As you may well know, Finland has a rich history of rock and metal music. From both genders I might add. One of Finland's undiscovered talents lies within the all-female rock band Sarca. You might well agree that even though these five ladies are extremely pretty, their music should never be judged on looks and Sarca as a whole has a lot of bite in their repertoire. Having also had a stint with Finnish stunt legends The Dudesons (think Jackass), there is more to Sarca than meets the eye as you will now find out...
How did Sarca come about as a band; how did you form? What does the band name mean?
"Our guitarist Amanda and drummer Sandra are sisters, our keyboardist Vilma has known them both since kindergarten and our bassist Alisa was in the same grade as Amanda from 2002 to 2010. Sarca was born in 2002. The whole idea was born at school. I talked with our bassist on our lunch break and asked her if she wanted to start playing the bass. :D Our singer Tuuli sang her way to our band in 2005 after our earlier singer left Sarca. The name Sarca actually means nothing. I (Amanda) had a dream in 2005 that we had that name. In the dream we were reading a review about our debut album and we thought and decided that it was a premonition and changed our name!"
Is there any stigma towards female rock musicians in Finland? How do you cope with any abuse or bullying received because your an all-female band? Is the term female-fronted sexist in your opinion?
"First of all the term "tyttöbändi" which is used in Finland means a 'girl-band'. I think that's kind of an insult already. After all we are not girls any more and that term feels underrating. The first thought when we go to some gig seems to be that girls can't play really good or something. Especially when it comes to rock music and attitude, time after time everyone seems to be surprised that we actually can play. That's kind of funny and annoying also and yes, we don't understand why people have to talk about "all-female bands" or "girl-bands". Why it's so different when it comes to men? Maybe its so magical and rare that "girls" are playing in a band? I don't know. And when it comes to bullying and mean comments etc., I think in those cases the bullies are mainly women. Women can be so mean to each other. I think it's the envy or something. Any case its stupid and childish."
You released your debut album "Nollasta Sataan" 5-6 years ago, will 2018 bring a new album?
"Our singer is on maternity leave now. She had her baby in February so I think this year will be quite quiet for us."
How did you all get into playing rock music? Who did you listen to growing up? Who are your current idols?
"We all have our own idols and we all listen to many kind of music. Pop / Rock just feels right for us. Our bassist Alisa and myself (Amanda) are writing most of our songs, so our taste in music shows maybe the most in it. I love for example Kiss, Rob Zombie, Van Halen (Eddie is the BEST!), Alanis Morrisette, Type O Negative, Michael Jackson, Stam1na.... the list is very long."
Where has Sarca performed? Have you played outside of Finland? Would you tour Europe?
"We've performed since 2005 so there has been many different kind of stages along the way. Virgin Oil @ Helsinki, Pori Jazz @ Pori for example. We've been honoured to play with many big Finnish bands and artists like Negative, Battle Beast, Kotiteollisuus, Indica and so on. We've been to Germany once but that's the only time we've played outside Finland. Maybe some day we'll be touring Europe, but we'd like to conquer Finland first!"
What do your parents think of your music, are any of your family members musicians?
"Our parents support us with all their hearts and they love our music and us. Sandra (drummer) and my father is a guitarist, and our bassist's father plays the bass and violin. My (Amanda) and Sandra's mother is our manager so she gives a great amount of support for us of course."
For those visiting your home city of Hyvinkää, what sights / attractions are there? Any festivals nearby?
"Next summer we have this rock festival in Hyvinkää, and there are some big names performing like Ozzy Osbourne, Marilyn Manson, Amaranthe, Amorphis, Avenged Sevenfold, Opeth, Megadeth, Stone Sour and Bullet For My Valentine. It's the biggest event in Hynikää ever! We have also the Finnish Railway Museum, ski resort and an entertainment centre - Sveitsi for example. So welcome all! :)"
What plans do you have for the year ahead? Are there any greetings you wish to send out?
"This year will be quiet but maybe some new songs will be written for the next year. We'd like to remind you all to enjoy your life, make the most of it by following your dreams and making your life the life you want to live! Much love! <3"
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!"
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