Victor had the opportunity to talk with Niko Moilanen, singer of the Finnish band Blind Channel. They arrived sixth of this year Eurovision contest with their song « Dark Side »
Victor: Hello Niko, how are you?
Niko: How how am I? I’m doing great. It’s been a busy day, but everything’s going fine.
Victor: Would you start by presenting yourself and and your band, please?
Niko: Well, my name is NiKo and I sing in a band called Blind Channel.
Victor: I saw you had already three albums out in Finland..
Victor: Would you mind going through the history of the band for a bit? Like how did the band evolve, how your sound evolved during all those years?
Niko: Well, the band was founded back in 2013 by our guitarist Joonas and our other singer Joel. They founded the band in 2013. We were all in the same music high school in Palo Alto in in a city called Oulu in northern Finland. That’s when the band started and we started making demos. I didn’t know the guys like I knew them from the school, but we didn’t really hang out because they were rockers. And I was a rapper back then. Like, I only hang out with rappers at the time. But then we were at this house party and the guys said they had the band together and they didn’t want to be a normal basic rock band. They wanted something fresh and new. So they needed a rapper. And I decided to join. And then we just went to the practice place and started playing demos from my favorite bands and writing our own music. And then when we had our first demo out. We talked a lot with the guys about the fact that in Finland we had a lot of music television channels playing music videos. All our favorite bands were on those channels, and we wanted to be on those channels as well. But when we got the band together, those channels didn’t exist anymore. And I told the boys, that our band should be called a Blind Channel and the guys loved it and then the name kind of stuck! And then it was also at that time when we had our first demos ready and we were sending them to local radio stations that we had to describe our music. And then nu-metal sounded too old fashioned. It felt like we were late from something. And then we figured that alternative rock is the most boring way to describe your music. It doesn’t say anything about your music. So I suggested the guys that we should call our music violent pop and then the violent pop kind of became our own genre, our own brand, even. Because we love rock music, we’re definitely a rock band, but we love everything that’s going on in the mainstream as well. And we want to write pop bits, catchy bits, cool stuff like that. And then then we just started doing shows. And then we won this band competition and we got to play in Wacken Open Air in Germany, probably the biggest metal festival in the world. And when we came back here, we made our first record deal and now we’ve done three albums and performed like all around Europe. And then we played in Eurovision a couple of weeks ago.
Victor: How did your participation in Eurovision came about? When did you choose to take part in the contest?
Niko: Well, it was like we had we had just released our third album in the beginning of 2020 and we have big things coming. But then everybody knows what happened in the beginning of 2020, like everything was cancelled. Our dreams were taken away from us and we were so pissed off. And that’s actually when we wrote the song called « Dark Side ». We wanted to write an anthem for all the people who were pissed off and frustrated and wanted to throw the middle fingers up in the air and scream because we wanted to do that. And then a couple of months passed and then we had no shows and it felt like our career might just end, we had nothing to do. And we have been building this momentum for like seven years at the time. And it was a really scary time for the band. But then we suck at waiting. We hate waiting. We love to do things. We love to push our career forward. So that’s what our guitarist Joonas said « Guys, we should go Eurovision! » And then we were like, no way, that’s no place for us. But then we decided to apply and look what happened!
Victor: And how was it to play the big show of the Eurovision Contest?
Niko: Well, it was it was really great! Like the fact that there was a live audience of three and a half thousand people that made it so special and we got to do the same thing in the semifinals finals. Performing to live audience after such a long time of waiting I think that was the best part of it. So, yeah, it was just mind blowing and a great experience overall the whole Eurovision. Because we haven’t been Eurovision fans, we had never watched it. Well, we knew it was happening, but we never paid attention to it. So we didn’t know where we were going. And then when we went there, we were like « God, this is actually a pretty cool thing ». So it was super fun, a great experience and definitely like probably the biggest thing that’s happened to us as a band! We got millions of new followers or listeners all over the world. And that was that’s just amazing!
Victor: And how did you feel about the fact that two rock bands made it to the top 10 of the contest?
Niko: Well, that was probably the best thing that could have happened. We were hoping that if we’re not going to win, we were hoping that Måneskin from Italy win the competition because that that was a good thing for rock and roll. It was a statement that rock and roll is not dead! People need rock music. So it was just the best thing ever. And there were great guys, we hang out with them. And yeah, it was just amazing. Like, we were super happy that Måneskin won the whole competition with a rock song. And the fact that we were in the top ten, that was like the best thing that could have happened.
