December's mix comes from the cold north, but don't expect reindeers bringing warming christmas carols, because Santa is a bit depressed this year. We are happy to welcome Kristiina Männikkö, DJ and photographer from Helsinki and part of the collective Electronic Market, who proves to us that the northern wind is a bit colder. They had a chat with Jonáš Verešpej about isolation in the woods, photography and the Finnish scene.
Hello Kristiina, how is your day going so far?
Hello, I’m so sorry it took so long to get back to you. It’s been a crazy day. Trying to finish everything before leaving for our cottage in the middle of nowhere for Christmas. I did our weekly radio show for Radio Helsinki today and also had a last photography class before holidays. I’m teaching youngsters at Annantalo Arts Centre. So busy, but all good.
So you are already starting with your holidays. How will those look like for you this year? I am imagining a lot of snow.
Yes, I’m starting my holidays earlier this year just to make sure that it’s safe to meet my family. Will have my own quarantine at our cottage before meeting them. I’m sure it will be cosy there with all that snow & sauna. Unfortunately we don’t have snow in Helsinki yet.
How have you been holding up since the pandemic started? How is the situation in Finland now?
The spring was harder for me mentally. Now my work and studies have kept me busy. I’ve been lucky to have those. Of course I miss my family and friends. And playing in clubs. The situation in Finland is unfortunately getting worse now. Let’s hope this will be over soon and we’ll get back to ”normal”, whatever it means.
What are you studying? Is it photography as well? And what was your last photography class about?
Yes I’m studying Art Education in Aalto university. I already have a master’s degree in photography, graduated five years ago.
We did pinhole photography in my last class and prepared for our upcoming exhibition.
Can you tell me a little bit more about your photography practice? How would you define yourself as a photographer? I saw a lot of portraits and fashion on your instagram but do you also experiment with pinholes and such?
Yes I do mainly fashion photography and portraits. I only experiment with pinholes with my students.
Can you tell me something about the Electronic Market? Where did the idea for it come from and how was it formed?
We launched Electronic Market agency & collective two years ago with a group of friends (w/ Linda Lazarov, Suski, Emma Valtonen & Elisa Paakkonen). We all have been active in Helsinki’s electronic music scene for many years. Most of us are residents at Kaiku and Post Bar.
We all felt quite lonely in the scene and that’s why we wanted to form a small community around us to support each other, share ideas and just basically have fun together. We all have our own unique musical styles, but despite that we feel stronger together.
What do you mean by lonely exactly? Did you feel under-represented as female artists?
Not under-represented, we all were just busy playing our own individual gigs (which is also very important) without sharing our thoughts with anyone else.
Collectivity is of course a powerful support system. In which specific ways was this union helpful to you as a group and individuals? And what role does the female aspect play in it?
Yes indeed! Well there is also the agency side beside the collective, so after the launch we've gotten more international exposure. Last year was pretty good for me in that sense, I had much more international gigs than before.
We are also interested in creating some art projects together in the near future. As a collective we are able to explore new ideas and combine our wide knowledge since we come from different fields. Especially the pandemic has made us think about what else we could do besides our individual gigs, which are quite rare at the moment.
The collective consists of female DJs, because we all felt like loners in this very much male-oriented industry. I must say we didn’t feel left alone, we had a lot of gigs, but this collective was just a good way to start supporting and pushing each other. It was a natural way to proceed, because we all had been friends for many years before the launch.
Even though I have been following Kaiku and Post Bar for a while, I have to say I don't know much about the scene over there in Finland. It seems similar in proportions to the Czech one, but maybe organised better. Or in your case – better self-organised. For example, high-quality music labels have been mostly absent here only until recently. How is the situation with music publishing – and with music production for that matter – in your country?
The electronic music scene in Helsinki is vibrant for such a small city. We have many talented and ambitious producers and DJs and the level is very high. I just wish that people would get more international exposure in the future.
We definitely have some high quality labels here. Just to mention a few: Antti Salonen has recently launched a label ”Avoidance” which concentrates on the top quality sound. Sansibar’s ”Game Over” was the latest killer release. Not forgetting the legendary Sähkö Recordings which was founded by Tommi Grönlund and Mika Vainio already in 1993.
Getting international exposure has been put on hold for many up-and-coming artists for now I guess, but on the other side going back to thinking locally is never a bad thing.
You are definitely one of the people who got exposed outside your local scene pretty well. How do you feel about your future in DJing? You’ve mentioned you’d like to get back to ‘normal’ as soon as possible, but is there anything you’ll do differently once that happens?
Because of the current situation there has been more time to think about what’s really important. It felt good to revalue my choices in life. For example, spending more time in nature has really improved my health. Going back to university has also been a great decision this fall. I’ve also always liked spending time at home so isolation hasn’t really been a big deal for me. Of course, I miss playing in clubs and feeling the energy exchange through the crowd.
Luckily the Radio Helsinki show (Kostas & Männikkö) and some guest mixes have kept me busy. The pandemic has also made me think even more about the climate. Is it really necessary to fly around the world that much in terms of DJing? That’s why I find the rise of ”local thinking” very valuable. Like I mentioned the level of our local scene is very high, things can be running smoothly also with the local artists.
I’m hoping that after the pandemic I will still have chances to play locally and internationally. The situation has just strengthened my feelings towards music. Maybe I can just be more conscious where to play and how often, I’m mainly thinking about how to reduce flying. I’m possibly also going to jump into producing, at least I want to experiment with field recordings and maybe even dive into therapeutic aspects of sound. That has been my main interest lately.
Thank you for the chat. Can you show us where you are right now?
*The conversation took place on facebook messenger between 11:55 a.m. on Thursday (Dec. 10) and 12:21 p.m. on Wednesday (Dec. 16), 2020.
Babtisma - Hash#1
Aucuba Replica - Of Tightening
Avilynn - Acacia
Ploy - Pax Cultura
Ole Mic Odd - Surrounded By Pure Energy
Arabian Panther - The Penitent (Kris Baha Remix)
Jon Beige - The Sake Of Talking
Blume Attempt - Hark Back
MS - HOAX
Antonio VS Raw Ambassador - Nostop
Sophie Du Palais - Voodoo Part 2
Daze - Coma Scale
Augustus Muller - Taste of Metal
Delerium - Morphology
UVB76 - Anya
Scroll to Top ↑