Few days ago, the Made-In-Helsinki indietronic trio – Feels – debuted their EP Butterflies, exhibiting their dexterity in implanting emotionally-hefty lyrics into a light, dreamy synthpop sphere. Their “Smoke Signals” music video features the vocalist Sofi Meronen yearning for the presence of a gone lover. We had the luck to catch the dudette all the way from Finland, who shared her experience working with the other members Mikael Myrskog (keyboard) and Jooel Jons (producer), story behind their moniker, creativity process, odd behaviors in the studio, and plans for 2016:
Tell us about your background. How did all of you three start in music and ended up together?
Sofi: We’ve all been playing music since we were kids. I met Jooel when I was 19, and I’d known Mikael through mutual friends. Jooel and Mikael had been playing together by the name The Feels. I’d been writing songs since I was a teenager but never found the right people to work with. Then I got a chance to play at this terrace where I was waitressing in Helsinki in 2012, and I asked ‘The Feels’ to come play with me. We arranged a few of my songs for the gig as well, and that’s pretty much how it all started! We had a few shows back in 2012 but it was quite different back then, with guitars and stuff. Then we had a long break because of our travels, and started working again in 2013. We developed our sound and the name shortened to FEELS.
Why did you guys choose “Feels” for your band name?
S: I think it suits well to all the elements of our music: the lyrics, melancholic harmonies and epic soundscapes.
Let’s talk about your EP, Butterflies. How long did it take you guys to finish it? What were some of the challenges you encountered while finishing it?
S: Ah, we started recording already a couple of years ago. We’ve been working on it little by little. We’ve released three singles with videos before the EP. We didn’t really face any challenges while finishing the EP, maybe just the waiting, at least for me it’s really difficult! Good thing that the guys know how to take it easy better than me..
Why did you guys decide to name your debut EP Butterflies instead of your band’s name?
S: Well, it has many meanings. The first single from the EP is called ‘I Wished for Butterflies’. And all of the songs are stories of what happens after you get the butterflies and what it can lead to. Also we’ve been developing this for a long time and now it’s finally out, so it’s similar to the process a butterfly goes through. Plus we’ve got the butterflies now that it’s out!
“Smoke Signals” is a sad video, yet the tune of the song is very dreamy and uplifting. Can you share us the influence behind the track? Who came up with the idea first and why did you guys decided to pair such melancholic lyrics with buoyant beats?
S: Yeah, the songs we have on the EP tend to be about pretty deep subjects such as letting go, loss and all the difficulties of love. But we want the music to be hopeful as well. That’s why I think it feels natural to pair the lyrics with hopeful, glittery sounds. Joni Helminen directed the video, and at first we talked about the story and what the feeling in the song is. I described a vague idea I had about the video, and then he masterfully developed it into this story you can see in the video. It was a real pleasure working with him, he was in the same time really relaxed and fun to work with, but also really intense and devoted.
Do any of your band members have any eccentric habits in the studio or before performing?
S: Jooel has his motorbike in his studio so usually if you go there you first have to talk about it with him and tell him how gorgeous it looks before he’s happy and you can start working. The guys also have really weird nicknames for me. Sometimes when I go to the studio or to practice they’ll be like ”Hey, Cameltoe Meronen! What’s up!”. There are even worse names I won’t share with you now. Mikael is pretty relaxed and before we have a show you’ll often find him on his phone, checking for new synths online.
What is one genre of music that you guys want to explore? What is one genre that you guys would never pursue?
S: Hmmmmm! I’ve been listening to a lot of rap lately and I’m interested in the aggression and powerful beats. The rap scene in Finland is doing really well at the moment, I think, with artists like Noah Kin and View going strong. Also I feel like all of us have really different musical backgrounds and things we’re interested in, so we all bring something different into this. Something we wouldn’t do (never say never, but anyway) is finnish ”iskelmä” – the best translation I found is ”schlager”?
If you guys could tour anywhere, where would it be?
S: Australia! They have really cool festivals and landscapes there.. I spent 6 months in Australia in 2013 and it would be gorgeous to go back and get to play shows there. But I think Mikael’s answer would be Japan.. He really has a thing for Japan!
What can we expect from Feels in 2016?
S: Ah, I feel like this’ll be a sensational year. We’ll continue working on recording our debut album and writing new songs. We’ve only played in Finland so far and this year we’re interested in getting to play shows abroad as well. Berlin and London, for example, are cities where we’re aiming at. Also it would be super exciting to get to warm up and maybe go touring with some of our favorite artists!
In case you wonder, ”iskelmä” is EXACTLY what your grandma’s jam sounds like.
3/19 – Vapaan Taiteen Tila (Helsinki, Finland)