Finland Scene Report
from Maximum Rock'n'Roll #12, March 1984
Firstly, I want to apologize for not writing this report sooner, but I've been lazy as shit. And secondly, I want to correct a misconception I've heard and read about, namely that Finland is the 'punk mecca of Europe'. We have lots of great bands and records here, but the scene itself isn't healthy. Bands are very jealous of each other, bad mouth each other, etc. Without that the scene would be much better. If some scene is the punk mecca of Europe it's the Italian scene. I've heard so much good about it, that it has to be truly great.
At the moment, there's lots of groups who can't stand each other. Most of the older punks are now into KILLING JOKE, LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH, etc. They really hate hardcore. Then there's the younger punks who are only into English punk. They hate everything that comes from America (except BLACK FLAG and DKs) because "they play too fast and don't look punk enough". And then there are those nazi skins who hate everyone, especially punks. Fortunately, there's not too many of them (only in Tampere are they into fascism; Helsinki skins aren't into that, but they aren't against violence either).
The latest generation of punk bands are getting out of the basement, and are inspired by the big names like TERVEET KADET, RIISTETYT, BASTARDS, KAAOS, and English bands. You can check out some of the newcomers on the "Hardcore '83" comp LP, along with the bigger bands. Here's a list of the latest bands: PROSTITUUTIO, AIVOPROTEEESI, SOTATILA, UPPONALLE, MASSACRE, EPIDEMIA, THEOBILUS-BAND, POLIISIVALTO, NEUROOSI, HALLOWEEN, U.C.T., KAAPAUS, PURKAUS, VAPPA KALJA, KLIMAX.
The biggest problem now is the lack of gigs. The reason is simple, punk bands don't draw big crowds, so promoters don't want to take risks in booking them. The biggest gigs take place mostly at Lepakkoluola, in Helsinki. But these only occur 2-6 times a year. There was a big punk show in Rovaniemi in December – lots of bands played, but only a handful of people bothered to come. The organizer lost $300. Ultimately, it's up to the bands to get these gigs, but most are too lazy or don't have a manager. APPENDIX though are gigging the most at the moment, and have shown you can get gigs if you hustle. They did a mini tour in Jan (to places where punk bands have never played before), and are planning a bigger one in spring. Propaganda Records is now the only label that's releasing punk records. Poko only have RATTUS, since KOHU-63 broke up and TERVVET KADET went to Propaganda. Johanna Records only have UNICEF, as LAMA split up. Propaganda has all the big names and also organized most of the punk gigs in Helsinki, and put on a three day punk festival last summer. Some time ago, it seemed to be very easy to get on Propaganda; just play as fast as you can and call yourself 'hardcore'. Unfortunately, that made it too easy for the bands and very few have tried putting their own records out. Rock-O-Rama Records in Germany is now releasing most of Propaganda's stuff there (they're the same as the Finnish records, but have different covers and posters – except for the BASTARDS "Siberian Hardcore" LP, which is solely out in Germany, with English lyrics no less).
Now for some band news:
TERVEET KADET left Poko Records because the label didn't like them too much. So they went to Propaganda, and have done three 12" records: "Halloween" LP, "Message" 4 song EP with English vocals, and the latest, "Verta" mini LP. They haven't played in their hometown, Tornio, since '82, but have had 4 gigs in Helsinki and other towns. Live, they're not a great stage presence, but the music is great thrash! They have a new drummer now (the old one didn't want to do gigs), who used to be in MAP. MAP Split up after Walde, the guitarist, left the band. He now plays in KUOLEMA.
BASTARDS have changed singers since releasing their first EP, and have done quite a lot of gigs around Finland. They are another example of a hard working band and organized a European tour themselves (Denmark, Germany and Italy). It was successful (not monetarily) in the sense of popularising Finnish punk. In fact they lost quite a bit of money, but don't regret it. Their "Insane World" LP is selling real well, as is the "Siberian Hardcore" LP. They split up in January just prior to going on a UK tour. Rike, the guitarist, left to join RIISTETYT.
RIISTETYT now have a new line up. The only original member is Lateri, the singer. The newcomers are: Nappi on bass (ex KAAOS), Jaska on drums ex KAAOS) and Rike on guitar. Those same members plus Costello (from POPEDA) form the HOLY DOLLS, who are said to be Finland's LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH. They've recorded an LP, and it should be out soon. Back to RIISTETYT, their first LP is out in Germany, and the new LP, "Nightmare In Darkness", should be out soon. Also coming out is a 12" EP. The old RIISTETYT line up recorded one of the greatest records ever done here, the "Skitsofrenia" mini LP. RIISTETYT will probably do the UK tour the BASTARDS cancelled.
TAMPERE SS did one great EP and a few gigs, but then they split up after the bassist left to join TUOMITTUJEN JUHLA (a new CRASS influenced band).
NUKKETEATTERI have released 2 records on their own label. Their first was a 4 song EP that's very good punk, but could've been better produced. In the fall of '82 they kicked out the drummer and bassist, and took on the singer and bassist of LAAHAUS (who split up last summer). They dropped all their fast numbers and started to play 'progressive punk' (long, slow songs like THEATRE OF HATE), but have now found their own sound. They just released a 12", which contains some really weird stuff. Now they're looking for a new guitarist, as the old one left because he wants to play normal punk.
