Hey Jussi, thanks for taking some time to reply to our questions! First off: how are you and where can we find you today?
Jussi: “Hello to you all and I’m very happy as we speak, of course for my new album, chatting with you and also because all the great feedback the album has gained already and so far! Basically and mostly you will find me at my studio these days and if I’m not there, then I’m home with my family.”
Congrats on the release of ‘Balance’! How does it feel to have your first long player out there?
Jussi : “It’s an outstanding feeling of happiness, although the waiting process was full of mixed feelings and variations of all kinds of doubt and hesitations. Things like ‘will it be good enough, will they like it’ kind of thoughts. But I know that’s a part of the process that producers go through in these situations, so basically if you feel happy with the result yourself, then you don’t really need to be worried about anything else. Because at the end, time will tell how well it’ll do and there’s nothing more you can do about it at this point anyway!”
Now of course we want to hear all about how this got into being. But first off, let’s start at the beginning: how did you get into music and producing your own?
Jussi: “It was 1997 when I found myself in a situation where I had to start producing my own music, but I didn’t have enough knowledge to do all this. So I had to contact this one guy even though I didn’t know him very well at that time, his name was Sami Törrönen (Winkee). Basically, I just called him one day and asked if there is any chance we could give it a try and if he’d be interested to try to do a track with me. After a few doubts, he said ‘ok let’s give it a try’ and here we are today! So I always feel huge gratitude to Sami for this opportunity he gave me, as it has played a huge role in where I am today. How this album ‘Balance’ came together… well it was a long process and full of all kind of situations. But Rich was the second pair of ears when we were finalizing it, which helped to bring this album together. If you have a guy like Rich behind you through the process, you can’t go wrong at the end 🙂 So I’m also very grateful to him!”
When was the first time you realized you were on to something good?
Jussi: “Basically I do not know, but from the very beginning I’ve always had the belief that if I just kept producing and as long as I kept moving up to the next level, then I’d keep getting better and would be proper producer one day. But what is the most important aspect here is that you really need to be 100% honest to yourself and your music . That’s how you eventually find your own sound and if that works with the audience, then you know you are at the right path and this could go even further. Otherwise you will find yourself copycatting others for the rest of your life and at the end audience will notice that.”
You’ve been part of the music scene since the mid 90’s so you’ve seen it change and evolve. What’s the beauty and what’s the downside to today’s scene in comparison to how it used to be?
Jussi: “I think I could include here lots of downsides & negative aspects of todays music scene, but I’d rather not.. not in this case. So I give you some thoughts which I find has been moving to the right direction in a scene lately. First of all, I find that today, there are lots of signs that people are starting to realize the terrible financial situation, which not only underground producers but producers in general have been facing for the last 15 years – and still at this day – when it comes to incomes for the art & work they create. But now finally, everyday more and more people, music lovers and fans want to show their respect to their favorite artists by buying their music. Hopefully this ‘own your music in physical form as cds and vinyls’-mode will get even more wind under it wings. That is basically the only way to bring the right income to artists through record selling. We haven’t found a solution on this digital sales problem in the last 15 years! I still think we gave it a fair chance and enough time to make it all work. But now we need to start educating people again, why and how important it is for the scene and for all these artist who bring to you so much pleasure through their art/music and still living basically from the scratches – just to make it through everyday life. Streaming services are not the choice to support the artist in any way, mostly because they don’t pay the artists shit – it’s ridiculous. So we need to buy and support their music, creating our own collections of favorite music. Perhaps decorate your living room with collections again or even put them over your fireplace , it’s your call. What’s cooler than starting or ending your night out showing and listening to your cd-collection with friends! Actually I just contacted a guy who said he has a 4900 CD-collection and how thrilled he was finally get his hand on this ‘Balance’ Cd format 🙂 Which also confirms me, that the change is really happening right now and as we speak.
Which of your early releases caused your breakthrough in trance, do you think?
Jussi: “Year 2013: Meltwater (Touchstone Recordings) & Phenomenal (JOOF Recordings ), ‘To the Stars’ (Touchstone Recordings)”
Actually, the second ever single release on Pure Trance was ‘Helsinki’ by Winkee – which you represent 50% of. How do you look back upon Winkee, and what made you decided to go solo as well?
Jussi: ”Winkee is in a state of process and charging its batteries, but most definitely not gone in anyway. We will start producing again when the time feels right for both of us, then we start it again and also with some fresh ideas. I feel that with Simon Templar sound I can express myself more at this time and that’s the main reason to the situation where we are today.”
We’ve seen some extraordinary Simon Templar releases in the past few years, from ‘The Alignment’ to ‘Morning Sun’ and Solarstone’s Touchstone Recordings releases ‘Meltwater’ and ‘To The Stars’. Do you feel at home at Pure Trance?
Jussi: “Most definitely! I feel Pure Trance and all the Rich’s aka Solarstone’s labels are a dream come true for any trance producer, like me and many other as well. Producers always look for and wish they can trust their label and guidance in this very tricky and complex industry. I truly wish there will be more releases to come through these labels in the future with Simon Templar and as Winkee too.”
A lot of producers stick to producing EP’s these days. What made you decide that you wanted to do an album?
Jussi: “Well if I’m a honest here, my thoughts in this is…I feel this endless race of singles and EP’s has put everyone in this working ‘Factory-Mode’ and it is not serving the artist, scene or music lovers in the best possible way. For example, tracks are now 2 or 3 minutes shorter than a few years ago, why? One reason could be, that this is how you can make more tracks and put them out even faster, this increases the number of releases in the long run for sure, but unfortunately this EDM/Pop music era couple of years ago still affects the scene and so the so-called ‘today’s trance music’. I still think Trance tracks should be at least 8 minutes long or more. That is the time you need to really fall into it, get into the right state of mind and falling into trance in total. But there a couple of other aspects too. I think it is not okay, if you call yourself an artist without a full album released 😉 Just kidding. But mostly, if us artists just start to release more albums again, not just singles in full speed, this might help increase the album sales. And through that physical form, it will bring more balance and cool down the overheated process in music industry. At least a bit. Who knows all the good this might bring. This could be a new era and even nostalgic shift to a better path for everyone.”
You’ve got a very open-minded sound, and ‘Balance’ is no different than that. What can you tell us about the journey that ‘Balance’ takes the listener on?
Jussi: “I hope it takes you on a path and journey that delivers all kind of emotions, incl. happiness, those eyes closed moments, feeling of freedom and love. I always thought ‘if only I could produce an album that you can listen to over and over again and will become one of those timeless trance albums’. So I hope it is 🙂 ”
Which tracks on ‘Balance’ stand out most to you, personally?
Jussi: ”I must say the 10th track, ‘The Fog’, is my personal favorite and for the reason it contains something extremely sad and also beautiful incident in my life. Sadly I can’t tell you more about it here, but the track contains elements of a summer morning, misty foggy fields and a dark forest.”
Last but not least, for what reason should people get ‘Balance’?
Jussi: “It delivers a full range of trance music with the Simon Templar style and sound. Give yourself a chance to feel something different in the field of Trance music! You can also find it as a CD format at Solarstone’s Solarshop. 200 numbered copies only out there, so please hurry if you want to add something unique to your collection. Also, you will find it every digital stores with this beautiful booklet included.”
Jussi : “No, thank you – it was a pleasure. 🙂 “