Blanket consists of:
teppo jalava - guitar
ville könönen - sing and guitar
willi messmer - drums
simo särkkä - bass and background sing
a tell-all biography of the band can be found below.
Blanket is a proud member of the Independent Fruit Company record label/band collective.
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the history of the band as told by ville:
this is how it came to be.
1997. it's summertime as the story begins. oldest-friend antti plays the drums really well. at the time he was helping out in a half-cover pop band - sunrise - and we jammed in their practice space and asked sami - the bass player from that outfit to join in. we liked each others jokes, laughed and played some more. i had a couple of songs in my desk drawer and we tried them out, jammed together a few new ones too. we had energy and things felt good. while their other bands did nothing, sami asked his old friend teppo to come along and help with the guitar playing, create a wall and so it was a band. rok baby!
1998. our old friend veikko huopa provided the name and the first gig was at a student party in march 98. we played pearl jam covers and own jams and people liked our energy and groove. after the summer we recorded our first demo at arkki with two songs and lots of things learned. the momentum was growing. we played a few more gigs w/ no covers this time and wrote more songs.
1999. recorded a demo/ep/music "2" w/ big budget in seawolf helsinki. about 5 songs with super sound with mr. mikko oinonen smiling, recording and mixing. again lots of things learned but still a dense batch of music and we got good feedback all around. our little ska jam bonus trak even made the top 10 in the mp3.com ska list. cool. we played the wonderful semifinal club and a few other places and put together some jams with stronger leftist messages. a while back our homeboy oj hyttinen had volunteered to be our manager-of-sorts, a unrewarding job for anyone, so after a while he stuck to his strong suit and has been taking some wonderful pictures of us beautifuls thruout the times. approaching the summer of 99 sami was running out of motivation and didn't feel at ease in the band. antti i guess had always had a bit of the same thing. - enter ups and downs. - we put together a club night of our own at our practise space -> kyläsaarirok! was a total success, people smiled and hung out. sadly this was the last gig with sami and antti in the band. me and teppo still enjoyed playing rok and started to look for replacements. teppo knew all-around music-wiz simo and simo knew drummer willi -> we were very lucky to introduce the new blankets rather quickly. a new work ethic and motivation and a bunch of punky songs to learn. things looked better.
2000. the fresh new line-up records about 4 songs with a small budget. release "3" was received well and we were beginning to find our sound. simo entered us in the ääni & vimma (sound & fury) band competition - and we played with no expectations as we still had a lot to learn. to our surprise we got very good feedback and after 3 phases we finished 2nd out of about 150 bands. super cool and motivating - someone could actually enjoy our stuff. wow. we played more gigs and wrote more songs. again we arranged and played the now-annual kyläsaarirok w/ 6 bands and even more beer congested. nice. one of the prizes in the beforementioned band race was two days of recording time in the harju studio in helsinki which we took to good use late november recording two rockin' songs for mostly promotional use. the most dense batch of tracks to so far come out of the band. super-great. at these times we were contacted by a a-cool-joensuu-based-big-mouth tuukka j who was for some reason interested in helping us out by selling our gigs and stuff. we had nothing to lose - and we hope for good things to come out of this collaboration.
2001. the new year - possibly the new millennium - brought us good feedback for "promo4" and a ridiculous and super-funny threat letter from a californian attorney firm that represents a san francisco based 'indie pop' band called - "blanket". they wanted us to stop using our name cause they'd used it for a couple years and on 2 ep's. too funny, i would've kind of understood it if they were selling platinum with a fat record deal. probably a good reflection of amerikan culture; we laughed it off and replied in force. (then came;) another year - another band competition: tuukka sent our promo to the network band competition. we were very happy to be among the 6 bands chosen to play in the final, which meant travelling all the way to jyväskylä. we played hard with the usual antics against good competition, but somehow we managed to win the whole thing! our prizes included 3 days of free studio time and the chance to warm-up Kemopetrol the next night in the huge Hipposhalli in front of many drunken students. really nice. one the highlights of the band's career came in august when the nice guys from Reprinted asked us to warm up their Tavastia gig - it was short notice but we jumped at the opportunity to play this legendary club. we played hard and made some new friends along the way. in october we put our prize to good use as we worked hard for 3 days at Studio Watercastle, Jyväskylä and recorded 5 new rockin' songs. at the end of year we spent two weekends filming our veryfirst music video to the song "good king". our friend-in-film-school Mikko Hänninen is in charge of the thing and we plan to have the clip ready early 2002.
