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Finnish Strip & Soviets Stealing Records in Bushes

March 21st, 2015


Much like my honeymoon (thanks Emily!) to the Sunset Strip in LA to see the sacred ground of The Doors, Guns N’ Roses, and others, I was excited for my cold trek to Tavastia Klub in Helsinki. As a big fan of the Finnish rock music scene (Murmansk, Mesmer, etc), it was as inspirational as I’d hoped to see the club where these bands cut their teeth. Unlike the Strip, Tavastia is still grimy and lively and energetic and beautiful and everything you’d expect from an important modern music venue. Seeing and meeting Say Lou Lou there was a treat (and a great reason to move our trip one day earlier)–their set was energetic, lush and positively Scandinavian. I highly recommend them if you like dreamy pop music.

Finland, by the way, is incredible–the coffee is amazing and the people are warm. There were four concerts I wanted to see in our three nights there, plus a coffee festival and a street food festival. A solid #2 on my “I Could Live Here–Europe” list behind Berlin. But Finland was not the extent of the trip’s inspiration–I found just as much across the water in a country younger than I am.

Harjumägi park in Tallinn, Estonia has a great story behind it– the citizens used to trade Western music there (it was forbidden by the Soviets) and the police would pop out from behind the bushes and steal the music from them. Apparently one vinyl back then cost about half of a month’s wages, so the Soviet police were really just stealing it to sell for themselves and get rich. I can’t imagine having to risk so much to hear what I can so easily download or grab from a record store now. People talk frequently about what music’s worth, as have I–thinking only monetarily. It’s wonderful we don’t need to factor jailtime into that discussion.


This is what old Tallinn looks like. There was also a Depeche Mode bar. Yep.

Combining that park story with the local crafts and some record store purchases of incredible Estonian electronic music, I have driven off the cliff of inspiration. I’m a bit worried that our next album will be clearly pre- and post-Estonia–with the songs in the latter category being cold, driving, shoegaze, electronic Euro. Maybe that’s not a bad thing.


Me doing a hyperlapse of the cruise for my videoart while working on our new song “Crown.”

It’s probably a bad thing.

We shall see.

Out with some Mesmer:

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