In the Spotlight

Farther and farther, higher and higher: Rubik and Satellite Stories

Nuorgam, the snazziest little music site in Finland, takes a long look at the bands we are carting off to Eurosonic. In the episode seven we travel high from the ground. It's time to speak about Rubik and Satellite Stories.

A hot air balloon adorns Bad Conscience Patrol, Rubik’s first album. It symbolizes yearning for far-flung lands, dreams and a desire to fly. The name Satellite Stories brings to mind messages from far-away countries, as well as space.

Distant countries and a yearning to fly ever higher are common to the two bands. Rubik released their first EP in 2004 and over the last ten years they’ve established their position as one of the top bands in the Finnish indie scene, and one that fearlessly explores uncharted territory. Thanks to Rubik, indie rock sung in English from Finland competing with its foreign brethren no longer seems like a utopian concept.

Satellite Stories, on the other hand, is just getting started - they released their first single in 2011 - but they’ve had their sights set abroad from the get-go. The work they’ve done has borne fruit and they recently signed a worldwide publishing contract. The yearning for far away lands is written into the band’s DNA and it shows up on the debut album in songs with names like Mexico, Costa Del Sol ‘94 and Mt. Foreverest.

13. Rubik

Video: Laws of Gravity (dir. Pauli Ojala)

What is it?

An indie band started in 2003, known for its ambitious music and passionate live performances. Rubik tends to augment its lineup with horns both on record and live and its musicians like trading instruments. In 2011 it was the first Finnish band to play at Barcelona’s celebrated Primavera Festival. Critics love Rubik’s records. In the summer of 2012 Nuorgam chose its song City & the Streets as #4 on its list of Finnish pop masterpieces of the 21st century.

Why do we care?

Rubik proves that a band can start with promise and really scale the heights – from the streets of the city down below to the top of the ski jumping tower on top of the hill and into orbit around the planet. It was the victim of overhyping early on, but the band didn’t crack under pressure. Rubik has grown into an ambitious indie band that paints with a rich palette and it has done so on its own terms.

Lineup:

Artturi Taira (vocals, guitar, keyboards)
Sampsa Väätäinen (drums)
Jussi Hietala (bass)
Samuli Pöyhönen (guitar, keyboards)

Releases:

People Go Missing -EP (New Music Community, 2004)
Bad Conscience Patrol (Fullsteam Records, 2007)
Jesus vs. People -EP (Fullsteam Records, 2007)
Dada Bandits (Fullsteam Records, 2009)
Data Bandits EPEPEPEP -digi-EP (Fullsteam Records, 2010)
Solar (Fullsteam Records, 2011)

If we had to pick three adjectives to describe the band, they would be…
... brave, ambitious, wistful.

What record have the band members probably listened to the most in their lives?
Rubik’s music is a rich tapestry of various influences, but it’s obvious that records by Arcade Fire, Mew and Flaming Lips have spent a lot of time on the turntable.

If a good fairy gave the band one wish it would be…
… to solidify their position on top of the cosmopolitan indie heap, like they’ve already done in Finland.

If the band were to go on the road to support a big star, it would tour with…
Hold on! Shouldn’t Rubik be the star already?

In two years…
...Rubik’s hot air balloon will continue to explore regions unseen by previous Finnish indie bands.

14. Satellite Stories

Video: Family (dir. Ville Pohjonen)

What is it?

An Oulu-based indiepop band started in 2008. From the very beginning, they steered the nose of their van fearlessly towards Germany. The end result was a contract with German label XYZ Berlin and the band released its debut album Phrases to Break the Ice in the fall of 2012. In addition to Germany, the band has aroused interest in the rest of Central Europe, as well as Japan.

Why do we care?

The first thing that hits you about Satellite Stories is the overpowering energy and joy in its catchy songs. The band calls its music "party-indie". The music Satellite Stories plays is not all fun and games, though; the bittersweet longing inherent in the heartbeat of the songs gives the music its depth. The city in the nighttime hours, the last warm days of summer and an airplane in the sky winging it somewhere far away – these are the situations that call for the best songs Satellite Stories has to offer: Kids Aren't Safe in the Metro, Mexico and Helsinki Art Scene. As Ryan Adams sang, once upon a time: "To be young, is to be sad, is to be high."

Lineup:

Esa (vocals, guitar)
Marko (guitar)
Jyri (bass)
Olli-Pekka (drums)

Releases:

Phrases to Break the Ice (XYZ Berlin, 2012)

If we had to pick three adjectives to describe the band, they would be…
...danceable, fresh, energetic.

What record have the band members probably listened to the most in their lives?
Blogs that write about the hottest indie around. In fact, they’ve had one of their own.

If a good fairy gave the band one wish it would be…
...to conquer the world.

If the band were to go on the road to support a big star, it would tour with…
...Two Door Cinema Club from Northern Ireland. The name often comes up in conjunction with Satellite Stories.

In two years…
...Satellite Stories has released its second album and is rising higher and higher and…

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