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Shine 2009

Future Anachronisms

Feb 07, 2011 Shine 2009 Bookmark and Share

This article originally ran in our Summer 2010 issue.

Carrying with them a name that seems permanently rooted in time, Shine 2009 pride themselves on making buoyant dance music for the ages. The Helsinki-based producers Mikko Pykäri and Sami Suova—who were busy mixing their debut EP Associates when we spoke to them via email—make no excuses for their pleasantly anachronistic name that, in part, marks the date of the band’s inception.

“It’s a name that constantly changes its meaning when time passes on,” says Pykäri. “It’s kind of interactive.”

“We like the way it gets outdated fast,” adds Suova. “I can’t see why we wouldn’t make music as Shine 2009 in 2020. At least it would be interesting to hear people’s thoughts about our name then.”

Having met as students in 2005, it took four years and multiple projects before the pair joined forces to create Shine 2009’s blend of early ’90s club attitude, splashes of Saint Etienne, early Massive Attack, Happy Mondays, and icy Scandinavian beats—the latter of which may lead some Americans to lump the Finns in with Sweden’s Sincerely Yours crowd.

“It’s more of an optical illusion, as you are so far away,” says Pykäri, pragmatically referring to his interviewer’s very American question. “Here the differences are more clear, I think.”

“Our sound has got something for the mind and heart in right proportions. I have no problem being labeled as Scandinavian dance music, but I feel that we have our own thing,” adds Suova.

With no singular influence, any sound that catches their ears is fair game for inclusion on a track. “We discuss all aspects of music, and it’s not easy to tell the origin of a specific idea,” explains Pykäri. “We are seldom interested in the same artists for too long; at its shortest it can be a few hours. It’s rare that someone has all the things done perfectly; there are too many dimensions in music. We could love the production of some track and the chord progression of another. I would say that we are not music fans, because our take on music is more analytical.”

Their obsession with the minutiae of music and recording pays off in spades, particularly on the blog-approved track “New Rules,” which for all its glowing beats and dour lyrics manages to sound both retro and futuristic. “We were at our studio drinking coffee,” says Suova. “The chords, vocals, and structure of the song came together fairly fast.”

Next stop, sharing Associates with the world. “We’ve gotten a lot of support from Finnish promoters and people working in music in general,” says Suova. “However, I think the main challenge in Helsinki and Finland is the fact that there’s a poor tradition of good, non-Top 40s pop music here. Therefore, our audience at home is limited. But the good part of it is that it forces us to make ourselves heard outside our borders.”

“We’ve been getting a lot of good feedback around the world,” Suova continues, “so it’s impossible to say who would be most receptive. I’m looking forward to playing anywhere warm.” (


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