Jani Lagerström

Helsinki 2011

"The musical direction doesn´t matter that much, as long as there is something I can relate to"

Suiciderock: Can you tell us what your job is all about?
Jani: Well, I`m mostly working as a producer these days, that`s my main thing. I produced Hey Heather's debut album for example. I`m also writing for Finish Rock/Pop artists. Recently I have done songs for Wellu Rowaltz, known from the Finish Idols, Jonna Geagea's solo album , just to name a few. I also do mixing and remixing. We remixed HIM's Dying Song with Jesse Oliver for their remix album. I also mixed Erin's debut solo album which just came out and is doing really well at the moment. In general I`m helping the artists to realise their ideas and whatever they need within the recording process

Suiciderock: How do this ideas develop than? The artist comes up with a certain imagination and than you start working together or do they let you take the creative part?
Jani: It varies. Sometimes the record company comes up with an idea, that means they tell me what they have in mind and how the whole thing should look in the end. Sometimes I meet up personally with the artist and they tell me what they imagine and we start working on it together to figure out what suits best. It changes from artist to artist and depends on how they wanna work.

Suiciderock: You are working with all different genres in music, you work for Rock bands as well as for Pop artists? Isn`t it hard to adapt to many different styles at the same time?
Jani: It`s not exactly easy to do adapt but I find it really interesting and challenging. I really like and enjoy meeting different kind of artists and record companies. The musical direction doesn`t matter that much, as long as there is something i can relate to.The variety is interesting.

Suiciderock: That means you are not specialised in any genre?
Jani: No, not really. I do a lot of Electronic music. But that`s more like a project for myself where I can do exactly what I want. It`s a mental thing, I need something for myself where nobody can tell me how I should do it. Ok, you could say ma main thing is Modern Rock and Modern Pop. But I wouldn`t say that I`m specialised in something meaning that I only want to do one thing. I like to keep it varying. I myself like different sorts of music so why wouldn`t I also work on different sorts of music.

Suicierock: Is there something that is a total no-go?
Jani: Well, I would say Iskelmä or Tango wouldn`t work for me that well. There are probably better people for the job, especially here in Finland.

Suiciderock: Can you choose who you are working with? How do you get together with the artists?
Jani: Of course you can choose to a certain extend but in the end I have to make a living out of it. If I meet someone and the interests and ideas don`t match or don`t go together there is no point and sense in working together. So in that way everybody chooses. In general the people who are working in the music scene are pretty cool and it`s nice to work with those people.

Suiciderock: Did it ever happen that you worked with somebody and you didn`t get along, so you had to quit the collaboration?
Jani: Not on a personal level but there have been certain projects we started to work on and than the interest just started to fade away and so it is a quite natural thing to just fade out of the process, at least in my opinion. We haven`t had any fights or any drama though.

Suiciderock: When did you start to work as a producer?
Jani: I started playing music when I was maybe 13 or 14 years old. I started to play in funk and rock bands. Then I got into making electronic music and the studio and producing side of things followed quite naturally. After that I went to school to study music technology and production.
Suiciderock: Many people consider themselves as producer if they are able to use a mixing board…
Jani: You don`t necessarily need to go to school. There are some people out there who are naturally talented. I had this period in my life where I was doing a lot of Electronic stuff. I was touring Europe. I had some successful records out so I got the opportunity to go to school and to study the technology and the producing, which I always wanted to do. I spent 3 years in school and when I left I was more ready to do all different sorts of things I always wanted to do. So for me it really worked out.

Suiciderock: When did you decide your want to make your living out of this?
Jani: I guess I was around 20 when I started getting into the studio and production side of things through playing and doing electronic stuff. After a while I had some successful records out and started to think it might be possible to do it full time, so I started putting my own studio together and go from there. Still going..

Suiciderock: Did you do anything else before that or did you have any other job imagination in your head besides working in the music scene?
Jani: Not really, I used to play Hockey when I was a kid. Maybe that was another career choice I could have made but I kind of failed. I have friends who became really big in the hockey scene but I rather deal with music.

Suiciderock: Could you name us the good and bad aspects of your job?
Jani: I can`t really think of any bad sides here because it`s a life I have always lived and a life I always wanted to live. I couldn`t imagine myself working at a 9 to 5 job where you don`t have to think about what you are doing. This is not really part of your life.

Suiciderock: At some points you are using an artistic name? How comes?
Jani: This is only for my Electronic stuff. All my remixes are released under Jay Lamar but everything else goes under my name than.

Suiciderock: Why you want to keep this separated?
Jani: I don`t know. When I started doing Electronic music it was cool to have an artistic name. It`s kind of a shortening of Jani Lagerström. It sounds better when you are abroad. For example in England they can`t spell the “Ö” and so it is much easier to use an artistic name. When I started releasing the music I used the Jay Lamar synonym and I don`t wanna change the name every two years. That would only cause a lot of confusion.

Suiciderock: What are you working on at the moment?
Jani: At the moment the biggest thing is to move the studio. I have been here in that studio four or five years and I got so tired of this whole basement thing that I decided to move into another studio. The new studio will be on the top floor, we definitely need some daylight. Than we are slowly starting to check out some new stuff with the guys of Hey Heather for their second album, they have been touring a lot but have also written new stuff. After having the studio moved there will also be some writing and producing for two new artists. And a couple of tracks and some remix work coming out with Jesse Oliver as well.

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