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BLIND CHANNEL

TALKING ABOUT TOURING, THEIR NEW SINGLE "FLATLINE" AND THEIR LOVE FOR GERMANY.

I had the huge pleasure and honor to talk to Joel Hokka and Niko Moilanen from the Finnish nu metal band Blind Channel last week before their show. 

 

It was a rainy day at Leipzig, but that didn’t stop the Blind Channel fans from lining up in front of the venue Täubchenthal since the early afternoon hours, even bringing signs for their favorite band to see during the show, personally thanking them for voting for Germany at the Eurovision Song Contest, and being in line way before the fans for the actual headliner of the night, I Prevail, even arrived. So it’s safe to say that Blind Channel has a very dedicated fanbase here in Germany, a love that the band definitely reciprocates as you can read below! But Joel and Niko did not only talk about their love for Germany, they also shared their experience of writing their newest single Flatline, touring and told us what to expect in 2023! 

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You guys are currently on Tour with I Prevail and Trash Boat through Europe and the UK. That’s quite the powerful line up. How are you enjoying the tour so far?

Niko: "The tour is being amazing, it’s only been two shows but those shows have been awesome! I think we’ve met the other bands briefly and everyone on the tour seems to be super nice. So yeah, I‘m really looking forward for the rest of the tour, it‘s going to be a tour to remember!"

 

What would you say the fans can expect from the shows?

Joel: "Well it‘s an half an hour set so it’s not so long but it has all the biggest Blind Channel songs and it‘s a lot of energetic ones but also softer ones it‘s a whole Blind Channel show experience in 30 minutes!"

Niko:  "Yes there’s a lot of energy. We‘ve recently played 75 minutes sets and now when it‘s only 30 minutes you get to put all of your energy into those 30 minutes. So in a way we‘ve been laughing about it backstage, because it’s rougher, we‘re more exhausted after the 30 minutes if you compare it to the 75 minutes set because we put everything in it!"

Do you have any favorite, or let’s say, impressionable memories of encounters with fans during the tour? Something particular that sticks out? Maybe a gift that you have gotten?

Niko: "Maybe when Dark Side became the first huge hit and the attention we were getting from the fans and everything felt kind of new that‘s when it felt crazy, like you go to a nearby store and people are taking pictures of you or like everywhere we played a show they had to double or triple our security because everyone was going crazy, so I think those are pretty good memories!"

Joel: "I‘ve seen some girls that had tattoos of my face, that‘s crazy! I don’t know if that’s a fan gift but it‘s really crazy. I‘ve also seen a lot of art made of and for us and it’s crazy to see that people put so much effort towards something and create something that is made for us. Hours of work!"

To see that you inspired them into creating, right?!

Niko: "Yeah it‘s cool like, we want to feel like it‘s art that we are doing and in a way it inspires others to do different kinds of art, maybe not even music but they do paintings and edit stuff - that’s cool! Yeah we see them all the time on Instagram and we try to share our favorites if we see something cool that inspires us back." 

You just released your new single Flatline, which is, I must say, a lot harder than before. I was surprised finding out that you worked with BLYNE, who are known for writing songs for David Guetta and Robin Schulz. How did that come along?

Joel: "Well they are basically two writers and producers from Berlin and they have never done anything we‘ve done, like with a Metal band."

Niko: "One of them actually had some metal background and he was playing in some band when he was he was younger but nowadays he was just making electronic music mostly."

Joel: "So we had a session in Helsinki and they came there and were like: „we have this idea with this electro/techno sounding track“ and we were like: „okay sounds cool! and then we just started to work on it and it turned out to be this party-energetic-metal song which Flatline is."

Niko: "And that was kind of the point, like after the fourth album „Lifestyle of the sick & dangerous“ that we made completely by ourselves, which we did because Alex (Mattson) was a new member, it was fresh blood in the band, so it was kind of working our chemistry and everything felt new, but for the one we want to keep growing and evolving as songwriters. So we felt like we need to do songs with different songwriters, different producers, we need to try stuff out and working with two Berlin based electronic music producers, who have been working with David Guetta and Robin Schulz like that felt like that’s crazy enough so let’s start with that! And that‘s how Flatline came to be. We call Flatline a shocker, like it’s a fucking shock and we wanted to start the fifth album cycle with Flatline."

Joel: "It‘s not a classical metal or alternative nu metal song that we usuall do. It has this brandnew vibe it never had before and yeah, it turned out to be great and it‘s working for live shows as well so it‘s super fun to play live as well!"

 

As a writer myself, I‘m always curious to learn about other peoples writing processes and their inspiration behind their songs. How does your writing process usually look like?

Niko: "It‘s pretty chaotic, I think."

Joel: "Yeah, definitely."

Niko: "There is a lot of us and there‘s usually four or five of us in the studio and then when you add a couple of producers - it feels like sometimes our energy can even be overwhelming because it’s loud and it’s restless and all like that. Luckily, people we have worked with at the end of the day even though it might be overwhelming first, they usually say that it was awesome to work with us, so everything goes along pretty good but it’s chaotic. Everybody has just a lot of ideas and it’s just explosions!"

 

And how does picking the right ideas usually come along for you guys? Is it a natural process or are you trying out and see whatever works?

