The new Mastering Finland Podcast episode is this time all about metal music in Finland and for this reason, the guest of this episode is Dafne Jalomo, a psychologist, music lover, beer enthusiast and adventurer from Mexico, who is now living in Helsinki.
It was over 15 years ago, when Dafne had her first contact with Finnish bands, starting with the first one, which is also her favourite, Sonata Arctica. Dafne says that this band was one of the reasons she ended up in this country. The music and the lyrics were uniquely talking to her heart, something that made her wonder what is going on in this country, how come people in Finland are so talented, and so she decided to travel to Finland to discover what this is that makes her feel so excited about this music and country. For her, music is a hobby, “a daily activity” that she cannot live without because it describes herself and her mood.
Back in 2016, Dafne managed to travel for the first time to Finland. During her stay here she attended several gigs, visited some of the biggest music venues, the most popular bars in Helsinki and Rovaniemi and discussed with locals and musicians, too. Being accepted back then from the University of Helsinki into a master program and having met her ex-partner were the reasons for this trip to last longer for Dafne.
Matt and Dafne talk thoroughly about the 5 major bands that have been heavily influential for the Finnish metal music industry and Finland's recognition, namely Stratovarius, Children of Bodom, Nightwish, Him and Apocalyptica.
One of the most interesting experiences of Dafne was an introductory email she received, once she got accepted by the University of Helsinki. Dafne says that part of the welcoming email was a heavy metal playlist.
“This is a playlist by Helsinki University, listen to it, the biggest export or 1/4 of our biggest export around the world is the heavy music. So, this is it, listen to it, enjoy it, get to know what we like, what we do, what we make, what we produce here.” was almost what was standing along with the playlist.
“So, I just loved that and especially when I started to listen to that, like, these bands that we are talking about, they were all there of course, plus these bands that I love as well and I've been listening to for about like 10, 15 years or more. This moved me because it intertwined with my main reason and my biggest passion, the fact that I am now living here and now I have the chance to do different things...It comes back, it always comes back to the same, yeah, this is it!”.
Dafne highlights the importance of getting familiar with this kind of Finnish music from a cultural immersion point of view, relating that also to the foreign students and newcomers in Finland.
"It's the same with the Finnish language, probably you cannot speak right away and fluently or you cannot speak it at all, but at least learn some words and try to engage with it, it is the same with the music. If you're coming here, try to understand what people love, because most of the people are into heavy metal here, which is fantastic, at least people from my generation".
For Dafne and Matt culture and metal music go together, like salmiakki and ice cream. The long and dark cold winters, the lack of light, is what Finland has to offer during this time of the year, according to her.
“I think that is why they are able to convey also this kind of feelings, and not only in Finland, let's talk about the Nordics in general, they are able to convey these feelings and these views” due to the shadowy, gloomy, and “saddest” time of the year. It comes naturally to them, people channel these views and these emotions.
She adds at this point that Latin America has a significant amount of heavy metal bands, however for her the feelings conveyed are not the same, because the Finnish musicians in this scene have been going through this kind of gloominess for their whole lives, they know precisely what it means to them and they can convey it to the audience.
Dafne sums up the most prominent Finnish heavy metal genres, melodic death metal, symphonic metal, power metal and folk metal. The first one is worth mentioning, as she states, since it portrays exactly that gloominess of this time of the year. Ensiferum, Turisas, and Korpiklaani are also some folk metal bands worth mentioning. An amazing fact is that Finnish bands singing in Finnish, like Teräsbetoni and Korpiklaani, have made it to other side of the world, in Latin America, where people do not understand what they hear, but still, they try to sing and mosh to their songs. And this is what, according to her, brings two different worlds, the world of Latin America and that of Finland, together.
“It allows the outcasts to find their own and that is very important to mention, to find our own people, when it comes to metalheads, to festivals.” she says.
Lastly, Dafne mentions two collaborative heavy metal band projects between Latin American and Finnish talents. The first band, which is based in Helsinki, is Ultima, and the second one, which is based in Turku, is Worldburn.