|Despite residing in Berlin, Luomo belongs to a generation of Finnish producers that are creating music with a unique perspective and a warmer sound than you would expect from a country that rubs shoulders with the arctic north.|
Luomo, known to his friends as Sasu Ripatti, is probably best known under his Vladislav Delay moniker, one of many the prolific and adventurous producer uses. Within the persona of Luomo, Sasu creates slippery house defined by dubby bass, experimentation and ambient harmonics matched with dreamlike female vocals, that at once sound both airy and deep.
Focused firmly on the album format, he has just released his fifth, and quite possibly his best: 'Convivial', a tour de force of pop-influenced house, featuring vocals contributions from the likes of Robert Owens, Apparat and the Scissor Sisters' Jake Shears. So, with this in mind zero" wanted to the chance to probe the omnipresent producer to see what makes him tick.
When thinking of Finland, images of forests, bears, hardy fishermen, vodka and ice come to mind, but not much else. We wonder what the music scene in Finland was like growing up in the eighties, and Sasu tells us it was "Metal and rock mainly," although his interest was piqued by jazz when he was 15 or so, "but that wasn't popular music. Finland has always been a metal country, guitars rule there..."
As a producer who is prolific not under one, but several different names we wonder if making music gets easier or harder, this being Sasu's 5th album just as Luomo. He tells us it's both. "It's evermore difficult to make interesting music and find new ways of doing things, trying to forget what you've done so far, but also it's easier because you have gathered a strong vocabulary, and opinions and expertise in making music and about music."
However it's a thin line, and we ask how he keeps his focus?
"By having different projects! Each project has a quite distinguished agenda and vision, so I just follow that instead of hanging around in the middle of everywhere..."
So it's important to spread your wings musically, with different personae? "I think yes, if you do various kinds of projects, not meaning tech house and minimal house, but if it really serves different listeners, it certainly helps to keep things separated."
And to express yourself better? "Not really, no. It helps maybe to maintain focus at a project I'm currently working on but it's marginal."
In the digital age the album format is possibly under threat as listener's habits shift and evolve, with the song eclipsing the album as the creative format of choice. But for artist like Luomo, who has released nearly as many albums as singles, the album is still the ultimate artistic statement. "I think I have actually released more albums than singles. I have never been a singles producer. I have always focused on albums. I see great potential in long-players, where you can build a collection and complete works instead of just bits and pieces."
With such a high output of quality music, it begs the question of where he gets his inspiration from. "Certainly not in clubs! And not from music in general so much. Literature, the world at large, travelling, culinary things, movies, nature, my daughter." He also tells me that his daughter makes his most pleasing noise; "yeah, my favourite sound is that of my daughter singing!"
One of the most distinctive aspects of Sasu's work as Luomo is the rich and warm sounds he makes. Rejecting the industrial sharpness of many of his contemporaries, we wonder what drives his fascination for the warmer, softer elements of electronic music "I don't know exactly. I have always felt uneasy about harder colder sounds. Maybe I'm warm person after all! Or maybe it's because I'm coming from the cold."