Daniel Österlund, a 26-year-old Finnish musician has played in various bands and been part of several musical projects, lives in Helsinki. The singer/guitarist and songwriter has developed in style and taste after several years spent breathing and living music. He agreed to have a sit down with me to discuss the challenges in this particular lifestyle, but like every musician I know, he forgot and double booked band practice with our interview. But versatile as we children of technology are, the interview was rearranged into e-mail format. Daniel currently sings and plays guitar in the somewhat psychedelic band Landscape Generator and guitar in Vinyl Jam, which recently played the Faces Festival in Finland.
“Music to me is a bit like poetry”
Daniel has been involved in at least five bands over the years and several smaller projects or ‘sporadic groups’ as he puts it….
D] I’ve always sung and played guitar and made my own music. Self-exploring, expressing my stories and experiences are a vital part of my music. I rarely play covers or limit myself to certain music styles. Music to me is a bit like poetry. They’re my words and I don’t feel particularly comfortable expressing other musicians’ opinions and feelings. Being the eldest of three brothers I’m used to take charge, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. I find it that it works if I’m playing with people I already know, who know not to take any offence because of my determination. All of the musical projects I’ve been involved in have affected my own personal style for the better, as well as for the worst. What I mean by that is that everything affects everything in life, and some of the directions I’ve taken musically have challenged my personal growth. These directions have not necessarily felt like the right choices for me, but have still helped me to get where I am today.
S] We hear that Vinyl Jam only release music on vinyl, is there a specific reason for this?
D] Andre Solomko is the fiery soul of the band, and wants to record on vinyl, which suits me perfectly as it is a different process, which affects the quality of the sound in an interesting way.
S] You are inspired by the experimental elements in 60s’ and 70s’ music?
D] 60s and 70s music has always had a strong influence on me as it was a time for music and life experiments. I listen to a wide variety of music, and but I like particularly artists that sound a bit different and have a ‘fresh’ sound. It may be a new band or one that’s been around for years, but if it has that personal touch it’s usually something that I get into.
S] What are your songs about?
D] Love, contrasts, moments in life, unfairness, feelings, different things that truly distresses me, or situations where I have thought I was in sync with reality.
S] How was it to play at the Faces Festival? Where you involved with the arrangements? Did the gig go as expected?
D] I happened to play in the band that arranged the gig. It felt strange because I’ve always wanted to play at Faces but didn’t really think about it when it actually happened. When I’m playing I concentrate on my own performance to the extent that I often forget the environment I’m in. Or rather I forget the location that I am in rather than the environment itself. The gig went alright, but I was having problems with my guitar. I was a little bit disappointment with my performance.
Which is the best gig you have played? Which band did you perform with?
D] Landscape Generator at Turkoosi, Helsinki in 2007. It was magical, everything went exactly as planned. Something began to happen with our music, something that I can’t put a finger on. It was a good day and the music simply flowed.
S] Do you prefer to perform live as opposed to recording?
D] It varies, lately I’ve been more interested in live performances than recording, but I used to prefer to record my music. I rarely find a perfect moment for either, but I enjoy both when that moment presents itself.
S] You’re studying media-culture and sound-technique at the moment in Arcada, Helsinki. How does your music relate to your studies?
D] As I am interested in making music, focusing on recording techniques is sort of given. I have also an interest in people and different cultures. I want to be able to record my own music and do most of the work on my own so this course seemed ideal to adapt my interest to a possible future career.
What is it that you wish to achieve from your music career-wise, and on a personal level?
D] I try and not to think about it too much. Ideally my work would eventually become an influence on others, but at the moment I am happy recording and developing on my music, and try and live a normal life. And I’d like to release an album. I’ve been working on one for a while now.
For more information visit the Vinyl Jam website and the Landscape Generator MySpace.
Watch a live video below: