80ies and early 90ies. I did tracks using a Casio MT 210 preset keyboard.
‘The cynical guitarist’ this interview could be called! He was the cynical guitarist – interview with Hansi S. Impressive.
Hansi: Not sure about cynical.
Subjectively of course, I was kidding. So you’ve been writing music for how long?
Hansi: I started in ’83 as a teenager.
That would make you 23 now? [Jokes]. At the height of the New Wave, very interesting indeed.
Hansi: Yeah, i think i wanted to be like my heroes then. There comes a time when everyone wants to be a policeman, a firefighter or a rockstar. I Chose the Rockstar!
Hansi: I took an old guitar of my mum, had to detune it, as i didn’t know of chords, and started with lyrics. they were in English from the start, maybe that helped with my school marks!
And over the years you’ve gone from using ‘hardware’ to mostly digital these days. Including ‘live’ and other DAWs?
Hansi: I’m using Live only. Before that I found “Acid DJ” and “Magix Music Maker”
One German made, one Sony made, quite interesting.
Hansi: I did an Album using ACID DJ in 2008
So the digital experience started for you in 2008? Because I transitioned in 2009 myself.
Hansi: About that time. I had a 15 years break in recording anything. Some things changed during that period.
A hiatus I see?
Hansi: Life went on in 92/93. I only played music at campfires!
Hansi: and not even mine!
So you write music through midi sequence, adding the steps to form a song using mouse or other?
Hansi: For editing i use my Novation Xio 49, my Novation Launchpad AND the mouse (to correct mainly), but it depends on how fast things have to happen. If the idea is faster than my Hardware, i may put up a beat with the mouse.
So mostly using midi controllers, not keyboard controllers, I see.
And what do you think about WEATNU and the WEATNU digital magazine?
Hansi: WEATNU is a great platform to expose, to meet and to share. The Magazine – i don’t know yet – we haven’t seen much of that yet (i think).
How about in general, the future of the magazine?
Hansi: It may well help distribute and get the interest in the movement, the artists.
We hope so. And how has WEATNU helped you, the radio, the promotion?
Hansi: It helped in confidence the first way. No one i know has listened to it but knowing it is heard around the world helps me to talk about me making music.
It’s always good to hear that. Also, how do you feel about word of mouth promo?
Hansi: Promo helped gain a following base on SC, so i can “play/release” to a larger audience.
Hansi: But in my personal surroundings, most of them do not know about me making “that Kind of Music”
That’s what WEATNU is for, giving the artist their outlet to do what makes them feel comfortable, giving them the means to showcase their art, in whatever form they choose.
Hansi: As i put links to FB more often (because of the confidence, there are musically interested friends that ask me “Is that YOUR Music?”
We feel this will revolutionize the industry. It’s very refreshing to hear that.
Hansi: We can hope for that. But the Music industry works in so much unexpected ways.
So you’re saying WEATNU is virally spreading to Facebook? To strangers?
Hansi: WEATNU on FB is only able to spread via WEATNU FB users, BUT i think, it draws interest from what i see.
We plan to go much further, as we already have many interested in our twitter account. More is happening there. We know the old industry is dying, but the new is coming, in the form of movements and Internet followings. Do you think WEATNU is the next movement?
Hansi: WEATNU may be a movement, definitely, but it may be challenged by other movements as well. The HipHop community uses FB and Twitter a lot, i think.
That they do. We’re a virtual movement, but this is the ‘wave’ of the future, we feel very strongly that it will catch on in time. The first of it’s kind.
Hansi: For a musician, it’s not only plays and recognition, it should be drawn to sales as well, so that open sharing is “the new movement” in a way, but thats why the old System dies – sharing, not selling.
Or at least in such diverse ways, not just one subgenre but many. Selling is our next goal, thus we have the net-label and magazine. You may not be aware but WEATNU has t-shirts, hoodies and other. The growth is happening and it’s catching on in numbers every week. Our soundcloud group is bursting over with 700+ plus tracks and over 130 unique artists at this time.
Hansi: I saw the merch. Cool stuff,… but I am not a good customer in those things. I rarely buy Tshirts at concerts!
The Radio plays over 12 hours of music rotated daily and the list goes on. This virtual platform is like the death star, the ultimate battle station.
Hansi: I am glad to be part of the movement and was considered to join as one of the first.
We are most glad to have you here with us.
One more question to add… Plans for the future?
Hansi: I am working on the Album “Unexpected Knowledge” right now [Album he said…]. I may turn to some more ambient (longer) tracks, like the two I’ve already made (“Breeder” and “Meditation Boulevard”).
We hope to hear them and will certainly play them on the radio and release to the net-label in the coming future.
[and finally] Goals you wish to meet?
Hansi: I tend to not see Goals, but to know where to pass on my path. Some recognition, maybe a “real/proper” release (not only web based), things like that. I know I am not in my 20ies anymore, so I’m not going to make a living out of that…
That is what WEATNU is here for, finally gaining that recognition as the artist we are. Because everyone of us, even without this movement, we are the new underground. Anything you would like to tell anyone who is reading?
