Here are some published samples of my work as a journalist.
A series of articles published on Basso Media. I interviewed a group of Finnish celebrities, artists and musicians about their relationship with the media, in particular the yellow press.
// Media and I
// A phone call to the techno god of Berghain
An interview with Marcell Dettmann prior to his gig in Helsinki.
// Media and I
Part 1: Freeman
Garnering or receiving media attention is a matter of inherent conflict. The press has the power to first caress and cherish and then, in a matter of moments, take a tight choke hold on their unsuspecting targets.
In this series, a number of celebrities talk about their occasionally loving, occasionally bleak relationship with the media. The series begins with iconic Finnish pop artist Leo Friman, alias Freeman, whose relationship with the media dates back to the 70s.
“The media and I have walked hand in hand for a very long time. Back in -76 when ‘Ajetaan Tandemilla’ came out, it was wild. But at the time it meant mainly a popular magazine or the Saturday night show on radio. Now-a-days publicity is everywhere and the volume of media is ten folded.
When me and Hector started to build the Freeman brand, we wanted to make me a neighbourhood boy, like an ideal son-in-law. And Hector was the one who came up the name Freeman. The aim was hardly an international schlager career, but we thought I would be cooler in English. Wow, a Free Man.
Still today, I’m not 100% sure of the name. At some point I considered quitting the artist alias entirely, but chickened out in the end. I thought, might as well continue with two personalities.
I am a shooting star, twice over. Twice ascended to the surface.
I don’t even want to talk about my third album. It was horrific. I am so embarrassed. In other words it was a flop and I was no longer getting gigs. Same applied for the media attention, it all disappeared. Luckily I got a job at a radio station in the 80s.
Everything began again with the song ‘Liian Myöhään’ and this collaboration with Uusi Fantasia, where I naturally joined the core group in their sales promotion efforts. We posed for the covers of a dozen magazines and toured all the major summer festivals. Due to this project, I became a papster, you know as they are hipsters. And the target audience changed from suburbs to downtown Helsinki.
‘FREEEMAAANNNN, you’re the dude. You inspired my moustache’. This is the kind of stuff that people tell me these days. Or perhaps they say ‘respect’ and I end up confused wondering what did I do wrong. Obviously it warms the heart when young and cool kids say complimentary things like this. So, it’s all good.
I think the biggest media circus of my career is happening right now. I just turned 60 last fall and on top of that released my 4th album. So, there has been interest.
I don’t think people recognise me on the streets. Or at least they dont’s harass. They might think there goes someone familiar without really remembering who. I do not wear sunglasses, unlike Kaija K, who wears them to the supermarket. I mean, talking about attracting attention.
I have never committed a faux-suicide. Or drunk driver, or called the press to tell them that I have been caught for drunk driving. And the yellow pages have never had a reporter assigned to me.
Of course we have done some funny stunts. If you wanted to get on the best pages of a popular magazine, you had to spice up the pictures. The highlight for me was taking a bath with Frank Zappa for a photo shoot.
Calculation is an inevitable part of being a pop-star. So, keep your mouth shut for 6 months and then focus all attention to that one moment when something happens. This is marketing after all. Freeman is a product and Friman is the guy who goes to the supermarket to buy butter.
I haven’t got big headed, I am still the same guy, a prisoner of my past.
// Media and I
Part 2: Reino Nordin
Media is a field and fame is a game; the centre of attention becomes easily the ball that is played. One needs to know the rules of the game, create them, or perhaps ignore them entirely.
In this series, a number of celebrities talk about their occasionally loving, occasionally bleak relationship with the media. The series continues with Reino Nordin, a Finnish actor and musician, whose media image has evolved from a bad boy, to a dreamy son-in-law, all the way to a family tyrant.
“Media is like taking LSD. Just a crazy trip, that can go on for a long time. You have to find your way home. Otherwise you’ll be gone; silicon boobs and bye bye.
I entered the public sphere at the age of 9 or 10 due to movie roles. It was beneficial and a conscious choice at the time. It is part of this business. However, existing in the spotlight includes a lot of shit, like inadequacy, shame and beauty pressures. I won’t deny that these sorts of pressures haven’t affected me too. But when you learn to live with the pressures, they become meaningless and you survive the trip.
All the recent shenanigans show my laid back approach to this game. I don’t give a damn weather my swearing is witnessed by my friends or the entire country. If I’m going through anxiety and I haven’ been feeling good, then that is what it looks like; it is just the same in my house as it is in yours. We are all just humans. If I lived in the US in the middle of a shit storm like this, producers would be calling me and offering talk shows.
You need to really think about publicity. I don’t want to go to an interview to talk rubbish. I go there so I can sell my single. Or talk about youth marginalisation or some other important theme. At the end of the day, someone is making money with those magazines. There is no point in dreaming about fame unless you have something to sell yourself. You won’t get anything in return. You will not become any better, or cooler or more beautiful, or lovely or richer by being famous. Fame is not work, it is a tool.
