BY Arttu Tolonen
We’ve come a long way, baby. Enough Finnish artists have found success abroad that it’s possible for people not living in Finland to have a stereotypical view of what Finnish [popular] music is like.
To most people, it’s hard rock and metal.
Business Insider recently published a blog centered on an image produced by depo_, a user at Reddit. It shows Finland, Sweden and Norway drawing away from the rest of the world in the race for most metal bands per capita. According to the map, Finland and Sweden lead with over 50 bands per 100,000 people.
With bands like Nightwish, Children of Bodom and HIM out there, not to mention countless smaller cult artists in just about every imaginable of subgenre of metal, it’s no surprise the image of Finland as a metal country persists.
There are many other areas where this demographically tiny country of five million and change punches above its weight, but one of the most interesting genres right now is indie rock. One of the contributing factors is that, unlike metal, it has never been a popular hit in Finland. And right now, with Finnish indie going through a major purple patch, chiming guitars are a bit in the doldrums elsewhere, especially in the Rift Valley of indie rock, Great Britain.
The rude health of the scene and its increased visibility abroad is mostly down to two labels: Soliti Music and GAEA.
There’s an English accent to Soliti – the label was founded and run by Anglo-Italian Nick Triani. With that genetic makeup, he’d be a freak of nature if he weren’t a football fan.
Soliti’s most internationally well-known act is Cats On Fire. The literary five-piece was founded in Vaasa in 2001 and has become a cult hit among indie connoisseurs from England to, well, Italy, as it happens. Singer Mattias’s blog is worth following: Mattias in English.
The other bands particularly worth keeping an eye on include Black Lizard, which adds a darker psychedelic edge to proceedings, Delay Trees, The New Tigers and Black Twig.
There’s more to Soliti, too – Prince of Assyria, Astrid Swan and Gim Kordon. See for yourself: Soliti Music.
GAEA’s best indie act is French Films. The band tours relentlessly and has won the European Border Breakers Award. The band combines sunny 1960s-influenced melodies with a bit of a punk and new wave edge. French Films excels at the art of the music video, too: French Films Official videos at YouTube.