Thursday, July 27, 2023

The Short Bios: Teknojta

We started a new feature series called "The Short Bios" in which we ask DJs and producers of Hardcore spectrum 16 questions so that they can showcase themselves, their music, their activities and so on.
So it's like a short bio / interview.

This time we asked Teknojta.

1. Tell us a little about yourself, who you are, where you a from, etc. a little introduction.

I go by the artist name Teknojta (FKA Teknoaidi), some might remember my previous alias Zutsuu, my dj alias is Avaruusveli and I'm also a part of the group/duo Hiiden Virren Vinguttajat. I'm a founder of the Kovaydin.NET online community/netlabel/crew, which has been a stable in Finnish underground core scene for the past 18 years, and recently I started its international sublabel Ydinväki. (btw in Finnish language the letter Y is similar to the German Ü or Dutch U, sometimes people get confused of the seemingly random consonants, but it's actually a vowel 😃) I've lived almost half of my life in Tampere city, where most of our operation is based. I also make related YouTube content on the Electric Byway channel.

2. How did you get involved in Hardcore and its subgenres?

I had been into more commercial electronic dance music when I was a kid/teen and I heard hardcore for the first time when I was living in the south of The Netherlands with my family in 97-99. It was something that couldn't be missed even in a small town. It was however only in 2003 that I started to dig deeper into the music and its subgenres after I asked an old school buddy of mine from NL to send me some new and old Dutch compilations. That was a life changing point for me. I started making my own hardcore and created a Finnish hardcore website Kovaydin.NET with a forum as well as sharing people's tracks on the page. Later we started organizing parties and moved from releasing individual tracks into a netlabel format. Early on I also got into the various international communities online as well as traveling to different scenes in Europe and Japan. I was more and less involved with j-core, industrial hardcore, speedcore and some other subgenres with my Zutsuu alias. In early 2010’s I started to develop my own style of ritualistic folk influenced hardcore and speedcore and internationally became a bit more involved with the scenes where flashcore, atmospheric speedcore, French industrial hardcore and similar stuff is played.

3. What inspires you as a producer?

The energy state that the music creates, be it composing or doing a live jam.

4. What DAW or equipment are you using for your music?

FL Studio since version 3 and Ableton Live for some years. In the acoustic department I have a frame drum, khomus (a Sakha style jaw harp), rainstick and some other instruments that help me simulate "acoustic hardcore" lol.

5. Is there something particular you want to express with your music? Emotions, an idea, something political?

I often explore the connection between high tempo ritualistic music of ancient and modern times and how it can be similar to hardcore techno music. Other topics include for example nature consciousness, ecstatic shaking and visions of future utopias. I like the fusion of calm and intense as well as northern melancholy, sounds that touch on different levels at the same time.

6. What are some tracks or releases you did that you are especially proud of? Let us know.

For the past 4 years or so I've focused on collaborating with different vocalists. 'Luonnon Nostatus' was the first of such tracks that I composed with Iconobreaker, featuring Samu Kuusisto throat-singing a Finnish spell. There was also a music video for it. I've mostly gotten positive feedback for it and it has been important for some people. Recently I also released a new EP 'Luontotietoisuus', which continues on the same path.

7. Any good / bad experiences that you had with gigs and want to mention?

The best gigs I've played have been abroad and at our crew's parties in Finland. I've played at a variety of local harder and random electronic music parties and there is sometimes a huge gap between what party people are used to hearing and dancing to and what I actually play. There are of course positive exceptions here and there when people just go with the flow and don't think about genres and limitations. I think how the lineup progresses energetically can also play a big role in the experience. But gigs at parties where we go full power from the beginning and where people just get it have been the best so far tbh. Germany has definitely been one of the easiest places to play this kind of stuff when I'm not even necessarily the fastest and most experimental in the lineup. But a part of the gig life is that I love traveling and seeing new places, cultures and people. Sometimes the gigs can be more challenging and sometimes everything just falls into place. Some of the most memorable gigs in Finland have been out in the nature inside a cave.

8. Any other interesting / funny / emotional story that you had in your "Hardcore history" that you want to share?

8 years ago I was sitting 30 hours in a car traveling to Witches Sabbath, a free party that was held in rural Russia. + 30 hours back. That was actually my third time playing at WS. Intense and good memories. There are many places I'd still wish to explore and cultures (Finno-Ugrics, Samoyeds, Turkic peoples and others) I'd still wish to meet in that part of the world and I hope it will become possible again some day, but I know that currently there are more important things in the world than what I want.

9. What other artists do you admire?

Anyone who is stubborn enough to pioneer hardcore in places where it doesn't exist and doesn't give up the dream of evolving and spreading it.

