INTONAL 2017: Interview with Finn of Tomland

April 24, 2017

There is no Intonal Festival without Finn Albertsson aka Finn of Tomland. He’s been an electronic/dub/experimental DJ since 1994 and if someone knows how to put together a proper DJ set, he’s the man. Finn also runs his own label SonuoS, so by reading our special feature you are not only going to get an in-depth interview with a legendary man and some proper insights into Intonal but also a special track ‘Woot!’ by A.O.T played at 33rpm – courtesy of SonuoS. The countdown is on, Intonal starts on Thursday!

Finn of Tomland at Intonal 2016 (Photo: Alexis Cancino)

This year marks the 3rd edition of Intonal Festival and you’ve played an important role in setting the proper atmosphere with your DJ sets every year so far. You’re super dedicated when it comes to supporting the festival – please tell us how and why is Intonal so close to your heart.

1000 thanks for your very kind words! I do my best to get the Intonalers in the right atmosphere when I DJ for them. Intonal is close to my heart because it’s a highly creative audio/visual festival in the same genre that I’m very much interested in i.e. experimental and because of the wide variety of expressions from all the immensely creative artists that perform there.

That’s because Ulf (Kontra-Musik), the festival director has a knack for doing these kind of things and has so for a long time (he had the Kontra-Musik festival for a couple of years and then he collaborated with Full-Pull too and I DJ’d at those festivals 2006-2010, he also works at Inkonst as their artistic leader) so he knows how to put together something interesting and intriguing.

An extra plus is that it’s happening in my hometown where something of this scale never ever happens otherwise these days.

And to be quite frank it would never happen if it wasn’t for Ulf.

Why do you think that is the case though? Why is it so problematic to organize something on this scale?

To be able to do something of this scale one has to have a huge interest in this scene and know who would be very interesting to introduce to a very picky audience and dare to not just follow any trend/hype but to go for the unique artistic expressions and the high quality of it.

When it comes to events and festivals, you’ve been around quite a bit. How do you think Intonal is different from other gatherings?

First and foremost Kenneth at Culture Box, Ulf at Inkonst and Krzysztof at FLiM has spoiled me rotten to the core with great gigs and then I have had the great honour to play at some fantastic festivals like Norberg here in Sweden, Trailerpark and Strøm in Denmark and Störung in Spain.

Intonal has a lot in common with all those festivals but somehow it feels very warm and welcoming with festival goers rubbing shoulders with those that perform both inside and outside of Inkonst that is a rather small venue for such a big festival.

If it would be up to you, is there something you would like to change around the festival?

I wouldn’t change anything but it would have been so cool if Intonal could have done a collaboration with Konsthallen and have huge audio/visual installations by Ryoji Ikeda, Zimoun or Evelina Domnitch + Dmitry Gelfand for example during the festival for everyone in Malmö to experience for just that brief moment in time.

Finn at FLIM H2O, Forsgrénska – Kulturnatt 2014 (Photo: Peo Bengtsson)

How about the attendance? Do you think people in Malmö are interested enough in the festival or is it more appealing to the foreign audience?

So far I think the festival has been sold out every year and yes, I do think that Malmö has an audience for these kind of events (but sometimes it’s very hard to get them to go to these kind of events and that I can’t understand). But I do know that Intonal has people coming not only from Scandinavia but from most of the northern European countries too, so that says a lot about the high quality of it all.

Why do you think it’s difficult to get people to go to these kind of events?

I think it’s a mixture of reasons, like lack of curiosity, not enough money, not having enough friends that are into experimental music and not wanting to go to an event alone but instead go out and have a beer at a local pub with the mates.

But at the very same time I can’t explain why oh why Inkonst was filled to the brim when Alva Noto and Byetone played live but when Senking and Snd played there was almost none attending. For me that’s just plain bonkers and I don’t know nor understand how people think, because in my book all four acts are well worth the same amount of attention.

Please tell us 5 artists you would recommend from this year’s line-up and why you would recommend them.

Yves De Mey/Sendai, Oren Ambarchi, William Basinski, Electric Indigo and Beatrice Dillon and quite frankly because they have been on my “want to see/hear live” list for a very long time. I have released a remix of Valanx by Yves De Mey on my little experimental electronica label SonuoS, so it’ll be double fantastic to experience him live for the first time and twice at Intonal.

Do you remember a specific moment, a performance or anything else that happened during the festival that made a really deep impression on you?

That must be Rrose at St. Johanneskyrkan performing James Tenney’s “Having Never Written a Note for Percussion” because that was one of the most concentrated live performances I have ever experienced in my life. And as an extra fun fact (not that I’m into drugs or want to promote them) but what to do when a man takes on his female artist persona but to do a bit of left-handed cigarettes/jazz tobacco-tinged arrack balls. When the whole church resonated with that gong it smoothed me over at the very same time… Now that wasn’t on my bucket list but the checkbox is ticked now… 😉

Rrose performing “Having Never Written a Note for Percussion” at Intonal 2016 (Photo: Mikael Holgersson)

If you could book 3 artists for the next year’s festival, who would they be and why them?

ENA/Horo (both live and as a DJ) because his music is out of this world fantastic and he’s a great DJ too.

Zimoun/Leerraum [  ] because his sound installations are so immersive, minimal/maximal and contemplative at the very same time.

And last but not least, Pinkcourtesyphone would have been so lovely to experience due to the cinematic feeling to it all and because I would love to be able to experience Richard Chartier/LINE live.

What can we expect from your set(s) this year? Any records you know for sure you will be spinning?

