Look up ‘AfroPori’ in your dictionary and you won’t find a match but rest assured that they’ll include it in the next edition and it will tell you exactly what it means: “an AfroPori is a person, living in Pori, born with an effect that when moving, the ground will start shaking and everything instantly becomes rhythm as fuck”
Mama Longhorn is out with their new album “Enter the Rhythm Tank” have a listen and read what members Mikko and Kai have to say about it all.
Playing in other bands currently?
Kai: Yes, currently I play also in Salaneuvosto. A live dub unit of hypnotic and deep riddims.
This is from our latest album, featuring Sipulijaska on vocal duties.
Null Fisk is a noise outlet. Raw drone noise that makes everyone wish they were somewhere else.
Also Bad Day For Bossanova, an improvisation unit that will never fade away, even if we haven´t done much in the past 5 years.
Mikko: Yeah, I play in two other active, long-term bands: Kuusumun Profeetta and Lowlife Rock’n’Roll Philosophers. Also, there are all kinds of less active formations, one-off curiosities, collaborations between different art forms and other projects that I’m involved in. I like to keep myself creatively busy, I guess.
Kai: The first band I got to gig with in the nineties was Corporal Feast. It was a quite mean industrial band. Bad day for Bossanova, it´s still going though, has been since 1997. Krushing Funklords was a short lived abstract hip hop kind of thing in the early 2000´s and I have also been a member of Ghost Monkey. When I moved back to Pori I played in Teemu Elon Puhuvat Eläimet for a while.
Mikko: There are numerous but Teemu Elon Puhuvat Eläimet is the most recent one and Back To Normal is the earliest one from my ex-bands that have released records.
Who and/or what inspired you to become a musician?
Kai: I remember my great uncle getting drunk and jolly and playing a little accordion after sauna when I was just a little kid, maybe 5-6 years old and because he was a great guy and really funny, I suppose that was a big influence early on to learn something like that.
I also used to play football actively as a kid. My knees got busted around age twelve and the doctor recommended forgetting football and buying an electric guitar. That kind of started it, even if I continued football for a little while.
Later on, Pori was/is an inspiring place, so for sure Deep Turtle practicing almost next door to me was a big influence to get a some kind of band going. Out of records I must say that the Sonic Youth album “Goo” was something I felt deeply and made me want to wreak havoc as a 14 year old. Just a little bit later I got into jazz a lot and since then I’ve been into so much different kinds of music…
Mikko:The wide variety of music that I passionately listened to and a wide variety of friends who already played in a wide variety of bands.
Passions besides music?
Kai: My family of course. I have a passion for animation, both doing and watching, hazy discussions about the universe, life and everything at dawn, sauna and the good herb.
Mikko: I’m passionate about life in general, but two examples are football – I’m the captain of a team called Kuukkari Predators and never miss a single match of World Cup – and art in all its forms.
How did the Mama Longhorn project come together?
Kai: I used to live in Helsinki for the better part of the 2000´s and I already had the idea for an afro beat type of band there. That never became a reality, as I never found the right people for it except Tuukka, our drummer from Salaneuvosto.
So when I moved back to Pori I asked our drummer Olli if he would be interested first. Then in the sauna, I asked our keyboard wizard Jussi, that if I managed to get the band together would he join and he said sure. After that I asked our conga man Krisse to join, originally on bass actually but he lived far away so the bass duties were impossible. We´ve played together in BDFB and I know his talents of pretty much playing anything, so I asked him to roll in with the congas. At the time Teemu Elon Puhuvat Eläimet quit as a band, and another guitar player Tumppi, who also plays in Salaneuvosto as well as bass man Mikko were one band short, so they came along too. Harri Sippola was also keen to do something groovy and that´s how we started.
During the summer of 2011 I saw Faouzy singing and playing in the streets and was immediately impressed by the presence, positivity and honesty of his singing even if I didn´t have a clue of what language it was. So we swapped numbers but I dropped my phone into the sea and lost the number.
I met Eeva to a friend’s birthday party where I was DJ’in and she came to sing on some reggae instrumentals and I was blown away.
We had decided that we would have a singer audition during our first gig on New Year’s eve of 2011 and asked her to try out there. She did and it was obvious she was the one we needed.
After that same gig I headed to my favorite bar and there was this nearly incoherent drunken character who had seen the gig saying that he knows a great guy for our band who is a great singer and plays percussion as well and that´s how I got Faouzy´s number again.
He joined the band’s practice sessions and I was immediately impressed of how well we interacted together and the feeling was definitely mutual.
That´s what I love about this town, just deciding to put together an “afro-beat band” very well clear to me and to everyone else playing that it´s just a guideline we can forget anytime we feel like it. We are not doing a revival, we are not doing afro-beat or funk by numbers, just music and let it take us where it takes us.
Mikko: Kaitsu (ie. Kai) had a long-time dream of starting an afro-beat band and then he just found the right musicians, mostly from a circle of friends. After playing a couple of months as an instrumental group, we found the perfect vocalists Eeva and Faouzy, two wonderful human beings.
What was the biggest challenge during the making of this record?
Kai: Getting it released. The actual process of making the record was really smooth and relatively quick. We recorded fully analog in Black Floyd Studios with Tapio Lepistö and all the rhythms were recorded live. Because of lack of space we couldn´t record the percussions on the same take and of course we overdubbed most of the vocals and few other things too, like kantele.
