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Author Topic: Haare interview - SI#2  (Read 538 times)
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« on: January 08, 2020, 09:48:38 AM »

Haare interview
by: Beau Hx
Special Interests #2, 2010

Ilkka Vekka has been creating harrowing psychedelic sound for a decade now. From the harsh realms explored in the early days, to the swirling expanses being created now, the sound of Haare has always been an experience of immersion. I recently spoke with Ilkka, to see if I could get a glimpse behind the curtain.

I find that a lot of noise-artists are guys who were experimenting / tinkering with stuff at home for a long time before actually recording / releasing their music. Same thing with you?
-Not really. I started out playing in bands and when those bands eventually folded, people moved away etc. I was left alone. Actually, the very first Haare recordings were done by a three-piece band and then reworked & mangled into harsh noise.

I’d love to know what the impetus was behind the shift in sound that took place on “the Temple”, and if the psychedelic aspects you introduced had more to do with your love for Finnish folk and psychedelic music, or maybe your love of the outdoors and the landscape of home?
-My love of psychedelic music, really. In my opinion there’s very little to do in harsh noise if you don’t want to start repeating yourself. After the first cd-r’s I realized I might actually be able to pull off a “psychedelic music” of my own. That’s the process that still keeps me going; a “dream music” I’m desperately trying to get out of my head.

The Temple was released by Freak Animal, who were quite established as a great label by that time. I’d imagine it was a huge thrill for you to be on FA, or were you and Mikko friends already at that point? Maybe a bit of both?
-A bit of both. I moved to Lahti to study in 1998, became friends with Marko (Fleshpress) as he was working at a record store there, and met Mikko through him. Those two guys have helped me immensely and I can’t thank them enough for everything they’ve done. FA was pretty much the only “real” noise label in Finland at the time so it was a no-brainer to harrass them with my stuff.

I’d like to talk about the cross-pollination of noise and drone. I know that you are a fan of some drone music,
and there are elements of drone in your sound, but have you witnessed any backlash from noise purists, maybe not personally, but in general observations/ conversations?
-Drone became “fashionable” through bands like Sunn and Boris, and there seems to be a backlash on that stuff at the moment. Most people who were into that stuff because it was the “hip thing” never listened to the pioneering minimalists in the first place and probably never understood the real beauty of it. Their loss. Mind you, there still is a lot of throwaway “bedroom”-drone around and some of these people should just go away.

You were in contact with Eric Wood way back in the day, and were supposedly contributing some things to a Bastard Noise release. How did you and the mighty Wood hook up, and what’s the status of that release?
-Eric Wood is a friend of Marko’s and he pretty much got me into Bastard noise. Seeing that BN had collaborated with other Finns in the past, I decided to give it a chance, sent Wood some cd-r’s and he was very much into them (he actually reviewed some of the stuff I sent him for Short, fast & loud-zine). I’ve contributed some sounds for BN to manipulate and they should be on the next edition (part V) of Our earth’s blood. As far as I know it’s still going to happen and am looking forward to it.

Another impressive name to add to your resume; Lee Stokoe and Culver. Tell me a bit about collaborating with him. Also, is it difficult for you to be assertive with how you want a collaboration to sound when you have a bit of reverence for the musician you are working with?
-When I contacted Lee, very few people seemed to know who he was so I reckoned we were pretty much in the same “under-underground” boat. I love the 1st Culver lp and the Culver/Courtis collab.lp and simply asked if he’d be interested. The process was really easy as I don’t want to do collabs in a half-assed way and was certain Lee thinks so too. Seems we were exactly on the same page as how the result should sound.

Is Haare a live entity as well? And as a “noise” artist, what is your modus operandi for a live gig? What are you wanting to present and have the audience receive?
-When playing live, I’m assisted by Janne Martinkauppi (Hinageshi bondage, Hetero skeleton etc.) who is a good friend and knows what I want done & how. I want the live shows to be a vortex of psychedelic noise that sucks you in and keeps you there...the perfect live show is still waiting to happen; I’d like to add a third member and maybe some visuals, but esp. finding that third member has proved rather difficult.

You are a visual artist as well. Could you please describe how intertwined the visual and the sound are for you? I would imagine that you hear sounds of yours while painting, and that maybe you see art in your mind while performing music?
-Even though I mostly do my own art for Haare releases, my paintings and sculpture are a whole different beast. I did have a mp3 jukebox playing Haare (and some other projects of mine) at one of my exhibitions, but I still don’t think the two have much in common. My paintings are more haphazard, spur of the moment/stream of consciousness, art brut/arte povera-type things where as Haare is a bit more thought out/planned.

How many different settings have you recorded in, and which one do you feel best suited you and the results you were striving for?
-I mostly record at the room I’ve rented for painting. Could use some more privacy & soundproofing though. I’d also like to do some recordings with a more professional set-up, not necessarily in a “real” studio but with more hi-fi gear. All the editing & reworking I do on my computer at home.

So here we are at the tenth anniversary of Haare. I would hope that there are some special plans/ releases for the occasion?
-A cd box (“Hallucinations”) containing past cdr/tape releases is in the works but I doubt it will materialise any time soon. 10th anniversary show was in Helsinki on Nov. 21st.

Your knowledge of the music of Finland is staggering. Tell us about some of the mandatory musical experiences that have come from your country, and perhaps the ones that have had the most impact on you and your artistic endeavors.
-There are/have been a lot of great bands/artists here, off the top of my head: Avarus, Anaksimandros, Kemialliset ystävät, Kalevala, Haikara, Wigwam, Beherit, Fleshpress, Gelsomina, Bizarre Uproar, Skepticism, Reverend bizarre, Terveet kädet, Sekunda...the list is endless.
If I’d have to say just ONE thing it’d be Sperm - Ssh! lp. Meeting Mr.Airaksinen when we played at IFEM was awesome. Another thing that I’m proud of as a Finn is Circle. In my opinion one of the greatest bands anywhere, ever. Really nice people, always awesome live and the combined creativeness in that band is immeasurable. Those guys should be given some kind of a lifetime “all expenses paid”-grant.

You now have a project called Sutra. Tell me a bit about this new outlet, and why you felt that this music should not be labelled with the “Haare” name?
-The main reason was probably the acoustic guitar, heh...I didn’t think there should be one on a Haare release. Another thing was that the Sutra disc has way more samples than I usually use. Looking back at it now, it could’ve been a Haare release, I’m currently planning what I’m hoping to be the Haare “magnum opus” and that will probably have some acoustic guitar on it. I hope some day to find likeminded people to make Sutra a real band, preferably a psych/prog power trio; like a heavier version of GuruGuru circa UFO, UmmaGumma-era Pink Floyd etc. As for now, I think Sutra will remain on hiatus until then. Never say never though, I feel the urge to start a new project almost daily, depending on what I’m listening to...so a second Sutra release might happen some day. Who knows.

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