When it comes to pop rock, we tend to focus solely on the UK and the USA and thus miss all the other countries in-between, one of these countries is Finland.
The Finnish rock scene has had a rich history with the likes of Hanoi Rocks, HIM, The Rasmus, Hanna Pakarinen having an impact overseas and achieving mainstream success. Now comes the turn for Haloo Helsinki! to have a shot at overseas fame. The Finnish four-piece swept up a total of four awards at this years Emma Gaala (Finland's equivalent of The Grammy's) - 'Band of the Year', 'Album Of The Year', 'Rock album of the Year' and 'Best selling-album of the year'.
Whilst the Helsinki crew have been releasing album after album laden with Finnish-only songs, they've had a lot of interest from overseas and as they release their new single 'Texas' (featuring fellow Emma Gaala nominees JVG (a hip-hop duo)), things are looking rather 'hygge' for the group as they go to explain...
"We had two amazing concerts there (Tallinn, Estonia) with 20,000 fans"
For those who do not know of Haloo Helsinki! Could you please give us the back story of how the band came about?
"Jere and I have known each other since daycare. We both grew up in Suutarila and played sports in the same teams. We were also in the same music class and started to play guitar together. We were really passionate about music and in junior high school we met Jukka, who we thought was the best drummer in the whole school. In 2006 we saw Elli sing in a North Helsinki band school concert and asked her to join the band. Already after the first rehearsal with Elli we knew that this was it. Haloo Helsinki! was formed."
Given your music is in the Finnish language, have you had any attention from outside of Finland?
"Surprisingly we have many fans from outside of Finland even though we sing in Finnish. We get messages from all over the world, from Mexico to Germany and from the USA to India."
How does it feel to have won four EMMA Awards? Where does this rank in the band's history?
"The whole of 2017 was a highlight in the band’s history. We came back after a one year break and the fans support was even bigger than before. We did an amazing tour and what we think is our best album so far, "Hulluuden Highway". Of course it’s great to get recognition for all the hard work, so we’re really happy for the EMMA awards."
What was it like to work with fellow EMMA nominees JVG on your new single 'Texas'?
"It was really fun! We have known the guys for many years now and really respect what they are doing. This was the first time we had a featuring artist on our single (apart from our Christmas song 'Joulun Kanssas Jaan', which featured the Cantores Minores choir) and we are happy that it was JVG."
Would you look to tour Europe sometime? Would you release an English-language album?
"For now, we are happy with touring Finland and singing in Finnish. But actually we started our Hulluuden Highway tour from Tallinn, Estonia last March. We had two amazing concerts there with 20,000 fans. But right now we have no plans for going on a further European tour."
You released your latest album 'Hulluuden Highway' last year, what was the reception like?
"The reception has been overwhelming! We have had a lot of messages from the fans that the album has brought them support and joy in their lives, which is the most important feedback we can get. Also all of the album’s tracks went to the Spotify top 50 and the album was the most sold album in Finland in 2017 and received the 'Album of the year' EMMA award. We couldn’t be more satisfied with the album!"
How hard is it being a pop rock / pop punk band in Finland?
"Rock or punk isn’t in the Finnish mainstream at the moment and there aren’t many bands around. But we think there is always room for rock music and raw energy. And I think we are an example that people want to see that live rock energy that we have in our concerts and on our records. We also like to mix modern influences and elements from other genres to our music."
What plans do you have for the year ahead in 2018?
"We will do a tour in Lapland in the spring and do a lot of festival gigs in the summer"
Have you got any hello's, thank you's, etc you wish to send out to fans, family, etc?
"Hello to all of our fans outside of Finland! It’s great to receive your messages, hope to see you soon!"