Music & Media – Tampere, Finland

Music and Media is Finland’s Midem. Or even, the Nordic Midem. Think Cannes in reverse: Snow (a bit); big coats; warm people; sincerity; and beautiful, intelligent blondes (and brunnetes!). It has the same vibe as a campus university where everyone keeps bumping into everyone, and you get the feeling that when someone says they’re going to do something, they really are going to do it. Panels, seminars, gigs, networking – all the usual stuff. There’s a few signs of some of the old guard here and there, wearing sunglasses in sub zero temperatures (I liked that) and talking about number one’s and millions of records; but primarily there’s a youthful, exciting vibe that the Finns are setting themselves. As someone that was an artist for 15 years (and I guess always will be) it’s been eye opening, comforting and exciting both here, and at Reeperbahn the last two years, to hear some of these industry people talking about music like they were musicians themselves (and you know, a lot of them are!). I don’t know why it’s so surprising to hear a man who’s helped sell 30 million records in the last 5 years talking about how he swam an hour in a freezing lake to get to a Clash gig as a younger man, but it was. Amongst the occasional scallywags, there’s actually some people on the other side of the stylus that really care about the future of music – more on that another time, but heaven knows we need some heart putting back in the old corpse. So: Things feel genuinely optimistic here. That’s good.

They call Tampere the Manchester of Finland, and as you weave your way amongst the paper factory chimney stacks they ooze steam into the sky like the escaping souls of workers fleeing the furnace; and amongst the grand old buildings, you can definitely sense that proud second city vibe. Looking off the bridge and along the river into the frozen wind, your eyes fill with brine and you don’t know whether you’re falling in love with the city, or with your hosts, or with some new band – or if your eyeballs are moments away from turning to frosted glass. I’d say Tampere is something of a cross between York and Manchester. As you may know, us here at Karamel Music are pretty big fans of Finland in general. Living in London, it’s hard not to be. For a long time we’ve marvelled at the way the Finnish government has empowered Music Finland with the funds to promote their artists and these guys are a pretty damn good example of how to do it. We’re very happy to have been involved with helping Sansa ease her way into the London scene (she’s playing KMC Wood Green on Wednesday) and we’re chomping at the bit to find some more hidden gems whilst we’re here. The first night threw up a couple of great acts, but most notable were Satellite Stories. These guys were tight, feel good and foot stomping… The bass player was so on the money, always flying up the neck at the right time; while the guitarist was flicking out some ace, melodic lines with the nonchalance of a 1920’s detective sparking up his zippo in flicknife fashion. The whole band was hovering together, and the frontman, (whose name we’ll find out) was doing a pretty neat job of working the crowd. Couldn’t make out the lyrics in the melee – so we’ll give that a listen when we get hold of the record. Still teenagers too by all accounts – you get the feeling we’ll be hearing a lot more of them in the next 12 months.


More over the next couple of days, but in the meantime, get your tables booked for our favourite Finn Sansa, who’ll be playing alongside Icelandic sensation Snorri Helgason and Sarah Howells of Paper Aeroplanes. Call 0208 8298989 for a free ticket and a spot at a table. Don’t say we never give you anything. Kippis! ///Chris///

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