Interview with Niko Lehdontie (guitar, synth, sampler, backing vocals)
Interview by Kat Knite
Congratulations on your upcoming release of ‘Polysomn’! You must be very excited. How does this album differ from your previous two?
Thank you! Production-wise it focuses on the same kind of chaos that is present on our first full-length album, but as a whole it is more constructed and thought out.
Does the album have a theme? How do the songs progress and are they placed in a particular order to tell a story?
The songs are describing various altered states and dream-like sequences, so there might be a loose connection between the songs atmospheres, but Polysomn isn’t a concept album or anything like that.
What is the meaning of your band name and how did you come up with it?
At first it was a joke. We just wanted to annoy everyone and came up with a name that would be really difficult to write. It was the kind of situation where we had a band name before we had even played anything.
How did you all meet each other?
Lasse and I have known each other since childhood, since we lived in the same town. When Lasse moved to Kaustinen to study his upper secondary school degree, I followed him and met Dmitry and Johannes there. The school’s curriculum had an emphasis on music and they had wonderful band practice facilities, so we started to jam. We quickly discovered that we were into the same aesthetics in music and decided to form a band.
You have a distinct and unique style that doesn’t fit to exactly one genre. Is this something that was born naturally out of jamming together?
It has naturally evolved to it. When we started, our style was quite jammy and post-rocky. The broad use of dynamics definitely comes from there, as we’ve always liked to go from moody waters to these huge sonic walls of colorful storms. Nowadays we try to write more structured songs but the same elements are still there.
Have you all been in bands previously?
Yeah, but back when we started this project was probably everyone’s first ‘’proper’’ band. Oranssi Pazuzu, Horte, Domovoyd, and Hornbeam are other bands our members are part of.
When did you know you wanted to play music? Do you all have other jobs outside of music?
I’ve known it since my early days as I was always very fond of music. I’m sure this was also the case with other guys as well, since we all moved to study to a music oriented school. Self-expression with music felt very natural to us, so the next step was naturally writing our own music. We all have other projects besides Kairon; IRSE!, some of them in music, some of them not.
Who does most of the songwriting?
We collaborate with each song. Our song writing is based on writing demos individually and then arranging and collaborating together at the rehearsal place. For example on the last record I made several demos of the albums’ songs, which then were transformed to their final shape by all of us.
Do you have a favourite song off the album?
No, I don’t have at the moment. It’s hard for me to listen to our music after it’s recorded, mixed and mastered. This is something that happens every time when I’m too involved in the process.
What is the scene like in Finland for the type of music you play? Is there a big resurgence in psychedelic genres for the new age?
Finland is such a small country with very small circles. I wouldn’t call it a ‘’scene’’, but many of the indie/underground musicians often know each other and have mutual respect towards one another’s musical projects.
What has been your favourite gig that you’ve played so far?
Our first bigger EU show at Space Fest ‘15 was remarkable for us. Roadburn on the other hand is always an amazing festival to play at. So maybe I answer those two.
Is there anyone or anywhere you’d like to play and haven’t yet?
It doesn’t matter at all. We are eager to play anywhere where people are willing to see us.
Do you have any plans for touring in the semi-near future? How has COVID-19 affected your band?
We are going to tour, hopefully during the next year. The pandemic has cancelled our touring plans supporting the upcoming album in the year 2020, which is a bummer, but it is what it is.
Do you prefer the recording process or the experience of playing for an audience? Why?
I have to say recording. It is the reason we exist. You can literally create worlds, have more control over you representation and when something really magical happens during the creating process, the high it creates is the best feeling in the world. Playing in front of the live audience is the best way to celebrate an album but touring is maybe a double edged sword. Scheduling and booking for a small band like us is a difficult job to do and it is very expensive and risky to go abroad.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
That’s very hard to pin down. I think we are sort of following the same path that started in the 60’s with music, being very poppy, heavy and experimental at the same time. We don’t want to narrow our influences down to only few, since we are trying to evolve our music and ourselves by always finding fresh angles in our creative output. We look up to bands that have maintained their uniqueness throughout the years.
What are your top 3 favourite albums of all time?
It changes every day for me but at the moment: My Bloody Valentine – EP’s 1988-1991, Soft Machine – Volume Two and Can – Tago Mago.
If you could choose one musician to spend a month with and learn from, who would it be and why?
Nigel Godrich. He is my all-time favourite music producer. Wouldn’t be too bad to visit his studios and see him working on an album.
Thank you so much for your time. Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers?
Thanks. Stay safe!