I would love to be known for what I have done as opposed to what someone thinks of me, or what some reporter has managed to squeeze out of me. The tabloid papers do not understand that something interesting can be interesting and can also be actual content and not just lies. Everything now-a-days is created to make you click some panel that will take you to a sponsored page and that is what results in these stories being completely overhyped.
Music is where you will find the true me. My songs come from my heart. And I love to talk about them. Media attention that is based on music is a lot more valuable than film related publicity which is often about who got to kiss who and how much someone earned. It is just the usual commercial vomit.
Of course, selling records is equally commercial, but the role of the artist is easier in music. You do not have to kiss ass.
One can also fix one’s media mistakes. You can always tell your side of the story, to correct. And through social media or with my own radio show, I can rely my own personality without the filter of the journalist who inevitably has their own views and assumptions.
You can always escape. Media is not a prison. If your media image is ruined in Finland, move to Sweden. Everything is much nicer, easier and more beautiful there anyway.
If you don’t kill anyone, then everything is alright. Everything will pass. Always. Life gets a lot easier when you stop aiming for perfection and forgive your own mistakes.”
// A phone call to the techno god of Berghain
The corner stone of Berlin’s techno scene answers the phone.
"Excuse me, I can't really hear."
"Could you call me again?"
After some adjustments, we manage to trim the phone lines. Techno, legacy, man, Berghain, Finland. These will be the topics today.
The German, who climbed to the heights of the techno scene, got initially excited by the genre in 1992. The 14-year-old Dettmann was immediately spellbound when Marcel and his crew strayed into a techno club. ‘The dark music of the night’ as young Marcel labelled it, got him immediately hooked.
- Great music and good songs are those that hold an emotional charge. For me, techno had just that.
As his inspiration, Marcel mentions the Detroit artist Jeff Mills. Even though the genre originates from Detroit, the German feels the European music scene is a lot closer to his heart.
- The techno scene in the USA is actually pretty small. In Europe the scene is much larger and the community bigger.
With techno and house developing across and merging, separating genres seems baffling at times. However, for Dettman the difference is clear.
- Of course they influence each other, but the biggest differentiation is their roots. House is based on disco and funk, whereas techno is based on the electronic music of the 50s and 60s. When music is made with respect to these roots, the difference is clear.
Marcel, who began playing music professionally in 1994, has in recent years become one of the most pursued DJ’s in the world. Today, he plays at least 3 times a week and seems overwhelmed of his achievements.
- I have done what I can and it has pushed me forward. I am very happy. Even day-dreaming is difficult at the time as I don’t know what else I would do.
- Especially when vinyl is moving aside, I find it a great honour when someone younger comes up to me and says ‘Yeah man, you’re the reason I’m playing vinyl, thanks.’ It is great to be an inspiration to others as I know personally how idols drive you to push forward.
Dettmann’s achievements as a producer are equally excessive; he is recognised as one of the most influential proponents of contemporary techno. However, he is humble about his triumphs.
- I haven’t given much thought to my achievements. Whatever it is that I have created, it has been unplanned. I have worked out of love for music, club scene and dancing, not to strategically change them. Everything has happened very organically.
The hard working Marcel is irked by the fact there is little room for anything else in his life. However, when asked what he would do, should he have the ability to pause time, he says he would further invest in music.
- That is the only thing that I can think of. Music is my passion. There is so much interesting music, I could listen to it forever.
His ‘day-off’ music Dettmann describes as soothing.
- Classic music is best for answering emails. I listen to it a lot as it helps me relax. Queens of Stone Age pumps me up for jogging.
Marcell, who has been a resident since 1999, describes Berghain as home. Even though the tourist-magnet of a club, which carries the nickname capital of techno, has suffered a somewhat popularity deflation, Berghain is still part of Dettmann’s past, present and the future.
- Berghain is simply perfect for me. I get such vibes there, which I haven’t gotten anywhere else. I will never give Berghain up, it will always be part of me.
Dettmann’s first gig in Finland was at Kuudes Linja in 2008. Since then he has been seen at the late Redrum and last summer in Flow. This Friday, Marcell returns to his Finnish roots at Kuudes Linja.
On Friday, Dettmann will play until 4am. Even though he is used to the German club scene, where one evening can stretch to last an entire weekend, Dettmann does not feel restricted by Finland’s regulated club hours.
- Controlled opening times can in fact be beneficial. For example in Berghain, which opens on Friday and closes on Monday, the crowd changes many times during the event. When people party in different cycles, what will be the high for some dancers ends up being a break for others. At clubs that close earlier, the atmosphere is tighter and the crowd more unified in their spirit. Everyone knows to arrive around midnight as the night can’t last forever.