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#1 | February 2013

interview with

BigWave Riders


Editor Eduardo Alonso Photos Jutta Juvonen - Alice & June Blog http://alice-june.blogspot.fi

Read more Glue - www.glue.fi Contact

Cover and page 4 photos


Tekla Valy


Let’s roll Encore is a series of interviews with some of the coolest bands and artists in the Finnish pop music world. The idea is to give you the opportunity to escape the fast-paced noisy world of music blogs, soundclouds, tweets and other media shortening our attention span. Just allow yourself to slow down your digital media consumption and spend some quality time getting to know one band at the time. For our first issue we chose Helsinki band Big Wave Riders, one of the most thrilling indie bands these days. They formed in the summer of 2010, and in 2012 they broke through with an excellent debut album and a great run of shows, including visits to London, Berlin and Russia. The band’s music is diverse and includes everything from garage to Britpop to post-punk, but always with a great ear for melody and pop. It is a band with an immense positive energy and a determined DIY attitude. Big Wave Riders are part of Soliti, the record label started in 2011 by Englishman in Helsinki Nick Triani. Soliti has been a refreshing addition to the indie landscape in Finland, supporting quality artists with an original sound that do not seem to fit anywhere else. With enthusiasm and passion for music, Soliti has built a solid roster and an increasingly outstanding catalogue. So far, it has been a work well done that needs recognition. Enough said. Now keep on reading and get to know the Big Wave Riders gang.



4 Valy Photo by Tekla


BIG WAVE RIDERS Young men with the big beat Text by Eduardo Alonso Photos by Jutta Juvonen

It is all about a cool rhythm. A rhythm that makes you dance. This is what guitarbased rock and pop band Big Wave Riders are about. In their own words, their music is inspired by waves, echoes and experimental rhythms with an electronic touch. Those experimental rhythms take form of songs that are not trying to fit into any certain genre. Play their debut album, Life Less Ordinary, and you will hear some dance rock, post punk, funky grooves, dream-pop, garage, and almost any combination of rhythms that a song can include. Everything is glued together

with a true pop attitude and a melodic approach. Big Wave Riders were formed in the spring of 2010 in Helsinki, and rose with a doit-yourself attitude, playing on their own terms. Over the course of two years the band has regularly delivered great singles, from the surf romanticism of “Big Sound” to the electronica inspired beats of “Stuck in Reverse”. With a solid introductory EP, a triumphant debut album and a good bunch of high energy shows, Big Wave Riders are already a solid and reputed band in the Finnish indie scene.



At the end of 2012, many bloggers and journalists featured Big Wave Riders’ debut album, Life Less Ordinary, in their best of the year lists. Indeed, the band had a superb year. Not only the album was well received, but many great shows followed it, including the first shows abroad and a gig opening for Wild Nothing, one of the group’s influences and inspirations. In this interview, guitarist and vocalist Teppo is joined by drummer Pete and guitarist Anssi, and they all look back at such a great year and the recording of the Life Less Ordinary. They do not spend time talking about influences and they do now overdo the meaning of their songs. Nevertheless, they are confident in their music and impatient about the future, ready to keep exploring sounds and rhythms to create that exciting Big Wave Riders sound.

Many things happened for Big Wave Riders in just a few months, how did the band start?

Your band description says that you are inspired by experimental rhythms, but what rhythms make a good Big Wave Riders song?

Teppo: Everything has changed since we started. First our

idea was to do some sort of electronic rock music, but now it’s just rock based music. What will we do next? I have no idea what we will do in the future. Petri: I wasn’t in the band at the very beginning. There was

Anssi: Hah, quite a hard one. There’s a variety of rhythms

that we use and that can make a good song. But I can say that we do like rhythms based on funk or Motown music. Rhythms that are dynamic and make you want to dance.

another drummer, but if you compare the earlier tracks to the album, you can notice a much more rockier sound, like band sound instead of electronic. Also the live sound has been developing all the time and getting better. We recorded most of the album live and we wanted to bring the energy that we have as a live band. Teppo: Indeed, one of the key elements of the album was to

have a live feeling. That was very new to us and we always want to try something new.


