Interview: Hi, my name is Töölön Ketterä

, 4. September 2017 culture, music, news
In unserer kontinuierlichen Interview-Serie HI, MY NAME IS stellen wir euch inspirierende und talentierte Fotografen, Musiker, Künstler und Persönlichkeiten unserer Zeit vor: Im heutigen Teil dreht sich alles um die finnische Rap Sensation Töölön Ketterä, die wir vor einigen Wochen auf dem Flow Festival für ein lässiges Backstage Interview angetroffen haben.

Über die letzten 2 Jahre hinweg habe ich den Hype der Jungs in meiner aktuellen Heimat Helsinki immer wieder zu spüren bekommen. Im wahrsten Sinne des Wortes, da man meist in einem Moshpit landet, wenn sie auftreten. Das neuartige und interessante Soundbild aus House und Grime Rap in Finnisch hat mich so fasziniert, so dass ich nicht anders konnte, als euch die beiden talentierten Jungs Matti 8 und Handshaking vorzustellen.


You just ended your gig at Flow Festival – how did it feel to perform at this festival now for the second time?
It was definitely awesome, we’ve been waiting for the Flow Festival the whole year. It’s a big deal for us. Our gig at last year’s Flow was in the middle of the day and the area in front of the stage became incredibly packed in seconds, even so that they had to put all kinds of security to this gig.

But size doesn’t always matter: yesterday we experienced a moshpit at our gig in really small place with about 30 people – they went crazy for us! So today we weren’t sure what to expect: our gig was the first of the entire festival, about 30 minutes after the gates opened. At this moment there’s never really a crowd on the festival area, so it was quite exciting to see what’s gonna happen. When we were walking to the tent we thought there was only a few people waiting for us. But as soon as we approached the stage we entered a fully packed tent.

Our German audience is probably asking what is the meaning of your name, Töölön Ketterä?
We both live in Töölö, a quiet and boring place in the eyes of some Helsinki citizens. The word Ketterä on the other hand refers to an agile sports team. The strong contrast between these two words also represents our unique, loud sound – something we wish to bring out to the streets of our quiet neighborhood.

How did all of that begin?
Matti 8: We have been friends for about 7-8 years already and lived together in a shared flat with a couple of other friends.  Back then I was more into rap and punk music while Fedja (aka Handshaking) produced mostly electronic house music. When we first started talking about the genre Grime, we got the idea that this could be something we could actually produce and create together. This was actually years ago but back then, we thought the timing wasn’t right for our sound. At the time, the rap and house scene of Finland was very different.

ketterä-01-Uwa Iduozee

How would you define your genre?
We often tend to say we play grime, which is partly true since it is influenced by grime types of rap, especially the flow and tempo. Our beats sound like when a great house producer starts making grime and doesn’t even know exactly what grime is: „It can be something like this – or some drums and some kicks here – oh yes were getting there“.  In addition to that, our sound is influenced by pop music, too. 
We are currently making an album, which is mainly baseline grime with more uptempo inspired electronic sounds.

Any role models? People you look up to?
Matti 8: Skepta! 
And JVG of course, the boss guys behind our record label and the biggest inspiration for Finnish rap music. Handshaking: Daft Punk, in my opinion, was  the most revolutionary electronic music producer and who has inspired me the most. Big part of inspiration also comes from going to clubs and gigs and hearing interesting sounds and beats.

With the huge amounts of new music being released every, do you ever feel overwhelmed – like it’s hard to get creative or inspired?
Matti 8: 
I think it’s actually way easier for us since in Finland, the diversity of pop music is quite limited. There’s maybe one big hit each month. This is why there’s a huge playground for developing your own sound and new genres that most Finnish people haven’t heard before.

How would you describe your fans?
Our fans are mostly people with a background in rap music, less the traditional boom bap. As well a lot of crossover fans from genres like rock, and even punk, who found a soft spot for us. This feels natural to us since our gigs are inspired by punk and rock concerts of the 90’s. Over all, it is hard to describe our fans since they’ve become quite a mix of people who are not afraid to open their ears for us – and that is amazing!

What are you plans for the future? Upcoming projects, live shows etc?
We have been talking a lot about not making an album at all, since we thought the times are different and you don’t really have to make one these days. In stead you can just put out singles whenever you feel like it. In any case, we have some upcoming club gigs  and radio shows this autumn. We would also like to extend our presence to different niches – for example by having an own radio show or even an own club. The most important thing for us is to bring out different kinds of music to the Finnish people out there.

Wer jetzt auf den Geschmack von finnischen Grime gekommen ist, kann hier klicken und herausfinden, was die Jungs so im Petto haben.

Press Photos: Uwa Iduozee/PME Records