Underwater Sleeping Society

When and how was your band created?
It was originally started 1999 in Riihimäki – which is a small town about 60 kilometres up north from Helsinki – when our singer-guitarist Okko asked Tomi, guitarist as well, to kick out some jams with him. Okko had previously played in a punk band and wanted to do something different, to create beautiful pop music instead of noisy punk rock

There were some difficulties in finding a right guy to play drums and it wasn’t until late 2002 when the band really came together once the drummer Sampo joined the group. Anyway, the final spice to the soup was added in late 2004 when a tall engineer named Matti Olavi Töyli joined the band to play clarinet, saxophone and a little synth named “Nautilus”.

Where is the name of the band coming from?
It’s a bit boring answer, but it doesn’t really have any special meaning, I suppose it just sounds fascinating. Apparently it was Okko who came up with. There were some bad suggestions before, like “Justin’s Case” and “Purple Sunday” for instance.

As one can imagine, over the years many people have said that it’s too long, but we think that the name actually describes the band’s sound quite well. And who cares about people’s opinions anyway. Look how well Creedence Clearwater Revival has done ! And if you really really like to, you can always use the shorter version of our name (our CCR version) UwSSoc.

What musicians or artists did have a major influence in your life /work?
Apparently there are only three bands that we all like: Pink Floyd, The Flaming Lips and 22-Pistepirkko, but since there’s no easy way to do this, I’ll just name a bunch of good ones that most of us enjoy: The Beatles, Radiohead, The Doors, Sonic Youth, Björk, Deus, Air, Nick Drake, Jeff Buckley, Primal Scream, Johnny Cash, Talking Heads, Magenta Skycode, Rubik, Kastor, Nirvana, The Velvet Underground, Sigur Ros, David Bowie, The Cure.

What are the positive and negative aspects of being a musician in Finland?
Positive: There are not too many bands, at least good ones, in Finland, so it might be comparatively easy to receive attention once things start happening. Another nice thing about the small circle is that you get to know a lot of new cool people easily when you tour with other bands etc.

Negative: There are only very few good places to play gigs. And this is important: people listen way too much heavy music, which means: 1) that there must be something wrong in our collective unconsciousness 2) summer festivals are filled with bands all dressed in black 3) people end up picking the wrong records from the record stores: instead of buying one of ours

How could you define your style of music?
Progressive pop. Art punk. Prog-rock. Folk pop. Ambient heavy indie! Emotional chill-out music. Underwater sleeping sounds. Whatever you like! We’re not indie puritans, we make music for everybody.

During the years how has your musical style changed?
It has changed a lot. I would say there have been at least 4-5 different phases:

1) straight American influenced pop/rock guitar music, a bit melancholy
2) acoustic phase, stripped down folk music
3) prog-rock phase, that’s when the weird c-parts started to appear!
4) indie-rock phase, everything combined
5) NOW, underwater-indie-progressive-folk-ambient-art-punk-pop

How do you explain these changes?
Listening to too much David Bowie can do that I guess.

What are topics you treat in your songs?
That should be a question for Okko to answer, but I remember that a journalist asked this same thing once, very cleverly. He asked Okko that which word would describe his lyrics the best: underwater, sleeping or society. The obvious answer was sleeping. There’s actually a song called “Dream Song” in our first ep.

What is your favorite song in your repertoire and why?
My personal favourite is perhaps “-P” at the moment, it’s a long progressive song that evolves very slowly and once it explodes it’s almost like religious experience.

Do you actually prefer performing your music live or in a studio?
Definitely live. If you play rock music and you don’t enjoy your presence on the stage, you’re in the wrong business.

During the process of making a song, what is the moment that you prefer?
It’s the first time when everyone gets that kind of “THAT’S IT!” -feeling. It might come after 20 minutes or it might take 4 months. Some songs never get to that phase. But they are the bad ones, so they’re meaningless anyway.

A stupid question but. what is among all the songs you’ve been listening in your life the BEST song?
Life On Mars by David Bowie. Strawberry Fields Forever by The Beatles. I Was Made To Love Magic by Nick Drake. Those three came to my mind first.

What is your opinion, as a musician, regarding internet?
I absolutely love it. It has helped us a lot. Myspace is the best forum to get to know new, totally unknown bands from all over the world.

Do you have a website?
Sure. It’s www.uwssoc.net
Our Myspace is www.myspace.com/uwssoc

What are your projects for the band?
Do you mean goals? To make good music. Make people happy. See new places.
But first of all, make good and timeless records that sound good even when you’re 80.

What “image” do you have of French music?
It´s a shame to admit, the image I have is kind of stereotypical. It’s sort of like this. “Edith Piaf singing about her unlucky love in the 1950s”. But surely there are many great contemporary French bands as well, Air being the most obvious one to mention. I should get to know Phoenix as well.

Is there one French song that you prefer? If so, what song is it?
It has got to be Je Ne Regrette Rien by Edith Piaf.