Blastromen Interview

Posted on May 10, 2017

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Not long ago I stumbled across this group from Finland and I felt right away that these guys did something special, that certain stuff I’ve been looking for in a Electro band but couldn’t find somehow.

Getting a underground and mysterious impression of these guys I thought I had to ask them for an interview and have a deeper look into Blastromen, and being the great people that they are, they agreed and also signed their CD Human Beyond for me. So a huge thank you Mika and Sami for that, and for doing this interview as well!
Go check them out if you haven’t already, their music truly is awesome!

I also recently discovered that it has gone a little bit over a year since I started listening to Electronic music, and also did my first review of an Electronic album so this happened to become a great 1 year celebration :)

So without further ado, here we go:

* Hi Blastromen, first of all I want to say thank you for taking your time for this interview, I am honored I must say :)

Sami: Hi Robin and thanks for doing the interview!

Mika: Hi and the pleasure is ours.

* So first question: For someone who has never heard of Blastromen, how would you describe your music and style?

Sami: Our music is a mix between old and new. Some would say it’s retro futuristic electro that have strong emphasis on vocoder lyrics and catchy melodies.

Mika: Yes, electronic music, electro, but with more traditional structures and vocals. Mixture of deep dark dystopia and bright scientific melodies, perhaps.

* What’s the background for Blastromen, how did you guys crack the idea?

Sami: We started by making Amiga 500 MODs in the 90’s. We made all kinds of music from breakbeat to a more experimental ambient stuff. At the beginning of 2000’s we started monotonic techno project called ‘AM’ and did couple gigs with that setup. Then there was a transition from techno to more melodic music and we ended up releasing our first electro EP ‘Robot Aggression’ at X0X Records. And we got a great response for that so we are still on that road.

Mika: Blastromen just gave so much more creativity than techno so we sticked on that path. Early Blastromen didn’t have huge ideas for the image and on visual side, but it all grew along the way – continuous development and still moving further. Amiga mods were the starter and to salute that era, we are bringing one of the composed melodies from around ’96 to our new upcoming album – how cool is that?

* What are your goals with Blastromen, is there anything certain you guys wish to achieve as this duo before/if you retire it in the future?

Sami: Definitely we have a lot of ambitious plans. To play at some big festival in Europe or in USA with more grandious light show and of course to release more music and make some music videos too.

Mika: That sums up it pretty good. We are constantly seeking for more fire power to implement our big visions and try to push things forward.

* Who or what bands and musicians have been your biggest influences in both getting into creating music, and for this specific genre that Blastromen stands for?

Sami: For me Kraftwerk and Anthony Rother are the biggest influences if you think about strictly electro. Then there is Aphex Twin of course and a lot of contemporary and modern art music like Stravinsky, Holst, Ligeti, etc. I also like very much jazz and progressive rock. So pretty much everything is inspiring if it’s done with a big heart and talent.

Mika: As impossible it may sound, but for me, I’m unable to relate to any particular artist during the past 20 years. Back in the early 90’s Aphex Twin and The Prodigy were the ones that affected on me the most and perhaps I got some major influences from there for sure, but nowadays I try to go this unaffected path when working on with Blastromen. The most inspiring compositions we invent, or the most imaginative things we come up with, it’s not influenced by any particular thing but yet again, a mixture of everything that is affecting around me/us: the hit charts, new UG’ish releases, influences from the past, contemporary and modern trends, etc. Sometimes you might hear me saying that “Hey! Let’s do it in this way, like Oasis did in their song…” or “…that sounds like Utah Saints in the 90’s” or even “that moaning sounds like throat singing in ancient Mongolia, let’s emphasize it more to that!”. If it sounds good and fits, it’ll be there.

* Listening to your albums and look at the artwork for example Human Beyond, I truly get the feeling that these guys are inspired by films like Blade Runner and Tron, am I right or totally off here?
Have Vangelis soundtrack to Blade Runner been important for your musical creativity?

Sami: Yes absolutely, Vangelis and Blade Runner is one of the greatest things ever.
Can’t wait for the Denis Villeneuve’s sequel that is coming later this year.

Mika: Indeed. And all scifi and retro scifi, etc. And do you remember The Lawnmower Man? Alien – the eighth passenger. Old Amiga games like Megalomania, Dreamweb, It Came From The Desert, Metal Masters… You can hear them all there!

* The synth nerd within me wants to ask what hardware synths and other equipement you prefer using in studio contra live performance?
Or are you more into software synths in general?

Sami: At the studio we had Roland Jupiter 6, JX-3P, Yamaha DX7, Roland JP-8000, Novation Bass Station, Access Virus TI, and Oberheim Matrix 1000 when we made our two latest albums. At live we used to use two Access Virus desktop modules but nowadays we do live only with software and midi controllers. Maybe we add some hardware again to our live in the future, who knows. I’m thinking to get the Dave Smith OB-6 synth because I sold my Jupiter 6.

Mika: Live setup just needs to be simplified and failure resistant. And by that I don’t mean crouching behind the laptop but otherwise to be setup fast, minimize the failing components and make them lightweight to travel. We worship the old analog stuff, but for us they are just an addon. Most of the work is done with software, as they are nowadays capable to do the same things completely, but I still understand the feeling and charm of the authentic analog vibe.

* I know fans of Electronic music must like your music a lot, but how has the respond from the general public been?

Sami: When ever we play at events outside our typical genre or audience the response is fanstastic. Everybody is always amazed of the show.

Mika: …and that is very inspiring for us too. We have been invited to play in different kinds of events. Several times at Cyber Goth festivals in Finland, at alternative outdoor festival as a closing act in Denmark, along with the popular number one artist at summer festival in Finland, etc. So summing this up, it is interesting that we can keep the “underground” level in everything we do to satisfy the puristic electro audience and on a next day we can throw a gig to totally different hippie, goth or pop crowd and see them happy as well. Maybe the “mixture of everything” is eventually the key here.

* Those awesome Cyberpunk/Tron-like visors you use on stage.. how the fuck do you see anything through them? And where can I get one? Haha

Sami: To quote the model T-800: “I see everything”

* Do you have any tips or tricks you could share with other musicians who are on the uprise, or just feel a huge creativity within themselfs to create Electronic music but don’t know where or how to start?

Sami: Just start making music, have fun, learn the basics and the theory.
Also listen to other bands you like and try to re-create the sounds. Eventually you will create your own sound and play some live gigs. Also get to know people, connections are very important in music business. When you are ready, collect your best tracks and release it independently (or if you know some record label owner release it through him) and maybe make a low budget music video for Youtube, be creative and critical of your own work. If it’s original and good enough people will follow you. Don’t put high hopes on sending unsolicited demos to major labels…

Mika: Nothing much more to say on top of that. Maybe to hightlight couple of them: proceed step by step, realistic level, healthy humbleness, connections & network.
It’s a hell of a rocky road, constantly hard work, but never stop.

* So final question.. for now ;)
Do you have any future plans for Blastromen or any side projects you could tell us about?
What can the fans expect in the future for this band?
And do you have anything else you would like to say to anyone reading this interview?

Sami: Our immediate plan is to release our third album that comes out this year.
Renew our live set to reflect more the new album. Start making new music for the next EP or album and maybe we do some monotonic techno too again, future will show :-)

Mika: And the new album is most likely in the live set before the album is even out, so arrive to the gigs the get the best sneak peeks.
And AM will return, it’s only a matter of months (or years) anymore… :-)

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Posted in: Interviews