Well, I’m doing 3 gigs at this year’s Intonal. At the 1st gig in the water tower in Pildammarna I think I’ll go for a more Drone-like sonic experience. It’ll be some of the latest stuff from labels like Cromlech, Lamour, Arell, Spekk.

For my 2nd gig it’ll be more rhythm-based music, but never ever faster than 80 bpm on a straight 4/4. I think that I’m going to play the best that I have got hold of lately by artists like Elemnt, DYL, Typeface, Scuba Death, HOLOVR, Pragma, Roger 23, Emptyset and of course A.O.T that is the latest artist I released on my label SonuoS and so on and so forth. It will be a little bit of everything experimental as usual when I DJ.

For the 3rd gig with Grouper and William Basinski on the last day of Intonal I have been asked to play Chill-Out and so I will since I have a little record collection filled to the brim with that too.

And FYI: My 2nd DJ-set will be broadcasted live online courtesy of Red Light Radio so I feel the pressure already…

How do you usually spend your days? Besides waiting for your infamous postman to bring the latest and greatest records. 😉

Well, I keep the private private but when it comes to me as a DJ, I cruise the web and do a sweep more or less on a daily basis, listening to new releases in every online record store that cater to my taste and if/when they fail to accommodate me, I just continue on Bandcamp and go through another shit load of music to find just the right records for me.

So I more or less listen to a lot of shit music (due to the over-saturation on the scene at the moment, everyone is an artist and/or has a label these days and it’s not always for the best) then I sift the wheat from the chaff and do my shopping so that the best postman in Sweden can do his (sometimes daily) deliveries.

But I have been listening to slow experimental music since 1994, so I can easily hear very fast if the creativity level is high enough and if the artist knows his/her craft or not or if the artist has something else that tickles my fancy, so it’s not hard work.

Please tell us a bit about your label SonuoS. For how long have you been running it and how do you select the artists you work with?

My label SonuoS has been running since late 2012 when I got told by Jimi and Stefan at Subwax Bcn that I was going to start a label and that they would pay for it and after thinking it through for four days I said yes. The reason that I didn’t say yes directly was because I didn’t want the birth of my label to be an easy one so to speak but to set up strict rules and shape it around a firm concept/idea and it goes like this.

When I DJ, I start to beat-mix at 35 bpm and I never go faster than 80 on a straight 4/4 rhythm and I wanted SonuoS to reflect that and also as a DJ, I sometimes like to play 12″ cut at 45 rpm at 33 if they sound nice that way so all SonuoS 12″ are cut at 45 rpm but it doesn’t say anything about the rpm on the center label. It’s more or less up to the customer/listener/DJ to decide.

Then I had to come up with a unique name and since I like to play with words I ended up with SonuoS based on a totally made up Swedish word “sonuös” – something that sounds and then loosely translated that into English.

I also wanted a label name that is the same backwards and upside down so that when the logotype spins on a record player it’s the same and I designed the logotype myself, even if I never ever done anything like that before.

After that it was more or less easy, Jimi and Stefan told me to get three releases ready so I asked 3 artists for original music and 3 other artists for a remix (but they didn’t know who or even what track to remix) and told all of them how much time they had on their hands. For the original artist it’s 12 minutes on the A-side and 6 minutes on the B-side and then 6 minutes for the remixer. They all said yes within 2-3 days, so all of a sudden I was going to release S~S001 – Pokk! with a Mokira remix, S~S002 – Valanx with an Yves De Mey remix and S~S003 – Plaster with a Substance remix.

Lucky me that has such great professional friends around me because I also managed to get lovely Andreas Tilliander to do the mastering for my label’s releases so that those white 12″ sounds great and then I have Fredrik Möller who has an understanding and a well-trained eye for design that helps me when it comes to the center labels.

When it comes to picking original and remix artists for my label, I don’t go for hype nor fame but artists that I have a huge respect for due to their very high level of creativity. Artists who know their craft well and have a very personal sound. When it comes to the remixer, they have to make or have a take on their own music that is totally different from the original artist so that the remix sounds like it actually has been remixed. Because I don’t understand why a remixer should do the exact same kind of music as the one who made the track from the beginning. I just find it boring, because it more or less sounds the same and lacks both edge and creativity, but that’s me…

But don’t think that it hasn’t been a bumpy ride… After releasing the three first 12″ on SonuoS in 2012 and 2013, the label was more or less put to a halt due to the fact that they didn’t sell that well (even if I got a lot of praise from friends, artists and DJ’s around the world) and because of the financing of it all. But I did Jimi/Subwax Bcn a little huge favour and his profit from that went into the S~S004 – A.O.T with a Go Koyashiki remix that I just released last autumn. So let’s hope for the best and that people do their shopping of this release even if it’s not exactly “easy listening”. But then again, it has both vocals and piano on it… 😉

Do you have any dream releases for SonuoS?

No, I don’t but what I would love to find is another precious gem like Pokk!, which I found thanks to Yves De Mey who told me about Martin’s daily sound blog “Mono-log“. The blog had a new sound every day for a year made with the Nord Modular. Pokk! had no label representation, but a very high level of creativity and integrity when it comes to making music without the intention to reach fame or money.

Fame should never ever be a goal but a side effect of being great at what one does!

 

You can catch Finn of Tomland at Intonal three times

 

  1. Thursday 27th, 17:30-22:00: Intonal Day 1: Ambient Tower with Yves De Mey, Död, Rytmiskonsekvens and Sonja Tofik live.
  2. Saturday 29th, 17:00-18:00: Intonal Day 3 / Saturday: Holly Herndon, Paula Temple + more on Red Light Radio.
  3. Sunday 30th, 19:00-22:00: Intonal Day 4 / Sunday: William Basinski & Grouper.

 


Thoughts?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *