REVS Digital interviewed Valtteri Laurell Pöyhönen, a Finnish jazz musician, composer and producer.
You can see him during FLOW FESTIVAL on Friday 9th with DALINDÈO / MAIN STAGE / 17:30
and Sunday 11th with RICKY-TICK BIG BAND & JULKINEN SANA / MAIN STAGE / 15:00
What is your background?
I was born in Helsinki but I’ve been living around Europe quite a bit, in Paris, Berlin, London and Rotterdam.
What are your first memories about music, how did you get into playing and composing? What kind of music you liked when you were a kid?
As a child I played classical piano for a few years but it wasn’t something that blew me away.
What was more important was singing in boys’ choir Cantores Minores and especially performing large works by J.S. Bach,
such as St. John Passion at 8 years old. I think the choir experience has lead me into composing and playing.
The first music that I found for myself as a kid was something like Kiss and Guns and Roses of course.
You have quite a few music projects going on, could you tell us a little bit about them?
I lead two jazz-groups, the sextet Dalindèo and the 17-member Ricky-Tick Big Band. I compose all the material for the groups and i also produce our albums.
Both groups have released new albums this year, which have been amazingly well received and also in the pop charts.
Our current album with RTBB is a collaboration with 3 of Finland’s top rappers Paleface, Redrama and Tommy Lindgren.
It’s the first Finnish album to combine big band jazz and Finnish rap and has at the moment spent 3 months on the national album chart.
Has there been certain moments/ places/ people that have strongly shaped your career and style?
I have a long history of studying music and there are of course some people who have been inspiring. The composer Henrik Otto Donner, who passed away recently was important for me.
Actually the artistic director of Flow-festival Tuomas Kallio, has also been an influence as he produced Dalindèo’s first album in 2006.
I’m always influenced by the cities where i’m living. A big part of my recent compositions have been born in Berlin.
But also the Helsinki-district Kallio is inspiring, it is also the name of Dalindèo’s current album.
How do you work, what is the creative process, where do you find inspiration?
First you have and idea, a vision of a creation. I think this is the most important moment of the process.
Then there’s usually a time when I kind of brew the idea inside my mind.
Then I start to collect musical ideas and eventually work them out to songs on the piano. Then I arrange them for my groups, then rehearse, then record, then play live.
During all this creative work I of course have to be in contact with my labels and discuss release schedules and so on.
What are your goals and dreams when it comes to music and your career?
I’m now moving to Berlin and I think in a few years I will be living in New York at least for a while.
I want to continue my quest of creating jazz music for the 21st century and developing my own style.