Beginning his sonic journey in his hometown of Oslo five years back, rising Norwegian maestro, Finnebassen has since developed a small but slick back catalogue of house cuts. It was his Noir Music housed, hotly tipped ‘Touching Me’ jam and the R&B leaning ‘If You Only Knew’ that landed Finn in continuous rotation on dancefloors around the world. Bearing an ambitions approach to the biz, Finnebassen is carving out a solid name for himself across the Norwegian capital and beyond, appearing at our very own Farringdon haunt this coming weekend.
So, just a few days ahead of his awaited appearance when he teams up with London party collective You Are We in Room Three, Finn has fired over a new and exclusive mix whilst giving us the lowdown on everything Finnebassen.
Hey Finn, to start us off can you introduce yourself to our readers? Well, I’m a 26 year old Norwegian guy who makes music. I make all kinds of music but I have a love for dark, ambient, moody house music, which is what I tend to produce and play anyway. I also make and listen to a lot of down tempo music, around 100pbm that’s again, moody and melancholic. I draw inspiration from a lot of different places; Bon Iver, James Blake, Jarle Bernhoft, Prince, Sade, and Voy Fance inspire me in a big way. In terms of electronic music though, artists like Tale of Us, Mano Le Tough, Daniel Bortz, Mind Against, Art Department, Andre Bratten, Roman Flugel, Audiofly, David August, The/Das, Rampa, Blondish, Hunter/Game, Axel Boman, Todd Terje, Lindstrøm, Avatism – I could keep going! That about sums up what I do and who I am musically.
How long have you been performing and making music under the name Finnebassen? I have been making music for about five years and have had the name Finnebassen for around four. When I began making music, it was just music. There were no ambitions as to what kind of music I wanted to make when first I sat down to produce. But after a trip to London in 2011, I experienced Flying Circus, Fuse at 93 Feet East and WetYourSelf! at fabric. This made me want to focus on deeper, melancholic house music. Over the years I have changed my DJ style a little bit, but I still feel like I have stayed true to who Finnebassen is and what it started out as.
How did you get involved with labels like Noir Music, Electronique and Supernature? After uploading the track ‘If You Only Knew’, I received offers from a bunch of different labels, including Simon Heslin’s Electronique. It was there that I met my manger, Kal Jhugroo, who linked me with Noir after my track was apparently spreading like wildfire. I then went on to producing the tracks, ‘Touching Me’ and ‘Such A High’ for the label. I would say that Noir was one of the first big labels to really believe in me.
Supernature is a different story. I had produced a track called ‘Footsteps’ which was written by good friend of mine, Kai Gundelach. Kai had recorded the vocals in his Stockholm studio before sending them over to me to see if I could put my own spin on it. After ending up as one of the more popular tracks on my soundcloud, Luca from Audiofly wrote to me to say he loved the track – a huge deal to me as Audiofly is a huge inspiration. Luca went on to become a mentor of mine whilst I was touring and living this strange new life. Looking back, he helped me a great deal, always telling me to do my own thing and be confident that I was doing something good.
I read that you record a lot of your own instruments in your tracks, besides producing – what musical instruments to you play and how do you think this has contributed to your productions? Learning to play the guitar at fourteen, I was introduced to a lot of different music; rock, blues, funk, soul and metal before eventually settling down on some bigger influences including more moody, funky, emotional artists like Mark Knopfler, George Benson and Gary Moore. These artists definitely resonate in my music today, but although I play all the guitar in my tracks myself, it doesn’t always work in my productions. I tend to use it more in my downtempo music. Having said that, playing guitar and being obsessed with music from an early age has given me the ability to play by ear and develop a decent sense of pitch. In my opinion, this is essential in music production – If you don’t know any theory, or anything about scales and chords then producing good, quality music will be challenging. In other words, my musical experience has been absolutely crucial to my career in music.
How would you describe the underground electronic music scene in Oslo compared to London? It’s definitely smaller and not as diverse. Then again, Oslo is a city of around 900,000 people. Saying that, we have some small, world-class clubs. I think any DJ who has played at the Villa or at Jaeger or Sunkissed at Blå has gained some good memories - the bookers are on point with world class acts every week. So in terms of quality, it’s good but not in quantity. We lack the huge soundsystems that you find in London, the ones that rumble you to the core. I remember setting foot on the main floor in fabric for the first time and I couldn’t work out what was going on. So, London is bigger, louder with more physical sound, but in terms of quality, I’d say Oslo and London are pretty close to one another. There are a lot of good DJ’s and live acts in Oslo, people like Todd Terje, Prins Thomas, Lindstrom, Andre Bratten, Magnus International – the whole Full Pupp Crew, just to name a few. You also have DJs that don’t produce but kick some serious ass, artists like G-ha and Olanskii - two of my biggest inspirations in terms of DJ-style.
I think maybe the biggest difference is how big the market is. In the UK, electronic music is way bigger there than in Norway. I feel there are less people in Norway to make conscious choices in regard to what music they like. However, over here, music seems to be closely linked to the identity of a person, so people are more interested in taking charge of their own musical tastes, and that’s really cool. Another big difference is that the UK has such a diverse scene with genres like drum and bass, garage, trap and so on…There’s not much of that going on in Oslo.
Who would you say is really inspiring you right now, musically and non-musically? Musically; Mind Against, Elke Kleijn, Tale of Us, Roman Flugel, Jacob Phono, David August, Guy Gerber, Dixon and Adriatique are probably the biggest influences right now. In terms of non-musically, well, that’s a tough one. I get inspired by a lot of non-musical things, but it does not inspire me ‘musically’. More so, it inspires me or pushes me to make music, rather than the music I make. Random things inspire me, maybe an old guy at the airport sitting with head phones listening to his favourite tune, or an indiscriminate act of kindness done, like if someone follows an old lady across the street. This is turning into a super cliché thing but, it’s the truth. I also make use of some emotional baggage… like being dumped. That makes for great downtempo music!
What can we expect from your set when you play alongside the You Are We camp in a few weeks? I’m going to play what I always play – lots of weird, dark sounds with a dynamic approach. I won’t elaborate too much on this but if you look at the first question you might get an idea.
What do you have planned for the rest of the year? I’m moving to Ibiza for the summer however, I’m not playing as much as I did last year. The night I play at Sankeys has been taken out of the program, but it’s an amazing place to play. I love to be there both for predictable weather (something we don’t have too much of in Norway) and the music. Everyday is a Saturday with inspiration for new music popping up everywhere.
I have some music coming out as well, a remix for Disclosure, Vinny Villbass, and an EP on Poesie. I won’t say anything else about what I have planned for the rest of the year in terms of releases but new music is definitely coming. I just bought a modular synth that will step up my sound, I hope!
Finally, can you tell us a little bit about the mix you’ve just delivered to us? It’s a mixture of tracks I like and some unreleased music.