Posted by: admin in: Music
When and how was your band created?
Giant Robot started in the mid-90s, going through various names before settling on Giant Robot. It was just three or four people jamming on simple hip hop riffs for 15 minutes at a time. Three of the original members are still in the band: Petro, Tuomas & Aleksi. It used to be a loose collective with anything from 8 to 15 members…nowadays it’s more of a band with 6 members and a couple of satellites.
Was the choice to become professional difficult to make?
Well, Giant Robot is not a professional band in that we do not make any money from it, as of yet. The decision to be serious about it was never one that was made consciously. Things just evolved to the point we’re at now. Serious music made for the sake if making music. It isn’t a job. We all have other things we do to support ourselves.
What musicians or artists did have a major influence in your life / work?
Me personally…I started playing guitar because of the blues (Muddy Waters, Hound Dog Taylor, Albert Collins, etc). Punk bands like Bad Brains, Clash, Black Flag were a major thing. Funkadelic/Parliament was an important discovery, as was Public Enemy and, through them, hip hop in general. I also like a lot of older country music, stuff like Tom Waits…this list could go on forever.
What are the positive and negative aspects of being a musician / singer (in Finland)?
Positive: due to the relatively small and isolated nature of the market, musicians here tend to make music for reasons other than a desire for stardom. We have no real rockstars. Maybe a few people will pretend, but they are full of shit.
Negative: Making a living playing music is hard, which means that you can’t concentrate on it as much as you’d like.
How could you qualify your style of music?
I couldn’t really. We take elements of hip hop, dub, electro, r’n'b, space rock, etc. and meld them together.
Have you ever considered the possibilty to change totally your style of music? If so, what style of music would you choose?
We don’t consider anything in Giant Robot. We let the music take its course. We convey it. I do other things that interest me in other bands, as does everyone else in Giant Robot. Robot is a very organic process.
What are stories/topics you tell/treat in your songs?
It varies. The last album, as a whole, dealt with spaces (both time and location based) that are out of the ordinary. Like a weekend. It’s a hiccup in the continuum of the mundane. Geographically, this is represented by airports. Everyone there is going somewhere else, either away from their normal life or back towards it. And for some people this movement represents normalcy. Rock festivals embody this idea in terms of both time and space.
The last album deals with the life cycle of a relationship within this frame. If you take out the first song, the rest of them tell a cohesive story.
What is your favorite song in your repertoire and why?
The song Superweekend. I think there we have managed to bring together all our varied influences in a very elegant manner. It takes the dub esthetic and applies it in a different context. Simple, effective and epic.
Do you tour regularly? Do you actually prefer performing your music live or in a studio?
We don’t tour much, though we like playing live. In the future we will try to play out more.
During the process of making an album, what is the moment that you prefer?
Those moments after 0200 when everyone is tired enough to free associate and just try crazy stuff.
What kind of music / What artists do you currently listen?
To the embarrassment and consternation of my bandmates I have listened to mostly 1970s butt rock this summer:) Allman Brothers, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, James Gang…also some newer stoner bands like Queens Of The Stone Age and Unida, a Finnish band called Sunride, some doom metal bands like Electric Wizard and Reverend Bizarre.
So lots of heavy guitars.
What are your actual and future projects?
We are trying to get Superweekend released outside Finland. We’d like to do another tour of Europe at some point (we did one in September/October 2000).
We are going back into the studio early next year. Beofre that we’ll do some demo recordings.
A stupid question but… what is among all the songs you’ve been listening in your life the BEST song? Why?
I think this changes a lot. Right now I’d say it’s Billie jean by Michael Jackson:)
Internet is something interesting for musicians because it gives them the opportunity to touch a larger audience but it is also a threat for them (regarding the copyrights). What is your opinion regarding this medium?
I don’t see the Internet as a threat. We have lots of mp3s at the site. I don’t think that mp3s have hurt our sales. In fact, I think in the heyday of Napster, record sales were growing at the considerable pace of 12% a year. I used to use Napster to check out songs before going to buy the record. And I still buy more vinyl than cd. The object d’art thing is very attractive…
Do you use computers or home studios during the process of making an album or a song?
We use Pro Tools. Many of us have home recording equipment, too, for demoing ideas. Mamba and Kimi are both part owners of small studios in Helsinki.