Grab your passport because this week we’re taking your on an artistic journey to Northern Europe as we’re setting down in Finland with von Konow. An artist who released a new album earlier this year, we spoke about Lieder, Bowie and his gloomy Finnish ways.
Kendra: When it came time to record Lieder, were you channeling any of your influences in particular?
von Konow: Lieder is the story of my journey through music. It has all the elements from all of the great pieces that I have listened to and played in my life, from Bowie and Scott Walker to Rammstein and opera. When I started to plan the concept of the album I came up with the idea of completely liberating myself from the traditional form of a rock band. This allowed me to broaden the sound and to expand the boundaries of storytelling by sheer music. Influences and associations started to flow free and so my songs became a synthesis of them and my own insights. This mixture draws a picture of myself. Fragments and moments of life are filtered through me into complete scenes. And this is what any art really is about.
Kendra: Being a rock artist who has a bit of an artsy vibe, are there any Finnish works of art that you’d compare your latest release to?
von Konow: As a rock artist I consider myself as a vagabond figure who travels across cultures and is a vampire for music that has been made with heart and brain. Finland is traditionally very heavy rock oriented in music, and melancholic Eastern influences have been strong through the ages. For me, Brit glam, the 80’s synth pop and French chanson influences have been significantly more important than the native music culture. But I think I am a Finnish artist in sense of being drawn to gloomy and murky waters. In addition, the contemporary visual art scene in Finland is quite interesting and gives me as much inspiration as any other international art.
Kendra: Comparable to Bowie and Nick Cave, two very eccentric men – would you say you have that same sense about yourself?
von Konow: David Bowie and Nick Cave has always been my idols and I feel that my new songs resonate with their way of seeing the universe. They are both visionaries and interpreters of the world. For me, Cave is an expert of violent emotions, whereas Bowie is the master of superb images, and both elements are at the core of my album.
Kendra: When you started out in music, did you stay local in Finland or travel to play shows?
von Konow: I have performed in many bands both as a vocalist and as an instrumentalist. These bands brought me to Baltic countries and to France and Spain. What is exciting is that audiences behave very differently in different places: in South, people want to dance and chill, in the north, attitudes are more serious but become delirious.
Kendra: Lastly, what will you be filling your time with musically in the coming months?
von Konow: At the moment I’m busy rehearsing the live act version of the album Lieder. Line-up is Timo Vikkula, guitars and keyboards, Jari Kääriäinen, keyboards and Ville Särmä drums. In addition, to live band we use an abundance of background tracks so that we can keep the lavish orchestral sound similar to recorded versions. I’m also already working on new material that will be released after the album Lieder.