10. What are some of your favorite records or tracks?

There are really too many to list, but I'd like to use this space to mention some CD albums that have had some kind of impact on me and that just came to mind at this particular moment:

Dashcraft - Creative Destruction
Razor Edge - Mind Stimulation
Zenith - Flowers of Intelligence

11. What are you aiming for in your music? Any goals, visions, things that you want to achieve?

As Teknojta I want to keep developing in the same direction that I've been on recently and making collaborations with more singers and perhaps folk musicians who are more pro with their acoustic instruments than I am. At the moment I'm especially interested in finding an indigenous Sámi yoik singer to collaborate with.

The Ydinväki netlabel is something that I want to develop as a platform for ritual folk + hardcore fusions as well as the DIY working method of recording one's own sounds. The aesthetique of the label is also for example about using field recordings from nature as rhythms, ambience or whatever. When the time is right I want to expand this into an event concept.

12. What are your plans for the near future? Upcoming releases, gigs, and such.

At the moment we're working on a Hiiden Virren Vinguttajat EP for Ydinväki.

Planning to play some Teknojta sets with 1-2 live vocalists soon. We got at least one Kovaydin.NET UG party coming up in Tampere on September 30.

13. What do you think of the "Hardcore scene" right now? Anything you'd like to change?

I feel like the festival hardcore scene and sounds are going further and further away from what I used to appreciate in hardcore. Actually interesting new developments in the recent years have come from places like Indonesia (Raja Kirik, Gabber Modus Operandi) and East-Africa (Duma, Makossiri, Slikback + others). It's part of a new movement that's more widely electronic/experimental music and not just hardcore. Those also seem to be the types of events where these artists primarily get booked in Europe.

So there are interesting pockets of new hardcore here and there, but a "unified" hardcore scene is kind of vague. I think what would be interesting to see more of are inclusive festivals where the different subgenres, also less commercial ones, are brought together on different stages to celebrate hardcore. Also artists from different countries across the world who are doing their own thing and not just catering to already established subgenres.

I see the Finnish core artist scene as one example of a microcosmic social experiment of a unified hardcore scene. Most of the local artists are focused in doing 1 core subgenre well, so there is often 1 individual for one style, but there are not that many artists who are very similar to each other (the dj scene is of course a bit different story). If everyone had a huge local community behind their style, they would probably not get out of that bubble. But we are at the same time all alone and all together in this. When we as individuals work together it’s for the good of all of us, everyone benefits in the local scene.

Would it work on a bigger scale? It would definitely be more challenging, especially because of different economics and standards, but it’s at least a nice dream of a hardcore utopia. Repeated aesthetics create hype, a critical mass and a sense of belonging somewhere, but I want to help to cocreate a hardcore scene where our differences in sound, background and experiences are celebrated and embraced.

14. What other music besides Hardcore do you like, or are involved in?

My earliest interest in electronic music comes from the late 80's to 90's computer and video game music and I still enjoy it today. I also listen to ambient, noise, breakcore, idm, spacesynth, space rock, soundtracks, various kinds of folk music, often of ritualistic nature, some psytrance things selectively (like forest, dark, suomi, psycore etc.). Socially conscious and abstract hiphop has also had a big impact on me as a person and as an artist in that I've often wanted to convey a message with my music and there was a time when some local rappers were showing that you can fuse folk music and hiphop in a serious way and without sampling, so this is something that I wanted to do with hardcore as well. These are the kinds of things that are more regularly on my playlists, but I'm not limited to these only.

Occasionally I play dj sets of free tekno (mental tribe, oldschool hardtek etc) and the extreme end of psycore. This has come more from a need where there haven't been many dj's exploring the more unknown corners of these styles in Finland. Luckily nowadays especially free tekno is gaining in popularity among local dj's and as a movement. I have also done a few experiments in the ecstatic dance / yoga/sober rave community building sets from more chillout and ritual folk music into hardcore beats. This has had varying results. There is a good reason why there are different electronic tribes, because many times there can be disappointments when we don't vibe to the same energies, but at the same time I'm often thirsty for cross subcultural experiments and to question the status quo of things.

15. What other interests or activities besides strictly music do you want to mention? Like painting art, movies or political activism...

In my professional life I'm trying to be a sound designer and video editor. I'm into Chinese style tea ceremonies, though not practicing very actively at the moment. I'm a walking distance away from deep forests, where I enjoy taking walks.

16. Anything else you want to tell our readers? Whatever it is, feel free to tell our readers!

I want to challenge other hardcore artists, who are ready, to use less samples from ready products and to make more DIY sounds or do collaborations with musicians in other fields. Maybe even contact your professional/amateur actor friend to record movie-like vocals, if that's your thing. With consent the intent of the music becomes even more powerful and we can evolve it. But I admit I was also a more enthusiastic advocate for sampling at one point. Do whatever feels right in the moment!

(socials listed on the pages above)

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