I Became Obsessed with a Lo-Fi Finnish Power Pop Song So I Tracked Down the Songwriter in Helsinki
Teemu Tanner knows how to write a pop song with many double u’s and i’s in the title.
Image: Aki Pohjankyrö
Teemu Tanner is the name of the Finland Government’s Secretary General. It’s also the name of a young Helsinki power pop musician. Sometimes people get the two confused. “Every now and then I get telephone calls from people trying to reach my namesake,” explains the Teemu who holds a guitar and writes busted pop songs. “Maybe I should start messing around with those poor bastards. Making up false meetings and stuff.”
Teemu plays in Love Sport and more recently the lo-fi power pop Kynnet. One late night, deep on a Soundcloud dig, I came across his song “Ella”. Simple, dumb, and super catchy it could have come off Jay Reatard’s Blood Visions album. I knew nothing about the guy except that his most recent release ..Taas ne Kynnet has him bashing out frantic songs with many double u’s and i’s in the song titles.
After the tenth listen to “Ella” I figured I needed to track the guy down. And by ‘track down’, I mean ‘find his Facebook page and send him a message’.
Listen to the song and read the chat I had with Teemu.
Noisey: I like the cassette photo. Where was it taken?
Teemu Tanner: It was taken by my friend Aki. It was in this Chinese restaurant in Turku the day after a Love Sport gig. We’d been on a record buying session. I think I'm holding a Rod Stewart single.
Who is Ella?
The song title isn't about anyone in particular. For me the title and song represen smothering relationships and struggling for power. So I guess it could be anyone who's acting nuts.
The opening song on ..Taas ne Kynnet is “Näihin kuviin ja näihin tunnelmiin” which I believe in English means "In the Middle of Festivities Always Ends."
Hahaha, almost! It's something like: "The parties always end too early". The song's about desperate attempts to keep the good times rolling for way too long. It’s not praise for nightclubbing douchebags, though.
You also play in Love Sport. What is the main difference between Love Sport and Kynnet?
Actually I've found myself in a situation, where there's like ten, eleven different groups I play in. In Kynnet I write, play, sing and record myself. When we play live, there's five of us. I just sing. Luckily the big band version includes more talented , lovable people than myself.
When I do stuff with Love Sport, the writing process usually contains all four of us. I feel like in Kynnet I get to channel more personal stuff. Love Sport's world is somewhat more abstract, geeky and loud.
I can hear Jay Reatard in some of your music.
Jay Reatard can't lose, never has, never will! Like in many other cases , can't deny that his uncompromising approach to his artwouldn't be fascinating and cool as hell.
Do you tour much of Scandinavia? Where if your favourite place to play?
We haven't played that many gigs as Kynnet but there's plenty of events planned. In general, my favourite places are intimate and small and the events include other great acts. It multiplies the fun!
'..Taas ne Kynnet' is available now on Fuck Rekords.