Hansi: Haha: the usual “stay peaceful and creative”
Thank you for doing an interview with us, it has been a pleasure to hear what you have to say about weatnu and music in general.
Hansi: And yet it was nearly to short to even touch the surface.
Ideomotor, a true ‘dynamic duo’ are breaking into the Helsinki electronic scene, we were able to have a interview with Erkka Wennonen and Kimmo Myllyviita. As they give us insight into their music and influences.
How do you feel your music fits to a world fueled by the EDM sound?
Erkka Wennonen – We have been somewhat surprised on the the sort of genre descriptions we have been associated with, we honestly thought we were a bit more mainstream.. but I think there is a place for darker tones in an EDM era also.
I can clearly say your music is not EDM.
Kimmo Myllyviita -Yes! I’m having trouble to put us in one genre really.
It feels like you are bringing back the fantastic sounds of the 80s in a modern era. How is this being received?
Erkka – At least myself, I’m quite happy how the first couple songs turned out – there’s obviously a bit of homage, but also some more contemporary stuff. Feedback has been really positive and I reckon its only the live dates that will show how it will all work out.
Kimmo – I have to say we didn’t really plan the sound particularly. just started making music that felt good and would bring something new.. or a nice mix of old and new. I’m really happy if we’ve succeeded.
Which it does.
Kimmo – thank you.
Do you have some shows planned this year?
Kimmo – Not already booked, but definitely there will be!
Erkka – Yes, some support slots in Finland and at the continent are on the works, but will be finalized in the next couple weeks hopefully
Kimmo – Indeed, but can’t say dates yet.
It’s not hard to tell that you guys are influenced by some great artists, that I love as well, Duran Duran, DM and more. Would you like to tell us about your sound?
Kimmo – I think the great diversity comes from all diverse music that we both love and have listened to, but surely you can point out some references, such as DM… but to me at least there’s a lot of guitar rock influence too, 90s especially.
Kimmo – I mean, I’ve played for years, alternative rock, being a guitar player and a lead singer.
Impressive: Your new album is my personal favorite here on WEATNU and WEATNU [OUR] Radio, which we play often. When I first heard Master/Slave I was in love.
Erkka – It was one of the first songs we ever wrote for Ideomotor and that sort of got the ball rolling.
Kimmo – Awesome! I have to say I’m very happy about that song
Being a 80s affectionato myself, it really speaks to me.
Kimmo – Yes, I see that song as very early DM influenced, sure.
And who plays keyboard and guitar in Ideomotor?
Kimmo – Good question.
Erkka – Kimmo takes care of lead vocals and we split duties on other instruments.
Kimmo – We’re both more at home with guitars, that’s for sure. Keyboards are still a bit new to both of us.
Erkka – Not planning to do live shows as a duo however.
Kimmo – I think more like a trio at least.
So truly a synthpop duo, but many are calling it Synthwave these days. We’re rewinding the cassette tape back again, as history is repeating itself with many WEATNU artists.
Erkka – As said we thought of ourselves as more mainstream and have been quite astonished about the synth wave/darkwave talk – finding the correct hashtag is surprisingly tricky!
Kimmo – It’s obvious now I think. but when writing these songs… I had no idea really, what genre it’s gonna be.
As it is with WEATNU, we simply want to hear good music, we’re trying to change things for the Electronic musician. It’s interesting to hear what other countries call mainstream. Because in the states mainstream is pop, so over there it’s more 80s based.
Kimmo – And that’s really great, and I just care about songs. not the genres.
How long have you both been a band, it says that you started in 2014, but I feel much longer?
Kimmo – Well, we’ve come a long way.. but as friends, doing music separately. This was bit of a lucky coincidence, that we decided to do music together.
Erkka – I’ve been in and out music for a long time whereas Kimmo seems to have been recording something always.
Both of you are seasoned musicians?
Kimmo – I’d say that, sure. But never professionally, music is my greatest passion. Can’t think nothing better than doing the music I love and people listening to it.
Erkka – We both have been playing guitars for a long time though. It was just quite refreshing to find an alternative outlet from a more electronic approach.
Kimmo – Like being new born.
And that outlet is WEATNU?
Erkka – I truly hope so!
We’ll we appreciate you guys, glad to have you. I’m looking forward to this new album, when do you have it on release?
Erkka – Thank you! it’s been great you doing this for us!
Erkka – We are currently in the studio lobby.. the producer just left so can’t give an exact time-line; but we hope to have something new out sometime during the spring. Not really decided whether we want to go for a full length album or whether to keep going releasing ep’s.
I think your music will be a refreshing sound to this world, but music abroad is always more colorful, we need more of that here in the States. Do you plan on touring around Finland? Might even open for acts such as Röyksopp?
Kimmo – Wow! that’d be awesome.
Erkka – We are hoping to, but the business side of things is always a little complicated and depends on a lot of things.. but hoping to get some good dates for the spring already. And I reckon the live sound will be a bit more of a band, but lets see what it will fit with!