Victor: What are your projects following that Eurovision contest and what do you want to do with that new audience you have?
Niko: Well, we just made a huge record deal with Century Media and Sony Music, so we’re going to make an album and we already got lots of songs ready. And it’s going to be the best album we released so far. And then, yeah, a lot of new music. There will be an album sometime next year and then we have a follow up single to « Dark Side » that actually just came from mastering today. I just listened to it. It sounds banger! We will release it with a music video probably at the end of the summer or sometime later. And then we just can’t wait till our shows here in Finland this summer. So that’s going to be cool. And after that, like as soon as we can we want to make our dream come true and tour the world.
Victor: Apart from from Wacken Open Air and some shows, have you really toured Europe yet or not?
Niko: Yeah, yeah, we’ve done it! We did a tour in Europe with a Swedish band called Smash Into Pieces. Then after that we did we toured with Hollywood Undead from the United States. We toured in Europe with them. And then with a swedish band called Amaranthe. And then we did a UK tour with Sevendust and All That Remains. So, yeah, we’ve really been around Europe but always as a supporting act. Actually we did one headline tour. I don’t remember how many shows it was, but we played clubs mostly in Germany. So that was us like headlining for the first time. And those were great shows. But it seems that right now we could have a big audience there even if we went there all by ourselves. So that’s something to look forward to. Like we can’t wait to just like get to tour Europe. And not only Europe, like we want to tour the world, we want to take over the world whith violent pop!
Victor: How would you explain the violent pop sound to people who might have never heard the band?
Niko: Well, it’s rock music with a mainstream touch, that’s an easy way to put it. We love mainstream music and we love everything that’s going on in it, like we listen to all kinds of music. A good song is a good song no matter the genre. We love playing rock music, like with real instruments, and that’s in our DNA. But also, if we hear a cool song on the radio, we want to be able to say: « guys, we should do something like that! » and then we just add our own rock touch to it and it becomes what we call violent pop. We don’t want to be confined in the in a prison of genres like you’re a rock band, you can only do this. It’s all about us breaking the limits. We can do whatever we want. And of course, it always sounds like Blind Channel no matter what we do, because we’ve been doing that for along time. So that’s that’s the idea behind behind violent pop. It was only a joke that turned into our very own brand. And it’s been really cool. Only Blind Channel knows what’s violent pop and what’s not. And I think it kind of also makes us unique because, well, I haven’t heard of any other violent pop bands. Not yet at least.
Victor: It’s your own thing and you can do whatever you want with it.
Niko: Yeah. With pop music we love like big sexy hooks and stuff like that, like something that gets stuck in your head and you can’t get it out. Like pop music, that’s what we want to do. We want to make songs that people listen to over and over again, like for years and for decades. Those are the kind of songs we want to do. A lot of pop songs are also like that. So maybe that’s that’s the idea behind that pop word.
Victor: And I think it’s it’s something right now in the even in the metal music. Many bands try to incorporate different genres to metal music or rock music.
Niko: Yeah, yeah, I think so too. A lot a lot of bands and artists are breaking boundaries and they do whatever they want and that’s just great. That’s cool for creativity. Like the genre thing, I think it’s a bit old fashioned. If you look at the rappers or trap artists these days, those guys are fucking rock stars, they are the biggest rock stars in the scene, even though they like rap and sing with auto tune and they only have a D.J on stage. Still the rock and roll is not just music, it’s a feeling, it’s an attitude. And if you have that attitude, then you’re a rock star. So, yeah, I think it’s cool that a lot of bands or solo artists are breaking the boundaries and doing whatever the fuck they want. Like, that’s just inspiring.
Victor: And what would you want to say to people from from Europe and all over the world about what you are going to release? What can they expect from the new Blind channel music?
Niko: Well, they’re going to get an amazing album of violent pop, like a perfect album of violent pop. We’ve gotten better as songwriters, we also have a new member, Aleksi who brings his own touch to Blind Channel. And « Dark Side » was just the beginning, it was the first single from the album. And it’s only the beginning. Like there are lots of new songs coming. And we’re definitely going to keep breaking boundaries, breaking limits and do things that surprise our listeners and not only our listeners, like we’re going to surprise ourselves with the new album. And that’s what makes it so exciting.
Victor: Well, thank you Niko for your answers! Hope to talk to you again when the new album is out and when the band’s on tour! Have a great day!
Niko: Yeah, you too. Let’s keep in touch! Bye!