Apart of the music your listen to, what other things inspire you? Anssi: I think that everyday life can be inspiring. All the great

moments with your friends and loved ones, art, books, movies and good conversations can inspire you to make music. We’re also inspired by the interaction between us and the crowd in our gigs! In the end, it’s all about what makes you feel strong. You can use that as your inspiration.


How do you approach the songwriting process? Teppo: Usually a song starts when I do a demo at home with

my computer. Then I show it to the band and we try to play it live. Many times it becomes a very different thing from the original demo. The main idea is there, but we try to make it even better. Petri: Each member brings his own personality, style and

sound to what Teppo has crafted for the demos. But we don’t really have a plan to make the record sound in a specific way. We make different sounds from Teppo’s demos and I think the album turned out to be very diverse and very colorful in style. Teppo: We didn’t have any genre in mind. That’s been the

idea. Just to play something that feels good.

Your first release was a digital only EP and despite its limited release, it got a lot of attention and created a fan base for Big Wave Riders. Did this sudden success bring some pressure when recording your first album? Teppo: We were aware that we had to release something and

that people were waiting and wanted to hear new songs. However, it didn’t really affect what we were doing.

Petri: We were satisfied with the EP and we were lucky that

it got some good reviews and attention, but we were able to leave all that behind and just focus on the new material. We didn’t have any kind of pressure to make this type of fast song or this other type. We carried on and luckily the new material built up quite fast. The EP was just a digital release, so I kind of feel that the album is the first official release or pillar for this group. How was the recording of this first album? Teppo: We recorded it in four days in a row. Four very long

days, so it was a very fast recording. We arrived to the studio and we were pretty well prepared, so it was very easy to play all the songs. There we recorded drums, bass, guitars, synths and saxophones. After that we continued recording a couple of things in our rehearsal studio in Espoo.

We don’t have any genre in mind. That’s been the idea. We just play something that feels good, something that has a good rhythm. - Teppo

Petri: We did drums and bass in one and a half days. We

knew we had to get it right because there was no more money for studio time. The album received very good reviews and it was included in many bloggers and magazine best of the year lists. Are you still surprised of your own success? Petri: I didn’t know what to expect of the album, so I

expected nothing. We all are very happy of what we achieved. It is a strong debut album and it’s nice that it got mostly positive reviews and some good attention. But to me it has also been nice that there have been some very good shows after the release, for example opening for Wild Nothing. Very good shows in Finland, also a few shows abroad. Teppo: I have read some reviews that made me think that the

writer had really gotten the point of the album and had paid attention to our music, figuring out what we are trying to do. That is very cool. Big Wave Riders are:

What about the feedback from fans, for example after a show?

Aleksi - bass Anssi - guitar & vocals Lauri - keys & sax Petri - drums Teppo - vocals & guitar

Petri: After the concerts people have commented that they

enjoy that the show is very positive and energetic. This is great because that’s exactly how we want to make people feel.





Teppo: Our show can get

a bit aggressive... but in a good way. As you mentioned you have done some gigs outside Finland, what can you tell about them? Petri: First we went to

Berlin. Very nice, even though I was sick the whole trip. There was another Finnish band there too, Burning Hearts, and the DJ played some Finnish music too. It was a very Finnish night. Teppo: After that we played

in London with French Films and some other English bands. London might be a hard place to play, but it was a good effort. We got positive feedback and contacts for the future. And it was a lot of fun. Petri: Finally, a few weeks

ago we were in Russia. People were super friendly and nice there. Probably one of the best places we ever played. Coming back from Moscow by train was such an experience. It was a 14-hour trip in the old Tolstoi train. Tiny compartments, all packed with our gear. No place to sleep or move. Lots of vodka. Being an indie band, it requires a great investment. Does it pay off? Teppo: It’s hard. Playing

abroad is so expensive, so we tried to play as much as we can in Finland. You can spend all your money on the band. That’s music. Everything you get, you give. Petri: Making the records

Teppo: Musically, this is also

very different to what we did in the past, but we have also gained more experience and success now. We are a bit more professional. We practice and play often, so the band is not a casual thing. How was the recruitment of the different band members? Anssi: We’ve all had previous

bands and we knew each other that way. We even did gigs together. When Big Wave Riders was found we were all quite bored with the old stuff and we wanted to do something fresh. So the recruitment happened quite naturally. We’re all passionate about music and that’s what Big Wave Riders is all about.

is also hard, but that’s the situation nowadays.

