Lenno + Xavier
16 year old house prodigy from Finland Lenno brings us his funk fuelled progressions with some of his latest remixes and originals. Tim Dotchin from CityOf9s navigates the language barrier to discuss Lenno’s impressive rise in the international EDM scene including the tracks that started it all, how he developed his genre busting sound, his 2 simultaneous big breaks remixing Dirty South along with Foster the People and even gives us some advice on having fun Finnish style. Hot on the heels is an inspired mix from the ever enthusiastic Xavier. This funk is a seventies hot rod, and we hope you brought your wood screws, ’cause We’re ’bout to blow your doors clean off.
Tim Dotchin interviews Lenno
[CFR] How was it musically growing up in Finland, did you attend music school or take piano lessons as a kid
[Lenno] Yea both my parents are classical musicians, so I started going to guitar lessions when i was 7 years old, and still do. I started off more as a rock guitarist, and through that I found electronic music, and started recording my own music and sounds.
[CFR] What got you into house music there.
[Lenno] Well it was around 2009 when i fist bumped into it. you didn’t really hear it in Finland then, since it wasn’t really that popular there, but anyways, when I was starting recording my own songs, I was buying these British magazines, where they talked about making electronic music with the artists and how they made their songs. which made me realize that it is more than just your average beats.
[CFR] Who were the primary producers that inspired you?
[Lenno] There was 2 reality, 1 was this british collective called ‘The Young Punks’. They had the song ‘It Doesn’t Stop’. Their way of using acoustic instruments mixed in with electronic production, was pretty cool to listen to, since I was in the rock band.
And then the other 1 is this producer from Italy called Phonat whom also uses live instruments and samples really creatively.
[CFR] What moved you on from Phonat to the more disco sound
[Lenno] Well I started listening to Phonat and The Young Punks record labels MOFO HIFI’s Podcast where they play electronic music from all different genres, which was one of the biggest reasons i found all different kinds of music on such a broad scale, so basically MOFO HIFI’s podcasts.
Hypemachine was another place where i found a lot of good music, and was following and browsing that pretty actively around 2010
[CFR] What podcasts that you would recommend
[Lenno] Dirty Souths podcast, you find a lot of good new music from there, and actually MOFO HIFI’s podcast is still going on so i recommend listening to that.
[CFR] What was the game changing track that made you go from a hobbyist to commit to house music as a lifestyle
[Lenno] Phonat’s Set Me Free was definitely the first one that, made me decide that this is what i wanna do, instead of playing guitar and sitting my own room for atleast 6 hours a day.
[CFR] So what was the first record label you released for and what was the journey from loving that phonat track?
[Lenno] It took a couple years, till i got my first own songs made and got a actual release. but i did win a remix competition at the start of 2010 for a finnish record label called Top Billin’. Which was also the same label that i released my first EP.
They are apparently somewhat know in Canada as well since they are touring with MIA, but anyways at the start it was more like i was trying to make the same sounds as Phonat, and then slowly since I was listening to the podcasts, I was getting the realization that I can try my own things. So around the start of 2011 was when my first EP came out on Top Billin’
[CFR] the Releases from 2010 seem progressive compared to today which seem very different, what moved you away from the sound of your original releases
[Lenno] Well to me personally music is supposed to be fun, and prog house kinda takes itself too seriously. at that point i wasn’t really thinking in terms of genres, since i didn’t really know much about the different ones, so i made what i thought to myself to be fun, from there it just naturally evolved into the disco sound.
[CFR] What was the first big remix that came your way after your own releases?
[Lenno] There were 2, one was the Foster the People – Hellena Beats remix which got about 100,000 listens and spread pretty nicely, throught that i got a couple bigger remixes in the States. The other one was the Dirty South Remix of Eyes Wide Open, and before that i made more pop style remixes.
[CFR] What is the most important song you’ve made so far and why?
[Lenno] Well it is those to for the mentioned reason earlier, but also my own EP that i produced myself, which to me is personally more important then making remixes since im making all the parts myself.
[CFR] If had to pick the most significant track you’ve written so far what would it be?
[Lenno] Well if there is just one song that i can choose then it would more then likely be the Dirty South Remix, because it basically is my first track that i am myself 100% proud of, in the sense that in my own opinion everything that i did in it went so to say correctly. Since when you judge your own music you are always to harsh on yourself, but this one i feel the best about.
[CFR] What trends do you see in 2012 and what are you listening to now that you think is very forward thinking
[Lenno] Well there are basically 2 thing:
1 Electronic music already is kinda like pop music but that it is going to get even more poppy, and at the same time, more and more artists are coming to be the new rockstars so to say, just like how there is a lot of talk about that in the states.
2 Making new music is becoming more and more easier, since all the software is becoming so cheap, now making a studio even, is basically now just a laptop and a program,which kinda evens it out in the sense that anyone can make music now, and anyone can become involved in it really easily.
What will be important is that new musicians importance will not be getting smaller here in the future.
[CFR] What is your next major project
[Lenno] Well a the moment i am working on my next single, that right now is kinda like my number 1 priority, so i can make more of my own music, but yea that the bigger project i have going underway at the moment.
[CFR] So does this single have a name yet?
[Lenno] No not really, its kinda in the place where we don’t talk about it yet, but it is the biggest project.
[CFR] I hear a vague rumor about a release relating to Fred Falke
[Lenno] It is actually a remix of the next Fred Falke and The Knox single. There will be details to follow very soon.
[CFR] You’ve released on many influential labels, which is the one you would most like to realease with?
[Lenno] Well it would be MOFO HIFI, they have definitly had a very big influence on what i produce, so basically it has been a dream of mine ever since i started producing electronic music.
[CFR] What is one thing that is typically Finnish that you would recommend for Canadians to try.
[Lenno] Polar Swimming and Saunas…
1. Lenno – Streets – NightRunners
2. Phonat – Set Me Free – Armada Music
3. Gracias – 40K Volts (Lenno remix)
4. Foster The People – Helena Beat (Lenno Rremix) – sony
5. Dirty South & Thomas Gold feat. Kate Elsworth – Eyes Wide Open (Lenno Remix) – Phazing Records
6. Labtracks – Robotic Love (Lenno remix) vs Harder Better Faster Stronger (cosmonaut grechko mash-up)
Xavier Guest Mix
1. Chaz Jankel ~ Without You ~ Tirk Records
2. Siriusmo ~ Dip Dap ~ Monkeytown Records
3. Spirit Catcher ~ Jupiter Jam (Spirit Catcher Retreat) ~ Systematic Recordings
4. Siriusmo ~ Liebe Machen ~ Monkeytown Records
5. Strip Steve ~ Breakin’ (Lorenz Rhode Remix) ~ BoysNoize Records
6. Michael Jackson ~ Can’t Stop til You Get Enough (Gigamesh Remix) ~ Bootleg
7. Dee Lite ~ Groove is in the Heart (Gigamesh Remix) ~ Bootleg
8. Tensnake ~ Coma Cat ~ Defected
9. Gigamesh ~ People (Cyclist Remix) ~ Our Label International
10. Louis La Roche ~ Touch Wood ~ Ever After Recordings
11. Treasure Fingers ~ It’s Love (Amtrac Remix) ~ Bargrooves
12. Sam Padrul ~ All I Do ~ Independent
Special thanks to our Finnish translator Robbie Jernberg!