2002. the year started off in a multimedia kindofway, the rok video to end all rok videos for "good king" was released and accepted really well, thanks to the skill of Mikko Hänninen, who made the most out of a really limited budget. the video was played a decent amount on our local cabletv station Moontv. we recorded some new material mostly for demoing purposes at Arkki under the guidance of old friend Eba. 4 more songs documented and the versions mixed by Jaakko from clark kent slowly found their way to the mp3 page and to some gig setlists as well. we took the summer off, as we prepared and made a lot of phone calls for our record label's first real release. the "independent fruit company volume 1" is a compilation album featuring 3 songs from each of the 4 bands on the ifc roster. we pitched in with three safe hits "good king", "my echo" and "kill the kids". the latter song had gathered some attention from arabic countries due to its straightforward political message. flattering.
2003. we started off the year by entering the Harju studio in Helsinki which had been good to us before. went a litl greedy and recorded three songs in two days with Tuukka J. listening and choosing sounds. the "7" EP did rok and it was received well where made available. made a fun trip to Vaasa with the extremely excellent Clark Kent. summertime started out with our first outdoor gig; played the usual standards in great weather at the annual Louhela Jam event. we played very good gigs with super bands thruout the year, especially two nights in Semifinal come to mind. as the weather started to suck it was time for another Kyläsaarirok, already at generation 4. the band line-up was huge as the quality of the music thruout the night. the rest of 2003 was well spent at the practise space putting together some new material to bring new exciting flavors to the ice-cream which is 2004. it's poetical and looking good.
2004. we spent 2004 writing new songs and taking it easy while drummer Willi spent time reproducing. we recorded a split-ep with beer-rockers Varttisäkki with Blanket providing two new songs. we had the most surreal gig ever at a outdoor gig with torrential rain pouring down as we were playing in tent of sorts. it was the night of the arts in Helsinki and we were dressed in white cover-all's and sporting some headlamps; we looked bizarre but played great.
2005. mostly due to family activity, we took a long break from playing gigs. we played Semifinal again in July 2005 and played really well in my opinion. it was one of the hottest days of the summer and i made the mistake of playing in a pair of jeans. my legs had heat stroke. right after this gig, still high from playing well, Jaakko from Clark Kent made the mistake of asking when we were going to make our first LP. as recording equipment was getting cheaper, the idea of making a LP had been brewing for some time. Jaakko kindly volunteered to help record some songs as he's good at it too and we promised that it was going to be a really short and professional session, maybe a couple of weeks recording tops. this, of course, turned out not to be so true. (see Blanket Studio Diary for proof)
2006. most of 2006 was spent making more babies for Willi and recording our debut album with Jaakko. it turned out that we weren't so hasty anymore and didn't want to repeat all the mistakes from previous recordings. this time we were going to get things right and it took time and effort from everyone, especially Jaakko. in the midst of recording, we played a few nice gigs including a couple more acoustic ones assisted by Janne Ruuttunen who also played keyboards and piano on the LP. Jaakko - the Finnish equivalent of Dave Grohl - played drums on a couple acoustic ones and Pikkis (also from Clark Kent) filled in for Simo at the now annual Semifinal gig.
2007. after a lot of hard work, we released our long-awaited debut album "This is the New Wave of Political Rock" on April 10th 2007 and had a release party the next day at Semifinal. we figured that we might as well come up with an album name that actually says something right off the bat rather than being too vague. the Blanket Studio Diary sums up the ups and downs of such a vast project. the album turned out great and had a super nice digipak packaging to suit. our comrades from over the years, Jussi, shot and edited all the wonderful moose pictures and Jaakko Seppälä put it all together in truly professional style. all pro boner and we owe them big time. we wanted to be different about the licensing terms of the music as the music industry had gone crazy in the preceding years with the copy controlled technologys and DRM's and such. our "copy encouraged" concept got some attention but not the excitement I was hoping for. we were probably a little late in our protest as the climate was already changing towards different business models introduced by Radiohead with the "In Rainbows" album. the overall effort in getting the album made while holding day jobs and families was such an effort that the marketing side of the album release was kind of neglected. we got some nice reviews eventually and are still proud of the accomplishment.
2008. we took the year 2008 pretty easy band-wise with all kinds of family stuff and working and moving happening. our copy encouraged teosto-free fuck-gramex music ended up in a few places, which was nice. only played one show and rarely entered the Village Island practice camp. maybe next year?
so this is where we are so far.
all in all. this is a learning experience. the goal is not to sell out wembley or get a gold record. this is all about having a good time and creating and playing music that makes you smile and feel good.
thanks for reading, take care. ville.
webpage design by jaakko seppälä
photos copyright: jussi hyttinen / kerosin 1997->