RATTUS, at long last, got the new singer they had been searching for. He's an old friend of theirs (ex roadie), not the greatest singer in the world, but has a great stage presence. The first record that Annikki sings on is "Uskonto On Vaara" EP, which has Pushead's artwork on the cover, as did the last one. RATTUS will soon also have a collection LP of their best songs out on Rat Cage Records in the US. Also out in the states is their 60 minute cassette on Bad Compilation Tapes, as well as one track on MRR's "Welcome to 1984" comp LP (as do TERVEET KADET), which will be out in April.
KAAOS changes its line up all the time. On their new LP, "Ristiinnaulitto", there is much more of a variety of stuff than their earlier records (not as fast and chaotic). Now Jakke plays guitar instead of singing, and their recent gigs have been terrible (too much booze in their heads).
VARAUS put out a one sided LP by themselves, and have just released a real hot 7". They haven't been gigging too much, but are one of the promising young bands in the country. Their line up hasn't changed in almost 2 years.
LAMA, the oldest punk band, split up in December '82, the farewell gig held at Lepakkoluola. This was the day after the very first Finnish punk festival took place in the same locale. That weekend was a great event in Finnish punkdom. Johanna records released LAMA's farewell 45 a half a year after they split up (their worst). That was followed by a 12" comp of their singles.
KOHU-63's singer, Latta, is in jail now for 6 years, for stabbing a punk. I've heard that the band will try to go on with the bass player singing, but I think they broke up. They released an LP, "Lissa Verta Historiaan", with the stupidest lyrics ever put on record, glorifying war, violence and racism.
APPENDIX has been gigging quite a lot in their area, and not much in southern Finland. When they played at the Puntala Rock '83 festival, the bass player got a beer bottle to his head. Their first LP got released in Germany, and they're working on their second now, with the music progressing more into 'rock'.
Some other bands who need mentioning are: KANSAN UUTISET, whose LP, "Beautiful Dreams", is out only in Germany. RUTTO, The only punk band here with a female vocalist, whose EP is out on Laja's (of TERVEET KADET) label, Ikbals. They are planning a second one now, which will be of better quality. I'd like to apologize to Pexi of MAHO NEITSYT for not mentioning his band in my first scene report. They have been going for 3 years and have 2 EP's out. Their style is more '77 style, slower punk with funny lyrics. UNICEF's first EP is out now. The band contains 2 ex LAMA members, Jusa and Raitsikka. Don't know how active is the singer, Tino, spend a lot of his time in Norway, and they are on the second "Really Fast" comp LP from Sweden. At the moment the bassist and drummer are in the army.
Some interesting bands (but not hardcore) are SEILUN VELJET, who are hard to label. They are very close to punks original ideal to have the music progress but keep the energy and rawness. They have a 3-sided LP, one mini LP and a single. PARAATI contains some Helsinki punk veterans (Epe, ex LAMA, among others). GEISHA is an all female group whose music is very simple and charming, they have 12" out on Johanna.
SOME OF THE NEWER BANDS BY RISTO ERONEN
From out of the ashes of MARIONETTI has risen this new band. "We don't want to be under the so-called 'hardcore' label, because of the lack of ideas in that scene that is common in Finland. Our musical are close to so-called 'thinking punk' bands, like FLUX, CONFLICT, SUBHUMANS, OMEGA TRIBE, CRASS etc. All our productions (literary and musical) will be released on Rapagonda label (nothing to do with Propaganda), which is a non-commercial alternative founded by a group of individuals."
"We're fed up because we've seen our name written without the letter "K". It's not DESTRUKTIONS, not DESTRUCTIONS. We're on Pax Records next compilation LP and will have an EP out soon to follow up our "Vox Populi" LP, which is out in Germany."
"We've had many practice places, but have always gotten kicked out. At the moment we've got quite a good place, but it seems we'll be kicked out of there too. When we started none of us could play, but we're getting better. We've had only 2 gigs. Both have been interrupted cos we've been so drunk. We're on a couple of comp tapes as well as "Hardcore '83" comp LP. Propaganda would like to put out a cassette LP, but we're not sure. Our influences are CHAOS UK, DISORDER, CRUCIFIX, KAAOS, VARAUS. BASTARDS and RIISTETYT are getting too soft sounding. We love noise more than anything. Hope everything gets better once this fucking winter is over."
"The band is from Rauma, which is quite a small place, but there are some people who can't stand us. They think everybody should look the same. We think everybody can be whatever he/she wants to be. Finland should be a free country, but that won't work unless the kids stop fighting each other (we've heard that punks fight each other, but not hear in Rauma)."
"We play mid-tempo punk. Religion and people are the main themes. We've got about 20 songs at the moment. Before summer we hope to get an EP out. Sharing it with another band, MASSACRE. It will be on our own label. We have some gigs lined up, so everything's looking quite nice."
"We practice in the upstairs of a children's home, which was given to us by the town of Naantali. We will have a much delayed EP hopefully out soon. Like and Lahti of the BASTARDS were there helping us record it. Everything got real messed up. We want to say this about fanzines: they are a fucking great thing. There are good ones and bad ones, but the main thing is that somebody's out there making them."
"We formed in August, after the second world war, when we didn't know about the third world war. We live in Ylivieska, a small town with reindeer. We make drinking songs. When we are not playing we take care of our relationships to Alko (Finnish liquor shop). As for the peace movement, they are a very serious thing to consider because they have the strength to march in the rain. The army is shit, and we won't go voluntarily. We hope to do an EP on Propaganda, if they want us. Our message to Finnish punks: don't take everything so seriously. There's more than war to sing about."
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