You were one of the first bands to joint Nick Triani’s label Soliti.

You have been in different bands before. What is different with Big Wave Riders?

Petri: Nick Triani has the

Petri: The dynamics in the

band are different. What we have in Big Wave Riders is great chemistry. We’re good friends so it’s easy to work with each other. We get along. I don’t mean there was a lot of ugly stuff in

A word from the boss

previous bands, but well... this band rules.

experience, the love for music, and knows what he’s doing. But he started from scratch so it will take some time to grow. It’s an honour to be with so many other good bands, and there’s a great vibe. Little by little, we will all get there. The future for Soliti looks bright. It’s good to be there.


Soliti label chief Nick Triani tells how he discovered Big Wave Riders Big Wave Riders were a band that I discovered online from songs appearing in the blogosphere. I was really impressed by how modern the band sounded at the time -yet combined with an acute ear for a great melody. I approached the band about working with them and eventually that became reality with me mixing a couple of tracks on their debut EP and then moving along to actually recording/producing the album with the band. Big Wave Riders have a great gang mentality (they are for real in this sense) and they look really good. It was a no brainer to have them as part of the Soliti family of bands. Teppo from the band has been instrumental in creating the visual identity of the label as well, designing the label logo and website, posters etc. I think we just scraped the surface of what the band is capable of on Life Less Ordinary. - Nick Triani

On Life Less Ordinary we just scrapped the surface of what the band is capable of - Nick Triani



Big Wave Riders Life Less Ordinary Soliti 2012

1. Waiting In The Wings 2. Stuck In Reverse 3. California 4. Life Is Art, You Wonder 5. Sunny Season 6. Science Fiction 7. Castle In The Air 8. Disco Lies 9. Acid 10. Move On

The end of the summer of 2012 finally saw the release of Big Wave Riders full-length. Life Less Ordinary is a very fine collection of singles for the present decade. As an album it challenges any categorisation since it touches many different sounds and styles. This is not a bad thing, especially these days in which the concept of an album is becoming rare. What all these songs have in common is a tremendous positive energy, combined with a melodic approach, thanks to singer Teppo’s vocal work. Like many bands do on a tight budget, Life Less Ordinary was recorded in just a few days. This immediacy created ten quick songs clocking in a little bit over 35 minutes. Slow songs or fast songs,

Big Wave Riders first introduced themselves with the release of the track “Big Sound” in 2010. It was a fast, catchy song that as soon as it was over made you want to hear some more music. Or at least hit the replay button.

Big Wave Riders EP Soliti 2011


1. Pictures Of Lifestyle And Friends 2. Behind These Walls 3. Skate Or Die 4. It’s Funny Things Aren’t Gonna Change 5. Big Sound 6. Give Me The Smile 7. Republic Of The Average

Over the coming months, the band would come out with a few singles, which helped to build up anticipation for a proper release. In late 2011, those tracks along newer ones became the seven-track self-titled EP, which was the second release ever by the Soliti label. The centrepiece of the EP is “Big Sound”, included here in a new mix, but still sounding fresh, like the perfect single. Being the


there is not time for overproduced arrangements or superfluous details. The tracks build up quickly around a distinctive beat. Even though, Life Less Ordinary is diverse in style and there are plenty of synths and heavy danceable bass lines, it also remains a guitar-based album. From the surf rock spirit of opener “Waiting in the Wings” to the dance riffs of “Disco Lies” to the fuzz guitar lines of the closer “Move On”. With Life Less Ordinary, Big Wave Riders have opened so many possibilities to develop their sound that it is extremely interesting to see what direction the band will take. Whatever that may be, it is pretty sure that there will be a big beat along the way.

first recordings, the overall production is a little bit rough on the edges, and a little bit heavy on the reverb. The inspiration in electronic beats is very much present, for example in “It’s Funny Things Aren’t Gonna” change. Overall, the EP is also lacking the fuzzy sounds and the dreaminess that increased the sound palette on the debut album. The EP is great insight into how the band has developed the Big Wave Riders sound. Apart of “Big Sound” it also includes highlights like the epic “Skate or Die” and “Behind These Walls”, which is the bridge between the earlier recordings and Life Less Ordinary.



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