MIKKO HAAPALA
Universal Music Oy 
Marketing & Promotion / Digital Manager
Helsinki 26.12.2007



"It's time for some good Finnish music"

 
Suiciderock: Could you give us a introduction of your job at Universal Music?
Mikko: Actually things have changed regarding my job. Nowadays I’m the digital manager. I take care of our digital and mobile business. And I’m still working as a promotion manager as well. I arrange interviews for Finnish artists and I make sure that their songs will be played on the radio etc.

Suiciderock: Was it always your intention to work in the music business?
Mikko: Actually no. I don’t know what I wanted to do before. I started to work in the music business seven years ago. It’s just nice to do something different all the time.

Suiciderock: What have you done before?
Mikko: I was almost a professional squash player. Than I worked in a amusement park for two years. I went to university and now here I’m.

Suiciderock: What are the positive and negative aspects of your job?
Mikko: A positive aspect is that I get paid for something that I really like and the negative sides are that you don’t have fixed working hours, you don’t have any free time at all, but your friends think that you have the chance to relax all the time. It can be really stressful and the salary is low. It is not that glamorous as many people out there might think.

Suiciderock: What does a band need to get your attention?
Mikko: It’s all about the music. Why the hell should we sign them, if the song is not good enough?

Suiciderock: Is it your choice to decide who you sign?
Mikko: No, it is the work for the A&R people of our company. We are such a small company here in Finland with only 16 people working in it, so that we can decide together who we sign or not. It’s a small community.

Suiciderock: Can you imagine to change the sides for example to become a singer yourself?
Mikko: Actually I’ve played in some band, but I gave up. I’m a perfectionist. When I can’t do something in the most perfect way, I better leave it and do something else. That’s why I do this, I’m the best. *smiles*

Suiciderock: Could you imagine to return to your band career?
Mikko: I don’t enjoy that kind of life that much. So, my answer is no. That’s not my cup of tea.

Suiciderock: What would you do for living if you wouldn’t work for Universal Music?
Mikko: I think I would have my own surf shop in Australia or maybe a diving shop, something like that. That’s more how I would like to live my life.

Suiciderock: What kind of advice would you give to a young band?
Mikko: Work hard! The music is a very tough game. You need to be better than the others. You need to have something original, that means work, work, work and practise, practise, practise. Don’t get mad if somebody puts you down. You should try even harder to think about what are the good and what are the bad sides of your music and your band and get better. It might take ten years or even more, but in my opinion it is rewarding if you do your job well and if the quality is good, because than you are able to reach this position everybody is dreaming of.

Suiciderock: There are so many successful bands coming from Finland at the moment, can you explain their success?
Mikko: The world is becoming a darker place. *smiles* We’re freaks of nature. It’s hard to say. We have a lot of young talented people and some of them become diamonds. I think it’s our turn. Other nations have done it before, so now it’s definitely time for Finnish music.

Suiciderock: Is there any band that is not known yet, but you would recommend as kind of a secret tip?
Mikko: Well, if I would know stuff like that, I would be a millionaire. I think people should have a look at a band called “Dirty Licks”. They are from Lohja. Keep an eye on them.

Suiciderock: Your New Years solutions?
Mikko: Just be a better person, do my work better and make my artists brake trough.

Suiciderock: Where do you see yourself in forty years?
Mikko: I will be the head of a big international record label. Let’s hope I will keep in a good shape, good looking and have lots of girls. Let’s see.

(c) Suiciderock.com