Kimmo – it would be a dream come true, so driving for live definitely
Optimism is high with our artists in weatnu, they now have hope. What are your thoughts about “We are the New Underground in a whole?”
Kimmo – From what I’ve seen BIG RESPECT!
Erkka – It’s been really inspiring to find quality artists over the platform and I truly hope it gets the attention it deserves. The world has become a lot smaller and therefore platforms such as WEATNU has much more influence on the whole market than ever before. It’s not only the major labels that rule anymore, and it gives decent odds to all kinds of artists.
About the name of your duo, what does Ideomotor mean?
Kimmo – By definition Ideomotor is a part of brain that tells us behaviour intuitively we thought that’s the way we should also do music without over thinking, let the music flow out.
And the future of Ideomotor?
Erkka -Well, we are definitely going to release new music this year. Also we’re quite enthusiastic about the prospects of getting some good warm up slots to get the live shows going.
Kimmo – LIVE! and lots of new listeners, keep on doing un-compromised music and yeah that’s a good track I think.
So you want to make it up there with the likes of 4AD artists? Great to hear that.
Erkka -That would be pretty sweet!
Kimmo – I love Future Islands btw…
Erkka – Would have little complaints..
Kimmo – as one of the new acts to me
Your music quality is very high, care to share your song structure, sequence DAW usage?
Erkka – We ran protools at the studio, but worked with logic at home and shared tracks as Kimmo now lives in Zurich and I stay here in Helsinki.
Kimmo – We have a great production team. We also add a lot analogue stuff to the sound which I think is essential. Also live drums and guitars.
There are more than 2 in Ideomotor, live?
Kimmo – Yes, we want to have live more live.. u know. so that that the person who comes to see us hears and sees a live performance.
Erkka – So at least some added synth and bass to back us two up!
So.. We’ll be seeing some of your videos in the coming future?
Kimmo – Oh yes!
Erkka – Yes, some pretty interesting ideas we’ve floated around with, a friend of ours who does our video production for one.
Kimmo – I’d like to see Master/Slave video
Erkka – Wouldn’t that be motley crue girls, girls, girls 2015?
What do you see about WEATNU as a future?
Kimmo – But you have a great thing going on that’s for sure! I think it’s gonna be biggest label on the planet. no boundaries right!
Erkka – Music discovery is becoming increasingly difficult as there is more music out now than at any point in history. And my take is that vendors such as WEATNU will reap the rewards here.
What are you guys listening to these days?
Erkka – You start?
Kimmo – hah, everyday something different.. let’s see. lately obviously more electronic than ever before. But mostly it’s been indie-alternative rock if you can say that nowadays.
Erkka – I’ve been a bit late to discover Wild Nothing, I’ve listened to a lot of that. Also, whenever I can’t think of anything to listen White Lies is something I never seem to get tired of. Also on the more electronic front Jaani Peuhu is definitely worth checking out, like his stuff a lot.
Kimmo – But already on Soundcloud there’s so many great artists I’ve discovered, such as an Estonian electro/crossover band called I wear* Experiment and to shuffle up a bit I was very happy about the new Weezer album! The guys are back to their roots. I love that stuff.
Interesting to see they are making music again.
Kimmo – And great music that is! I think they lost themselves there for few years.
Erkka – We listened to a lot of classical music at home, but for me the great revelation was The Stone Roses with their debut album. That really blew me away and made want to start playing guitar and write music.
Kimmo – Later on big influences to me have been Placebo, Muse, Mew, Nada Surf, but man there’s a lot..
So a lot of the 90s sound, which is very good, I might add.
Erkka – We only have 2 or 3 bands we ever agree on
Kimmo – Haha. So there you go, diversity.
It’s interesting to find out what our artists are influenced by but it’s also nice to know who they are listening to in WEATNU. Any favourite artists from [OUR] Radio or our SC group?
Kimmo – I have to say I’ve been so busy writing own stuff that I’ve been a little bit too lazy to listen very actively. But I listened to your show case radio show… it was all diamonds
We have a feature with TAB and Mangabros this month, so best of both worlds, both highly talented people. WEATNU is about the artist helping the artist, word of mouth promo, do you think this is working?
Kimmo – Sure! With social media anything is possible!
With the birth of WEATNU starting on ‘yet’ another Soundcloud group in 2014, it has come a long way.
Kimmo – I have such respect for music I’ve found through your channel and Soundcloud, truly great artists which I’d love to help myself if I can to get more listeners.
We hope you continue to find great artists, as we will continue to showcase them.
Erkka – Thats a tough one – I am maybe a bit of a foodie..
Kimmo – Finnish rye bread, I don’t get that in Switzerland.
Bitter with a little bit of wine?
Erkka – Asian food always seems to work, we’ll we do enjoy our drink also
Kimmo – Any alcohol will do, and milk.
Thank you for having a interview today with #WEATNU Digital Magazine, may the best of luck shine on you both.