Tapio handled the mixing duties and I forced myself to be the producer and kept the rest of the band members away from the studio while we were at it. I am used to working with Tapio since we´ve recorded Salaneuvosto 7″ and LP there. We are old friends anyway and that certainly helps a lot because even if our visions might differ a little bit sometimes, he is a true professional who wants to help me getting the sound I want.
Mikko: The recording session was very natural, so I guess the biggest challenge was getting the album released in a perfect form by the right people – and now we’re lucky that we achieved just that.
Who wrote the lyrics and where did the inspiration come from?
Kai: The songs on the record are written by Faouzy on the ones where he sings lead and Mikko wrote the ones where Eeva sings lead. I wrote lyrics to Määränpää, Eeva wrote lyrics to Unessa and Harri to Zippola ding but they were left out from the LP. They will get some kind of release, I am sure, since the tunes are damn good, they just didn´t fit into a single LP format.
Mikko: For the album songs, it’s basically half Faouzy and half me. For the songs that I wrote the lyrics for – Chrome on Chrome, Love Affair, Mueller and Ahura, the inspiration came from listening to the early rehearsal versions and the lyric less demo singing by Eeva. They sort of gave me the mood and atmosphere for the lyrics for each song. All of them are like little scenes of an imaginary movie or thoughts of a single character from an imaginary movie.
The song title “From a Nigerian Mental Asylum” needs an explanation?
Kai: Does it? 😀 It was originally called “Escape from a Nigeran Mental Asylum” but I was a typographic nazi since it looked bad on the cover and wanted it shortened. It´s the sequel for Nigerian Grinder, together they make our Nigerian Trilogy. Yes, a two part trilogy because that´s how we roll.
Mikko: The title is a mixture of a true experience of a certain band member and a sequel to the track “Nigerian Grinder”.
Who’s the groove master of the band?
Kai: The quick answer is everyone, because the groove of this band is created by listening to each other but of course it´s impossible to deny that Oll, Mikko and Krisse groove so damn beautifully together.
Mikko: We all are groove masters, otherwise we wouldn’t be in this band.
Sell me the Mama Longhorn record based on senses; three words, three senses?
Kai: Sound, Sight, Smell
Mikko: Energy, excitement, sensitivity.
Is Pori for music what Silicon Valley is for technology?
Kai: No. Silicon Valley is filled with money hungry investors, professional management and creative coders. Pori is filled with just a bunch of fucking amateurs with a vision who are willing to hit their head into the wall long enough to break it.
Mikko: Yes, in a way. There’s something exciting going on under a menacingly calm surface all the time.
Is it true that Pori has the best beaches in Finland?
Kai: Absolutely, Yyteri is beautiful.
Mikko: Yyteri is a great beach by the seaside and there are a lot of nice, more peaceful smaller ones by the sea and by the river. Definitely one of the best beach towns in Finland.
Best beer in Pori?
Kai: We actually have one of the finest microbreweries in the world called Beer Hunters. Out of their great selection I’d have to go with CCCCC IPA which was brewed by Erik.
Mikko: My friend works in a private brewery called Beer Hunter’s, so it must be their brands. They have won some international competitions.
Are we going to see an afro explosion in Pori now?
Kai: This is still very much a rock sort of town but anything is possible! At least we have had a great reception from a very diverse crowd, from rockers to bank advisors, from kids to grand moms.
Mikko: Mama Longhorn will give you all the afro explosion from Pori you’ll ever need. There are and there will be many other bands playing good music but different style.
Name three Finnish bands from the past 20 years that have been an important influence or deserves a special mentioning according to you?
Kai: Only three? Damn… I believe I am inspired by anything I hear and have heard, so even if these are musically quite far from Mama Longhorn, they are/were inspirational and influential.
For me, Circle has been a very important band during their whole career. Not least because some of the guys lived in the neighborhood in the early 90´s and truly showed me what energy, passion and straight insanity can achieve. and that was way before NWOFHM and these sort of things. Even now, over 20 years after they remain an inspiration with their work ethic and vision.
Larry& the Lefthanded, one of the best live bands of the nineties and early 2000´s. Also these guys were so damn cool all the time that it was almost hard to bear. Quantum Rider is a hugely underrated record in my opinion, excellent production, great tunes and unruly vision for its time.
Radiopuhelimet, best band in the world still, there is so much funk in this band even if it´s the distorted punk kind..and the tightness? oh my god…
Mikko: Wow, there are many, many more than three. But right now Radiopuhelimet, Magyar Posse and Vuk come to mind.
Any future projects in the pipeline?
Kai: Always something. Mama Longhorn has been working on a lot of new songs so a new LP will happen hopefully sooner than later. Working on a harsh and noisy ragga-beat project with a friend from Sink, we´ve had acoustic sessions with Faouzy and that might lead up to something different also. The biggest project I am involved in right now has to be Samurai Rauni Reposaarelainen, which is a full length movie about a Samurai in Meri-Pori. Directed by the ever so brilliant Mika Rättö, it will definitely be the must see movie of 2016.
Mikko: I have all kinds of projects going on and upcoming, mostly with artists from different fields. The biggest one is probably a ground-breaking, interactive artwork featuring brand new Kuusumun Profeetta music, you will definitely hear from that one. Also, the new Lowlife Rock’n’Roll Philosophers album will be out quite soon.
Karkia Mistika: http://www.hahmot.net / Seeker: http://www.seeker-art.net