Interview: Carbon Based/Finrg Collective (Finland)
Reported by Pearsall
Submitted 03-08-03 05:22
If you’ve witnessed any of Proteus’ trademark high-impact sets at Logic you will undoubtedly have lost it to supercharged nrg-trance monsters like ‘Ultimate Protection’, ‘Cyclone’, and ‘Illuminate’. Far away from the, well, vibrant streetlife of Brixton is Carbon Based studios, from which came forth these monsters (as well as a whole host of others). Set in two rooms in an underground parking garage under a travel agents, in an unassuming street of an unassuming town one hundred kilometres north of Helsinki, the studio seemed rather low-key for a place that has created so much insane music (I’ve heard the forthcoming stuff, so trust me on this). No animal sacrifices to the great digital god in the skies or anything like that, just electronics and empty beer bottles. The guys were disappointingly cheerful and laid-back (if frequently quite pissed); no waving of keyboards like double-bladed axes or anything along those lines.
Coming from Lahti, the guys behind Carbon Based (Teemu Lahtinen, Toni Eronen, Petteri Kääpa, and Ari Virtanen aka DJ E-Nrg) have been producing some of the freshest hard music I’ve heard in a long time, alongside their associates Nemes (Mikko Möykky), DJ Rx (Ville Sorsa), and Finnish hard house/techno dj maestro Karri K. They’ve already had a couple of well-regarded releases (such as the massive Illuminate) on labels such as Electrolysis, Electronic and Alien Trax, and a whole host of monstrous tracks on various labels are on their way. With their first release on their own Finrg label set to drop I caught up with Teemu, Ari, Toni, and Ville in truly Finnish conditions – the changing room of a sauna!
Pearsall: Hi guys, could you tell me the origins of Carbon Based, how did you guys get together?
Teemu: Basically it all started in 1996 when Toni Leirimaa and Petteri Kääpa started to make tracks, which were like hard jungle, hard drum n’ bass and gabba. That was the beginning and then after a couple of years me and Toni Eronen joined the group and we started to make music together. After a couple of gigs and doing music together Toni Leirimaa left the group because of musical differences. Then Ari joined in 2000.
Pearsall: For the technical geeks out there, what studio equipment and software do you use to make your tunes and what do you use for your live pa’s?
Ari: We use Access Virus B, Supernova II, Yamaha AN1X, Yamaha CS1X, Cubase SX, Roland JV-1010, and a whole lot of software and plugins and samplers. At the moment we can’t play as live as we’d want to because the stuff would cost so much. At the moment we have the basic gig on MD and we play on top of it and filter and effect everything to make it sound different.
Pearsall: Do you think there is anything uniquely Finnish about your music? Do you think being from Finland or being from Lahti in particular has any impact on the tunes that you make?
Ari: I think the Finnish sound, or our sound, is mainly influenced by Epilim and Lab 4. The tempo of our tracks is so high because we used to listen to really fast tracks in Finland.
Pearsall: Do you think the high bpm’s of your tracks put you in touch spiritually with your Viking ancestors?
Teemu: (laughing) Ok, the speed of our tracks is just because there is a seven month winter here and it’s so freaking cold and dark. It’s really dark so when we have parties we have to dance really fast to get ourselves warm. Everyone is so fucking pissed off that they are so cold they have to dance fast to get warm. It’s kind of a formation of mind, you know, you get a clear mind when you are dancing so fast, so furious.
Pearsall: What other producers or dj’s do you particularly respect in Finland?
Ari: As producers we really respect Re-Form, and the main man at the moment is Alex Szahala, as you know. And Epilim especially, he is the guy who started this all in Finland, and so he deserves the most respect. As for dj’s it’s definitely Proteus and Neon.
Pearsall: What inspired you to start Finrg?
Ari: The idea came when there were no hard dance labels in Finland, even though there were so many talented artists here. Toni, me and Mikko had the idea to start a hard dance label. Mikko spoke to Karri K and he had been having the same idea for a while, so we put our forces together and started Finrg.
Pearsall: What are your future plans for Finrg?
Ari: We are starting a sublabel called Finrg Hard to concentrate on Freeform Hardcore. We have some really great tracks coming up and they will cause some major dancefloor damage all over the country. We will be alternating releases between Finrg and Finrg Hard, so watch out for it.
Pearsall: How did you hook up with Richard Andrews (aka Shanty/The Mexican, the grand poobah of Electronic, Electrolysis and Digital Beats)?
Teemu: It was pretty simple, we sent him a cd of some of our stuff and he signed four tracks straight away, and then since then has signed even more of our tracks.
Pearsall: Have any of you been to London? What did you think, and do you have any plans to go there and either dj or do a live pa?
Ari: I’m the only one who has been to London, in 2001. It was fucking nice, because there were so many people partying, so many parties, and so many great dj’s everywhere. The people are nuts, and so are we, and we would really like to go there some day with our group and have some fucking fun.
Pearsall: Where and when was your most memorable live pa?
Ari: It’s hard to pick the best gig because we’ve had so many good gigs here, and the crowd really likes and really supports us. The best gigs have definitely been Säde – The Gathering (Mayday), Club Rush @ Maksiinit, and definitely the Koneisto last Saturday, even though the room was like a sauna. Although that’s not bad for a Finnish group!
Pearsall: Besides the stuff you produce and your main influences, what other kinds of music do you listen to?
Ville: Mostly at home I listen to chillout, atmospheric drum n’ bass, some trance and of course freeform and hardcore.
Ari: I listen to all kinds of music but I mostly like to listen to techno, maybe some Finnish pop music.
Toni: I listen to all kinds of music too. Mostly at home I listen to progressive trance, techno, and drum n’ bass; and freeform of course!
Teemu: At home I really like to listen to hard drum n’ bass, freeform, hardcore, anything hard, and sometimes I even listen to the radio to see what kind of stuff is on there.
Pearsall: Since this is for a London specific site do you have anything to say to London’s party people?
Ari: I think the London people should get ready for the hard dance Finnvasion (laughs). We are going to show them something that’s different, but that we think they would really love. We are only one of the groups that Finland has, all of them are definitely good and we think that London people would really like to see them.
Ville: Basically the answer is that Carbon Based is definitely not the only talented hard nrg/hard trance/hard dance act in Finland. We have many other good quality groups, and we would like to tell people to watch out for forthcoming releases on Electronic, Electrolysis and Finrg. There’s a lot of different kinds of tracks, but they all rock like nothing else. We seriously think that the Finrg sound is going to invade all of Europe, so watch out!
Finrg 001 (Carbon Based & DJ E-Nrg ‘Kraateri’/ Karri K & DFG ‘Be Quiet’) is available right now from Nu Energy and will be available from other stores soon. ‘Illuminate’/ ‘Jerk Awake’ on Electrolysis has been available from most places for a couple months now. The ‘Straight Out of Finland EP’ on Electronic, and ‘Heaven and Hell’ / ‘Prologue’ on Electrolysis will be released in the next couple months.
All photos and videos by Eric Luk (cheers mate!)
Video of Finrg Collective live @ Koneisto Festival, Helsinki, 26/07/03
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Other Features By Pearsall:
Interview: JP & Jukesy
Pearsall's Guide to Record Shopping in London
Review: Zoology - The Summer Trance Party (01/08/03)
Redtrip Corrosive - Review
The views and opinions expressed in this review are strictly those of the author only for which HarderFaster will not be held responsible or liable.