Joel: "It‘s intuition. If someone has an idea we work around that and if it feels good after one or two hours then it’s mostly good. But there‘s a lot of ideas, we just have to kill our darlings sometimes because we just can’t stick to all of the ideas. If it’s good enough it keeps on rolling for hours." 

Niko: "And we usually know that the endgame is over here, we know where we want to go but the roads (to go) there are different. There is a lot of different roads but I think we all agree on how we should sound like, so that makes it a bit easier but it’s not always easy because there are a lot of ideas and a lot of discussions and playing around with the songs."

 

2022 was definitely a successful year for you guys and it doesn’t look like you’re planning on slowing down in 2023. You‘re supporting no one less than Iron Maiden, you‘re gonna play at Download Festival and your band turns 10 this year! What are you most looking forward and are there any special plans for your band anniversary?

Joel: "Sadly not!"

Niko: "We have nothing planned yet."

Joel: "We have an option for a tour around that period, so you’re going to have to wait for that."

Niko: "We‘re most likely going to be in this bus, so this is going to be the actual anniversary bus. But if you would’ve told us 10 years ago that 10 years from now you‘re going to spend your 10 year anniversary in a fucking Nightliner touring Europe or the US we would go: fuck yeah! Like nowadays it’s just a basic day but back then it would’ve been the best thing ever and it’s definitely a dream come true."

Joel: "I mean I‘m looking forward to Download for sure that has been something we’ve been dreaming of. I think also the Iron Maden thing is super cool, so I guess there is a lot of crazy stuff happening all the time and I guess these are the years that we drive super fast and in a couple of years maybe slow down and look back on what the hell happened!"

Niko: "Yes these are the years where you don’t dream too much and you don’t think too much you just work your ass off!"

 

What is something you wish you could tell your old selves starting out this band? Perhaps an advise you wish you would’ve gotten that could help new bands starting out?

Niko: "Just don’t give up. And also we always knew that it was going to be hard but we had no idea how fucking hard it was going to be. (Laughs)

It’s going to be way harder than you think but it’s also going to fucking work eventually so just work your fucking ass off!"

Joel: "I‘m gonna say that: write those better songs early! (both laughing)

Because we were dumbasses for the first five years, we didn’t know how to do it."

Niko: "You have to pay your dues though."

Joel: "But then it all cracked two years ago in a big way and I guess we got the reward for everything in a really big package and now we’re just enjoying that and for sure we‘re climbing for the next level! I can tell you though that on the level we are right now it‘s a lot harder than it was 10 years ago. This is super pressured mental and physical hell but we‘re also enjoying it! This is what we wanted."

 

As a German I have to ask: you guys have been in Germany multiple times before. How do you enjoy Germany?

Niko: "Germany is one of our top favorite countries to tour!" 

Joel: "I just typed to Instagram that this is the best country in the world! I mean as a finnish band, Finland has a long history with the German audience. I guess since the HIM days, like late 90s. Germany has been the number one market for finnish bands. We know our last album has charted on #15 in Germany and next album we‘re going to be Top 10, we‘re going to sell thousands of albums and play all the biggest venues - we‘re gonna make it here! We‘re going to be the biggest band in Germany!" (Both laughing)

Joel continues: "I just love Germany, I love the German audience, I love the whole country and culture - I love everything! I could easily move here, I feel that way."

I heard before, especially from metal bands, that the German audience is more open for alternative music, metal music, just louder music in general. Have you made that experience as well?

Niko: "Yes, definitely! It was one of the first places where people were getting into our music and they were getting what we were saying on that stage or on Spotify or wherever. People here really clicked with our music and I think of course we have maybe played more shows in Finland, but Germany definitely comes up second and I think it‘s going to switch soon because we spend a lot of time here. Our label is based here, we play shows and Festivals here all the time!"

Joel: "These are the streams (on Spotify) for the past three weeks and you can see Germany is passing Finland pretty soon! So Germany is huge for us." 

Niko: "Yeah, we‘re growing here!"

That means you‘ve probably tried some typical German foods as well! Do you have any favorites and if so, what is it? Schnitzel? Bratwurst?

Niko: "It‘s the Currywurst! It‘s definitely the Currywurst and a beer and that’s fucking it!"

Joel: "I could eat that all the time!"

Niko: "Immediately when we cross the border we‘re like „ok guys it’s time for some fucking Currywurst!“ That‘s the shit!"

Joel: "I could live off of Currywurst. Everything in Germany is just perfect. I can’t get enough of it. This is like the best country in the world for me!"

Back to talking about touring! You guys are going to be on the road for quite a while now, right? 

Joel: "Yes, we have a couple of shows in April with Electric Callboy and then we have a few headline shows here in Germany in between. We‘re not going to play the biggest cities in Germany this time but we will be in Essen, Hannover and Heidelberg for example."

Niko: "It’s going to be this mixed kind of tour. The weekends with Electric Callboy and then during the weekdays we will do our own headline shows! It’s going to be a lot I think it will be 9 shows in a row without a day off so it’s going to be a busy tour! It‘s gonna be fun!"

How do you keep yourself fit during all of this touring?

Joel: "Lots of white wine and try to sleep at least five hours every night. Don’t eat too much shit."

So not too much Currywurst?

Niko: "Currywurst is awesome!"

Joel: "One Currywurst per day and a glass of wine and after the show a couple of beers - that‘s it!"

Check out Blind Channel's new single "Flatline"

 

Photos & Text: Anne Göthe

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