Jori Hulkkonen Interview
It was a mixture of quirky Finnish pop and early electronic beats from Europe that led Finnish-born Jori Hulkkonen to start producing in 1989.
After launching Lumi Records in 1993, he went on to release for other labels such as Hybrid and Trainspotter s Nightmare. A string of acclaimed records followed on French label F-Communications and 2001 saw the release of the lush "Helsinki Mix Sessions", a divine collection of deep and vocal house. After a decade of releasing under numerous guises, labels, styles, remixes and producing other artists, this is one man whose music is still impossible to define.
DHN: How would you define your own music?
JH: Because I started producing music in the 80 s I think I ve gone through a lot of different phases. The only thing in common with most of the stuff has been that I ve almost always worked alone, and haven t incorporated traditional instruments or musicians to play on my records -apart from a few exceptions, mainly vocalists.
But the starting point for me is somewhere between the mix of 80 s
electronic pop and early American house and techno... But I find defining my sound quite difficult as I do have some alter egos who contradict some definitions that work on "Jori Hulkkonen". But I like the term tech-house, maybe not the way it s used today, but because I like certain elements in both genres and try to take the best of these 2 world in to my own music.
DHN: What were the main influences and inspirations behind your new album on F Com, ‘Different’?
JH: I don t think there were any certain specific influences. There are few productional ideas that I borrowed; such as the fake ending on "Latin Taiga" was inspired by The Smiths "That Joke Isn t Funny Anymore", or having "We Are Rising Sun" to begin with street noises, and having a trumpet in the end -a tribute to the Pet Shop Boys "West End Girls".
But strictly musically speaking I think I was just aiming to do a good, logical follow-up for my previous album. The only thing I consciously tried to avoid was not having too much 80 s influences on the album, as I find that the whole electroclas revival or whatever you want to call it will turn against itself quite soon.
DHN: What has been your own personal favourite record since you began
JH: I think there s a few, but I find that my album "The Spirits Inside
Me"(1998), was slightly underrated at the time and I guess therefore I m quite fond of that record.
DHN: Have there been any major milestones or hurdles in the last 10 years that have helped or hindered your success?
JH: It s been quite a steady ride actually, and I think that this stability has enabled me to focus on music. Obviously the big things happening were signing with F-Com on 96, and also deciding that it s time to go full time on music and drop my studies... this happened in 97. But apart from these I think I ve been pretty lucky; nothing major has happened -either good or bad - so I haven t lost the focus.
DHN: Sunglasses at Night has been a great success, why did you
choose to go under the guise of Zyntherius for its release with Tiga, and what does Zyntherius mean?
JH: Well I ve always used a lot pseudos when releasing records outside F-Com, and also when doing records that don t really fit in what I think "Jori Hulkkonen" sound is (this is just when it comes to productions, when I DJ, Jori, Zyntherius and all the other pseudos come together.) Zyntherius was just a name I had thought of that could be cool for some strange 80 s style new wave thing, and when we decided to release Sunglasses I thought this would be the time to use it. The name itself suggests that Zyntherius is a Greek God of Synthezisers.
DHN: What advice would you give to younger, less experienced producers who are trying to get their music out there?
JH: To be patient. And also it s better to focus on creating your own sound and building something on that, rather than just blatantly copying or trying to sound like someone else.
DHN: Are there any musicians/producers who you admire or would cite as
JH: Loads. A lot of the electronic pop acts of the 80 s, such as Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, or even more classic pop/rock acts like The Cure and Smiths. In electronic music there are the classics; Derrick May, Carl Craig,Kraftwerk, Ron Trent, Larry Heard... the list is just endless...
DHN: Are you looking forward to playing in Dublin?
JH: Very much so! A lot of my friends have played over there and everybody tells me that it s really amazing... so I m quite anxious to finally come over and see what it s all about...!
Aine G (DeepHouseNetwork)
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