I’m Teknoaidi aka Zutsuu, a musician, live-act, dj and promoter from Tampere, Finland. I have been active in the Finnish underground *core scene for nearly 10 years. In this article I will write about the local music and party scene, focusing mostly on the underground, as well as on what is unique about Finnish hardcore techno of today.
Finland has a small, yet relatively passionate hardcore techno scene, taking into account that the population of the country is only 5 million. Hardcore has been present in the rave scene at least since the early 1990’s. One of the first, if not the first, local live-artists being The Mighty Rubber Boots and one of the first crews organizing hardcore-only parties was Trance Source i3. In the early days the sound was also pushed by Amiga demoscene crews such as dA JoRMaS. Tres is a hardcore/speedcore artist who is still more and less active to this day. He was the founder of crews such as Inkvisitio (it means ”the inquisition”) and Antenniosasto (”the antenna department”), which organized bigger and smaller uncompromised underground and club parties from 1997 till 2007. They left a big impact on the scene before the torch was passed on to the next generation. The music at these events ranged from hardcore to speedcore and from breakcore to noise. Two other notable artists at the end of scene’s first decade were Disruptikk aka xybo and H8!Machine aka Vihakone who had a speedcore label called Fleshwound Records and also released on various German labels.
Present Day Party Crews
The organizers throwing parties today are of the third and fourth generation. Mindcore (founded in 2004) organizes mainstream hardcore and gabber parties with popular international headliners, typically attracting 200-400 or more attendees in the capital city Helsinki. Other prominent cities with occasional shows of international mainstream hardcore artists are Turku (House of Hard Music) and Vaasa (Finnish Gabber Promotions Oy) on the western coast. Semi-legal underground and smaller club parties, which focus in underground hardcore and breakcore, or a mix of both mainstream and underground sounds, are organized in various cities and usually attract around 50-150 people. The most notable crews doing such events are: Kovaydin.NET (literally ”Hardcore Network”), founded by yours truly (based in Tampere), the fairly new crew Club Syndrome from Joensuu (Eastern Finland), and the latest player in the scene, X-Treme, which started throwing monthly parties in Helsinki this year. Another major, but currently inactive, 21st century underground organizer was Valovoima, who organized Earthcore squat parties in Helsinki and Lavantautitanssit (”typhoid dance”) parties in Turku, as well as the ambient/industrial/noise/core club event Syntesia-klubi in Tampere among other events. He is now a part of the Kovaydin.NET crew. International artists and dj’s are also often visiting the Finnish underground parties, however in contrast to the bigger club parties where fame is often the first priority when choosing international headliners, in order to try to meet the budgets, the international artists visiting underground parties are invited primarily based on the originality of their music, regardless if their name is known or not. Global grassroots networking and artist exchange has also been encouraged, especially to the neighbouring countries Russia and Sweden.
Kovaydin.NET – The Finnish Hardcore Techno Underground
After the illegal warehouse parties of the 90’s moved to clubs, the underground parties never really died out in Finland. They continued to exist alongside the clubbing scene, although in smaller size. These parties are typically held at abandoned buildings, squats, rented venues or out in nature. Of course, even the underground parties and crowds transformed, but a lot of the original spirit still remains. This is especially true for the underground hardcore scene in Tampere – something the Kovaydin.NET crew and other local underground crews such as Tenkale are proud of. We are also trying to promote the free party movement together in Finland. Kovaydin.NET was founded in 2005 and it first served as an online platform where artists and enthusiasts alike could network. Later it became a party crew and a netlabel. In the 1990’s and early 2000’s there were maybe a handful of hardcore live-artists and dj’s in Finland, but partly thanks to online networking and people supporting each other, the quality of the music and the amount of live-artists as well as dj’s significantly increased. It can also be said that the musical climate became more encouraging towards individual experimentations, as opposed to direct copy and paste of popularized genre standards. The Kovaydin.NET parties typically offer many varieties of underground hardcore, speedcore and breakcore, as well as hardtek and rhythmic noise. The crowds in Tampere are very diverse and you can find everything from goths to hippies and otakus to metalheads, all enjoying spasmodic beats together under the same roof. This goes to show the richness and limitless potential of what is going on in the *core underground.
SuomiHC – Peculiarities of Finnish hardcore
Finland is probably most known for the success of the Finnish freeform genre in the hard dance scene and the suomisaundi subgenre in the psytrance scene. Less known, but equally unique, is the phenomena called suomihc aka Finnish hardcore techno or just suomicore. It is usually used as an umbrella term for all Finnish hardcore, but there are also some common features to be found that capture the local spirit. One such feature are melancholic melodies and this is the kind of music that many Finns in general appreciate. The short and dark winter days provide a mindset for introspection and composing deep, abrasive, atmospheric and abstract core tunes. In the summer the sun almost doesn’t set at all making people go manic and party in a cave in the forest or near a lake – the perfect environment for contemporary shamancore rituals.
A few original Finnish artists to check out:
Shatterling – An aspiring young artist who makes melodic down and uptempo hardcore and crossbreed. He has released on international labels such as Noisj.nl and Battle Audio Records.
Skelic – Formerly known as Hell Factory, this musical-genious-shrouded-in-mystery takes the experimentalism in darkstep, hardcore and crossbreed, among other styles, even further creating some truly original atmospheric bangers.
Teknoaidi – This is my shamancore project. I try to connect the dots between shamanic music and hardcore and explore the healing properties of speedcore. Other influences include Finnish folk music and world music.
Valovoima – A musician of various styles from ambient to experimental and atmospheric speedcore, often with a twist of acid sounds. His music is inspired by nature and natural sciences and is like a celebration of the intense energies of natural phenomena.
Hiiden Virren Vinguttajat – An electroacoustic collaboration between me and Stak Etop (the founder of Tenkale). HVV music is born live at shamancore jams where we play drum machines, noiseboxes, DIY synths and various acoustic instruments such as flutes, rattles, a mouth harp or a frame drum. The best bits of the improvisation sessions are cut and sometimes additional sounds are added with software. Sometimes these jams take place at parties in the form of workshops where anyone can participate in the process.
The only thing that is constant is change
People in the scene are coming and going, sometimes taking a break, sometimes not returning. There are many interesting artists who make some kind of hardcore and breakcore music, but are scattered in various music scenes and groups, only making random appearances in the actual *core scene. The only thing that is constant is that the scene is always tranforming. Thus this was not a comprehensive list of all the artists and crews, but an effort to mention some of the major players in the scene’s history, the current situation, as well as the more original musical developments in the present. For more Finnish *core music, check out the Youtube channel called Suomicore Tube or the recent free online compilation 10 Years of Suomicore on Kovaydin.NET.