Helsinki’s FORWARDMAN: “Vinyl sounds better.”

HAVING first piqued my interest with the release of his ‘Sleepwalk’ video in 2019, Forwardman — Helsinki-based singer songwriter Sakari Viittala — could not be accused of resting on his laurels and is now preparing for the launch of the vinyl edition of his album, ‘The Brass Bandit Transaction.’

“I feel elevated. Having my music on vinyl has been a dream of mine for a very long time and a part of that dream was always to have a record label to put it out,” he explained.

“I’m also excited because vinyl sounds better, especially this vinyl. The record was mastered for vinyl by Pauli Saastamoinen at Finnvox, and it really brings out few elements better than the digital master. Just to mention a couple of those, you can hear the amazing bass lines played by Lasse Rantanen a bit more, and the vital spice of this album, a four-piece brass section, sounds better as well.

“What is also notable is that the vinyl version has the songs in the ‘right’ intended album order, so it has a better album flow than the digital version. As I was putting the digital version out, I placed two songs in the ‘wrong,’ opposite order. I thought there were two ways to make the album run nicely through, one being slightly better than the other. So, my point is, the only way to experience the album as I think it works the best, is to get the vinyl.”

Forwardman released the garage rock debut album ‘This Ain’t No Rocket Science’ in 2015 with the electronic ‘New Tomorrow’ following in 2018.

“Listing influences is a challenge,” added Viittala, “Musical influences I’d say The Doors, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Beatles, Oasis, Arctic Monkeys, Razorlight, Supergrass, Queen, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave, but usually people tell me I don’t sound like any of them.”

Casting his mind back to the release of the captivating, quirky yet delightfully innocent ‘Sleepwalk,’ Viittala added, “I can’t really say I have any specific message I wanted to portray with the song or the video. I prefer to let the listener decide what a song means to them. There might be a wink of an eye somewhere in there and ‘Sleepwalk’ can be a metaphor to something else as well.

“I wrote the song many years back, with a guitar while I was between flats, and staying with friends in Luton. I had a terrible fever; I was sleeping and when I woke up, I was alone in the house. I picked up the guitar, wrote the song, took me a half an hour, and then went back to bed. The song always seemed to resonate with people quite well, and I played it live a lot. So eventually I decided to record it.

“The video is shot in Helsinki. It’s a city by the sea of course, and we wanted to get the sea into the video because it just looks great. It’s always challenging to come up with ideas that will look good, but cost next to nothing, and beautiful scenery will help.

“Unlike many musicians, I actually quite like making music videos. A lot of the work I do with my songs and albums I do in solitary so popping your head out of the home studio cave can be refreshing. Making this video was also a great way to spend time with Pauli Juppi, the video’s cinematographer, who is a great friend of mine.

“My music videos are usually shot in a day or two — this one took two nights — and we had the pleasure of having Pauli’s partner, the lovely Minttu Pietilä, taking part. She’s a professional dancer so it was a real privilege working with her, we had I think three dance rehearsals to create and prepare the dance solo we see at the end. The guitar solo is not performed by me by the way, but a guy called Magnus Strandvik who I think gave a fantastic touch to the song.”

The vinyl edition of ‘The Brass Bandit Transaction’ will be released on March 3rd and is now available to pre-order via Record Shop X using the link below:

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