In October, Jori Hulkkonen released Oh But I Am, his seventh album under his own name. It may be the first Jori Hulkkonen record in six years, but Hulkkonen has been keeping busy. During the past years he has released three albums and toured with his band Sin Cos Tan as well as produced albums under monikers like Third Culture and Nuclear Winter Garden.
Since its release, Oh But I Am has topped iTunes and Beatport charts. We asked Jori Hulkkonen about the significance of these merits and how he’s been able to sustain a career in electronic music for well over 20 years.
For the past couple of years you’ve been focusing a lot on Sin Cos Tan – a colloborative effort between you and Juho Paalosmaa. How did it feel to make a solo album on your own again?
I’ve been working on music non-stop, and also released one-off solo singles and a bunch of remixes, so the 5-year break since my previous solo full-length doesn’t really feel that long to me. But it is naturally a slightly different vibe to put out a record where you can’t put the blame on anyone else.
The album reached number one spots on both iTunes Dance Chart and Beatport Chill Out chart. Genre specifications aside, what does it mean to you to have your record on top of a sales chart?
Personally, not much. But from a marketing point of view – both in terms of the actual record, and then gigs-wise – it certainly is extremely useful. Being number one is as good as it gets, so getting the spot, albeit it’s quite abstract these days, indicates you’ve done at least something right.
You have a recording career spanning over 20 years. These days it’s hard for many artists to keep a career going for 5 years – what is your secret?
Firstly, I never sold out, so I never became trendy. And if you’re never trendy, you never become untrendy. Secondly, there is this relentless driving creative force inside me that doesn’t let me stop making music, or take the easy way out. And last, but certainly not least, I’ve been extremely lucky.
You rarely play live shows as a solo artist. Why is that? Do you enjoy playing live?
I do like liveshows. Either with Sin Cos Tan or with Tiga with whom I’ve been touring this year live a lot, it’s always fun. Or the improvised livejams with Jimi Tenor we do, either for our film Nuntius or something even more experimental, always excellent. But when it comes to doing a “Jori Hulkkonen” liveshow I’m a bit more cautious. I’ve done so many records during the years, had so many guest vocalists, I’m not quite sure how I’d want to make the production. I’m sure at some point I’ll start playing some live shows but it needs a solid idea visually, musically and thematically. And as usual, I won’t compromise, so as a solo artist I’m sticking with DJing until I get all the moving parts clicking together.
What’s your favorite Finnish band or artist at the moment?